One of the most inequitable aspects of our governmental system is campaign financing. We abolish equality and fairness when the guy wins simply because of a greater campaign pocketbook. It is a sad indictment on democracy, isn't it? Justice goes out the window when multiple thousands of dollars are pitted against a qualified candidate who just doesn't have the financial wherewithal to compete.
This year's election was a prime example. In the meantime, government evolves, not around the best representative, but the best-financed candidate. This is the antithesis of democracy. It prostitutes our system, every bit as much as justice in dictatorships that have no "free" elections. Simply substituting the word "democracy" for the word "dictatorship" does nothing to ensure we elect the best candidate. This election year gave no assurance that fairness would prevail.
The ultimate manifestation of unfair elections is corruption. It is found in double-standard punitive policies that reward rather than punish city employees, department heads and their assistants and places officers on paid leave for incidents that land ordinary citizens in jail awaiting trial.
In the meantime, a new traffic concern is enlivened by the candidate who lost, and we can only guess what our new taxes will be utilized for.
There is one certainty: The corruption will not change. After all, we voted for it, and the injustices and the selective application of our laws will worsen before our campaign finance laws change.
-- Miguel Espinosa Jr., Oxnard
November 2008 Archives
One of the most inequitable aspects of our governmental system is campaign financing. We abolish equality and fairness when the guy wins simply because of a greater campaign pocketbook. It is a sad indictment on democracy, isn't it? Justice goes out the window when multiple thousands of dollars are pitted against a qualified candidate who just doesn't have the financial wherewithal to compete.
To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. That's according to the Wikipedia definition.
God-believers win over adherents primarily by indoctrination of children. From my experience, childhood indoctrination is heavily seasoned with fear -- hell, devils, fire, etc. In addition to threats, there is a history of real punishment, including death, to those adults who express disbelief.
In addition, the religious methodology depends on an unscientific method by asking nonbelievers to prove the negative -- "You can't prove there is no X." Replace the "X" with anything -- Zeus, Apollo, Santa -- and this statement remains accurate; that is why it's never considered support for a scientific hypothesis.
These are all well-known attributes of the religious methodology. It works in the mystical world.
In contrast, those supporting a scientific hypothesis win over adherents, primarily adults, through evidence. Indoctrination of children is not an element of the scientific method.
Promoters of a hypothesis must assume the responsibility for presenting supporting evidence. Threats -- hell, fire, death -- are not used to silence nonbelievers. Rather, the scientific method encourages challenging and testing of hypothesis, even evolution. To be taken seriously, they ask challengers to use the scientific methods, not the religious methods.
These are all well-known attributes of the scientific method. It works in the physical world.
-- Ron Paulinski, Ventura
Large, prosperous churches contributed huge sums of money to help Proposition 8 pass. They must be feeling that their efforts and their investments were successful. Is this an example of "the people have spoken," as stated by your letter-writers?
There is another aspect of the sacred institution of marriage for heterosexuals exclusively that bewilders me. Why do more than 50 percent of these sacred commitments end in divorce, sometimes multiple times? Maybe there is something about the word "sacred" that I am not understanding.
-- Doris Vernon, Camarillo
Re: your Nov. 19 article, "52,000 inmates could be set free":
To the threat that 52,000 prisoners in the state penal system may be released because of overcrowding, I say, "Great!" The vast majority of these prisoners come from the biggest cities and counties, so send this human waste back to them. People like J. Clark Kelso, the federal receiver trying to build a maximum security prison hospital in Ventura County, and his gang of gangster lawyers should know what it feels like to have a bunch of criminals shoved down their throats.
When they start releasing these inmates, I will be the first to fly to our state capital with a sign saying, "Welcome to the neighborhood." I hope Sacramento, where Kelso lives, gets a few thousand rapists, murderers, drug dealers and robbers dumped on their doorstep for Christmas.
-- Mike Hoevel, Camarillo
Re: your Nov. 19 article, "52,000 inmates could be set free":
Those considering moving to or visiting California do so at their own risk.
The governor is considering setting 52,000 prisoners free because we have too many prisoners in California and we can no longer afford to keep them locked up. So, it has been suggested that we let them all go so that they can ply their talents of robbing and killing citizens.
For visitors who are coming this way, it is suggested that they bring a Colt .44 with them, because when they open the cell doors and let these predators out, they're going to need it.
Let's hope these convicted felons turn on the governor and Legislature first before they rob, rape and annihilate the rest of us.
-- Bob Wilson, Camarillo
Re: Kevin Kolbeck's Nov. 20 letter, "Man isn't a bird":
Kolbeck strives to refute my example of homosexuality in nature. A Google search of "homosexual behavior in animals" will go to a Wikipedia article complete with 51 references.
Each species has its own way of existing successfully on this planet. What works for a cockatiel or a lion or a kangaroo may or may not work for humans. After all, we humans are still wired to live in small groups hunting game, foraging for fruits and veggies, having three-day group sex during the full moon and then raising our offspring communally after weaning.
How far have we moderns gotten away from our programming? How does our modern behavior contribute to our crime rates, psychological difficulties and continuous unsupported bickering over that-which-is?
Why do salmon die off after mating and laying their eggs?
Why, indeed, do preying mantis females kill off their lovers?
Why do humans persist on killing each other off?
Why do some members of most species partake in homosexual behaviors?
I do not know. I can only observe and accept that this is the way nature -- or your favorite deity, prophet, seer, whatever -- wants it to be. As with a jillion other things, we can appreciate them but so far remain totally ignorant as to why -- or sometimes even what -- they are.
For us humans to remain viable upon our planet, I feel we must learn to accept that which is, to deal with it gently, and to understand it fully before we attempt to change it.
-- Roger G. Pariseau Jr., Oxnard
Re: Randy Wheeler's Nov. 21 letter, "Star should lean to the right":
Wheeler's letter is wrong in many ways.
A local newspaper should present all sides of an issue, not cater to a particular political view. The Star has published "liberal" and "conservative" editorials and opinions; I commend it for its balance.
The Star's financial difficulties are the same as newspapers and magazines across the country. The Internet and other media advances have led Americans away from newspapers and magazines, regardless of their political bias.
Wheeler's claim that "liberals" seek handouts while "conservatives" pay their own way, is equally false. My parents came to this country from Italy in 1956, seeking greater opportunity than existed in their war-ravaged homeland. They spoke no English and had little money. Like other immigrants, they worked hard, went to school at night to learn English and became citizens. Early on my mother was a seamstress and worked on an assembly line, and my dad had many odd jobs, including washing cars.
In 1970, they bought a small delicatessen in Thousand Oaks. In 1978, they built a larger store in Westlake Village. In 1996, they built a third store in Moorpark. Over the years they employed thousands of people and paid millions of dollars in taxes. They never once asked the government for a handout. They are also very liberal, believing that wealth imposes a duty to help others.
My parents are no different than millions of other hard-working "liberals" across the country. As our president-elect has said, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America."
Let's stop the "liberal" versus "conservative" nonsense and work to better this country.
-- Paul Bauducco, Moorpark
Please deliver notice to all your wire services, staff journalists and all contributors that effective immediately, the publisher will include as heirs in his estate any writers who stop using the word "iconic" to indicate outstanding, well-known, significant.
Furthermore, he will bestow an immediate large cash award upon the heads of any writers who cease using the word "impact" when what they mean is "effect," as in "The economic slowdown will have a negative effect upon the credit-granting abilities of many banks."
This iconic event will have a positive impact on newspaper journalism.
-- Vince Nowell Sr., Simi Valley
After reading the article on the state's budget cuts proposal, I had to reread the paragraph where cash welfare grants are being reduced and stopped for children after five years "if" the parents are undocumented (illegal), are drug felons or are fleeing felons or won't meet the work participation requirements.
Why do we give them five years? Just maybe this free flow of cash to illegals or undocumented workers or all of the above caused this mess in the first place. Now the governor wants to triple our vehicle registrations.
Frankly I'm sick to death of paying for other people's drug habits, anchor babies and fleeing felons who should be incarcerated. If I could sell my house, I would relocate right out of this welfare state like so many of my friends had the foresight to do a long time ago.
-- Judi Burrow, Simi Valley
I think it's interesting nobody ever asks this simple question to the No on Proposition 8 folks: "Please describe the harm and injury you suffer as a result of your gay partnership being defined as a civil union?" I want them to describe what this injury and harm looks like, because I define marriage as the union of a husband and wife.
Is it employment, housing, education, health, recreation, water fountains, buses, love, sex, relationships, persecution, etc? I am really puzzled as to what the injury and suffering actually looks like.
Meanwhile, I am labeled as a Nazi, ignorant and bigot. Who is hating whom here? Who suffers the greater injury because I hold to the historical, traditional definition of marriage? Who is persecuting whom?
I'm sure all kinds of self-identified minorities suffer some kind of "psychic pain" in life. Atheists, communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc., all feel at times they are "misunderstood." Do we completely redefine all of our institutions so that each and every one of us suffers zero "self-image" problems? This is life. Nobody escapes some amount of self-image, guilt issues and feelings of inferiority.
Again, where is the harm in labeling a gay partnership as a civil union? Please describe the pain and suffering in detail and with specificity. I just don't see it at all whatsoever. It must be in their own heads!
Until they make that case, please stop labeling me a "Nazi" -- that's such an overused form of intimidation to silence my free speech. What about my psychic pain?
-- Sean Ragan, Camarillo
So the revolt against Proposition 8 continues. Perhaps resolution of this dispute should depend upon the answer to the following question:
"What presents the least harm to the most people: maintaining the traditional definition of marriage, or expanding it to also include the concepts of a particular group?"
However, from the legal standpoint, this question would appear to be moot. The Defense of Marriage Act (1 USC Sect 7) defines "marriage" as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Further, 28 USC Sect 1738C states that no other jurisdiction is required to recognize same-sex marriages carried out in another jurisdiction. And state law does not pre-empt federal law.
California domestic partnerships provide same-sex unions all the rights the state has the power to bestow. If the "domestic partner" term is unsatisfactory, perhaps another one such as "soul brothers" or "eternal partners" would be appropriate. I sympathize with my gay and lesbian friends, but it would appear that the word marriage has already been taken.
-- James B. Forrest, Ventura
How many times can the California Supreme Court legally overturn the will of the voters? Now they will look at Proposition 8 and decide if it was poorly written, and they will decide between the democratic will of the majority versus the rights of a "minority."
So all of sudden the seemingly downtrodden same-sex marriage advocates are classifying themselves as a minority so they can justify revisiting this issue instead of respecting the will of the voters! Are these folks really in the minority, or are they just fewer in numbers than they needed to make Proposition 8 fail?
If this proposition was supposed to have a two-thirds majority vote by the California Legislature before it even went to the ballot, why was that not done? A lot of time, energy, money and effort could have been saved if, in fact, it had been done the right way. Proposition 8 deals with the making of a marriage, not the making of government.
To our court: Please raise the bar and do not walk over the rights of California voters who have already made their decision.
-- Carole D. Nelson, Ventura
John Flynn has served Ventura County as a supervisor since the days of Father Junipero Serra. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems that long.
One action by Flynn that stands out was his recognition and admission that the infamous "perks," or benefits package, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1990 was a major mistake. In order to seek redemption for his approval of that benefits package, Flynn signed the following letter on July 12, 1994, to the county auditor:
"I, John Flynn, Supervisor from District 5, County of Ventura, California, present this irrevocable waiver to relinquish any and all claim to the perk known as 'The Severance Benefit for Ventura County Officials.'
"This waiver applies to any amount due me from this perk, past, present and future.
"As of March 18, 1994, the amount allotted to me was reported to be $48,535. Because of the critical county budget shortage, I authorize the immediate return of the funds held in this account to the general fund."
I'm sure there are many residents of Ventura County that are unaware of the scandal that surfaced in October of 1992 when the corruption by the supervisors was exposed.
When elected officials use the power of their office to line their own pockets, corruption is the appropriate description. The benefits plan that included a severance payment for an elected official who lost an election or retired from office raised the ire of the voters. Flynn was the only one of the five supervisors who agreed that such a benefit was an egregious abuse of the taxpayers and was the only supervisor to send such a letter to the auditor.
The other benefits they voted themselves were: seven weeks' extra pay included in their first paycheck of January each year; a longevity bonus when re-elected; 100 percent of their Social Security tax paid by the county; a bonus for holding a college degree; and more. These benefits were not made public for several years after they were adopted, and they effectively doubled the income of the supervisors.
Thank you, John Flynn, for having the integrity to waive the severance pay.
-- Jere Robings, Thousand Oaks
It is a sad day in our country when true democracy loses the respect of its citizens. On Nov. 4, California voted to pass Proposition 8. This is what is called "democracy" -- people actually getting to vote and having a say in how they want their country or state run. We also elected a new president, another exercise in the democracy that makes America the best country in the world.
For the past eight years, we have dealt with many people, most usually empty-headed celebrities, speaking badly about the leader of our country. Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and a host of others made no secret of how unhappy they were with George Bush.
Not everyone in the country voted for Barack Obama, but let's hope that the Republicans won't be as childish and disrespectful as the sore-losing Democrats have been for the past eight years. The people this really hurts are the brave men and women who are overseas fighting for our freedom and our right to have a democratic vote. I doubt their morale soars when they hear people saying they want to move to Canada and they are ashamed to be American.
Californians voted on Proposition 8. Now supporters have to deal with their churches being trashed, cars with bumper stickers promoting Proposition 8 being vandalized, and people being threatened with bodily harm.
We are not a Third World country. This is America. Democracy prevails. People go to great lengths to move here. We have rights and privileges in this country that many others can't even imagine. Let's respect each other's opinions and the official vote of our democracy. Otherwise, we may find that the next country our armed forces are needed in to maintain peace and order is our own.
-- Cristen Cervellini-Calfo, Thousand Oaks
Proposition 8 has raised numerous issues, many so strongly divisive that we have been willing to form alliances that give the impression of just two points of view. Some issues that will certainly be of interest to the California Supreme Court when it deliberates are:
-- Is marriage a civil right?
-- In our democracy, does the majority have the right to oppress a minority?
-- Can we amend our state constitution by a simple majority vote?
In a unanimous 1967 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man." Thus, in our society, marriage does appear to be a right. We have exceptions that protect our children and prohibit marriage between a man and several women, although the latter is certainly consistent with the procreation argument of Proposition 8 supporters.
The Nov. 4 vote was only one of many hurdles for this idea, and like the Jim Crow laws and anti-miscegenation laws that preceded it, it will eventually disappear from our laws.
-- Nick Fotheringham, Thousand Oaks
A couple of years ago, we installed a solar panel grid on our home. These are the panels that produce electricity and send unused portions back into the grid. The company we selected illustrated how we would see at least a 15 percent return on our investment. The salesperson said, "You will now enjoy watching your meter turn backwards."
Sure enough, the first day the system was turned on, I watched electric meter spin backwards! I monitored the panels daily over the first year using the data logger that came with the system and our Southern California Edison historical records available online. We reduced our electricity use by an average of 55 percent over the first year and 77 percent during the peak summer months. Congress recently passed yet another new solar tax credit, too!
I just cannot figure out why the desert floors between Palmdale and Daggett and the roofs of manufacturing plants are not covered in these panels. By installing solar panels on our home, we are also reducing acid rain emissions, smog and greenhouse gases by thousands of pounds, all by ourselves!
Even if you do not believe in global warming, where else will you realize a 15 percent return on your investment and add value to your home in today's poor economy? On a more global scale, think of how a politician could construct a clean portion of the plan to accomplish the heavily campaigned subject of "energy independence" with measurable milestones achievable during their term in office, rather than a vague 10 or 20 years down the road.
The technology exists. It is time to further scale up production and break down road blocks. Did you know: "All the energy stored in Earth's reserves of coal, oil and natural gas is matched by the energy from just 20 days of sunshine," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists? There is one solution that comes up every day!
-- Mark Miller, Camarillo
Re: your Nov. 21 editorial page:
This page was very interesting. It prompted me to write, and then I saw the political cartoon, and it summed up what I was going to say.
One or more writers feel The Star is very left-wing for opposing Proposition 8. I guess it is a response that proves The Star is doing a good job -- in spite of downsizing, with which I am unhappy -- as I have always thought the leaning was more to the right. So it is unclear where truly it leans.
But can you really believe that with the terrible economic crisis, the two Middle East wars raging, the recent election and late unsettled results, the world climate and energy catastrophic condition, that Proposition 8 would garner such attention, energy, financial input, backlash, hatred and intensity that almost overshadows all the other problems we face? It is quite a moral, ethical and political issue that has rational and irrational supporters on both sides. Indeed, the voting citizens of California have twice spoken by their votes, and the courts must decide if the issue is constitutional, both on a state and federal level, before there is a resting of the issue.
"Can't we all learn to get along together" was once a statement that brought a humorous response, but it certainly seems appropriate with these hot issues.
-- David J. Katz, Oxnard
Two months ago, The Star reported that Ventura code enforcement officials were beginning work on new rules, citing high numbers of illegal garage conversions and unauthorized house additions.
Two months later, a working group has come up with a proposed ordinance that does nothing about either and imposes fees that will not provide even a single additional code enforcement person. The proposed ordinance was scheduled to go to City Council on Nov. 24.
After having received much feedback from many citizen groups opposing the proposed ordinance, the working group advised city staff that the currently proposed program lacked enough of a basis for a new city ordinance. They have rescheduled their presentation to the City Council for Monday, Dec. 8, to incorporate this feedback into alternative options to the currently proposed program.
