Down with the dirt

In response to your editorial about the world pollution of this planet (Dirty energy is not the future, March 29) — as most nature-loving Californians, yes, we do enjoy ocean air. Unfortunately, it’s running out. Personally, anyone who has lived in California all their lives knows all this pansy sugar-coated attempt at environmental protection is a farce. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to visibly see what global warming is capable of doing. I have photo-documented and seen severe blatant and devastating pollution (much of which is still there) in sump dumps of our nearby bird sanctuary. Emma Wood has certainly been disrespected, or shall we say rolling over? And as for your coin of phrase, how about lemurs? Or the blind leading the blind! Complain and point fingers all you want; apparently science fiction is equal to science. Everything here needs to feed, so why does man have to fly back to the future; good idea because we need more cryptic rock from the ’60s and ’70s. I experienced a negative relationship involving an illegal immigrant. Trump needs to be applauded for being the man behind blue eyes.

Our great country has been swamped enough. Every immigrant here is welcome to stay legally although there need to be stricter guidelines. For the most part our Latin Americans in California have shown to be hard workers, devoted family people who are striving to improve themselves and their children’s lives. It’s been nice to see an upsurge in white pride as well. We cannot discount the contribution to our country or dislike an entire race simply because of cultural differences.

We will always need them and their expertise in hard labor jobs like food-agriculture- cleaning, etc. The special culture flair and service. It’s way past time for prejudice and hate. The mass of poor can only stay if something really is done to protect our environmental resources. It’s not about typical California droughts and floods. We need to take the bus, bike, skate or whatever ride is affordable because the planet is not Disneyland. Let’s hope it’s not too late. Every time you step into your vehicle to watch life go by, you are the problem. What we don’t need is to allocate people or relocate anything that adds to increased exhaust fumes. Reduce — reuse — recycle and give better service to the less endowed. Cheaper buses and trolleys and a lot more food establishments and convenience stores. Close by. It’s not fair to the elderly, disabled and children who are our future to have to still hope for a skate park and restrooms on the Avenue as they try to gear up for what the world is really coming to.

Roseanne Willard
Ventura

Further clarification in Oxnard

In a recent article in the VC Reporter (“Fiscal Frustrations in Oxnard,” March 29))the city tried to explain away the $11 million that was in a bank account that should have no residual money. I hope you give me the opportunity to provide your readers with additional information so they can come to good conclusions. To preface what I hope will be a meeting with you, I offer this; and to protect myself I need to make this statement: Emails sent to elected officials are sent using Bcc as directed by the city attorney in order to avoid violating the Brown Act.

First, I understand the difficult position the CFO is in. If he acknowledges that this money was the result of paying for the ROPS invoices from the wrong bank account, and thus the city does have $12,352,055.82 more in cash than initially known, the unions could have a defensible position in asking for some of that money. If, on the other hand, he states that everyone knew about this money all along, he needs to explain why, then, wasn’t the money invested to earn $222,337, which is enough to hire one or two policemen, firemen or street maintenance staff. Please remember that neither Mr. Throop, the CFO, nor I, the city treasurer was employed with the city when this issue first began in June 2015.

In the article, a few statements were made that need clarification:

  1. The CFO states that the city has two bank accounts. In fact, the city has more than two legal bank accounts; but for this matter, only the successor agency bank account (A) and the city’s general bank account (B) need to be considered.
  2. The CFO states that having two bank accounts is unusual in his experience. Let it be sufficient to say that many organizations, private or public, usually have more than one bank account; or put another way, it is not illegal to have more than one bank account as long as each  bank account is established in a  legal manner consist with federal, state and local law.
  3. He states that the excess cash, which he estimated was “$10.4 million” was in the wrong bank account for “approximately one year.” If you look at the column below, which is the cash balances in the “wrong” or successor agency bank account for one year, the average cash balance is $12,352,055.82 per month from January 2016 through December 2016.
  4. Jim said he was checking with the auditors on the option to close the successor agency bank account. He has forgotten that State law makes it the responsibility of the treasurer to either open or close bank accounts, and not the CFO or the city’s auditors. So, as stated earlier, the other bank accounts that the city uses can be closed if the city treasurer determines that it is in the best interest of the city to do so.
  5. And we need to remember that part of the problem, as I expressed, in having this money in the successor agency bank account is that the money was never invested. So at the current market investment rates if the $12,352,055.82 had been invested for one year we could have earned $222,337.
  6. To finish this email, you need to know that before I submitted the monthly investment report that identified the $11 million in the successor agency bank account, I spoke with Kymberly  Horner, economic development director, who confirmed that there should be no residual cash in that bank account; I also spoke with Jeff Burgh, county auditor, to assure that the money going into that bank account is only the amount of the ROPS that was approved by the State Department of Finance, and that the ROPS committee he chairs did not allow for obligations with a due date one year into the future, and that all the ROPs payments had been satisfied, which was also confirmed by Kymberly Horner.

