We came a long way
decades ago

I applaud Mr. Moomjean for his recognition of the great improvements that America has made on racial issues over the past 50 years (Right Persuasion, 11/10). Sadly, Mr. Moomjean seems to be ignorant of the history of African Americans and the presidency. Shirley Chisholm was a candidate in 1972, and garnered the most votes of any woman candidate at the 1972 Democratic Convention. Jesse Jackson ran for the presidency twice. Leonora Fulani appeared on the ballots in all 50 states in 1988. So having an African American candidate for President is not new, and is only one marker in the long progress toward a more racially neutral society.
Mr. Moomjean seems to fall into the intellectual rabbit hole of believing, somehow, that the conservative world view is the righteous view. He states Herman Cain has been a “critic of fellow African-Americans who blindly follow the Democratic Party out of fear ….” There are millions of African Americans who are Democrats out of rational choice. One need only look at the decade-by-decade statistics from 1946 to 2010 to see that, when Democrats are in control of the presidency for the majority of a decade, the economic growth rate averages nearly one full percentage point higher than when Republicans control the presidency. I watched the conservatives of the 1950s attempt to impeach the Supreme Court justices who overturned school segregation. I watched the conservatives of the 1980s and ’90s who overturned most of the public assistance programs that had cut poverty in America by 50 percent. I watch today as conservatives attempt to destroy Medicare, which is the one program that keeps nearly all of the elderly out of poverty today.
So yes, Mr. Moomjean, we have come a long way. And if you watch those under 30, you see that racism is nearly dead among the youth. But that has come only as a result of liberals, both Democrats and Republicans, fighting against conservatives. After all, it was Dwight Eisenhower who got the first civil rights legislation through in 1957, and a subsequent act in 1960 in reaction to a wave of bombings. And it was the same conservatives who fought him just as much as they fought Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Norman Rodewald


Hopefully just the
vocal minority

I wonder if I’m the only one who has noticed how disgusting and repugnant the crowds are at the Republican debates. (I have my doubts, since there are few people in this country who would punish themselves by watching those slow-motion train wrecks.) And it doesn’t seem to matter where these debates are held; the crowds at every one of them have been cretins.
They cheered for the large number of death row executions in Texas (and you can be assured that with the state of the “justice” system in Texas, at least a few of those executions were of innocent people).
 They cheered for the death of the uninsured.
 They booed a gay GI in Iraq.
 And just recently they booed a journalist who dared to do her job and ask character questions of an accused sexual predator.
I can only conclude that current Republican voters are complete sociopaths, because their behavior is the behavior of individuals who hate and hold in contempt anyone who is different or “less worthy” than they. Apparently, Republican voters think death and/or humiliation is appropriate for any who oppose them.
 Disgusting. You do know that the rest of us can see and hear what you do, right?

Tom Becham

Apparently we are regressing

The puppet on the left or the puppet on the right — which one is more to your liking? The subversion of our democracy by the wealthiest 1 percent is becoming more and more obvious. This is why the 99 percent have taken to the streets in the Occupy protests.                 
To equate the political theater of the right wing’s attempt to appear inclusive, by possibly running a black man for president, with true progress for blacks and other minorities in this country is simply to be fooled again. There will always be people of any race or stated belief system who will be willing to be bought off by a few crumbs thrown their way by the wealthy elites. Read Chris Hedges’ recent book #The Death of the Liberal Class#  and you’ll understand the true “progress” occurring beneath the facade that you applaud. The short-sighted greed and criminal behavior of the wealthy 1 percent is a “progress”ive disease within our democracy.                        
Business as usual is not working. It’s certainly not working for the great majority of our black people. Are you aware that the lack of real opportunities for most black people is a major reason behind the huge numbers of young black people in our prisons? I believe that the right-wing propaganda machine realizes that it is easier to fool people who are reasonably well off with the symbolism of a black president than to fool the majority of Americans who are still suffering. Could that be why Republican governors across the country are racing to enact legislation that would make it harder for blacks and all our other brothers and sisters in the 99 percent to cast their votes in coming elections? You think?                                 
Corporate money is flooding our media and electoral process to once again “persuade” us to vote against our own best interests. The people are beginning to see through the charade and are taking to the streets to try to save our country from the insanity of corporate greed and the addiction to short-term profit at the expense of our beautiful land and its people. More and more people are waking up. It’s not easy. I wish I was doing more right now than responding to Paul Moomjean’s article. In the words of Phillip Berrigan, “If voting made any difference, it would be illegal.” I certainly believe we should all vote, but words and votes are no longer enough.            
Reality is breaking through and people who truly care must begin to wean themselves from fascination with media and political spectacle. It is time now for citizens to become more active. If we don’t act now our democracy will be truly lost.               
If this seems to be a “Howard Zinn approach to analyzing our country’s actions” I will freely admit to being inspired by the insightful and truly patriotic analysis that is Zinn’s legacy, We should not seek to put a happy face over the struggles that are making history today.             

