(Updated Feb. 20)

Unseat Trump’s power base?

Since the 1930s corporatists have taken over the evangelical Christian Church in the U.S. for their own capitalistic and political ends. Now, knowing the “so called” Christian Right are almost Trump’s entire voting base, does it not make sense to remind and re-educate them to know that Trump does NOT in any way represent Christian values in his treatment of the people or the planet? His voters must be shown they have been duped, taken advantage of and manipulated by the extreme rhetoric of Republican politicians who continually marry corporate capitalism to Christian values and religiosity, purely to gain and maintain their own political power over the Christian right.

To bring Trump down we must do what he does NOT expect. Rather than just attacking Trump and his fascist administration, surely we must attack the moral standing of his Christian Right voting base by challenging them to re-examine the teachings of Christ in relation to the party they support. Offer them the realization that their capitalist version of Christianity separates them from regular folk and that it is unkind, authoritarian and, above all, hypocritical. Suggest they be unconditional in their loving, compassionate toward ALL people of EVERY faith and “love the sinner” as Jesus taught.

Remind them too that their Christian beliefs have been hijacked by coldblooded Republicans, for their own selfish power agenda. Tell them their vote supports corporate domination of our democracy, penalizes the poor, supports imperialism through armed conflict and leaves us at the mercy of predatory Republicans who have no recent record of doing anything but harm to the man in the street.

The Pope has spoken out against Trump but there are many regular Christian church leaders in the U.S. who do not subscribe to the narrow vision of the Christian Right who should be “proclaiming Christ’s love and his true teachings” above the cacophony of the mind control of biblical fundamentalism. Maybe their raised voices, along with those of thousands of Catholic priests in the U.S., could speak out for the true teachings of Christ and persuade Christian Right voters to be less Republican and more Christian, reminding them to be compassionate and to have love and empathy for ALL people. Right now, they are being led by the nose, under the banner of an anti-gay, abortion-hating Christ of the fundamentalist echo-chambers of Fox News and unholy Christian Capitalism. Jesus would be ashamed.

The Christian Right continues to be manipulated and radicalized by unscrupulous Republicans and profit seeking pastors who act against the best interest of the Christian religion, their country and themselves. Their allegiance to the Republican’s right-wing agenda supports a war against the free thinking of all those who are not them. Their self-righteousness behavior causing them to separate from anyone who does not submit to the blind will of the Christian Right and the unscrupulous Republicans who are leading us all further into the quagmire of world destruction.

The Christian Right’s seeks to brainwash and convert the entire world to their peculiar version of Christ. The fake news of their authoritarian, capitalist right-wing religion must be brought down as surely as Trump must. The Christian Right fails to realize beneath Trump’s mask of sanity and his pretense of loving God is a psychopath ready to kill us all in the name of Jesus.

Christopher Judges
Ventura

Mass deportation a very costly bad idea

Most of us would categorize as problematic, although not surprising, the California Senate leader’s recent admission that over half of his family is here illegally. I think of my own family. For argument’s sake, say my German grandfather had “illegally” immigrated to the U.S. to work in the Pennsylvania coal mines as a teenager, earning next to nothing. Fortunately, his family would still be U.S. citizens. It’s the law, which may need some revision, in my view. If you are born here, irrespective of the citizenship of your parents, you acquire automatic U.S. citizenship; unlike Germany, which used to withhold citizenship if your parents were illegal aliens. They’ve softened that a little.

Now, as of Jan. 1, 2000, a child born in Germany to non-German parents automatically acquires German citizenship at birth by jus soli if: (1) at least one parent had lived legally in Germany for at least eight years prior to the birth; (2) at the time of the birth, that parent had a permanent residence permit. Now, Germany is dealing with its own self-inflicted immigration wounds of another sort.

Illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state and local levels. The bulk of the costs — some $84 billion — are absorbed by state and local governments. The annual outlay that illegal aliens cost U.S. taxpayers is an average amount per household of $1,117. In fairness, our relationship with illegal aliens is generally an economically symbiotic one and subject of a separate LTE discussion.

How did we come to have over 11.3 million illegal aliens? Simple. When incentives and rewards outweigh risks, the self-starters of the species (like my grandfather and the state senator’s) do what’s best for their families. One of those incentives is granting automatic citizenship for your children “if” they were born in the U.S. I suggest adopting the current German version with one important caveat, do not make it retroactive. In other words, don’t separate families already living in the U.S. Instead, go to a national ID system, once again like the German model, and get everyone paying income tax to include unser Führer.

