Updated Jan. 13, 2017

A low blow

Re: The Critical Line, Dec. 29, 2016

If residents look closely they will find City had covered financial wrong doings for years. In MY OPINION if Measure M had not come into being our city would still have not learned how much mismanagement had gone on for years prior to Measure M.

Bert Perello
Oxnard City Councilman

Bridge for sale

Trump and the Republicans are moving quickly to kill Obamacare. Those of you out there who really believe that Republicans will make health care better please raise your hands. If your hand is up, I have a bridge to sell you…

Phil White
Ojai

Toughest regulations

While a recent commentary published in this paper was called, “Energy mismanagement,” (Sharper Focus, Jan. 4) a more accurate title would be “Energy misinformation.”

The columnist misleads readers by neglecting to mention that California has the toughest regulations on the planet governing oil and gas production. Here in Ventura County, nearly two dozen federal, state, regional and local agencies oversee production. Additionally, California’s rules regarding hydraulic fracturing are so strong that the Obama Administration copied many elements of California’s law when crafting federal regulations. California producers must adhere to requirements such as landowner notifications, pre and post water testing and mandatory disclosure of stimulation activities, including chemicals that were used.

Another part of the piece perpetuates the myth that oil and gas operations can cause tap water to catch fire – borrowed from a famous scene in the widely debunked Gasland film. As proven by several scientific publications and public agencies, including the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Committee, the man in the movie drilled his own water wells into aquifers that naturally contained methane.

Yet another error is the author’s assertion that “California has no tax on oil extraction.” California already collects high taxes from oil producers by taxing oil reserves in the ground through ad valorem property taxesm which go directly to the county of Ventura and with some of the steepest sales tax, personal income tax and corporate tax rates in the nation. Oil producers also pay the state hundreds of millions of dollars per year in royalty payments for oil produced on state lands and billions to private individuals who own oil and natural gas reserves.

According to the most recent data available, in Ventura County alone, the oil and gas industry paid $444 million annually in state and local taxes, generated $1.4 billion in business sales and supported almost 9,000 jobs.

The author also praises high taxes on oil production in Norway — a curious comparison considering the country has the most expensive gasoline among any developed country in the world. At current exchange rates, gasoline in Norway costs around $10 per gallon. This fact illustrates how consumers ultimately bear the costs of taxes imposed on businesses. Californians already pay among the highest gasoline taxes and the highest gas prices in the country. According to an analysis by the California Center for Jobs and the Economy, Californians pay 43 cents more per gallon for gas than the national average.

Stopping production here in California, under the world’s toughest regulations, would mean a greater reliance on oil imported from other states and countries with little to no environmental protection. That imported oil must be delivered here either by tanker ship or rail car, both of which have their own environmental impacts.That’s the reality – but VC Reporters were given a healthy dose of fiction rather than the facts.

Rock Zierman
CEO
California Independent Petroleum Association

March locally

I am a very fortunate American. Born in 1951, I have always had a roof over my head, clothing, ample food, educational opportunity and the support of family and friends. Even so, through the first 50 years of my life, I missed the boat. I believed that being a good citizen was simply being a good person, and voting every two years. It is obvious to me now that the needs of a complex democratic society are much greater that this and cannot be met by elected and appointed officials only.

I now see more and more Americans realizing that if they want justice for all, that it is time to get off the sidelines and begin to actively participate in making our Country a place where suffering is less common.

Please join us at 10:00 AM on Saturday, January 21 at Plaza Park in Ventura as we rally and march for Justice for All! https://www.facebook.com/justiceforallventura/

Kristofer Young, DC
Ojai

King Trump

Trump is nuts; deranged. He proves it every day, every time he opens his mouth. He has surrounded himself with others like himself and has created Insanity Inc. Megalomania as government.

There is no fail safe for America. Everything is wrong. The Trump propaganda demonization of the opposition, the media brainwashing of voters and the corrupt, electoral system has brought us to this moment. When heard King Trump speak we were polite, politically correct and silent when we should have been outraged at the angry crap he was spouting. We were stunned, knowing this couldn’t be happening but it happened, we legitimized King Trump against all reason and all odds, even though Trump was offensive and his policies were lies and authoritarianism.

Trump reminds me of the Hans Christian Anderson’s story of the King with no clothes. All those who pledged to protect and serve the public are going along with Trump’s rhetoric even though they know it is ill informed and destructive. The media, the politicians on both sides and every other misguided fool watching Trump’s parade are accepting of Trump’s right to be King, having sold out their personal truth to their polite, self-sacrificing response to King Trump; the antisocial narcissist. We, the audience, are in denial of what we see, believing it like foolish optimists will “be all right in the end.”