Scott Waldron      



Professional slaves

Re: A new type of discrimination: the unemployed (editorial, Oct. 13), wherein your writer opines about discrimination in the workplace. I have to agree, the problem is a huge statement on the sad state of affairs, not only in this country but across the globe, where employers demand nothing less than professional servitude.
Once employed by a major corporation, you can expect:
a) Your activities to be monitored by video camera and on-site security, or by professional spies hired by the company,
b) Your company e-mails to be read by management at their whim,
c) Your work and ideas to be co-opted (stolen) by co-workers and management,
d) Your benefits to be inadequate to cover emergencies, or nonexistent,
e) Your 401(k) plans to be gambled on Wall Street,
f)  Termination for any reason, real or fabricated,
g) A huge legal expense to keep or get your job back should you be wrongfully terminated,
h) All manner of workplace humiliation, bullying, sexual harassment, gender or color bias.
The list goes on.
The point is that corporations of all sizes demand 100 percent loyalty while treating workers like well-paid slaves with no human rights whatsoever. You cannot complain to the boss — you need to seek a redress of grievances through your union (if you’re so lucky to belong to one) or some labor mediation firm. You are treated like the expendable cog in the machine that you are, so when we hear that employers discriminate against the unemployed, I believe what they are really saying is that they are looking for good little slaves with a good track record of being good little slaves, that they would much rather draw from the “professional slave” pool than have to train them up new slaves who haven’t yet proven just what good slaves they are.

Justin Markman

Looking like another
Oxnard debacle

The city of Oxnard may have bought the proverbial “Brooklyn Bridge,” investing an entire shopping center with a company going out of business. Lowe’s reported it is closing 20 of its stores across the nation, suggesting Mayor Holden and friends may need to select more precious agricultural land for new housing to provide the customers Lowe’s will need to survive the fate of others of its stores. I suggested, some years ago, that the city endorse a policy that would require a vote of the people to approve any project in excess of $500,000. I still consider it a good proposal. It would require the input of the citizenry and allow for the people to learn about disturbing agreements like the 20-year commitment to the downtown theater owner for a guaranteed yearly profit we can’t meet.
 We need and deserve more protection from our elected representatives, protection that we can rely on to keep us and
our children out of prolonged debt due to unwise commitments.  

Miguel Espinosa Jr.

Not something to
brag about

I sure hope that Ventura leaders are happy that our city was awarded second place for having the most bizarre display of public art in America. That is quite an accomplishment for a city that bills itself as being the New Art City, and who really could outdo that vomiting fountain in Chicago anyway?  
This being said, I have no problem with the “Bus Home” sculpture; but being a writer, a word artist if you may, I could have a broader appreciation for art and all of its interpretations. However, I also know that the city leaders still do have a right to be embarrassed, just not for this reason.
It is true our city leaders should be embarrassed about all the money spent producing the sculpture plus the millions they have spent building a sanctuary for struggling artists — two blocks from the beach — but the real reason they should be embarrassed is that they have ignored writers every step of the way, even though the most notable arts person was a world-famous author: Erle Stanley Gardner.
A few years ago I proposed a program to the City Council that would encourage writing in Ventura for a fraction of the cost that they spent just repainting the “Bus Home” sculpture a few years ago. The program would even, most likely, generate income for the city if they would just put up the seed money for it. So far the idea has been ignored.
So be ashamed Ventura. Be very ashamed.

