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Send tips with VCStar's iPhone app

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I just installed the Ventura County Star's free iPhone app, and so far it looks pretty good. Users can browse a mostly text version of the home page, browse by section, or search the archives (but you can't read the blogs, hopefully that feature is coming soon).

My favorite feature is the News Tip section, which provides a button to email a tip or call the newsroom. It will prompt you for your location, so the Star will know exactly where you are when you send it in. It's optional, of course.

That feature would have worked great last night at Elephant Bar in Simi Valley when some guy was tased after being cut off at the bar.

I happened to be at the restaurant at the time, and I could have sent the tip in had I had the app! But I was in a back room and didn't hear the commotion, and I likely would have just written about it in my blog. Interestingly, as I was leaving I saw Sheriff Bob Brooks and Dennis Carpenter off to the side enjoying dinner. No, I didn't interrupt them like a paparazzi. I assume they saw the drunk drug out of the restaurant. Imagine the luck of the guy who decides to make a drunken scene in a restaurant and it turns out it's in front of the county's top cop and his potential replacement.

That reminds me of this story. Of all the people to throw up on at a Phillies game.

Getting back to iPhone apps, check out CitySourced. Like the VCStar's app, it includes a tip line where you can send photos to your city officials if you spot graffiti, potholes, or anything else the city needs to fix. Simi Valley's City Council has expressed interest in it. With graffiti up 500 percent, maybe it can do something to mitigate that.

Sheriffs candidates don't quite agree on everything

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The two Sheriffs candidates may agree much more than they disagree, but there is one pronounced difference--and it relates to the controversial Arizona immigration law that made headlines this week.

At a debate on April 7th at California Lutheran University, Geoff Dean and Dennis Carpenter were both asked the stance they would take on illegal immigration. Here's what I wrote after attending the debate:

The candidates differed the most on enforcement of illegal immigration laws. Carpenter noted that the federal government could have done more to seal the border and indicated he would work with ICE. While Dean agreed, and credited Congressman Elton Gallegly for a high rate of deportations, he said that the downside to pushing too hard on immigration is that it will scare illegal immigrant victims from reporting crimes.

Dean's position is similar to incumbent Sheriff Bob Brooks'.

"This kind of enforcement would damage the relationship between law enforcement and immigrants who are often the victim of crimes, which might go unreported if they feared the police," Brooks said.

All three law enforcement officials' stances are more sane than some Democrats:

"It's a civil rights issue whenever you set someone aside because of the color of their skin or where they come from," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

Oh, were you surprised that they would play the race card? Yes, Darrell, we have a set of laws that takes into consideration where people originate--they're called borders, and they're sort of important for countries to have.

I'm not sure I buy that the "we want illegals to not be afraid to report crimes" is the main reason for candidates and politicians to oppose the Arizona law. I heard the same thing about Special Order 40 in Los Angeles--in the coming days I'll ask around about it and see if there's any merit to that argument.
This blog attempts to add perspective and context to local and national politics, through a variety of disciplines, such as history, economics, and philosophy--all tempered with common sense. About the author

Eric Ingemunson's commentary has been featured on Hannity, CNN, NBC, Inside Edition, and KFI's The John and Ken Show. Eric was born and raised in Ventura County and currently resides in Moorpark. He earned a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. As a conservative, Eric supports smaller government, less taxation, more individual freedom, the rule of law, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.
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