Stop the massacre

I know I’m not alone when I say I am very concerned and saddened by the recent news of several mass shootings in our nation.  We have witnessed innocent people in Gilroy, California; South Haven, Mississippi; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, become victims of domestic terrorism. We shall not forget the Borderline shooting that occurred here in Ventura County.      

Hate crimes must stop!

We need to speak up. Please write or call your United States Senator and Representative to remind them domestic terrorism and hate crimes must be their top priority. We must stop the massacre of our citizens. Our elected officials take an oath to protect and defend us.

We must stop military-style weapons from being purchased so easily at local gun stores, sport equipment stores and online. These weapons are being used to slaughter our own people.

Our residents should be able to attend church or large gatherings, public events, go shopping at malls, enjoy activities in crowded cities and other attractions without fear of being shot. 

Some of our National leaders need to change their rhetoric of anti-immigrant name-calling. The United States of America is the greatest, most diverse, country in the world.

We as Americans must speak up against hate and discrimination towards our fellow human beings.

Specifically, acts of violence directed towards Hispanics and Latinos, such as in El Paso, is domestic terrorism. 

Please write or call your State and Federal Representatives to share your concerns.

John C. Zaragoza
County Supervisor, Fifth District

You can’t rattle the unhoused

We require someone to stand and point out illegalities and other grievances for us, because our default position on most things is “meh” … we just don’t care. 
Feel like buzzing us, flying really low and loud over top of us out at the shelter? Be our guest — we like our heavy copters to get right over top of us as quickly as they can, then just as quickly disappear. We live for that stuff. We welcome sputterers and shaky landers, as well. If you look like you will surely ditch in the field out here, we want you for our flyovers. You spice up our day.
Got a new species of bug? Perfect. Drop it out here, let’s see how it does. We’ll do our part, submit pics to Google in vain, and remain baffled and amused to this day. 
Want to draw a circle around part of America, then force march certain demographics out of the area? We’re your huckleberry. We won’t bat an eye, except to mention it locally and toy with a few options. We’ll be mildly disappointed when no one notices, but what can you do?

Want to follow one of our guys working his ass off to get out of this shelter and situation? Want to note that he’s distributing obamaphones in order to move his life forward? Want to follow him until he’s alone, then grab two little buddies and try to rob him of his inventory? Good luck with all that. He’ll injure himself in the process, but you’ll fail miserably. That’s V.C. community outreach in action. 
Want to keep the restrooms locked in Lyons Park, effectively eliminating bathroom access for miles? Well, we’ll probably want to talk about that one a bit, along with wondering how we have the only civil-rights hostile Starbucks around. We’ll note that they would rather lose all their loyal customers than let those darn homeless, also paying customers, charge their cell phones. I mean, I’m SURE they’re in favor of us coming up, they just can’t stomach the idea of being any part of it. They want us to be able to apply for jobs and handle our personal matters, they just don’t want to assist in any way whatsoever, and they’ll happily burn all their amenities in order to prevent it.

Locking the restrooms represents the sort of casual official cruelty this town is becoming known for. The “city that cares” is the city that hates. Who knew? Not me, until recently. 
Want to write a thinly veiled hit piece versus specific individuals in our community, one based on lies and filled with mesmerizing passive-aggressive innuendos and threats?  Okay. Again, no problem. 
You singled out and identified my friends, placed a numerical value on them for taxpayers to ponder, putting a bulls-eye on them in front of a community you already know to be filled with rednecks and miscreants. One you’ve been specifically warned about (in print!) as a real live ongoing danger to your constituents. 
What happens when one of your hobgoblins goes too far, injures one of The Oxnard 42? After you put a public tag on them, you’ll be on the hook for what transpires. For all day. Liable. Morally, ethically, financially. You are on the hook.
Finally, speaking of the hook, should I mention who you’ll meet at the pearly gates at the end, who will be reviewing your works over your lifetime?What’s the one thing all those guys have in common? 
Yep. Unhoused.
Best of luck with that.


PW Robinson
Oxnard

Before it’s too late

I have been needing safe and affordable housing for over 5 years. I have am mentally and physically ill, worsening each day. I am totally disabled and CANNOT do this alone. I’ve contacted every agency I can find. I’ve received many organizations offering to help, however after a couple of phone calls to see what I’ve done, the help goes cold I get NOTHING! I need someone (s) help in facilitating the process and getting me settled.  If I could do it myself, you would not be receiving this plea.  Please assist me in accomplishing a safe and affordable home.  I need help! I just want to 
live some quality of life before it’s too late.  Please assist me in applying for and receiving any/all resources to have a place I can call home.
I am more than willing to provide any information you need to assist on my behalf.
Sincerely in God’s hands

Joyce A Burgess, 61
PO Box 50045 Oxnard, CA  93031

Exuberant plans

Mars is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. Indeed, I couldn’t because it lacks all the elements needed for complex life. The moon is equally unpromising. 

