It is pathetic and amusing that Mr. Rodewald uses the phrase “Brown Shirt thugs” (Letters, 8/13) to describe the peaceful protesters and average citizens opposed to the Obama health-care power grab. Brown Shirts were Nazi paramilitary personnel, much like the volunteer corps that Obama proposes to establish here. Brown Shirts were part of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party, who also tried to nationalize everything in Germany; but much like the Obama presidency, it was a failure.

I wonder if Mr. Rodewald also has a little pet name for the Code Pink organizers who disrupted every GOP campaign event, speech and fundraiser during the Bush administration. What did he call the ACORN cretins who bribed the homeless with cigarettes and beer to attend anti-GOP and antiwar rallies for the past eight years? I’m proud to call myself a member of the Tea Party resistance to socialized medicine. Is he a proud member of Code Pink or ACORN or just another tinfoil hat, conspiracy theory spouting, liberal Kool-Aid drinker? 

Forrest Mize, Ventura

Santa Susana cleanup clarification
In your Aug. 6 editorial, “Handle with care: Santa Susana Field Lab,” you referenced a statement supposedly by me that said: “She felt there weren’t any safety or health concerns and the agency in charge was sufficient.”  Although the statement was not structured as a quote, the implication was that is what I said.  

Well, that is not what I said. In fact, I was clear in stating that I did not support the additional layer of government oversight on this grading permit, because I felt with the state-legislated (SB 990) direct oversight of the Santa Susana Field Lab cleanup by the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and five other state/local agencies, that the urgency action was not needed.  

I never said nor implied that this site doesn’t have safety or health concerns — it is well-documented as one of the worst environmental disasters in our county/country. It clearly presents health concerns for past exposures and should be monitored closely for future exposure as the cleanup takes place.  

The state-appointed DTSC agency is the point on the cleanup, and the expert in conditioning and monitoring the site. The County’s departments of Environmental Health and Public Works, along with the Air Pollution Control District, will also be engaged appropriately in the cleanup actions. So, taking an urgency action on the already conditioned grading permit for Section 8 of the site seemed redundant, and could potentially have slowed the cleanup action down by a year and been an additional unnecessary cost to county taxpayers.  

It is imperative that the cleanup of the Field Lab be handled with direct and tenacious oversight by the experts to protect the communities surrounding the site and to get the property cleaned to the highest degree.  I fully support the goals for the cleanup of this site, and certainly the protection of the public’s health and safety remains the priority.

Kathy Long, Ventura County Supervisor

Treatment, not prisons, for the mentally ill
Thank you for your editorial on the mental health court (Editorial, 8/13). I can’t believe we would ever consider sending mentally ill people to prison; but we do it all the time, and with devastating results, both to the individual and to society at large. We are not protecting society by doing this because these people will get out someday; and without treatment for their problems, they will most likely revert to the same behavior, or worse, that got them in prison in the first place.

Ninety percent of all individuals sent to prison eventually get released, and 70 percent of these return to prison within three years or less. So what could be the purpose of prison? Punishment, of course. We are punishing people for being mentally ill.

I worked in the acute psychotic intervention unit for adolescents at the Camarillo State Hospital for several years, until it closed, and had significant success with these cases. Most of these people would definitely have gone to prison without this intervention because they were violent, antisocial, and often addicted to drugs or alcohol. Any one of these behaviors can get you into trouble with the law. Put all three of them together, and you are guaranteed to go to jail. The difficulty with drug- and alcohol-induced psychosis is that clean and sober, the miscreants often appear normal, and they are as shocked and stunned by their behavior as anybody. However, without some serious intervention, they will most likely go right out and get drunk or loaded again.

If we really intend to protect society, we need more mental health courts and drug and alcohol programs. This should be obvious, especially to anyone involved in law enforcement.

Gary Ryan, Oakview

The value of skate parks
I just read your article on the possible closure of the Camarillo Skate Park (News, 12/11/08). It really saddens me that the City would do that. I was one of the kids (at the time) who went to the City Council meeting to be heard, to say that a skate park was great thing.

Camarillo is and will be a small, laid-back place that seems not to realize that there is a larger world that kids take from. I remember walking around and getting stopped by the police for a blue Mohawk because someone called me in. And I grew up in Camarillo. That was more than a decade ago.

The park is to keep skaters from “ruining areas of business.” On the fact that people are tagging the park, it’s gonna happen. The city can clean it up and it will just go back up. At the moment, I live in the Seattle area, and the skate parks here get tagged; but it seems that every once in a while the cities come in and paint over it, and a few weeks pass, and, hey, what do you know? It’s back. Then again, there are really no gangs up here or skins that I’ve seen. You have to try to get the kids to police themselves with the tagging.

The city should try to do something to raise money, or ask local businesses that specialize in graffiti removal to donate time. This is a great tax write-off for these businesses.

Marcos, Formerly of Camarillo

Pierpont beach, not trash dump
I got a kick out of one of the VC Reporter’s letters to the editor.  (Letters, 8/13)

I forwarded it to the mayor, Public Works and the Pierpont Community Council to insure that they read it.

Note that I have been on the city to do a better job of maintaining our beaches for several years. Simply put, our beach is a mess, and access to it is downright dangerous because of the sand on the stairs at the ends of the lanes in Pierpont.

Above is a picture I took of a Ventura resident coming off the beach with a load of trash she picked up.  I think the picture goes well with the title of your article, “Picking up trash, new tourist attraction.” It might be an appropriate post card to advertise the state of our beach.

Murray Robertson, A Concerned Pierpont Resident
Ventura