What would it cost the American taxpayer to deport all 11.3 million illegal aliens currently living in the U.S.? Which, by the way, would be a very bad idea; even if we could afford it. Answer: Based on previous analysis from the Center for American Progress, a mass deportation strategy would cost an average of $10,070 per person, for a total of $114 billion to remove 11.3 million people. Looks like a wash. That doesn’t include the resources to make sure they don’t return, like the cost of the wall. Plus, for California, it would be a very bad idea, since one out of every six jobs involves agriculture. Who’s going to pick the strawberries?”

Bob Nast
Oxnard

The little girl in the Audi commercial

Reclined comfortably with snacks surrounding me, I enjoyed Super Bowl LI. Because it is American. Because it is violent. Because of the commercials. One resonates with me and has kept me up all night: the Audi commercial. A little girl geared up, a feeling that is hard to be forgotten. The adrenaline rushes through my body when the race begins and a deep male voice overpowers the chaotic scene of his daughter fighting for the lead. The beautiful message Audi demonstrates is the love and support a grown man has for his daughter, who will one day face the unexplainable. He questions her past, present and future because of the concept that there is a time and a place for a woman. I know this scene. This commercial is about the story of my life and Audi understands. I am a proud American who has always supported the Big Three domestic brands personally and professionally. Seeing myself in that boxcar and hearing my father’s voice, I could not help but release tears. It was a unique experience felt in the comfort of my living room.

My love for oil runs in the blood. My dad was the driving influence that made me who I am today. His exposure of life through a helmet and goggles has given me the motivation to always succeed and to pick myself up when I don’t. Dirt bikes, ATVs, go-carts, motorhomes, boats … my dad made sure we had every experience. Cartoons were not playing on the television on Sunday mornings; the Speed Channel would wake us at 6 as dad called us out to the living room to learn something new. When dad left the dealerships as a heavy-line technician and opened our place in 2005, my siblings and I grew up at the shop and learned the business from the ground up with my parents.

Twelve years later, we are still in business. The loss of innocence at such as early age has only benefited me, in that physical labor humbles, you learn the value of a dollar. The adrenaline rush from speed was intoxicating enough to make a career out of it as my siblings and I followed my father’s footsteps. As we matured in age, the collections of licenses, degrees and certifications accumulated; bouncing between service, sales and finance departments at Muschamp Auto became the standard. A higher education is valued in my family because my parents did not have the opportunity to get one; so we have continued and are now in our bachelor’s programs in the automotive field. Leaving our place and venturing to the Auto Centers was exhilarating; the downside was the hours. Surviving 14-hour work days on your feet six days a week and balancing enrollment as a full-time college student was draining but I am able to say that I am 22 years old with three degrees paid in cash, with some funds left in savings, a feat many would believe to be impossible. There were plenty of sacrifices: I did not have the childhood many others enjoyed, the youth many would waste, or even the basic social life. I instead developed the work ethic of a blue-collar worker; and because of it, I know what it takes to get the job done right the first time because we cannot afford to do it twice. It is safe to say my family practices the philosophy of kaizen.

All I can tell the dad in the Audi commercial is to allow his daughter the opportunity to enter the world with a positive head on her shoulders. My father never stopped me from venturing professionally into the Automotive Industry, a male-dominated industry, because of the misconception of others. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. Women are welcome into the automotive industry but many do not know the many careers to be had, a message Audi had the motive to share. I am seeing this commercial through the eyes of a grown woman who used to be that little girl in the boxcar with her dad questioning. I am not most women. It was not a cake walk. There were challenges entering the field, being a female at my age with my numerous credentials. Many did not know what to think of me, if I was real. Patience is key; trust is built with time. My dad taught me that talk is cheap; I made sure to show the condition of my hands to prove myself. My W-2 has become an accessory to bring to interviews because many people do not take me seriously because of my age; they scoff when I respond with my desired wages. Providing visual evidence is the only way for me to get what I want and it has been effective. Women must accept that there are difficult times ahead if we want to break the mold and enter fields dominated by males.