On the other hand our earth, formerly so generous with the means for our existence, is in big trouble.

We’ve inflicted grave injury on these resources — land, air, water. Carbon misplacement is warming the earth and acidifying the oceans, threatening both marine and terrestrial life. 

And it is clear from the science that conditions already exist for it to become much worse.

So when I hear all the exuberant plans to return to the moon and then go on to Mars, I can’t help but wonder, are these people crazy? 

It is the earth that so urgently requires our attention, that needs a concerted, well-funded, comprehensive project to save our own planet’s viability. And we need it now. 

Something like that plan has already passed one house of our legislature and gone nowhere. It was a good start. 

Mars can wait. 

Margaret Morris
Ventura

Not thinking ahead

Most of us are not thinking ahead about the state of the world in which we live. Most of us are fully occupied making ends meet, and/or preparing for our personal and family futures. 
Meanwhile, our world is warming dangerously. Unfortunately, most of us are uninformed of this warming process and its lethal nature.
We see weather, around the world, changing, becoming more severe, and we know that these changes are driven primarily by global warming.
The County of Ventura is deep into its development of its General Plan that will guide the County from 2020 through 2040. There is no question that this new General Plan must include rigorous response to global warming. Many County residents are currently engaged in contributing to this new plan.
A critical part of the new General Plan should be to Establish a Climate Crisis Mobilization Department to oversee all county agencies advised by a Climate Crisis Mobilization Commission with diverse stakeholders and scientists to accelerate GHG emissions reduction by every means.

Let us look ahead as individuals, and as a County, and act decisively to reverse climate change and to protect the futures of all people!

Kristofer Young, DC
Functional Medicine Chiropractor 
Ojai

Immigrants and Constitution

This may come as a shock to many of you who are not as familiar with the Constitution as you should be, but immigrants (legal or illegal) have NO Constitutional rights, repeat NO

Constitutional rights!! There is not one word about rights for NON citizens anywhere in the main body of 7 Articles, nor in the 27 Amendments. IF anyone can find a single statement regarding immigrant rights, please let me know.

I have read the Constitution many times while in college and afterwards, and I have 10 copies of this sacred document scattered around our house. 

Lest anyone out there leap to the conclusion that I am against immigrants or a racist, let me put such idiotic thoughts to rest. I am a white, Anglo-Saxon, Catholic (WASC). My wife is Mexican.  All of my close friends are either Latino or black. I have only two white friends.

Anyway, the news pundits and ignorant TV reporters (CNN, Fox News, etc.) keep baying all day and all night about CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS for illegal immigrants.

When doing this, all day and all night, they are exhibiting their lack of education generally, and ignorance of the Constitution specifically. 

JOHN JAY
Voice of Truth
Oxnard

Quality of life

Approximately one year ago I wrote about migrant children placed in detention centers after entering the United States alone or they were separated from their parents. Today the situation is unchanged. 

More than 11,000 children are held in detention centers for weeks or months while separated from their families. Many of these centers cannot provide the basic needs for these children despite the recent passage of a $4.5 billion emergency aid package. Children are not bathing regularly, receive inadequate health care, education, family interaction or legal advocacy.

Observers report seeing children detained in unsanitary conditions contracting illnesses that are being cared for by other children. Claims of child abuse including sexual misconduct have been reported. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and the American Psychiatric Association have come out against this inhumane policy including professional health organizations, and faith-based groups. 

Children aren’t the only ones facing this treatment. I read an account of a processing center from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, which detailed overcrowding in holding cells. Adults in detention centers are forced into overcrowded, standing room only detention areas with inadequate toilet facilities for days at a time. One photo shows a cell designed to hold 35 people with 155 people crowded inside. In another, 76 women crouched side-by-side on the floor in a cell designed for 12.

Treating children and adults seeking asylum in this manner is immoral and inhumane, counter to our values. We as Americans are supposed to be the example to the world.

This heartless practice must end. Call, write or email your U.S. Senator and Representative. Let your voice be heard.

Together, we can help close this unfortunate chapter in American history.