The main concern with the proposed ordinance has been that it sweeps the vast majority of law-abiding rental property owners into a regulatory program instead of focusing enforcement efforts on the few scofflaws who are perceived to be overburdening the system. Many think that the proposed ordinance is simply an excuse to levy another fee, without providing any additional service.
I personally think that the best alternative is to scrap the proposed ordinance, levy administrative citations against the troublemakers and leave the rest of us alone. If you'd like to voice your opinion on the proposed alternatives, put a circle around Dec. 8 on your calendar and let the City Council know what you think.
-- Robert Chatenever, Oxnard
Re: your Nov. 8 article, "Camarillo officials in talks for school site":
After reading this article regarding the Pleasant Valley School District's facility in Old Town on Ventura Boulevard, I could not help but question how the information for the article was gathered. More specifically, how did the reporter arrive at the conclusion that the facilities are "abandoned?" Had he walked the grounds of the site, he would have noticed that the facilities are used and the grounds are well-maintained.
I do not recall receiving a call or e-mail from a reporter inquiring about the facilities. Had he contacted district staff, he would have learned that the facility is not abandoned. Furthermore, he would have received information indicating that the district has a preschool instructional program on the campus as well as a special education preschool program in classrooms leased by the Ventura County Office of Education. Head Start also leases space on the campus, along with Chabad of Camarillo, both of which provide programs for preschool students. Finally, the site's multipurpose room is used on an ongoing basis by the district office, school sites and community groups for meetings and programs.
The Pleasant Valley School District is committed to collaborating with the city of Camarillo on future projects that will enhance Old Town Camarillo and further the district's mission to provide the students of Camarillo a superior education system for decades to come.
As we have conveyed to those that have called the district as a result of The Star's story, the Pleasant Valley School District site on Ventura Boulevard is not an abandoned building!
-- Luis C. Villegas, Jr., Ed.D., Superintendent, Pleasant Valley School District, Camarillo
Re: your Nov. 20 editorial, "Council heeds the citizenry":
It was with great interest that I read of the City Council's new sensitivity to the public's outcry about traffic and housing growth. Unfortunately, it took a measure, Measure V, to wake them up.
It is also interesting that the person who put his political election on the line to bring about such a "wise move," as the paper noted, is not mentioned. Tim Flynn deserves our thanks for bringing this issue to the public's attention. Flynn was ridiculed by the status quo establishment for being out of touch and radical in his views.
The Star stated, "Citizens like to complain their elected leaders never really listen to them. Tuesday night in Oxnard, the City Council did."
Flynn heard them first. His problem was that he didn't "go along to get along." He stood up for what he believed, a critical political and personal flaw. It is unfortunate that in our city there isn't room for a dissenting voice, a second opinion, for critical thinking. If you don't think like the mainstream group, you are quickly dismissed.
It has been said, "When everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is thinking" and "People get the government they deserve." I guess we didn't deserve Tim Flynn.
-- Rudy Mendez, Oxnard
There has yet to be an argument surrounding the masses of foreigners who come to the U.S. to take good jobs and positions away from U.S. citizens. Every level of society now has foreigners in key, high-pay positions. My daughter's English teacher spoke so poorly she required an interpreter to assist at conferences.
These people are able to bring their credentials from their homeland and apply them here at our expense, both economically and by taking important jobs away from Americans. Many, many businesses that should be operated by our citizens are in the hands of people from all over the world. They are taking businesses away from us and the profits with them.
Obviously, we have a serious double standard when we point ugly fingers at Mexicans who come here to take jobs no one else wants and allow professionals, doctors, engineers, teachers and businesses -- gas stations, fast food restaurants, bakeries, etc. -- to take advantage of our double-standard generosity. My HMO selected a heart specialist who spoke with such a terrible accent I couldn't understand him. Other medical specialists I speak with on the phone must interrupt the conversation to bring someone who speaks clear English.
I'm tired of it. Whenever someone with a severe accent calls, I merely hang up or ask to speak with someone I can understand. It has absolutely nothing to do with racism. It has to do with a deteriorating quality of life and a system that allows millions of foreigners taking meaningful jobs -- not farm work -- away from Americans.
-- Miguel Espinosa Jr., Oxnard
Can this be correct? The majority of the Oxnard City Council voted to delay the approval of a housing project? What's this world coming to?
Let's be real here. The only reason this happened was due to the fact the Councilman Tim Flynn brought to the forefront the traffic issues facing this city. If you've lived in Oxnard long enough, you'd be kidding yourself by not admitting we have a traffic problem. Where are these council members between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.? Drive through any part of town and you'll be stuck in traffic.
I am a resident of RiverPark, and now they want to build more housing across the way at Wagon Wheel? RiverPark isn't fully developed, and homes that are already built have been put up for sale. Whether it's the economy or these outrageous Mello-Roos taxes we have to pay, who knows?
Now a vote on more houses? Enough already! This council doesn't care about the quality of life here in Oxnard. If they did, they wouldn't continue to turn us into a smaller Los Angeles.
Allow RiverPark to grow into the community you all envisioned, then think about adding more residents and traffic just a stone's throw away.
The new Oxnard Boulevard bridge was supposed to ease traffic on Vineyard Avenue. Where is the next overpass going to go to accommodate all the traffic that RiverPark has yet to add and then the traffic added by the residents at Wagon Wheel?
To the council: Please consider your disregard for the citizens of this city. Think about the life of quality you're leaving for the next generation. Please do the right thing.
-- Gerardo Fonseca, Oxnard
We are arguing over the word "marriage."
Proponents of Proposition 8 want to keep "marriage" as the concept we have always known it -- the union of a man and a woman.
Most people would not deny gay or lesbian couples the legal and tax privileges they already have. But the word "marriage" is the bonus they would reserve for a heterosexual couple.
Will someone please come up with, or invent, a word that will be acceptable to gay couples but will distinguish one kind of "couple" from the other?
-- Betty Murray, Camarillo
Re: your Nov. 22 front-page photo, "A patriotic thank you":
The caption states that the young man is singing the Pledge of Allegiance. Can you tell us what tune he is singing it to?
-- Charles A. Wilson, Oxnard
After watching a segment of CNN, I began to wonder why the people who make $10 to $20 per hour should bail out the CEOs who, according to CNN, make an average of $41,000 per day for making the wrong decisions on how to run their businesses.
If we are going to save all the incompetent businesses in the country, then we have become a socialist nation for sure. One reason this will not work is because it violates the laws of nature, which is "survival of the fittest."
With the Big Three looking for taxpayers' money to cover their mistakes, here comes another monster, Citigroup, with assets of more than $2 trillion and who charges you 29 percent if you are one day late with your payment. That's only 19 percent more than the working man who is being asked to foot the bill can charge without being accused of usury, which carries a penalty of repaying three times the amount he has charged the person to whom he has loaned his hard-earned money.
If this country continues with this line of reasoning, then it will fail for sure, thus fulfilling the prophecies of the G8 conference, which is made up of the leading economists from around the world. The only thing they all agreed upon was that when the national debt reached $10 trillion, the United States would have a recession that would make 1933 look like child's play.
-- John Scholfield, Ojai
Re: Arnold Hockenmaier's Nov. 23 letter, "Change and hope":
He writes of the "232-year overall successful capitalism system to 'share the wealth' socialism" in an Obama administration.
If you do the math, 232 years would put us at 1776 and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It still took five years of the American Revolution to gain independence and another eight years to establish a working constitution. I would not consider a capitalistic economic system influenced by Adam Smith's A Wealth of Nations to equate to 232 years of economic success. If it wasn't for the French, we probably would not even exist.
Also, any economic success in our early history must be attributed to the exploitation of those human beings who were not white males with property, money and title. It would take George Washington sending federal troops to collect whiskey tax and Abraham Lincoln leading a war against the South to help create a sound and fair economic system for our young country.
Don't confuse socialism and communism. They are two separate systems, one being political and one being economic. It is true that communism, as professed by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, would eventually shed its skin and become a pure socialistic utopian society void of economic exploitation. Other than traditional economic systems, humans have never really reached that point.
The United States is a mixed economic system that advocates "socialism" at its very core of existence. When you receive your mail, drive down a public street, send a child to public school or send soldiers to defend our nation, you live and practice socialism. Next time you call a police officer for assistance, remember you are a socialist whether you like it or not -- just like the rest of us.
-- Robert L. Rada, Ventura
Re: your Nov. 20 article, "Planning panel to get Costco proposal":
John Fonti, a homeowner in Dos Vientos Ranch, is quoted as saying he doesn't think that the proposed location for Costco is the best choice because of the already congested intersection of Wendy Drive and Highway 101. He went on to say, "That intersection, which is already bad, is going to be proof that Thousand Oaks officials care more about sales-tax revenue than the quality of life of residents."
Well, Fonti is correct. The city of Thousand Oaks ruined Newbury Park's quality of life when they approved the development of Dos Vientos in the first place. Prior to the construction of the Dos Vientos community, there were never any traffic problems at the intersection of Wendy and Highway 101, as well as no problems at the intersections of Borchard and Lynn roads at Highway 101, as there are today.
Now that Dos Vientos is here to stay, along with the tremendous traffic the residents brought with them, I will ask Fonti to put up with the new Costco traffic, just as we "old-timers" have put up with the Dos Vientos traffic.
-- Greg Meyer, Newbury Park
Re: your Nov. 19 article, "Driver pleads guilty in death of jogger":
Imagine you in the prime of your life. You are alive -- a vibrant productive person, loved by all and a well-respected member of the community. You awoke one bright, sunny morning to go out and take that jog. You wave at your neighbors who see you as a person whose lust for life bounds with every step you take. They smile at you, and they are happy for you that you can enjoy something like a jog.
Then you are struck and killed. Your neighbors are shocked, your family is grief-stricken. You are taken away by a 23-year-old who, at 6:30 in the morning, was driving his motor vehicle intoxicated. His life was so miserable that he had to be drinking at 6 in the morning.
Now you are dead, and the person who struck and killed you is in court, and his attorney tells the judge that his client has no "meaningful" record and that he should not be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
No "meaningful" record.
When I read about the tragic death of Karey Marsh, I was saddened and immediately said to myself, "What a waste." I did not know the woman, but I have seen the type. There are so many Karey Marshes running and enjoying life, and they should be protected. We hurry to forgive the people who cause these unspeakable acts of stupidity and forget about the two women who earlier this year were cut down in the same fashion. They lived, but they will never run again.
Karey Marsh needs justice. Her family needs justice. Her friends need justice. The word atonement is appropriate in this situation.
There is no doubt that Nicholas Robert Lagrotta feels remorse. Ten years of remorse should be sufficient.
But Karey Marsh will not be running anymore. And that is sad.
-- Chris Biller, Moorpark
Re: your Oct. 14 article, "Wedding venue agrees to a settlement":
Villa Amodei was treated in an unfair manner. Other venues operated with no repercussions. Why were complaints of other venues ignored when the county went after Villa Amodei?
Villa Amodei tried to do everything right. Villa Amodei is different than any other venue in Ventura County.
Neighbors' complaints are false, and police reports stated that the noise studies all say, clearly, "no impact."
Neighbors have harassed Amodei's. Homes are much farther from Villa Amodei than most venues. Politically connected neighbors are using and abusing the system.
-- Linda Mann, Simi Valley
Re: Raymond Freeman's Nov. 23 Pulse page commentary, "My election-night toast to Obama":
I am always interested in reading any of the opinions Freeman expresses because they are articulate, succinct and presented with wit and clarity. Although I believe that his expressions of joy and satisfaction with the outcome of the election are truly genuine, he could have tempered them somewhat with some sober reality. Though well-intentioned, I think a comparison to the Age of Pericles might be considered a bit of a stretch.
There are many who would dismiss such high hopes. Already, we see a number of reports that suggest a negative and visceral backlash against Barack Obama's election. Unfortunately, racism is alive and well.
That said, I do believe that the president-elect is at the crossroads of history. And, like Freeman, I want him to succeed. However, we must recognize that he is only one man. He cannot turn water into wine or feed the multitudes. But what he can do is restore the nation's confidence in itself and, more importantly, in its leadership. Indeed, that would signal a new age and direction of American policy and politics.
-- Rodney K. Boswell, Thousand Oaks
The automakers are in big trouble, and they expect us taxpayers to save them.
Here is the simple truth as to what's wrong with the American auto industry: It's the stranglehold the unions have over this industry.
Does anyone remember the steel industry and Pittsburgh? That industry long ago left Pittsburgh for foreign countries. They were driven out by the greedy unions, which had zero foresight for the future, just like they have in Detroit.
Did we learn anything from the past mistakes that were made?
The auto industry will cease to exist in a short time because of the shortsightedness of the union leaders. Their workers are making $73 an hour while the workers in the Japanese plants in the U.S. are making $51 per hour. The difference is the Japanese plants are not unionized.
It's no wonder Detroit's car prices are too high and no longer competitive. It's no wonder the product offered is lower in quality and the options offered are limited and are therefore less attractive to the buyer. The money is spent on inflated wages and an overburdened retirement program. They have, over the years, created a disaster that was bound to lead to self-destruction.
The Big Three should declare bankruptcy and start all over again. Get rid of the unions and stop the huge financial drain paid to retired workers that was acquired by the unions in the past by duress.
I'm a former resident of Pittsburgh, and I saw firsthand how the unions destroyed the steel industry in this country and almost destroyed a wonderful city.
Detroit can only blame itself for not saving its industry and its city. It is close to being too late, but there is a glimmer of hope if they act now.
-- Dale Sweitzer, Simi Valley
Re: your Nov. 22 front-page photo, "A patriotic thank you":
What was wrong with this picture? What was missing is the fact that the majority of the Marines pictured did not have their hand over their heart while that young child sang the Pledge of Allegiance. The Marines, of all people, I would think, would show their respect and patriotism when they are fighting for our country. What is happening to our world? We live in the best country in the world. Why not show our pride?
-- Pat McDonough, Westlake Village
Well, so much for change! We're now looking at the third term of the Clinton dynasty.
-- Bill Gourlay, Westlake Village
Well, the destruction of Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks continues. It seems every vacant lot or open space must be filled with new retail stores, storage facilities or 100 new homes. I used to awaken to the sound of coyotes and birds, but now traffic noise and sirens reminiscent of the San Fernando Valley keep me awake for much of the night.
The traffic on Lynn Road, Wendy Drive and Borchard Road has become almost unbearable. Our once-charming community now looks and feels like every other overcrowded town along Highway 101. But now the 10-minute drive to Westlake or the 20-minute drive to Oxnard to visit Costco has become too difficult for people. They want a new Costco built in Newbury Park.
We don't need any more noise and traffic. Enough is enough already. Most of us moved to Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks to escape the mess our community is becoming.
-- Gary M. Raives, Newbury Park
During the last Simi Valley City Council meeting, I learned of the city's plans to lay off three building inspectors. I, like most people here in Simi Valley, thought, "Construction is slow, so there must not be work for the Building and Safety Department." But I forgot about the "safety" aspect of building and safety.
I know that because of a fatal house fire in 2005 caused by illegal construction and overcrowding, the city directed the Building and Safety Department to respond aggressively against illegal garage conversions and overcrowding. Inspectors now investigate complaints and issue citations to property owners for violations of Simi Valley's property maintenance and life safety codes.
As a homeowner, I don't want limited street parking because of a two-car garage being rented out as an apartment, or have my property value drop because of unsightly illegal construction and foreclosures, or have my life and property endangered by a fire hazard next door. I have watched this program clean up neighborhoods and eliminate unsafe and unsanitary properties throughout the city.
If the proposed layoff of three inspectors will mean the end of this program, I urge the City Council to reconsider these layoffs. In other cities, higher fines imposed on violators pay for this type of program. This could be done here. Our City Council has taken the correct action in starting this program to ensure safety and quality of life for all of us. Let's continue.
Citizens, if you value the quality of life we enjoy here, let your voice be heard.
-- Krista Sage, Simi Valley
I have watched as major injustices have been done in the situation of Villa Amodei. The county is now rewarding wedding venues that have been conducting their business for years without a permit and were allowed to operate all summer. The county is now expediting the permit process for other venues, and it seems to hide the fact these venues were operating already. Other venues did not get fined, nor were they threatened with having to stop their events. It seems that the county just wanted to frame Villa Amodei as the only violator.
This is ironic, as Villa Amodei is the only venue in the history of garden wedding venues to have applied for a permit and work with the county for a year. When this process still continued, they even gave weddings free of charge just to bless the brides and grooms and respect the county.
Now the questions must be asked. Why has Villa Amodei been fined after one police phone call where other venues are not? Why are other venues getting expedited permit processes and allowed to continue operating? It's because a small group of neighbors has taken to complaining and lying about the conduct at Villa Amodei. Not one police report backs any false claim these neighbors have said. Not one of the multiple noise studies has come back close to exceeding the county thresholds. Yet the county felt they should take extreme action against Villa Amodei without hearing or validating the claims.
This is un-American. This is guilty before proven innocent! There was crime being committed this summer, but it was not done by Villa Amodei.
-- Kristina K De'Laittre, Simi Valley
Why must or should we bail out the three auto companies?
I believe that the three auto companies have gotten themselves in the mess they find themselves in right now all on their own.
