Updated July 21

Thank you, Shane

I would like to take a moment to recognize Shane Werner for his dedicated service to the members of IBEW Local 952 Ventura. Shane has provided the leadership and guidance this Local has needed for the last 15 years as our business manager. As a member, I greatly appreciate his honesty and willingness to make this union a truly democratic organization. Shane guided this Local through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with surety and confidence as a leader. In my opinion, Shane embodies the ideals we, as members, hold in our minds of our labor organization. Thank you Shane for your service. And I hope for you all the best in your future endeavors.

James Hansmeier
Ventura

John Slade’s King Lear

During the years I knew John Slade, I wished we had become real friends. Every time we ran into one another, we would have brief but significant conversations.

He knew how much I loved Shakespeare’s King Lear and invited me to his final appearance as Lear at the Libbey Bowl.

I was enthralled, transfixed and stunned by the depth and breadth of his performance, by the deep seated respect he had for the beauty, complexity and simplicity of Shakespeare’s words, by his unhurried and dignified unfolding of the plot.

When I told him afterwards that I thought his Lear had surpassed Sir Laurence Olivier’s, he looked at me with his soft but penetrating brown eyes as though this compliment was simply a revelation to be meditated upon.

We have lost a truly gifted man.

Clive Leeman
Ojai

Preventive medicine

Thanks to your 7/20/2017 informative article on “Medical Marvels”.  It is great to learn of advanced health care for medical treatments. It would be even better to learn that local hospitals are more focused on preventive medicine via diet and lifestyle. For example, the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program is offered at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, CA and also at other hospitals across the country.

Ken Steiner
Ventura

Erroneous belief

Scarcely has a day gone by where we have not been reminded, in some form or another, of the unrelenting cataclysm that is the drug and alcohol epidemic. Originating from a multitude of sources, which include data pertaining to crime rates, suicide, overdoses, deaths, etc., our lives have been bombarded with these unsettling statistics. Recent studies show that ER visits from individuals seeking opioid-controlled medications have continued to rise.

However, there is a bright side to this dreary and seemingly hopeless world. Around us, every day, men and women touched with this affliction are turning around and changing their lives, using their experiences to help other men and women who are still struggling.  Due to the explosion of rehabs and sober livings, many hold an erroneous belief that locking up and monitoring an addicted person is the solution. In and of itself, in our collective experience, this is not the solution. For an addicted person, it takes hard, personal, daily work to get and stay off drugs. And it is work that people are doing. This is the only true, beautiful, flip side to this ongoing plague: lives are being repaired and changed for the better; families are being healed and sometimes even reassembled.  This is another item that belongs on the front page of the newspaper in Everywhere, USA, every single day: There is a solution to the drug problem. But contrary to a belief we find to be popular, there is no quick fix. It is not a problem at which you can just throw money, and it is not something that can be personally solved in 28 days, or 60 days, or 90 days. Again, it takes hard, personal, individual work that must be done daily for the rest of one’s life. We are writing this due to our collective awareness of the fact that there exists an ethos which supports these aforementioned, misleading and harmful notions.

It is our experience that only through selfless and constructive action that one has a chance to, and can, permanently recover. We ourselves, a state-licensed, CARF-accredited treatment program, are saying that treatment, in and of itself, is not the long-term solution. Although such facilities can sometimes be the initiating catalyst for such alterations in one’s life (as well as provide critical and essential medical supervision during the early stages of recovery, including detox and withdrawal symptoms), it is only through taking total personal ownership and accountability, and a true willingness to change, that one approaches the precipice to true, long-term and meaningful recovery. A new “way of life,” if you will, is to be acquired.

Recently, our treatment facility received word of a report published by the County of Ventura containing implications that the opiate/opioid epidemic is showing signs of improvement and is leveling off.  While we are grateful for the good, sincere and loving work being done in our county by various groups and individuals to help try to solve the local opiate/opioid epidemic, our calls for help have yet to show signs of decreasing.  Sadly, from our seat, for whatever it may be worth, and in the spirit of helpfulness, the epidemic, as well as the inspiring stories of recovery, remain in full swing.

Kyle Johnson
The Lakehouse Recovery Center
Westlake Village

It’s genius

RE: “Oil expansion in Oxnard,” letters, published online July 1 (see below)

Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it on, and I can move the world.” We have the lever and fulcrum that can save the world. We just need to start using it. 

Local/regional efforts won’t be nearly enough, according to the scientific community (National Academy of Sciences/IPCC), but there’s a simple, fast, proven, bipartisan/conservative solution with a global “domino” effect, which will cost us nothing and jump-start a multitrillion-dollar economic boom. 

It works on the principal of self-interest. It doesn’t ask anyone to give up anything or make any sacrifices — except for polluting fossil fuel corporations. It makes them pay an escalating carbon pollution fee, all of which goes to every taxpayer in equal monthly “carbon dividend” checks. And the amount of those checks keeps going up every year. 

