I can only imagine what this country would be like if Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd ran amok, unchecked. Superimpose Obama's socialistic ideals and the country will never recover.
-- Bill Gourlay, Westlake Village
October 2008 Archives
I can only imagine what this country would be like if Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd ran amok, unchecked. Superimpose Obama's socialistic ideals and the country will never recover.
I awoke to find that for the second time, my "No on 8" sign had been stolen. Even though I started taking my sign in every night to discourage these cowards, they stole the wire post from my front yard. I would have more respect for the opposition if they had the guts to come to my house and discuss their point of view, but they would rather wander the streets in darkness to carry out their dirty work.
I am going to make my own leap of faith here and assume that the perpetrators are doing this from some moral high ground to save me from myself and stop the fall of civilization. Funny thing is, I am a married family man with three children. This is not about being gay; this is about respect and equality for all Americans.
As I recall, this country was founded on certain freedoms for everyone. As the country grew up, we made changes to right some wrongs and changed our old beliefs to strive for equality for all. Slavery was a tradition in this country that we changed. Discrimination against women was another tradition in this country that we changed.
We must stop treating our law-abiding citizens who are different than "us" as less than.
And one last thing, I would like to remind the thieves who are cruising through my neighborhood to recall another Proposition 8 that they vow to uphold: "You shall not steal."
-- Joseph Garcia, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Oct. 30 Opinion page cartoon, "States where Obama is favored":
I was surprised and disappointed to see such an uncharacteristically mean-spirited cartoon on The Star's Opinion page. The Star has five days to redeem itself and counter with an equally distasteful anti-John McCain cartoon. I'll be checking daily until Wednesday.
-- Ria Levine, Oak Park
Like millions of other Americans, my morning ritual is to have my morning coffee while I read the newspaper. As I read about how bad things are getting in the United States -- the economy, cities being forced into bankruptcy, budgets being cut in all areas, street gang crime being on the rise and on and on -- I thank God my family and I are fortunate enough to live in the great city of Simi Valley!
We are very thankful to our present mayor and City Council members, as well as to our past mayors and City Council members, for their careful planning for our city's future and for their dedication over the years.
Now is the time for me to help keep this city on track -- yes, you guessed it, by voting!
My wife and son are not citizens of this great country, yet they are looking forward to the day they can do what you should do -- yes, you guessed it again, vote!
As my Grandpa used to say, "Ain't broke, don't need fixin'!"
I hope you will join me and help the city stay on course by voting for Paul Miller for mayor and Barbra Williamson and Steve Sojka for City Council.
-- George Holmes, Simi Valley
Re: Bob Lagomarsino's Oct. 30 letter, "Gallegly does his job well":
Lagomarsino's endorsement of Elton Gallegly could have been shortened for publication. The Star could just have done a headline, "Lagomarsino endorses recipient of his campaign contribution."
I mean, really -- an "endorsement" of the guy whose campaign Lagomarsino helped fund and who worked tirelessly to get the Channel Islands Visitor Center renamed after Lagomarsino? That's supposed to mean something?
-- Russell Burgos, Thousand Oaks
The Conejo Valley Unified School District board election has been an education in itself. I understand that negative advertising works, but it is a shame to see it done at the local level.
Instead of positive proposals, recent advertisements and signs have attacked my wife, Betsy Connolly, for being recommended by the teachers association. When did teachers become the bad guys? All of us have known teachers who have been inspirations.
We need new board members who will work in a cooperative relationship with staff, teachers, parents, students and community members. Reject the mudslinging. Elect Betsy Connolly to the Conejo Valley school board. Betsy will do a great job.
-- Patrick Connolly, Thousand Oaks
Sen. Barack Obama is not the answer to our ailing economy, social disorder and moral decay. Obama stands for division by putting party first, not country first. We are threading towards a critical crossroads that have deeper implications should the country choose a liberal president who will allow abortion, gay and lesbian marriages and socialistic form of spreading wealth. Obama is a people pleaser. His associations with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and ACORN are questionable.
We want a leader who will not compromise his conviction. Sen. John McCain is a proven leader who can steer us to a better government that leads to a stable, strong and sustained economic growth. McCain has better ideas and experience than President Bush.
I urge those undecided to think hard who the real Obama is. Do not be carried away by rhetoric and compelling speeches. Obama is a guy who will sell his soul to get votes.
I urge the Christians to once more stand up and unite. We have a raging war against principalities of darkness. McCain and Palin will be our voice at the White House. McCain and Palin will hear the cry of the people with compassion, and they will protect the mandate with conviction. They will do the right thing for America.
-- Alvin Espiritu, Camarillo
On many occasions during this election season, especially on Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh radio shows, I have heard their callers "fuming" over the "arrogance of Barack Obama." As we move to the last days of the campaigns, the character attacks against Obama have become more frequent on these shows, as has that seemingly favorite label now, "arrogant."
I have watched and listened to dozens of hours of Obama and McCain speeches and never have I heard Obama be anything but articulate, intelligent, soothing and "presidential" in his speech and actions.
Could it be that "arrogant" is this decade's version of "uppity?"
Where does the outright and palpable hate shown towards Obama by many John McCain and Sarah Palin supporters come from? The depth of that hate obviously can't be caused by his proposed policies.
I have been deeply saddened to realize that we still have a long way to go in this country, because, as Limbaugh so crassly stated on his show when he referenced Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, "It's all about race. It's all about race!"
-- Curt Ammerman, Ventura
If Joe the Plumber wants to start his own business, then the Barack Obama tax plan will give him a tax break at the start. This will give him extra money when he most needs it to help grow his business and make it successful.
If he is really successful, he makes it to the quarter-million mark. At that point, he will pay more taxes. He may even have to give up that second Hummer to cover his taxes.
His increased taxes are necessary to cover the loss of taxes from others trying to get their business started and needing the same cuts that he got in the early years.
Joe must remember that these struggling new businesses will need goods and services. They require supplies, tools and even plumbing services. He should think of this as more customers for his thriving business instead of someone taking something from him.
It's a win-win situation.
-- Gracia Maarks, Camarillo
On Tuesday, residents will have the opportunity to elect a true humanitarian to the Ventura County Board of Education. Dr. Mark Lisagor has dedicated his career and his personal time to helping children. He has served with distinction on the boards of Camarillo Boys & Girls Club, CSUCI Foundation and Interface Children & Family Services, to name a few. He lectures at USC and UCLA, and he is a successful businessman, warmly known as one of the "spaceship dentists."
The Board of Education has lost its way under the current incumbent with wasteful spending on lobbyists, unnecessary lawsuits, duplicative legal fees and a misguided focus on politics rather than children. Lisagor will bring decades of experience, sound judgment, a focus on consensus building and a businessman's skill to the board.
Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Lisagor is someone you can trust with your children, knowing he will make the best decisions for your family. He is uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Education, and he will do it in a nonpartisan manner. This is why more than 400 community leaders have endorsed him, including Supervisor Kathy Long, State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, former superintendent Chuck Weis, former District Attorney Mike Bradbury, the mayors of Oxnard, Camarillo, Santa Paula and Fillmore, trustees and superintendents from seven school districts in the area, the American Federation of Teachers, the California Teachers Association and the Ventura County Professional Firefighters. And The Star endorsed Lisagor, stating, "Dr. Lisagor is a proven leader."
Visit his Web site, www.MarkLisagor.com, to see the entire list of endorsements and learn why we need the proven leadership that only Mark Lisagor can deliver.
-- David Maron, Camarillo
(The writer is the chair of the Mark Lisagor for County Board of Education Committee. -- Editor)
Re: your Oct. 30 Opinion page cartoon, "States where Obama is favored":
This cartoon was completely offensive and inflammatory, not to mention lacking in accuracy.
If the cartoonist chose to identify countries favoring Barack Obama, he should have, at the very least, included all of the Western nations that look forward to an American leader who can restore our position and image as a fair and democratic nation rather than as a bully with greedy capitalists running amok.
-- Madeline Herrle, Ventura
Re: Richard Larsen's Oct. 28 essay, "Rhetoric becomes nasty":
When Larsen writes, "The only issue surrounding Proposition 8 on the ballot is one of civil rights," he is totally wrong. There may be people out there who are that discriminatory and unfair, but I don't know any of them, and I am one of many, many people working hard to pass Proposition 8. Our main goal is and has always been to provide the best possible support for strong families.
Many years ago, we had in the United States a "National Family Week," and I chaired that event for five years in the city of Oxnard, holding a "Celebration of the Family" in several different venues as a culmination to our efforts to come together to help families be better and stronger.
Larsen is right when he says many of us believe that God created marriage and defined it. People may choose any kind of partnership in which they wish to live -- that is their right, and I wish them long, happy unions. However, their unions are not "marriage" in the eyes of God, and that is the reason -- and the only reason -- so many us are spending so much time to try to get Proposition 8 passed!
-- Marcene Camp Jardine, Oxnard
Re: Richard Larsen's Oct. 28 essay, "Rhetoric becomes nasty":
Larsen states in his final paragraph that anyone who votes yes on Proposition 8 is a blatant bigot. In other words, the more than 4 million Californians who voted yes on Proposition 22 in 2001 -- as well as people of faith and God himself -- are all bigots. To that, I can only say, "Lord, please forgive him and bless him. He needs your love more than ever."
-- Ken Raduechel, Ventura
Re: Richard Larsen's Oct. 28 essay, "Rhetoric becomes nasty":
There are good, honest people on both sides of the Proposition 8 issue, and a sincere exchange of ideas is appropriate. Intelligent people can discuss the issues, and those with less understanding resort to vulgar comments and derogatory name-calling. It's particularly disappointing that Larsen falls into the latter category; one would expect that a professional journalist could express himself without resorting to offensive slurs.
Having a different opinion from Larsen does not make me a bigot, and I resent that accusation in his hate-inciting essay.
-- Teresa Sanofsky, Agoura Hills
Oxnard firefighters are dedicated to protecting public safety. Measure O represents a positive opportunity for this community. Although The Star did not endorse the measure due to the present economy, Measure O is a long-term opportunity to make Oxnard safer and stronger.
Oxnard residents can send their own message on Tuesday: that we believe in this city and want to make it better. This city is worth the investment of an additional 50 cents per $100 of goods purchased in Oxnard. Added together, Measure O will generate more than $10 million a year to be used solely to enhance the services and programs of Oxnard.
Measure O can be used to provide funds to keep our community safe by enhancing police and fire protection services. It can be used to provide essential resources for streets and reduction of traffic congestion.
Measure O can be used to enhance youth recreation and anti-gang programs, such as City Corps. It can be used to create new parks for thousands of people to enjoy soccer, baseball and open spaces.
Measure O can be used to ensure essential programs for our growing senior population. The measure has very strong citizen oversight provisions, such as annual independent financial audits and a citizen oversight committee to assure that the money will be spent on community priorities in Oxnard.
Oxnard firefighters ask for your help on Election Day. Vote yes on Measure O, for a safer and stronger Oxnard.
-- Tiloi Tuitama, Oxnard
(The writer is an Oxnard firefighter. -- Editor)
If you haven't voted already, I'd like to encourage everyone in Ventura County to vote for Hannah-Beth Jackson to be our next state senator.
Hannah-Beth is an experienced and caring public servant with a long record of "delivering" for the people of Ventura County. When she was in the Assembly, she was a great friend to our county and the cities here. In Ventura, she was instrumental in obtaining state assistance for a variety of important improvements for the city, especially on the beach and the Promenade. For those of you who remember the unfortunate farm spraying incident at Mound School - and I do, because many children I know got sick as a result - Hannah-Beth spearheaded a new state law regulating such spraying.
Hannah-Beth is passionate about our communities, and she will be responsive to our needs. She'll be great for Ventura County!
-- Bill Fulton, Ventura
(The writer is the deputy mayor of the city of Ventura. -- Editor)
Re: Steve Greenberg's Oct. 29 Opinion page cartoon:
I'm not a fan of the hot-tempered John McCain, but this political cartoon was very misleading. It showed "history" looking at the "cold hard stats" book indicating that the average life expectancy for a white male is 75, and, since McCain will be 72 if he is elected president, it implied that there was a good chance he would not survive his four-year term and Sarah Palin would become president. The 75-year life expectancy is for a baby white male, not a 72-year-old. The average 72-year-old actually has a life expectancy of at least 12 more years. Shame on you!
-- Larry Mills, Ventura
John Flynn on every issue exhibits strong passion. When a constituent has a legitimate issue or problem, John and his staff put all they have into solving it. No rock is left unturned.
When there is a major issue involving many people, like water, military bases, housing or transportation, he tears into every aspect and fact, brings people together and sets a path for solution. John's undeniably strong commitment is to solve problems big and small.
Passion and commitment should not be confused with anger. Their motivation and meaning are undisputably different. John Flynn's character helps him get the job done and thus is elected time after time.
-- Maria Aguilera, Oxnard
Ferial Masry's support for higher taxes is outrageous, especially during tough economic times. What's worse is her reason for it: "You (taxpayers) have to pay your fair share." Does she live in the Land of Oz?
I agree we all should be paying our fair share, but we have people not paying any taxes and just leeching off our system, and there are those who pay way too much. For example, California businesses already pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, and many of them are leaving the state because of the high cost of doing business here.
The last thing we need is for government to take more of our hard-earned money. I am supporting Audra Strickland on Tuesday.
-- John Nielsen, Santa Rosa Valley
Re: your Oct. 25 article, "More than $1 million donated to campaigns":
The lines have been drawn regarding Measure V, the Oxnard initiative that strives to control traffic. While this article is not complete, it does inform that anti-traffic-control groups have out-contributed pro-traffic-control groups by $773,000 to $9,300. Of the $272,000 that The Star itemizes, $252,000 is from out-of-town big businesses. There is another half million dollars that The Star doesn't list. You can bet it also is from big businesses. The $9,300 raised by the pro-Measure V group comes from local individuals.
We should all be concerned about where the anti money is coming from and why. It is not for the altruistic reasons stated in their "slicks," i.e., to create jobs for Oxnard residents and to buy high-tech gear for police and firefighters. Those lavish amounts of money could be better spent in Irvine, Diamond Bar, Los Angeles and Calabasas, where these big businesses are based and where traffic has been allowed to run amok.
Citizens of Oxnard: Wake up and smell the coffee! Read between the lines! The people and organizations against Measure V are people who don't even live in our city, or they live in exclusive areas where traffic is not a problem. They don't care about Oxnard. We do care, and very much!
The big businesses that are anti-Measure V would be better served to use their lavish donations to improve conditions in their own cities.
Let's vote yes on Measure V, the traffic initiative.
-- Evangeline Urias, Oxnard
I support John Flynn 100 percent, as I have known him for many years. Flynn does not bow to anyone other than God. He is not bought or bribed, nor does he kiss up to anyone. He fights for us his constituents continuously. He has fought all these years for us as he believes in what's right. That is why he has remained in office and is voted into office time and time again.
I personally was honored to accompany him to Sacramento to lobby for a bill, SB 2522, by Assemblyman Pedro Nava to procure funds for the sewer replacement that the state unfairly mandated the community of El Rio to connect to. This connection has cost thousands of dollars for each household. Those who can't connect will be fined $10,000 a day if they don't comply by the due dates. Flynn has been able to get some funds for the low-income members of this community. And I read that he hasn't done anything for us?
Flynn is well-respected in Sacramento. I witnessed it personally when I went with him and some of his staff to support Nava. We need Flynn to continue fighting for us here in Ventura County and in Sacramento.
So please join me in voting to re-elect John Flynn as supervisor.
-- Frances Chacon, El Rio
Re: your Oct. 25 article, "More than $1 million donated to campaigns":
The opponents of Measure V, the Oxnard Traffic Initiative, have raised to date more than $728,000 to battle a citizens' grassroots effort of $9,000 -- by no stretch of the imagination an obscene imbalance.
But some facts need to be revisited:
-- All signers of the initiative are registered voters of Oxnard.
-- The majority of funding to oppose Measure V came from outside the city of Oxnard.
I believe this movement is an example of the community coming together to protect their quality of life versus parties looking out for their own self-interests.
Support Measure V by voting yes. It's the people's choice.
-- Bert Perello, Oxnard
Votes for Tom Glancy, who was never elected, and Jacqui Irwin are votes to provide world-class, lifetime healthcare benefits to both of them and their families paid by taxpayer dollars. If they are elected, in their fifth year on the City Council, they are entitled to get benefits, which go into effect after age 50. So, we will have to pay for Glancy and Irwin and all of their dependents to receive better benefits than any of us can afford. They receive this for a part time job.
As an example, next year, Glancy, who is self-employed and has a thriving dental practice, will be able to have we the people take over the cost of health, dental and vision insurance for himself and all of his dependents for the rest of his life. I do not know of any private company that provides this type of extraordinary benefit to their employees.
This needs to be changed, but don't expect Irwin or Glancy to do it until after they get their benefits.
On another note, I learned that Irwin and Glancy voted on Oct. 7 to give the city manager and city attorney a large 8 percent raise plus additional perks in these challenging financial times. Our city manager already makes more than the vice president of the United States, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the governor of California and all U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives. These are the only two people who serve at the pleasure of the City Council. If they march to the tune of the council majority, they can become wealthy.
If you don't want to finance lifetime healthcare for Irwin, Glancy and all of their dependents and value fiscal accountablility, vote for Al Adam and Holly LaRue on Tuesday.
-- Tom Gregory, Thousand Oaks
Every year, it seems, the politically related calls and "surveys" become more annoying. To me, they have now reached the level of nuisance that once was held by solicitors before the advent of the "Do Not Call" registry.
What is even more aggravating is that I am registered as "undeclared," yet we are assailed by dozens of calls every week from auto dialers for candidates from both parties, as well as occasional live callers who somehow think they have the right to intrude on our household with their opinions and proselytizing for their candidates.
It is about time for the government to add another section to the "Do Not Call" registry. What gives these groups and individuals the right to trespass on my personal time with their biased opinions and unwanted messages for their particular favorite?
I find it a bit insulting as well, since I am quite capable of reading and making decisions without their interference, even if that decision tends to be selecting the lesser of two questionable choices. It is bad enough that they fill my mail with their trash and paper the neighborhood with their signs. It is no wonder that politicians, their machines and the political action committees that own many of them are held in such low esteem.
-- Wes Fish, Ventura
For this election, Tony Strickland calls himself a "renewable energy businessman." He clearly believes this will win votes for him, as he has placed it on the ballot for voters to see. But his credentials are almost nonexistent. He has never run a business or made a payroll or even produced a single watt of green energy. He evidently thinks the voters are so stupid that we won't care what he calls himself. This tells us a lot about the character of the man.
Do you care if someone lies to you and says he is something he is not? Do you want a truck driver doing your brain surgery? Vote for Strickland if you like to see incompetence and partisan gridlock in Sacramento, and if you think personal integrity doesn't matter. Cynical Republican ideologues like Strickland are the cholesterol that is hardening the arteries of California's government.
Let's hold our elected representatives to a higher standard and start by retaining Strickland as a member of the private sector this November. He's earning the big bucks as a renewable energy businessman, right?
-- James Shirley, Simi Valley
Re: Steve Greenberg's Oct. 29 Opinion page cartoon:
The Greenberg cartoon states: "Average life expectancy for a white male -- 75."
I believe that statistic is "at birth." John McCain was not born today, with an average life expectancy of 75 years. He is now 72 years old.
According to the 2007 IRS Publication 590, Appendix C, Table III (Uniform Lifetime), a person at age 72 has an average life expectancy well into the 90-year age bracket. The cartoon is misleading, to say the least. In other words, it looks like the spin is in on that one.
