Letters

Letters

 

Water emergency

We are not going to get more water for Ventura County from Northern California. The proposed projects are costly, controversial and will face an endless series of litigation for a variety of reasons. Additionally, many people in the North believe Southern California is reckless. We’ve allowed to be built a human civilization of 25+ million people with water-intensive farming operations. Based on our local water resources from the surrounding mountains and aquifers, ONLY about 2-3 million folks should actually live in Southern California, and the use of water for agriculture should be metered and controlled. Our water deficit is covered by imported water from hundreds of miles away, and this imported water supply is likely to decrease. Ventura County is in a very dangerous situation because farmers are overdrafting our underground water aquifer and this water is in danger of being destroyed by saltwater intrusion. This is an emergency. Effective immediately there should be a halt to any approvals for new building, AND because farmers use such a high percentage (80 percent) of county water, they should phase out water-intensive row crops within 12 months, AND residents should not be allowed to water their lawns.

Thank you for the fine article in the Reporter about “Water Wars,” May 15.

    Charles Spraggins
Ventura

“Oh no, you can’t do that”

In this economy it’s not easy to make a living from a small business in downtown Ventura, especially in the “forgotten” 600 block above the library.

I own Rosie Lee Imports. I sell groceries and gifts from the U.K. and South Africa for Ventura’s tourists, locals and ex-pats. I operate on a very narrow profit margin but I love my little shop. I work long hours but even so I am only just barely getting by.

On July 15, the city made my life more difficult. They sent out two city inspectors who accused me of violating Ventura’s signage rules.

They told me I had to take down my little flutter of plastic Union Jack flags, which I string up every day and take down every night. I hang them up between two lamp posts. They bring a splash of color to the street and add life and character to what is generally considered an unremarkable part of town. They are well out of the way of all pedestrians.

Yes, they are a marker for my shop and yes, they do remind people where the Rosie Lee Import shop is, but they also really add to Main Street’s charm. When people drive by, my flags blowing in the breeze brings me customers who spend money and enable me to get by and keep the shop open.

I have been in my little shop since September 2006. My little flags are my shop’s signature. They are a pure delight; they are NOT SIGNAGE! They do not have the name of my shop on them. They do not point to my shop. They are not offensive; they are just a happy, fun decoration.  

Two days later I went to City Hall to buy a permit, but my application was not even a thought. It was just, “Oh no, you can’t do that!”

The city’s thoughtless bureaucracy and threat of prosecution has frightened me with their big brother authoritarianism. Without my happy little flags displayed my business could be severely impacted and my shop could be as empty as the one next door to it.

I feel victimized. Please support my shop.   

Susan
Rosie Lee Imorts
Ventura

Letters

Letters

 

Balance campaign contributions

I read with interest the editorial in your Ventura County Reporter, July 3.

I agree that we need to get all special-interest money out of our political process. What is perplexing is the assumption that corporations alone have influenced elections through big money contributions and the money specifically benefits Republican causes and candidates.

When I researched the issue to objectively determine the truth, I was surprised to learn that the largest abusers of money for votes were Democratic PACS and their dark money. In example, launched in 2004, ActBlue tops the buy-votes list and bills itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” As a federally registered political action committee, it serves as a conduit for online contributions to Democratic candidates and committees and has since 2004 contributed 99 percent of its money ($107,563,973) to Democrats. In fact “dark” contributors to political influence donate more to the Democratic candidates than to Republican. The top donors to George Soros Center for American Progress comes from a broad sampling of corporate interests, from tech firms and automakers to health-care companies, big banks, retailers and trade associations, defense and aerospace giants, and includes Apple, Citigroup, GE and Walmart (According to Mother Jones, Politics-Corporations, Dark Money in Politics.)

But it is not just corporate special interests that we need to purge from our system. They are the smallest contributors by far than the greatest influence-through-money to our political system.  And corporations give equally distributed amounts to both Democrats and Republicans. Unions top the list as a one-sided contributor. If one entity tries to buy the vote more than any other, it is unions and their contribution to Democratic causes. OpenSecrets.org provides every source/profile of money used to buy influence and unions top the list in every category with their lawyers and lobbyists not far behind. They outspend corporations and dark money from the likes of Soros and the Koch brothers by a factor of two-to-one.  