John C. Zaragoza
Ventura County Supervisor
Fifth District

Environmental racism

Immigrants from Mexico and Central America work hard in fields growing and harvesting our food, while exposed to poisonous chemicals sprayed from containers marked “DANGER.” Americans will not do this back breaking labor; so corporate farmers break the law and hire unlawful immigrants. While there has been a crackdown of arrests, imprisonment and deportation of Spanish speaking, brown skinned immigrants, only 11 cases in the entire USA were brought last year by the Justice Department against owner employers. Workers and residents of communities where the fields, slaughterhouses and other industries which employ immigrants are located, are either afraid or too busy earning a living to complain. Many climate change leaders are too pre-occupied giving Power Point presentations about “tipping point” and “fossil fuels” to connect the dots between refugees fleeing starvation due to crop failures caused by drought, hurricanes, floods, and humanity’s climate crisis. We need more intersectional activism.

The link between certain cancers and toxic chemicals in our food and water supply is clear. At the same time we push politicians to adopt laws banning carcinogenic products like RoundUp, we must also prioritize providing farmers with alternatives. UC Davis has conducted innovative research in this area. Organic farming is beneficial to the soil, air; to the people who grow our food and to those who consume the food. 

The wealthy who can afford to buy organic from Whole Foods may think they are immune from environmental racism; however, everyone has to breathe air and drink water. Filthy Flint water and toxic Houston air from Dow chemical plants and Shell oil operations are in the news today, but tomorrow it can be Ventura.   

Aria Elan
Port Hueneme

National leaders need to change

I know I’m not alone when I say, I am very concerned and saddened by the recent news of several mass shootings in our nation. We have witnessed innocent people in Gilroy, California; South Haven, Mississippi; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio become victims of domestic terrorism. We shall not forget the Borderline shooting that occurred here in Ventura County.      

Hate crimes must stop!

We need to speak up.  Please write or call your United States Senator and Representative to remind them domestic terrorism and hate crimes must be their top priority. We must stop the massacre of our citizens. Our elected officials take an oath to protect and defend us.

We must stop military style weapons from being purchased so easily at local gun stores, sport equipment stores and online. These weapons are being used to slaughter our own people.

Our residents should be able to attend church or large gatherings, public events, go shopping at malls, enjoy activities in crowded cities and other attractions without fear of being shot. 

Some of our National leaders need to change their rhetoric of anti-immigrant name-calling. The United States of America is the greatest, most diverse, country in the world.

We as Americans, must speak up against hate and discrimination towards our fellow human beings.

Specifically, acts of violence directed towards Hispanics and Latinos, such as in El Paso, is domestic terrorism. 

Please write or call your State and Federal Representatives to share your concerns.

John C. Zaragoza
County Supervisor, Fifth District

Imagine her suffering

It’s enlightening and inspiring to know from your July 18 cover story, “So Happy Together —New Foster Agency Program Focuses On Reuniting Families,” that the Ventura Children and Family Services (CFS) has kept 153 children out of the dependency court system by helping their parents.

It’s also heartening to know that “children who exit foster care are much more likely to reunify with their parents than be adopted.”

Indeed, “over 2,000 Ventura County children have reunified with their parents over the past decade.”

And the case of Manny Arroyo, who recovered from drug  addiction, is now reunited with his three children, and works for CFS helping families reunite, is also exemplary.

He was helped by the Genesis Sober Living Program, Dads and Kids.

While it thrills me that Manny found sobriety in a program that brought him together with his kids, I must point out that with more than 21 year of experience in the 12-Step-recovery movement, I frequently meet parents and grandparents who have had their kids taken away as a form of punishment, not treatment.

Is the new model of reunifying families going to become the standard for the whole country?

I hope so, but I doubt it.

More than 400,000 children are in foster care in the U.S. today (“Family separation: It’s a problem for U.S.  Citizens, Too,” Shaela Dewan, New York Tines, June 22, 2018).

I believe this system is too entrenched to dislodge it in good time.

I remember meeting a young man a few years ago who had walked down the street from his foster home to get some fresh air and clear his head,

In an intense conversation, he told me there were four foster kids in the home and that the foster parents showed no interest in them at all.

They were only interested in one thing, the $100, 000 or so a month they were raking in for running a foster home.

This brings to mind the millions of dollars private prisons are earning today at $700 per child

per day detaining children on the border (the former White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, 
is on the board of one of these prisons).

It’s the old story, money rules.

Here’s another view of what it’s like to be a foster kid in a foster home.

As a young child, Sherry Lachman was in foster care for two years:

“A few weeks after joining my second foster family, I remember drifting awkwardly at the back of a restaurant after my foster parents asked me to stand aside while they, their four biological children and their cousins took an extended family photo. When they decided months later they wanted me to leave their home, the reason they gave was their upcoming family vacation. I learned that I was less valuable than a weeklong getaway.” (“I was in Foster Care: Family Separation Isn’t Just a Problem at the Border,” Sherry Lachman, Time, August 2, 2018.)