We, the public, have been waiting many, many years for the auto companies to build an auto or truck that would get more than 17 or so miles per gallon. When anyone came up with a super idea that would give us an auto or truck with many miles per gallon, these companies bought up the patent or idea and filed it away someplace, never more to be brought up.
For some years now, they have been told to build a fuel-efficient auto or truck and also to find alternatives to gasoline. These three auto companies have just literally ignored the public and government and kept on doing their own thing.
Well, now what goes around comes around, and they are finally feeling the pinch they are in -- to their own demise. Why should we bail them out and get nothing in return?
I, for one, don't think so. How about you?
-- Ryta Fofanoff, Simi Valley
Ventura County has the worst economy I've ever seen. The California economy doesn't look any better.
Local county graduates can't get a decent job in their college or university major. It looks like there are no entry-level jobs anywhere in Los Angeles, Ventura or Santa Barbara counties. Forget about Northern California. Stanford, UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University graduates are lining up to look for work. Even Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto have seen a surge of applicants for entry-level jobs. Certified public accountants stand in line to apply for $8-an-hour jobs as bookkeepers. New college business school graduates are told that they "don't have enough experience" for an entry-level bookkeeping or a bank teller job, if any of these jobs still exist. Don't suggest Utah, Wisconsin, Texas or New Jersey -- they have thousands of their own state university graduates.
Before the national economic "meltdown," many employers were advising Ventura County high school and college graduates how to survive on minimum wage jobs if they were hired to serve coffee or deliver pizza. They were told to simply apply for food stamps, low-cost apartment subsidies and other state and federal government "perks." Just think, a degree in business, engineering or law from a top California university, a $30,000 loan to pay off, and maybe you can find six other roommates for a two-bedroom apartment. Then you can live in the Golden State, where you were born, raised and educated.
Yet, with all this economic misery in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted the Governor's Global Climate Summit this week in Los Angeles. Just think, our governor has welcomed hundreds of attendees from more than 50 states, provinces and countries to help solve the never-ending global climate problems. Caviar on crackers, filet mignon or lobster, fine California wines, and fancy French desserts are waiting for the important guests. But what about the California economy?
Well, the Los Angeles summit has already led to a signed agreement between U.S. governors and leaders from Brazil and Indonesia to reduce forestry-related greenhouse gas emissions. That's just what the governor needs to solve the unemployment and educational problems here at home.
It's too bad he can't run for the presidency in 2012.
-- Tom Novinson, Ventura
The pirates who are holding an oil tanker for ransom cannot eat or otherwise use a million gallons of crude oil. It has no value until a refinery buys it from whoever holds it. Persuade all refineries to require proof that crude has not been held illegally before they accept it, and the pirates have no value in hand. Can any refineries be found that would pass up an illegal pool of oil?
-- Hal Wilder, Camarillo
Now conservatives in Congress are ignoring their indirect role in the demise of the U.S. auto industry. They have forgotten that it was once politically expedient to support labor and its union representatives. Would the auto industry unilaterally have granted all the now controversial concessions, including unrealistic wages and unnecessary workplace rules? Both the Congress and Supreme Court made it possible for labor unions to acquire and exert such power.
It is time for Congress to take a leadership role in American business, as has already taken place in many other leading economies in Europe and Asia. Warren Buffett's model plan for Goldman Sachs is good enough for me.
With regard to the auto manufacturers, the House of Representatives should authorize and announce the purchase of preferred stock -- currently at bargain basement prices -- and put the dividend yields back into the U.S. Treasury pending recovery of the companies during the bailout currently being considered. Potential yields of government stock purchases could potentially exceed the estimate for the bailout and likely represent the only realistic prospect for paying down the enormous national debt.
It is time for the government to take responsibility for its failures, as well as its successes.
-- Henry Oster, Ventura
Re: Christy Weir's Nov. 11 commentary, "Cemetery Park meeting Nov. 19":
Weir's comment regarding the public input in 2005 is correct when she cites "overwhelmingly, the community's desire to memorialize the cemetery's history while preserving the site as passive recreation space." However, the magnitude of the city's plan is not in keeping with that public input.
The discussions in 2005 were about creating a memorial within the park to commemorate those buried, not to reconstitute the park as a cemetery, which is clearly what the proposed plan does with the 3,000 markers, memorial garden and walk.
While Weir states the $4 million price tag is beyond the city's means, we also know the city has plans to go to the public to increase revenues, the latest being a sales tax increase. Why would the city spend more than $30,000 for the architectural renditions for the new plan if it did not plan on moving forward?
The actual cost of $4 million to the city does not stop there. By reconstituting the park as a cemetery, the city will essentially be removing seven acres of parkland that can't be replaced. At the low end, that same parkland would cost the city a minimum of $4.5 million and the actual cost could be three times that amount. That lost value to the community needs to be part of the assessed cost to the taxpayer. This does not include the additional maintenance costs for maintaining the cemetery. Where is the fiscal responsibility Weir says is the utmost priority?
I think she has misread public input if she thinks this plan is the community's vision for Cemetery Park. The plan is a costly waste of public money and resources that works to serve a few at the expense of the community at large.
-- Gordon Broberg, Ventura
The terms "theory" and "fact" have very precise and rigid definitions in the philosophy of science. That is why scientists tend not to talk about the "fact" of evolution, but instead, of the "theory" of evolution.
In science, a theory is more than a fact. It is a model made from observing multiple facts that all support the theory. As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.
Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. A clear distinction needs to be made between facts (things which can be observed and/or measured) and theories (explanations which correlate and interpret the facts).
A fact is something that is supported by unmistakable evidence. For example, the Grand Canyon cuts through layers of different kinds of rock, such as the Coconino sandstone, Hermit shale, and Redwall limestone. These rock layers often contain fossils that are found only in certain layers. Those are the facts.
It is a fact that fossil skulls have been found that are intermediate in appearance between humans and modern apes. It is a fact that fossils have been found that are clearly intermediate in appearance between dinosaurs and birds.
There are millions of technical papers, and tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of technical books in biology. Every one of them contributes to the understanding of evolution, and not a single one of them makes any sense except in the context of evolution. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
The theory of evolution that all life on Earth came from a single common ancestor -- as opposed to being designed -- is as strong as the theory that the Earth is round, as opposed to flat, or the theory of heliocentrism that posits that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, or the theory that the sun is not the center of the universe.
The theory of evolution is stronger than the big bang theory, or the general theory of relativity, or plate tectonics theory or the theory that DNA replication is the mechanism of inheritance.
The theory of evolution is the most factually based theory in all of science. Intelligent design is the least and, in fact, doesn't even qualify as science.
-- Chris Bower, Ventura
Hour after hour, day after day, month after month, John Flynn dedicated his time for us and had the time to make each one of us feel like we mattered -- for 32 years! Wow!
The time, effort and dedication he spent for us -- nothing can replace the feelings of honor and pride that I feel when I think of him. That is more important to me than winning. One can never ask for more commitment. I will strive to follow in his example.
We live in a world where tactful tiptoeing around issues is politically correct without concern or consideration for integrity, truth or justice. I have noticed that strong-willed persons who stand by their convictions without fear of judgment from others pose as a threat to others who don't have the same standard of values.
I don't want to speculate as to why he lost. I have learned that life is a race full of unforeseen obstacles with illusions of a finish line. When you reach what is perceived to be the finish line and the dust settles, you realize it is really just a new starting line.
I have a card Flynn gave me in my bathroom cabinet so it can be the first thing I see every day, a daily reminder that there is honor, respect, integrity and dedication. It is a daily reminder that I am not alone, and that makes the obstacles in my life bearable. I am grateful he served 32 years. He will always be John Flynn, Ventura County supervisor, in my heart -- unless he decides to take on a new challenge -- and he will always have my undying loyal support.
-- Elena Abreu, Lockwood Valley
Due to the redirection of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's gigantic financial bailout, combined with Detroit's begging for its own bailout, the public can clearly see the individual political parties' core philosophical values and basic beliefs.
The so-called conservative party, Republicans, along with Paulson and President George W. Bush, flocked to support of the remains of the original $700 billion financial bailout, clearly beholden to the fat cats of Wall Street. I wonder how many middle-income jobs or small businesses this bailout will save? The Republicans essentially wrote off Detroit as a casualty of the "free market" system.
Meanwhile, the Democrats, the so-called liberal party, backed a $25 billion bailout for Detroit automakers as a way to save jobs and small business. This is about 3.6 percent of the original $700 billion package. If successful, it is estimated it will save millions of related automotive jobs.
It is clear that most Republican politicians are for the wealthy and that most Democrats stand behind the working-class citizens. Let's check the voting records of our elected representatives and see if they are behind our economic futures or more interested in larger political contributions.
-- John F. Kerkhoff, Somis
Re: your Nov. 11 article, "Judge says CHP report incomplete":
This article mischaracterizes the facts about the California Highway Patrol's involvement in the case. CHP is cooperating fully with the Ventura County district attorney's investigation.
I believe all involved, including the CHP, want the same thing: fair and impartial hearings into the criminal charges at issue; preservation of legally mandated employee rights; a complete, thorough and uncompromised criminal and internal investigation; and an outcome in which justice prevails.
The CHP works to ensure that a complete and thorough criminal investigation into any inappropriate or unlawful conduct is carried out, while also upholding an employee's rights.
-- Capt. Joe Whiteford, Ventura area, California Highway Patrol
It is unfortunate that when the need for education -- high unemployment -- is the greatest, the costs are higher. It is also unfortunate that America lacks a long-term economic policy. The two are related.
When Sputnik forced Americans to realize that we needed to focus on science training, we were able to put man on the moon in a short time. Now that we need industries and workers to meet our energy/economic needs, we should focus on training those to work in these areas. If tax breaks are to be provided to companies that create jobs in these areas, then tuition for those educating themselves to work in these areas should be reduced.
As a lifetime college educator, I have seen too many people take classes simply to fulfill educational requirements with no focus on the utility of those classes. Ten years ago, I started a biotech training program at Ventura College, and now there are more than 100 graduates working in that industry. Biotechnology is needed as part of a long-term energy/economic strategy -- biofuels, enzymes, etc. -- and is a technology where America is a manufacturing leader. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 26 percent increased need for hiring in this area in the next 10 years, even before the recent stock market collapse.
Education has never been funded in America as well as it has in other developed countries, and California is last in the nation. Educational funding should follow national policies. Students with the capacity to benefit from the education needed by the nation -- science/technology -- should be rewarded the same way that industries in this area are given incentives. This change is likely to create more graduates with meaningful skills that will not be outsourced.
-- Bill Thieman, Ventura
(The writer is a retired biology professor. -- Editor)
Re: your Nov. 17 editorial, "Deficit won't be departing":
Boy, that editorial took a whole lot of brain power!
What have we had for the last two years? The Republican president and Democratic Congress haven't been that "healthy" of a mix, given that these last two years have been records as far as deficit spending goes. The same "healthy" mix does not seem to be working for the California government either.
And what's this about pinning it all on President George W. Bush? Last time I checked my civics book, it takes two houses of Congress to draft, modify and pass legislation for all government funding. Yes, Republicans are just as at-fault, if not more, as the Democrats are in this category.
Regardless of party affiliation, we are in desperate need of fiscal conservatives with the resolve and backbone to amputate and cauterize the wasteful and bloated programs that are bleeding this nation dry.
And lastly, lest The Star's short-term memory fails it, the current administration has had to deal with two serious recessions -- Bush entered office during our last one, hence the stimulus and tax cuts in 2001-02; the 2001 terrorist attacks, which we still haven't recovered from; the popping of the tech bubble; and a disastrous housing meltdown that has roots extending into and well past the Clinton administration.
Now that The Star has stated the obvious, how about some constructive opinion about how to extricate us from this mess?
-- Adam Hajost, Ventura
Re: Richard Larsen's Nov. 18 essay, "A free market to reinvent":
Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" was written at a time when an individual's personal liability for his or her actions served as a check against wrongful conduct and undertaking imprudent business risks. Today, the shield of personal liability available to the individual that conducts business in a corporation, limited liability company and limited liability partnership, together with the availability of all risk insurance, all serve to safeguard the individual's assets from claims arising from imprudent risks and wrongful conduct.
Smith envisioned a self-regulated market economy based on an individual's personal liability. Personal liability was the personal risk that served as the red light against a person's wrongful conduct and undertaking imprudent business risks.
Absent from the current discussion of government regulations is any mention of the need to restore more personal liability to the free market. The failure of the many businesses we are seeing every day is proof that there must be both personal liability and more personal equity in business transactions to guard against wrongful conduct and imprudent risks.
More government regulations without personal liability will only increase the costs of doing business, but such regulations have not and will not deter wrongful conduct and imprudent business risks.
-- David Laufer, Oxnard
(The writer, an attorney, was a senior executive of a public company and served on its audit and compensation committees. -- Editor)
I read recently that The Star is struggling financially. It seems people do not want to read The Star anymore. I would like to suggest that perhaps no one reads The Star anymore is because it no longer carries news. It only carries left-wing opinions.
Most of The Star's subscribers are conservatives. They don't appreciate the obviously left-winged biased opinions. As a result, subscriptions are in decline.
Why are most of the subscribers conservatives, you might ask? Conservatives like to pay their own way. They don't like receiving handouts. Receiving something for free makes them feel bad because they did not earn it. And so, they pay for their own subscriptions.
On the other hand, liberals are always looking for a handout. They don't like to subscribe to The Star because they have to pay for it themselves. Few liberals subscribe to The Star because they don't think they should have to pay for it. Consequently, most of The Star's paying subscribers are conservatives.
I encourage The Star to keep pushing its liberal agenda. The Star's financial crisis will deepen as it alienates the few remaining conservatives it has as subscribers. Eventually there will be no voice for the liberals. Soon after, there will be no liberals. Without The Star, only the Los Angeles Times will be left to tell them what to think. But The Star won't tell them to subscribe to The Times, and so they won't.
I am a compassionate conservative. I am going to give you some free advice: Start reporting the news, not opinion, just facts. Real news. Perhaps even a tidbit or two of conservative spin? I believe The Star will start performing better financially.
-- Randy Wheeler, Moorpark
The Star's publisher says he has decided to take the paper in a new direction, with an emphasis on local news. Does this apply to the editorial page also?
I have not seen The Star's opinion on the proposed prison hospital. I think the fact that the federal receiver, J. Clark Kelso, is planning to spend $8 billion -- and has probably already spent several hundred million -- when the state is already $22 billion in arrears, and with the governor proposing to raise the sales tax and curtail budgets, is fairly ludicrous, if it were not so sad.
Also, does Camarillo want a prison hospital here? I can remember when the mention of Camarillo evoked the image of the old state hospital, now thankfully the site of CSU Channel Islands.
If this is allowed to go through, we are back to square one. I can't imagine how one federal receiver and one federal judge can wield such power. Kelso, of course, is not available. I think he only holds meetings with himself. For instance, he did not attend the hearing on Nov. 13, allowing his minions to field the Prison Hospital Action Network. Power corrupts.
-- Gopal Purnaiya, Camarillo
Re: Robert Angstadt's Nov. 16 commentary, "Pilots put on notice: Surf crew is watching":
Federal Aviation Administration Regulation 91.119 is the flight rule that tells pilots the minimum altitudes at which they may legally operate their aircraft. The regulation provides that "over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over an open-air assembly of persons, (a pilot must operate the aircraft at least) 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft."
In "other than congested areas," an aircraft must be operated at least 500 feet above the surface, unless it is over open water or sparsely populated areas, in which case the aircraft must stay at least 500 feet away from any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.
According to the FAA, more than 16,000 collisions occurred during a recent seven-year period over the United States, a relatively small number compared to millions of hours of flight time.
Bird strikes get a large amount of attention from the aviation safety community. While most strikes occur at lower altitudes, some high fliers have encountered flocks of birds at altitudes exceeding 20,000 feet.
The unfortunate incident with the pelican was certainly far worse for the pilot and plane than for surfer who witnessed it.
Before we get our surfboard leashes tied up in a knot, think how the flight rules could be changed so there are never any bird strikes. Would you make the minimum safe altitude 500 feet, 1,000 feet or maybe 20,000 feet? How would an aircraft ever take off or land? How could planes ever be used to check hundreds of miles of pipelines, fences on large ranches or for firefighting or crop-dusting? Let's try to be a little less sensationalistic and keep things in proper perspective.
-- Mark Miller, Camarillo
Re: William Wolny's Nov. 18 letter, "Ban all imports":
Wolny proposed to "ban all Japanese car imports" to "force Americans to buy 'made in America' cars." I ask Wolny, which imports would he ban: The Hondas made in Indiana; the Toyotas made in California, Texas and Indiana; the GMs made in Mexico; the Fords made in Canada, Thailand and Belgium, or the Chryslers made in Canada and Brazil?
-- James B. Koss, Oxnard
Re: Korbin Turchot's Nov. 17 letter, "Goodbye, California":
I recommend Alaska as Turchot's best bet for retirement. He won't need to purchase a new refrigerator either. Problem solved.
-- Mary Alice Donahue, Oxnard
Re: John K. Carter's Pulse page commentary, "Moral crisis in U.S.":
Carter's article reflects very well the kind of biblical thinking upon which our country was founded. I congratulate him.
-- Christina Wilson, Westlake Village
Re: John Carter's Nov. 16 Pulse page commentary, "Moral crisis in U.S.":
Carter seems confused as to how to phrase his bigotry. He warns people about the prospect of a return to Nazi Germany. Considering there was no love lost between the Nazis and homosexuals, a number of people who voted yes on Proposition 8 -- 52 percent voted for it, not 70 percent -- would not mind a return to the Nazi ways.
