What is so terrible about parking meters in downtown Ventura? (“Parking meter initiative invalid, court finds,” News, 8/25) Every other beach town up and down the coast has meters, and I just can’t see tourists avoiding our downtown because of them.

When I go downtown for breakfast or a drink at the Watermark, I can now find a space on Main Street or one of the side streets nearby. That’s easily worth a couple of bucks because, before there were meters, I rarely found a good spot.

Turns out the ballot initiative to remove the parking meters, Measure J, was declared illegal by a Ventura County judge. In his ruling, Judge Mark Borrell found that Measure J’s proponents should have used a referendum, not a ballot initiative.

I’m happy to pay for a good parking spot, and if I can’t find a space on the streets, I know there is still plenty of room in garages and lots around downtown, and those parking spaces are free. In fact, I think I read that 90 percent of the spaces downtown are still free.

I also understand that fees from the meters pay for additional police patrols and Wi-Fi service throughout downtown. Those seem like sound investments if we want to keep our downtown as vibrant as it has been for the last decade.

I’m glad Measure J was nullified before it reached the November ballot because I think it likely would have had negative effects on what has become a nice place for a night out or a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.

Brett Becker

The glaring hypocrisy
We stand at the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 acts of terrorism.  Since I don’t wish to add to the overhyping of the day, I will refrain from comments on the tragedy itself, where I was, what I was doing, etc.  Everyone has their own stories about that day, and probably has no interest in mine.

I do intend to make a comment about how this day has been hijacked and misused by many in this country.

Many — if not most — people on the right of the political spectrum have used the aftermath of 9/11 have used that day to justify a wide range of despicable and horrific acts. From the Patriot Act to “enhanced interrogation” to suspension of habeas corpus to warrantless wiretaps. 

But that seems to be the biggest problem with people on the right: they are all about symbols, and not at all about substance behind the symbols.

Consider: a large percentage of political archconservatives (and so-called “libertarians,” who are really just Ayn Rand-worshiping Objectivist drones who are so brainwashed that the Kool-Aid could drink them) tend to be evangelical Christians. Evangelicals are an outgrowth of the Calvinist tradition, which holds that all one must do to attain eternal reward is believe and profess Christianity. It requires no particularly moral actions, and even forgives actions that most human beings would find atrocious, if the Christian only confesses that Jesus is the Savior. Oh, that and wearing a big obnoxious cross or chrome fish on one’s car, so all the world can SEE how righteous you are.

So it is not unexpected that religious conservatives would also adopt other ideologies that are just as morally shallow and bankrupt. The “patriotism” exhibited by the vast majority of right-wingers requires no more personal sacrifice than mounting a big American flag on one’s car. And even then, the flag is usually tattered and displayed after dark, in clear violation of the U.S. Flag Code. (Homework for conservatives — look up the definitions for “patriotism,” “nationalism” and “jingoism,” then tell me why I should consider you anything other than jingoistic, nationalistic pseudo-patriots.)

But that is the crux of the problem. Conservatism requires that a person have a very minimal level of self-awareness, and a generous dash of hypocrite. They “love America,” yet seem to hate large segments of the American populace and do everything they can to destroy the rights that have made America unique. They want to “protect the Constitution” when Democratic Party officials are in office, yet stand silently by for eight years when a radical right administration uses the Constitution as toilet paper. They want “big government out of our lives” yet support the intrusive legislating of morality, from marriage rights to abortion to zoning of adult businesses. They drone on and on about “family values” and supported the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, yet have not pressed for the resignation of Sen. David Vitter, a member of their own party who admittedly engaged the services of prostitutes (and who apparently likes “diaper play”).

In short, right-wingers have one set of standards for themselves, and a much higher set that they insist everyone else live by.

Sorry conservatives, your time is past, and 75 percent of the country is sick of you.  If you don’t get that now, you will next November.

Tom Becham