Centuries upon centuries of tyrants treat their people the same way and expect a different outcome, but the pendulum always swings with the same rhythm: brutal takeover by “the people’s leader,” unsettling peace in the country, anger and resentment by those who were to be protected, and then a bloody battle between the leader and the people. And then we, who live in a democratic republic, know full well how it will end, even if we don’t want to think about it.

How do we help the pendulum swing in a manner that will not end in bloodshed, but in one where the people will prosper and flourish? I think it has nothing to do with getting our own assets in order first, because it has taken us this long, and we are still in debt, with criminals who cannot be rehabilitated roaming the streets and children without parents dying from hunger right in our own alleyways. Maybe we are the tyrants. We cannot tell other countries how to run their governments if we cannot get a handle on our own. We need to work on our domestic and foreign policies.

Because we are a world leader, we are the teacher; and teachers know that if the whole class is failing, then the way it is taught must be changed in order for the class to succeed. I am the more optimistic one, and I know this success cannot be achieved by political squabble and the “political correctness” that plagues our leaders and media. I am only a being of opinion, not answer; and I believe that the pendulum will one day, for all good purposes, not exist.

Micaela Nicole Saunders
Ventura

Oxnard Says “No” to Ormond Beach
For all of us who have worked for years to educate the public regarding the unique features at Ormond Beach, the ugly truth is now revealing itself. The Oxnard Planning Commission recently recommended that the City Council approve the Southshore Development on the north side of Hueneme Road. What this tells me is that the City Council does not value Ormond Beach at all.

No, the Commission didn’t put it in those exact words, but it might as well have. And, as usual, in order to deceive the public, it has constructed a model of plausible deniability.

In this instance, lip service is given to both preservation of the wetlands and protecting the Naval Base, Ventura County, while approving a massive housing development that encroaches on both. The Commission is living in a fantasy world where you can destroy and protect at the same time. It is saying that a large housing development can be benign.

Many local experts advise against the development, including members of Ormond Beach Observers and the Ormond Beach Wildlife Patrol. These organizations, staffed mostly by volunteers, have worked for decades to protect the area’s sensitive habitat and endangered species in the hope that the day would come when the city would grow to share their vision. Ormond advocates feel strongly that Ormond is called “the jewel of Oxnard” because its qualities enhance Oxnard as a whole.

These experts have stated that residents living in high-density housing so close to sensitive habitat areas will create conflicts that will eventually destroy the qualities of the area that nurture wildlife. Inevitably, the increase in the number of unsupervised humans escaping their overcrowded neighborhood for the beach and walking through nesting sites will drive away most of the wildlife. Ormond will cease to be “habitat,” defined as a place that is natural for the life and growth of an organism.

Oxnard, it seems, will never share the visions of people who work as volunteers to protect and improve the city.

Rather, the city always relies on an institutional prejudice to side with the visions of those who seek public entitlements that benefit a very few, even when the few are not local residents but come from such places as Orange County.

Now, as before, the developers have constructed a scenario whereby the new homeowners — not the developers — will pay into a fund to allegedly protect endangered wildlife at Ormond Beach. But it is noteworthy that rather than relying on existing groups with a history of involvement, like OBO and OBWP, they plan to establish their own organization. The developer’s minions, lackeys, toadies, flunkeys — call them what you will — will be the foundation of the mitigation plan the city will rely upon to legitimize the whole house of cards upon which city acceptance of this plan is based.

But, ah yes, plausible deniability is paramount. When this mitigation plan fails — and it will fail, as has the plan at Northshore — the developers, the homeowners or the new mitigation organization will be at fault, not the city. How could the city possibly know that developers would go bankrupt and renege on their promises? Or that new homeowners might rebel and say “No, we won’t pay that extra fee, or that employees charged with protecting wildlife will simply look at it as a job, and do the bare minimum with no real passion for protecting something rare and beautiful?

