Power To Speak

Power To Speak

The assertion that anyone born within the territorial boundaries of the United States is, automatically, a United States citizen is ludicrous (News, 8/12). If a married couple from Mexico comes here on vacation, and whilst here, the wife gives birth to a child, would you seriously claim that child is now under the jurisdiction of the United States government? A citizen of the USA subject to all of its laws and regulations until such time as said child legally renounces his/her U.S. citizenship? Logically and legally, that child would inherit the citizenship of its parents. Period. To say that some kind of different standards apply to the children of illegal aliens is also ludicrous. If you’re going to accept the validity of nations, governments, and citizenship, you must also accept that nations, governments and citizens have every right to exclude foreigners from their jurisdictions. This exclusion is, in fact, essential in a high-regulation welfare state since “free” services cannot be provided to the entire world, and foreigners coming here can’t be allowed (in the interest of maintaining a “level playing field”) to undermine the regulatory system. It’s ironic that the very welfare state that has arisen here in America due to leftist ideological thinking is the very reason why we can’t have open borders. Incredibly, leftists seem incapable of comprehending this.

I find it incredibly hypocritical that leftists/liberals only seem concerned with upholding the Constitution and enforcing human rights in the very narrowest of contexts in which it conveniently dovetails with their ideology and bias. I also find it hypocritical that the biggest proponents of the democratic process (i.e., majority rule) have no problem whatsoever in running roughshod over the wishes of the majority when that majority opposes leftist/liberal policy. When it comes to immigration, there can be no doubt that the majority of Americans are opposed to open borders and granting amnesty to those here illegally — survey after survey, year after year, confirms this. So much for democratic principles. 

The insinuation in the article that “Republicans will pay in the future” for their efforts to combat illegal immigration today only confirms that leftists recognize that so-called “minorities” organize themselves politically into racist voting blocs. In this instance, it’s those who identify themselves as Mexican, but the list can include anyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual, able-bodied male (WHAM). Leftists grant their tacit approval to this racism by ignoring it when perpetrated by “minorities.” If they didn’t approve of it, they’d be calling out La Raza, the Black Caucus, racist comments by “minority” celebrities and politicians, and they’d definitely be troubled that such a disproportionately large percentage of blacks vote Democrat. Simply put, it’s just more hypocrisy from the left. 

If 80–plus percent of whites voted Republican, every election liberals would no doubt cry “racism.”

When whites attempt to exclude “minorities” from clubs/organizations, it’s racist, but not when it’s the other way around. When a white celebrity or politician says things, even just perceived to be racist, he/she can kiss that career goodbye (unless he/she is a liberal Democrat, that is) but not when it’s the other way around. Imagine the Republican Party doing what Democrats do and attempting to pander to white folks based solely on the GOP being “the party of white people”! For some reason, however, the Democrats get away with race-based pandering. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy!    

Shane Solano is 36 years old, was born in Ventura County and has spent all but a few years of his life living here. A former proponent of socialism who, over the last 16 years, has done a 180-degree turn toward what he believes to be the most noble of human causes: achieving total freedom from the authoritarianism and predations of the state.

   

Power To Speak

Power To Speak

Ventura is facing an unprecedented reduction in public safety services.  Mounting overtime costs, pension liabilities and shrinking revenue sources have resulted in the closing of a fire station and elimination of firefighter positions.  Using volunteer firefighters to assist professionals could save the city millions annually and dramatically improve public safety.

Response Times Understaffing of Ventura’s fire department has resulted in substandard emergency response times. According to national standards, firefighters should respond to emergency calls within five minutes. This time frame is critical in that resuscitation from cardiac arrest after five minutes typically results in brain injury, coma or death. As a result of inadequate staffing, the department fails, on average, to meet the response standard more than 60 percent of the time. With the elimination of three firefighter positions and planned reductions aimed at reducing sworn staff positions by nine, it is anticipated response times will increase by an additional 30 percent.

Lack of Funds  The fire department’s budget for 2010-2011 is $14.5 million. The city closed station No. 4 in hopes of reducing costly overtime pay. In 2009, the city paid $1.7 million (nearly 12 percent of this year’s budget) in overtime payments. Employees with one year of experience receive a compensation package in excess of $85,500.  Senior-level employees cost substantially more. In addition, the city has an unfunded pension obligation of more than $50 million.

Taken together, the fire department’s budget is stretched to the limit, and the city simply cannot afford to maintain, much less expand, current positions.

Volunteers The Ventura Police Department uses 44 volunteers to supplement the professional force. Volunteers have donated more than 40,000 hours of their time to serve the city.  If 44 volunteers each donated 48 hours per month to the fire department, the city could save more than $1.06 million in basic compensation costs. If overtime was eliminated, the savings would amount to nearly $3 million annually! If law enforcement supplements its professional force with volunteers to improve public safety, reduce costs and partially compensate for reductions in its budget, there is no reason that the fire department cannot achieve similar, if not better, results with a well-crafted and -executed plan.

According to FEMA, more than 92 percent of fire departments in the U.S. use volunteer firefighters.  California cities such as Chico, Fillmore, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santa Paula, Stockton and Turlock successfully use volunteers to supplement their professional forces. They receive outstanding results and substantial cost savings.  If Ventura modeled one of these communities, it would save between $2.5 and $3 million annually.  Volunteer firefighters do come with a minor cost, but not a salary. The city would still need to cover costs of training and equipment, costs already incurred by the city for its professional firefighters. To protect the city’s investment, the volunteer should be required to serve a minimum term or pay back the costs associated with certification and training.

Volunteers are a viable option to ensure a timely response to emergency calls and to reopen station No. 4. Volunteers, like professionals, must complete mandatory training comparable to beginning professional firefighters. Having more well-trained first responders in our community will provide a broader measure of safety to the population in times of emergency. Furthermore, a well-trained volunteer force will provide a quality pool of applicants from which to pick when the time comes to add additional professionals to our force. By training and utilizing volunteers now, the professional department would have in-depth personal knowledge of a person’s character and fitness to serve as a member of our truly honorable and professional force.  

The use of a volunteer force will help alleviate some of the burden on our professionals and allow them to reduce the amount of overtime currently required. In addition, creating a volunteer force would provide adequate staffing and help reduce response times to emergency calls. Not only will this help save lives, but it may increase Ventura’s ISO rating (a figure used to determine the cost of homeowner’s insurance). This could help lower the cost of homeowner’s insurance citywide. A supplemental volunteer force is the right answer for Ventura.

The City Council should immediately create a committee to explore the benefits of creating a supplemental force. Ventura’s police department has its Volunteers in Policing program. It is time we give a much-needed hand to our fire department and help it to do what it does best: serve the public interest through ensuring public safety.

Please visit www.theventuraobserver.blogspot.com to read and find out more about this topic.   

Bill Knox is a Ventura resident and was a candidate for city council in 2009.

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