-- Clayton Benner, Thousand Oaks
As a lifelong Thousand Oaks resident and a current planning commissioner for the city, I'm concerned about inaccurate information being communicated through campaign mailers and letters to the editor with regard to building heights on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
About four years ago, some key Thousand Oaks Boulevard property owners, with the support and assistance of the city, formed a business improvement district, which prepared a vision statement for improvements to the boulevard.
Since its formation, the BID has levied an assessment on boulevard properties, and these assessments have been used by the BID to, among other things, hire a consultant to prepare a specific plan in concert with the vision statement.
To date, the BID has not yet formally submitted a proposed specific plan for processing. All the election mailers touting five-story buildings on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and "vote for me so that doesn't happen" are quite comical. Our city has specific guidelines and procedures to follow before a specific plan can be adopted, as well as a legal mandate -- the Brown Act -- to have open meetings to discuss and debate any proposal. To make statements on how someone will vote on a particular project before it is even presented to the public violates the due process rights of all of us and is unethical.
Our city forefathers created a blueprint for development called the general plan, which laid out how our city was to grow. Councils over the years, including the current one, have been guided by and adhered to this document, which has helped ensure our city continues to be beautiful, vibrant and safe.
On Tuesday, elect those who have supported our due process rights and the city's general plan. Join me in re-electing Mayor Jacqui Irwin and Mayor Pro-tem Tom Glancy to Thousand Oaks City Council.
-- Barry Fisher, Newbury Park
Please vote for Jacqui Irwin on Nov. 4.
She has what it takes to continue her strong dedicated leadership on the Thousand Oaks City Council. She has worked hard to keep Thousand Oaks financially stable through these difficult times and to keep our city the safe haven we expect it to be.
Irwin is presently working on relocating Fire Station 33, currently located in Hidden Valley. The new location is on the corner of Westlake Boulevard and Potrero Road, directly across from Westlake Elementary School. Relocating the station would help decrease the response times to better serve the population of Westlake. The new fire station location is highly visible for anyone needing help, especially our children.
Join me in supporting Jacqui Irwin, and help her take the "hidden" out of the Hidden Valley fire station.
-- Rich Sauer, Thousand Oaks
Re: John Krumm's Oct. 29 letter, "Spouting from the Bible":
I see Krumm labels me a secular, amoral liberal. Bless his loving, nonjudgmental Christian heart. I forgive him, and God does, too. She's a forgiving God. We have some good conversations, from time to time.
Oh, and if Krumm wishes to find me, a good-sized group of us (Unitarian Universalists, plus other like-minded people) will be at the corner of Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive (yet again) Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, holding up our signs in loving, faithful support of a faction of people who deserve equality. Equal rights, that's all.
-- Lynne Herron, Thousand Oaks
If there is a silver lining to the mortgage meltdown, it is that I'm no longer receiving piles of unsolicited junk mail from various mortgage companies offering to refinance my home. The bad news is that I now receive more junk mail than ever in the form of spam from political candidates attacking one another.
-- Tony Sereno, Simi Valley
Policies, past accomplishments and issues are all important in campaigning. And most people by now know how much Jacqui Irwin values financial stability, children's safety and promoting a green city. These are some of the reasons I am voting for her.
But my letter is for people out there who don't know Jacqui on a personal level. I've known Jacqui for eight years, through the Thousand Oaks Titans youth football program. I'd like to share a significant event concerning Jacqui with people who don't know her so they, too, can understand just how much our mayor cares for the people of Thousand Oaks.
Two years ago, my son was born in Los Robles Hospital with complications. He had to be taken immediately to Tarzana Hospital for surgery. I couldn't go with him. I had to stay in the maternity ward at Los Robles, without a baby.
The day after he was born, he had his surgery. We weren't sure what was going to happen, or if he'd even make it. I got a phone call that afternoon, telling me the surgery went well and that my son would pull through. I was crying buckets, and when I looked over at the person holding my hand, she, too, had tears in her eyes. That person was Mayor Jacqui Irwin.
You see, Jacqui truly cares about people. She cares about children and their safety and keeping our community clean and healthy for future generations, and she cares about maintaining open space to keep our community comfortable. She just plain cares about the people living in her community, and she is the perfect person to represent the voices of the people in Thousand Oaks. That is the ultimate reason why I am voting for Jacqui Irwin. I hope many others will join me.
-- Cristen Cervellini-Calfo, Thousand Oaks
This wonderful city called Thousand Oaks did not "happen" yesterday or "last year." Through visionary thinking and planning by many city councils past and present, this city is well-known for its public safety, open space, financial stability and being one of the greenest cities in the nation.
Let's maintain this beautiful community by continuing to vote for the outstanding professionals who have served us so well. Return Tom Glancy and Jacqui Irwin to the Thousand Oaks City Council.
-- Nancy Dillon, Thousand Oaks
(The writer is a former city clerk for Thousand Oaks. -- Editor)
We are so fortunate Carmen Ramirez is running for the Oxnard City Council. Now it's up to us to elect her. I believe she will be excellent for many reasons.
I got to know Carmen when we were fighting to keep BHP Billiton's floating liquefied natural gas factory off our Oxnard coast. She was a dedicated opponent of an enterprise that she saw as clearly wrong -- wrong for the environment, wrong for Oxnard, wrong for the country. Carmen conducted our No LNG Alliance meetings and helped to educate and bring out the people to show that we were strongly opposed to this travesty of our beautiful coast and islands.
At the last minute, she hand-carried a video we made about the subject all the way to Lt. Gov. John Garamendi in Sacramento so that members of the State Lands Commission could see for themselves the urgency of the matter. And because of Carmen and a relative handful of others as clear-sighted, we won against the largest mining company in the world.
Carmen was honored and celebrated by her friends this past year. Officials from the city and the county, and even the state, paid homage for her service to the community.
With attorney Carmen Ramirez as City Council person, you will have an honest, hard-working, dedicated servant to the people of Oxnard. And this city needs more than ever her obvious intelligence, education and caring spirit.
-- Marcia Cummings Hubbard, Oxnard
(The writer is with Safe Air For Everyone. -- Editor)
Tony Strickland is the kind of person we need in the California Senate. Remember, it was Assemblyman Strickland in 2001 who, on his own, filed a suit against Gov. Gray Davis to release records disclosing the details of Davis' contracts with the utility companies. This action saved California taxpayers billions of dollars. The result of this effort by Strickland was the recall of Davis as governor.
Strickland must be elected. Otherwise, the Senate Democrats will have enough votes to pass any legislation they want. The balance in the Senate is that close.
Let's elect a leader who has proven himself in crisis: Tony Strickland for state Senate.
-- John Torkelsen, Camarillo
I have known Arlene Fraser for more than 20 years as she served in many leadership positions to make Oxnard and Port Hueneme a great place to live, work and educate our children.
She served to promote public safety in Oxnard and was co-chair for the Oxnard Community K-9 Foundation. Arlene is a strong advocate for businesses and continues to keep informed and in contact with many of our local elected officials and military leaders. She has worked closely with the Oxnard Harbor District board and is extremely knowledgeable about the port operations.
I endorse Arlene Naomi Fraser for harbor commissioner and ask for your vote to elect Arlene on Tuesday. She is a dedicated and hard-working leader in our community.
-- Michael Plisky, Oxnard
(The writer is an Oxnard Harbor District commissioner. -- Editor)
Ferial Masry is a high school teacher who is running for the state Assembly. Her passion is to improve our California schools. When my children were in school, we had the best schools in the nation; now our schools rank at about 48th in the nation. When you improve schools good things happen -- the economy improves, prison populations drop, etc. It's so clear. I am voting for Ferial Masry for better schools.
-- Nagma Gandhi, Camarillo
I'm fed up with news stories over the past years of some goofball who goes by the name of John Flynn. I can't believe this clown has somehow ended up on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. It must have been extreme luck or an accident!
Flynn's screwball antics of belligerent, malicious and trashy patterns of consistently immature public behavior are definitely not of the type of caliber of politician that we should allow to be representing such a special and wonderful place in which we all live -- our gorgeous and productive Ventura County! In public, a politician should behave like a public servant with polished and diplomatic mannerisms at all times! That's a big part of the reason that Flynn was entrusted with being given the huge privilege of being publicly elected to represent the residents of Ventura County.
Flynn's inexcusable conduct toward Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez and Oxnard Councilman John Zaragoza is a crystal-clear example of Flynn's trashy personality in outright public view. I'm sorry, but the time has finally arrived to never again elect to any office John Flynn, who has made a disgrace of himself and all the people he's supposed to be representing in our very beautiful and special Ventura County.
-- Louis Z. Alvarado Jr., Thousand Oaks
Why should I support Measure O? I need a better reason than "to enhance current services."
In my neighborhood, there is a uniformed police officer who routinely pulls up to his house in a city-owned police vehicle, opens the trunk and carries groceries inside his house. He uses his police vehicle to enhance his personal life. Will Measure O enhance this service? It's no wonder so many law enforcement personnel are supporting Measure O.
Recently, a city water services truck drove up to a house on my street that recently went into foreclosure and is now vacant. The city employee turned off the water at the house, and, in the process, he noticed that a barbecue propane tank was left behind, so he placed it in his city vehicle. How would Measure O enhance his service to the city of Oxnard?
With things like this going on in Oxnard, I cannot support such a measure.
-- Arthur Preston, Oxnard
Just a reminder for Santa Paula voters that when you go to the polls Tuesday, please support the Blanchard Community Library and vote yes on Measure L. This measure does not cost the taxpayer any additional money. What it does is give the library permission, required under the Gann limit of 1979, to spend the monies already collected for us.
Please help us keep helping the community. Vote yes on Measure L!
-- Suzi Skutley, Santa Paula
(The writer is a library trustee. -- Editor)
Re: your Oct. 28 editorial, "The 24th: Gallegly":
I see The Star endorsed Elton Gallegly for the 24th District of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Star missed the whole point of what people want: Change now, change we need.
Gallegly is a President Bush yes man. He needs to be changed out of office. Marta Jorgensen deserves to be part of the people's desire for change.
Elections for the House are every two years. Gallegly has been there more than 20 years. He has not distinguished himself. The Web site TheMiddleClass.org rated Gallegly on his House votes concerning middle-class issues from 2003 to 2008. While 2008 is not over, Gallegly earned F's for the other years. The Sierra Club gave him four out of four thumbs down for his votes on environmental issues.
The 2006 Congress was called "do nothing." Bush's threat of a veto made the House that way. We need a House that can truly be representative of the people. To override a presidential veto, we need a super majority in Congress, a super majority of Democrats in the House.
Send Gallegly packing. Vote Marta Jorgensen.
-- Laurel Hewson, Ventura
With families prioritizing budgets and managing expenses due to the economic crisis, let's take a look at a few proposals to see if they might help.
We've got the iTunes tax, the plastic bag tax, the beer tax, the Internet tax, the global warming tax, removing mortgage interest rate deductions for homeowners, closing the senior tax credit, increasing the car tax, the gas tax, raising income taxes, new taxes on business and proposals to enact a local income tax in addition to the state and federal income tax we already pay.
Not interested in this kind of help? Vote for Tony Strickland on Tuesday and keep Taxin' Jackson far away from Sacramento.
-- Tressa Golden, Ventura
My boyfriend and I moved to Ventura from Northern California a year ago. As I've always done after a move, I registered to vote. We voted in the February primaries and have not changed our address since.
I've been eagerly anticipating Tuesday's election and have worked to encourage people to register to vote. One of the tools I've used has been www.voteforchange.com, a site where people can verify their registration, register and find their polling place. I checked my registration to verify the system worked. It did. But when my boyfriend received his election materials in the mail and I did not, I began to worry.
I called the Ventura County Recorder's Office and spoke with a lady who checked my information and told me my registration had been placed on hold. She couldn't tell me why or when, but she removed the hold and said that she would send out a sample ballot.
I decided to call back and ask a few questions. This time, a different lady took my call. She couldn't tell me why my registration had been placed on hold, but said it could have been because a mailing had been returned. I asked what the office would be sending me between elections. She could not think of anything. I asked if someone on "hold" could vote.
"No," she said.
I am not sure what triggered this "hold." My surname? The way I voted in the primary?
I urge everyone who is registered to vote but who has not received election materials to contact the Recorder's Office immediately -- http://recorder.countyofventura.org or 654-2781.
This election is far too important to have our voting right put on "hold." Remember to take some form of identification with you to the polls on Tuesday.
-- Juanita De Luna, Ventura
I have known U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly for more than 30 years.
Elton has proved he will fight and win for our rights. He has proved this time and time again as an elected servant of the people.
We are privileged to have such a bright, dedicated, creative, responsible individual serving as our congressman. Elton has justly earned the right to be returned to Congress.
I hope you will join me on Tuesday in voting for a man with integrity, commitment, leadership, accountability and vision -- a man we can all be proud to be called our congressman: Elton Gallegly.
-- Robert O. Huber, Simi Valley
To the intolerant, cowardly individual who stole the "Yes on 8" yard signs from Willow Hill Drive at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26: Isn't it interesting that most shameful deeds are done under the veil of darkness, when evil lurks? If your actions were right and just, you would have had the courage to act in broad daylight.
-- Jim Dzwilewski, Moorpark
Conejo Valley schools were good when I attended them 30 years ago. California schools now rank 48th in the nation. Ferial Masry is committed to improving our schools, and so I'm voting for her for state Assembly.
-- Cliff Severn, Newbury Park
In January of this year, I attended a public meeting where the plan for the redevelopment of Thousand Oaks Boulevard was discussed by the board of the Boulevard Improvement District. That plan proposes 55-foot high buildings, with businesses on the bottom floor and apartments or condos on the top stories. More accurately, the plan calls for an average height of 55 feet, or five stories. Plus, there would be a 10-foot bonus if the developer provides underground parking.
Picture these multistory buildings lining the length of Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just as they do on Ventura Boulevard, and then think of all the cars belonging to the people living in all those buildings. The consultant admitted that there would be a lot of traffic but that "slower traffic won't kill anybody."
This is the specific plan for Thousand Oaks that some council members claim to not know about, even though two local newspapers have documented it. The city has it and is sitting on it until the election is over.
I plan to vote for the candidates who do not pretend that there is no plan. I'll vote for the candidates who understand that we can't sell out to future developers, who will point back to these bad economic times and say, "But this was all approved long ago."
Please join me in voting for Al Adam and Holly LaRue for Thousand Oaks City Council. They will represent the residents and stand up to special interests.
-- James T. Aidukas, Thousand Oaks
Proposition 4, the parental notification ballot measure, is a common-sense measure to insure that at least one parent is aware that a daughter is about to have an abortion.
However, those opposing this initiative, such as Planned Parenthood, are trying to have it both ways with abortion. On the one hand, they downplay abortion as just another medical procedure, tantamount to removing a clump of cells, instead of the termination of human life that it really is. On the other hand, whenever attempts are made to regulate abortion, they vigorously oppose them, as if this medical procedure deserves special protection.
If it is just a routine medical procedure, why should not a minor's parents be notified, as is required for virtually all other medical procedures done on minors?
-- Noel D'Angelo, Thousand Oaks
Save Open Space/Santa Monica Mountains is a very successful all-volunteer regional organization. SOS endorses candidates in nonpartisan offices who best adhere to planning guidelines that help put a brake on overdevelopment with its unplanned traffic congestion.
The key to protecting open space, our scenic hillsides, good air quality, and, in turn, stopping traffic congestion lies in electing candidates who can be trusted to represent the citizens first. SOS endorses Planning Commissioner Al Adam and community activist Holly LaRue, who will bring a breath of fresh air to the Thousand Oaks City Council.
Al and Holly will represent residents first over the developers and their attorneys who unfortunately seem to have an undue influence in this wonderful city. SOS trusts Al and Holly to help put a brake on overdevelopment in Thousand Oaks. In Thousand Oaks, overdevelopment is creating congested traffic that overwhelms major intersections with timely delays that allow no U-turns.
Al and Holly will not approve any more too-high and massive projects that block the scenic Highway 101 viewsheds. SOS can best trust Al and Holly to protect the existing Scenic Resource Open Space designation on Rancho Potrero (Broome Ranch) in Newbury Park. SOS and Save Our Ring of Green were ignored when the City Council failed to apply the intent of their hillside protection ordinance for minimal grading and allowed a huge mansion with massive grading on a scenic hillside. Will your backyard and/or views of a scenic hillside be next?
Elect Al and Holly for Thousand Oaks City Council and, along with Claudia Bill-de la Peña, you will be listened to!
For Triunfo Water District, SOS endorses Michael Paule, who has a long list of community credentials and will help bring democracy and a long overdue at-large all-elected board to Triunfo.
-- Mary E. Wiesbrock, Agoura Hills
(The writer chairs Save Open Space/Santa Monica Mountains. -- Editor)
Audra Strickland has already done so much in her fight against the Camarillo prison facility the federal receiver is trying to put in our community. Can we afford to elect someone who has not been on the inside track during this effort? Strickland already has the team to keep this prison facility out. Taxpayers for a Safe Ventura County is an impressive team of elected officials and legal experts that Audra Strickland will lead against the prison hospital.
-- Don Otto, Simi Valley
An article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. titled "Block the Vote," regarding voter purging and blocking, in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine is a must read.
Until I read this article, I had no idea how serious the problem has been and continues to be. There is clear evidence that it has been happening since the 1980 elections, and the efforts, in 2002, to reform the practice were corrupted by two Republicans who were imprisoned for their role in the conspiracy -- Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Bob Ney.
The result has been that the "reforms" created actually duplicated the corrupt practices used in Florida that inspired the call for reforms and have now made it harder for more citizens to vote. In case after case, Republican election officials at the local and state level have used various new -- invalid -- rules to give GOP candidates an edge on Election Day. Since 2004, the Bush administration and more than a dozen states have taken steps to impede voter registration targeting minorities, the poor, the elderly and the young. They target new and veteran voters. To justify the new rules, the Republicans charged an increase in "voter fraud" among Democrats. Investigations found none, or very rare cases.
In the purging of legitimate voters, states report that, all told, there have been 10 million voters scrubbed from their rolls between 2004 and 2006 on questionable grounds. That is just one of six different methods used to prevent even more from voting. If this hadn't happened in Ohio in 2004, John Kerry would have won that state, among others, the article states. On MSNBC, Kennedy said 37,000 voters were purged recently in a three-week period. He also said there is a real possibility that this practice could change this election.
-- Jance Marten, Thousand Oaks
It is apparently an overlooked fact that the news media do not want or may be educated enough to tell the people that the popular vote does not elect the next president, that it is in fact the appointed corps of Electoral College folks, all 538 of them, who select our next president. The winner will be determined by 270 of them. A recent poll shows Barack Obama has the support/backing of 272, while 87 are uncommitted, with the remainder going toward John McCain. This poll was done by a major news group.
It seems the original idea was good when the South had slaves who were not represented. However, today, the popular vote does not count, and the gerrymandering, bribes and kickbacks have taken over, which are all illegal but done under cover of backroom deal-makings. It boils down to a system where my vote for the president does not really count. It does for every other issue and candidate.
It is time for change of this system that has already proved the popular vote is not giving us the popular vote results. With the millions poured into the campaigns that could feed millions of hungry people, reduce our national debt and provide services that are being cut back due to lack of funding, that change should start with the election process. It is apparently not going to happen with the current elected Congress. When someone says change, let's change the things that need an immediate fix. This is an issue that needs a champion.
It is time the news media in all forms stood up and reported the real news, not some reporter's idea of what he thinks is newsworthy.
-- Roger Meyers, Westlake Village
Tony Knight has some nerve to accept a raise when all other local superintendents waived theirs. His salary is comparable to the pay of much larger districts and, on top of that, he gets a raise in his gas allowance. Why the gas allowance? Oak Park is relatively small, with five schools. Does he also use one of the four Suburbans that Oak Park wasted money on from the last bond measure for personal use?
