President

In response to the open letter to the GOP (Right Persuasion, Sept. 28).

You say that if Trump wins the election that would be the end of the GOP. The end of the GOP was when we nominated people like Romney and Dole or McCain, who say they are willing to work with Democrats and give in to everything and get nothing back. Also, we elected congressmen who promised us they would fight against liberals. After losing to the Democrats because of the bad choices by GOP nominee the GOP gave in to the liberals and Obama everything they wanted without a fight. That is why the people want Trump. If anything, Trump will save the GOP. If he loses and the Hillary wins, that would be the end of Lincoln party. In fact, that will be the end of America as a prosperous and free country. Then we will become like the failed countries that have become socialized like most of Europe and Russia. We lose our freedom. The government controls every part of our lives. We get deeper in debt. People can never have a better life for our children. No way to get ahead. The government will take everything and our economy will never grow.

I know you will not print this because you don’t agree with my point of view.

Jerry Lucero
Oxnard 

Measure C vs. Measure F

The beautiful open space and farmland we enjoy here in Ventura County is no accident. Thanks to SOAR (Save Open Space & Agricultural Resources), the voters have had the right to approve or deny development in our open space and farmland.

That is why we have our beautiful vistas and unique cities, which don’t run together as they do in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. That is why Ventura County was proclaimed the “absolute most desirable place to live in America” by the Washington Post. 

SOAR is up for renewal, on our November ballot as Measure C. If the voters approve Measure C, the preservation of our open space and agriculture will continue to be in voters’ hands.

Measure F is being promoted by business interests, which would like to develop farmland and open space without approval of the people. 

Misleading signs have been posted around the county that say “Yes on F, No on C. Keep Farmers Farming.” When you see one of these signs, it will likely be in front of an orange grove or vegetable field. Use your mind’s eye to imagine that very grove or field transformed into a sprawling housing development or industrial area because that is what can easily happen.

If Measure F passes, the voters give up their right of approval, and Measure F loopholes begin to be taken advantage of by business and development interests.

An easy way to remember the difference between these two measures: “C” is passing. “F” is failure! Please join me in voting yes on Measure C and renewing SOAR until 2050.

Jennifer Haley
Ojai

As Election Day approaches, letters by SOAR supporters are countered by opponents whose main argument seems to be that the two measures, C (SOAR) and F (anti-SOAR), are the same, except farmers support “F.” The two measures are not the same.

Measure C does NOT terminate the public’s right to vote on development of ag land and open space in 16 short years, but preserves it until 2050.

Measure C does NOT include loophole language that pre-empts public voting on development near schools.

And lastly, Measure C does NOT contain a “poison pill” provision. Measure F has such a provision that nullifies Measure C if both measures pass. 

Voters who think voting for both measures will better protect our agricultural and open space lands could terminate the extension of the current SOAR provisions that have worked for decades — cities growing slowly and compactly and agricultural sales higher than ever.

Vote YES on C and NO on F.

Todd Collart
Ventura

Recent letters to the editor proclaiming the pros and cons of Measures C (SOAR) and F spend a lot of time arguing for the same cause: protection of farmland.

Here are some reasons I support Measure C:

Those who complain that SOAR has appropriated their farms for advertising miss the point: Nobody owns a view any more than somebody owns a horizon. And if the view is of value because of that land, loss of the land ultimately results in loss of value.

Under Measure F, urban development can, indeed, happen without a vote of the people. The school loophole is an example.

Protecting agricultural lands from irresponsible development protects the farmer from the inverse effect of development leading to infrastructure upgrades, encroachment of housing, higher taxes and, eventually, loss of the value created by the open space. And where is the farming? Set adrift in an arid waste of heavy air and dust clouds.

This is why many farmers do, in fact, support Measure C. Once the resources are gone there’s no turning back.

Farmers promoting Measure F are supporting their own cause of higher resale value, not the well-being of the public. Yes, these lands are theirs by birthright, but everyone benefits from their products.

Let’s think of Measure C as the public’s way of thanking farmers for their hard work and showing our appreciation for continuing the legacy they have provided.

Sandy Treadwell
Ojai

Robert Moses, the consummate political insider who was responsible for much of the urban and suburban development in the New York metropolitan area, used to put things in statutes — cross references to other laws, for example — that only he understood.  It was only after they went into effect that the legislators who voted for them found out what they had voted for. The proponents of Measure F seem to think they can get away with the same kind of sleight of hand. Measure F says it keeps SOAR protections in place until 2036 but it exempts from any requirement of voter authorization at least two categories of change in land use: rezoning of land adjacent to schools and use for agricultural processing of parcels as large as 225 acres. Why is this a good idea?  These proposed changes in use, like all others that affect open space in the County, can be put to a vote; if they make sense, they will presumably be approved, and if they don’t, they shouldn’t be allowed. The whole point of SOAR is that it’s the voters who get to decide what kind of open space and agricultural activity we have in Ventura County. Why should we give up the right to decide that for any category of cases, especially ones that are as opaque and open-ended as these? There’s also no reason to limit SOAR’s term to 2036;  it has worked well for the last 20 years, and giving the next generation a cushion until 2050, which is what proposition C does, is a sign of confidence in the electorate’s ability to make intelligent decisions about open space.  Keep it simple.  I plan to vote yes on C and no on F and urge others to do the same.