It is horrible that the message Audi attempted to demonstrate is becoming warped; hence, this letter. I could not help but read the articles criticizing Audi for biting their own foot; these writers could not be more wrong. Audi is supportive of men being supportive of women and having the same level of respect amongst each other. I have witnessed it first hand as a young female in a male-dominated industry, the automotive industry. No one is taking the actual message away from this amazing commercial. Instead, they continue to dissolve Audi’s goal of promoting progress by accounting for the number of women in their organization. The numbers prove that women have many opportunities they are not taking advantage of. I am living proof, as well as my younger sister. I now hope for the chance to work with such an amazing organization. The recognition from the commercial alone proved to me that Audi is true to form.

Lastly, to the little girl in the boxcar: I am here to prove to you, the impossible is possible. Women have boxed themselves in for too long … think big. I would not have gotten where I am today without the men in my life telling me I CAN, whether it was my dad, golf coach, or service manager. The intimidation of the unknown should not hold back the women of tomorrow, progress belongs to everyone as Audi delicately puts. I applaud Audi.

Isabelle Muschamp
Operations
Muschamp Auto, Ventura

 

ACA saved my life

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, saved my life. I had health insurance. I needed brain surgery. My health insurance company kept delaying approvals for necessary MRI and CT scans to find out what was wrong. Because they refused to pay for the CT scan that was needed to confirm a diagnosis, I had to pay for one of them out of pocket. They assigned an RN to my case to reduce costs. But, because of public pressure, when the Affordable Care Act was being drafted, my surgery was eventually approved by the insurance company in 2009.

As Congress moves forward on a path towards repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, it is critical that our nation’s communities retain access to high-quality hospital services we need and deserve. Our hospitals not only provide lifesaving care, but they are also key economic engines, providing jobs and security to the entire community.

I am greatly concerned that legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act could leave in place devastating and historic cuts to my hospital. We need your help to protect access to care and our nation’s local economies.

This means that if legislation is approved that repeals the Affordable Care Act, it is imperative that it either replace the coverage losses simultaneously or repeal the Medicare and Medicaid hospital reductions embedded in the law so we ensure our community hospitals that have the resources they need to care for American families and communities.

Kathy Miller
Ventura

GOP birthed Obamacare

Excellent article (“Stupidity,” Sharper Focus, Feb. 1) that reminds all of us about the fact that the Republican Party had “birthed” Obama-care. Incredibly, Earl Warren (former California Governor and Supreme Court Justice) even attempted to draft legislation to require Californians to buy health insurance back in the ’40s, but it was quashed by the AMA … another time, another story! (Me thinks the voters are too busy working to pay the bills to worry about learning their history lessons?)

“Trump is not exactly noted for praying on his knees. He believes in preying on people and bringing them to their knees.”

Dave Gunall
Brookings, Oregon

Love our neighbor

As clergy and lay leaders representing a wide variety of faith traditions in Ventura County, we recognize our shared call to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and offer all necessary support to those in need. We are also united in our unequivocal condemnation of all forms of terrorism as well as the scapegoating of Muslims in these times of anxiety and uncertainty.

Since its very founding, America has been a nation that welcomes those fleeing persecution. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….” Sixty-five million people — the largest number in recorded history — are currently displaced because of war, conflict and persecution. We agree with our national and international religious leaders that the United States has an urgent moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers regardless of religion or nation of origin. We express our deep concern that President Donald Trump’s recent executive order unnecessarily denies refuge to innocent families and individuals and perpetuates a culture of intolerance.

As people of faith and as citizens of the United States, we take seriously our responsibility to work locally to promote safety, compassion and justice in our community. To that end, we pledge to:

  1. Collaborate to ensure that Ventura County is friendly and hospitable to refugees and immigrants;
  2. Protect and stand up for those who are experiencing disrespect, bullying or violence;
  3. Engage in constructive relationships with law enforcement officials, including reporting hate crimes and suspicious activity;
  4. Defend the rights of all community members to freedom of religion, speech and assembly;
  5. Increase our knowledge of each other’s spiritual traditions through education and conversation;
  6. Reach out in friendship to neighbors and co-workers whose backgrounds and life experiences are different from our own;
  7. Practice common courtesy and civil discussion with everyone, even those with whom we disagree;
  8. Pray for the president of the United States and all who hold authority, that they may govern with wisdom and humility, serve justice and uphold the dignity and freedom of every person; and
  9. Celebrate the acts of compassion and neighborliness that occur frequently in our community.