Let's vote no on Measure R and see if our school board can learn to live within a budget and keep the spending under control.
-- Dave McDonald, Oak Park
This election, voters will decide who will run our county schools. The question is: "Will the parents or the unions control my child's future?"
Mark Lisagor has received a lot of money from various unions and labor organizations. He has also received a lot of money from very liberal democratic clubs and organizations.
Chris Valenzano, on the other hand, has served as a voice of parents and taxpayers. He has brought increased accountability to the board and has stood up to union labor bosses. He has also fought to ensure that local school districts don't harm our kids by caring more about the dollars the kids bring into the district than they do about what is in the best of our children.
Your vote will matter on Tuesday. Join me in taking a stance against special interest groups by keeping Valenzano on the Ventura County Board of Education.
-- Kori Varner, Camarillo
I think my daddy has done a good job as president of the county school board. I have been to a lot of his meetings, and he runs them very well. He is very fair and lets everyone talk about whatever they want to talk about. My daddy is active in my school and is a good parent. Please tell everyone to vote for my daddy, Chris Valenzano.
-- Teylor Valenzano, Camarillo
(The writer is a fourth-grade student at Rancho Rosal School. -- Editor)
Chris Valenzano is the best person to serve as our representative on the Ventura County Board of Education. I say this not only because he is my husband, but because I know that he has personally committed himself to a life of public service.
At an early age, Chris was recognized for his service to our community when he was named Camarillo's 1997 Youth of the Year. Since that time, his desire to help people has grown, and it has made him the great person we all know him to be.
Chris is presently employed as an emergency medical technician on one of our county's 911 ambulances and is an emergency manager with the U.S. Air Force and the California Air National Guard. He is also currently serving as president of the Ventura County Board of Education.
During his time on the board, Chris has served on the California County Board of Education's Legislative Committee and as a member of the Governor's Statewide Education Coalition.
Prior to his election to the board, Chris worked in the California Assembly for four years as a legislative aide and also worked with the California Community College Chancellor's Office to improve higher education in our community.
Chris has been very active as a coach for youth sports programs and is a true advocate of parental rights. Please support my husband's bid for re-election to the Ventura County Board of Education.
-- Deyla Valenzano, Camarillo
John Zaragoza, accompanied by several supporter/protectors, shattered the machismo image of Hispanics by becoming "frightened" during his confrontation with John Flynn, a man eight years his senior, at 75, and six inches shorter, reminding us of the scripture account of David and Goliath. I might have voted for Zaragoza had he not proved, once and for all, he does not have the courage to represent the 5th District against East County supervisors who regard Oxnard as the Ventura County ugly duckling.
A review of Zaragoza's 12 years on the council does not include a single original idea or initiative. His single attempt to recognize survivors of Oxnard homicides failed miserably and was dropped immediately when Tom Holden, Dean Maulhardt and Andres Herrera showed no interest. Apart from this pale attempt, Zaragoza has failed in every aspect of community advocacy.
If I thought Zaragoza would come to my house trick-or-treating, I would hang up an image of John Flynn to "frighten" him away.
-- Miguel Espinosa Jr., Oxnard
Every two years, we have the right and responsibility to hold our representatives in Congress accountable for what they've done on our behalf for the past two years.
Elton Gallegly, again, has earned our vote. He fought for real immigration reform, not amnesty. He fought for real Wall Street reform, not a bailout. He serves on four full committees that oversee our criminal justice system, intelligence apparatus, foreign affairs and federal open spaces -- a workload his party leaders know he can handle and handle well.
He was the first Republican to pass a stand-alone bill when the Democrats took over Congress -- proof of the respect he has on both sides of the aisle. He joined with Democratic colleagues again in the aftermath of the Metrolink train crash to pass legislation to increase train safety.
He comes home every week, yet maintains a 98 percent voting attendance record in Washington.
Elton Gallegly has represented us well. I urge you to join me in re-electing him as our representative.
-- Bob Lagomarsino, Ventura
Oxnard needs Dr. Tom Holden as mayor. In these uncertain economic times, it is imperative that we continue under Holden's effective leadership if we are to weather this storm successfully. As a businessman, I support Holden as mayor, as I've seen him consider all issues very carefully in trying to find ways to effectively resolve and work with people, not against them. We simply cannot afford to listen to the naysayers who do not get their way and try to bully us with initiatives that are not in best interest of our city.
Contrary to what has been said, Measure V will not do anything to resolve Oxnard's traffic issues. The city's own independent consultant said the passage of Measure V would have tremendous negative effects on the city, and I believe it would take decades to restore the city's current financial stability. As has been documented for the past couple of years, Oxnard's general plan provides a strategic plan for how traffic issues can be resolved, and I am confident we will continue to succeed if we have stable and visionary leadership as demonstrated by Holden.
For the past 22 years, my family and I have been continually impressed and grateful for Holden's dedication and service to the city of Oxnard. He has lifelong roots and maintains a vision that benefits all who reside in our beautiful and vibrant city. For the sake of our community, I urge all Oxnard residents to re-elect Dr. Tom Holden as mayor.
-- Rick Gill, Oxnard
For 30 years, Bryan MacDonald has served this community working for the Oxnard Police Department and retiring in June of 2006. I have known Bryan not as a police officer, but rather through his community involvement as a resident of this fine city.
Bryan has been involved with the Oxnard Salsa Festival, the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts of America and as judge for the Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Award, to name just a few of his charitable devotions. It is through activities such as these that I have come to know and respect Bryan and his love for our community.
Bryan is now looking to take his public service to the next level and is a candidate for Oxnard City Council. I laud Bryan for his continued commitment to the city and am proud to support him in this endeavor. Bryan has a passion for the well-being of Oxnard that is second to none, and I encourage each of you to vote for Oxnard's future by voting for Bryan MacDonald.
-- Pablo F. Ortiz, Oxnard
It has been very interesting watching the Hannah-Beth Jackson/Tony Strickland Senate race unfold. As the candidate who narrowly lost to Strickland in 1998 and again in 2000, I am not surprised to read of his misleading qualifications for the job. The idea that Strickland is an environmentalist touting the benefits of alternative energy is truly unwarranted, since I was twice endorsed by the Sierra Club. His qualifications then and now consist of no real-world experience and a phantom company.
He and his wife continue to run on their reputations as two "experienced" GOP aides in Sacramento. This county needs to be represented by people who have held jobs in the free-enterprise system and who understand the day-to-day reality of making a living. Professional politicians who think they know what's best for their constituents -- when, in reality, they don't have a clue -- have no place in Sacramento. In my opinion, it is time for both of them to get a real job in their community and let Jackson, an experienced attorney, and Ferial Masry, an experienced teacher, take the lead in Sacramento. Both of these highly qualified women better understand the needs of Ventura County's working men and women and their children than the Stricklands, who are career politicians.
-- Roz McGrath, Camarillo
Please vote for Carmen Ramirez for Oxnard City Council. I have known Carmen for more than 20 years in both professional and social capacity. Carmen is competent, intelligent and compassionate.
I first met Carmen when I was hired at the Ventura County Public Defender's Office in 1984. At that time, she was executive director of Channel Counties Legal Services Association. If my clients had a legal problem -- i.e. housing or job discrimination -- that I was not able to address, I would refer them to Carmen and know that they would not get lost in a bureaucratic maze. Later, when Carmen coordinated the Ventura Superior Court's Self-Help Legal Access Center, located in the Colonia, we continued to share our information. I would help her with any juvenile law questions, and I would continue to refer clients and their parents to Carmen for all other legal concerns.
Carmen has the ability to focus on an individual's specific problem and resolve it. She can also look at the big picture and rally others to her vision, which helped mightily in defeating the recent liquefied natural gas platform proposal for the coast of California.
Carmen's breadth of legal and managerial experience coupled with her inherent advocacy of the poor and disenfranchised will be of great benefit to the city of Oxnard. I urge all Oxnard voters to join me in voting for Carmen Ramirez for Oxnard City Council.
-- Alison Ayers O'Neill, Oxnard
Re: Craig Chapman's Oct. 26 letter, "Respect right to free speech":
Chapman describes himself as a priest of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I think it important to point out that Chapman is a priest in the Episcopal Church, not the Catholic Church, and that his present church, All Saints, is neither Episcopal nor Catholic.
I do, however, support his rally for free speech and abhor the fact that signs are being removed from private property. This has been a problem for people on both sides of this debate.
-- Cathy Schneir, Santa Paula
On Tuesday, the voters of Santa Paula will have a clear choice to make in voting for two new City Council members. If the voters wish to go down the well-beaten path of the pre-2006 City Council by approving an excessive numbers of subsidized low-end housing projects, Jennifer Matos is the candidate of choice. But if Matos is elected, that will leave the door open to more financial stress on our city, tasked to provide low-income housing and the services needed for such projects that pay no real estate taxes. Her alignment with the governance philosophies and practices of the former council has been demonstrated in many ways while sitting on the Planning Commission, and by her statements recently made, including at the candidates debate.
However, to those voters wanting a business approach to be taken to governing our city, I strongly suggest and recommend they cast their vote for Jim Tovias and Fred Robinson. These two seasoned businessmen are exactly what Santa Paula needs at this time to gain the economic strength that is so desperately needed by our city. Santa Paula has the potential of being the premier city in Ventura County; all that's needed is the right leadership.
Both Fred and Jim are longtime Santa Paula residents, and they are fully aware of the issues and solutions that our city needs to realize its potential that will benefit us all. I urge everyone to vote for Tovias and Robinson.
-- Larry S. Sagely, Santa Paula
Santa Paula is very fortunate in that it has three good people running for only two open City Council seats on Tuesday. One is a lady with good credentials and character, an academic, Jennifer Matos. The other two are both gentlemen from the business and financial world.
Under the critical economic circumstances we now find all around us, and in the city of Santa Paula specifically, who can best attack the city's financial challenges? That is the question. The voters elected two good men in 2006, and the council has done an excellent job in getting the wastewater treatment plant contract awarded, and it is finally coming up out of the ground.
We need to keep this momentum going. Please think seriously about city finances when you vote. Fred Robinson and Jim Tovias have the edge over their opponent when it comes to business and finance; I think that should tip the scale in their favor.
-- Richard Main, Santa Paula
I boarded the flight and sat down in my window seat in coach. Then a huge person sat down next to me. The person's massive legs, arms and shoulders pushed me out of shape and compressed me against the inside wall of the airplane, unable to move. I told myself it was OK, no problem, just live with it. That lasted for about a minute and a half, then I was up, out of the seat, up the aisle, out the door, back up the ramp, into the terminal, and talking very sincerely to the airline person at the gate desk about the next flight from O'Hare to LAX. "Sorry," I said, "I can't sit in that seat. No way."
I'm voting yes on Proposition 2. It makes factory farmers do what they should have done in the first place, which is to give creatures the chance to move around. Proposition 2 is about more humanity and less greed.
-- Nelson Wallace, Ventura
Re: your Oct. 26 editorial, "Time to unify in Camarillo":
The Star's endorsement of Measure U ignores several key facts regarding this so-called unification:
-- Local control matters. The Pleasant Valley School District board, the "local control" for Camarillo's elementary schools, has in the past 10 years closed schools, failed to give their teachers promised raises and reduced or eliminated the GATE, AVID, structured and open programs. Sandra Berg, Ron Speakman and Patty Lerner -- current PVSD board members -- are now running for a seat on the proposed Camarillo Unified School District. If this board cannot successfully run a K-8 district, how can it be entrusted with a K-12?
-- The current economic climate matters. "Schools await news of possible cuts"; "Schwarzenegger to U.S.: State may need $7 billion loan"; and "Ride out the storm (and) avoid big spending and risks." These are all recent news headlines. Ask the homeowner who purchased a home three years ago. Ask the retiree whose IRAs have evaporated in the past few months. Now is not the time to take the financial risk of unification.
-- Increased taxes matter. Proponents of Measure U claim that "taxes will not be raised. Not one penny." This is untrue. Measure U will increase taxes to Camarillo and Somis; a future bond issue by the new district will cost two-thirds more to these taxpayers than if it were paid within our current high school district. Measure U will increase taxes to Oxnard and Port Hueneme; they will have to shoulder the burden for 100 percent of Measure H, the $135 million dollar bond passed in 2004.
-- The impact on educational programs matters. Over 85 percent of Camarillo High School teachers have said they will leave if Measure U passes. The Camarillo Unified School District candidates have no authority to negotiate with those teachers, nor do they have the millions of dollars necessary to "grandfather" benefits. Educational programming will be impacted at Camarillo, Rio Mesa, Hueneme, Channel Islands, Oxnard and Pacifica, as teachers will be forced to relocate or be laid off.
-- Oxnard matters. Why was PVSD the only school district to pass a resolution in support of Measure U? Because the other seven school districts in the Camarillo-Oxnard area know that Measure U is bad for students.
-- 4AlltheKids was named because we truly believe that children are our most valuable resource. For all the kids of Oxnard, Camarillo, Port Hueneme and Somis, please vote no on Measure U.
-- Sol Chooljian, Camarillo
(The writer is a member of the executive committee of 4AllTheKids.org. -- Editor)
Before you vote, you might want to Google Tony Strickland.
-- Richard Willhardt, Ventura
I am voting for Councilman Tim Flynn for mayor of Oxnard.
I watch all the Oxnard City Council meetings on the local cable Channel 10. As a 46-year resident of Oxnard, I have a vested interest in our city and want to be informed. Sometimes I also attend the council meetings and share my concerns.
Repeatedly, Flynn has stated that he wants to work with his colleagues on the council to improve the city. Many times, however, all he gets is a hostile response from the mayor and the other council members. Frequently, city staff refuses to give information to Flynn that has been shared with the rest of the council.
While the other council members keep saying that the city is "clean and prosperous" and they don't want to hear anything bad about Oxnard, Flynn knows we can do better.
Flynn praises what is good about Oxnard, but he also recognizes that improvements must be made in order to have attractive neighborhoods. He sees what the residents see: that older neighborhoods and shopping centers have been neglected while the city just keeps building yet another big new development.
We need Tim Flynn as mayor to improve our neighborhoods and support our residents.
-- Shirley Godwin, Oxnard
I received a political mailer in favor of Tony Strickland titled, "The Bottom Line." It showed a diapered baby on the front cover. After reading the message inside, I understood the reason for the diaper.
-- Virginia Stiles Hambro, Camarillo
I have been a teacher in the Pleasant Valley School District for 17 years. I have worked for unification for 10 years. About the only thing I haven't done for this cause is write a letter to the editor, and after reading the misinformation that is contained in other letters to the editor, I finally can stand it no longer.
It was stated that Los Altos Middle School was closed because of "inadequate facilities." Not true. It was closed because of low enrollment. It could become a "magnet" school and would attract those students who prefer a smaller high school, or those interested in technology, performing arts, etc. It would be a local decision!
Opponents of Measure U state that taxes will go up if it passes. Also not true. Taxes in Camarillo could not go up unless the community voted to pass a bond. Actually, the real truth is that taxes would go up if Measure U does not pass. Measure H, a bond that was passed several years ago, has not been spent yet. However, it will be spent if unification does not go through, and it will show up on our tax bill. Also, it will be spent building high schools in Oxnard, not Camarillo. There is a much greater need in Oxnard than in Camarillo. If Measure U passes, they will keep that bond money, and they will pay for it, not us.
It has been stated that teachers would lose their jobs if Measure U passes. Also not true. The jobs would be there for everyone. They would just have to decide where they want to teach.
So, if you want local control of issues and want to keep taxes in Camarillo to spend on our students, programs, facilities and teachers, join me in voting yes on Measure U.
-- Brenda Schearer, Camarillo
It is with a tremendous sense of pride that we urge our neighbors across the river to vote for Carmen Ramirez for Oxnard City Council. Oxnard is privileged to have such a brilliant, capable, dedicated public servant running for local office.
Carmen is a top lawyer, community activist and global traveler. Talk about thinking globally and acting locally -- that's Carmen! She visited us in Bulgaria while Robert was teaching there in 2004 on a Fulbright Scholar grant so that she could see firsthand that relatively unknown part of the world that was and still is struggling to establish its own identity after years of Soviet oppression. The theme of her work always has been empowering people to seek their own economic, social and personal destinies and thereby benefiting society as a whole.
From her campaign to defeat the offshore liquefied natural gas port, to her leadership in Channel County Legal Services, and now CAUSE, which is focused on sustainability, Ramirez works to realize a better world for all of us. Always attentive to people's real needs, she's incorruptible, very hard-working and outfitted with skills and credentials that make her an asset to any community.
This very talented and celebrated public servant will repay your support with outstanding and award-winning leadership every community needs. Having benefited from her many civic contributions so far, Oxnard will be a better place with Carmen Ramirez on the City Council.
-- Robert & Paula Chianese, Ventura
I'm supporting Dr. Ramon Flores for Ventura County Board of Education on Tuesday, and I encourage everyone who cares about our children, grandchildren and our neighbors' children to step up and vote for him. He has prepared himself and is truly dedicated to serving our students, parents, teachers, school administration staff and the residents of Ventura County.
Flores has proved this through achieving his own educational goals, been fully engulfed in his children's education, volunteered for several organizations and is well-respected by all who meet him due to his high standards for himself and those around him.
On a broader aspect, Flores' endorsements are many: The Star; the California Teachers Association; Channel Islands Service Center Council; the American Federation of Teachers, Local 4434; the Oxnard Educators Association; Dr. Charles Weis, former Ventura County superintendent of schools; and the trustees from the Oxnard elementary and Rio school districts, among others.
With so many educational entities supporting Flores, it's apparent that he is the best candidate for Area 5 of the Ventura County Board of Education.
-- Jeff Burland, Oxnard
Do you remember the Dr. Seuss story about Horton the Elephant, the one who sat through heat and rain and freezing cold to hatch a cowbird's egg that was entrusted to him? As Horton said, "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent."
You may not know that Horton had a brother, Elton. Elton the Elephant was faithful, too. He was faithful to the Republican Party. He was so faithful that he never, ever, even once, voted any way but the way the party leaders told him to vote. He never thought things out for himself. He never considered what the people who elected him wanted or needed.
He always voted the way he was told to vote. When he was told to vote for the war, he voted for the war. When he was told to vote against benefits for the veterans who fought in the war, he voted against the benefits. When he was told to vote for more wiretapping of citizens' telephones without court orders, he did. When he was told not to vote for banning torture, he didn't. Just like Horton, Elton was faithful 100 percent.
Elton -- his last name was Gallegly -- told the people to vote for him again because he had so much experience. Of course, the only thing he had experience with was doing what he was told. He didn't know how to solve problems. He didn't know how to work with members of another party to come up with solutions. But the people said, "No thanks, Elton. Your way of doing things has made a terrible mess. We're going to vote for Marta Jorgensen because she will work with others to solve problems."
-- Jane Tate, Camarillo
Re: your Oct. 24 editorial, "Oxnard mayor, council seats":
I admire The Star recommending women for Oxnard City Council. The other woman running, Deirdre Frank, has my respect and vote.
Deirdre is a very strong figure who has raised a son as a single mother while working full-time as an attorney. There's a lot to be said for a woman who ran for mayor in 2004 and came in second, with over 30 percent of the votes. She has experience with problem-solving as a judge pro-tem, handling civil cases. She is vice chair of the Oxnard Planning Commission and chairs the Ventura County Civil Service Commission. She is big on green and has been very active with protecting the Oxnard coast. When she's not busy, you can find this UCLA alumna walking around the Oxnard Shores area picking up trash.
Frank also favors improving public transportation, increasing nonsport activities for youth, expanding activities for seniors, creating a community garden and roughly doubling the size of the city's Code Enforcement Department.