Since unions are not humans any more than corporations and unions are not duly elected by the populace, then stop their ability to buy-the-vote. The restriction should also apply to environmental, abortion rights, anti-abortion rights groups, the NRA, etc.

In the political section of the same issue of the Reporter, Lois Capps, Julia Brownley, and Das Williams spoke out to promote a constitutional amendment to rescind the Citizens United ruling by our Supreme Court. Of course they did. A review of their website reveals that a majority of their top contributors were/are unions. They were/are bought and paid to silence the opposition.

So yes, let us make a Constitutional Amendment that is fair to all parties and eliminates big-money to buy votes. Let us start from the top buyers of our political process. Eleven of the top contributors to buy political influence are unions with 93 percent of their contributions going to Democrats or socialist candidates. Even so, all money given to the 2012 elections from all parties, including unions and corporations, ended up being pretty equally distributed between Democratic and Republican candidates.

So either leave it as it is (since it has balance) or get rid of it all.

 

George N Bullen
Oxnard

 

A general law county

Re: VC Reporter editorial of June 12: “Pension liability: Responsibility calls for having authority”

In your June 12 editorial about pension liability, the comparisons you drew between Ventura County and the cities of San Diego and San Jose overlooked one key fact. Both San Diego and San Jose are “charter cities,” meaning that their governing authority is derived from their city charters, not from state law. Through the charter amendment initiative process, city voters may enact changes or amendments to city charters.  

On the other hand, Ventura County is a “general law” county, meaning that its governing authority is derived from state law and it is only authorized to make or enforce ordinances that do not conflict with the general laws of the state.  In general-law counties, legislative control by the state is more extensive. Unlike charter cities, the initiative process in a general-law county does not permit county voters to change state law provisions governing the county.

Ventura County’s pension system derives its authority and rules of operation from the California Employees Retirement Law, a state law. Local voters are without authority to change that law through a local initiative. Such laws can only be changed by legislation at the state level or by an amendment to the state constitution.        

 Rick Shimmel
      Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association
Citizens for Retirement Security Ventura

www.csac.counties.org/general-information/county-structure-0
www.sandiego.gov/city-clerk/elections/process/amendment.shtml
www.lacera.com/about_lacera/pdf/CERL.pdf

Letters

Letters

 

The goop of the ninja turtles

Re: Right Persuasion: Society on the Brink, Mr. Moomjean insinuates that sexy photos of young women are the reason why there has been an increase in school shootings. I can understand why he would say this because his own sexual frustration oozes off the paper like the goop that made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mutants. I would like to suggest that Mr. Moomjean grab a twenty, head over to Spearmint Rhino and go to town for 15 minutes before he writes another article. As it is, his column is only good for plugging the leaks in my crawlspace mansion, where I currently reside as I am between (no pun intended) homes.

Beezow Doo-Doo
Zopittybop-Bop-Bopd

     Ventura
 
*Editor’s note: May not be real name
 

Support Republican mental health bill

It has happened . . . again. Another tragedy that could have been averted had our mental health system allowed for effective interventions to be implemented. The difference between this and all the other tragedies that have occurred in the recent past is that it happened in our own community.

Our local representatives Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, have done little but lament the senselessness of this tragedy despite having had the opportunity since December to co-sign legislation introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy, Ph.D., R-Pennsylvania, The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act.

Murphy’s bill, HR 3717, was developed and informed by a yearlong investigation into the failures of our mental health system, examining federal agencies, laws and regulations, as well as soliciting input from stakeholders representing local systems, including law enforcement. As important, this investigation sought the input from family members who are nearly as disserved by the current system as those who the system is charged to support. HR 3717 breaks down barriers that alienate family members from effectively supporting loved ones.

On May 6, the House Democrats led by prominent California lawmakers introduced the Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014. Tragically, this bill was not crafted to fix our broken mental health system. This bill was developed to counteract the political backlash that has emerged in response to Murphy’s bill. The Democratic bill serves to maintain the status quo, simply putting more money into a broken system, including funding programs that have no scientific record of helping those most in need. Indeed, the most vocal opponents to the Murphy bill are those who would lose funding due to their inability to demonstrate that what they do works

Point-by-point, HR 37117 attempts to fix what Murphy’s investigation found broken. The bill would work to increase psychiatric hospital beds, which are at critically low levels. It would support programs that would mandate through the courts that patients who are difficult to treat receive services through the mental health system that match the severity of their illnesses. There are many more “fixes” included in the Murphy bill, such as focusing resources and funding on treatments with a proven record of effectiveness. The bill also provides training to first responders, such as law enforcement, so that additional tragedies do not occur.