Stuart Meiklejohn
Ojai

Voting “YES” on Measure C is one way we can personally contribute to preserving our Ojai Valley and Ventura County from increasing urban sprawl that’s waiting in the wings to ruin everything!   For example, if the thousands of acres throughout Ojai’s magical, beautiful East End —  now planted with fragrant, delicious citrus —  had to someday convert from agricultural resources to new, additional housing development due to a lack of available water for agriculture it would be the absolute end of Shangri-La as we know it. And it would still require huge amounts of water.   But adopting the latest water conservation methods and even switching to far less thirsty crops such as agave and pomegranate (which also offer increased wholesale value) could save our valued and beautiful open spaces.  Voting “YES” on Measure C is our insurance policy that any hard-scape redevelopment of our East End will never, ever happen.  Indeed — “YES” on Measure C is our insurance for keeping open, viable agricultural resources throughout Ventura County from being paved over into one big-box store, mall and massive housing development after another. We live here because it does not resemble Orange County or even much of the San Fernando Valley. The SOAR initiative is being opposed by every industrial and pro-development special interest group around, and that should tell you why we have to stand up on Election Day and VOTE “YES” on MEASURE C.  Vote “YES” on MEASURE C to help keep the Ojai Valley and Ventura County from devolving into another Countywide sprawl like far too much of Southern California!   Please . . . VOTE “YES” on  MEASURE C!   

Michael J. Shapiro
Ojai

Measure D

OSD Trustee Denis O’Leary is right!

Oxnard School District is asking the citizens of Oxnard to approve Measure D, a school bond for $142.5 million, which will indebt us for almost HALF A BILLION Dollars ($478,800,000). The citizens have passed Measures L, M and R and spent over $200,000,000 to modernize and build new schools. Oxnard has some of the newest and best-maintained schools in Ventura County. Vote NO on Measure D!

District attendance is declining. Some of our major employers have closed down, so the decline will probably continue. The city is proposing increased utilities fees and bonds. We are a poor community, where the median annual income for a family of four is $56,000. It is not a good time to increase property taxes or rents! Vote NO on Measure D!

The state of California has also invested over $100 million in OSD to increase our academic performance. The state test scores are stagnant or going down. We are academically the lowest elementary school district on the Oxnard Plain and possibly Ventura County. In a normal class of 30 students, only seven are reading at grade level and only five can do math at grade level. We are failing the majority of our children. Check your child’s CAAPSS Report (state test).  A score of 4 or 3 equals grade level and 2 or 1 below grade level. Vote NO on Measure D!

It is more important what is going on inside the classrooms than what buildings look like on the outside. Children’s Education trumps new buildings. We need to see ACADEMIC RESULTS before spending more money! Vote No on Measure D!

Francisco Barba
Oxnard

Measure N

Do you folks think that by hiding Measure N you can sneak your personal preferences past the citizens of San Buenaventura?

First of all, we want the mayor to be eventually elected by the vote of the citizens, although Mr. Nasarenko stated that he felt the citizens were not smart enough to manage more than one measure at a time he was totally wrong. He will find that out when his personal “Sales Tax” measure is defeated. Along with this Measure N, and most probably Measure P.

The only city measure that may pass would be Measure Q and it’s about time.

Secondly, we also want a measure for the citizens to vote on establishing “voting districts,” thereby assuring that every part of the city has equal representation. The way it is set up at this time it is possible for all Council members to live in the same section of the city, even possible for them all to live on the same street in the city.

Thirdly, I would like to hear from the School District their thoughts about being removed from the Charter of the City of San Buenaventura; it appears that you are punishing the School District for not going along with your tax ploy.

Rellis Smith
Ventura

Measure O

By nature, I am a belt-tightening fiscal conservative who believes that lower taxes and easing business fees and restrictions actually amounts to more tax dollars collected. As an example, if Ventura was known for the lowest sales-tax rate in the county, people would clamor to both purchase goods and live here. This is why I am against the tax-raising Measure O.

I read on Watchdog Ventura that the Council has squandered $66 million since 2008.

In the private sector, the two incumbents would not have their employment contracts renewed based on their performance.

And what would $66 million buy?

Well, for instance, less homeless, no potholes, no water shortage, less crime, less drug use, less alcoholism, less mental illness, less unemployment, less taxes. Need I go on?

Almost half of the candidates, including the two incumbents, support raising sales taxes, Measure O. They certainly don’t deserve to be elected!

The rest of us oppose raising sales taxes, Measure O, for obvious reasons like hurting the poor and low-fixed-income residents.