She is unhappy with huge projects being processed through planning ahead of the update of the general plan. She could be a great asset to the people of Oxnard if she were to win a seat on the City Council.
-- Patricia Einstein, Oxnard
There is a very good reason why 100 percent of Ventura County's school superintendents have endorsed Hannah-Beth Jackson for the state Senate. She takes an active role in our children's education, and she listens.
During my 12 years on the Ventura Unified School District Board of Trustees, I have often needed to contact my local Assembly members on various issues that pertain to the education and well-being of our children. Hannah-Beth returned my phone calls, listened to my concerns and did everything she could to help.
She passed legislation to make schools safer and to give teachers tax credits for the materials they buy with their own money for their classrooms. She attended many events in our district and made her presence known. She has received numerous awards for her work in the education arena.
Tony Strickland, her opponent in the state Senate race, also received phone calls from me when he was in the Assembly. He never returned them.
Our children are our greatest gift to the future. They deserve legislators who are engaged partners in our school communities. That is why the education community has thrown its overwhelming support behind Hannah-Beth Jackson.
-- Debbie Golden, Ventura
We do not need another law passed here in Oxnard that will not be enforced.
Measure V is to help the traffic here in Oxnard. Having lived here for six years, I have the perfect solution to the traffic problems. Ticket the people who drive 20 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. Ticket the people who drive down the center media to make a left turn. If the Oxnard Police Department would enforce current traffic laws, I have a feeling traffic would flow much more smoothly.
-- Ted Maloney, Oxnard
Unification is not good for our students!
Why are proponents of Measure U so afraid of those opposed to it? At twilight, I went out, and when I returned after dark, the "No on Measure U" sign that had been in my yard for a month was ripped up and thrown under a tree. Several of my neighbors have had their "No on Measure U" signs stolen as well.
It is a crime to destroy private property. Our Constitution provides free speech for everyone. Why must the proponents of Measure U resort to destruction of property after dark?
I have repaired my sign, and it is once again in my front yard. I will continue to oppose Measure U.
If Measure U is such a good thing for Camarillo, why are so many students, teachers and taxpayers opposed to it? It is because it is not good for our students.
I'm going to vote no on Measure U.
-- Carol Evans, Camarillo
Though Tom McClintock is no longer germane to Ventura County voters, the question of his residence does pose an interesting fact for the future should he ever again want to represent this community.
Having been termed-out of the California Senate, McClintock is now running for the congressional seat representing the 4th District, which stretches from Sacramento north to the Oregon border. McClintock claims that his home in Sacramento makes him a resident of that district. If so, his "official" residence in Thousand Oaks was a mere convenient fiction. And the basis upon which he represented the 19th California Senate District all these past years was a fraud.
I know that it's too late to worry about McClintock's manipulation of residency requirements on the local scene. But the next time he comes knocking, remember the term "carpetbagger."
-- Martin Parker, Thousand Oaks
Cast an informed vote, not a "party" vote. We don't owe political parties our loyalty. They owe us. They owe us better candidates and better government. They owe us leadership.
Carole Lutness, a dynamic challenger for the 38th Assembly seat, is our opportunity to restore honor to our state government.
The Web site www.VoteSmart.org shows that the incumbent received an F from environmental and healthcare organizations, consumer protection agencies, labor advocates, public transportation and women's rights groups. Why? Because he voted against one-payer healthcare for all, against lower drug costs, against disallowing polluted water to count as available for development (why do we have water shortages?), against slowing development in wildfire areas and requiring two exits in case of fire, and for development in Half Moon Bay, strongly opposed by people in that area and environmental groups statewide.
The 38th Assembly District incumbent has received most of his campaign funds from health maintenance organizations, major pharmaceutical companies, developers and tobacco, alcohol and oil corporations. The secretary of state Web site, www.sos.ca.gov, has information about all candidates for all offices, as all candidates must report to the secretary of state all campaign funds they receive.
Carole has long supported clean money in elections. A vote for Carole is a vote to restore openness and ethical actions in government.
See Carole's platform at www.lutness4assembly.com to be impressed by her lifelong work for good government. Then give her the opportunity to do as much for our state.
-- Sally Chase Clark, Santa Clarita
Kudos to The Star for exposing the no-growth plot that is Measure V. Notice that I said "no growth," not slow growth.
The people who are terrified that someone may actually own a business or earn a living in Ventura County are at it again with this radical measure. Earlier this year, the same people approved a quadrupling of the traffic mitigation fees on projects in Oxnard. Now they don't even want to collect that money, which pays for road improvements, because Measure V would prohibit the projects that pay those fees. It makes no sense.
Putting even modest projects up to a public vote will make it next to impossible for businesses to survive in Oxnard. These projects include older developed properties that want to rebuild with no new square footage and already-approved projects that are in the plan check or permits phase. There are even some projects just finishing construction where their final phases will be caught in Measure V and require a public vote. How ridiculous is that?
Do you hate entrepreneurs? Hate business owners that provide jobs? Hate opportunity? Then Measure V is for you. As for the level-headed, logical majority in Oxnard, I am confident they will vote no on Measure V.
-- Jim Slaught, Oxnard
I wish Measure V did do something to solve traffic in our city. The problem is simple: It does not. And the problems it will cause are not simple.
The supporters of Measure V state that this is a grassroots effort and they are being countered by a well-financed effort to defeat it.
The fact that the initiative was created by people with no planning experience unfortunately is the problem. The funding of an effort to defeat the initiative is due to the fact that so much potential for harm exists.
The requirement of improving all intersections within a five-mile radius of a project is an impossible request. The cost and risk of placing projects on the ballot would be too high. Therefore we have brought the city to a halt. I realize that some people might think that is just fine, except for the following:
-- Traffic will in fact grow worse due to exemptions and accepted limited growth with no funds for any future traffic improvements.
-- Small businesses will not be able to expand, and large businesses with needs greater than 10,000 square feet will relocate and associated jobs will be lost.
-- The areas of the city that need to be redeveloped will be left neglected and remain eyesores.
These are a few of the reasons that a counter effort had to be made on this measure.
I hope all can see that no on Measure V is how we must vote.
-- Donna Stiles, Oxnard
Unlike his opponent, Chris Valenzano has a vested interest in ensuring that our schools are the best they can be. He has three young children, one of whom is already in a local public elementary school and two younger children who will soon be part of our public school system.
Valenzano is currently the only parent serving on the Ventura County Board of Education. As a parent myself, I believe we need to keep Valenzano on the board to represent us. A vote for Valenzano is a vote for parental control of our local schools.
-- Amanda Bennett, Camarillo
How soon we forget, people of Oxnard, especially Bartolo Square.
The city wanted to start a parking permit program, a program that Tim Flynn headed. He wasn't honest about this program. When asked if the permits would be free, he said they would be. He wasn't saying that we would have to start paying every year after that, nor did he want anyone to know. I had to fight him to stop this. Only after people found the real truth were they able to decide they did not want to have to pay to park on the street.
He is running for office as mayor of our city. If he is elected, there is a great chance he will be back again with this program. I fought hard to stop this once, but without backing from Mayor Tom Holden and Councilman John Zaragoza, I don't think we can stop it again.
Please vote for and re-elect Tom Holden as mayor and John Zaragoza as county supervisor. They were there when we needed them.
-- Walter Ontiveros, Oxnard
I am endorsing and heartily supporting Carole Lutness for the 38th Assembly District seat currently being held by Cameron Smyth.
Cameron is a cute kid, groomed, vetted, and elected by the good-old-boy establishment that has run this valley since its inception. Cameron has followed all the rules, met all of his party-line obligations, gotten his name in The Star at all the right times and signed all the pledges he has been asked to sign. Personally I think he is a nice-enough guy, with not an independent bone in his body. I don't believe he has ever stood on the firing line of any issue, held out for the middle or underserved people in his constituency or failed to pull down lots and lots of big bucks at election time. That's about all he has shown me, his constituent, and I have not, nor will I, vote for him.
Carole, on the other hand, has withstood the toxic press, has worked from sun-up to sundown for the people, the elderly, the low-income, the homeless, the neighborhoods impacted by behemoth development, the hills and valleys and streams of our earth, and even the union workers trying to make ends meet. Carole works for you, always has and always will. She doesn't work for money, never has and never will.
-- Mary L. Ashley-Fuchsman, Oxnard
Measure T would be acceptable if it were not for the sneakiness of the county supervisors. Two four-year terms would be preferable. But, three four-year terms would be acceptable. However, what the devious supervisors have done is to give themselves a time-out of four years after being in office for 12 years, then they can return for another 12 years.
Measure T should be defeated, and hopefully an honest term limits will someday appear on the ballot.
In the meantime, shame on the shifty supervisors.
-- Robert S. Kennedy Jr., Camarillo
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland is a proven tax fighter. While Democrat leadership proposed billions of dollars in tax hikes, Strickland has continued to fight against them. Tax hikes will not solve Sacramento's spending problem. We need more elected officials like Audra who can manage the state's budget -- not go on spending sprees. Time and time again, Democrat lawmakers turn to taxpayers for more of our money after they drive up the state's debt.
The more people in government who can fight our state's out-of-control spending, the sooner we will get out of this financial mess!
Vote for Audra Strickland on Tuesday.
-- Denise Nielsen, Santa Rosa Valley
It seems that daily we are all inundated on television, radio and by mail with mostly negative ads from Tony and Audra Strickland. The only reason Audra Strickland is in the state Assembly is that Tony was forced out by term limits, so now he is running again, this time for the state Senate.
Both of them cry out, "Keep cutting taxes," and Tony keeps yelling, "Taxin' Jackson" because Hannah-Beth Jackson wants to help reform our outdated California tax system. This is much like the advice Arnold Schwarzenegger was given by none other then Warren Buffett when Schwarzenegger became governor.
When I grew up in Van Nuys 50 years ago, California had the best schools and roads of the entire United States. But now they are nearly the worst, and what has caused this debacle? Nothing other then Proposition 13. Buffett told the governor that it was outdated and never should have included a tax freeze on commercial property and multimillion-dollar estates. It's hard to get new businesses to build factories when they have to compete against old ones that have been around for 30 years that aren't paying their fair share.
So the question is: Who has more credibility, Warren Buffett or the Stricklands? I'll pick Buffett.
The national government is in financial ruins because of President Bush and all the rubber-stamping Republicans, all the way down to the California state Assembly. I'll take Taxin' Jackson every time over the freeloading, leeching Stricklands. Audra should go back to teaching school, and Tony should find a real job!
-- John L. Thawley, Santa Paula
Re: your Oct. 24 article, "Fundraising by Strickland, Jackson tops $7 million":
Having known Tony Strickland for more than five years, perhaps one reason he is ahead is that, unlike Hannah-Beth Jackson who tells of "caring about the environment," Strickland cares more about the people of this area.
I met Strickland at his well-organized Seminar for Seniors many years ago. I learned a lot and even won a prize, "The Greatest Generation" book by Tom Brokaw. My husband was part of that generation, so I gave it to him.
I personally have always found Strickland to be a man of honor, integrity and trustworthiness. He fights for our community and is the only candidate locally who talks about how to fix our economy -- and without notes or a teleprompter feeding him lines.
-- Pat Cain, Camarillo
The Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, representing more than 700 local businesses, broke a 68-year tradition of not endorsing candidates and instead chose to support Tony Strickland for state Senate. This decision to pick sides in this race certainly says the chamber has noticed Tony's record of supporting our economy and looking out for local businesses.
It also says something about Strickland's opponent, Hannah-Beth Jackson: Her support of job-killing legislation and overall economic record has prompted organizations like the Camarillo Chamber to get in the game.
At a time when Ventura County businesses struggle to survive, let's not deal them another blow by electing Jackson. My vote for Strickland is a vote for our local economy.
-- Jan Edwards, Camarillo
Re: Thomas D. Elias' Oct. 19 Pulse page commentary, "Proposition 4 is third attempt to pass parental notification":
If we follow the logic of Elias' piece on Proposition 4, minor girls should be allowed to have any serious surgery they deem necessary without any adult family member even knowing about it. Isn't that patently absurd?
What if "Susie" decides she needs to have her stomach stapled because she's too fat and not prepared to deal with the stresses of being overweight? What if she is actually being coerced into obesity? Should sadistic force-feeders be able to get secret liposuctions for their victims?
Becoming pregnant can be very scary and stressful-- especially if one is 14. Fear and pressure could lead to bad decisions with serious medical repercussions. A minor would not be expected to make decisions about cancer treatment without her family, or given it without them knowing what care she needed after. Why should your daughter's boyfriend (or his mother) be able to get an abortion for your grandchild and put your daughter at risk without your knowledge?
Parental abuse is cited as a reason to avoid this law. The modification that refers to family members addresses this sad contingency. If such a law had been in place, perhaps Planned Parenthood would have rescued the little girl whose father raped her repeatedly instead of helping him to cover up with abortions.
As a side note: The possibility of parental abuse does not stop us from requiring parental notification before a minor gets a cavity filled or an aspirin from a school nurse. Why don't we presume the worst here, too?
Proposition 4 is not trying to impose cruel and unusual restrictions on minor girls. It is a common-sense step toward protecting them in difficult and stressful situations.
-- Therese P. Grimm, Ojai
Re: Eunice Koch's Oct. 24 letter, "Protect the vulnerable":
Contrary to what Koch says in her letter, Proposition 4 protects young women.
Without this law, girls of 15, 14 even 12 or 13 can get an abortion without anyone else knowing. Every single one of these girls is a victim of statutory rape. Planned Parenthood, making money off abortions, will not reveal the names of fathers to the authorities. Therefore, these men or boys can continue to prey on vulnerable young women.
If it is OK for these young girls to abort, why shouldn't the parents know? You cannot give an aspirin to a school child without the written permission of the parents.
At the clinics, by law, protesters stay back. So what if the expectant mom has to see pictures of aborted children? They are about to murder their own child. No one is being physically assaulted on the way to a clinic.
Let parents and schools teach responsibility. Having children is an adult job for a committed couple. Postpone sex, get educated and mature. Choose a suitable mate and then commit to raising them. If you do get pregnant, take the time to have the child and let adoptive parents raise it. That is truly the life-affirming choice.
It seems strange to me that folks opposed to war and capital punishment can be in favor of abortion.
For the sake of young and vulnerable women, please vote yes on Proposition 4.
-- Benedict Lucchese, Camarillo
Chris Valenzano is a product of our local school system who went on to graduate from CSUCI with a bachelor's degree in business with high honors. He was born and raised in Camarillo and now has a family of his own, including three young children who will also graduate from our local schools.
Chris is currently serving as our representative on the Ventura County Board of Education and as the president of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics. Chris also serves our community as an emergency manager in the U.S. Air Force and the California Air National Guard.
During his time on the board, Chris has proven to us that he has what it takes to improve our county's schools by bringing anti-gang money and emergency first responder programs into our community.
Chris has fought hard to ensure that our residents have the right to vote on the proposed Camarillo school unification, and he has stood up against the state's proposal to tear down the youth correctional facility in an effort to prevent the state from building the proposed state prison hospital.
One of the projects Chris is currently working on will bring federal funding into Ventura County to launch a nationwide pilot program that will provide preschool, child care, and other education-related programs and services to the spouses and children of our nation's deployed service members.
Because of the excellent leadership he has shown, Chris has earned the support of many of our community's outstanding members, such as Camarillo City Councilman Mike Morgan, County Supervisor Peter Foy, Board of Education Members Marty Bates, Dean Kunicki and Lee Elder, Assemblywomen Audra Strickland and Sen. Tom McClintock.
Chris Valenzano has worked hard to make sure we have a voice in our public schools, and he deserves our vote.
-- Herb Holler, Camarillo
Re: your Oct. 24 editorial, "Oxnard mayor, council seats":
The Star endorses Mayor Tom Holden, which means the same old business in Oxnard. The Star's editorial fails to mention the many years of high-density developments in Oxnard with no real accountability to address traffic, overcrowded schools and other quality-of-life issues.
Holden does not hold developers to a higher standard. Why can't we have more open space or meaningful improvements to the city's infrastructure before developers get their projects? Our neighbor cities get high standards from their developers in Camarillo and Ventura.
Holden does not contribute to an open and transparent government. If Tim Flynn has to sue the city successfully to obtain tax-paid information reports, there is a problem.
On Measure V, The Star fails to mention that it's a grassroots effort started because our city mayor and council members had been denying that Oxnard had any traffic problems. It was Flynn who brought positive dialogue to the council and has sparked the city to challenge its way of thinking about traffic and its relationship to new developments. What is wrong about having voter approval on large developments? I see it as a win-win situation for all.
The city cannot continue to pay for past developments by approving new ones. With the current financial crisis statewide and nationwide, how could we be asked to pay more -- and for what?
Regarding Measure O, Holden said, "If it passes, voters can be assured the money will be spent wisely." This is not what we need. What we need is real accountability, a detailed plan to offer voters what the money will be used for and not just placed in the city's general fund to be played with.
Tim Flynn brings positive change to the city. He will continue to provide an open and transparent government and put the city residents' concerns first. Vote for Tim Flynn for mayor of Oxnard.
-- Luciano Ortiz, Oxnard
As we near the election, and having read the many letters on Measure V, I feel it is time that I voice my opinion on this issue.
It is true that there are traffic problems in Oxnard, but is Measure V going to correct any of these? The answer is no. Measure V does absolutely nothing to correct the traffic in Oxnard. The only thing that Measure V does is make the developer of a project either fix the intersections or place the project on the ballot. The way the measure is written, almost all of the intersections in the city would fall under this. How many developers will be willing to do this?
Let's forget about the money the city can lose because of this measure and look at how the measure will fix the traffic problem. Look at the wording and try to find where it addresses any solution. I'll help you by saying it is not anywhere in the initiative.
The only fix to the problem is to place a project on the ballot for a yes or no vote on the project. The people will vote only on the project, and that doesn't even to have any fixes. So, a developer can come in and make all kinds of promises to the people so they vote yes on the project and still not address any traffic problem. This really is the biggest reason I will vote no on this measure.
I do agree that we need to address the traffic in Oxnard and fix a good number of the intersections. Measure V is not the answer to fixing the traffic in Oxnard. Don't be fooled by the proponents of this measure who say it will fix traffic. It won't.
Vote no on Measure V.
-- Tony Norton, Oxnard
Re: Joe R. Howry's Oct. 26 essay, "Flynn no longer amusing":
This essay is interesting, as Howry assumes the supervisor should be amusing. John Flynn has been the supervisor for so long not because he is amusing, but because he has served the people well. Yes, he is passionate about his beliefs and has the Irish temperament to express them.
The essay was lacking in extolling the attributes of the other candidate. Having observed John Zaragoza's tenure on the Oxnard City Council, I am, like many others, unimpressed.
-- Ann Ryan, Port Hueneme
I am asking the residents of Oxnard to support Measure O and to look at it as an opportunity for us to do something for ourselves.
As a resident of Oxnard and an employee of the city of Oxnard for 22 years, I believe this is our chance to come together and shape the future of our community. This sales tax measure would provide funding for enhancements to services such as public safety, recreational opportunities, parks and alleyways, to name a few. This measure provides funding for our community by our community. For every $2 purchase subject to sales tax, one penny will come back to our community for enhancements -- and stay!
I spent 17 of those 22 years in the city's finance department, and I have no doubt the money will be spent on the community's priorities. This is our chance to invest in our community one penny at a time. Please vote yes on Measure O.
-- Cyndi Hookstra, Oxnard
Audra Strickland represents responsible budget management, small government and no new taxes -- the perfect remedy for California's problems. We cannot afford another liberal politician who has no problem raising our taxes and expanding government bureaucracy, which will increase our state's debt. We need Strickland to continue the fight against the prison hospital!