Carter wrote of "God's commandment for his children to marry and bring forth children." Well, we straights are sure doing that. Where does he think all the children up for adoption and in foster care come from?
Carter wrote, "The congregations were misled." Boy, he got that one right. Parents were allowed to dress up fear and bigotry under the guise of "protecting the children" from being taught gay marriage in school. Marriage, straight or gay, is not taught in school, but what's a little bearing false witness amongst friends? The real fear these parents had was their child being gay. Proposition 8 or no Proposition 8, if their child is gay, their child is gay, so they'd better get over their fear and ignorance because it's still their job to love them.
Perhaps Carter should visit some theocracies in the Middle East. He would be overjoyed by the way homosexuals are treated there. For those of us who shudder at the idea of a government run by religion -- we saw how well the Catholic Church policed itself regarding pedophiles when it had secular laws to answer to -- Proposition 8 should provide a wake-up call.
This discriminatory proposition must be repealed, and whoever does not make it his or her mission to do so has no right to complain when the government comes for his or her rights.
-- Ann McCarthy, Simi Valley
There is no right to marry -- not for heterosexuals, not for homosexuals.
Marriage is a societal institution. It is not based on religion, though religions have embraced it for any number of reasons. It is based on the (probably) subliminal recognition by virtually all civilizations that a stable family unit is necessary for procreation and the survival of the species. Procreation requires -- at least until very recently -- intimacy between a man and a woman. Most societies have defined that as between one man and one woman.
Governments throughout history have established policies to encourage marriage and to help offset or subsidize the costs of raising children. As societies grew more complex, these policies expanded to encompass medical-care decisions, end-of-life considerations and rights of inheritance.
In the past three decades or so, dedicated, loving and committed homosexual couples have petitioned both state and federal governments. They demanded equal access to the same consideration as married couples. Society's response was the creation of civil unions, a contractual agreement between two homosexuals to live their lives together in loving union. That objective has essentially been met. Where we fall short in making civil union co-equal with marriage, we should rectify the discrepancies.
Homosexuals cannot be married in the societal institution sense described above. Society has granted them the legal equivalent of marriage privileges.
Gay marriage has been put on the ballot in 30 states. It has lost in all of them, twice in California. The post-Proposition 8 demonstrations across the country have shown that homosexuals understand neither the societal nor the electoral realities they face.
You lost. Get over it. Figure out how you undo the severe damage you've done to your cause, post-Proposition 8. Try again, if you must, but be civil when or if the results don't meet your expectations.
-- Curtis Davis, Newbury Park
I have been a registered Republican since before I was drafted during the Vietnam War in 1967.
I am so fed up with being taken advantage of as a taxpayer.
I feel it is very unfair that all middle-income homeowners who are in fear of losing their homes -- and many who already have -- appear to represent a lower priority for Congress relative to those Wall Street firms with their annual $250,000 salaries plus $4 million bonuses, all of which come out of the bailout money that we taxpayers are paying.
It seems like bad faith, and perhaps even fraud, that AIG and various investment houses and banks -- all of whom pled poverty to both the Treasury Department and Congress -- should have misspent significant portions of the bailout funds already distributed to them. Now the big three automakers want their share.
It seems homeowners -- when and if we get help with lower annual percentage rates at 3 percent with a 40-year loan -- would have to repay all the principal and interest loaned to us, but that does not appear to be the case for those who already benefited from their share of the $750 billion, which is actually closer to $900 billion. Why does it appear that AIG, Lehman Bros. and other investment, banking and real estate firms might not have to repay all of the money loaned to them by the bailout?
Why should we taxpayers, our children and our children's children have to pay for it only by ourselves?
If you are as passionate about this subject as I am, take the time to write to your elected officials and voice your opinion. Let them know how you feel.
-- Jim Keys, Simi Valley
Why not let the oil companies bail out the big three automakers? They have made astronomical profits during the past eight years and have worked hand and hand with the automakers all these years. Then, with the help of President George W. Bush and the Republican majority during his first term, they made sure there would be no mileage requirement for as long as Bush was president.
The chief executive officers of the auto industry never had to take any responsibility for not building smaller, better, more fuel-efficient cars in this country. They have pocketed huge paychecks along with their oil industry friends.
Why punish the autoworkers or the American public for this mess they find themselves in?
-- Debra Jacobs, Simi Valley
The Star has been carrying a lot of stories since Election Day on vote counts for county offices. The election was two weeks ago. Is there a reason why it takes Ventura County so long to tabulate votes?
-- Russell Burgos, Thousand Oaks
I'm writing this letter in defense of Sarah Palin.
She apparently has aggravated the loyal opposition by being too young, too beautiful and too successful without being a feminist. She is, rather, a homemaker with a family and a true mistress of public service who has an exemplary private life.
I'm tired of seeing letters calling her an Alaskan airhead and intellectually challenged, written obviously by jealous types who are only sorry she's not like them.
-- Jack Weber, Oxnard
Re: your Nov. 16 article, "Hundreds walk against Prop. 8":
Civil rights of same-sex couples have not been threatened because there never has been a civil right for people of the same gender to be able to marry one another.
On the other hand, my civil rights have already been threatened. In practicing my rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech, there has been much persecution by the No on Proposition 8 group. Preachers and religious people are being threatened and sued just for their beliefs.
It's not and never has been a civil right for people of the same sex to be married, but freedom of religion is a civil right. My preacher should be able speak against the idea of homosexuality without the fear of being sued for hate speech. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is already happening in California and other states and what will continue to happen if marriage is not protected. Likewise, freedom of speech is in the Constitution as right.
The people of the state have spoken to uphold marriage between a man and a woman because, among other things, they recognize that if Proposition 8 had failed, many more of our true civil rights would be taken away or jeopardized. Those who are protesting need to recognize and respect the will of the people who made the right decision to protect our freedoms.
The scariest thing in America is the ignorance of the American populace. If we don't know what our own freedoms consist of, then they will be taken away.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... it expects what never was and never will be." -- Thomas Jefferson.
-- Larissa Nelson, Fillmore
Re: Robert Meeker's Nov 14 letter, "It's not science":
People like Meeker feel the need every few months to try and justify the "theory of evolution" not with any facts other than the plethora of eminent scientists that support it.
He states it's tough to explain to the masses of dullards the notions of cell biology, molecular biology, etc. So maybe he can enlighten us on how evolution explains the origin of that first living cell from which all live evolved.
Maybe he can explain how in antiquity, on a lifeless planet, with one continent and a massive sea and an atmosphere of ammonia and methane, a bolt of lighting struck the sea and millions upon millions of molecules suddenly came together and the first living cell appeared!
A scientist of Meeker's stature could easily explain how the hundreds of structures in that first cell -- including the nucleus with its DNA and RNA, the chloroplasts needed to make food and all the other structures enclosed in a cell wall -- came to life not by the hand of an intelligent designer but omniscient stirrings of a bolt of lighting.
Or is he of the notion that life started on a world far away and flew here on a molten asteroid?
Meeker is obviously more astute than the late Dr. Carl Sagan, who, when asked to equate evolutionism with creationism, said, "The first is impossible, the second is unthinkable."
-- David Rosolek, Ventura
Re: Bob Power's Nov. 10 letter, "Separate but equal doesn't work":
I voted for John McCain and Proposition 8, so perhaps I can explain Power's befuddlement.
I am not shocked that certain minority groups, such as Latinos and African-Americans, who voted in large numbers for Barack Obama also voted for Proposition 8. Such groups have long held theologically and socially conservative views, be they Catholic or Protestant.
Furthermore, this issue of "separate but equal" is a false analogy. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP attacked Plessy v. Ferguson with two prongs, the first being the precedent of Mendez v. Westminster in 1947, and the second being the fact that separate educational facilities were clearly not equal. However, the Supreme Court and the law have always reflected that being married is not a right that anyone is entitled to. The state is not under the ethical obligation to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage.
Here in California, we have Section 297.5 of the Family Code that specifically states, "Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits..." There is no inequality, but rather a simple admission from the state that a domestic partnership, which I cannot apply for, is different from a marriage, which a same-sex couple cannot apply for.
Lastly, the Christian Scriptures are very clear that Paul did meet the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and that Christ never once preached that homosexual acts were acceptable. Such a deviation from traditional Jewish theology would have been clearly noted by history.
I hope this clears up his confusion.
-- Joseph Laughon, Ventura
Many politically mainstream readers of these pages must wonder where the people who write in opinion pieces with hateful anti-Barack Obama rhetoric are coming from. I think I know.
There are 20 to 30 million rock-ribbed far-right Republican true believers in this country. They listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. They read the Washington Times, News Max and the National Standard. They watch Fox News. And they believe every word of what they read and hear.
This is no joke. They believe Obama isn't even a citizen, that his recent trip back to Hawaii wasn't to see his beloved grandmother before she died but to somehow falsify his birth certificate. They believe that because Limbaugh told them so. They believe Obama is a Muslim, that he is a terrorist and that he is a Socialist, out to destroy America.
This is a free country, and they can believe what they want, and The Star should print their points of view. It should be a wake-up call to the rest of us so we know who and what we are dealing with.
-- Patrick S. O'Malley, Oxnard
Re: Robert Meeker's Nov. 14 letter, "It's not science":
In his letter, Meeker states that we should teach the most modern and constructive science in our public schools. He goes on to say that evolution is the state of the art of our natural sciences.
I have one question for Meeker. It's the same question I always ask anyone who states that evolution is truth and intelligent design is folly. How does evolution explain the scientifically proven fact that although there are more than 6 billion people on the planet today, no two people have the same fingerprint, eye print, dental record or heartbeat? And although there is no way to prove it, I'm sure the same thing could be said for all of mankind throughout history. Each one of us is unique.
If evolution were truth, this would be mathematically impossible. Since evolution is based on cell replication, and my genetic line has absolutely no bearing on anyone else's genetic line, eventually there would have to be duplication. It is a mathematical certainty.
Intelligent design, however, answers this question very simply. Each of us is a descendent of the same two people, and each of us is programmed with an extremely intelligently designed software or genetic code. This software stamps each of us with unique identifiers, similar to the UPC coding on items in the grocery or retail store, but infinitely more complex. It is not random duplication or replication but very intelligently designed software.
I look forward to Meeker, or anyone else, responding to my question. I have asked the same question many, many times. So far, I still haven't gotten a logical answer.
-- Ken Raduechel, Ventura
Comparing homosexual rights to black people's freedom rights is not acceptable and should not be used by those against Proposition 8.
Homosexuals have the right to be joined in civil agreements, and they already have that right. Black people, during their struggle for freedom, had "no rights" but to be slaves.
Marriage has always been a vocation, a celebration of the propagation of the human race. Those in favor of Proposition 8 have no desire to stop the "love" between two people but merely want to protect the institution of marriage and keep it sacred and traditional between a "man and a woman," the way it was meant to be. Will there next be a proposition to approve "marriage" between a man and a dog, or a woman and a cat, etc.?
People's sexual preferences are their own business, and no one is preventing anyone from practicing their own lifestyle. Why is it necessary to force acceptance of taking an agelong lifestyle, marriage, and give it a different meaning? The majority of Californians respects the sacredness of marriage and has voted twice to ban same-sex marriage. That should be enough! Please consider the futures of our children!
-- Mary Sawoski, Camarillo
All "Yes on Proposition 8" voters unite. This is you time. Seize the momentum. Gloating will render your gains worthless unless you act fast.
You resist abortion; therefore, you dare not abort the opportunity that your win impregnates you with.
The ship "SS California Constitutional Persecution" is well and truly launched, but it will never reach the safe harbor of a completely homogeneous society without your full spiritual, financial and physical support.
Here is a partial list of groups and individuals who clearly deserve to have their activities constitutionally restricted: California's public school system, because it attempts to teach your children to think about, but not the way to think about, tolerance, respect for others, and understanding; practitioners of miscegenation; abortion providers; abortion recipients; individuals who refuse to practice sexual abstinence prior to marriage; individuals whose refusal to practice such abstinence results in a pregnancy; welfare cheaters; homeless folk; child molesters and Catholic priest child molesters -- unlike gay married couples, these folk inflict real psychological and physical harm; atheists; the ACLU; Jews, because they murdered by mutilation Christ; pantheists; Native Americans, because they worship nature; blacks, because they drink from the same water fountains; women, because they vote, sometimes irrationally.
Certainly you can add to this short list.
Who among you has refused to pluck the lowest hanging fruit and then savored its sweetness? California's constitution is ripe for plucking. Do not abort this opportunity to bend that constitution to your will. Homogeneous societies must not be forced to endure the discomfort, shame and embarrassment caused by members of the above-named.
The glow of victory from Nov. 4 is fading. The only task facing you now is to decide which group is most deserving of constitutional persecution. Then, go to work on the next "Proposition 8."
-- Geoff Godfrey, Ventura
Re: your Nov. 17 article, "Council weighs taller Auto Center sign":
I read with interest about the new video sign that is planned for the Ventura Auto Center. This would be a good time for the auto industry to show how it is changing direction. They should take example from Ricoh, which has put up a new sign in Times Square. The Ricoh sign will be powered by wind and solar panels. It will not need any connections to the city's electrical system.
The Ventura Auto Center could be an example to everyone concerning conservation. They should put in a new sign but have it be powered by solar. This would send the correct message to the community and to the automakers.
-- William Goldie, Camarillo
Re: Robert Meeker's Nov. 14 letter, "It's not science":
Meeker makes the claim that scientific creationism is nothing more than repackaged creationism and lacks any scientific basis. He also states, "Evolution is the scientific explanation for the development of organisms that inhabit the Earth."
Proponents of evolution describe evolution to be a process where more complicated life forms evolve from simpler life forms. Despite our modern laboratories and ability to simulate ideal conditions, our scientists have not been able to demonstrate evolution in the laboratory. Nor has the process of evolution been directly observed by anyone. And by evolution, I mean macro evolution, where one species evolves into another.
Evolution is nothing more than a philosophical framework in which to explain origins and has no scientific basis at all. For many, it is their religion, because to believe anything else would mean they would have to acknowledge God as creator.
Meeker's arrogant statement -- "This inexorable process is tough to explain to people who have not taken cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, etc." -- is false. You don't need advanced training to understand the theory of evolution nor to determine for yourself that evolution is without any credible evidence and therefore blatantly false.
Meeker also states that creationism or intelligent design is not taught in schools. In public schools, he is correct. But creationism and intelligent design are taught alongside evolution in lots of private schools, including colleges and universities in this country. Public schools indoctrinate students with evolution and censor all other viewpoints from the classroom.
You cannot teach students to think critically if you do not expose them to other viewpoints and teach them to discover for themselves the evidence for, and against, what is true and what is right.
-- Anthony van Leeuwen, Ventura
Re: Reg Henry's Nov. 13 commentary, "In politics, just as in sports, sore losers stink to high heaven":
Sore losers stink in politics as well as sports, but where has Reg "Rip van Winkle" Henry been for the last eight years? Apparently he slept through the whole Bush administration.
Former President Jimmy Carter, along with the radical left and liberals in network news, cable news, newspapers and movies, have assailed the president on all sides every day since the 2000 election with the most hateful, despicable vilification that I have ever witnessed. The moveon.org generation never let up. It has been even worse since 2004. Every single day brings inventive new abuse, raw hatred and denigration of the president in all forms of media. The Star still prints them even now.
It was a hard-fought campaign, and one can expect a hangover that may last a week or two. I hope Barack Obama succeeds, for the sake of the country; however, conservatives reserve the right to be the loyal opposition.
The real problem is that most conservatives think liberals are wrong and sadly misguided, while liberals think that conservatives are evil. As long as that attitude persists, we will have little peace and no agreement. The liberal nose-thumbing and aisle-dancing will get old soon enough, so enjoy yourselves now.
-- William Coe, Camarillo
Re: Jeannine Blakesfield's Oct. 26 letter, "Prop. 8 anti-American":
First, to say that Proposition 8 is un-American is rather doltish. Voting on issues of importance to the American people is what America is all about. And while I agree with several of the letter's elements, a few need to be addressed:
-- Gay marriage is not comparable to interracial marriage or anyone's interactions with black or Jewish people. This is insulting. They are in no way connected, period.
-- No, I'm not afraid that my children will be discriminated against. That is why we have anti-discrimination laws.
-- Regarding the hatred and persecution Blakefield speaks of, I'm actually seeing much more of this aimed toward churches by gays and lesbians since Nov. 4. This speaks volumes about character and maturity. The picketing of churches with hate signs and swastikas really doesn't indicate enough maturity required of marriage, gay or straight, does it?
No one is anti-gay. Seventy percent of us simply wants traditional marriage preserved. That's not the church of California, it's the people of California.
It's done. The people have spoken. We all voted, and you guys lost by 70 percent. Move on.
-- Annie & Rick Hamilton, Ventura
Re: Robert Meeker's Nov. 14 letter, "It's not science":
Not since Carl Sagan have we heard such all-encompassing, grandiose claims for naturalistic evolution. To Meeker, evolution is "science" and supernatural creation is "religion." But how does he know, by way of science, that no creator exists?
Science deals exclusively with the natural world, not the supernatural. If a creator exists, he would certainly operate from outside the natural world that he created, and even the most penetrating scrutiny of all the laws of nature would not reveal him.
