Mental illness is not shameful

Thank you so much for your cover article on suicide (9/1). One of the men featured in the article, Randal Janes, was my cousin. I appreciate you giving space to his story, and thank his daughter Crystal for having the bravery to share it in hopes of helping others.

Randy’s mental illness was sudden, brutal and frightening for all of us. I want people to know that, until he became ill, he was a rock in our family. He was always the person you could count on to be strong, helpful and thoughtful. He was a marathoner, a volunteer and a man of great faith. He loved his children and grandchildren so, so much and was so proud of them. He visited my mom, his aunt, every week and always had new photos to show off. 

Mental illness is not shameful. Treatment should be more available, more affordable and in some cases, mandatory so that people can get the help they need to survive.

Sue Davis
Ventura

Vote No on Measure D

The Oxnard School District is coming back to us after only four years, with another bond request — this time for $142,500,000. The Oxnard School District admits that the total cost of debt to Oxnard taxpayers is estimated to be $478,680,000.  Most of the tax money will benefit investors, not Oxnard’s children.

For every $1 Measure D would give the Oxnard School District to build, $3.36 will go to banks and investors. This is the highest rate of fees in all of the school bond proposals in the state of California on the November ballot. 

If the profits to investors and banks were only lowered to the state average of the current bond requests, Oxnard taxpayers would save a whopping $200,377,500! Several bond requests in California are even lower. Building schools and helping kids doesn’t seem to be the priority of Measure D.

Parents spoke before the school board and pleaded for time to find a better solution. One that would put the children first. They were turned down.

I, as a trustee in the Oxnard School District, asked about the fees and the broken promises of the bond of four years ago.  My fellow trustees did not ask questions and did not take note of my concerns. We voted 4 to 1 to place this bond on the ballot. Measure D doesn’t put our children first. It places consultants and profit first. I said NO.

The Oxnard School District hasn’t kept promises made four years ago. It has refused to address the overcrowding of classrooms. Why trust them now with more tax dollars?

To add insult to injury, most of the money of four years ago was spent on a workforce from other regions in California or from out of state — not benefiting our local economy. Had local laborers been hired, some of the local taxes would at least have been placed into our local economy.  We have the qualified workforce, but lobbyist against local labor won the day at the Oxnard School Board meetings.

Most of us are willing to sacrifice from our household budgets to improve our local schools — but only if the school district delivers what it promises for our children.

Perhaps the issue of overcrowding and new classrooms will be addressed. $90,000,000 along with $142,500,000 plus interest and fees could take care of the problem. Unfortunately, together, both will benefit faraway investors and banks much more than our children and leave Oxnard paying the bill for many years to come. 

Until the Oxnard School District accounts for its original promises, it has no business asking for more money from our families and children to go into investors’ pockets.  Until the OSD explains why we are taking so much money out of Oxnard to benefit unconcerned investors, we should make our elected officials more accountable.

Perhaps after becoming accountable we can accept a new bond measure. Until then:

Vote NO on Measure D!

Denis O’Leary
Oxnard School District Trustee
Oxnard