Behind Prop. 26
Cloaked in verbiage similar to that of Prop. 25, Proposition 26 calls for a supermajority vote to pass new fees. It sounds simple enough, but each side of the proposition believes the other to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Currently, new fees, charges and levies can be enacted by a simple majority vote. Supporters of Prop. 26 suggest that without the proposition, politicians will find more loopholes to pass new taxes, particularly on food and gas, disguised as fees.

“Our board took a position supporting this proposition,” said Dick Thompson, president of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association. “Government has not been able to maintain control of its spending. We don’t have a revenue problem in this state, we have a spending problem.”

While supporters of the initiative refer to Prop. 26 as the Stop Hidden Taxes initiative, opponents are referring to it as the Polluters Protection Act. Enacting the requirement of a supermajority vote makes it more difficult to impose “pollution fees” on corporations that are liable to cause environmental harm. In an election season that is big on the word “accountability,” voting against Prop. 26 will hold mega-oil, -tobacco and -alcohol corporations financially responsible for any damage they may do, instead of the taxpayers.

Prop. 26 “would place a financial burden on government, and thereby taxpayers, for cleaning up or mitigating cancer-related damages caused by a particular company or companies,” said Tim Gibson, director of campaign initiatives for the American Cancer Society. “It would remove an important strategy for mitigating tobacco- and cancer-related health and environmental damage a product or company causes in California… The best way for a company to avoid a fee is to do no harm.”

Those supporting Prop. 26 include California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers Association, Chevron, American Beverage Association and Phillip Morris. Those opposed include American Cancer Society, American Lung Association in California, California School Employees Association, Sierra Club and California Professional Firefighters.

Looking for original short stories
The deadline is fast approaching for submissions to the Ventura County Writers Club (VCWC) 11th Annual Short Story Contest, which closes on Oct. 30. This contest draws interest from authors around the country as well as internationally.

“Each year, the club receives more stories for consideration, a mark of the prestige the contest is gaining,” said Kathleen Auth of Westlake Village, the 2010 Short Story Committee Chair and co-author of last year’s winning entry.

“The contest provides an opportunity for some writers to have their first thrill of publication, and break through to a wide reading audience.”

Cash prizes for the top three winners: first place $500, second place $250, and third place $125, as well as publication in the 2012 VCWC Anthology. VCWC will host a reception in January for the winners and invite them to read highlights from their stories.

Ventura County Writers Club formed in 1933 with four members in Ojai.The club has grown to more than 150 members and holds regular monthly general membership meetings.

Monthly meetings are open to all interested writers and are held the second Tuesday of each month (except December) at Borders in Thousand Oaks through 2010.

Submission applications and rules are available on the club’s website: www.venturacountywriters.com. For more information on the Ventura County Writers Club, visit www.venturacountywriters.com

An infusion of art and education
California Lutheran University is presenting a symposium on infusing art into education from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 6.

Ron Jessee, an innovative visual and performing arts professional development leader in California, will be the keynote speaker at the Arts and Learning Symposium: Beyond Advocacy to Action in Lundring Events Center.

Jessee and Maureen Lorimer, an assistant professor in CLU’s School of Education, will lead round-table discussions on identifying existing arts infusion programs in Ventura County, determining additional needs and developing a plan to expand opportunities.  

Art Trek, a Westlake Village-based nonprofit organization that trains parents and volunteer docents to deliver art lessons in schools, will conduct a hands-on art activity. The symposium will also feature music by Mariachi Inlakech, a student group organized by the Inlakech Cultural Arts Center in Oxnard, and artwork by Ventura County students.
CLU’s School of Education and Project ACT are presenting the free symposium for educators, artists and members of arts organizations and nonprofit groups.

Lundring Events Center is located in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center, which is north of Olsen Road near Campus Drive in Thousand Oaks.

Registration is required. Contact Maureen Reilly Lorimer at 493-3836