Perhaps Meeker is not aware that everything material simply cannot be explained in purely naturalistic terms. I've no doubt he does not believe in the supernatural. But saying that "Evolution is the scientific explanation for [everything]" explains nothing.
Part of Meeker's problem is that he thinks the issue has been completely settled and no more discussion is called for. He is way behind on the details of the controversy and needs to catch up. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 10,000 lettered scientists in every field that do not believe that the evolutionary explanation of the natural world is scientifically valid.
The debate really is between "naturalism" and "supernaturalism," not "science and religion." In the latter juxtaposition, "science" is always defined as objective, empirical truth, while "religion" is denigrated as merely "belief," i.e. what's going on inside your head. He who defines the terms of the debate usually wins it.
So why should Sagan's dictum, "Nature is all there is" be the sole explanation for the whole of reality in our public schools? Citing Galileo to bolster a naturalistic argument won't work. That great scientist, like most before him and to follow, were very much in the creationist camp.
-- John Gentry, Ventura
All we hear from so-called "liberals" is how great "democracy" (majority rule) is and how we need to defend and promote it. However, when the occasional vote -- like Proposition 8 -- goes against liberals' wishes, watch out. They'll call you nasty names, vandalize your property, threaten physical violence against you, seek to put you out of business and even commit terrorist acts like mailing white powder-filled letters to churches.
Of all groups to focus hatred and bigotry on, the Mormons? It is shameful that the one group of folks it seems is fine to make fun of and put down is religious people. If people aren't prepared to accept majority rule when it goes against you, stop proclaiming your love of democracy.
But all of this righteous anger is in defense of individual liberty. It's about making sure we all are treated equally under the law. How noble! It is odd this desire to ensure equal treatment doesn't apply to tax rates. It is odd folks believe some citizens have a right to live off the fruits of other citizens' property and labor, be it unemployment benefits, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, "free" public education and other types of welfare, etc.
Communists see nothing wrong with applying tax laws differently to folks who make more money, nor do they see anything wrong with giving non-WHAMs -- white heterosexual able-bodied males -- a legal advantage in the employment, government and education realms.
Until you communists change your tune when it comes to taxation, and agree that if we are all "created equally" and are peers under the law, and that we should all pay an equal share of taxes, and agree that no one deserves "special" rights, you have no credibility when it comes to claiming a desire to defend and promote liberty.
-- Shane Solano, Ventura
Re: Hal Wilder's Nov. 14 letter, "The Israeli factor":
Last week, while trying to keep Mideast peace talks going, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice complained to the Israeli administration that it was hard to make progress with meaningful peace talks while at the same time the construction of Israeli settlements continued on Palestinian land in Jerusalem. No one in the Barack Obama administration has mentioned abandoning Israel.
What growing millions of Americans are hoping is that the Obama administration does recognize there can be no meaningful longstanding peace in the Mideast without justice for the Palestinians and for our government to tie future good relations with the United States to a country's willingness to live up to international law and the moral standards we say America stands for.
-- Marten Harder, Ojai
Lately, I have read a number of letters about Proposition 8 suggesting that same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite-sex couples under the domestic partnership law or suggesting that same-sex couples should simply adopt a different name for their relationship and leave the designation "marriage" for straight couples. These letters are missing a crucial point.
In the California Supreme Court decision declaring that the denial of same-sex couples' right to marry was unconstitutional, the court explicitly held that "retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples" risks relegating same-sex couples to second-class citizenship. That is why same-sex couples seek the right to marry and to have their marriages afforded the same dignity and respect as opposite-sex marriages.
And I, along with many other California people of faith, am convinced that that is not too much to ask.
-- Carol H. Mack, Newbury Park
Re: Timm Herdt's Nov. 12 essay, "Can GOP get off the floor":
After reading Herdt's essay, I was tempted to accuse him of plagiarism. I had read several similar columns in the past. I checked my files and found out I was right, except that Herdt was the one who had written the columns. To paraphrase Dizzy Dean, "It ain't plagiarism if you wrote it."
For a political reporter, writing about the Republican Party getting trounced is getting a day off. All he has to do is call up his column from the last election, change a couple of names, file his report and go play golf.
The difference between Ronald Reagan and the Reagan wannabes who run the Republican Party now is that Reagan wanted to win and govern, and he could count to 51. He knew it took 50 percent plus one vote to win. Since Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 10 percent to 15 percent, Reagan needed all the Republican votes, more than half the Decline to State votes and some Democrat votes. He ran successful campaigns for governor of California and for president.
The California Republican Party has systematically kicked out minorities and moderate Republicans since 1988. The leaders of the CRP, and now the Republican National Committee, seem to believe that if they can purify the party down to their white, conservative base of about 15 percent of the voters, they can win elections. Huh?
When the 1,400 members of the CRP meet in convention in February, they will be about 95 percent white. If the Republicans elected to the state Legislature and Congress from California should meet, they will be about 90 percent white male. No minority Republican comes to mind, but we do have a widow and a couple of wives serving.
Can the GOP get off the floor? Not with 15 percent of the voters! Will they change? Don't hold your breath!
-- Bob Larkin, Westlake Village
The term "gay marriage" is a contradiction. A same-sex union is not a marriage. The term marriage has always meant a union between a man and a woman. We shouldn't be using politics to redefine words. We need a new term that includes marriages and same-sex unions. My suggestion for this term is "legal couple."
To become a legal couple, you would need a marriage license or a same-sex union license. The term "legal couple" would then replace the term "married" on income tax forms. All legal couples should have the same rights and obligations. This should satisfy the gay community.
But I have to warn them, "Be careful what you wish for." I thought more affordable housing would be great, but look what that has gotten us into. The Internal Revenue Service has a marriage penalty.
-- David J. Ameling, Newbury Park
So Proposition 8 goes on and on, ad nauseam. It always amazes me that the decision of the voters is quite acceptable if it's what you want, but never acceptable if it isn't. Yet that's how we govern ourselves in these United States. The majority vote in Congress or a state legislature decides the issue, and the majority vote decides a ballot initiative in California. But we live in a generation that wants to have its cake and eat it too.
I'm one who voted yes on the original gay marriage ban, Proposition 22, and also yes on Proposition 8. Neither vote was a matter of gay versus straight, nor did I have any religious reason. My vote was strictly on the basis of what marriage is and is not, a conviction I've held lifelong. It has nothing to do with hate, love, civil rights or anything else. I've been a rock-solid defender of the right of gays and lesbians to be free of discrimination in the workplace, housing and in all other matters. But a marriage is -- and has been for a long time -- a relationship between a man and a woman, and I cannot, will not, voluntarily undo a lifelong conviction that it should stay that way.
So to the point: If Proposition 22 had failed, I would have said, "I don't like it, but the voters have spoken and the matter is settled." Likewise for Proposition 8. I don't have the right to protest the will of the majority in an election. Neither does anyone else.
One more point: There simply is no civil rights issue here. This argument is completely spurious. Any gay man can marry any woman who will agree to marry him. Any lesbian woman can marry any man who will agree to marry her. That this argument has been rejected so many times by so many does not change its essential truth.
-- Roy W. Hogue, Newbury Park
After we the people bail out the large corporations, banks, lending institutions and now the auto companies, who is going to bail us out? At the rate things are going in our country, with many more jobs lost, homes lost and businesses closing, who will be left?
I believe that the CEOs of these big corporations who have taken advantage of the golden umbrella should be made to return the money to these corporations to keep them afloat instead of relying on the people to bail them out. After all, it's big-business lending institutions that got us in this mess in the first place, and they should pay their fair share and more to get this country back on track.
President Bush is just playing right into these institutions' hands. Bush is no help at all but will only get us deeper in the hole. Perhaps we need another Boston Tea Party to take place. Anyone see another way out?
-- Ryta Fofanoff, Simi Valley
Re: Jeri Chandler's Nov. 14 letter, "Flagging respect for vets":
I understand that everyone has the right to their opinions and being able to express them, but stating that all the people with Yes on 8 signs were not displaying flags to support our veterans was a very biased and inflammatory statement. Would The Star publish a letter that pointed fingers at black, Mexican or Jewish families who weren't flying flags? I don't think so. Come on, the readers of The Star deserve better than this.
-- Martha Siditsky, Simi Valley
I am Yes on 8, I will always be Yes on 8, and nothing those protesters can say will ever change my mind, and I hope not yours.
Proposition 8 wasn't about separation of church and state. It wasn't about pushing morals on other people. And it wasn't about hate. Proposition 8 was about standing up for the supremely unique relationship between a man and a woman: "marriage."
Proposition 8 was about preserving the incredible distinction of a man/woman relationship and their ability to create another person. It doesn't matter that all marriages don't work out, that some kids are raised by single parents. We still aim high, aim for the best.
Marriage isn't a civil right. "Civil rights," by definition, are "equal actions available to those with the same qualifications." Homosexuals don't have all the same qualifications, but homosexuals have all their civil rights. (California Family Code Section 297.5)
This is a perfect case of a minority group trying to promote itself in the name of "equality" and "civil rights." By calling homosexuality "marriage," it makes it look "normal," attracting more people to go there. Homosexuality may be something some people are born with, but making it look "normal" will draw a lot more fence-sitters, or even straights.
Proposition 8 wasn't about religion either. A man and woman can procreate. I don't need religion to tell me that. I have compassion for those with same-sex attraction. I realize it has always existed.
The campaign is over. Check the scoreboard. The silent majority has spoken -- twice. Shame on our governor. Shame on our California Supreme Court justices. Shame on our school districts. Shame on all our leaders who are not acknowledging the democratic voice on this issue. America is a democracy. The democracy has spoken -- twice.
-- Elizabeth Pierce, Thousand Oaks
Re: Jordi Fuentes' Nov. 12 letter, "Roadwork abysmal":
I couldn't agree more about the condition of the pavement resurfacing job on Coventry Drive. Ordinarily, slurry sealing has a smoother texture than what has been done on this street. There are other streets in our neighborhood that were slurried at the same time. They also have a very rough texture.
Pity the senior citizen who should have his shoes grip onto that surface and suffer a serious fall. This is not only a poorly done job, but hazardous as well.
As a retired general engineering and paving contractor, I must say this work does not meet the standard of industry. The city of Thousand Oaks needs to have its Engineering Department review the specification for Type I slurry resurfacing. There was a contamination of larger aggregate, which resulted in rock pocket accummulations. The surface should be scraped and resealed to remove this condition.
If this work was let out to contract, it should not be paid.
-- Mario M. Leon, Thousand Oaks
Re: Roger G. Pariseau Jr.'s Nov. 12 letter, "A legislative cure":
Pariseau noted that since homosexuality occurs among the beasts of nature -- his two male cockatiels did "their thing," even though a female was present and "available" -- it must be acceptable behavior for humans. If not so dangerous, his argument is laughable.
The preying mantis and the black widow spider feast on their mates, even while doing "their thing." Male lions rule over harems of females collected for satisfying their sexual urges. Bald eagles devour other living things, even endangered species. Male dogs copulate freely, without birth control and with no concern for overpopulation. They also feel no compunction in leaving the females to care for the litters they sire.
Unlike the strange behavior of his male cockatiels, these are the usual ways of animals. If we follow Pariseau's argument for what is "natural" and hence acceptable behavior for humans, the life of man will truly become "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."
-- Kevin Kolbeck, Santa Paula
Here's an idea too complicated for anyone in government to figure out. You would think bankers might be smarter, or are they too busy feathering their own nests to care?
A $600,000 house has a $500,000 loan on it. Its value has dropped to $400,000. Any housewife in the bank would say, "We have lost $100,000 on this deal. Let's try to stop the loss here and save the bank, save the customer, save the economy and save the country. Here's how: We tell the customer we will rewrite the loan at $400,000 at the same interest but a lower payment. The bank will save the $20,000 foreclosure expense, the $20,000 loss of payments and the $20,000 in repairs due to vandal damage. The customer will stay in the house and save finding a new rental, save his marriage and everybody will be happy and the country will go on as before, with no depression."
Put a housewife in charge. I call this the Jim Johnson common sense plan.
-- James Stanley Johnson Sr., Ventura
Voters took a massive step against discrimination when they elected a person of color as president. Everyone, regardless of party affiliation, has reason for pride in America.
Local elation was tempered when we heard that the Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. has filed another lawsuit against Santa Paula, alleging discrimination and demanding monetary compensation. This followed the Nov. 10 ruling of Superior Court Judge Frederick Bysshe that the city had not violated any law when it rejected Cabrillo's four-story, six-acre-plus Amistad project.
CEDC officials were among those who sued in federal court demanding we elect council members by district because we allegedly had too few Hispanic members. After losing that one, they now sue us again, even though their outlandish project was rightly rejected by a council containing four out of five Hispanics. And all votes against Amistad were cast by Hispanics.
Discrimination is wrong, but crying discrimination and continuing to file lawsuits when none exists is also wrong.
It's not easy for elected council members to stand up to a powerful developer such as Cabrillo, but we already have the highest percentage of low-end housing in the county. It is the duty of council members to use common sense and work for balance with other cities. Complying with Cabrillo's selfish demands would make our city a magnet for all the low/no-income persons from Mexico City to Montreal.
I consider Cabrillo a competent developer and project manager. But its lawsuits are nothing less than contemptible. We need no more of what they offer. Cabrillo targets Santa Paula not because of need, but because they have found us an easy mark in the past.
One wonders how well a low-income, tax-exempt, four-story, six-acre-plus project would be received in Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Camarillo, Ojai or Moorpark. Has CEDC inquired?
-- Delton Lee Johnson, Santa Paula
I was recently made aware of a Ventura city ordinance draft No. 12.315 titled, "Rental Housing Preservation Program." I attended the Ventura rental property stakeholders meeting Nov. 3 at City Hall.
This ordinance is scheduled for passage consideration at the City Council meeting on Nov. 24.
I have read draft No. 2 of the proposed ordinance 12.315, as well as existing Ordinance No. 12.310, "Adopting the 2007 Ventura City Property Maintenance Code."
The existing ordinance (12.310) already provides authority to perform all segments of the proposed Ordinance 12.315 without need for a new government program.
This is clearly a revenue-generating device to add red tape to owners and providing no benefit to citizens.
Under the name of annual permit fee and other open-book fees to be imposed upon owners, passage of 12.315 will be an additional tax.
It is taxation without representation. It will create additional government red tape, frustration and expense to property owners. It will add payroll to the city.
Inspections are to be completed by one person already on the payroll, but it would be fill-in work for idle city workers. Does the city have idle workers? According to http://www.city-data.com, approximately 16,500 Ventura units are renter-occupied. This will require about 50 exterior unit inspections daily, or six per hour. What about driving time? What about filling out the reports? What about vacation time, days off, etc?
Annual fees will continue, and government red tape will add cost of management to rental property owners.
It will duplicate responsibilities of property managers.
It will reduce rental inventory, increase foreclosure activity and increase tenant housing costs.
It is invasive and can make ordinary rental owners "law-breakers."
It takes away rights of ownership.
I urge the City Council members to vote no on Ordinance 12.315.
-- Bernie Goldstein, Ventura
Re: Lorraine Wilkins' Nov. 13 letter, "Time for third party" and Doug Crosse's Nov. 10 letter, "U.S. needs third party":
Wilkins and Crosse bring up good points. I am a lifelong Democrat who is fed up with the extreme partisanship we see today. Neither party is run by moderate forces. Politics has become an argument between the far left and the far right. Most campaigning is based on what is wrong with the other guy, making us choose the lesser of two evils.
I was very disappointed to see that my party came out against Proposition 11, the redistricting proposal. The GOP wouldn't even take sides on that issue. I hope it passes. It is the first step to correcting the concerns that Wilkins, Crosse and I share with so many others.
The left and the right need to listen to each other, find a common ground and work from the center to create good policy. They must work on real issues that matter to all people.
At sales seminars, we learn that you have two ears and only one mouth, and you should use them in proper proportion. Politicians need to learn that, too.
-- Gary White, Simi Valley
I lived through the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We marched along with the oppressed at that time and rejoiced at each and every step for equality that was made along the way. Never did we dream that 40 years later an African-American would be president.
When my husband and I bought our first new tract home in Ventura County in 1970, before we signed on the dotted line, the salesman said, "I need to tell you that a Negro couple bought the house next door." I was astounded at that comment even then, but that's the way it was in 1970.
Jump to 2008: new beginnings, joy, hope for our country and all citizens! We went to bed on election night, marveling at what had happened in 40 years.
But, oops, we woke up to see the results of Proposition 8 to be reminded that equality is not for all! It appears that we've gotten over judging folks by the color of their skin, but let's still judge them for whom they love. We are so stunned, sad and heartsick, just like we were by the salesman's comment in 1970. We wonder, if you buy a tract house today, does the seller have to divulge that a gay couple bought the one next door?
I hope that someday folks will be astounded that these civil rights were denied in 2008. I hope I will live long enough to see it.
-- Mona Marting, Newbury Park
Re: Elizabeth Yuengert's Nov. 14 letter, "What Catholic Church did":
It seems Yuengert is the one living in a "fairy tale." More than half the marriages she so proudly says are decisively the best way to raise children end in divorce, thereby introducing stepmothers, stepfathers and stepsiblings into young lives. Children live in one house on the weekend and another one three days out of the week. They celebrate holidays at different homes every other year.
