After having read your article titled “A Tale of Two Taxes” (News, 8/11), I mused about having read one more liberal reporter write without thinking about why a “noble” tax could possibly be voted down.

Let me give you something to think about. Ventura overcompensates its public employees. In the economic mess we are enduring, this overcompensation is almost staggering in proportion to the 18 to 20 percent of people out of work across the nation. (Yes, it is actually 18 to 20 percent unemployment rather than the over 9 percent the government figures show because the government, for obvious reasons, does not include those who have run out of unemployment eligibility but still have not found employment.)

In Ventura, we still remember that we will be paying a hefty share of the retirement payments due those wonderful servants of the public who left Ventura to be employed by that wonderful city of Bell. Because of the stupid, pandering politicians who approved the outrageously generous contracts and retirement packages, the taxpayers of Ventura will shortly be saddled with paying our prorated share of the retirement payments to men who dishonestly managed to be paid near $500,000 per year to be the chief of police and the man who paid himself over $1 million per year for being the city manager.

These are but a scratching of the surface of mismanagement that has been and is ongoing in Ventura. The only way I or any taxpayer has of saying, “No,” to these dishonest and self-serving bureaucrats here in Ventura is to vote no every chance we get. To say the system is broken is an understatement, but my vote against increased taxes was absolutely the right thing to do.

Mr. Cohn, it doesn’t matter how noble the stated reasons for, or intentions of, yet another tax. The simple truth is that we have been misrepresented by those we elected to watch over the tax money. The Ventura bureaucrats have spent money to pay themselves, in most cases, more than twice the national average income and given themselves benefit packages that only the wealthy can afford. Then, when these greedy bureaucrats finally decide to cut back, they do so by doing everything they can to punish the voters by denying basic services as much as possible. It is never once considered that the compensation packages for these bureaucrats are too generous and ought to be scaled back dramatically.

I don’t know why you think as you do, but I would ask that you think about the fact that liberalism and socialism have failed everywhere this thinking has predominated. The examples of this failure are seen everywhere around the world right now, and I would encourage you to notice this pattern of failure.

It would be so wonderful if you began to notice the failures of the politicians and bureaucrats and began to demand serious redress. This means, expose the light of day on where the millions of dollars are spent and who actually gets the benefit of these monies. At present, you look the other way when it comes to political and bureaucratic greed and then lament that the misguided voters wouldn’t spend a mere half cent in extra sales tax.

Good grief, Mr. Cohn.

Meryl Wamhoff

Strange coincidence?
This article is interesting to me (News, “Ventura resident recovering from near-fatal assault,” 8/18). The very same thing happened to a friend of mine on California and Santa Clara Street, on New Year’s Eve. The circumstances are identical almost down to what they did for the treatment. He was hospitalized for quite awhile. They never caught the man because witnesses were also reluctant. Very strange.


Tell DOE Secretary Chu to regulate fracking
The Department of Energy (DOE) task force just released its interim report on hydraulic fracking, a process for extracting natural gas sequestered in deep shale. Fracking involves pumping known carcinogens into the ground. We support the concerns of the organization Public Citizen that the task force is not going far enough to protect human and animal health.

We own a beneficial insect production business on Ventura Avenue near Shell Road. We employ young people who want to work in sustainable agriculture and biological pest control. Since viewing the documentary Gasland (, we have become concerned about the quality of air and groundwater on our property.

Thanks to the Ventura Film Society for viewing and discussion on Aug. 16. We are concerned about degraded environment here if expanded domestic natural gas production is a cornerstone of the Obama “clean” energy policy.

Our company has been working toward being carbon-negative through solar and other means. Our efforts are already more than neutralized by the leaking and flaring of gas on and around our property. Our puny efforts to do what we can to prevent runaway climate change become absurd in the context of how much carbon the oil companies are burning in our area. We also want to know if contaminated groundwater is moving to the ocean via the Ventura River.

We have written to the California Department of Conservation Ventura Office to learn more about state regulatory protection, with no response.

While the DOE task force is working on its recommendations for how to regulate the shale gas rush, more rivers are being polluted, toxic extraction fluid is dumped or spilled on more land, and more drinking water catches on fire.

Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction must stop until it is being done in a sustainable way that does not threaten the health of people and animals living or working near the drilling. The companies doing the drilling must be held responsible for the damage.Here is a summary of what Public Citizen ( is recommending to Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

1. Eliminate the loopholes from federal water pollution oversight.

2. While an EPA Science Advisory Board is still working on its report, stop DOE parroting of American Petroleum Institute assurances that fracking is harmless. Where is the data?

3. Do not exempt “proprietary” claims. This limits testing of the myriad possible water pollutants.

4. Require data collection on methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas).

5. Include oil shale as well as gas extraction in recommendations.

6. Close abandoned wells in shale formations in a way that prevents fracking fluid and contaminants from entering them.

7. Include public input in the final recommendations through hearings in areas impacted by fracking and public comment on interim reports.

Please help make the Ventura River Valley safe by sending these recommendations to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu:, or phone (202) 586-5000 (Main Switchboard) or use the National Phone Directory , or mail to U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20585. The task force interim report is on his desk now.

Ron Whitehurst