A refreshing change
Congrats and kudos to the Reporter!
I am one who has always been a little right of center and who has been driven further that way due to this current administration’s direction and damaging policies. However, unlike most liberals who selectively choose to go through life with a spoon-fed, twisted and not all-inclusive read on news and reality, I have, in contrast, always opened up to hearing about the other side’s take on issues. Thus, I have consistently picked up your paper, which is widely known to have a strong liberal leaning. I also have chosen to frequent watching the lamestream media on the network channels plus occasionally CNN and (on occasion) MSNBC. Most liberals, on the other hand, wouldn’t be caught dead watching Fox or listening to conservative talk shows. God forbid that they might be exposed to the “dark side.”
With that being said, it was so refreshing and encouraging to read the recent article on “The hope and change you were looking for?” from Forrest Mize, Power to Speak, 5/8. In my opinion and I’m sure in the opinion of many others these days, he was concise, civil, objective and on target with all the points being made. It truly is hard to dispute his take on the devastating and unfortunate debacle of these last six years.
Once again I commend and congratulate the Reporter for posting this article, which was a breath of fresh and accurate air for your paper.
Meeting housing needs
Some thoughts on how we can best follow up on Ventura City Council’s conscious nonaction in regard to the Harbor Church. Primarily in regard to two words — “enable” and “fault.”
In response to the repeated claims that Harbor Church’s efforts to assist those most in need were enabling people to remain homeless I would like publicly to thank Harbor Church for enabling me to be more aware of the magnitude of the unmet needs in our community. A good deal of the criticism aimed at Harbor Church was in regard to location. I feel for site location our entire community is at fault. The full council, the councils before, and the full community are at fault for accepting policies that have continually failed to adequately address the full range of our housing needs.
In regard to hand-up, not hand-out policies, I will say this: I very much support Project Understanding, Turning Point Foundation, and the Salvation Army decisions to shift the manner in which they provide support and services. At the same time, if I look back over my own life I can recall instances where a hand out to me — handouts of love — were what I needed in order to be better prepared to better receive the hand up. My struggles in life may not mirror the struggles many of our homeless go through. Still, recalling my own reminds me that we all struggle at different points in life. Life includes struggles — as well as blessings. Sometimes they are one and the same. For those of our brothers and sisters who are without housing I would hope that we will always be willing to offer them hope.
Getting back to enabling homelessness. The lack of affordable housing options is the biggest factor that enables homelessness. We will never end homelessness until after we truly address our community’s affordable housing needs.
John S Jones
Thanks to Lois Capps
RE: Representative Capps’ Central Coast Heritage Protection Act
The Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Representative Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for her recent legislation ensuring that the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument will remain a pristine and valuable resource for the communities that surround these amazing natural assets. Many communities in California have found that highlighting their proximity to protected wilderness benefits their economy, and Ojai is a prime example with its abundant equestrian trails and recreation-based businesses.
Providing for wilderness experiences directly benefits local retail businesses catering to the needs of wilderness seekers and other forest visitors. Also, companies and their executives value such amenities when they consider locating a business or are looking for a retreat or meeting venue.
Our member businesses have a stake in protecting our community’s great quality of life and we are grateful that you have taken this important step in protecting our public lands for generations to come.
Scott Eicher, CEO
Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce
Successful way to reduce emissions
A carbon tax would effectively reduce the carbon emissions that underlie destructive climate change. But opponents claim that this tax would never work, that there are no successful models of such, and that the attempt would hurt the poor.
Not one of these objections is valid. A look at one sterling example in a near neighbor, British Columbia, is instructive. Amid controversy, the Canadian province instituted a “revenue neutral” carbon tax shift in 2008, revenue neutral in that funds collected would be used to reduce other taxes — personal and corporate income tax — and provide targeted relief to vulnerable households and communities. Initially, a cost was levied at $10 per ton of emissions and increased $5 yearly to top at $30.
According to a University of Ottawa study released July 2012, the program was “highly effective.” Emissions in British Columbia were down 17.4 percent, almost a fifth better than the rest of Canada. The province had the lowest income tax rates, tying with two other provinces for the lowest corporate tax rates, and its GDP was slightly better than Canada’s generally.
In a 2013 poll, 64 percent approved of the program and opposition had fallen to 17 percent.
Significantly these results are consistent with those of seven European nations with similar programs, continued successfully over a 15-year span.
So when we are asked to choose between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and disrupting the economy with harm to poor people, we are given a false framework on which to rest our decision. A revenue-neutral carbon tax shift is a proven success—a success in reducing emissions, reducing taxes, and at least neutral in economic growth.
It takes a village
Imagine if you lived in an isolated town of, say, 1,000 people and three young children of one of the families in your community, for whatever reason, suddenly no longer had parents to take care of them. Imagine that after no one could locate any extended family members, your town had a community meeting to discuss how to handle the needs
of those children.
Would your home be available to take them in? Would you help them stay in your town, among their friends while they continued to attend the only school they have known? If you could not take those children into your home, would you help the adults who did decide to take in those children? Would you embrace their efforts and support them like an extended family of aunts and uncles?
Surely, in this small-town context, nearly all of us would step up to ensure those children would not suffer a second traumatic experience.
Yet recently, in the city of Ventura, three young children from one family, all attending the same school, suddenly lost their connection with their parents. There were no appropriate foster homes for those children in the city of Ventura and they had to be placed in three different homes across the county.
These three children were not only taken out of their homes, they also had to be separated from each other and begin new lives alone in new homes and as new students in new schools. They suffered a needless, second traumatic life change because we did not have enough foster homes for these three children in their home community.
Our children NEED MORE FOSTER HOMES in Ventura County. Just as the adults in that hypothetical small town became the extended family of those young children, we all need to become the extended family of the foster children of Ventura County.
We each cannot take in all of the children in need, but we each can successfully connect with some of those children. Some of us excel at nurturing drug-addicted babies back to health; others are skilled at connecting with young teenagers; still others can bring the joy and safety of a warm family environment to a group of young siblings desperate to stay together.
Finally, nearly all of us can find the time to assist those among us who take on the important, challenging and satisfying work of being a foster parent. Our foster parents need support.
The No. 1 reason foster parents give up their efforts is inadequate community support. From delivering an occasional meal to babysitting so parents can have a date night, we can all do something to help our foster parents and our foster children.
By becoming part of a group of adults who share the efforts of family building, we each can support our extended family, the foster children of Ventura County. To help, please go online at www.vchsa.org/foster
or call 654-3220 and connect with our foster family service providers.
There are many different ways you can help your community’s parentless children.
Together, we can foster hope.
Office of Supervisor Steve Bennett
Living the values
In his Right Persuasion column of May 22, Mr. Moomjean makes several comments about America’s values versus Europe’s. In particular, he points out America’s foreign aid as an example of our values. When one looks at foreign aid granted by country, the U.S. ranks first with over $30 billion and No. 10 is Norway with a mere $4.7 billion. But if one looks at this as amount spent per capita, Norway ranks first and, in fact, of the top 10, eight are European nations, with the U.S. ranking No. 9 barely beating out Japan at No. 10. The discrepancy is so bad, the U. S. percapita spending on foreign aid is barely half that of most European nations, and a mere one-10th that of each Norwegian.
So before throwing stones at others, and committing what Pope Francis would condemn as the sin of pride, I would suggest conservatives actually live the values they take proclaim.