If gays are such a tiny minority of society, Yuengert's focus to keep us from marrying is misguided. She should be trying to keep these "decisively better" families together. Her yes vote on Proposition 8 denies children of same-sex families -- and there are plenty -- the right to have their parents married. The Catholic Church and others should clean their own houses first!
-- Kelby Gleghorn, Simi Valley
I am a second-grade teacher in Simi Valley. Just recently, we were told that all our funds have been frozen. Several teachers in other districts have told me the same thing; their funds are frozen until further notice because of the budget crisis here in California. That means that teachers cannot order pencils, paper, glue and other supplies that are used in the classroom.
So now, I would like to ask David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association, if he might match the $1.2 million that he sent to the No on Proposition 8 campaign and send that much to the schools.
Hmmm, maybe Proposition 8 does affect children and schools!
-- Kathleen Kelly, Newbury Park
Re: Terry Paulson's Nov. 10 essay, "Still proud even in defeat":
Paulson opens and closes with pride in being an American juxtaposed with paragraphs acknowledging his Christian faith. Paulson's essay, though, is just the occasion to raise a general issue with a lot of U.S. Protestants -- and some Catholics.
In traditional Christian belief, Radix malorum Superbia est: Pride is the root of all evils. Or the "theme is yet and ever was, Radix malorum est Cupiditas": Greed is the root of all evils. The deadliest of the seven deadly sins are pride and greed, the least of the deadliest, lust.
Then why is Paulson talking in his opening and conclusion like pride is a good thing, and why are so many U.S. Christians unfazed by celebrations of greed and incitements to envy (e.g., TV commercials) -- and, at the same time, apparently obsessed with the perceived threats of fornication and sodomy? Why do a lot of U.S. Christians talk as if all is well if they love Jesus and keep their genitals under control and don't seem to worry much about what they profit from in a society that is way less than perfectly just?
American Protestants are the spiritual and intellectual descendents of Martin Luther and his belief that "by faith and faith alone shall you be saved," and his condemnation of "The whore -- Reason!" Still, Luther did theology and worked up a coherent system; Luther in the legend nailed theses to a church door, not Jello.
If we're going to get religious ideas laid on us, the layers-on should get the doctrine intelligible and consistent. If Christians are to be humble -- and Paulson quotes St. Peter to that effect -- stay humble.
Faith is between people and God; if you're going to go public, do logical/theological argument.
-- Richard D. Erlich, Port Hueneme
We went to the Civic Arts Center in Thousand Oaks to see a musical. At the end of the show, suddenly one of the actors announced, "Obama won with 349 delegates to McCain's 163, and, oh yes, Fox News said it was a tight race!"
Then down came a big picture of a big mosque. A black man came out, and the woman wrapped a scarf around her head, and they just went on singing.
We were shocked! This is the United States of America and not an Arab country! I'm so outraged!
I do not like political views on stage in the theater.
-- Lisa Dunlap, Oak View
The stock market falls on a daily basis. The major financial companies and banks are all looking to be part of the massive $700 billion bailout. Retail stores see a drop in sales and profits. The auto industry is on the verge of bankruptcy and wants government money. American Express is asking for a few billion.
California is in trouble with a budget deficit at record numbers. Ventura's 911 fee is being questioned in the courts. Workers in all industries are in danger of losing their job. Retailers are experiencing terrible times.
Yet through all of this, our City Council passes a wage increase for largest group of union workers. They get 4 percent raises and additional 18 hours of holiday pay! Also, the council will decide this month to increase the pension benefits for firefighters. Does the City Council know what's going on in the rest of the world?
The City Council has agreed to spend up to $100,000 on view experts to establish polices to protect public views, as well as an additional $10,000 on printing and public notices about the task forces activities.
Are we watching the city of Ventura doing what could be termed "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?"
Somehow, nobody at City Hall is reading the newspapers or watching the news. The country is in financial trouble, the state of California is in financial trouble, everyone is in financial trouble, but the city of Ventura just keeps spending!
It's time for a housecleaning in City Hall to replace the people with some people who understand the reality of the current times.
-- Robert W. Coshland, Ventura
It has been our home for more than 30 years now, and it's winding down. We'll be leaving for many reasons: the traffic, the general social discord, the drop in quality of life and -- the icing on the cake -- the economy.
It didn't used to be this way. People paid their way, and if they couldn't, they got a hand up and were thankful. Now the handouts are expected and received with little to no gratitude.
It hit me the other day when I was shopping for a new refrigerator. I'm 50 years old now and will be leaving California within the next five years. I thought to myself, this will probably be the last major purchase I make in the state. If the governor gets his way and raises the sales tax by another 1 to 1.25 percent, sales of large-ticket items will simply drop out of sight. And if you think we have problems now, just wait.
I won't need another car, another house or investment property; I won't need a new roof or remodel; I won't need much of anything other than daily provisions to carry me through. Pretty soon, like many others, I won't need California anymore either.
-- Korbin Turchot, Ventura
To whoever is interested, the voters passed Proposition 8. Various religious organizations helped make voters acutely aware of the proposition, but the voters made the final decision.
If the opponents of the proposition had somehow convinced the voters that this was not an ancient-to-modern issue of morality -- see Leviticus, Chapter 20, in the Bible -- then the proposition would have gone down to defeat. Instead, the main issue is, "We are being unfairly discriminated against and we want the right to marry same-sex partners."
If, in fact, it is an "abomination" for "man to lie down with man," and the opponents of the proposition never realize this, they will never have the opportunity to "repent," if this activity is determined to be a sin at their final judgment day.
This is the same with many other issues where "free-thinkers" may not even realize that a sin exists. Young people drink, do drugs and party, and some have the propensity to have same-sex partners, etc., etc., and they say "It's all good." So they say.
Maybe the "yes" voters should be thanked because they may have saved some folks from a lot of misery. The majority of the voters appear to still believe that the world is in God's hands and that God will make the final judgment about the existence of the earth and the people who inhabit it. Good luck, everyone.
-- Carole D. Nelson, Ventura
Re: your Nov. 11 article, "A reversal of Mormons' proxy baptisms demanded":
A better headline would be, "Mormons desecrate the graves of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, again! Descendants feel victimized!"
-- Kenneth Baum, Ph.D., Thousand Oaks
Like flak, the economy is bad, and a lot of folks are taking hits. Some are hurt badly. The Maydays are going out, but control is out of control, stumbling around trying to figure out what to do and who's to blame.
We can't depend on them. So, it is up to us.
Retailers: Have a yard sale. Clear the shelves and jettison everything that has a price tag on it. Start with a 25 percent price reduction. Anything left at the end of 30 days, knock another 5 percent off. After another 30 days, tack on another 5 percent off. Get rid of the rebates and twofers. No games or gimmicks, do whatever it takes.
Suppliers: Revise your invoices and knock 15 percent off the top. If need be, work out some different terms that can be mutually agreeable to the customers, banks, etc.
Management: Adjust paychecks. Those making less than 30,000 per year, stand fast. For $30,001 to $55,000, take away 5 percent. For $55,001 to $75,000, come down 10 percent. For $75,001 to $100,000, deduct 15 percent. For anyone making more than $100,001, reduce the paycheck by 20 percent. Hold these numbers for six months, then re-evaluate. Use this or some other variation. Keep the staff and all other concerned parties informed of company financial status -- no surprises. Ease back to former payroll numbers as conditions warrant.
The object is to keep the business moving along and as many on board as possible with benefits intact.
-- Jim Emanuel, Thousand Oaks
Watching the returns election night and listening to the eloquence of both candidates in defeat and victory, I had a strong image of my parents coming home one afternoon five decades ago, clutching American flags in their hands.
They had just had become naturalized American citizens, having immigrated here to raise their family. They wanted to be able to vote in their adopted country into which their children had been born. I remember watching political conventions on black and white television. This was the same TV on which I watched the civil rights movement unfold.
As I watched the returns come in, it also reminded me of why the American experiment with government is so incredible and should be the path all people should seek to follow. Many in this country, including me, feel America has lost its way. But following the emasculation of the Bill of Rights, the internal threats to the American operating system known as the Constitution, and the disruption of our financial markets due to the unregulated environment allowing greed and corruption to dominate, Americans let it be known on election night, "that's enough."
We are not yet a perfect union, but we're getting there. Being born in the United States of immigrant parents, I see what others of similar circumstance have seen. Native-born Americans take much of this for granted, with apathy the result. As I learned from watching my parents, immigrants want to become Americans for the opportunities afforded by this country. They, arguably, see the American dream more clearly. Nowhere else in the world can the Barack Obama story play out.
My family and I are going to the Obama inauguration. It will be our third presidential inaugural. It will be cold. It will be crowded. It will be history. And you can bet that we'll be clutching American flags in our hands. God bless this country.
-- Irving Kent Loh, M.D., Thousand Oaks
The recent safety improvements by the city of Thousand Oaks along Moorpark Road, Lynn Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard all point to the needed capital improvements that this city continues to strive toward. Like the addition of sidewalks, radar signs and newly painted signage to warn drivers of bicyclists sharing the road, are all good signs to the future.
Although one could say that each of these improvements helps to make this city the envy of others throughout our country, I would contend that the improvements on Thousand Oaks Boulevard do not go far enough in protecting bicyclists. Simply putting signs with a bicycle and an arrow is not making Thousand Oaks Boulevard any safer for bicyclists considering the narrowness of the road and the speeding habits of drivers along the thoroughfare. Because of this, bicyclists should still remain vigilant and not assume that they are any safer.
In light of this, we as a community ought to begin to encourage city leaders and members of different safety committees to become more proactive in working with businesses along Thousand Oaks Boulevard to create and adopt long-term alternative parking measures that would help to ensure bicyclists have a safer roadway, where bike lanes exist and where fewer potential mishaps could occur given the volume of traffic along the boulevard each day.
With a recent bicycle tragedy on all of our minds, the time to act is now, especially in light of the numbers of people like myself who use bicycles on the two main roads in our city -- Hillcrest Drive and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, where bicycle lanes remain non-existent.
-- Thomas Larson, Thousand Oaks
In response to the demonstrations by the opponents of Proposition 8, they are correct. No one should be denied their civil rights. Hence, I recommend a solution. We should all write to our state legislators right now and ask that they pass the following proposed bill.
1. All same sex unions are hereby declared as "civil unions."
2. Civil unions are hereby granted all rights and privileges, as well as limitations currently granted and applied to heterosexual couples.
3. Further, all future rights, privileges and limitations applied to heterosexual couples are also granted automatically to partners in civil unions.
That should certainly satisfy the protesters' demand for equal rights.
-- Ralph Mauriello, Moorpark
As I drove around on Veterans Day, I found it very interesting to see no American flags flying in front of so many of the houses that proudly displayed their hateful "Yes on 8" signs. It appears as though it is much easier to show your disdain toward a certain minority group than it is to show your patriotism for your country. I find that very disturbing.
-- Jeri Chandler, Thousand Oaks
Re: Terry Paulson's Nov. 10 essay, "Still proud even in defeat":
Two statements stand out in what otherwise is a reasonably rational Paulson essay.
The first, "I would have preferred Condoleezza Rice," suggests Paulson sees the election from the eyes of one who believes it was simply a search for the best black candidate, and that, regrettably, we got second best. Appalling, to say the least.
The second statement concerns Paulson's compliment of "John McCain and Sarah Palin for their spirited and principled campaign." Spirited, yes. Principled, hardly. It could be argued that McCain's selection of Palin is, in itself, an act lacking principle. McCain had said earlier in the campaign that the primary consideration in selecting a vice president should be that person's ability to assume presidential responsibility at any moment. Palin, it would seem, was selected to promote diversity and to please the right-wing base. McCain sacrificed principle for expediency, much to his shame and, finally, probably to his regret. Surely Palin will go down in history as our country's least qualified vice-presidential candidate. She out-Quayles Dan Quayle, and that should embarrass all Americans.
Our concept of "principled campaign" wouldn't normally include charges that Obama "palled around with terrorists" as Palin accused Obama of doing. "Acorn," "Wright," "Rezko," "Muslims," "Hamas," "Guevera," "socialist" -- all are words the "principled McCain-Palin campaign used in attempts to convince us that we "don't really know who Obama is," wink, wink. This "principled" team simply lifted up a rock to reveal the true right-wing's racism, paranoia, McCarthyism, xenophobia and bigotry.
McCain and Palin have given in to the Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh fear- and hate-promoting wing of what used to be a responsible Republican Party.
Surely Paulson can't really see "principle" in this.
-- Richard Landis, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Nov. 5 news analysis, "Obama must show he can deliver bipartisan reform":
Barack Obama's speech asked if there was anyone "who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time." I think Thomas Jefferson would be pleased with the election of a black man, but not the future that Obama's policies foretell.
Obama will not bring "change," but simply more and more oppressive government. Like John McCain, he voted for President Bush's $700 billion bailout, which, by the way, is really a floor rather than a ceiling. He voted for the Patriot Act and to keep our troops in Iraq.
It is simply disingenuous for the Democrats to argue that they will now have a plan to withdraw from Iraq. Since they have been in control of Congress since 2006, they could have had a plan, and they could have stopped voting for Bush's position, as Republican Rep. Ron Paul did.
Obama has also overpromised and will be forced to underdeliver. This is the opposite of a good leader. The contributors to his record fundraising are expecting major payback, but they won't get it because the money is already spent.
Obama alluded to this by echoing John F. Kennedy's "ask not" speech. He wants us all "to pitch in and work harder." Does anyone feel like they're not working hard enough already? He also wants to institute a new draft for young people, only they get their "choice" of national service.
With apologies to Pink Floyd, "We don't need no WPA programs or stimulus packages." What we need is to stop spending money we don't have, stop printing dollar bills that are worth less than play money and reduce the federal deficit. But this won't happen unless Obama becomes a reborn fiscal conservative.
-- Bruce K. Bell, Moorpark
I am so proud to be an American.
I am so proud that we, as a democracy, were able to elect an African-American to the highest office in the United States.
I am so proud that we were able to elect a president who gives renewed hope to all of us that government can be something we can again believe in.
I am so proud that we were able to elect a president who gives hope to all of us who have seen the status of this great country plummet in the eyes of those across our shores.
I am so proud to be a part of a nation that gives every citizen the right to seek the highest office of this land.
I am so proud to be part of this historic election where equality for all citizens regardless of race, religion or creed became not just an idle dream but instead a reality.
I am so proud to be an American.
-- Joel Strote, Thousand Oaks
Re: Doug Halter's Nov. 9 Pulse page commentary, "All about equal rights" and Laura D. Kurtenbach's "Accept the vote":
Halter should know that I and 5,154,457 other "neighbors" share his disappointment.
I find it disturbing that Kurtenbach uses the same arguments to marginalize the gay community, as Nazi Germany used for controlling the Jewish community. Her trite comments are bigoted and aimed at taking away civil and human rights from all of us.
All the people making these bigoted arguments would make any Nazi proud. They have lied about the issues to the public, twisting facts for their sick agenda. They call themselves Christians, but they are not. They foster hatred and malice to people that do them no harm. Then they say these people don't have the right to protest.
History has shown us what happens to people who don't protest unjust laws. They end up in concentration camps. Lest we forget, Adolf Hitler was an elected official who fostered these same ideals that certain people were less than equal -- Jews, gays, gypsies, free thinkers, non-Aryans and anyone who didn't think like them. My German grandfather protested those laws and spent two years as a political prisoner in Dachau, was released and then was murdered by the Nazis.
It is the right of all Americans to protest laws that are unfair and that deny civil rights to any citizen. Neither the church nor any other organization has the right to take those rights away. That's why we have a separation of church and state.
We as U.S. citizens need to guard all our civil rights and freedoms from abuse and misuse. I look forward to the overturning of Proposition 8 in 2009. Yes, we can!
-- David Pease, Ventura
Re: Jason Love's Nov. 9 article, "Judging from the gridlock, there already are too many of us":
Love had an interesting article about the people of Ventura County. He puts the evil productions of our society in large part on the backs of those who have large families. Gridlock, thievery and abuse are, according to his commentary "fixed by one overriding memo: Quit having so many children." He mentions, "Consider that I myself come from a large extended family, people who don't use birth control because it isn't "natural." Of course, they're also so old-fashioned, they still believe the world is flat. So it goes."
Is he trying to equate those from large families as being some of the most Neanderthal in our county?
However, twice he mentions, "If California falls into the sea, it won't be from earthquakes, but sheer human tonnage."
I guess the fruit didn't fall far from the tree. Jason's family must have passed their unschooled outlook on the world directly to him. Maybe we should ask him to refrain from procreating, which would not only help gridlock, but save future generations from his family's faulty gene.
-- Carla Bonney, Ventura
(The writer is the mother of nine and adds, "Nine is divine." -- Editor)
As we wait on the final count, the loser is the 19th Senate District. I'm not privy to everything said, but all I heard was negative and slamming the opponent. There was no "I'm so-and-so, and I approve this message." Not once did we hear what they stood for, just what was bad about the opponent.
The country voted for changes to the process. They voted in California for Christian principles as well as equality. They voted in the 19th for the lesser of two evils, for their attitudes are just that and are not what we need from our representatives.
It's the one case where it should end in a tie.
-- Richard Menken, Oxnard
So, apparently, the city of Ventura is eyeing with relish the results of the local sales tax measures that were approved by voters in the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme in the November election. The question is: Can we really trust our City Council with yet more revenue to mismanage?