Vote Audra Strickland for Assembly!
-- Gary Cushing, Camarillo
Re: Joe R. Howry's Oct. 26 essay, "Flynn no longer amusing":
Howry's essay on John Flynn did nothing but reaffirm my support for him. You will probably tag me as some sort of Flynn loyalist, and you might be right. That begs the question: Why am I (and so many others) supportive of John Flynn?
It's simple. Flynn gets things done. Flynn is tuned in to the needs of the people in his district. Flynn is passionate about the city of Oxnard and the county of Ventura. Flynn is willing to put himself on the line to stand up for what he believes in.
I don't know if he flipped off John Zaragoza and, of course, I hope he did not. What I do know is I have confidence in a proven leader with a backbone that must be made out of steel.
Flynn's commitment and the energy he puts forth as a public servant are unparalleled. He is accessible, down to earth and fearless. Flynn can be counted on to give the job of county supervisor his all. He will never phone it in or take his position for granted.
Go ahead, call me loyal to John Flynn -- and proud of it.
-- Kim Bell, Oxnard
Re: your Oct. 26 editorial, "Time to unify in Camarillo":
I fully agree with this well-stated and factual editorial. I strongly support voting yes on Measure U -- so Camarillo can have local control over the K-12 academic future for its students.
Vote yes on Measure U -- so the Camarillo community can decide what the needs are for a new high school facility and what academic programs the students of tomorrow will demand. The choices will be up to the Camarillo Unified community.
Vote yes on Measure U -- so state funds will be sent directly to Camarillo and our tax dollars will stay in Camarillo. Measure U will not by itself raise taxes, nor will it harm Oxnard/Port Hueneme. The state Board of Education and state law say so.
Vote yes on Measure U -- so Oxnard's overcrowded schools will have 800 seats open up at Rio Mesa for Oxnard students. Oxnard/Port Hueneme can put their students first, by building two new high schools for the 2,500 students who need a seat today. The district can focus on future equitable facilities for all students in the Oxnard/Port Hueneme community.
Vote yes on Measure U -- so the $135 million Measure H bond passed by Oxnard/Port Hueneme in 2004 can be used to build new high schools for Oxnard/Port Hueneme. The Measure H bond explicitly states the two new high schools would be built where the enrollment demand exists, never guaranteeing Camarillo a new high school.
Vote yes on Measure U -- so our respective communities can move ahead to put students first, to enhance our students' academic success and to allow for local control to make the choices and create the future that we all want for our children and grandchildren.
Vote yes on Measure U -- do it for all the kids.
-- Kathy Long, Camarillo
(The writer is the 3rd District county supervisor. -- Editor)
After having been born and raised in Oxnard, I left our family home to attend college and later serve in the Armed Forces. Returning home was somewhat "bittersweet," as I had a new wife and a young family to raise and was deeply troubled by the dramatic changes I observed in my old hometown.
Previously infrequent violent crime was up, along with burglaries, gang activity and graffiti. Although ultimately settling in Ojai, I would frequently return home to Oxnard to visit and, more often than not, try to persuade my mother to move to a "safer and friendlier" community.
Thanks in large measure to the consistent efforts of Mayor Tom Holden, including his support of the gang injunction, his tireless dedication to increasing the police budget, as well as his personal service on the anti-graffiti task force, I have witnessed a dramatic improvement in the level of personal safety throughout Oxnard.
Tom's business experience and his ability to work effectively with other members of the City Council, as well as with local business leaders and labor groups, have all had direct and dramatic effect on improving Oxnard's quality of life. Under Holden's direction, Oxnard has returned to a safe, friendly and flourishing city, where families can enjoy themselves in the beautifully revitalized downtown area or at any one of the city's many beautiful and well-managed parks.
Tom has repeatedly stated, and lived up to, his personal goal of returning Oxnard to the safe, clean and family-friendly city he enjoyed here during his youth.
Returning to Oxnard in 2002, to reside in our old family home within the Historic District, I have witnessed Oxnard's revitalization firsthand.
A vote for Tom Holden on Tuesday will ensure Oxnard will remain on its current path toward consistent progress and prosperity.
-- Tom Westervelt, Oxnard
Unification of K-12 grades in Camarillo makes more sense today than it did when 12,500 Camarillo citizens signed a petition in favor of unification a few years ago, leading up to the vote on Measure U. Unification will enable Camarillo and Oxnard's school districts to chart a separate, local course for their very different school needs. Local control will enable Camarillo and Oxnard to sidestep the challenges of competing educational priorities.
Opponents of Measure U are fond of stating how they believe Oxnard Union High School District will build a new high school for Camarillo, even as OUHSD purchased land in Oxnard to build a new high school. Competing priorities mean one wins, the other loses, every time. Oxnard will be building a new high school, but not in Camarillo. Camarillo voters will be powerless to do anything about it, given the at-large voting situation for the OUHSD board. We can change this bad dynamic in both communities by voting yes on Measure U.
A yes vote on Measure U changes the situation dramatically for Camarillo and for Oxnard. Local control of education is the best way to develop an educational program that will provide cohesive and more effective educational programs for each community, reflecting their needs and priorities, something two divided school districts won't accomplish. Only a yes vote on Measure U will deliver a clear win-win outcome.
A new Camarillo Unified School District would inject $5.4 million in extra, annual funding from the unification of grades K-12 in Camarillo. It means better education programs, better pay for teachers and a chance at significantly better facilities where no chance exists today. Oxnard will be free to build their new schools and focus on their very different educational priorities. That is win-win.
Join me and vote yes on Measure U.
-- John Heidelman, Camarillo
Re: Ben Dunlap's Oct. 17 letter, "Rapists would get pass":
Too bad Dunlap didn't actually state the New England Journal of Medicine's true findings regarding Texas' parental notification laws. According to the journal, "Given the more restrictive environment, such laws may be more likely to increase the likelihood that an abortion will be performed later in pregnancy." So, first trimester abortion rates went down; however, second trimester rates went up. Add to that the fact that actual birth rates went up, and we see that all this law does is postpone the ability of our teens to secure safe and timely medical treatment. Proposition 4 may sound good, but in the real world, it would have terrible consequences.
California has successfully decreased teen pregnancy rates over the last decade by 40 percent without parental notification laws. We should be focusing on prevention through comprehensive sex education. Those are real solutions.
If we really want to protect our teens, let's listen to the California Nurses Association, the California Medical Association, the California Association of School Counselors and the California Teachers Association, all of which oppose Proposition 4 so that we can truly protect the health and safety of our daughters. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms that our responsibility is to protect the rights of adolescents to receive confidential healthcare.
If we want to protect our teens, vote no on Proposition 4.
-- Corey Rubin, Thousand Oaks
The financial meltdown that's going to cost our children's children dearly and jeopardize our nation's future happened while politicians of both parties argued over silly issues. Most of those politicians looked the other way, knowing that the meltdown was coming but too afraid to get in its way. Other politicians, more devoted to their parties than to us, diverted us from the crisis, with a broad range of silly initiatives and confusing propositions. Very few politicians tried to do something about subprime loans and runaway credit.
Hannah-Beth Jackson was one of those who actually tried to pass meaningful legislation to slow down or even stop the crisis here in California. Tony Strickland blew it big time by fighting that legislation. Once again, as he did during the electricity crisis where he ended up quadrupling our rates and with his fight to prevent residents of Simi Valley from knowing how much perchlorate is in our water, Strickland either made the wrong choice, or he did a favor for his campaign contributors at our expense.
Simi Valley is facing a mega-expansion of the landfill that may end up creating major congestion and pollution for us all. We're facing the threat of continued toxic runoff and dust from Rocketdyne that could be causing increases of thyroid, ocular and kidney cancers around the valley. These two threats could well be our next meltdown, and, while Strickland is once again trying to bamboozle us by diverting our attention with silly issues, Hannah-Beth Jackson has been tackling these problems and talking about solutions.
Tuesday is a day for us all to choose to be bamboozled again or to begin solving our problems before they become a meltdown.
-- Gary Selvaggio, Santa Susana Knolls
Audra Strickland's silly and misleading attack fliers against Ferial Masry are an insult to the intelligence of our voters.
Her latest "memorandum" has lobbyists preparing to fund Ferial's campaign. Anyone who takes the time to check out Ferial's political contributions on the secretary of state's Web site can see that there are no "lobbyists" giving her money, but primarily private citizens from our district. On the other hand, Audra and her husband, Tony, have amassed a wealth of contributions to their campaigns from the tobacco, alcohol and gambling industries and other special interests.
Audra is one of the key contributors to the endless gridlock in Sacramento that is paralyzing our state. It is time to elect a person who will fight for the needs of her constituents and not for the special interests that have fattened the Stricklands' campaign chests over the past 10 years.
The California Association of Political Centrists, a group that includes Republicans and Democrats, recently rated both Audra and Tony Strickland as "unfavorable," while rating Ferial Masry as "favorable." This is a strong signal that Ferial will work across party lines to get California moving in the right direction again. Meanwhile the "politician" Stricklands have done nothing positive to get us out of our current crisis except blanket voters with misleading and sleazy attacks.
-- Vitali Mostovoj, Thousand Oaks
(The writer is Ferial Masry's campaign manager. -- Editor)
Responsible citizens must not make electoral decisions based on deceptive TV ads that package and sell candidates in the same manner that the public relations industry sells products, while the opposing candidate is brushed off with a slick slogan, like "Taxin' Jackson." Fortunately, they don't have to.
Two recent debates between Tony Strickland and Hannah-Beth Jackson are readily available on the Internet at http://www.capstv.org/index.htm
Aside from demonstrating that The Star's Joe Howry is a skilled moderator who should be serving in that capacity at the presidential level, the debates reveal a great deal that is not reflected by the ads.
Strickland is polite, intelligent and articulate. His recognition of the advantages of new green technologies, including the harnessing of the power of the wind, the sun and ocean waves, is commendable. But his substantive answers reveal that he is a pro-business/anti-government regulation ideologue. He subscribes to the same failed philosophy that brought us the first Great Depression and now has the nation staring into an economic abyss -- a point underscored when Jackson's description of the role Strickland played in blocking a banking regulation that could have staved off the subprime mortgage crisis in California went unanswered. His insistence on retention of the two-thirds requirement for passage of a state budget would perpetuate the ability of a small group of ideologues to force an annual deadlock in order to prevent the wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes.
The bright and articulate Jackson, a former prosecutor, demonstrated that she is a fiscally responsible moderate who understands that we cannot continue to mortgage our children's future through "borrow-and-spend" policies for the benefit of the wealthy few while we fail to invest in their educational needs. She will have my vote.
-- Ernest A. Canning, Thousand Oaks
If you have not chosen your candidate for Thousand Oaks City Council, please consider Tom Glancy.
Tom is totally committed to continuing his service on the council for all citizens of our wonderful city.
He is a dental healthcare professional, well aware of the need to listen to his patients in order to provide them the most beneficial treatment, a trait he utilizes as a council member, providing residents and businesses the same style of caring, dedicated service we expect of our officials.
Tom is not a single-issue, special-interest candidate, but an avid proponent of an open, receptive, informed, responsible, cohesive City Council.
Tom lives, works and raised his family here, and he has chosen to give back to this community. He served as Thousand Oaks planning commissioner, giving every agenda item his utmost personal consideration prior to any decision. He served our youth through leadership in the YMCA and Boy Scouts. Tom is a past-general chairman and executive director of Conejo Valley Days. He is active in Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks, and he is a member of numerous boards and committees that represent local, regional and statewide agencies.
Tom and his wife, Karen, enthusiastically support endless numbers of charitable organizations, foundations, and clubs that help keep our community the vibrant, desirable place we live in.
If there were more than 24 hours in a day, Tom would use each to the benefit of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley.
Having worked and lived in Thousand Oaks since 1963, I know Tom to be one of our area's best assets.
My wife Karen, myself, and our family, proudly and wholeheartedly endorse Councilman Tom Glancy. Vote for a council member who listens to you, and tirelessly represents you, beyond expectation.
-- John Wade, Newbury Park
The qualities of honesty, integrity, leadership, intelligence and vision are what Jacqui Irwin contributes to our community as Thousand Oaks mayor and City Council member. Irwin has worked tirelessly to see that the city remains safe, financially stable and surrounded by open space. Re-elect this proven leader to City Council on Tuesday.
-- Sue Engler, Thousand Oaks
I was called a one-issue candidate when I ran for office because of my exuberance for protecting open space, but obviously there is more to being an elected official than land use. I have a record of being fiscally conservative and a proponent for good government. I find these same qualities in two people running for Thousand Oaks City Council, Holly LaRue and Al Adam. That is why I am endorsing them.
I met Holly through my work with Save Open space and Agricultural Resources, and she continues to volunteer for open-space preservation groups such as the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, as well as helping the disabled through her volunteer work at Ride On.
Al has also stood out as protecting residents and neighborhoods as a planning commissioner appointed by Councilmember Claudia Bill-de la Peña. County taxpayers benefited from his working knowledge of finance when he worked part-time in my Ventura County supervisor's office in 2003-2006 while also working a full-time job as a professional financial adviser and corporate vice president.
While both Holly and Al have their strong suits -- i.e., open space preservation and financial accountability -- they also bring intelligence, common sense, caring and a willingness to stand up for residents, qualities that will make them excellent representatives on our City Council.
Please join me in voting for Al Adam and Holly LaRue for Thousand Oaks City Council.
-- Linda Parks, Thousand Oaks
(The writer is a Ventura County supervisor. -- Editor)
Attention, all undecided Thousand Oaks voters: What qualities would you rather have in elected officials --politicians who speak and expect you to listen or politicians who actually hear your concerns before they speak?
Would you rather have officials come to meetings with their minds already made up, a speech prepared and a vote committed? Or would you prefer politicians to be open-minded and actively listening to constituents' concerns?
In my opinion, four people will actively listen to constituents before they make up their minds. They are Al Adam and Holly LaRue for Thousand Oaks City Council and John Andersen and Doug Nickles for the Conejo Valley Unified School District Board of Education.
Please support and vote for them on Nov. 4.
-- Suzanne Duckett, Thousand Oaks
Tom Glancy's honesty, integrity, commitment and humility are the foundation for his campaign to be returned to office as a Thousand Oaks City Council member. His record of visionary leadership as a council member and planning commissioner is well documented.
Glancy established his leadership skills in service to his country, where he retired as a captain in the U.S. Navy. His roots are deep in Thousand Oaks. He has raised four children and has run his dental practice for more than 20 years in a city he dearly loves.
His public service record shows an unwavering commitment to public safety and intelligent community planning. He has shepherded the preservation of open space and has lobbied for critical city infrastructure projects to reduce traffic congestion.
Glancy has worked very hard to promote senior concerns, to enhance quality of life for young adults and families and to establish affordable housing in the city. He understands his role in keeping Thousand Oaks a great place to live, raise a family, work, recreate and learn.
Please join me in voting for Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Glancy for City Council on Nov. 4.
-- Mark Lunn, Thousand Oaks
I have been very impressed with the leadership Assemblywoman Audra Strickland has provided on the proposed Ventura County prison hospital in Camarillo. Taxpayers for a Safe Ventura County, the new group of elected officials united to fight against the prison facility, will give us the best chance of preventing a prison facility from being built in our community.
I appreciate Strickland's hard work on this and on other important issues and have full confidence that she will continue to fight for us and our community. Audra is a trusted and proven leader that Ventura County needs.
I am voting for Audra Strickland to represent Ventura County once again and hope that other voters will do the same on Nov. 4.
-- Natalie Panossian, Moorpark
I recently read that a victory by Hannah-Beth Jackson would essentially give legislative Democrats a two-thirds majority in the state Senate. This is important because that is the threshold for imposing new taxes without bipartisan negotiation, and it also removes the check and balance of a gubernatorial veto.
We need to ask ourselves, in our current economic climate, if we are ready to hand over the reins and give complete control to a party that has spent our state broke and left us billions of dollars in debt. Do we really want to elect someone who has fought for local city and county income taxes, tried to undermine Proposition 13 and fails to see the waste in our state government?
For those like myself who value the checks and balances built into our system, I urge a vote for Tony Strickland to keep absolute power out of the hands of the tax-and-spend left that has driven us into debt.
-- Dave R. Fowble, Camarillo
It seems that every day I read that another business is closing down due to the current economic climate. Many of these local businesses are trying to weather the storm and survive.
When you consider the current state of affairs, it helps put the 19th District state Senate race into perspective. One candidate, Tony Strickland, has been endorsed by local chambers of commerce and received an almost perfect rating from the California chamber because of his policies in support of these businesses and improving our economy.
His opponent, Hannah-Beth Jackson, had a rating of less than 6 percent from the California chamber and is opposed by local chambers. She has consistently voted anti-business.
We need to strengthen our economy. Let's help the mom-and-pop businesses in our community and elect Tony Strickland to state Senate.
-- Sean Paroski, Camarillo
When considering the local state Senate race, people need to understand what a two-thirds majority for Democrats means. If Hannah-Beth Jackson gets elected, it basically removes the need for bipartisan negotiations on the budget. In short, tax increases, more bureaucracy and increased government spending are all but guaranteed.
Also, gubernatorial vetoes of job-killing bills can be overridden, giving revenue-generating and job-creating businesses another excuse to leave the state at the worst possible time.
Government's growth spurt has been unprecedented in recent times. If we hope to slow or reverse this process and eliminate rampant spending and tax increases, we cannot let Hannah-Beth Jackson get to Sacramento. Enough of big government and burdens on local businesses!
-- Stephanie Breed, Ventura
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland has looked out for the best interest of Ventura County and California for the last four years. She has a proven record of working with Democrats on numerous bills and important issues while also fighting -- successfully -- against tax increases.
Strickland fought against $36 billion in proposed taxes this year because she understands hardworking taxpayers need more money in their pocket and not going to government. While gas and food prices remain high and unemployment is on the rise, the last thing we need is for government to increase tax burdens on families already struggling to make ends meet.
Join me in voting for Audra Strickland on Nov. 4.
-- Frank Mills, Ventura
Audra Strickland, a former middle-school teacher, supported full funding for Proposition 98, even during California's budget crisis.
Strickland co-authored bills with Democrats to address our state's drought issues and to enhance the safety of our children. In fact, she won an award from the Association of Water Agencies for her bipartisan work this year.
We need to keep someone like Strickland in office. Her priorities are in line with our community, and she works productively with the other party to solve problems. I am voting for Audra Strickland on Election Day.
-- Andy Hall, Camarillo
Audra Strickland understands Ventura County and has the experience to stand up to politicians who try to raise our taxes. Between the two candidates, it is clear who will be the one fighting against irresponsible spending and tax hikes. The proof is in Strickland's record.
Strickland's opponent has been quoted to have no problem raising our taxes. Strickland truly cares about the people of Ventura County. This is common sense for California: Vote for Strickland.
-- Kimble Ouerbacker, Ventura
The current focus on the marriage initiative gives us time to consider the association between society and various forms of human relationship. None is as unique in its contributions to the community as that enduring, exclusive commitment between a man and a woman, which is traditional marriage. Children gain a direct respect and understanding for the complementary roles of men and women in society through the examples of their mother and father. These parents educate and nurture their children through the masculine and feminine characters they contribute to the household environment on a daily, close-up basis. This small family society thus mirrors society in general, teaching children to see men and women as equally responsible for that larger community.
Traditional marriage, therefore, preserves and reinforces the notion of equality between men and women from a child's earliest years. Even if some such marriages need help, this relationship is an achievable and needed ideal.
Traditional marriage deserves the special meaning and respect accorded to marriage as taught in elementary and secondary school health classes. Please vote yes for the marriage endorsement, Proposition 8, so that the children are taught this ideal.
