She gets it

I like it when a Latina agrees with me that immigrants are the problem. (Letters, 2/7) Thanks for printing a bit of balance.

Forrest Mize
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Perplexing indeed …

The recent editorial about “America is changing …” (1/31) is perplexing indeed and seems to demand a response. Particularly in question is the comment on the continuation of the decision on Roe v. Wade. While EVERY life is precious and the desire should be to preserve each life, to make a statement that  “And whether or not we want to admit it, unsafe and illegal abortions that led to the deaths of as many 5,000 women each year before Roe v. Wade should not ever again be the standard we settle for” stands in stark  contrast to the FACT that the decision on Roe v. Wade has led to the slaughter of more than 1,000,000 children each year for the past 40 years. The current count is over 55 million children in the United States who did not have an opportunity, let alone a choice. That is 200 children who have not been given the chance to live in return for each woman who has.

America does need to change. Listen to Mr. Obama’s comments on the deaths of 20 children in Connecticut and try to determine which side he is trying to put himself on, whether he realizes it or not.

Choose life.

Dan Smith
Ventura County

The folly of one councilman’s opinion

Mr. Brian Brennan, who I consider the best Council Person on the dais of the Ivory Tower, has recently penned an opinion piece which appeared in, of all places, the Breeze, which I consider the holy whitewash of all rags published in the County of Ventura. Mr. Brennan’s piece was about the supposedly “massive problem” confronting the folks that live in the area of upper Seaward, Channel Drive, Anacapa and Hurst avenues. They are feeling set upon by the Union Pacific Railroad company because this horrid company decided to protect itself from a possible horrendous lawsuit and possibly save a few local lives while doing it.

Union Pacific decided to place a commercial-grade fence blocking access to Vista Del Mar Drive, which runs alongside their tracks. For years, as Mr. Brennan pointed out in his piece the railroad has been begging the locals to please refrain from crossing the tracks to access Vista Del Mar Drive on their way to the beach. The railroad throughout the years has placed noncommercial-grade fences along this area; and every time, the locals have cut them down, almost as fast as they were put up.

Mr. Brennan made the statement that because of this fence, upward of 20,000 people would now have to use Seaward Avenue as a route to the beach. Of course, Mr. Brennan pointed out that the problems with that are the facts that Seaward has lots of traffic and has only one “narrow” sidewalk, so that poses a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists who are forced to use that route. Wonder if Mr. Brennan really believes that those 20,000 people actually did jump the tracks to get to the beach, or is he sort of stretching the facts a bit?

Gee, for my own case and the people that live near me on Cedar Street, if we want to get to the beach we have to use Ventura Ave down to Thompson then to Figueroa and then to the beach, or we can go down Poli to California, crossing Main, Santa Clara and Thompson to get to the beach. Now that Mr. Brennan has mentioned it, I realize I have been taking my life in my hands every time I go to the beach.

Mr. Brennan goes on to say that these folks have been illegally trespassing on the railroad property for 30 or more years and should be allowed to continue. He admits there have been deaths along the tracks over the years; but even though the railroad is simply trying to make the area safer for residents, it still poses a problem for the people that want to trespass.

I realize Mr. Brennan has a zeal for wanting to help as many people in the city as possible; you really can’t fault him for that. However, in his zeal to help, Mr. Brennan sometimes lets his emotions override his plain old common sense. He now is suggesting that perhaps the city of Ventura should build either a bridge over the tracks or a tunnel running under the tracks.

In my not-so-informed opinion, I would estimate the cost of either of these projects to run into the millions of dollars. This money would be spent to appease a group of people that probably range from a few dozen to a maximum of 200.

The city of Ventura, as we all know, has many more pressing problems than trying to appease a handful of citizens no matter how vocal they may be. We have a plethora of areas that could certainly use a few million dollars. Mr. Brennan mentions possible grant funding. Mr. Brennan knows, as we all do, that even if it is grant money,m it still comes from taxes originally.  

Rellis Smith

The councilman’s response

Regarding “Don’t fence me in”

Ron, thank you for the kudos and your thoughtful comments regarding the railroad fencing along Channel Drive and Vista Del Mar in Midtown Ventura.