The Rev. Julie Morris, Episcopal Priest, CamarilloRabbi Michael Lotker, Jewish Federation of Ventura County
Imam Ahmed Patel, Islamic Center of Conejo Valley
Pastor John Soyster, Mount Cross Lutheran Church, Camarillo
Fr. Patrick Mullen, Pastor, Padre Serra Parish, Camarillo
Alice Williams, Baha’i Faith, Camarillo
The Rev. Nica Eaton-Guinn, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Carol Browning, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
The Rev. Charles Svendsen, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Westlake Village
Tim Helton, Ventura County Interfaith Community
Teri Helton, Ventura County Interfaith Community
The Rev. Jennifer A. Chrien, pastor, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Simi Valley
The Rev. James A. Oines, retired ELCA Lutheran pastor, Thousand Oaks
The Rev. Ronald Cox, ELCA
The Rev. Sandra Ochs, Simi Valley UCC
George Ochs, Simi Valley UCC
Arnold Reyes, Deacon, Padre Serra Parish, Camarillo
Abid Sayeedi, Thousand Oaks|
Guillermo Rodriguez, Deacon, St. Paschal Baylon Catholic Church
The Rev. Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, California Lutheran University
The Rev. Scott J. Maxwell-Doherty, California Lutheran University
Pastor Lynn Enloe, Camarillo
Liza Diniakos, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Pamela Lopez, Social Action Director, Conejo Valley Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
The Rev. Elizabeth Nees, Mount Cross Lutheran Church, Camarillo
Kristin Shah, Islamic Center of Conejo Valley, Newbury Park
Julie Beth Martin, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Westlake Village
Katie Douglas, Lightshine Church, Westlake Village
Robert Douglas, Pastor (PCUSA), Lightshine Church, Westlake Village
The Rev. Gifford Smith, United Church of Christ
Arash Payan, Baha’i Faith
Salma Kabli, Muslim Faith
Sheeba Dulloo
The Rev. Judy Fergus
Desta Goehner, California Lutheran University
Pastor Erik Goehner, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks
Adil Salleh, Islamic Center of Conejo Valley
The Rev. Canon Jerome E. Kahler
Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas
The Rev. Alene Campbell-Langdell, Episcopal Priest
The Rev. Nicole Janelle, Executive Director, The Abundant Table
The Rev. Pat Hendrickson
The Rev. Erin Martinson
The Rev. Nancy Switzler, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Preschool, Oxnard
The Rev. Melissa Campbell-Langdell, Rector, All Saints Episcopal Church/Iglesia Episcopal de Todos los Santos, Oxnard
The Rev. Kate Lewis, BCC Chaplain, St. John’s Hospitals, Oxnard and Camarillo
Pastor Ron White, retired clergy, ELCA
The Rev. Steven Simpson, ELCA
Chaplain Peter Gelfer, Ojai
Catherine Valeriote, BCC, Chaplain for St. John’s Regional Medical Center and Buena Vista Hospice
Rabbi Andrew Straus
Cantor David Shukair, Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks
Rabbi Lisa Bock, Community Rabbi, Conejo Valley
The Rev. Michelle Magee, First UMC, Santa Paula
The Rev. Susan Bek, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Ventura
Janice Daurio, Ph.D.
Paul F. Ford, Ph.D.
Pastor Steve Herder, Ascension Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks
Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller, Temple Beth Torah, Ventura
Robert D. Shadduck, Roman Catholic, Camarillo
Catherine D. Shadduck, Roman Catholic, Camarillo

Unseat Trump’s power base?

Since the 1930s corporatists have taken over the evangelical Christian Church in the U.S. for their own capitalistic and political ends. Now, knowing the “so called” Christian Right are almost Trump’s entire voting base, does it not make sense to remind and re-educate them to know that Trump does NOT in any way represent Christian values in his treatment of the people or the planet? His voters must be shown they have been duped, taken advantage of and manipulated by the extreme rhetoric of Republican politicians who continually marry corporate capitalism to Christian values and religiosity, purely to gain and maintain their own political power over the Christian right.

To bring Trump down we must do what he does NOT expect. Rather than just attacking Trump and his fascist administration, surely we must attack the moral standing of his Christian Right voting base by challenging them to re-examine the teachings of Christ in relation to the party they support. Offer them the realization that their capitalist version of Christianity separates them from regular folk and that it is unkind, authoritarian and, above all, hypocritical. Suggest they be unconditional in their loving, compassionate toward ALL people of EVERY faith and “love the sinner” as Jesus taught.

Remind them too that their Christian beliefs have been hijacked by coldblooded Republicans, for their own selfish power agenda. Tell them their vote supports corporate domination of our democracy, penalizes the poor, supports imperialism through armed conflict and leaves us at the mercy of predatory Republicans who have no recent record of doing anything but harm to the man in the street.