And I have to wonder at Keanna’s experience in the VC Reporter article.

While we rejoice that she has now found a loving home, it is nevertheless horrifying that she was in 34 homes over 16 years, all of them apparently abusive, including that of her grandmother.

Imagine her suffering over all those years.

Imagine the suffering of hundreds of thousands of children all over the land today,

Clive Leeman
Ojai

An opportunity to promote affordable housing

 In August the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will be updating the General Plan, a document that sets forth the goals and policies for future growth and land use in the county. These policies will impact everyone who lives in Ventura County.

A vital area of concern is the lack of affordable housing. The scarcity of housing and the rising cost to both rent and buy homes threatens the economic security of county residents, especially our low-income neighbors. Housing costs devour an increasing percentage of people’s income. Lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness.

Ventura County should promote several actions to increase affordable housing: 

  • Make zoning changes to permit increased housing density. Focus must be shifted from expensive single-family homes to more affordable apartments and mixed use, live-work housing. Builders need incentives to create affordable units within developments. 
  • Encourage creative solutions to make housing available to low and extremely low-income residents. For example, “tiny” homes and homes made from storage containers are cost-effective alternatives to traditionally built structures. Making available pre-approved building plans for non-traditional construction will streamline the timeline and lower costs.  
  • Promote flexibility in housing choices, including mobile homes, RV’s, and alternative construction. And identify locations suitable for diverse types of housing.  
  • Create shared solar programs targeting renters and multi-family residences, thus giving them access to energy efficiency programs and rebates.

These actions are environmentally sensitive and will help improve quality of life.  If local workers can afford to live within Ventura County, they will have shorter commutes.  Freeways will be less crowded.  Shorter commutes may encourage use of public transportation and bicycles, further reducing pollution caused by long drives.  

Yukio Okano
Vice-Chair, City of Oxnard Commission on Homelessness
Oxnard

A million trees

The Ventura County General Plan is being updated for 2020 through 2040. Come August 6th County Supervisors will decide the future of our county and they need our input.

With a rapidly changing planet Ventura County should address climate as a crisis, much like Los Angeles City Council has, through a Climate Crisis Committee. Such a committee could look at both long and short term goals to respond locally to our specific climate needs, whilst establishing a model for counties around the state and country.

Soil in particular is essential to a healthy future for our planet. If we protect and restore soil, we can sequester carbon, restore watersheds and reverse the costly and unsightly erosion of our beaches (like C Street). Planting trees is the most effective and aesthetic method to restoring soil. A million trees planted in Ventura County in this decade would improve air quality, reduce heat islands, and engage the community in climate action through inter-community, intergovernmental public-private partnerships with a priority in neighborhoods that have been most impacted by high emissions and high temperatures.

A Tree Committee would assure use of best available science, such as planting trees in percolation landscaping and farming, not on irrigated lawns, and would guide the selection of trees that need no irrigation.

Patrick Makiri

WIRELESS TECH IS HARMFUL

Regarding wireless technology, there is more than meets the eye that’s been reported in the media. The problem is the absence of commentary on adverse health risks.

There are thousands of peer-reviewed studies with established science of the health hazards caused by non-ionizing EMF exposures. (Radiation research.org) is the single most important health issue of our time.

During a Feb.7 senate commerce, science and transportation committee hearing on the future of 5G and its impact, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, raised the fact that there has been no scientific research and data on 5G’s potential health risks.

In April, Sprint was forced to shut down the cell phone tower at Ripon California elementary school after some parents said it may be linked to several recent cases of childhood cancer from harmful radiation. Sprint said that their towers are safe because they meet the FCC standards. The problem is that these supposedly safe levels of exposure are based on decades old studies (1996) and are applied to advance technology. Plus the exposure time is only 6 to 30 minutes versus the equivalent of living next to a tower. In addition, their studies are based on thermal heat only and disregard the biological DNA damage caused by non-ionizing microwave radiation. Because of these two factors their “safe guidelines’ are scientifically unsound and meaningless.

The hardest part of the stop the 5G campaign is convincing people something can be done, or they acquiescence to the rollout whether they like it or not. The more information people have, the public opinion will shift dramatically overnight. It will be the bane of the mainstream media to hold them accountable for not reporting. Another nail in the coffin will be the exposure later that is downright dangerous by killing people.

We need to put ample pressure on corporations of government about what is the real risk regarding health. This conversation should have been held years ago and needs to happen!

Julie Mora 
Ojai