The gist of my piece is that a neighborhood of 20,000 residents needs to have reasonable, safe bicycle and pedestrian access and connectivity to the Pierpont, the harbor and north to the pier and the Promenade. You described the route from your neighborhood, which, while a bit convoluted, still managed to get you to the beach and Promenade in a reasonable amount of time and with a greater amount of safety than now exists in the Seaward Avenue corridor.

The city hasn’t been pressed over the years to improve upon the safety of that corridor due to the number of people who opt instead to walk or bike, utilizing four access points across the railroad tracks to Vista Del Mar Drive. As I continue to state, this was not the ideal solution and I’m not advocating crossing the railroad tracks; I am just stating the past history of connectivity in the area and the ramifications of the present conditions.

While initially not by design, the fact remains that a large part of coastal Ventura has been cut off directly from the Pacific Ocean, one of its greatest resources. Union Pacific Railroad brought enormous wealth and vitality to the burgeoning city, but with the advent of the 101 Freeway our fate was sealed. I’d venture to say that the city has to rank at the low end of the scale of all the coastal cities in the state when it comes to connectivity to its beachfront. Now that being said, the Pierpont would rank as one of the highest if it was a standalone community, but getting to the Pierpont presently requires a herculean effort if you choose to bike or walk from Midtown.

Ventura residents have gone on record through the last General Plan update as valuing safe pedestrian and bicycle connectivity throughout its confines. Yet there are only four streets and one pedestrian overpass to access the beachfront in a 4-mile corridor, with three of those streets presenting some formidable challenges for walking and biking.

What is unique about this area in particular, Ron, is that when you look on a map there are a substantial number of residents who instead of walking or riding their bikes to the beach, opt instead to use their cars because of the distance and the questionable safety of the connecting corridors. From my former residence on lower Anacapa Street, I could hear the surf and be at the beach in five minutes. Now I would have a trip of 20 minutes through an extremely dangerous corridor with on and off ramps to the freeway punctuating the route. The 15-minute difference is not so much the issue as the safety of opting for that Seaward route. It would be a 35-minute, one-way trip should I choose the San Jon Road route; and while being a much safer option, time constraints might make me choose my car instead of walking or jumping on my bike.

It is my intention at the Feb. 25 meeting of the Ventura City Council to ask my fellow councilmembers to join me in supporting the listing of a Capital Improvement Project, either an over- or underpass across the railroad tracks somewhere within the Seaward-San Jon corridor. Such a listed CIP on the City Bike and Mobility Plan could activate Caltrans and Coastal Access grants along with private development funds, all coming into play toward final construction.

 This would be a major step for safe connectivity to Vista Del Mar and the beachfront beyond, and I encourage all members of the community who value such a project to come and let their voices be heard.

Brian Brennan
Ventura City Councilmember

From the web:

Stop making liberalism a laughingstock

Re: America is changing, whether we like it or not. (editorial, 1/31)
I enjoy reading the VC Reporter, but the editors’ mentioning of “the sexual revolution” alongside the likes of “the Civil Rights Movement” and “women’s liberation” really annoyed me. Analogies like that one are the reason why so many liberals have become conservatives, and also why so many people who have stayed in the liberal camp — or who want to join it — are so frustrated and embarrassed.

Make no mistake: the sexual revolution that the editors took pride in mentioning was not a crusade for gay rights, or even for free love. It was a declaration that people should be able to engage in offensive behavior just because they feel like it. Liberalism shouldn’t be about getting to do whatever one wishes; if that were the case, it would be called libertarianism. Liberalism was always meant to be about freeing society FROM injustices, not freeing people TO do damage to that same society.

The consequences of the sexual revolution have been anything but just, or even progressive. For one thing, I blame those attitudes for creating the narcissistic cult of eroticism that glorifies the human body above all else. Why do you think we have so many girls starving themselves to be “thin” and boys turning themselves into mutants by taking various “supplements”? It’s because of that “sex appeal” madness that the sexual revolution generated. People who are “ugly” can face incredible discrimination and often end up hating themselves. That doesn’t sound very liberal, does it?
Liberalism is supposed to be about improving people’s lives, not about being modern or “cool.” As long as there is a pervasive streak of superficiality running through American liberalism, ignorant right-wingers will continue to feel justified in viewing liberals as fools.

— James Basolo