The Pope has spoken out against Trump but there are many regular Christian church leaders in the U.S. who do not subscribe to the narrow vision of the Christian Right who should be “proclaiming Christ’s love and his true teachings” above the cacophony of the mind control of biblical fundamentalism. Maybe their raised voices, along with those of thousands of Catholic priests in the U.S. could speak out for the true teachings of Christ and persuade Christian Right voters to be less Republican and more Christian. Reminding them to be compassionate and to have love and empathy for ALL people. Right now, they are being led by the nose, under the banner of an anti-gay, abortion hating Christ of the fundamentalist echo chambers of Fox News and unholy Christian Capitalism. Jesus would be ashamed.

The Christian Right continues to be manipulated and radicalized by unscrupulous Republicans and profit seeking pastors who act against the best interest of the Christian religion, their country and themselves. Their allegiance to the Republican’s right-wing agenda supports a war against the free thinking of all those who are not them. Their self-righteousness behavior causing them to separate from anyone who does not submit to the blind will of the Christian Right and the unscrupulous Republicans who are leading us all further into the quagmire of world destruction.

The Christian Right’s seeks to brainwash and convert the entire world to their peculiar version of Christ. The fake news of their authoritarian, capitalist right-wing religion must be brought down as surely as Trump must. The Christian Right fails to realize beneath Trump’s mask of sanity and his pretense of loving God is a psychopath ready to kill us all in the name of Jesus.

Christopher Judges
Ventura

The ridiculous wall

I would like to have somebody explain to me why, when talking about the ridiculous wall between Mexico and the United States the Republican speaker keeps saying that “Congress” has decided to pay the $18 billion it will cost to build it.

First of all “Congress” does not “pay” for any of their rediculeous ideas, we all know that the money comes right out of the pockets of the American Tax Payers. It’s quite apparent that the Republicans now think they own the United States and can do whatever they want. In the four-year period, (if it lasts that long), of Trumpo’s term our country will be going to Hell in a Handbasket and more than likely we will be at war with one or more other countries.

Rellis Smith
Ventura

Dangerous Ventura intersection

Today I saw a woman narrowly (by inches) escape from getting killed by a car AND a truck as she was walking across the crosswalk at the intersection of Mills road and Main street. As she was walking westward towards the mall, traffic on Main Street turning right on to Mills had the green light so they were turning; but they did not have the visibility to see her crossing the crosswalk. 

She was being cautious and watching the traffic. I saw her wait, start, stop and then once the car closest to her stopped for her, she started again into the crosswalk, but the truck in the other turn lane next to the car that stopped didn’t see her and proceeded to continue turning right onto Mills and skimmed right past her through the crosswalk. Had she been walking any faster she would have been run over and killed. I saw it all from the front row seat of my car while on Mills, waiting at a red light at the crosswalk. I was certain she was going to be hit and so glad she wasn’t. I don’t even think that the truck driver realized that they just narrowly missed killing someone or that they even saw her.

Pedestrians being hit by cars is on the rise and there are reasons theorized, such as more traffic and more distractions, but as a driver myself, I think the main reason is a combination of poor visibility and traffic light patterns that encourage cars and people in the same place at the same time. Pedestrians are much smaller than cars, they are even harder to see than bikes; and as we are driving 30, 40 or 50 mph, if we don’t see them in time, we do not have enough time to stop once they are in our view. 

If pedestrians do have the right of way, and if we do value their safety and human life, then why are traffic lights programmed in such a way that when a pedestrian has the signal to proceed walking it is simultaneously when cars are also signaled to proceed over that same crosswalk the pedestrian is using?

This is a solvable problem. We need to reprogram traffic signals so that no cars (ALL red lights (and no right turn on red)) are able to go while there is a Walk signal prompting a pedestrian that it is their time and it is safe for them to cross the street.

I can almost hear the collective sighs of drivers who think that they will be put out by having to wait in traffic for a minute or two longer. Perhaps those sighing should consider the inconvenience of having run someone over because of poor visibility or being in a hurry and not paying close enough attention? Think of the inconvenience of the pedestrian walking for 10 minutes to get somewhere that will take you less than 1 minute in your car. Think of the inconvenience of the person who is lying in the street, possibly dead, dying or severely injured (if they are lucky). There are much worse things in life than merely being inconvenienced. 