This will create over 5 million good-paying, permanent (40-year) local U.S. jobs (Stanford University’s solutionsproject.org) and increase our GDP $75-80 billion annually (citizensclimatelobby.org).  

It’s worked as promised in British Columbia for eight years, lowering taxes and energy bills (The Economist).

We really can save the world while making the vast majority of Americans financially better off with this simple policy. It’s genius. 

Lynn Goldfarb
Denver, Colorado

Do some research

David Michael Courtland’s recent article (News, June 28) on the proposed Fisherman’s Wharf project quotes Darryl Malamut, the representation of developer Geoffrey Palmer of Los Angles, as saying about the proposed  390 apartment complex on the crowded corner of Channel Islands Boulevard and Victoria Ave:

“This is what brings in the revenue and allows everything else to happen,” Malamut said, describing a complex of affordable apartments that would support professionals such as police and firefighters as well recent college graduates.

In no way, shape or form could these proposed units be called “affordable.” They are high end, luxury apartments as described by Palmer in all the marketing materials. As further stated by Malamut, at the meeting discussed in the article, in 2017 dollars, a one-bedroom apartment would be minimally priced at $1,500 a month. 

What recent college graduate with the burden of loans we know to be the case for so many college grads, what police or fire personnel with a family with two children and in need of two-three-bedrooms could afford this level of rent?

Oxnard does, indeed, need housing, as housing advocates in the city have repeatedly told us, but this is not what they mean by affordable. The harbor area is rife with luxury condos, single family units and actual affordable or higher end apartments. The Oxnard 2030 Plan for an Urban Village at the harbor describes any residential component, if there were to be one, as diverse in style, density and affordability. That is one of the reasons Oxnard requires a specific plan from the developer before considering the variances that would allow the project to proceed.

Who are Geoffrey Palmer and Darryl Malamut kidding? Why did Courtland not do some digging? The issue of price was raised at the meeting. Maybe the Reporter might want to do some research on its facts before accepting statements like this at face value.

Lauraine Effress
Oxnard 

Health-care bill must not pass

I strongly oppose the proposed Senate health-care bill, as 22 million Americans would inevitably lose their insurance under this cruel bill. There would be devastating cuts to Medicaid, affecting our most vulnerable and fragile populations — the disabled, elderly and poor. My 7-year-old son has a developmental disability and very much relies on crucial services and therapies offered through Medicaid. Those with pre-existing conditions also must not be denied insurance coverage or charged higher premiums. Many lives are at stake with this health-care bill, and Medicaid must be spared for the sake our country’s most vulnerable constituents, including disabled children like my own. I urge all senators to vote NO on the Senate healthcare bill, as it will truly destroy lives. Healthcare solutions must be bipartisan and put constituents’ needs first, without robbing health-care coverage from millions to give another tax cut to the rich and powerful.

Debbie Atlas
Newbury Park

Improve ACA, Don’t Repeal

22 million people are 22 million reasons Not to Repeal, and Not to Replace ACA. All millions not covered by ACA and still uninsured are millions of reasons to enhance ACA towards healthcare for all. Thank you!! God Bless.

M. Ghodes
Santa Barbara

Withdraw plan for Fisherman’s Wharf

“Re: Fisherman’s Wharf under debate” by David Michael Courtland, June 29

Thank you for covering and reporting on this very important meeting regarding the future of the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Channel Islands Harbor. Allow me to cover a few of the important issues which were not covered by your report.

The proposal, approved by the Board of Supervisor’ (BOS) on June 16, 2015, is to sell the public’s property to a real estate speculator for the construction of a 400-unit exclusive apartment complex, 55-feet tall to replace Fisherman’s Wharf. This site is public property owned by all Ventura County residents. It was never intended to be privatized for the exclusive use of a few lessees who live there at the expense of the public. This property is in the Coastal Zone, which should be protected for all residents to use and enjoy as they visit the coast and the harbor area.

The last Harbor Public Works Plan (Master Plan (PWP) was approved by the BOS and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) in 1986. Since then the plan has grown out of date. Instead of preparing a new PWP, the harbor director, with BOS approval has been trying to develop the last remaining vacant parcels in a piecemeal fashion. This is not a proper planning process as no one is able to determine what the final Harbor Development will look like. The CCC staff has criticized the county, as has the CCC commissioners themselves, the Channel Islands Beach Community Services District, as well as city of Oxnard Planners.

Other serious issues of this project include:

Adding 800 to1,000 new automobiles at the corner of Channel Islands Boulevard and Victoria Avenue. 

This will gridlock that intersection, impeding public safety vehicles thus hindering emergency services to the beach community.

 Additionally, in case of an earthquake or tsunami the evacuation of all residents and beach visitors could be impeded.