-- Bob Jensen, Thousand Oaks
As a lifelong Republican, I have a real problem.
When Tony Strickland was put out of office due to term limits, he had his wife run for Assembly in order that he, in effect, would still be in office.
Now Tony is running for the state Senate. If both he and his wife are elected, Tony will, in effect, have control of our state Assembly and Senate representation. Don't tell me they have different voices. This doesn't generally happen.
Then I go back to other issues. Wife Audra wrote a letter some time ago about the potential tax increases that could happen to support the needed funds to run the state and our schools. I noticed she mentioned all the potential tax increases the lower-income people might be assessed, but not the higher taxes that might affect the higher-income people. One of those is the reinstatement the 11 percent income tax for the higher-income taxpayers.
Tony has backing telling us what a great guy he is, but the ads say nothing.
Has anyone noticed that both the Audra and Tony ads are very similar -- very negative against their opponents and the taxing increases they would support. I would like to know what the Stricklands plan to do. This doesn't seem to happen in their advertising.
I want to know how they are going to raise needed funds for our schools, police and generally running the state government, and what programs they would limit or delete in order to minimize tax increases.
-- Keith McCay, Thousand Oaks
When politicians decreed that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve the American dream of owning their own homes, they forced the bankers, against their better judgment, to give risky loans to people who obviously couldn't afford them. The unintended consequence of this was the collapse of the housing market, which escalated into the current financial crisis.
Now we are going to vote on Proposition 8. A no vote on 8 could also have unintended consequences. Polygamists could demand equal rights under the law. "Starter wives" would not be unusual. Sound crazy? Let's not take a chance on another unintended consequence.
You can vote yes on Proposition 8 without discriminating against those who want same-sex marriages. We could have two types of weddings. The wedding of heterosexuals would still be called marriage, and the wedding of homosexuals would be called "pairring." Pair would indicate a wedding of two persons, and ring would symbolize commitment. The couples would be known as lifepartners. Instead of being Mr. and Mrs., they would be Mls. (male) or Fls. (female). This would clarify everyone's status.
If the voters want pairring legalized, it should be done at the state level. Therefore, all in favor of pairring should petition their congressmen about this. This would clarify everyone's status -- man and wife, male lifemates and female lifemates. There would be no ambiguity.
Please vote yes on 8 to preserve the sanctity of marriage.
-- Elizabeth Dooley, Thousand Oaks
When I was an active educator, I was proud to be a member of the California Teachers Association. CTA was a wonderful, professional association. I was shocked, disappointed and upset when I read that the CTA contributed $1.25 million to the "Vote No on Proposition 8" campaign.
The CTA executive board should represent all of its membership. Were all CTA members polled, prior to this donation, so that the executive board was acting on behalf of at least the majority of its members, or is this donation an abuse of power, misuse of funds and a violation of the trust of its members?
What was the intent of the CTA donation -- to influence whom, for what purpose? Was it to support a special interest group? If it was to ensure that all public schools teach that "same-gender marriage" is as acceptable as "traditional marriage, a marriage between a man and a woman," then CTA should have also donated $1.25 million to "Vote Yes on Proposition 8" so that traditional marriage has the same "allotted teaching time" as other marriages.
CTA funds are to be used to benefit children, teachers and the teaching profession. I fail to see how this donation accomplishes this purpose.
Perhaps the CTA executive board should be investigated by its own Ethics Committee!
-- Carl P. Doerfler, Ed.D, Thousand Oaks
(The writer is a retired public school principal. -- Editor)
I have read many letters regarding Proposition 8 in the past weeks and months. I have not yet read a convincing explanation of why allowing the marriage of two gay people who are committed to a lifelong relationship of love and trust in any way diminishes my 40 years of marriage. Nor does the Supreme Court decision force any church to marry gay couples or change what our children are taught in our schools.
More than 2,200 ordained clergy from more than 50 faith traditions -- from Roman Catholic to Eastern Orthodox, American Baptist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and others -- have come out in favor of marriage equality as a matter of faith, fairness and loving compassion.
These clergy believe marriage equality strengthens families and encourages loving, stable relationships and fulfills the biblical call to act with justice and compassion and to love our neighbors.
Please vote no on Proposition 8 and defeat this constitutional amendment that is unfair to all of our citizens.
-- Bill Robinson, Westlake Village
The world economy is threatening collapse. Record numbers of people throughout the United States are losing their homes, their jobs, their pensions and their retirements. Gas prices are ridiculously high, and we are rapidly running out of fuel for our vehicles with no alternative fuel yet available. Dramatic climate change may or may not make our planet unlivable in 10 years. Thousands of young Americans are losing their lives at war overseas, and still we have not caught the leader of the 9/11 attacks. Other countries that cannot be trusted are on the brink of becoming nuclear powers.
Yet what is the No. 1 issue that has Californians putting up signs on their front lawns, waving banners on street corners, writing letters to the editors of their newspapers and putting bumper stickers on their cars? The issue of whether two human beings of the same sex should be allowed to get married.
There is something seriously wrong with our priorities. Could we please stop this nonsense and concentrate on the issues that should really matter?
-- Gary M. Raives, Newbury Park
All of the chat about yes on Proposition 8 makes me feel like we are writing discrimination into our laws instead of removing it. The government has enough to worry about without keeping people from living the lives they have the right to live. Our state is incredibly diverse, and for that reason, the state is a magnet to people of all backgrounds. That diversity keeps California on the cutting edge of business, entertainment and technology.
With more than 70 percent of the funding for Proposition 8 coming from out-of-state sources, Californians can't let these people tell us what to vote for. The state, and the country for that matter, needs to be progressive and should never go backwards and open up the gates for discrimination and bigotry.
It's all about personal freedom and rights that any American should have available to them. Voting yes for Proposition 8 only benefits the religious right, ultra-conservatives and a bunch of non-Californians who are trying to take away freedom and rights that the people in our great, diverse state deserve to have. The hatred in this proposition sickens me.
-- Sheila Litvak, Thousand Oaks
The deceptions continue with the "No on Proposition 8" TV ads that say same-sex education is not required under the California Education Code.
Here are the facts:
Section 51933 of the California Education Code states: "School districts may provide comprehensive sexual health education." What State Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell states is true under this section of the education code: Sex education is not required to be taught in the schools.
What he does not say is that in actuality, 96 percent of California schools opt to teach sex education, according to the report titled, "Sex Education in California Public Schools," dated August 2003 and published by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. If a school district elects to offer comprehensive sexual health education, it "shall be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds" (EC 51933).
Further, what is required by Sections 51930 and 51931 is that HIV/AIDS prevention education be taught in public schools.
Either way you address it, same-sex education on intimacy and marriage will be taught in California's public schools. The "No on Proposition 8" ads are distorting the truth to California voters.
We must learn from what happened in Massachusetts after same-sex marriage was allowed. There, the courts determined that schools have no obligation to notify parents or to let them opt-out their children from same-sex education.
Vote yes on Proposition 8.
-- Sheryl Hendrickson, Thousand Oaks
With the current budget crisis in the state of California affecting our schools and quality of education, I am astounded that the California Teachers Association would donate $1.25 million to the No on Proposition 8 campaign. This donation will do nothing to improve the quality of education in California. In fact, this donation makes me wonder if the CTA wants to push a gay agenda on our children in their classrooms.
The CTA's donation confirms my choice to vote yes on Proposition 8. And, for the record, all the "Yes on Proposition 8" signs on my street are stolen almost every night they are left outside.
-- Christine Hatch, Agoura Hills
Proposition 8 is a potent distraction for right-wing Christian supremacists who should be asking questions like, "Why is the U.S. involved in a murderous neocolonial police action in Iraq?" but always end up asking questions like, "Who's sleeping with whom?"
Here are three foolproof ways Republicans can "restore marriage": Make divorce illegal, ban lengthy and costly child custody battles and dismantle and eliminate Child Protective Services.
Since all three pathologies were borne out of the "sanctity" of heterosexual marriage and relationships, I have no compunction that conservatives can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and restore marriage to the utopia they phantasmically believe it to be.
-- Ethan Orloff, Simi Valley
Re: your Oct. 12 editorial, "Proposition 8 denies rights" and Joe Howry's Oct. 19 essay, "Being serious on balance":
How could The Star endorse a no vote on Proposition 8?
When I read about the children in San Francisco being taught about the so-called "alternative lifestyle" and taken to a lesbian wedding for their school trip, I just could not believe it. It made me think about my grandchildren and great-grandchildren not having their mom and dad to raise them.
Then I read about the million-dollar donation from California's largest teachers union to the vote no on Proposition 8 campaign. All that money could have gone to the schools that always seem to be in need.
As far as Howry's essay about being serious on balance, give me a break! I have been a subscriber of the paper for 54 years, and if I am in doubt about how to vote on an issue, I read the paper and vote the opposite.
-- Garnet Carroll, Ventura
I am a white male, married for 36 years to a white female. In the early 1970s, we became parents to racially mixed twin boys -- Halfrican-Americans, as they once referred to themselves. I believe they were the first blacks to live in Fillmore and attend Fillmore schools.
We are currently raising our grandson, the product of our youngest son, a Caucasian, and an Asian woman. He is autistic and can act goofy, to say the least.
I have witnessed hateful and unpleasant acts targeted upon my loved ones. I know bias and prejudice is learned. Children absorb the values of their parents, both positive and negative, regardless of whether that is the parent's intention.
Recently, a classmate of my grandson, a second-grader, told me his parents were preparing to leave the state if "boys are able to marry boys and girls are able to marry girls." I'm guessing this was overheard in conversation at home, as recent ads supporting Proposition 8 denounce gay marriage being "taught" in public-school classrooms. Obviously, the remarks this child overheard were the type of comments my older children's classmates overheard, permitting them to believe racial slurs appropriate.
The fact that there are gays in this world does not trouble me. The fact they would want to marry the people they love does not offend or threaten me or my marriage. I am not worried that allowing gays to marry will encourage my grandson to be gay. But, 20 years from now, should he, or any child, discover he is indeed gay, then I don't want him to be denied the opportunity to marry the man he loves because, in 2008, bigotry prevailed.
Teach your children that bigotry, bias, prejudice, hate, fear and suspicion of people different than us must be disallowed.
Vote no on Proposition 8.
-- Dennis DeCuir, Fillmore
Proposition 8 is an incredibly important proposition and will have profound effects on our culture as a society.
The discussion here is not about rights or tolerance: It is about the definition of marriage. The wording of this proposition on the ballot is misleading; it seeks to give the impression that we are taking away people's rights if we vote yes. However, the rights of same-sex couples will not be affected either way by this proposition; their rights are already granted under California civil union laws.
One can still be tolerant without condoning behavior one feels to be inappropriate.
The discussion here is about a basic change to an institution that has stood the test of time, a change that will sap it of power and legitimacy.
I write this letter not because I am a "homophobe" or "intolerant," but because I feel that an institution that sits at the very foundation of society is in danger.
Vote yes on Proposition 8. Preserve marriage.
-- David Giles, Somis
I support and will vote yes for Proposition 8 and invite Californians to do likewise. I support this proposition for several reasons, and none of them has to do with unfairness, taking away rights from gays or hatred toward them.
Proponents of same-sex marriages would have Californians believe the law is unfair because it favors traditional marriages. Not so. The truth is, under California law, domestic partners already have the same rights, protections and benefits as married spouses.
What is unfair is the loss of religious freedom and the inclusion of same-sex marriage indoctrination in school curricula that will result if Proposition 8 does not pass.
I claim the right to live and practice my religion according to the dictates of my own conscience and allow all others the same privilege. A yes vote for Proposition 8 ensures that my religious rights are not trampled on, as is happening in Massachusetts. A yes vote means I can protect my child or grandchild from being indoctrinated by school systems into believing alternative lifestyles are OK. A yes vote ends this argument in California, once and for all.
And finally, a yes vote does not mean I hate gays and lesbians. They already have a right to legal unions, equal in rights to a marriage. However, defining a union as a marriage, or, in other words, voting no on Proposition 8, would deny me and millions of Californians basic freedom of religion and other rights, and there is no hype in this statement.
Please vote yes on Proposition 8.
-- David Sanchez, Camarillo
If you are committed to or leaning toward voting for Proposition 8 -- anti-same-sex marriage -- I have a few questions for you.
Do you actually know any gay couples? Have they harmed you physically? Have they acted in front of you in a reprehensible way? Have they somehow damaged you morally?
The principles of our democracy are deeply rooted in the idealism that all men and women are created equal and that we have the right to choose our way of life. We also are a country that maintains that church and state are separate.
It seems to me that proponents of Proposition 8 are using flawed reasoning. Are any of us more equal than any others?
Supporters of Proposition 8 point to the Bible to support the notion that marriage is only between men and women. If church and state are separate, why should this view prevail in law?
I urge you to consider carefully before we put religious views in our state constitution.
I also express concern that fear-mongering TV ads make erroneous statements that say same-sex marriage could be taught to second graders, and I am especially grieved that Pepperdine University would allow itself to be used in such advertising.
-- Art D. Marshall, Ventura
Whether we like it or not, the term "marriage" has a longstanding historical, social and religious meaning. It is a relationship and commitment between one man and one woman. Although groups have challenged that meaning, U.S. history shows that we don't typically accept changes to our longstanding definition of marriage. For example, plural or polygamist definitions haven't received widespread acceptance.
With that in mind, why should we expect to change the basic, well-understood -- even if not entirely defined in legal writing -- definition of marriage? Let's keep marriage what it is: a relationship between a man and a woman.
Words must be consistent. If we need a more general term for a civil relationship, let's create it. A "marriage" would be a subset of that general, civil relationship. Homosexual couples can have their own term for their civil relationship. In this way, homosexual couples can have all the governmental benefits of a civil relationship without intruding upon the longstanding understanding of the "marriage" relationship.
-- John O'Conner, Ventura
Opportunities come that directly influence future generations. Our vote is an opportunity to affect children today as well as future generations. Dedicate your vote for our children and vote yes on Proposition 8.
The biggest demographic affected by Proposition 8 is not registered to vote. Children too young to vote will have their life altered with the change in one definition: the definition of marriage, between one man and one woman. Children, our heritage, certainly warrant consideration when voting. The rights of each child are not reflected in the polls. The opportunity is here at hand to see that traditional marriage is supported for the sake of the children.
Some voters believe Proposition 8 will not affect everyone; it will.
Choose to preserve marriage, not redefine it. Our children must understand that tolerance does not mean we replace our personal values. Let them understand rights and benefits in partnerships are not in jeopardy. Rights that have been granted will remain in force. Schools should teach our children lessons that historically construct a strong society. Children should continue to express opinions and enjoy freedom of speech. People can have differing opinions and continue as friends. Our decisions this election will influence our children's future and must sustain the foundation of families.
Support marriage to remain as one man and one woman. For more information, go online to http://prop8isgreat.blogspot.com/.
Vote yes on Proposition 8. Vote for those who cannot: our children.
-- Marci Sargent, Simi Valley
I'm hoping the majority of voters will vote no on Proposition 8 in November.
Marriage is about making a real commitment that shows a faith in love and respect between two people. It should not be an act that is regulated by the law to be exclusively between a man and a woman. It goes directly against the concept that all Americans are equal.
Remember the days when a black man couldn't marry a white woman? Or when women couldn't vote? Voting yes on Proposition 8 is no different. The only reasons to vote yes are based in bigotry and fear. Be a bigger person and don't discriminate.
With 50 percent of the marriages ending in divorce, why wouldn't you want to keep the misery of a marriage ending in divorce exclusively to a man and a woman?
-- Julie Weinhouse, Simi Valley
The underlying theme of Proposition 8 is fear. What do we fear when we hear that gay marriage could be talked about in schools? Were we once afraid of our children's interactions with black people? Were we afraid of interracial marriage? Were we afraid that people might befriend Jews? How far have we come in the year 2008?
Are you afraid that your child may be discriminated against? I am.
Are you afraid that your friend won't be able to visit the love of her life as she lies dying in the hospital? I am.
Do you worry that fear of anyone "different" has in the past led to such hatred and persecution that people died? Yes, that scares me profoundly.
Today, gay marriages are happening in California. Can you feel it? Does it hurt? I can't feel it. Interesting how it doesn't bother anyone.
Right now, heterosexuals are going about their business, divorcing each other, loving each other, cheating on each other and all the while, all people are treated equally by the state of California -- "the state of California," not "the church of California."
A yes vote on Proposition 8 is anti-American. A no vote means we believe in the "inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
-- Jeannine Blakefield, Thousand Oaks
Those who oppose Proposition 8 claim that defeating this measure would not result in same-sex marriage being taught in public schools to young children. How does that square with the field trip sponsored by a school in San Francisco earlier this month when 18 first-graders were taken to City Hall for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner? This is before the measure has even been voted on. What more proof do we need?
These same groups that oppose Proposition 8 also assure parents that even if same-sex marriage becomes part of the school curriculum, parents will be able to have their children "opt out" of such instruction. This claim is not supported by facts already emerging from Massachusetts. Court documents filed with the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston in the case of Parker v. Hurley indicate that organizations behind "No on 8" are arguing for gay marriage to be taught in the public schools under the guise of "diversity." This instruction should occur "during the student's formative years" to increase the benefit of it, the documents state. Any attempt to permit parents to opt out must be stopped, according to these groups.
I do not support the idea of public schools teaching elementary school children that gay marriage is OK. This is an issue for parents to discuss with their children. Vote yes on Proposition 8.
-- Jo An Matweyew, Somis
Why do we have to vote on the definition of marriage again? Because four judges felt they had a bigger voice than the rest of us!
In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved Proposition 22, which stated, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The 61 percent represents 4 million voters.
Earlier this year, four judges ignored the voice of the people. We don't want to be ignored. As a consequence of that, Proposition 8 is on the ballot with the exact same wording as in Proposition 22.
So, were you one of the 4 million whose voice was heard in 2000 but ignored in 2008? Then vote yes on Proposition 8. This time, it will be written into our state's constitution, just as 27 other states in our great nation have already done. Isn't it about time we did the same?
-- Saucha Bramwell, Camarillo
It is appalling that the California Supreme Court took it upon itself to overturn, once again, the will of the people concerning the definition of marriage.
In the year 2000, 61 percent of voters passed Proposition 22, which stated, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the state of California." Four judges took away our rights by overturning that law.
Abraham Lincoln said we are a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." What four judges have done to assault our freedom to govern ourselves is equal to the "taxation without representation" that caused American settlers to revolt against England. If people want to change the definition of marriage to include gay marriage, they have the legal right to go through the same initiative process that passed Proposition 22 in the first place. They need to collect signatures, place the issue on the ballot and let the people vote.
Too often, what the people choose in the voting booth they lose in court. For example, in 1994, a "three strikes" initiative and a proposition denying certain services to illegal immigrants were passed and later overturned by the courts. Between 1994 and 1996, two-thirds of successful measures were challenged in court.
Ironically, in 1978, the California Supreme Court stated: "It is our solemn duty to 'jealously guard' the initiative process, it being 'one of the precious rights of our democratic process.'" Thirty years later, they seem to be singing a different tune.
A yes vote on Proposition 8 tells the judges that it's not OK for them to ignore the will of the people. A yes vote on Proposition 8 restores the definition of marriage written by the people.
-- Janice Northrup, Camarillo
Vote no on Proposition 8 in November. Discrimination is not a "Christian" tenet. Jesus taught us to be tolerant and nonjudgmental.
I have been married for many years. I am heterosexual and got married in Massachusetts. It is legal there for any two people to marry each other. Not once did I feel my marriage was threatened by anyone else's love and commitment for someone else. No one has a choice of whom they fall in love with. Please be on the side of love and not fear and bigotry.