I urge you to reject the incumbents, reject the sales-tax-raising Measure O, and let’s start a new era of completely new councilmembers who have more common sense.

Randall Richman
Ventura

Well, it looks as if the Ventura City Council is at it again.  Trying to impose a new tax where none is needed.  Measure O on the Nov. 8 ballot calls for a half-cent sales tax increase on all goods and services purchased within the Ventura city limits. This new sales tax would stay on the books for the next 25 years, generating an estimated $270 million for our city leaders to spend as they choose.

Well, we have seen what has happened in the past when the City Council is entrusted with additional funding. Here are just a few examples of wasteful spending decisions our City Council has made in the recent past that should give us all pause:

Spent $1 million to study the idea of narrowing Victoria Avenue (never done)

Collected $1.2 million from residents for a “911 tax” (money never refunded)

Set aside $9 million for a Convention Center that was never built (money spent on other things)

$10 million in lost investments to Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual (no City Council oversight on investment decisions made by city staff)

$55 million to be paid out in an environmental settlement for inadequately treated sewage being released into the Ventura River estuary

Spent $5 million to promote Ventura as an “Art City,” with no anticipated return on investment

Spent $30,000 in legal fees to sue Ventura residents who oppose sales tax increases

Retirement benefit increase from 2 percent to 3 percent per year of service for city Fire Department employees, impacting the city’s retirement benefit costs by $1.2 million per year

Approved spending $40,000 for an architectural rendering of a plan to create a memorial site and Cemetery Park, with a total planned cost of over $4 million

Most recently, we find out the city is out $1.2 million for a lease agreement with the Brooks Institute that Brooks pulled out of because of financial difficulties. The City Council failed in its responsibility to perform due diligence before it approved this agreement. Council members Cheryl Heitmann and Christy Weir, who are up for re-election in November, both voted in favor of this deal without asking a single question of staff.

Based on the Ventura City Council’s track record, it is clear that it would be foolhardy to entrust them with an additional $270 million to spend as they wish. Please join me in voting against Measure O on the Nov. 8 ballot and for not re-electing Cheryl Heitmann and Christy Weir on Nov. 8. The future of our city is too important to do otherwise.

Mike Gibson 
Ventura

Measure AA

Ahhhh! Measure AA, the proposed half-cent countywide sales-tax increase reminds me of the old saying that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. As readers of the Reporter may recall, a similar half-cent measure was defeated in both 1990 and 2004. By the way, a half-cent tax might sound like a drop in the bucket, but it has been estimated to add up to $3.3 billion over the 30-year period authorized by Measure AA.

An underlying issue related to the proposed tax increase is fairness because people in lower tax brackets tend to spend a greater portion of their limited income on taxable goods to meet basic needs than the wealthy.

Another issue relates to the ongoing tug of war for state and county revenue sources such as taxes on goods, real property and income. Well, how about a tax on some services such as finance, legal, medical and consulting to help make the overall tax system more fair for everyone? In other words, it is time to quit trying to wring out another half-cent of sales tax from the low- and middle-economic classes. It is also time for the county Board of Supervisors, mayors of the county’s 10 cities and Transportation Commission to let our state legislators know that we both need and want some services taxed (just as done in other states) to help provide funds for all types of hard infrastructure projects such as roads.

To add emphasis to the above suggestion for balancing the tax structure in California, please help Measure AA die quietly by just voting No one more time so it will have a total of three strikes against it and be out for good!

Ralph J. Steele
Ojai  

Proposition 61

Enormous lying in pros and cons on most ballot propositions, especially Prop. 61

I wish to God that those arguing in favor of or against every proposition had to swear (under oath, under penalty of perjury) that they are telling the truth. IF they did have to do so, many thousands of people would be getting charged with PERJURY right now, especially those groups who oppose Prop. 61.

The arguments against Prop. 61 are EXTREME LIES and EXTREMELY misleading! NOT ONE WORD OF TRUTH from any of the groups, especially the VETERANS groups!! Shame on them for telling such GROSS, OUTRAGEOUS, FLAGRANT and OBVIOUS LIES!!

Prop. 61 is about DECREASING the cost of medicine. I have read the entire proposition, and could not find even a SINGLE word even hinting at any cost INCREASE in medicines for veterans. Repeat, NOT one single word about INCREASED costs for veterans!!! The entire proposition is about DECREASING and CONTROLLING the cost of medicines, for EVERYONE. Repeat, Prop. 61 is about DECREASING, DECREASING, DECREASING, and NOT, NOT, NOT increasing the cost of medicines!!

How in hell can veterans groups get together, in MOB-LIKE fashion, and tell such GROSS, OUTRAGEOUS, FLAGRANT and OBVIOUS LIES???? They are bringing shame and dishonor on themselves and their organizations by engaging in such FLAGRANT, GROSS, OBVIOUS lies!!

John Jay
Oxnard