Nothing in the mitigation plan guarantees or demonstrates that the plan will work even in the short term. But the plan has one positive element — it clearly demonstrates that the city of Oxnard is willing to sacrifice all unique features at Ormond Beach in favor of yet another housing development, be it good, bad or ugly.

Joy Kobayashi
Oxnard

(This letter was sent to multiple media outlets.)

From the web:
RE: Health care crisis (Cover/feature, 5/5)
I have chosen to pay cash for doctors who don’t want to use the insurance system. Most of the times when I have to use a doctor that isn’t “private,” I wind up revisiting another doctor because of the lack of care I received … It is indeed a dangerous situation. My heart breaks for those who desperately try and still wind up on the streets ….

— dmbeltme

Why isn’t anyone looking at the skyrocketing costs of health care? That would be the insurance companies, the hospitals and the doctors. Is it really reasonable that they can charge whatever they want yet patients have to grovel on the ground for rules that affect only them? As long as insurance companies are for-profit institutions, the rest of us lose. And how about the president of the public hospital in Salinas? Getting millions in pay and bonuses? How much health care would that have covered? As for covering birth control pills, all insurance companies voluntarily covered erectile dysfunction drugs. It took a law to force them to pay for the consequences, plus many women use the pill for medical treatment of several serious conditions. It is a rigged system. And those who have made out like bandits in the old system are now the ones complaining most loudly. Eliminate the middleman insurance companies and the problem is solved.

— msjetbn

Greediness proves yet once again to impoverish those most in need!

— Bluehaven

I think there are also some reasons to be optimistic about health care in Ventura County:

1. The California Academy of Family Physicians is working on a “patient-centered medical home” pilot with physicians here in Ventura. The goal of the project is improved quality, decreased cost and improved patient satisfaction. The technology infrastructure that makes it possible for all of a patient’s care to be coordinated through a relationship with a family physician is a proven game-changer. PPACA contained many incentives for this kind of clinical integration to occur.

2. Ninety percent of healthcare costs are controllable through prevention. Prevention requires certain lifestyle changes. Among those lifestyle factors correlated with health, Ventura County ranks among the best. See http://www.gallup.com/poll/wellbeing.aspx.

3. Ventura County has a great deal of know-how on managing health care delivery and cost. Our County Executive Mike Powers and the new Assistant CEO Catherine Rodriguez both come from the county Health Care Agency.

Healthcare is local, and requires local talent. Ventura has never abdicated responsibility to the state and the feds, and I hope never will.

— Devon

RE: Fulfilling our role in regulating the health care industry
You guys should stop complaining because, one, the health care we have now isn’t as good as it was supposed to be.

Also, the law has just been signed so give it some time. So if you want to say u have the right to choose tell that to your congressmen or state officials. If you do not have insurance and need it, you can find full medical coverage at the lowest price; search online for “Penny Health Insurance.” If you have health insurance and do not care about cost, just be happy about it and trust me, you are not going to loose anything!

— rosahodges

 

Retraction

RE: Special Report: The Rio School District (News, 5/5)
It was incorrectly stated that trustees Mike Barber and Tim Blaylock were negotiating to give former Superintendent Sherianne Cotterell 18 months of pay. At this time, all of the trustees are trying to settle with Cotterell during closed session meetings, and the details of those meetings cannot be released to the public. In her contract with the district, however, in a June 2008 amendment to her original contract was that should her contract be terminated without cause, the maximum potential cash settlement and/or damages is 18 months of pay, or however many months are remaining on the contract, whichever is less. The contract also says the settlement can include health benefits for the same duration of time as the settlement agreement. The terms are still being discussed in closed session.

From trustee Mike Barber:
I have never been for a cash settlement. I have worked very hard all my life (35 years) as a union ironworker from local 433 Los Angeles. I do not believe in paying people for not working. I have stated my position many times, both in closed sessions and open sessions. The Rio School District, like all school districts, is in a painful financial crisis.

With the termination of S. Cotterell and the hiring of a replacement, the Rio School District will be paying for three superintendents. We cannot afford to do this while we are laying off teachers, increasing class sizes and adding furlough days.