-- Robert Mankin, Ojai
Re: your Oct. 19 letters by Diane Flynn, "Voting by mail costs 59 cents" and Don Stewart, "Mailing ballot costs 59 cents":
In response to the letters dealing with the amount of postage for mailing in election ballots, the recommendation made on the ballot is 79 cents.
Every election, I notice that the postage recommendation on the ballot envelope takes into account the possibility of it weighing a tenth of an ounce into the next price range, since the ballot usually weighs right around the crossover point. The price of postage on a one-ounce letter is 42 cents. The additional postage for each ounce over the first is 17 cents. But now the U.S. Postal Service also charges a dimensional weight fee of 20 cents. This fee comes into play if the letter is over one-quarter of an inch thick, or larger than 11 inches in length by 61/2 inches in width or smaller than 5 inches in length by 31/2 inches in width.
The ballots are weighing in this year at just over 1 ounce, and if you press real hard to flatten it out -- I recommend you lay it on a hard flat surface and take a pen and rub it across the edge -- it will come in just under one quarter of an inch thick. But be sure that it does not bulge beyond the one-quarter of an inch limit, because the city is not going to pay the postage due.
I seriously doubt that you want to see a notice in your mailbox the day after the election saying you need to pick up a 20-cent postage due, only to discover your unopened ballot coming back to you.
What makes me this knowledgeable on this matter? I am Maxx the window clerk at the East Ventura Post Office.
Rock the vote.
-- Maxx Cunningham, Ventura
Re: your Oct. 19 Pulse page commentaries by Thomas D. Elias, "Proposition 4 is third attempt to pass parental notification" and Cheryl Rollings, "Vote no a third time":
The Star regularly prints "What We Stand For" and lists as one of five principles, "Accuracy: We aim to verify every fact we report. Our goal is to ensure accurate reporting." If that is true, The Star failed terribly when it printed Elias' article. This article is full of outright lies and misrepresentations. It clearly will mislead and misinform Star readers.
Elias concludes his hypothetical about "Susie," a pregnant teen, by stating, "Instead, studies of case histories indicate she's likely to try to abort the baby herself or seek an illicit back-alley provider."
Unfortunately for Elias, there are no such case histories or studies of them. They don't exist!
Cheryl Rollings, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, in her article, is reduced to making statements like, teens "may live in homes where communication about sensitive issues is not possible" and a teen "may take desperate measures and harm herself," specifically because there is no proof. She can only talk about possible harm because there is not one piece of evidence, not one single case of a minor being harmed by parental involvement law in 34 states, for up to 25 years!
Elias has fabricated his "evidence" and The Star has printed it, providing misinformation to its readers.
Elias states, "The downside (of parental notification) is that, because of the potential of such involvement, some teenagers will die or be maimed." Once again, Elias is making this up. There is no evidence at all that parental notification laws ever have caused any harm, never mind such serious harm! It is outrageous that such claims are printed, giving the appearance of accuracy, when they are completely false.
Elias' conclusion, that poor "Susie" would be better off with a secret abortion and returning to live with the molester rather than getting some help from a family member, defies common sense. Parental notification is the right choice for California voters and minors.
-- Mary Rollino, Ventura
As a Ventura County resident since 1963, I have seen first-hand how well Tony and Audra Strickland have represented this area. Both when Tony was in the Assembly and now with his wife Audra there, my requests and concerns have always been immediately addressed with courtesy and professionalism. I believe this kind of service to voters should be rewarded. We can best reward this outstanding public service by giving both of them our vote on Nov. 4. They have earned it.
-- Lois Denardo, Camarillo
As residents of Camarillo for 35 years, we haven't seen any younger individuals interested in the political arena until now. That person is David Schlangen, who is a fine young man with new ideas that would benefit the city of Camarillo. The present city council has done a fine job, but we believe we need a breath of fresh air in the City Council and believe that person is David Schlangen.
By the way, David has also been involved in the Camarillo Arts Council for several years and is also a volunteer at his church.
We would appreciate your support on Election Day.
-- Don & Gert Vanasse,
Four years ago, the Oxnard Union High School District asked voters to pass Measure H, a $135 million bond for school improvements and building two new schools. When the district was trying to get voter approval for the bond, they told voters in Camarillo that Measure H would add a new high school in Camarillo. They also promised much-needed improvements at Adolfo Camarillo High School.
The voter material sent to Oxnard and Port Hueneme stated that local high schools were overcrowded due to increasing numbers of students entering each year. They said the problem is not going away and is getting worse. They told voters that overcrowded high schools lead to safety concerns and can make it difficult to prevent violence. They promised additional classrooms, labs and libraries and to relieve overcrowding by building two new high schools. They promised the bond money would be used to repair and renovate existing schools.
Measure H was passed in 2004. The district hasn't yet issued these bonds. They have now started construction on new schools. Between Pacifica and Oxnard high schools, there are more than 2,100 unhoused students. Districtwide, there are 2,500 unhoused students. Why hasn't the district started building to relieve the overcrowded classrooms?
With the passing of Measure U, Camarillo high school students will become part of the Camarillo Unified School District in July 2009. The Adolfo Camarillo High School facility will also be transferred to the new district. With Camarillo no longer a part of the Oxnard Union High School District, OUHSD will be able to focus on Oxnard and Port Hueneme. The $135 million will be available to be spent building new high schools and improving existing high schools in Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Camarillo will be on its own to make its own decisions about high school facilities and programs. Competition for the Measure H bond money will end.
Please join me in voting yes for Measure U.
-- Missy Atwater, Camarillo
It is important to defeat Proposition 4, the so-called "parent notification" issue on the ballot.
Anyone who has sat in the position of "escort" on certain mornings at the Planned Parenthood clinic realizes the importance of protecting the rights of women faced with an unplanned pregnancy. To be greeted by sign-carrying protesters chanting "Christian" slogans who are imposing their idea of morality on a young woman in a vulnerable state is truly a travesty of justice and a violation of her rights. These folks should not prevail in our society.
Sadly, not everyone has a home where there is love and communication. Sometimes a member of the family is to blame. These young women need our help; we need to protect them when they seek our services.
-- Eunice Koch, Ventura
I have not read one substantial argument that undermines the quality of education at Adolfo Camarillo High School. Since 2004, the school has posted a 68-point API score gain and converted to an all-college prep curriculum. The school's Career Center annually helps students secure more than $2 million in scholarships. First-time pass rates on CAHSEE average 85 percent. The school offers AP courses in 15 areas.
Unification will not secure a new high school but prevent it. Bond results in Camarillo as far back as 1990 show one out of seven bonds passed. Measure H, to which Camarillo will lose access under unification, was not passed by Camarillo voters. The land parcel by the library reverts to the Oxnard Union High School District. Cost estimates for construction of a new high school stand at $90 million. Add state matching funds to Measure H, and Camarillo will forfeit roughly $180 million available for a new school, not to mention a 70 percent contribution from OUHSD. Even if Los Altos Middle School were renovated, Camarillo taxpayers would pay the $40 million price tag alone, and only if a bond were passed. More than 3,300 Camarillo students cannot afford this risk to their high school education.
Revenue analyses by Pleasant Valley School District indicate a funding loss of $178 per student at ACHS, based on outdated figures given prior to the current $7 billion California education shortfall. This amounts to the average cost of four high school textbooks per student, per year. A new district would have to replace everything but furniture at ACHS.
In my decade as an ACHS teacher, I have never encountered a measure as potentially devastating to the quality of education as Measure U. I implore voters to consider all factors before making a costly and irreversible decision for the future of ACHS students.
-- Catherine Robey, Thousand Oaks
I am writing to support Measure U. This support stems from the community interest in continuing the high level of student achievement at the Santa Rosa Technology Magnet School. Half of the enrollment is from outside the boundaries of the Santa Rosa Valley, and part of the draw is the ability to attend a smaller K-8 school. The possibility of a smaller, magnet high school is an option that is only available if we vote for Measure U.
The Santa Rosa Technology Magnet School has scored over 900 API the past two years because of its innovative programs, involved parents and state-of-the-art equipment. Adolfo Camarillo High School has yet to achieve an average score of 800 on the API exam and at the present time has none of the technology programs in place.
Many of the graduating eighth graders transfer to Oak Park High School or one of the Thousand Oaks high schools to continue the academic excellence and programs affiliated with the Pleasant Valley School District.
Please join me in voting yes for Measure U so that the excellent programs offered in the Pleasant Valley School District can be continued at the high school level and enable us to keep our students in the district.
-- Donald Shubert, Santa Rosa Valley
(The writer is a member of the Santa Rosa Valley Municipal Advisory Council. -- Editor)
Not all churches support Proposition 8, and several oppose it.
Those who vote for Proposition 8 are essentially endorsing one religious teaching over another and making it the law of the land. That is definitely not what America is about.
Those who vote no are separating civil marriage from religious marriage, and that is what America is about -- separation of church and state.
Therefore, the patriotic vote is no on 8.
Come on people, grow up. The sky does not fall when gays get married.
-- Chris Williamson, Oxnard
Baby-makers for species like the penguin have a colony to provide protection and support in order to survive. There is a natural recognition by the colony of the needs and vulnerability of the baby-makers and their young -- for additional protection from predators, helping with gathering food and training the young to continue the species.
Based on this view of nature, I support efforts for defining marriage between a man and a woman that appear on our Nov. 4 ballot.
In striving for equal rights by committed couples, the natural idea of marriage is being lost. Marriage is more than a committed couple that loves each other -- it is the potential to continue our species. I support tax and other benefits to committed couples, heterosexual or homosexual, and recognition should be given those who sustain a long-term commitment. However, something more should be provided to a man and a woman because of their potential to make a baby, to continue the species.
Proposition 8 is not an issue of equality; the baby-makers simply need additional support from the colony and the all the benefits that go with marriage.
Look to the penguin and other natural species. Support efforts for helping the baby-makers. By all means, vote your conscience on Nov. 4, and our colony will live with the results.
-- Bill O'Brien, Meiners Oaks
God blessed America with greatness because our forefathers chose the Bible as the foundation for our country. Today, however, not content to deny the obvious existence of God, we are actively chasing Him out of the public square and deliberately violating His commandments: We have aborted 46,000,000 babies since 1973, and we accept homosexuality as normal and good.
In 740 B.C., Israel was carried into captivity because "the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight." (II Kings 17:18)
Could the same thing happen to America? It may already have started. We were attacked in 2001, and we are currently undergoing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Why should God be obligated to protect our nation when we thrust our fists toward heaven? In His displeasure, God doesn't even have to judge us; He need only remove His protection.
Why am I in favor of Proposition 8? It has nothing to do with prejudice. My brother-in-law was gay; he and his friends were warm, wonderful men. But their "lifestyle" was sinful. My brother-in-law died of AIDS after admitting that he was reaping the consequences of his actions.
Instead of whining that our adult children are denied the right to marry whomever they choose, the responsible, caring thing to do is to make sure they understand that God forbids homosexuality, and that they are engaging in sinful behavior at their own risk.
God is indeed a loving God, but He is also a Holy God.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14)
Let's vote yes on Proposition 8.
-- Pat Abeyta, Port Hueneme
The ads for Proposition 8 are misleading. They state that if Proposition 8 is not passed, schools will be required to teach gay marriage, and it has happened in Massachusetts. Our minds spin with what that means: Just what would our kids be learning?
The Lexington, Mass., School District is developing curriculum that "promotes acceptance and understanding of the diversity of our town, country, and world, and includes both historical lessons on civil rights and contemporary lessons on families." This formalized diversity curriculum will include four to five short units. "Some units will focus on families, including families with single parents, foster parents and gay and lesbian parents. Other units will focus on racial and ethnic diversity and other areas in which human beings differ from one another."
On a personal note, I can understand that tolerance of differences is a slow process. One day when I was in fifth grade in Virginia, our bus took a slightly different route by a couple of blocks and picked up five black kids who, I naively assumed, had just moved into the area. I later learned that it was part of court-ordered desegregation. Virginia was not moving quickly into acceptance of racial diversity. We seem to be in the same situation 50 years later with same-sex marriages.
The Massachusetts school district, however, is not promoting same-sex marriage but a tolerance of differences, reducing conflicts and bullying, creating an inclusive environment and embracing diversity. As a teacher, I know that we deal with those issues constantly, such as students being snubbed on the playground because their shoes aren't cool or because they have other differences -- physical, racial, religious, etc.
The scare tactics being used by Proposition 8 supporters are deceptive and offensive. Voters need to make an informed decision and do their homework.
-- Jennifer Conn, Camarillo
First, this issue should not even be on the ballot. The California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the civil right to marry. Putting this on the ballot is like putting on an initiative to ban a woman's right to vote. Constitutional rights should not be subject to a popular vote.
But, it is on the ballot. A yes vote for Proposition 8 supports discrimination based on sexual preference. We all have the right to be part of a religion that does not condone homosexuality --everyone has a right to their own beliefs. But religious and moral beliefs cannot drive civil rights. If that were the case, then divorce should not be legal because some religions do not recognize it. Marriage is a civil right, not just a religious right.
Those who are afraid to expose their children to the idea of same-sex marriage need to get real! Their children already have classmates who "have two mommies." Are they going to ban those children from going to school?
Parents must teach children not only their own moral beliefs, but also tolerance of others' beliefs. One's own moral beliefs should not require laws that limit others' basic rights. They should be strong enough to stand on their own merits.
Those who claim that they are tolerant of others' sexual preferences but don't believe that extending them the fundamental right to marry is necessary are fooling themselves. They are discriminating against a whole "class" of citizens, just as many Americans did decades ago before equal rights were extended to persons of all colors and races.
-- Kimberly Gonzales, Camarillo
Re: Dan Mathews' Oct. 16 letter, "Freedom of speech ignored":
I am a priest in the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, and I must agree with Mathews' intention regarding freedom of speech and yard sign placement and, at the same time, disagree with his standing on Proposition 8.
His opening paragraph states my case as well: Just replace his "Yes on 8" signs with my "No on 8" signs and we are in the same boat. Over the last three months, my friends and I have lost more than 50 of our yard signs.
I am always sad when freedom of speech is just so many words and not understood as one of our basic American tenets. My friends and I are not afraid of the opposition in this election; we believe that moral equality will win out over unawareness, no matter how many yard signs are lost on either side.
I also wanted to share a powerful statement sent out in the mail from the California Council of Churches:
"Marriage throughout history has undergone massive transformations. While contemporary churches and religious institutions may still be wrestling with the religious issues around marriage equality, we can still support secular civil rights. No church is or should be forced to sanctify any union it does not approve. However, The California Council of Churches strongly supports the full inclusion of all adults in their right to marry. This moral commitment to equality is consistent with the findings of the California State Supreme Court. The only threat to conventional marriage comes from within a marital union -- divorce, infidelity, disloyalty -- not from without. Committed, fully equal relationships between consenting adults strengthen our society. They do not undermine it."
For more, see www.churchimpact.org.
Please vote no on Proposition 8. Equality for all is the American way.
-- The Rev. Craig B. Chapman, Fillmore
(The writer is the reverend at All Saints Parish in Ventura. -- Editor)
Re: Leslie Sullivan's Oct. 22 letter, "Prop. 8 rooted in love":
Love is exactly the issue here. Gay partners love each other just like heterosexual partners. They lead productive lives and raise good children, just like straight people do.
If someone feels that marriage is the foundation of society, why limit it to heterosexual marriage? Intolerant is exactly what supporters of Proposition 8 are. Nobody is asking them to lay aside their own beliefs and values. Proposition 8 doesn't force them to marry someone of their own sex. It simply allows it if they so desire.
Sullivan is right. Tolerance is not a one-way street. I'm sure gays have absolutely no problem with heterosexual marriages. How is saying, "It doesn't impact me," being short-sighted? Do gays not love or participate in their community like straight people do?
What long-range effects are Proposition 8 supporters talking about with regard to gay marriage? The only long-range effect I see is more monogamous, loving and devoted relationships. What's wrong with that? Is this world going to come to a sudden end, or is their life somehow going to be in some way diminished because gays are allowed to marry?
I realize this response won't change the mind of Proposition 8 supporters, but obviously they need to see things from a different and more open perspective.
-- Mike Wofford, Ventura
For those espousing tolerance, stealing signs in protest of Proposition 8 is intolerant, unethical and hateful. This bullying is only a hint of what is to come, as those who have a homosexual agenda will continue to force it on our children in public schools. Just recently, first-graders in San Francisco attended a field trip to watch their teacher's homosexual "marriage" ceremony. This was paid for by California tax dollars! With the financial crisis we're in, can we afford this?
Homosexuals demand their rights, yet tell children, "You have no right to both a mother and father." Homosexuals proclaim, "I'd never wish homosexuality on anyone. It's not a choice." Yet, gay couples will force a child into a situation that is neither a choice nor biological.
Voting yes on Proposition 8 does not stop the homosexuals from loving each other and sharing a life together. We'll still love our homosexual relatives and friends. In California, domestic partnerships will still enjoy the same rights, protections and benefits as married spouses.
Proposition 8 simply defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Marriage is a contract that legally binds both mother and father and protects offspring. Children have the right, whenever humanly possible, to know and to be cared for by both the mother and father who brought them into this world. Marriage says, across cultures and society, throughout civilizations and time, that for every child born, there is both a recognized mother and a father.
Being in support of Proposition 8 is not a Republican or Democratic issue, either. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain favors or endorses the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Vote yes on Proposition 8 to restore and protect traditional marriage between one man and one woman.
-- Veranica Piszczek, Oxnard
Support love, fairness and equality. Civil rights are at stake. Domestic partnerships are not marriages. You don't choose to become gay. Why would anyone choose to become someone everyone dislikes?
Proposition 8 is plain discrimination. We have no right to say that marriage, with all of its advantages and beauty, is a reward for being straight. We must acknowledge that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons straight couples do: to make a lifelong promise to love and care for each other. Our problem as human beings is that we think only one thing is natural and anything beyond is unnatural. We think that what is natural for most has to be natural for everyone else, and that is just not true.
I have read all the letters to the editor about who is for and against same-sex marriages, and it has left me sad. How about all the evils of prejudice and violence that we play out on each other each day in our homes and in our workplace? Why doesn't the Christian Coalition and the Catholic and Mormon churches, with their billions of dollars, fight hunger, rape, incest, child abuse, domestic violence and the many wars occurring in the world with the same vigor they have shown on Proposition 8?
Why does everyone have to be right? We don't even treat the people we supposedly love right, with respect and dignity. Regardless of how you feel about marriage, we should not eliminate the fundamental rights for any Californian.
What do you really think God thinks when he is the one who created your brothers and sisters? Gay and lesbians are your friends, your neighbors, co-workers and your family members. Vote no on 8.
-- Catherine Gutierrez, Ventura
Re: Alison Carlson's Oct. 14 letter, "No on hate, no on 8":
This commentary couldn't be presented more clearly. People need to realize this truly is a civil rights issue.
-- Bonnie Dawson, Camarillo
Like many other citizens, I displayed a sign in my yard regarding one of the ballot propositions. It was twice vandalized. Is it not ironic that in one of those attacks, they stapled a map to the Museum of Tolerance over my sign?
-- Ridgway Pope, Ventura
Proposition 8, Proposition 22 in 2000 and similar initiatives in other states -- to preserve the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman -- wouldn't be necessary if people made the right choices about their sexual orientation.
I remember it like it was yesterday. When I was 13, my parents sat me down one evening and told me it was time for me to choose my sexual orientation. As they explained, and I confirmed, it had nothing to do with hormones or genetic predisposition or reaching "puberty." It had nothing to do with the pretty blonde girl who flirted with me in algebra class. It was simply a matter of making a study of the two orientations -- heterosexual and homosexual -- and making a choice. The fact that it's an intellectual choice has been confirmed by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, and other scientific experts. The only logical choice is to be heterosexual.
