Why complain when you know you’re doing something wrong?

That is the question some residents of Ventura ask themselves every time they walk by Caffe Bella in famous downtown Ventura. In the article “Downtown bar upset with ABC enforcement” (News, 6/25) Paul Sisolak relates the severity with which alcohol officials are enforcing alcohol sale laws. In the article, Caffe Bella’s owners complain about being “raided” after (allegedly) being found in violation their alcohol license agreement.

According to the article, the Caffe must comply with the “50/50” rule, where alcohol and food sales must be in even proportion, but in 2008 the Caffe sold $9,000 worth of food and $41,000 in alcohol.
During Caffe Bella’s “raid,” the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) forced everyone in the bar to pour out their drinks — and that’s when the complaining started. The owners felt the patrons were “terrorized” and that the law is “archaic,” to boot.

Some people in downtown Ventura are grateful for the actions of the ABC for enforcing the law. If alcohol-serving establishments would comply, people in downtown might have more of a sense of safety, see the streets cleaner, and not have to witness alcohol use. According to a recent article in the Ventura County Star, statistics show that Ventura has the highest concentration of bars of any city in the County (more than 300), and that alcohol is a factor in higher crime rates.

On the business side, they say they’re taking a huge hit on sales because drinkers are scared to go into a bar now. Now, even across the downtown area, some bars and restaurants are nervous about a visit from the ABC. So the question still lingers: Why complain when you know you are violating your license? This is just like driving under the influence — you’re going in the wrong direction, my friend. In my opinion, you’re scared because you know you’re doing something wrong.

Mario Apolinar, Ventura

Don’t stop till you get enough
Thank you for the thoughtful words about Michael Jackson and the additional comments from musicians, etc. I appreciated much of Michael’s music and dancing over the years. 

Unfortunately, his later work seemed to take on a dark and desperate quality, no doubt reflecting his personal struggle. It was particularly sad that he died while getting ready for a big “comeback” tour. He deserved a chance to show he could still make the magic happen in spite of his personal problems and all the negative press. 

After hearing the news, I downloaded a copy of the Thriller album. I continue to play it and appreciate Michael at his best, while ignoring all that crap the media is “reporting.”  To Michael, I would say not just, “Rest in peace” but, “Go forward in joy.”

Victor Sacco, Ventura

Madder than you
Re: “Mad As Hell” in the June 25, 2009, VCReporter

I don’t read your column regularly so I have to assume you’re a pretty frustrated man, as certainly you had to fuss and fume during the Bush years when Fox News was his de facto house organ! All your ranting seems to produce little change.

And really, that’s the problem, little policy change in the face of cataclysmic reality change. How are current bailout plans different from the Bush/Paulson TARP program? We keep rewarding failure — really smart! Or as Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bankm puts it, “Privatizing gains and socializing losses.” Maybe he said it the other way around, but the meaning is the same.

A real departure from the past is the “public option” idea in the proposed new health plan; yet the insurance companies are apoplectic, as then they won’t be able to skim profits and keep the nation’s medical costs the most expensive and least available among the developed nations! The fact is, they’re afraid of real competition!

Meanwhile, be careful of so much “fire under our belly” — the VCReporter is printed on paper!

Duane Waln, Camarillo

Tuning in to what’s important
At the time of the Vietnam War, the government used fear tactics to convince the American people they would be overrun with communism if we did not fight it at its own borders. Kennedy and Johnson convinced us that we would be invaded by lampshades and canoe boats if we didn’t attack first and ask questions later. Suddenly, Vietnamese villagers became an imminent danger to the United States. And for more than 16 years, 58,000 men and women returned in coffins while we drained our coffers.

It is painful for me, 40 years later, to experience our government using the same delusional fear tactics to once again bamboozle the American people to fight a needless war. President Obama, the articulate spokesperson he is for banks, insurance companies and the military-industrial complex, has convinced the American people that somewhere in the far reaches of Pakistan, there are villagers who will attack us and now pose an imminent threat to our country.

Did it occur to any of your readership that we are going after bin Laden and the Taliban about six years too late? If someone hits your car, are they still going to be just around the corner, six years later, waiting for you to read the note on the windshield? I don’t think so.

Now, the headlines do not just tell us of the atrocities in Iraq. They read: “45 Killed by Drones in Pakistan”; “25 Afghan Villagers Found Dead”; and yes, “50 Killed by a Car Bomb in Iraq …” Doesn’t this sound like escalation to you? It certainly does to me. 

And have you heard the price tag for killing rug weavers in remote places? $108 billion?  What’s left for Americans who are suffering in the civilian sector? What is left for our unemployed workers, our teachers? And how many new enemies have we made from the four million people displaced in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

I remember the peace candidate who took Johnson’s place during the Vietnam War. It was Richard Nixon. Waving peace signs from both arms, he said he had a plan to end the war.  Then he quickly expanded it to Cambodia, using “strip-bombing” to kill yet a million more people, and compounding the war crimes of our history.

The philosopher and poet George Santayana tells us that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And Will Rogers tells us why: “I only know what I read in the newspapers.”  I guess, today, we only know what we see on television (the idiot box).  This is our situation, folks.

Grant Marcus Ventura

Beyond disappointed with Cal Music Fest
I’m writing in response to your article written about the Music Fest or Music Mess. I wish I had seen this article (Music, 7/2) two months ealier when I signed up to be a vendor for this event. As a vendor who frequently does festival and booth vending, I was very disappointed with what happened at the Cal Music Fest.

We, the vendors, were not told that there would be a $35 entrance fee to see the amateur bands, so we had hardly any attendance at all. It was seriously a disaster. We were told that 40,000 people were expected, but were not told that they would be fenced off from the event. So the 40,000 people had access to the free music and booths downtown and therefore had no interest in paying the ridiculous entrance fee to this event, which could be viewed over the fence on Main Street.

All the Music Fest vendors suffered as a result. The only sales we made were to the vendors themselves, the beer garden guy and the security. There was so much security and a gang of police hanging out at the entrance, which further discouraged peeps from wanting to come in.

I finally spoke to Mark Rasmussen in person at around 3 p.m. on Saturday and requested that he let the public in so that at least the vendors could recoup some of their money, or to refund at least half of our $500 vending fee.

He basically said “no” to both after a string of excuses, blaming it on everyone else and claiming that more than 3,000 tickets were pre-sold. There were seriously not more than 50 public people at this event at a time. Is it possible to do a follow-up article on this event? I can get comments from other vendors and workers of the event. Mark has not returned any e-mails and, of course, his voice mail is full, which is completely unprofessional.

I’m really pissed about the whole thing and having wasted my holiday weekend at this stupid event. Mark needs to know that this is so not cool and that we know that he has ripped off a lot of people!!

Diana, Ojai
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