Isn't it enough that they cannot even seem to get the 911 tax that was forced upon us right? Isn't it enough that they continue to fritter away precious local tax dollars on such wasteful spending as studies to determine how tall the buildings no one is currently building in the city should be, or to erect memorial posts in a park at a total cost of $4 million? Isn't it enough that they have made poor investment decisions that will probably cost the taxpayers $10 million?
To fill behind the money lost from these poor decisions, all we see are endless fee increases and additional taxes. And now they want us to consider a general sales tax increase that would be left entirely to the City Council to decide what to do with the money? The only thing that can be concluded here is that they must think the residents of the city have all taken a collective tumble off a turnip truck.
-- Roger C. Clarke, Ventura
Re: George Bolin's Nov. 9 letter, "Bias against intelligent design":
Bolin's comment that intelligent design should be taught along science classes in schools carries a frequent and very mistaken view of the sciences.
Intelligent design is not science. It's repackaged creationism and lacks any scientific basis. No universities study intelligent design. Every court across the U.S. that has suffered through the ordeal of school boards trying to add intelligent design to the school curriculum has nixed these religious views being taught in public schools. Even conservative judges appointed by right-leaning politicians, after hearing the evidence for teaching so called intelligent design in schools, have turned down its teaching in public schools. Call any professor of biology at Caltech, MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Brown, etc., and they will be amazed that the topic is even raised.
Evolution is the scientific explanation for the development of the organisms that inhabit the earth. The modern biotech revolution has confirmed the already strong case for evolution. This inexorable process is tough to explain to people who have not taken cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, etc.
Sadly, there is a culture conflict growing as some religions feel evolution threatens their beliefs. This is a mistaken view. It's comparable to the views of Galileo when he explained that the Earth rotates around the sun. The science and explanation was beyond the grasp of the man on the street of his day to understand. Just like Galileo's controversial but correct views, evolution is the leading science of our day.
Please don't push intelligent design as science. It's not. Intelligent design and creationism should be taught in church. Let's teach the most modern and constructive science in our public schools. Evolution is the state of the art of our natural sciences.
-- Robert Meeker, Ojai
It seems to me that a good bit of the almost violently polarizing nature of the "gay marriage" controversy is simply the historical dictionary definition of the word. My Webster's says marriage is, "the institution whereby a man and a woman are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family." People have learned and accepted that definition for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
To me, if the definition of a man married to a woman is altered, it, to some extent, affects my perception of my own spousal relationship, as if my identity as the male half of a traditional man/woman married couple has somehow been corrupted or violated. And my instant, instinctive reaction is to oppose it. It's an unreasoned position, perhaps, but not uncommon, I suspect. It's somewhat as if my cat spoke up one day and said, "I want to be called dog, too, just like Rover." Well, OK, but what do you then call Rover to distinguish him from felines?
It's not, necessarily, that a person's choice to share their life -- and full legal pair-rights -- with a partner of their own choosing should be restricted. It's a free country. And the meaning of many words has changed over the years to adapt to changing times.
But, "man plus woman equals marriage" has been ingrained for so long that I believe if nontraditional couples could only come up with a word other than "marriage" to define their union, it would make it easier for everybody to get along.
-- Dale Osborn, Camarillo
Just for fun, I performed a scientific study during the campaign to measure the rude responses of motorists as they passed by Proposition 8 "honk and wave" activities, both pro and con. I stood behind the demonstrators in Camarillo and observed at the same location on consecutive weeknights during the early-evening drive time the week before the election.
Although there were more affirmative honks given to the "Yes on Proposition 8" demonstrators, I did not measure the number of honks, shaking heads or thumbs-down gestures, all of which I considered simply a statement of position or voting intention.
Here are my data on the rude behaviors (events are per hour):
Standing behind the "Yes on 8" crowd, which included several youngsters: 17 shouted F-bomb obscenities, 21 middle-finger gestures, one "You are going to burn in hell" prediction.
Standing behind the "No on 8 crowd (no youngsters): zero F-bomb obscenities, zero middle-finger gestures and zero prognostications of divine judgment.
I did observe one waggled index finger directed toward a young male "no" supporter who was wearing hot pink gym shorts. It was not possible to determine whether that motorist was making a political statement or pointing out a fashion faux pas.
The data supports the following conclusion: The "Yes on 8" motorists demonstrate more courtesy and decorum - tolerance, if you will - than the "No on 8" motorists.
-- Marwood Stout, Camarillo
Re: Dennis Nabor's Nov. 7 letter, "Voters helped Oxnard":
Tim Flynn was carrying out his duties as he saw fit and doing what he thought was best for the city and its people -- the same thing, I am sure, that our other council persons and mayor were trying to do.
The council chambers and our political system allow whomever wants to speak about any issues concerning this city to do so. Without the citizens pointing out problems in our city, the council and staff could not run this city "for" the people. Nabor should be thanking those citizens who are exercising their rights, instead of writing things he obviously is ignorant about, which are the rights of all citizens in this city.
-- Marie Ellis, Oxnard
I continue to pay close attention to the protests in support of "No on 8." I realize the protesters are upset that Proposition 8 won. If these people do not want to accept the voice of the people, their next step is the court system. Stop trying to intimidate the supporters of Proposition 8. I say to all those protesters: "Can't you take yes for an answer?"
-- Susan Beddoe Delaney, Ventura
Here's a tough but effective and quick fix for the U.S. economy: Suspend all minimum wage laws until the economy makes a comeback.
Heavens, I can see the labor people and liberals ready to burn me at the stake! Please, no knee-jerk reaction. What's the alternative?
We are on the verge of going belly-up anyway. Better a lower-paying job than no job. Better to level the playing field for American industries trying to compete in the world market. The benefits clearly outweigh the dire consequences. Everyone goes back to work again. The cost of American goods and services will come down. We will actually be able to build and manufacture stuff right here again.
Nobody has been able to come up with a solution yet. Print more money? That devalues the dollar further. More bailouts for the banks and corporations? What happens when they go through that money that we must borrow from China?
This is the only sure and quick way to get business activity and jobs back here again.
-- Bernard Lehrer, Ventura
Re: Dean Sylvies' Nov. 11 commentary, "No comparison":
Sylvies seems to be of the opinion that the passage of Proposition 8 has no comparison to the heinous treatment of Jews, Japanese and African-Americans in recent history, but history does prove there is a great similarity -- that is: bigotry.
When a child is born, he or she is not a bigot. No, that is taught by parents, preachers, priests or friends when they are children. The religious groups and individuals who voted for Proposition 8 are at least hypocritical bigots, no different than the intolerant ones in the past, but maybe not to the same degree.
People like Sylvies and other Proposition 8 supporters have the right to live by whatever tenets they wish, but they should not be able to force their ideals on everybody and everyone else.
I truly hope someday we all might learn to have tolerance and understanding for people who may feel differently than we do and let them have the same rights and freedoms we all are supposed to have.
-- John L. Thawley, Santa Paula
Re: your Nov. 11 editorial, "Auto industry needs a tow":
There are a few solutions here that can be explored.
If the U.S. auto industry can't stay competitive with the Japanese auto industry, then let them go out of business, as would happen in a free market economy.
Or, provide the U.S. automakers with yearly cash infusions of taxpayer money to keep them going.
Or, impose high import taxes on Japanese vehicles, which would make U.S.-made vehicles much cheaper to buy.
Or, ban all Japanese car imports altogether, which would force Americans to buy "made in America" cars. This last solution would create American jobs.
Personally, I prefer this last solution, and not just for the car industry but across the board to all industries. We need ban to all imports. Only in this way can we create jobs for Americans and get back to the days when products had tags on them that said, "Made in America." Without this type of approach, the U.S. is slowly going down the drain. We do not owe it to foreign countries to keep their economies alive with American dollars buying their products. We call this protectionism, and it's time we practiced it for the sake of America.
-- William Wolny, Oxnard
Congress is proposing to give the auto industry a Band-Aid to cure cancer rather than identify the problem and fix it.
The auto industry should have seen the writing on the wall years ago. They are building products that are becoming less attractive to the buying public. As their sales drop, their fixed and growing pension liability and high labor costs make their products too expensive.
The solution, if any is possible, is to have all parties -- labor, management and retirees -- share the pain and hopefully develop products that are desirable and competitive.
The final piece to the problem is for us to stop being the Me-First States of America, become the United States of America and buy American.
-- Carter Gage, Port Hueneme
It's fun to think about Ford or General Motors or Chrysler shifting some of their unused capacity to making rooftop photovoltaic panels.
Compared to an automobile, a photovoltaic solar panel is very simple. American automakers, for all their faults, are very good at building complicated mechanical-electrical-optical units quickly at reasonable cost with reasonable reliability. They know how to handle and distribute large, heavy products. They have the capability to receive, store and protect big, valuable items. They understand product safety. They know how to make things that withstand outdoor weather effects. Their outlets are well-established. They have enormous research and development capabilities. They're very familiar with state-of-the-art technologies. They know how to advertise.
A fair chunk of the cost of rooftop panels is shipping, so who better than a U.S. company to make them right here? And wouldn't it be nice to be first-to-market for a change?
The list of reasons goes on. Most of all, American carmakers need to make something people want to buy, Americans need jobs, the economy needs people spending their money and we need to make our own clean energy.
What are the problems with this or other new ideas? The worst is that Detroit management can't even be successful with a product they're supposed to know extremely well. They just don't get it, and it looks like they never will. Consider the new seven-passenger Ford Flex: What's the market for that?
Let the Detroit auto companies fail so people with vision and energy can make them useful again.
-- Nelson Wallace, Ventura
Re: Terry Paulson's Nov. 11 essay, "Still proud even in defeat":
It is very easy to disagree with Paulson, as he is often to the right of Sean Hannity. However, his essay on the election of President-elect Barack Obama was courteous and professional. That being said, it would not be a Paulson essay without some subtle zingers.
These would include his claim that the media was biased to Obama. Obama certainly received attention for his historic run and his eloquent prose. But Sen. John McCain was also treated well, and the attention he received for nominating the intellectually challenged Gov. Sarah Palin was something to behold. The media was not biased, and always remember that conservatives have the most blatantly biased network on their side, Fox.
Finally, Paulson's claim that most Americans view themselves as conservatives needs to be looked at very carefully. A citation would have been nice, the Cato Institute being the pollsters perhaps? I would surmise most Americans view themselves as I do, as moderates, also known as the mainstream.
But I should be thankful, as this last essay was as diplomatic as Paulson normally gets!
-- Paul Caron, Ventura
Re: Paul Krugman's Nov. 8 essay, "It's no time to stand pat":
I have to respond to this essay because it is an excellent example of how a spokesman does more harm to his point of view or cause.
In the first paragraph, he stated that if the election of Barack Obama "didn't leave you teary-eyed and proud of your country, there's something wrong with you."
This is the typical divisive rhetoric that I read and hear from the left: "If you do not believe (the way I believe), then you are (fill in the blank)."
I believe this type of language shows that Krugman is displaying his prejudice and is guilty of practicing what he is accusing the opposition of doing.
I wonder if he would have felt the same way if Condoleezza Rice had been elected the first African-American president of the United States?
-- Jim Hrabovsky, Camarillo
Re: Paul Krugman's Nov. 8 essay, "It's no time to stand pat":
First of all, Krugman's essay is excellent, and his opinion is on the money. I was very interested when he mentioned the New Deal. As we old Americans remember, this brought America to a welfare state. By the late 1930s, the New Deal had run its course. The only way out was World War II. It's there for all to read in history books.
Socialism has been kept at bay with capitalism, which is slipping away. What will bring us Americans and we, the people, out of this New Deal? Socialism and dictatorship or World War III?
Here are a few suggestions from an older American: Lower the interest rate to 3 percent for one year and cut auto and China imports 50 percent for one year. This will give America a chance to get a hold of itself again.
-- Lloyd Parker, Camarillo
We are in the middle of an economic crisis that some have compared to the Great Depression of 1929. What began as a slowdown in our domestic housing situation has now evolved into a full-blown forest fire. What started as a U.S. phenomenon has now morphed into a global meltdown.
The G20 countries are taking a very aggressive approach to containing the current crisis and moving to repair the damage. Hopefully, the majority of the damage has been done, and the recession will be shorter rather than longer.
There are a number of factors working in our favor. Interest rates are at historic lows. The world banks are injecting a tremendous amount of liquidity into the system. There are a number of very smart people working on this economic crisis and looking at all possible solutions.
The current focus and criticism is the public's perception that we are bailing out Wall Street and not addressing the problems of Main Street. The last time I checked, not every adult owned a home, but the majority of them held at least one credit card. American Express recently received Fed approval to move to "bank-holding company" status. That will give them access to the bailout fund. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and J.P. Morgan, to name a few, will have the ability to borrow federal taxpayer dollars at very favorable terms. The Fed Fund's rate is 1 percent, which is the rate that commercial banks can borrow directly from the Federal Reserve. For some unfortunate consumers, the banks are charging interest rates approaching 30 percent! Where are the banking regulators and our government officials hiding?
To me, the current situation is equivalent to legalized extortion. In my opinion, the only difference between your local banker and a loan shark is that our banking system has the blessing of federal banking regulators.
-- John M. Lau, Oxnard
If Barack Obama cannot keep confidential a private conversation with the president, how can we trust him with national secrets?
Do Obama's advisers and prospective cabinet members understand the seriousness of security classifications, or are "leaks" part of their strategy to remain the darlings of the media who got him elected? If Obama doesn't nip this in the bud, our country is in jeopardy.
-- Bill Gourlay, Westlake Village
Re: Jerry Clifford's Nov. 11 commentary, "Civil rights not won at ballot box":
Separation of church and state does not mean that citizens with religious faith cannot take political action based on their faith.
Clifford accuses the Catholic Church of "pour(ing) millions of tax-free dollars into the Yes on 8 campaign." This is a patently false accusation. The Catholic Church did not put one dime into this campaign.
Catholic citizens donated and volunteered, Catholic bishops spoke and wrote, churches distributed signs, and some pastors spoke out in support of marriage as defined and promoted by every human civilization known to history. As such, Catholics were exercising their right and duty as citizens to promote the common good, most especially, the good of the family.
Catholics and others who voted yes on Proposition 8 know that "they shouldn't force (their) belief on others." Not only that, we believe that a tiny minority of our population should not have the right to alter the institution that thousands of years of civilization and current social science research has decisively proved is the best way to raise secure, happy and productive children. When a child loses a mother or father, all agree this is tragic. Gay marriage guarantees that children will automatically be deprived of either a mother or a father.
Clifford is eager to cite scientific evidence that same-sex attraction is genetically based. Even more primitive science tells us that only a man and a woman can produce a child. No child has "two mommies" or "two daddies," yet this is the fairy tale we would force on children were same-sex marriage to prevail.
-- Elizabeth Yuengert, Moorpark
A recent letter-writer commented on how gracious the Republicans were in defeat, whereas four years earlier the Democrats complained that the election was stolen. Well, duh! If I had gotten my booty kicked as hard as the GOP did in this election, I'd be gorging on humble pie too!
Until the GOP understands that big business needs to be rewarded for creating American jobs, not padding pockets of politicians and executives; that Sarah Palin needs to stay in Alaska; that Barack Obama belongs in the White House; and that God belongs in the heart and not the voting booth, I see a dim future for them.
-- Jim Shahan, Oak Park
It is truly amazing that opponents of Proposition 8 demonstrate in front of predominantly Caucasian churches such as the Mormon Church and certain select others. According to the exit polling, more than 70 percent of African-Americans in California voted for Proposition 8. Why, then, are they not demonstrating in front of predominantly African-American churches? Or would that be politically incorrect?
-- Ronald E. Kelly, Thousand Oaks
Running for Thousand Oaks City Council is an exhilarating challenge that presents a whirlwind of events almost every single day. My family supported me every step of the way, and to them I owe the greatest thanks.
To my friends, neighbors and fellow residents who rallied around me I can't thank you enough. You made it all worthwhile. I met hundreds of Thousand Oaks residents during the campaign, and I thank you all for your time and for your gracious attention.
My congratulations to Jacqui Irwin and Tom Glancy. I know you will serve proudly in representing the citizens of Thousand Oaks.
As for me, I will continue to do my best in being a voice for our residents as a planning commissioner and as someone who deeply cares about our special town.
-- Al Adam, Thousand Oaks
I argued with several Mormons who supported Proposition 8, and I can tell you that they were not ignorant of the facts. They made their "Yes on 8" claims, I debunked those claims and then they agreed with me. They didn't offer any rebuttals. They just agreed that I made good points.
The first time I got such agreement, I was elated. I thought I had given them the information they had been missing. But then I witnessed this strange phenomenon: One moment a man is agreeing that his church will definitely not have to marry gays, and the next moment he's warning people that his church will definitely have to marry gays. It's quite unsettling to see that your opponent is impervious to even his own reason.
Such mental gymnastics might be admired (or necessary) in some circles, but there is no reason to respect the opinions of those who employ them. The men with whom I argued demonstrated that they were lying to themselves and to others. And now others from their church feign shock and dismay to discover that we condemn such despicable behavior and the shameful apartheid that it advocates. There is no reason to take their indignation seriously. They proved that the ballot box is a perfect place to be perfectly awful to your neighbors. They committed a great wrong by using the law to enforce their faith-based prejudice, and we shall not rest until we put it right.
-- Chris Habecker, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Nov. 10 article, "Proposition 8 opponents protest outside church":
I know that most of the Proposition 8 supporters feel that the protesters should accept defeat and shut up. The reality is that Proposition 8 represents the worst of democracy. It is akin to "two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." I borrow that quote from Benjamin Franklin, and it fits the current situation perfectly.