The biggest surprise is that the Successor Agency has had $11,000,000 in that bank account for many months or longer. That money has never been invested and according to the successor agency staff there should be no residual money sitting in that account. I highly recommend that a detailed search of the successor agency’s obligation be conducted and an official final ruling made.

Phillip Molina
Oxnard City Treasurer

No champion

There is no excuse for Trump’s continuance in office. He is a hex on America and its people. His addiction to wealth and the wealth of his fiends is going to swallow us all. We see what he is doing. We are fearful and scared. We dread each new sick idea he comes up with. The Republican sadists hellbent on destroying the poor, the old and the weak are gleefully laughing at us, smiling giddy, seduced by the madness of Trump’s own psychopathic sickness. This is Demonocracy? It sure feels that way. Soon we won’t be allowed to protest and we will lay down for that too. I think it’s high time our high-priced politicians stood up for truth, justice and the American way, instead of looking embarrassed every day as Trump destroys another bit of the America we all love.

We know what the future holds under Trump, and yet we do nothing but look at each other in the confusion he has manufactured for us. His offenses are myriad. America is allowing him to get away with his monstrousness because the old ways of checks, balances and governance do not work fast enough. They have no teeth. There are so many terrifying circumstances in Trump’s agenda now and in future (if there is a future), he promises devastation for America if not Humanity. Is there nothing we can do?

All those past presidents — Clinton, Bush, Obama — have nothing to say? No attacks on Trump for us all to get behind. We have no champion. We are settling down to be part of Trump’s Caligula carnage. We are drowning in the swamp and accepting it. We are letting Trump lead us into his own depravity. Where is the FBI, the CIA? Where are their investigations? Where are their conclusions? America is in the shredder and we are all hoping for the mythical best?

The best we can hope for is common sense and honor returning to our politicians and them putting America and its people before their own bank accounts and blind ambition. Trump and his alligator administration must be stopped somehow, some way. They are carnivores and we are penned in by our own apathy.

Christopher Judges
Ventura

Power trampling

One of the few bright spots in the otherwise devastating Nov. 8 election results was the resounding victory of SOAR, our local ordinance to preserve farmland and open space. I was tempted to become complacent about Ventura County issues and divert focus to the political turmoil nationwide. Whoops! It turns out that our county is in deep trouble, too. This became glaringly apparent at the Board of Supervisors meeting of April 11. 

A coalition of three Supervisors — Peter Foy, Kelly Long and Linda Parks — refused to consider overwhelming community input and even the counsel of their own attorney and voted to remove Steve Bennett’s confirmed appointee, Bruce Smith, from the Planning Commission before he even attended his first meeting. Paltry, long-drawn-out excuses that were obviously not the real motive referred to his previous experience working for the county. 

Linda Parks demonstrated a personal vendetta against Mr. Smith by falsely accusing him of supporting the Ahmanson Ranch project and reported her anger at him because, years ago, he asked her to sit down, just like other people, after her time expired during testimony.   

Peter Foy is an established pro-development politician from Simi Valley who would love to turn our farmland and open space into development projects. Linda Parks (previously a SOAR leader) appears to be worried about reelection and apparently thinks allying herself with the Foy/Long duo will help her chances. 

Bruce Smith would have been an excellent member of the Ventura County Planning Commission. He retired over five years ago from the Planning Department and could have contributed valuable experience to the commission. He actively supports causes like SOAR, which Foy would love to weaken. Kelly Long appears to be under Foy’s spell. Linda Parks provided the third vote, which allowed these three to mandate this unfair and horrible decision. 

It is now critically important to monitor the current Board of Supervisors very carefully, right along with what is happening in Washington. In both places, there is a majority in power trampling the voices of the minority.

Kathy Broesamle
Ojai

 

Open your heart and mind

RE: Paul Moomjean, Hollywood’s Vanity, March 9

Moomjean’s rant about Hollywood using its voice to express their views on politics, et al., is what I would expect from him: using the right to use his voice to attack others for using theirs.  To protest, to support, to deny is of course a fundamental right (or used to be; some are wondering if it still is). In fact, it is my own belief that when you have the voice to speak out, you should use it. So go Hollywood! Even the test for naturalized citizens emphasizes that they  should use their voices through any means (peaceful) to make themselves heard and to reach the citizens (and others) here of their opinions, thoughts, feelings about what is happening in the world and especially in this country. As for Hollywood trying to support only minority groups, is he kidding? How many women directors and/or producers are there? How many people of color?  If you look at the movies that are out, most of them feature white leading men with women “backdrops” for sex and beauty. So this year, there were more minorities represented. Whoopee!   That’s like saying Trump was more presidential when he spoke almost rationally at his press conference.  Yes, he is right that everyone is anti-taxes when the taxes hit them; it’s a kind of “it’s mine … hands off!” mentality that affects all of us. It’s a normal reflective response to danger, whether real or imagined. If one wants to see real inclusion, take a look at Hamilton on Broadway (and hopefully soon on this coast). 

