Death of USPS

Thank you, Raymond Freeman, for your brilliant piece on the intended demise of the USPS (Sharper Focus, 8/1). This is an issue we rarely hear about, but it affects every person in America! Thank you for so clearly laying out how this phony ‘”crisis” was engineered and then exploited by the GOP for the benefit of the 1 percent who really would still be very rich without destroying the U.S. Postal Service. How can we get the word out? How can we give this the visibility it deserves? Even NPR talks about the USPS going bankrupt with scarce mention of the real reason. Our nation deserves better.

Matty Park

Keep ridiculous costs in check

OK, I did it again. The saying goes, “The first sign of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” I am guilty as charged.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, I decided to attend the Water Rate Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting. It, of course, was put on by the Ventura Water Organization spearheaded by Shana Epstein, the $200,000 per year general manager. In case you weren’t aware, the Ventura Water Organization is no longer a department of the city of Ventura, it is now a nonprofit organization. How an organization that pays its general manager more than $200,000 per year plus benefits could be a nonprofit organization is way beyond my realm of thinking.

Anyway, as I said, I went to the meeting thinking I would learn something enlightening. My hopes were dashed when the Water Rate Advisory Committee introduced themselves. Every one of them was an ex-water workers; that is, they all, during their working years, worked for a water department in a municipality or worked for a company dealing with massive amounts of water. So I knew right away this whole “advisory” thing was sorta fixed.

The nonprofit Ventura Water Organization also, in order to better enable themselves to place whatever rate increase they have already planned for the coming years into effect, hired a company called Raftelis Financial Consultants, a leader in the utility rate industry. I had no idea there were companies whose whole reason for being was to advise municipalities how much to gouge their customers for utility service.

When the meeting finally started the Raftelis Financial Consultant people used the first half-hour telling one and all about their company, and tried to sell books. Figuring they more than likely charge somewhere around $1,000 per hour for their “consulting,” this little story about their company’s history cost the Ventura taxpayers around $500.

As far as I can tell, our water and wastewater rates are already enormously inflated. Instead of looking for more pie-in-the-sky reasons to cheat the citizens of Ventura more than they do, what they should have is a Keep Ridiculous Costs for the Nonprofit Ventura Water Organization in Check Advisory Committee.

Rellis Smith


And Moomjean never gets it

In response to “When Hollywood doesn’t get it,” Paul Moomjean, Sept. 5

What Moomjean doesn’t seem to understand is that Brody was not bemoaning the fact of WWII, but the fact that it was necessary at all. He spoke of the dehumanization of the effects of war; he didn’t say that war should not have happened against Nazi Germany. Moomjean just twists and turns things to make his point without taking into consideration what war is and what it does — and what Adrien Brody meant. I am sure that most of us watching that night had no trouble understanding Brody’s heartfelt speech and meaning. Maybe Moomjean was too young to understand it. At any rate, he has taken Brody’s words and twisted them around to make some point that he, Moomjean, wanted to make, but had nothing to do with what Brody was saying. And then he refers to Lee Daniels’ film, The Butler, but in what regard? The whole thing doesn’t make sense, except to give Moomjean an opportunity to once again lash out at someone who he thinks might not agree with him. The fact is: evil is evil. War is horrible. Racism is intolerable, in all forms, in all places, at all times. And Moomjean is … well, sorry to say: Moomjean. And Moomjean never gets it.

Jan Richman Schulman