The Ecotopia problem

A family with roots in Ojai bought the property on which the Matilija Hot Springs occur out of bankruptcy about a year ago. It subsequently formed a nonprofit company called Ecotopia with lofty goals of using the springs for health and spiritual purposes. The charter of the nonprofit was eloquently described; and its approach toward the rehabilitation of the springs, which had been badly abused during the ownerless years, was thoughtfully described. It invited the public to offer their services to help clean up the facility and, in the process, to earn a basis for their continued use of the springs once they had been restored. It made clear that such use would require continued investment in funds and/or labor to ensure proper upkeep of the springs, that lewd conduct and the use of alcohol and drugs would not be permitted, and that a charity would be created to support the use of the facilities by elderly and indigent people in need of the therapeutic treatment of the springs.

The choice of a very qualified person to manage the cleanup and public relations phase added credence to the plan, and all seemed well.

Then it became clear that Ecotopia would not own the facility, which would continue to be held independently by the family. Therein lies the rub, because all the vaulted purposes of Ecotopia notwithstanding, the whole concept could be vitiated by a decision with single-family vulnerability. Since the same family member serves as chief executive of both entities, it should be possible to rectify this single encumbrance expeditiously.

It is inevitable that skeptics will militate against the otherwise excellent plans for Ecotopia without this simple correction.

Johan Wassenaar


Left-wing hacks

Raymond Freeman, obviously, fancies himself a crack investigative journalist. He is one of those lefties who wants to blame Ronald Reagan, Republicans and deregulation for all of our current woes.  Well, I’ve got a few follow-up questions to his oh-so-clever (not) “Downton Abbey” editorial:

1. Who passes legislation and has ultimate power over regulatory agencies: Congress or the president?

2.  Who has veto power over legislation: Congress or the president?

3. During Reagan’s time in office, how often did Democrats control one or both houses of Congress (enabling them to set or block policy)?

4.  Post-Reagan, how often have Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress, and how often has a Democrat had the presidency (and veto power)?

5.  Which regulations, specifically, were repealed during Reagan’s time and how has their repeal caused the current situation?

6.  How much, generally, of the federal tax burden has been paid by the political-minority “top 1 percent” since 1980, and how much by the remaining political majority 99 percent?

7.  How many years, if any, since 1980 have seen the total number of federal regulations decrease from the prior year?

8.  What other acts of “deregulation” were passed, by which political party, under which president, that Raymond also alleges have caused such terrible damage to the economy?

9.  So-called “progressives” have been advocating for DECADES that wealth be distributed via the political system, rather than through free trade, as a means of “helping” the poor, and they’ve had TREMENDOUS success in creating a government-controlled economy. How’s that worked out for the poor and middle class?

I am SICK of hacks like Raymond, in their utter ignorance, promoting left-wing lies. I eagerly look forward to his answers, but don’t expect any.

Harry B.

The status quo or a police state

As much as I would like to see the entire ancient Ventura City Council removed and replaced with some younger and more intelligent members, I must say my blood pressure was taken to new heights when I read that Richard Francis and  Erik Nasarenko have decided to run for a couple of seats on the Ventura City Council.

“Saints Preserve Us.”  First off, Richard Francis in collaboration with county Supervisor Steve Bennett did more in the time he was on the Ventura City Council to help destroy the economy in the city of Ventura with their S.O.A.R. (save our agricultural resources) plan than any other single item at that time. They caused the price of property to SOAR to such heights, by restricting where anything could be built, that the average citizen could no longer afford to purchase a home. If he is “re-elected” to the Ventura City Council, you can well expect more “off the wall” shenanigans, so help me Holy Hanna.

As far as Deputy District Attorney Erik Nasarenko is concerned, I really don’t know anything about the guy except that he works in what some say is a very shady district attorney office. My problem is that we already have an ex-police chief on the council, and that hasn’t worked out so well. Mr. Tracy still has a mindset that was prevalent in the 1960s.  He still thinks, as he did while police chief, that his main focus should be to “keep the citizens under control.” He has lost track of the fact that, being elected to the office of Ventura City Council, he is supposed to work for the citizens not against them.

I am very afraid that if Mr. Nasarenko were to be elected to the council and Mr. Tracy was still in his position, the city of Ventura could well become a “police state.” Plus the fact that Mr. Nasarenko would be in the position of possibly working for the citizens in the City Council, he would at the same time be in the position of working against the citizens in the district attorney’s office. (Conflict of interest?)

We already have one councilperson, Brian Brennan, who not only is on the Ventura City Council but also works for Supervisor Steve Bennett in the Ventura County Supervisors office. (Conflict of interest?)

So it looks as if we, the citizens of Ventura, have found ourselves between a rock and a hard place. If no other younger, more intelligent folks come forth to run for the council positions, it will mean a choice between the status quo and a police state.

Rellis Smith


More than just for relaxation

I read your article and this is the first time I’ve heard of such things (Slapshot, “Ventura’s vortex for progressive ideas,” 07/03)

As a venturan/ojaian massage therapist ,I have vested interest in building a clean reputable business as well as pushing for getting the benefits of massage out to the general public, far past the standard “just for relaxation” purposes.

Ventura: The New Massage City, wouldn’t that be a grand idea? Sounds like those council members could use a session or two! 🙂

Matt Roy


The truth about bikes and cars

After reading his letter (7/11), I can see that Rellis Smith doesn’t like bicyclists and would like them off the road. Fair enough. But it was painful to read the untruths and spurious logic he uses to justify this dislike.

He seems to be very disturbed that he has to watch for bicycles when turning right. It is true that bicycles aren’t as fast as cars and thus have to stay in the right lane to keep from slowing traffic. Cars turning right have to deal with this fact or they will kill bicyclists.

It’s an unfortunate truth that a 4,000-pound car hitting a bike will destroy the bike and possibly the rider. A 30-pound bike hitting a car will scratch a bumper and, at most, irritate the driver. About 700 cyclists per year are killed by cars in this country. I couldn’t find statistics for the number of car drivers killed by cyclists in a year, but I am certain that it’s a much lower number.

Later in his letter, Mr. Smith states that cyclists “contribute nothing to the maintenance of (streets).”

This statement is absolutely false.

I and all of the many bicyclists that I know also drive cars and pay all the relevant state and federal taxes that go into building and maintaining our roads. When I go on my Sunday bike ride, I am a fully paid-up user of the roads I ride on.

Mr. Smith ends his letter by proposing that bicyclists be licensed, registered and insured.

I am not sure how this will fix the right-hand turn problem he is so worried about, but at first glance this seems reasonable. I’d actually be OK with it.

However, it starts to get kind of comical when you visualize a 5-year-old girl filling out insurance forms and completing a written test before she can put the training wheels on her bike and get rolling. Or does Mr. Smith propose that no one shall be allowed to ride a bike until reaching the age of 18?

Bikes and cars can and do travel on the same roads. California and Federal laws allow this. At times, neither side may like it, but a little understanding and patience from both sides can make it a better and safer experience for everyone.


Alan Sailer