I chose to be heterosexual, and I'm so glad I did, especially after I told my pastor of my decision. He quoted Leviticus 18:22 -- "If a man lie with a man as with a woman, it is an abomination" -- and told me that if I had made the wrong decision, I would burn in hell.
The only contrary opinion I have heard is from one woman who said, "Do you think if I had a choice, I would have chosen a man?" Shame! Dobson was right when he said, in a television interview in 2000, that homosexuality is a serious threat to marriage. In the 1990s we had a gay couple in our neighborhood. They were quiet, conservative and law-abiding, and they kept a neat house and yard, but just by being there they caused the breakup of every marriage in the area.
So I would like to hear from all of you people who also made the right choice. When did you choose to be heterosexual? How? What studies did you make in order to come to the right decision? Maybe, by sharing our own histories, we can encourage today's young people to make the only right decision: to be heterosexual.
-- Ron Harrington, Ventura
How ironic that the supporters of Proposition 8, who are so afraid that youngsters may be taught about "gay marriage" in schools -- which is inherently false -- created a situation that brought this issue front and center with my 9-year-old niece.
The other evening after dinner, my niece asked me how I was going to vote on this ballot measure. I asked her how she knew about it, and she told me her friends in school had been discussing it and saying how bad "gay marriage" is. And so began a family discussion about the issues involved. It was interesting to note how ignorant her views were on the subject since her information was essentially a third-hand understanding from obviously scared and outspoken evangelical parents.
Just as with teaching sex education in the schools when I was growing up, it was better to learn about these things from responsible adults rather than from other kids who don't fully understand the dynamics of the subject. This ballot measure isn't going to teach the gay lifestyle or attempt to recruit children to be gay, as some of the proponents of this measure suggest. Proposition 8 is essentially about overturning the state Supreme Court-mandated legal rights for gay couples. These scare tactics have essentially blown up in the face of these zealots, and now children are becoming aware of the very issue that they attempted to shield them from. Congratulations!
-- Dave Dolnick, Thousand Oaks
I am a teacher in the Oxnard School District. This means that I am also a member of the California Teachers Association. I am very disappointed that my union donated $1,250,000 to the No on Proposition 8 campaign. There was no polling made of the teachers before this huge amount of money was donated. With a budget crisis in California that is greatly affecting education, this money should have been spent in a way that would benefit the children of California.
One thing is now crystal clear to me. If Proposition 8 does not pass, the California Teachers Association will lobby to require me to teach same-sex marriage in my classroom. Otherwise, why would they donate so much money?
Please join me and other California teachers who value traditional marriage. Vote yes on Proposition 8!
-- Marjorie Pettit, Newbury Park
I am voting on Proposition 8 based on my strong beliefs.
I believe that all people have a right to practice their faiths.
I believe in freedom of religion -- or no religion.
I believe in freedom of speech.
I believe that everyone should be treated equally.
I believe in the separation of church and state.
I believe that it is not my business, nor your business nor especially the business of any government to tell two people whom they are allowed to marry.
I believe there is nothing more moral than repudiating discrimination and practicing fair justice and equality for all.
Please join me in preventing discrimination from being embedded into our state constitution.
Vote no on Proposition 8.
-- Gary Anderson, Westlake Village
Inasmuch as my children have had so many caring and capable teachers, I could hardly believe it when I learned that the California Teachers Association had donated $1 million to defeat Proposition 8.
The organization representing these dedicated professionals should have chosen to protect children by protecting the institution of marriage. Given what teachers see in their classrooms every day, the union's leaders should clearly know by their members' experience that children prosper best when they are raised by a mother and father who are married to each other. I only hope that the teachers themselves make their voices heard in support of California's children by voting yes on Proposition 8 come Nov. 4.
-- Karen Bennett, Moorpark
Thank you to whomever ripped up my "Yes on 8" sign.
I am constantly teaching my children to distinguish between right and wrong. This includes teaching them that one of the ways of telling a person's heart, whether they are intent on good or evil, is by their actions. By vandalizing my property, you have confirmed my instruction to them that in spite of proponents' of homosexual "marriage" insistence that they only want what is right -- that is, "equality" -- they in fact have no respect for any of God's laws.
-- Rodney Sinclair, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Oct. 16 editorial, "Santa Paula city: Matos, Robinson":
As people in Santa Paula can tell, this editorial was not about what is best for Santa Paula.
The Star doesn't cover our town well. If it had done its homework, The Star would have known whom to endorse for City Council.
Jim Tovias is a man of his own words. He does not let other people or companies do his thinking. He does his homework and does what is best for our town. All the people in our town are his concern. Jim wants the best for our town.
His family has been in Santa Paula since it became a city. Jim has been here all his life. Maybe if there were more coverage of Santa Paula, the paper would have known this. He is a big asset to this town. Jim always is working on projects to make this town a better place. He wants the best for our youth, the best education in our town. He always contributes to whatever this town needs if he feels like it's going to make a difference.
So don't base your vote off one interview with the paper. Look at the whole picture. That's what Jim Tovias does.
On Nov. 4, vote for Jim Tovias for City Council. He's the man that can and will make a difference our town needs.
-- Tana Ramirez, Santa Paula
Re: John Krumm's Oct. 17 letter, "Constitutionalizing morality":
Krumm spouts scripture from the Bible.
Scripture and the Bible have no place in the matter of legalizing same-sex marriage. This is a matter of equal rights -- equality for all -- and separation of church and state.
Have any of these people been paying attention?
I know couples who have been together for decades. They are good, decent, hard-working, committed, loving couples. They deserve the right to make their commitments legal.
Their relationships don't harm Krumm. They don't impact his life, not in the least. They simply want the same rights, the same benefits that marriage affords heterosexual couples and, contrary to the yes on 8 campaign's "misinformation," they don't have all these rights, nor will they impact the school system's teachings in the least.
Think, people. As my dear old mom used to say, "Use your head for something besides a hat rack."
We had a wonderful banner last week at the corner of Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive: "All our children deserve the right to marry."
No on Proposition 8 will mean equal rights for these couples. That's all they ask.
Also, I don't know who defaced the yes on Proposition 8 signs, but I apologize for the boneheads who did that. That act serves no good purpose for anyone. We're better than that.
-- Lynne Herron, Thousand Oaks
Throughout the ages and across all societies, until recently, marriage has been defined as being between a man and a woman. Governments and societies have sanctioned this union primarily because it is within this framework that children are created and societies are successfully perpetuated.
Within a family unit consisting of a married father and mother, a child is granted the right to be raised by both parents who created that child and who have legal and social obligations to the child. Children who are brought into a home with same-gender parents are denied the basic rights of being raised by and having as role models both of the parents who created them.
Certainly, we see many situations in society where children are not being raised by both of their biological parents. Many of these are very successful. However, that is not a sufficient reason to discontinue sanctioning the ideal situation for children -- a home with both a mother and a father who are married to each other.
That is why we are supporting Proposition 8 on the November ballot. Marriage is more than a commitment between two people. It defines the obligations and responsibilities of parenthood. Proposition 8 restores the time-honored definition of marriage between a man and a woman and preserves for children the right to be born into a family with both the mother and the father who created them and who will continue to nurture and be responsible for them.
-- John & Brenda Moffat, Agoura Hills
The end justifies the means. Civilized people know better than to fall into that trap. We can look at past atrocities that one group has enacted upon another and see where people with sincere intentions have taken that approach to excuse deplorable behavior. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack is one example. Attacks against homosexuals is another.
Today, some civilized individuals are crying that "yes on Proposition 8" proponents are prejudiced against same-sex couples. Those who have been trained to believe, and do believe with religious fervor, that all actions can be narrowly viewed through a secular prism will not comprehend and therefore completely discount religious validations for not allowing same-sex marriages. This has created individuals who, though they would deny they are such, have become "no on 8" zealots. These have decided in order to protect equal rights under the law they are justified in acts of vandalism against those displaying "yes on 8" signs. The "no on 8" zealots who are vandalizing the property of "yes on 8" proponents consider themselves civil rights crusaders. This is not an uncommon irony, but it is a sad irony.
There are a couple of kids on youtube.com who are anxious to show the world how they are crusading for rights by destroying "yes on 8" signs. They say they are prepared to be arrested because what they are doing is for the good of civil rights. Other zealots who go even further in destroying personal property of people displaying such signs are not as eager to share their identity, but they no doubt feel the same justification in their actions.
It is my contention that secularism breeds the kind of behavior secularists ascribe to the faithful, and the faithful, in this instance, only want marriage to be left alone.
-- David Needham, Thousand Oaks
I was appalled to hear about the California Teachers Association donating more than $1 million to the "No on Proposition 8" fund. I have lived in California for almost two years now, and I have children in the public school system. Ever since moving here, all I have heard about is the lack of funding and the elimination or reduction in programs. I feel nickel-and-dimed by constantly having to provide supplies of paper, pencils, markers, tissues, etc. for the classrooms because the teachers say they have no funds for them.
I am confident the teachers work hard to try to provide the best education they can, given the means allowed.
In a time of diminished funds and cancellation of programs, I cannot believe the audacity of the CTA donating to a proposition that is not supposed to have any impact on the schools. I have seen the "No on Proposition 8" ads saying that if Proposition 8 does not pass, there will be no effect in the schools.
If that is true, then why did the CTA donate so much money to a proposition that does not impact them? Wouldn't the money be better served on investments in schools, the teachers themselves or, at a minimum, on political causes that would actually support and benefit our children through education?
-- James Sloan, Moorpark
Re: Ron and Carol Kehoe's Oct. 16 letter, "Schlangen brings new ideas":
It gave me great pleasure to read the letter from the Kehoes. I have heard many complaints about the apparent "closed shop" on the Camarillo City Council, but no one before this had written about them. It has always seemed that, in order to get anywhere near achieving a seat on the council, one must have a friend there. This may not be true -- but it appears to be so.
David Schlangen would, as the Kehoes suggest, make an excellent new member. The average age of the present members must be around 60: David would make a pleasant change in that average, and, after all, he is one of the future members of the city. It is wrong to have a council composed solely of elderly people -- and I am older than any of them, if I am to be honest -- because they may not be as forward-looking as a younger person. Schlangen has his head screwed on right; he will not go mad with crazy ideas for youth but will act with balanced judgment for the whole community.
Please consider your vote carefully, because a vote for David Schlangen could very well breathe some fresh air and ideas into the council. "Could very well bring?" It will bring that fresh air if enough people give him their support.
-- Donald Beswick, Camarillo
Re: your Oct. 5 article, "Strickland's leadership began with basketball":
Jere Robings and others supporting Hannah-Beth Jackson used his name and made reference to Robings being connected with the Ventura County Taxpayers Association. Robings has not been connected with VCTA for 15 years, so this is not a current event and could be considered false information. VCTA is only concerned with issues about taxes and costs. VCTA does not promote any political candidates. Anybody who read the above-mentioned article can rest assured that VCTA is not connected to Robings or to Hannah-Beth Jackson.
-- Dennis Gaiser, Camarillo
(The writer is secretary of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association. -- Editor)
Re: Johnny Lowe's Oct. 17 letter, "Question for Boy Scouts":
The Boy Scouts of America is a private, voluntary organization for families who share its values, and it respects the rights of those who choose to follow a different path. The BSA is a nonpolitical movement and aims to allow youth to enjoy Scouting without immersing them in political issues. As such, individuals involved in the Scouting movement who choose to support a specific party -- or piece of legislation -- represent their own personal beliefs and not those of the Boy Scouts of America.
Robert Bolingbroke chose as a citizen to personally support this legislation, which is his right. However, he was not speaking on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America or the Scouting movement.
-- Tim Thomton, Camarillo
(The writer is Scout executive for the Ventura County Council, Boy Scouts of America. -- Editor)
My children have thrived in Pleasant Valley School District schools. I have always been impressed with the effort their teachers have put forth to keep my children motivated and successful in all they do. My youngest daughter has autism, and she has been part of the Autism Project at Las Posas School. Over the years, her teachers and aide have become a loving extension of our family as we all worked together to help Suzie succeed beyond our expectations despite her challenges.
However, as my five older children left PVSD to attend Adolfo Camarillo High School, it quickly became apparent that the school-family relationship that we enjoyed in PVSD was not to be had in the Oxnard Union High School District; the relationship was that of an unloved stepchild.
What happened? Was I any less involved with my children or school? No. The change was in the make-up of the OUHSD. My eldest son summed it all up, "Mom, they just want me to be average. It is easier for them."
Am I alone in my feelings about the vast difference between the feel of the PVSD and OUHSD? I don't think so, as more than 100 families from Camarillo have transferred their children to Newbury Park High School, not to mention those children attending private high schools or who are home-schooled rather than attend OUHSD schools.
Those who oppose unification are content with how things are. As for me, I am not. My son is now an eighth-grader and I am faced with a dilemma. Do I follow the "transfer trail" up the grade, stomach four more years with OUHSD or vote yes to unify our schools?
The answer is clear to me. A Camarillo Unified School District would provide programs that are best for all our children. Vote yes on Measure U.
-- Nancy Boyce, Camarillo
Consider this catastrophic turn of events: If Measure U passes and Proposition 2 passes and we end up with a prison hospital, then Camarillo will have better facilities for prisoners and chickens than for its students.
Vote no on Measure U.
-- Shawna Trahan, Camarillo
There is a great deal of misinformation being spread by the opponents of Measure U about increased property taxes in Camarillo if Measure U passes. Both the Oxnard Union High School District teachers union and the anti-unification political action committee, 4allthekids, have passed out mailers stating that property taxes will go up if Measure U passes. Both of these groups are ignoring the fact that if Measure U fails, property taxes will definitely go up.
Here are the facts. Four years ago, OUHSD voters passed a $135 million bond measure. At the time, it was anticipated that this would be sufficient to build two high schools, but, with the increase in school construction costs, that is no longer the case. OUHSD has not issued any of these bonds, and, therefore, they do not appear on your property tax bill. The high school district bond that is listed on your property tax bill is for an older bond that built Pacifica High School in Oxnard.
OUHSD has more than 2,000 students in Oxnard for whom classroom space is not available. If Measure U fails, the high school district will issue these bonds to build a new high school where it is needed most -- in Oxnard. When that happens, these bonds will appear on your property tax bill. Camarillo and Somis property owners will be responsible for paying $50 million of the $135 million in bonds to build these facilities in Oxnard.
However, if Measure U passes, taxpayers in Camarillo and Somis will not be obligated to pay for OUHSD bonds. No longer will we be in the position of paying for new schools in Oxnard, while the need for improvements at Adolfo Camarillo High School is ignored.
If Measure U passes, we will not see an increase in property taxes unless we, as a community, vote for that increase. Keep our tax dollars in Camarillo. Vote yes on Measure U!
-- Robert Weinstock, Camarillo
What an opportunity and challenge we have in both Oxnard and Camarillo. The creation of the Camarillo Unified School District is a monumental decision for the good of all students and parents in both cities. It not only gives Camarillo local control of kindergarten through 12th grades, but it allows Oxnard to focus more energy and motivation to unite their own districts under one board and one superintendent.
Think about the future, people. The Conejo Valley Unified School District was created when those citizens worked together to pull away from Oxnard years ago. Ask anyone over the hill to tell you how grateful they are to those who took a stand and made it happen.
Ask the citizens from Moorpark to tell you how successful their district is now after unifying more than 20 years ago -- national winners of the Academic Decathalon and top scores on state testing. Imagine what can happen when each city becomes more genuinely cohesive because they have the courage to unify their schools. With so many outstanding citizens supporting unification and willing to serve on a new unified school board, how can you doubt that unification is the best decision for Camarillo now?
Vote yes on Measure U.
-- Rose Wisuri, Camarillo
(The writer is a member of the Ventura County Educators Hall of Fame. -- Editor)
What do rotten figs and Thousand Oaks have in common?
FIG was an acronym for council members Andy Fox, Jacqui Irwin and Dennis Gillette. When the biggest vote-getter of all time, Ed Masry, died, FIG showed its true contempt for him and his final wishes to hold an election for his replacement. Instead, FIG appointed one of its good-ol'-boy cronies, Tom Glancy. Now, we have FIGG. There's no difference, really.
The first and most important letter, F, is for Fox, who runs this town like Tammany Hall. He's been on the council for 14 years and wants to be the longest-serving council member of all time with something named after him. Anyone for Foxtown? How about Foxville? Maybe Foxtopia? After all, isn't Thousand Oaks the garden of Eden? FIGG would have you believe it and all because of them.
Irwin and Glancy consistently follow Fox on every issue. I am sure they would approve naming something after him. In the meantime, they will probably support giving Fox a high-paying double-dipping job as the first Thousand Oaks fire chief after he retires from the Los Angeles Fire Department next year.
You see, FIGG supports each other and their campaign contributors, including greedy developers who care less about messes they leave behind, like traffic and eyesores. FIGG says one thing to the public while working behind the scenes against them.
Many say how wonderful this city is. What they don't realize is that, like an eagle, it takes two wings to fly. The council's current super-majority of FIGG should be reduced so there is real debate and compromise, like in the past. Our eagle has been sickened eating the rotting fruits of political abuse and incumbency. It needs to soar again. Jacqui Irwin and Tom Glancy should be pushed out of the nest.
-- John Fonti, Newbury Park
I am writing to endorse Jacqui Irwin for Thousand Oaks City Council.
My family and I moved to the Conejo Valley in January 2003, after having lived in six different states through the years. We are happy to call this home and hope to stay here permanently. This is because of the quality of life the area offers. Thousand Oaks is a unique blend of aesthetics, excellent schools, family-friendly environment and an infrastructure that supports small businesses. Much of this is a credit to our hard-working public officials, and most specifically to Irwin.
It has been my good fortune to have personally witnessed the professional and personal manner Irwin lends to the job. She has always managed to balance the need to promote the economic development of the city with maintaining the aesthetics of the area. A specific example is the unique partnership among the Conejo Recreation and Park District, California Lutheran University and the city of Thousand Oaks in agreeing to build a second pool on the CLU campus. This second pool will not only add to the recreation and competitive athletic activities in the community, but will also enable Thousand Oaks to host national-level swim competitions, which will add to our long-term economic gains. None of the three entities could have afforded to cover the expense on its own, but the combination brought great synergies. Irwin should be thanked for her efforts in making this happen.
As a father of a student athlete, I fully understand the value that youth athletics brings to the participants and to the community, and I appreciate Irwin's commitment to this aspect of our fine city. Jacqui Irwin has earned the right to continue to serve us admirably.
-- Brian Sullivan, Newbury Park
I support Michael Paule for the Triunfo Sanitation District board. He has financial knowledge, energy and ideas to help make the district better. And, he agrees with Supervisor Linda Parks and me that an all-elected board chosen throughout the district is the way to go.
This elected "at-large" method is the way Thousand Oaks residents vote for City Council and how Oak Park votes for Municipal Advisory Council. It is a simple method, and it works. Whoever gets the most votes wins the office. It makes sense for Triunfo.
Let's look at the election by-division, which the incumbent wants. Triunfo serves about 31,000 residents. How do you divide up Oak Park with 40 percent of the population, Thousand Oaks with 40 percent, and Lake Sherwood and Bell Canyon with 20 percent? No matter how it is divided into five divisions, it would be unfair to some residents, besides having elections cost more.
To me, this push by the incumbent to elect by-division is a false issue. All of us who live in the district face the same challenges of treating wastewater for the lowest cost possible.
I urge you to elect Mike Paule, so we can have a fair, all-elected board at last.
-- Janna Orkney, Oak Park
(The writer is vice chair of the Triunfo Sanitation District. -- Editor)