I hope the city of Ventura is made aware, and actively makes and implements plans to protect its citizens who like to or need to cross a street.

Jamie Beckham
Ventura

Trump for peace and prosperity

This communication is in response to the letter written by John Darling, published by your periodical (in January), in which he lambasted OUR president-elect, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

I hope that the employees of the Carrier Heating Company and the employees of Ford Motor Company read the hostile letter written by Darling against the president-elect, Donald Trump. Darling apparently forgot that it was through the actions of Donald Trump that many of these people still have their jobs. Remember, this took place BEFORE he will become president of the United States of America. The people who got screwed by Obamacare will not agree with John Darling. Mr. Donald Trump called into question the high cost of building a new Air Force One airplane. Any savings from his actions end up saving taxpayers money — including John Darling. Perhaps Mr. Darling would rather spend the extra dollars and will foot that part of the bill himself.

When Mr. Trump gets this country back onto the track toward prosperity, will John Darling continue to say that President Trump is NOT his president? If federal taxes are lowered, I assume that Darling will continue to pay the higher rate. If the cost of his medical insurance goes down, I assume that he will continue to pay the higher rate. A man of high integrity should request to pay a higher rate and obtain poorer care rather than reaping the potential benefits of Mr. Trump providing him with better care at a lower cost.

If Mr. Darling had an open mind, he should work toward making the Trump presidency one of peace and prosperity for all of us. Unfortunately, Mr. Darling does not see that if Trump does well then the citizens also do well.

Common sense dictates that it is irrational to be so angry against a president-elect before he takes on the responsibility of being president of the United States.

Again, Donald Trump is going to be OUR president, whether you like it or not. A smart person will work to make his presidency one of success, for if he succeeds, we all succeed.

Daniel Gross
Tarzana

A complete moron

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete moron.”

(H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920)

It’s extremely difficult to be optimistic about the recent inauguration, despite all the promises. As a pessimistic realist, the current and evolving reality warrants only proactive pushback.

In my view, we should give Mr. Trump a one-year probationary period. It’ll take that long to sort out what his connections were with Russia. I pray and trust, Mr. Trump doesn’t get us into Chapter 11 or provoke a nuclear holocaust during that time.

Most Americans, excluding Exxon-Mobil, secretly know that a quid pro quo deal was struck in order to get restrictions lifted by the new president. If that’s the case, now we’re talking treason. Of course, the “plain folks of the land,” who rightfully think they have been ignored and disenfranchised, will disagree. I do not share their taste for Kool-Aid and photo-op promises.

GOP leadership needs to step up, like Sen. John McCain, Arizona. American democracy needs to resume functioning as advertised. It starts with Congress, then the Supreme Court, free and informed press, and free and informed electorate causing the following to happen ASAP: (1) fully and effectively investigate Trump’s dealings with Putin, (2) if guilty, impeach Trump, (3) nullify the election, and (4) conduct a new presidential election.

Most importantly, give the Russians, the Chinese or any other country fair warning that interfering with our sovereign elections shall be considered an act of war.

Bob Nast
former marine and former Republican
Oxnard

Hypocritical protest march

I found out about the “Justice for All” rally (Plaza Park, Ventura, Jan. 21) in just enough time to call two colleagues and grab some transcendental literature on the way to the Saturday morning rally. It seemed like a great place to share ancient wisdom about “Atma Rama” (inner peace), the path of yoga and meditation. We wanted to share the concept that worldly difficulties cannot improve for anyone as long as the four laws of dharma continue to be violated. (Mercy, Cleanliness, Truth and Austerity. For Details: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=12534

It was over 45 years ago, The Who sang: “In with the new boss, same as the old boss.” Individuals who understood this point realized that politics as usual will never ameliorate what we lack on the inside. Even a little introspection reveals that the real revolution is understanding how our essence required more than chasing bodily sense pleasures. Those moving in that direction are the ones seeing the duplicity in both parties. They know the problems we face are bigger than what either candidate can resolve.

We sought to meet those who understood these basic truths and were now looking for more effective ways to invoke positive social change. The chosen orators spoke eloquently about a visionary future built on a peace-full coalition, of loving empathetic citizens. They rallied for free speech, tolerance of diversity and the citizens constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The signs carried by protesters revealed how puerile, embarrassing and even offensive some people were. Yet despite the potential for conflict, mutual acceptance reigned everywhere … except with one disgraceful exception. 