In short, we believe Amendment # 7 should be withdrawn or defeated and the County BOS should direct that a new comprehensive PWP for the harbor be developed, which should include broad public input at the earliest phase of the planning process.  It should NOT be developed by the harbor director behind closed doors.

Bill Higgins
Silver Strand Beach

 

Fun on Father’s Day

Thanks to your review (In Good Taste, Wicked’s Brew, June 14), we went there for a wonderful Fathers’ Day brunch. What a fun place.

If your girlfriend wants to go again, tell her the cook will make her a great grilled veggie sandwich on panini bread. Melissa was on yesterday and made one for me. Of course, I then blew my vegan credentials by having gelato … nobody’s perfect.

Jill Forman
Ventura

Oppose AB 263

Private ambulance companies put “Lives Before Lunch” breaks. However, the state legislature is attempting to place more importance on making sure EMS workers get to finish their lunch, even if it will cost lives. This is totally unacceptable to private ambulance companies — the EMS providers that transport 85 percent of the patients in California.

AB 263 (Rodriguez) puts the public at dire risk by placing big labor interests above the public’s safety. The bill was written under the guise of protecting private ambulance company workers, but in reality AB 263 is nothing more than an unprecedented political power grab. If approved, the bill will result in: 1) ambulance response delays, and 2) the elimination of private local EMS providers.

All private ambulance companies, including local providers Life Line Medical Transport, San Luis Ambulance and AMR will suffer with the passage of AB 263.

AB 263 will delay ambulances responses. This bill makes an ambulance crew’s rest break or lunch break more important than responding to an emergency call, even if they are the closest ambulance. Under the proposed law, crews are not obligated to respond if they are on a break. This forces the next closest unit to be deployed, which may be 30 or 40 minutes away. Such a scenario is unacceptable. No private ambulance company wants to provide such poor, unresponsive service.

To make matters worse, AB 263 only applies to private ambulance companies. Public agencies and fire departments are not required to comply with this law. The double standard proposed by AB 263 is unfair, will force ambulance companies out of business, and will harm the public.

Call your State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson at (805) 965-0862 today and let her know you oppose AB 263. An important hearing is scheduled for June 28, so it is important that you call today. Let your senator know how you feel.

Ross Elliott, executive director
California Ambulance Association

My last issue

Well I’ve got to hand it to you individuals at the Reporter … you never fail to put a distasteful, offensive or controversial picture on the cover of your “newspaper.”  Last week it was a male gay couple and “their” baby on the cover just for Father’s day, how lovely. Now it’s a half dressed scantily clad tattooed up trashy looking gal on today’s cover. Can’t you ever come up with anything that aesthetically pleasing like photos of some of the beautiful places in Ventura? Even your ads toward the back are sex and drug related; I find myself having to hide the Reporter so my young children can’t see that trash.

This is my last issue.

Cameron James
Ventura

Oil expansion plans in Oxnard

It’s not a coincidence that the residents of South Oxnard haven’t heard of the expansion of the Cabrillo Oil Field. Renaissance Petroleum has proposed an increase of four more wells and an oil processing facility capable of servicing 35 more wells in the future. This is a majority Latino community that has been blighted by decades of dumping from other cities and, more recently, threatened by NRG’s plans for a new fossil-fuel generated power plant on Mandalay Beach. If anyone knew of the plans for expansion, the outcry from the beleaguered community would be enormous.

Not a single person I have met in canvassing for this issue has been aware of Renaissance Petroleum’s plans. But since we began knocking on doors in May, we have learned that the only route accessible to the Cabrillo field follows the same path as the Ocean View School District’s school buses. This route will see increased traffic from oil tankers transporting explosive materials, which the school district has voiced concern about. Furthermore, residents in the area experience respiratory illnesses such as asthma at a disproportionate rate in comparison to the rest of the state, and some are all too familiar with the carcinogens associated with the existing oil and gas wells. Many of the people I spoke to at the mobile home parks directly across from the site can smell the fumes regularly and have never seen the emergency flare not in use. A large number of the residents also work in the adjacent fields and are the recipients of the adverse effects from both the wells and pesticides.

Oxnard knows that there is no “bridge fuel” to take us to renewable energy, because renewables have been in effect for decades elsewhere, and will soon hopefully replace the old Mandalay Generating Station. The L.A. Times reported on June 16 about the California grid manager seeking clean energy alternatives to the NRG plant. This is a success for the city, but it is not acceptable that we are still fighting against even dirtier oil and gas wells in the same town. Since the Trump administration’s regretful decision to walk away from the Paris Climate Accord, countless cities and counties across the country have stepped in to uphold that international standard, including Ventura County, as was passed by the County Board of Supervisors. The County Board of Supervisors must stand for Oxnard in rejecting Renaissance Petroleum’s proposal for more wells, in accordance with their commitment to the Paris agreement.

Karina Kaye
Oxnard