The Trump Parade passes in front of a small boy who is very impolite. He has stood up and is yelling above the crowd’s genteel applause “the King is altogether as wrong as anyone can be!” Everyone around the boy is shocked and terrified as the boy’s words spread through the entire parade bringing them their own realization that Trump the King indeed frightens the life out of every American

The crowd shivered in fearful rage knowing the boy had told the truth. Four policemen in riot gear grabbed the boy by the mouth and beat him black, blue and bleeding; “like the terrorist he is” The audience cheered and applauded King Trump; fearful for their own lives.

We know the facts, every promise and plan made by Trump and his administration is not only bad and hurtful for America and the world but we are going along with it. We all too polite, we accept our lives will be threatened, our rights trashed, and the world will be ruined by Trump’s avarice and the oligarchic greed of his cabinet. We know the Republicans will be the razor he will use to cut the throat of all that is not a right wing hard core Republican “truth.” We know once Trump is power his sense of entitlement and self-righteousness will soar to new heights of idiocy and everyone will suffer at his hand.

We are standing at the edge of a chasm and we like lemmings are ready to politely jump to our deaths so that this tyrant can have his megalomaniac day. We know the truth. We know the reality of what Trump will bring to us. He will push the climate and us regular people back into the Stone Age. Every piece of social justice will be sucked from us to support his ego madness of making us subservient to his corporate kingdom.

Trump is our worst nightmare; elected accidentally – a madman who will destroy millions of lives through his lack of concern for Americans and the world he so obviously despises. We will never recover from his destructiveness. 

Christopher Judges
Ventura

 

Replace fear with trust

The Electoral College is a final link in the chain that enslaves our free democracy. Forged as a compromise to appease slave-holding states and slave owners at the beginning of our nation, it persists as a cancer on our system of government.  Along with about 500 other folks, I participated in the Electoral College vote demonstration in Sacramento. Today the national vote of an unknown body of strangers exists to deny the majority popular vote of over 65,788,000 Americans who voted for the Democratic candidate; tomorrow it can be the majority vote of millions of Republicans. Do you know the name of even one member of the Electoral College? Yet this mysterious body will meet again in four years to decide on your behalf. Do we really need this? Some argue that this unknown body of electors serves to protect the smaller states from the presumed tyrannical rule of the bigger states. These well-intentioned folks have prejudged, rendered a guilty verdict, and punished the majority of American voters now and in the future without proof. The punishment imposed is nothing less than the denial of one citizen, one vote. But who is behaving like a tyrant? It is tyranny that oppresses the free will of the majority and replaces mutual trust with mutual fear. When Americans vote for the president of the United States we vote in unity as citizens of America, not as residents of a state. I have no reason to fear your vote. You have no reason to fear mine. Now is the time to replace fear with trust by amending the constitution to abolish the Electoral College and uphold the direct election of the president of the United States. One citizen, One vote, One USA!

Walt Dunlop
Ventura

Cowardly, pliable, American leader

To the inhabitants of this planet who live outside of the United States of America, you need to understand that Donald Trump, aka the Orange Slug, is NOT the president of the vast majority of our country. He lost the election by a stunning 2,864,974 votes, one of the biggest losses ever in a presidential election. It was only by manipulating our antiquated Electoral College, which was set up to protect slave owners, that the Orange Slug was given the keys to the Oval Office.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, assisted in getting the Orange Slug elected because he needed a cowardly, pliable, American leader who would bend to his will, and he knew that Hillary Clinton would never do that and neither would any of the other Republican candidates. So the Orange Slug was his man from the start. Putin is a lot of things, but he is no fool.

From the date of the Orange Slug’s inauguration, a date that will go down in infamy, to his last day in office, I want the world to know that anything the Orange Slug says or does, any outrages he sparks, any crimes he commits and any wars he starts will NOT be due to the will of the American people.

He is NOT my president nor is he the president of the majority of Americans. He is an accident at best, and for that we apologize.

Just know that the MAJORITY of Americans will be working tirelessly to undermine this fake president and all his visions of grandeur.

If we fail in these efforts, please know that we did try to right this terrible wrong.

John Darling
Ventura

Make America insane again?

Every newspaper on the web tells me, we in the U.S. are in a terrible fearful position for years to come under the Trump administration. It is forecast, every man woman and child in America will suffer as a result of Trump’s promised plans of action.

He promises that he will advance nuclear weapons, ruin regulation that protects us, and crush us all under his despotic economic regime; and yet he is not even president yet. He got almost 3 million votes less than Clinton but won the obsolete Electoral College by consistently lying to uninformed working people, raising them up on the wings of his fear-based rhetoric, and is quite happy to make America insane again. His cabinet is comprised of the worst people-haters the world has ever seen, and we are all sitting around fearful but accepting of this disgusting travesty of his justice. 