When an organizer discovered that there were three individuals freely giving away devotional literature to the interested, she behaved as Draconian as the bureaucratic pedagogues she believes are oppressing everyone! She demonstrated no ability to practice the propaganda broadcast to the crowds but instead dispatched the police to escort us out of the park! It is essential to note here that in the hour we had been left alone, we had already given away several of our publications to some very appreciative citizens. In the spirit of the event, everyone else received us nicely.   There were no negative exchanges.  

All the hyperbole spewed about love, patience and respect was not missed by the dutiful peace officer. He apologized to us for how thoughtlessly bigoted and blatantly hypocritical she had proven to be. Yet despite the bird poop in her hair, we felt vindicated by the absurdity of it all. As we left the park, we were serenaded by the rallying protesters vigorously chanting their creed:  “Do not worry, do not fear. Everyone is welcome here!”

William Roberts
Brahman priest
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Ojai

 

The silencing of humanity

The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service are at risk of being cut from our federal budget. When government officials — at the highest level to the local level — do not value the arts, they send a message to the masses that our artistic heritage is not worth preserving. We cannot let this happen. The arts are important and these institutions are the backbone of our cultural legacy.

Art is much more than simply one’s creation of an object or a performance. Creative expression reflects our society, our collective consciences and our culture as it evolves from generation to generation. The arts are our humanity. They confront us, challenge us, remind us of what we have in common and illustrate new ways to view the world. The arts are a language that transcends all social and economic boundaries. When voices are silenced we all lose. 

An artistic expression is as unique to an individual as a signature. There is such a beautiful lesson in that. As we evolve as a society, in an effort to bring our communities together, we must look at the uniqueness in all of us and celebrate our differences. The arts allow us to do just that.

Having an appreciation for art makes this important life lesson accessible. Being different from one another does not discount you or me in the least. This is a very simple, yet powerful, message. Intolerance is one of the biggest issues facing our world today, be it politics, religion, race or cultural heritage. The arts are a path to understanding. 

To underscore the importance of the arts, one must realize that art is the only thing that survives a society.

Bertolt Brecht famously said, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” We all have a moral responsibility to support our cultural legacy. 

Donna Granata
Founder/Executive Director
Focus On The Masters

Help us keep the faith!

As assessor, I have found that one of the most common misconceptions about property tax exemptions is the assumption that an IRS-designated nonprofit organization is automatically exempt from property tax. However, the IRS only exempts organizations from income tax, not property tax. Furthermore, California property tax law does not recognize most IRS nonprofit designations and those that are recognized have a defined set of requirements necessary for property tax exemptions.

Ventura County is truly blessed to have so many fine religious and nonprofit organizations providing a wide range of services to our citizens. These include everything from churches and hospitals to free legal advice and medical clinics. On the current tax roll, there are over 2,000 parcels in Ventura County that qualify for over $3 billion dollars of exempt property value.  

The welfare exemption is one of the most prevalent exemptions as it applies to the broadest use of property. This exemption is co-administered by the assessor and California State Board of Equalization (BOE). The BOE examines the organization itself, and the assessor verifies that the property is used for a qualified exempt purpose. The issue of “property use” is frequently found to be the key factor when a nonprofit organization’s property is not approved for a property tax exemption.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, organizations are required to submit an annual claim for exemption from property tax and certify that their property continues to be used exclusively for a qualified exempt purpose such as religious, hospital or charitable, in accordance with the California Revenue and Taxation Code. Adhering to the defined uses and activities established by the California Legislature is crucial to these organizations seeking an exemption. 

The assessor is accountable under the law with ensuring compliance and receives many questions throughout the year regarding qualifying uses. The assessor encourages these questions and is ready to help organizations with their concerns. Answers to common questions from organizations seeking an exemption are addressed below.

Avoid using the exempt property for non-qualifying uses, such as commercial or political activities, event rentals or other uses not directly related to the recognized qualified purposes, whether religious, hospital or charitable.

Examples of a few non-qualifying uses include some service clubs, bridge clubs, chambers of commerce or other business leagues, literary societies, scientific societies, college fraternities and sororities, lodges or mutual benefit societies.

Check your websites for non-qualifying uses as the website should not promote activities that are not consistent with your exempt purpose.

Some organizations make business decisions and choose to forgo a property tax exemption to pursue more profitable commercial ventures such as event rental venues or cell tower installations. In these cases, the portion of the property used exclusively for the exempt purpose may still qualify for the exemption, and any portion used for other purposes becomes taxable under the law.