John Darling



Understanding scio logos

While some who write about Scientology have no interest in truth but value only its potential for sensationalism or a laugh at the expense of a minority group, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you just did not know how to find accurate data about the Scientology religion for your article “Finding my religion.” (Cover feature, 8/25)  Intentional or not, the introduction of your description of Scientology as “expert unbiased ratings and reviews” was false in the extreme. 
It is too bad that you did not identify in your article the source(s) of your so-called expert unbiased ratings and reviews on Scientology. I hope you aren’t under the impression that Wikipedia or the cartoon South Park qualify under such a heading. One would have to be blind indeed to not see that people intent on creating hatred towards Scientologists have been busily creating vast quantities of misinformation on this young religious movement. 
In light of this, I do understand that finding true information on Scientology might be a bit more challenging than finding unbiased information on, say, the Methodist Church, which I went to as a child.  So I thought I would assist you in this.
A very concise description of Scientology is as follows: 
SCIENTOLOGY: A system of organized axioms resolving problems of the spirit, life and thought, developed through the application of the methodology of the exact sciences to the humanities by L. Ron Hubbard.
The term Scientology is taken from the Latin scio (knowing, in the fullest meaning of the word) and the Greek word logos (study of). Scientology is further defined as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes and other life.
A more in-depth description is available simply by going to the church’s informational website — www.scientology.org.  There you will find a prominent tab labeled “Beliefs and Practices.” In the upper right of the main page is a search field that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper into the large body of text and video explanations, illustrations, demonstrations and testimonials contained on the website.
The basic books on the subject should be available at your local public library.
And if you can’t find an answer to any question you have there, I will be happy to do my best to answer any of your questions.

The Rev. Lee Holzinger
Church of Scientology
Mission of Buenaventura

Thanks to all for helping John Enriquez

My name is Rosie Enriquez. I would like to thank your staff writer Shane, who wrote an article on my son John Enriquez on Aug. 18. He was assaulted on Main Street on June 18. My son has progressed a lot; he is an amazing man.
I would like to thank all the staff at VCMC Trauma, all the nurses in ICU, Dr. Kessey, who did his surgery when his brain was swollen and it was very serious, but Dr. Kessey did an amazing job. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Also to Cottage Rehab in Santa Barbara — they are miracle workers! Also to all my family, my son Robert, who made the benefit concert at Bombay’s to raise money for his twin, and my daughter Debbie who flew out from Ohio to be by our side. She put her job on hold and didn’t think twice about money; she was more worried about her brother. My son-in-law Jeff, who stayed behind to care for her son; and thanks to all my nieces and nephews, my brothers, sister and all my friends. And, of course, to God, for giving us the strength and courage to make it through such a horrible ordeal. My son is alive, walking, talking; he still needs more therapy, but in time he will get better and hopefully one day return to his job.
To all parents who have had to deal with senseless attacks on our kids, all I can say is, we must stay strong for their sake. Everyday you hear about shootings, attacks, and sometimes the people are caught, sometimes, no. All I can say is, to the person that hurt my son, I myself forgive you and I have told my son not have anger, instead concentrate on getting better and go on with his life and not waste precious time being angry at this person.
Again, thanks to Shane and the Reporter for allowing such a great article on my son.
P.S. My son is not a gangbanger, as the
VPD assumed.

Rosie Enriquez

No one’s forcing you to go

Re: Miguel Espinosa’s letter (Letters, 10/13) objecting to costs of the sports entertainment industry, “Take me out to the ballgame.” Although I believe we agree on the final summation, I do have issue with some of the concept.
Mr. Espinosa examines the difficulty in financing the costs of attending a “reasonably priced Dodgers outing” and the need to revamp a household budget in order to pay for a Lakers game. What I fail to understand is: why is this so important?
 He talks about a Sports Fan Union. You have a big union already. It is yourself, family and every other American who pays to attend these events. STOP attending. No income, less exorbitant player salaries and an eventual return to some form of price normalcy.
Additionally, there are many needy people and charitable organizations that would love to have some of the sports money so they can continue to provide services to the community. Just a thought.

Michael Koevenig

I see dog poo, it’s everywhere

I’m staying in Ojai for two weeks, to enjoy walking, hiking and local restaurants.  In comparison to other cities I’ve visited recently, there is DOG CRAP EVERYWHERE!  I’m sorry to report that there are turds on the sidewalks, on walking trails, in business landscaping, and it’s dreadful.  Professional, mobile poop-scooping is urgently needed, in tandem with an aggressive dog-owner education program.  Will the City of Ojai AND responsible dog owners please step up to deal with this public health menace?

Andrew Hankin
Emerald Iguana Inn






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