Whatever Trump says, we are going along with it? Obama, who happily deports millions and kills thousands of innocents abroad, has control of the FBI and the CIA and the NSA, and he can’t invalidate Trump’s presidency for the sake of all Americans and the dignity of all humans worldwide? There are just days before Trump gets to hurt every American with fear, distrust and his heightened sense of carelessness. Obama says we should accept Trump. No, we should not we should investigate him 24/7 — check all his business dealings, his tax returns, his connection with foreign powers, the rape allegations against him and then expose his every fault. Do whatever is necessary to stop Trump and his administration ever making it into the White House.

After 9/11 America went to war with Iraq because of supposed threats against America. Again, we went to war in Afghanistan because it supposedly harbored terrorist training camps that were breeding ground for threats against America. Later, America went after ISIS with everything we could because their terrorism is a threat to American lives.

America has spent trillions of dollars defending America from those who would harm America and American interests.

Now we face the same threats of harm to America and American interests from a TV personality/real estate developer with plans to do much more damage than anyone can imagine to America itself with his band of Christian terrorist pseudo Elite.

President Obama and we, the American people, all know that Trump is going to do unparalleled damage to the very fabric of American society from the INSIDE AND WE ARE GOING TO ALLOW IT?

Would we allow terrorists to do the same thing?  If what Trump is promising were the threats of a foreign terrorist group, we would be bombing them now.

There is something rotten going on here. Trump is to be allowed to destroy America because that is what the powers that be want.

Christopher Judges
Ventura

Love trumps hate

For the past few months, I have been musing about the wholesale use of the word “hate” to describe everyone who voted for Trump.  While the rise of hate speech and hate crimes continues to spread, since the sleeping giant of xenophobia, bigotry and racism was reawakened during Mr. Trump’s campaign, I know the reasons for voting for him were complex. Casting a vote for a candidate is rarely based on one criteria or issue. One’s personal experiences and perspectives always influence that decision. 

I was cautioned against using the word “hate” as a child. If, in anger, I told my little brother, “I hate you,” my family would counsel that the word “hate” is such a strong word that saying it to another person could cause irreparable damage to a relationship. Dislike or disagree, but don’t hate him for it. When one hates another person or group of people, there is nothing they can do or say that is acceptable. Those who are hated are always seen as “the other,” “not like us,” and “evil.” Hate justifies heinous acts against the hated. 

Many of us who did not support Trump’s candidacy were and are appalled by his behavior and his words. It is difficult to understand how his behavior and his words came to be seen as legitimate. We are not naive or insensitive to the challenges that need to be met in our country. Simply put, it was impossible to envision him as the leader of the “free world.” So we did not vote for him; others did. 

And so I say that love trumps hate. Both love and hate require the holder of these sentiments to act. Hate is not, as the Urban Dictionary says, “a special kind of love given to people who suck.” Hate leads to hateful actions. Loving acts of respect, generosity and kindness are foundational for building strong, diverse communities. Hate cannot coexist in this environment.    

 Many years ago I had a conversation with a rabbi about the word love. Her response to me was that she wasn’t as interested in my loving her, but in treating her with respect. She demanded right actions from me as a Christian towards her as a Jew. She believed the word love was a sentimental idea that can become a passive experience between people.  I assured her that my belief in love required me to perform acts of compassion and mercy and to work for justice for all people.  

As the inauguration approaches, perhaps we can agree, beginning with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Jan. 16, and continuing throughout the week, to perform works of service in the many nonprofits that serve those who live in the margins of Ventura County. Work alongside one another to build a stronger, more tolerant county; and while we serve, listen to one another. We will discover new avenues to build bridges and tear down the walls of division built in 2016. Happy New Year. 

Lucky K. Lynch
Ventura

Nowhere to go

I sit in a gazebo at Plaza Park, Ventura; cold wind hits my back. I listen to 50-plus names of homeless people that died because they had no place to go. I look around and see people coming, carrying a flower and listening to the music, poetry stories of people that died of homelessness. I wonder why this is happening more and more each year. Why don’t the numbers go down instead of up? I don’t have answers to these questions, but I know our City Council does in each and every city in Ventura County.

I listen as we pay tribute to an infant child. Lost, alone, the baby dies because the mother was homeless. It’s going to be cold tonight, and blankets and jackets and gloves just do not help. Because these people do not have anywhere to go. They are alone on a dark cold night. Sometimes I think of them out there in the cold and say to myself, why?

We must provide a place for all these people in each county, a place where they can receive a warm drink and a warm meal close to where they are wandering, not 20 miles away.

I hope next year we will not need a Homeless Memorial. I hope every City Council member in every city takes a look at these people’s issues and does something, and that they do not treat the people who have no homes like they were criminals. We must work with these people; we must care for them as any one of us can become homeless at any given time in our lives.

So the bell rang about 50-plus times, from an infant to an 80-year-old person. When will it stop? When can we not have to ring the bell anymore?

Nancy Mauthe
Advocate for Homeless