Property tax exemption laws can be complex, and every situation is unique. The assessor welcomes questions and enjoys helping non-profit organizations navigate these laws so they can continue to focus on providing the great opportunities and services that our community values.  Assessor staff is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (805) 654-2181.

Steve Hintz
Ventura County Tax Assessor

Give Trump a chance

Will the Court or the mighty ballot achieve a united Jerusalem, change in Syria, peace in the Middle East?

Based on the fact globalists Obama and Clinton, relying on the House of Saud’s money, lost the West Wing for the next four years, to deal with the above question we need to defeat Putin militarily and through the ballot to achieve change in Syria. Then we can resettle the people to achieve a united Jerusalem.Peace in the Middle East can’t come without Syria becoming a democracy.

The globalist threats to Putin through Kerry and the embargo have utterly failed to achieve the return of Crimea to the Ukraine just as we failed to subjugate tiny Cuba. Our inability to sacrifice our population in exchange for a MAD victory over Putin and Assad pre-empts our dream to put them on Nuremberg-like trials and hang them as we did to the defeated Nazis.

Indeed it would be foolish to sacrifice our population for unfeasible victories, so we have to be pragmatic like Brzezinski, Kissinger and Ben-Gurion. Rather than throw more trillions in pursuing the Saud’s globalists unfeasible war agenda in the Middle East, and to pre-empt any further mass attacks in our peaceful America, let’s apply the pragmatism that the enemies (Putin and Assad) of our radical Islamic terrorist enemies, are not our enemies. For what is Crimea (which was part of Russia) to us? When any war against the Russia with a nationalist disintegrating European Union (which for 60 years failed to pay its 3 percent annual GDP to NATO’s budget), USA has been subsidizing rich nations, with money we need for our infrastructure and job creations and our own malnourished children), will only cause us a global economic depression and let China take economic pre-eminence over us.

Rather than supporting Gullen’s and Saud’s agendas, and should we work with Erdogan-Putin-Assad in crashing Isis in the Middle East, we insure our safety and stop economically bleeding trillions in a never-ending Christian-Muslim war, which Gullen-Saud keep expanding.

Gullen violated our laws and immigration act by having executed an armed and failed coup d’état from our territory, costing lives and injuring Turkish civilians. It’s appropriate to deport him as an undesirable alien for the loss of lives and for fraudulently bringing Turks for his schools scheme. The deportation will bring Erdogan into our fold.

USA and Russia broker a peace deal to crush Isis in the Middle East and have elections within a year in Syria. We get Merkel-Holland-Ergodan-Jordan to repatriate the millions of refugees to Syria and through NGOs deliver a $ trillion to the repatriated Syrians. Then, through the election ballot we can defeat Assad, bringing peace in the Middle East and security to Israel’s north flank in the Sinai. Once this is achieved we can lift the inefficient and unnecessary embargo against Putin.

Bibi, in simply following Ben-Gurion’s will, resettles them. Directly, the USA can disburse funds for a house to each of the resettled people, and we achieve a united Jerusalem for Israel, our only ally in the Middle East.

Then we should turn deaf ears to Saud and concentrate on achieving a democratic change through the ballot in Venezuela, the largest oil reserve of the world, for us to use along with solar and/or other alternative energy sources. 

I’m an ordinary lifelong democratic citizen among 350 million Americans. I play no part in listening to Brennan’s outlandish speculations that Putin might have hacked and/or caused Wall Street candidate’s election defeat, because the latter who acts through proxies has continuously failed to show any facts and any evidence before we American voters. We the people don’t see any compelling evidence to support convicted Steele’s dossier, Steele who hides the money he was paid for it and hides himself in a spider hole. Who can believe Steele but the violent, deranged and cursing individuals, who don’t respect the rule of law, transparency, fairness and aren’t unaccountable for their hallucinations and erratic babblings.

Trump pledged the oath of allegiance to God, the people and the Constitution, and not a single image of disruption played during the inauguration of our 45th president of the U.S., who chose to deny himself the pomp and the circumstance, and from his first minutes in office went to work to create an FDR-like infrastructure policy, jobs for the working class an seek an alternative to the flawed portions of Obama’s ACA. So why don’t we Democrats and Republicans get our 45th president to seek, through the mighty ballot, a united Jerusalem, change in Syria and peace in the Middle East?

Abby Cantor
Ventura