The letters of support for this bill have come from the National Sheriffs’ Association, every major medical association that deals with mental illness, such as the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, including chapters from San Francisco, Los Angeles County and West Los Angeles, as well as other advocacy groups such as Mental Illness Policy Org. Additionally, and importantly, HR 3717 has among its co-sponsors 56 Republican and 30 Democratic lawmakers, six of whom are from California and four of which are Democrats. HR 3717 is a bipartisan, human rights issue that should not be politicized. California lawmakers’ failure to fully support this bill is unacceptable.

We must demand that our local representatives support and co-sponsor HR 3717. The system needs to change and our representatives must support the community’s insistence on this change.

Jeffery L. Hayden, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Hayden Consultation Services, Inc.

Camarillo

Letters

Letters

 

Environmental loose cannons

I am pleased with the decision by the Ventura City Council not to adopt the ordinance to ban plastic bags in the city. From the start, this was clearly a solution searching for a problem. The fact is that on any given day (even the windiest days) one is highly unlikely to see more than one or two plastic bags floating around the city. And the reason for this, obviously, is that city residents are already responsible in picking up after themselves and properly disposing of these bags and/or recycling them, as we do in our household. Therefore, there is no need for “government as nanny” to step in and make sure that we are maintaining our public spaces in a caring and responsible manner. We are already doing that.

This issue, along with many other issues facing our local, state and national governments today, highlights the fact that government overreach, in the form of environmental extremism, can be disrupting and damaging to the natural order of things, not to mention our economic prosperity.  I wish to thank Council members Mike Tracy, Neal Andrews and Jim Monahan for having the temerity to stand up to the environmental loose cannons in our community and act in a thoughtful, commonsensical manner in voting down this needless ordinance.

 

Mike Gibson 
Ventura

 

More guns

I live on Ashwood Avenue and I have absolutely no objection whatsoever to the presence of a gun shop in my neighborhood. Ever since reading More Guns, Less Crime by John R. Lott Jr. I have had a different attitude toward the presence of responsible gun owners in my community. His books (there are several editions available at Amazon) show that responsible gun ownership actually reduces crime statistically. Although I am a progressive and vote Green whenever the opportunity arises, I can’t ignore the facts as described by Mr. Lott. Those who are “up in arms” about the new gun shop might want to do some research.

 

Carol Ann Rose
 Ventura

 

The next generation

Hurray for Mr. Moomjean for his Society on the Brink column (Right Persuasion, 6/5), so insightful it could have been written by the philosophers of old. In fact, it was. Socrates notably complained:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

Yes, old farts over 30 have been complaining about the next generation for 3,000 years. So while Mr. Moomjean sees society on some form of brink, I see it moving forward as it has for the past 3,000 years. On May 10, I attended my grandson’s wife’s graduation from medical school. Of her class of 114, nine including her, were members of the armed services who, upon graduation, were promoted to O-3 and began both their professional careers and their active-duty military service. So while Mr. Moomjean laments the decay of society because of the actions of one psychologically afflicted individual, I see the promise of thousands of young people moving forward into productive adulthood.

Don’t worry, the next generation will do fine if we give them a chance.

    Norm Rodewald
     Moorpark

Letters

Letters

 

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.

 

Mark Richards
 Ventura County

 

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
 Ventura

 

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.
 
Margaret Morris
Ventura
 

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.
 
Cruz Benitez
Office of Supervisor Steve Bennett

District One

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.

Norm Rodewald
Moorpark

 

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

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    March 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  2. Irish Film: Wind That Shakes The Barley

    March 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time *Ventura County Premiere*

    March 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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    March 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  5. BREAKING LEGS

    March 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time *Ventura County Premiere*

    March 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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    March 23 @ 11:00 am - March 24 @ 4:00 pm
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    March 23 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  9. AN EVENING WITH JOHN ROBLES AND CHUCUMITE At Santa Paula Theater Center

    March 23 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
  10. BREAKING LEGS

    March 23 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

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