But Moomjean, why in the world would you attack Viola Davis, one of our most gifted actors?    It never fails to amaze me how the far right tends to victimize itself when in fact, the richest, most advantaged people are part of it. I think that the Hollywood elite are, for the most part, also among the richest and most advantaged also, but they work hard for the money and they provide us with a much-needed (most especially these days) respite from the craziness going on around us. (Oh, and if these Oscars were the least-watched, it has nothing to do with what happened since nobody knew what would happen until AFTER the show! Duh …)  I would agree that La La Land was definitely overrated, but — but — I know people who loved it and they are certainly entitled to their own opinions, just as Mr. Moomjean is entitled to his (choke) and me to mine. I don’t believe anyone was trashing our county that night, or their jobs (which are more numerous than ever), but definitely trashing the president (not mine … never mine) in defense of their country and their beliefs. There is a lot to be concerned about Mr. Moomjean; you should listen and look more, open your heart as well as your mind and try to find some humanity in there (if there is a “there”). There is a LOT to be concerned about!

Jan Schulman
Oxnard

Moral climate change

The human heart and its sense of a natural morality is dying at the same rate as the environment deteriorates. There is no separation between us. We are the environment. As we see the deterioration of the environment, we must also see the deterioration of our hearts, our minds, our morals and ourselves

We now accept that which we should never accept. We destroy that which brings us life, in favor of what brings us death. We consider morality to be an assumed trait — everyone assumes they are moral even as they rip each other off “nicely.” Morality shows us where we are, who we are and what we are. Without morality we are lost, rambling incoherently in a jungle of depravity and desire.

Subconsciously we reject morality because it gets in the way of human progress. We think of morality as the byproduct of religion and, as a result, it is largely divorced from society’s daily life. In our ignorance and self-righteousness our society walks past morality as if it were assumed, and commits horrendous acts against people and planet.

Morality is not religion. Religion is an ornate and mighty temple built over morality, only offering access to morality through pious acceptance of arguable myth. Morality is owned by religion; they are tied together, inseparable. As society moves away from religion it moves away from morality.

Humanity’s crisis is the deterioration of morality and our subjugation of the environment that gives us life and is life. Life is a moral act, independent of all religion’s claims of righteousness, superiority or “insider knowledge.”

Religion disguises and blinds morality, wrapping it in its own man-made historical charade, obscuring the natural morality in our hearts from its rightful and most important place in our lives, obscuring it behind a smokescreen bramble bush of the pastoral ego from a billion well-meaning but subverting interpretations.

Morality is in every cell of our individual being. We have ignored it and shut it out of its role as our guiding light in order to be rich, in order to dominate others, sacrificing our own best interest for our dream of Man’s superiority over all things.

Morality is not man’s whore to be used and thrown aside. Presently it is the only way to save the world from the realities of poverty, psychopaths and climate change.

Christopher Judges
Ventura

Never forgotten

As I was scrolling through FB not really paying attention I was like, wait! Back up, that’s my sister. It nearly took my breathe away, a great article (“Justice Served,” cover story, 3/16) about a group who pour their hearts and souls into finding answers to years of unanswered questions and prayers. We finally, after many years, know the who and the how.We will never get the Why answer, but most of all we now have some peace and comfort knowing our beautiful Stacy was never forgotten, and one less evil is walking the streets.

Shelly Knappenberger
Oxnard

Rude awakening

This (hand-written) letter is in response to the letter of 3/17/17 by Daniel Gross of Oxnard, a (very) obvious Trump supporter, and here is my reply to Mr. Gross: The (so-called) title of your letter to the VC Reporter was “Trump for Peace and Prosperity.” Well, Mr. Gross, I would like to point out to you, sir, that as of this week, 3/20-25/17, that President Donald Trump’s poll numbers and popularity are tanking, that Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are as of this week threatening military action of some kind toward Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who I might add possesses nuclear weapons and is right now testing long-range missiles into the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and if he is successful, those North Korean missiles could very soon reach the coastlines of California, Oregon and Washington State and you, sir, and your family will be in the cross-hairs of that. So much for “peace.” Now as for (so-called) “prosperity” and the keeping of jobs in the United States under Trump, I would like to point out the following. My next-door neighbor, Connie, has been a color corrector for Technicolor Film Laboratories for over 30 years, and in two months (May 2017) she retires. Why? Because Technicolor as of June 2017 is moving its lab to Mexico, Mr. Gross. Because it’s a lot cheaper to run any business in Mexico, as Trump knows all too well. So defend Trump all you want, Mr. Gross. You and all Trump supporters are going to have a very rude awakening sooner or later, and I’m betting sooner.

Roger R. Remick
Ventura

Feeling taxed

Well now, I was just reading where the State of California is going to raise gasoline excise taxes by 12 cents per gallon, a raise of 43 percent, also increase our car registration fees, and charge a fee to emission-free vehicles so they can help pay for our roads.

Made me wonder how all the Ventura citizens that voted for the Ventura sales tax increase are feeling about their yes votes now.

Rellis Smith
Ventura