When the vast majority vote on what a small minority, especially an often-disliked minority, may or may not do, it is inherently unfair.
To the people who voted yes on 8: Allowing gay people to marry would have no effect on you. You have just exercised an extremely unfair advantage for the purpose of stopping people you don't like from doing something you don't approve of. You should be ashamed.
-- Steve Phillips, Newbury Park
Re: Doug Crosse's Nov. 10 letter, "U.S. needs third party":
Crosse must be reading my mind. I, too, am a lifelong Republican but have felt for quite a few years that a third party with moderate views is needed. Both parties talk of bipartisanship, but they ultimately are too far right or too far left.
I believe in a woman's right to choose, I believe in gay marriage, but I am bothered by statements such as, "Spread the wealth." We have never been a socialist country, and I hope we are not headed in that direction. Government programs are meant to help those truly in need, but too many have a sense of entitlement. We are to have separation of church and state, yet religion has been creeping in to certain issues.
Illegal immigration is one issue that must be addressed. It continues to negatively impact education and medical services, and illegals pay no income taxes to support these and other government services. Furthermore, continuing to allow illegals to stay here is offensive to all those who immigrate here legally.
I also agree with Crosse that the Electoral College is another discussion entirely.
-- Lorraine Wilkins, Moorpark
Re: your Nov. 8 article, "Ex-officer to serve 90 days in jail":
A former Oxnard police officer has his sentence reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. According to The Star's article, "Assistant Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney said in an interview Friday that the department takes such complaints seriously."
Evidently, the judge does not take such complaints seriously.
-- Ron Brant, Moorpark
Simi Valley is a great place to live, for many reasons. One aspect that keeps the community strong is the number of nonprofit organizations established here to serve residents and families.
Saturday, two of the most important community organizations have scheduled events all Simi Valley residents should participate in.
From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a Community Food and Supply Drive to benefit our local food bank, Care and Share. This is a challenging time of year for our food bank. All residents should consider donating items such as nonperishable food items, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap, deodorant, shampoo, baby food and diapers at the following locations:
-- Albertsons at Madera Road and Royal Avenue.
-- Wal-Mart at Cochran Street and Madera Road.
-- Trader Joe's in the Target Center on Cochran Street.
-- Jons Marketplace at Cochran Street and Tapo Canyon Road.
-- Pavilions at Alamo Street and Tapo Canyon Road.
-- Vons at Yosemite Avenue and Los Angeles Avenue.
Within just the past few months, the number of households served by Care and Share each month rose from 500 to 1,350. This drive is a joint project by the city's Youth Council and Neighborhood Councils. For more information, call the Community Services Department at 583-6861.
Later Saturday, the Free Clinic of Simi Valley will host its first open house, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event is an opportunity to tour the clinic, meet its staff and support its important programs.
The clinic is located at 2060 Tapo St. The number of patient visits this year has increased fourfold. For more information, visit http://www.freeclinicsv.com or RSVP to email@example.com.
I hope all residents will take advantage of the opportunity to support two of our wonderful nonprofit organizations, Care and Share and the Free Clinic of Simi Valley.
-- Keith Jajko, Simi Valley
Has anyone thought of questioning federal receiver J. Clark Kelso's plan for solving the problem of the aging prison population by building new hospitals at seven different locations in the state?
For more than 60 years, I have traveled Highway 101 and wondered at the waste of the federal government owning land and buildings at the old Camp Roberts property near Paso Robles. Why hasn't anyone thought of using this property for a large hospital? After all, it is the federal government that is exerting pressure on the state. Why don't they make a contribution of the land?
My opinion is that convicted persons who have sentences into old age are not deserving of the latest in medical treatment. As a matter of humanitarian concern, they deserve to be fed, kept clean and given generic medication for pain, period. None of the heroics mentioned in a recent Star article should be given them, such as therapists of one kind or another. Recreational programs should be very minimal. The elder prisoners should be given respite care at best.
We should not be locating them at places convenient for visitors. Camp Roberts on Highway 101 is convenient enough.
These folks have committed serious crimes against society and no longer deserve society's eternal concern and expense. I say, be humane, but do not go overboard.
-- Eunice Koch, Ventura
I know Terry Paulson believes the world came to an end on Nov. 4. He can take a deep breath, everything will be OK. Look at it this way. He, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will have eight years to complain, find fault and let the rest of us know that we are on the path to oblivion. What the heck, they get paid for it, so they can enjoy it. If nothing else, U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegy will still be with us for another two years making false promises to reform immigration.
Paulson really wanted another eight years of the Bush folly? As O'Reilly would say, "Come on!"
-- Bill Armstrong, Camarillo
I don't care if they are black, white, brown or green. I don't care what language they speak. I just want to humbly say "thank you" to all the people who are bent over in the fields all day, tending and harvesting the food that I eat.
-- Carol Johnson, Camarillo
As a Ventura citizen and landlord, I strongly urge we act to reject the Rental Housing Preservation Program.
The program being proposed will require annual fees, inspections and business licenses for every rental unit in the city of Ventura. We already have code enforcement for this.
Just the very name of it is inaccurate. How does adding fees and inspection burdens on law-abiding housing providers "preserve" housing? If anything, it will discourage the legitimate owners from providing -- and actually subsidizing housing expense -- for Ventura's renting citizens.
If I am correct, the city and state already have ordinances in the way of building, safety and zoning codes to assure safety of the rental housing which, I believe, is what the real goal is supposed to be here. Aren't code enforcement issues the very thing that started this idea in the first place?
I believe that the people the city is targeting to pay for this are not the ones who need to be targeted. They are, after all, the ones actually contributing to the general welfare of the public in Ventura by providing a much-needed service, namely safe, affordable housing and shelter in very tough times. I know there are some scofflaw landlords, but most are not, and I know I am not.
What is being proposed and the methods being used are probably not legal. If the city of Ventura needs to raise money, it must do so by raising taxes on all citizens. That will require due civic discourse and not arbitrarily socking it to some perceived "well-off" minority that may or may not even be made fully aware of this process. It is my belief it will not stand the test of legal scrutiny, and this city does not need any more tests.
Again, I strongly urge the city to reject this proposal.
-- Scott Douglas, Ventura
To everyone who spent the time to put out signs related to the current election: Be a responsible member of your community and pick up the signs.
Dr. Manuel Lopez and Measure V are the most common signs still standing.
The morning after the election, I was on Los Angeles Avenue headed to Moorpark from Ventura when I observed a black pickup truck loading Elton Gallegly signs they had just removed. Removing signs shortly after the election is being a good member of the community and a smart politician.
-- Bettye Wingate, Ventura
Re: your Nov. 6 photo accompanying the article, "At least 86,000 ballots still not counted; some races left hanging":
What happened to the secret ballot? What is Olga Cervantes checking the ballot for? After verifying the voter's eligibility, the ballot should be processed in the Optech scanner. An individual's ballot should not be associated with a name!
-- James Walker, Camarillo
Barack Obama made this statement: "It took us a long time, but we finally made it."
Obama is a first-generation African-American. None of his ancestors were slaves in America. How can he possibly make this statement without sounding arrogant? He doesn't really know very much about many of the black people in America, as he was raised by his white grandparents. He had opportunities that many of the African-Americans have never had.
His biography stated that he only saw his father once after his parents were divorced. He was quite young when they were separated. So, I guess he didn't ever go to Kenya to see his father when he grew up.
It would have been a great day if an African-American of American ancestry had become the first president. Obama cannot be put in the same regard as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X or Jesse Jackson.
-- Karol Ransom, Ventura
The night before the election, I witnessed some people destroying campaign signs. After they were told to stop, they continued without a care in the world.
I thought to vote you had to be 18 years old? Isn't that considered an adult in our society today? Then why are there so many infants in big bodies, because they sure are acting infantile? Grow up!
-- Amy Robbins, Oxnard
Whew, the election is finally over! If you were a part of this historic election by voting, pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a favorite cocktail or soda and enjoy whatever it is that you do for fun.
Another reason to celebrate is I don't think the new Congress or the new president will steal more money from us at least until mid-January.
As for "change," I predict some of the new electorate will experience a common football term, "four downs, then kick!"
And those telemarketing clowns can stop calling my "don't call" phone number, and sign-toting pundits can pick up all the litter that has been defacing our cities, highways and parks. Does anyone actually decide who or what to vote for after reading a sign? I think not. Kudos to Santa Paula and Fillmore, which don't allow signs on public property!
Let's pray that the "new" direction that America is headed will actually benefit us and put us back on top!
-- Michael Thames, Ojai
My wife, Kelly, and I send our warmest appreciation and most sincere thank you to everyone who participated and supported our campaign. We congratulate Doug Breeze and Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp for their dedication. We are convinced their addition to the council is an important benefit to the city of Port Hueneme. We pledge our efforts to moving forward together and facing challenges common to all the citizens united to achieve a hopeful future.
-- Lance Livermore, Port Hueneme
Re: Victor Dorff's Nov. 6 commentary, "With one group denied a civil right, will your group be next?" and Paul E. Newman's Nov. 6 letter, "Bittersweet election":
I cannot sit here anymore and remain silent. I am tired of being accused of hating. I am tired of being assaulted by outlandish and shameful embellishments, and I am tired of being attacked for exercising my rights as an American citizen!
I refer specifically to Dorff's essay and Newman's letter. These two people have the audacity to compare the passage of Proposition 8 to such things as internment camps, racial prejudice and the Holocaust! I cannot believe that these people can actually think there are any similarities to these examples.
Let's compare. The gay community has a proposition pass that they don't like. The Jews suffered and experienced genocide and lost millions to the horrors of the Nazis. Japanese Americans were pulled from their homes and forced to live in camps against their will. African Americans were ripped from their country and forced into horrendous conditions and slavery. How dare Dorff and Newman belittle and demean these horrific events in history by comparing them to the loss of a democratic, freely held election! Stop dishonoring those who have suffered and experienced true hatred.
I would well imagine that the Jews, Japanese, or African Americans referred to above would have gladly traded their fates for the opportunity to vote on their future.
Marriage has been ordained and established between a man and a woman. This definition has been validated not once, but twice by the citizens of the state of California -- not through mass murder, internment or slavery, but through a democratic, fair and time-honored system.
I do not hate homosexuals. I have different opinions and views, this does not equal hate.
Assaulting a church and rioting, now that sounds like hate.
-- Dean Sylvies, Ventura
Proponents of same-sex marriage abundantly use the word "tolerance," yet it seems they have a tough time grasping the meaning of the word.
Does tolerance mean stealing campaign signs from in front of my house and the homes of my friends? Does tolerance mean 5,000 people marching on and demonstrating at a religious house of worship, being held back by cops with riot gear, to the point where worshippers feel threatened and intimidated enough to cancel meetings?
Does tolerance mean boycotting another state in an attempt to make its tourism industry suffer? Accusing those whose moral compass points in a different direction as promoting hate? Cursing at and flipping off sign-wavers? Telling my mother she should be ashamed of herself for having a bumper sticker on her car?
Any objective person will see that the tolerance in all of this was demonstrated by the Proposition 8 supporters, not the opponents.
In 2000, the people spoke convincingly by the passage of Proposition 22. Last spring, a minority of people found a way to circumvent California's votes through the judicial system. The people spoke once again by a victory margin of over a half million voters, even with the opposition's very effective media campaign.
Being loud doesn't make one right, and I am grateful for the majority of silent voters who used the democratic process to once again affirm the value of traditional marriage. I request that those who disagree with me and the millions of others who supported Proposition 8 to, please, be tolerant.
-- John Troxel, Camarillo
Would bringing the current prison hospitals up to "code" be more beneficial than building a new one? It would eliminate the need to purchase land, hire contractors, purchase building supplies, etc. The money could be used to train present personnel to meet the staffing needs. Would this be more feasible?
-- Jean Nussman, Ventura
Barack Obama will need more luck than anyone in the world since Jesus left his footprints behind. He has been given charge of the Titanic, and the iceberg is within spitting distance, while the Titanic is moving full speed ahead!
Watch this upcoming economic summit very, very carefully. It will determine how hard the Titanic is going to hit the iceberg.
Nothing can stop what is coming, but they might be able to slow it down just a tad so it does not sink too fast.
-- John Jay, Oxnard
Re: Laura D. Kurtenbach's Nov. 9 Pulse page commentary, "Accept the vote":
Marriage institution does not belong to Christians or Muslims or to the gay community. It belongs to all the people. It existed long before there were any Christians around.
The dictionary defines a marriage as "a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction."
If Kurtenbach chooses that to be a female and male, that's great. If someone else chooses that to be two males or two females, that is their choice. It does not impact her freedom to marry whomever she chooses.
If Kurtenbach chooses to believe in an imaginary being in the sky, that is her right as well. If the voters pass a proposition preventing her to worship this imaginary being, that's called discrimination, and it is up to the Supreme Court to rule it invalid.
I don't hate Christians. I just don't like how so-called Christians have handled the marriage issue/institution.
Kurtenbach asked everyone to respect what the voting community has handed down in Proposition 8. Did she respect it when the California Supreme Court struck down Proposition 22?
-- George Pohoski, Camarillo
The time has come when we can no longer merely pay lip service to the concept of sustainability. Our society is facing real limits in a vast array of indices, including dwindling ocean fisheries, destructive climate change and freshwater and petrochemical draw-down.
In an ecological sense, we are well into the draw-down phase for the very natural resources that we rely on to support our economy. If we don't change the way we approach the use of these resources, draw-down will lead to "overshoot," "crash" and ultimately "die-out."
As far back as the early 1980s, ecologist Gary Coates of Kansas State University said, "Industrial civilization will be forced to make a rapid transition from its current business-as-usual growth ethic to a steady state economy. This great cultural transformation must be effectively completed within the next 50 to 100 years. If it is not, we shall experience this turning point in history as the greatest period of violence, suffering and destruction ever known."
Prominent climate change scientist James Hanson now says we have about 10 years to dramatically cut carbon dioxide emissions before irreversible damage is done to the world's climate.
The current economic crisis could provide a strong incentive for us to become stewards of our resources rather than wasters. The multiple threats of global warming, economic collapse, dwindling supplies of oil and fresh water scarcity can really only be addressed by dramatic changes in our collective lifestyle. Using and promoting mass transit, adopting alternative energy and practicing energy conservation, conserving fresh water, taking better care of the water we waste to the ocean every day through urban runoff and making careful choices with our consumer spending are things everyone can do to help insure a sustainable future.
-- Rich Handley, Ojai
As President-elect Barack Obama prepares for the difficult challenge of working with a House and Senate that are split, we constantly are hearing about the need for everyone to "reach across the aisle." Of course, this is a reference to the Senate's traditional seating arrangement of Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other.
Rather than reaching across the aisle, why not just do away with the aisle? Not literally eliminate the aisle, of course, but rather get rid of this factional seating arrangement that reinforces differences when what we need is for senators to work toward agreement. Why not mix up our senators, perhaps alphabetically, so as to replace the current "we/they" situation with a simple "we" arrangement, as in "we the people."
There will be those who say we can't do this because it's always been the way it is, or that we can't change because the divided seating arrangement makes it easier for each party to work together. But they miss the point that what we need is for all our senators to work together in order to resolve today's extremely difficult problems, especially the economic ones.
If ever there was a time for drastic change in Washington, it's now.
-- Gerald McGuire, Ventura
I did not vote for Barack Obama, but my people did, and so he will be my president, the leader of my country. I am proud to be a citizen of a country that can make such a decision, and I pray that God will grant him the wisdom and strength he will need.
However, I am concerned that he doesn't seem to realize that the U.S. did not start this fight in Asia, and therefore it is not in our power to end it, except by abject surrender. This fight began some 30 years ago in Lebanon, when a small band of activists declared war on all countries supporting Israel. Their first move was to bomb the Marine barracks in Beirut. That was followed by a string of bombings in Africa, Spain, England and Manhattan -- so far -- and a lot of hijackings. With each attack, that small band gained new followers and strength.
Perhaps we should abandon Israel, as they intend. But then, who in this world will ever be safe again?
-- Hal Wilder, Camarillo
Well, here the governor goes again, trying to solve the financial problems of the state of California by punishing state employees.
I have two daughters who have worked for the state of California for more than 25 years. Both of them are single mothers of teenage boys. Not only is the governor trying to raise the sales tax for everyone, he is also taking two holidays a year away from state employees. He is also forcing them to take off one day a month without pay. Does he think they will pay less for utilities and less for groceries and clothes? Does he think their rent is going to go down? How many people can afford to lose a day's pay a month? Will this also apply to the state legislators?
I am a retired state employee, and I pray he will not be able to touch my retirement.
-- Lois Sanford, Ventura
Re: Dennis Nabor's Nov. 7 letter, "Voters helped Oxnard":
Nabor should know that not everyone sees the way the city is heading in a positive way. I, for one, feel that we needed more council people like Tim Flynn. I disagree that he was in for personal political gain. He challenged the others to do what was best for the city. He and many of us citizens are tired of the status quo, where any development is OK. The city has run amok.
Nabor thinks the city should just do what they want without anyone coming before them. What a "good ol' boy" he is. Let's just let the City Council do what it wants without the citizens' input. He calls this productive?
At least Flynn stood with the citizens. I hope he continues to run for office in the near future.
-- Art Padilla, Oxnard
Re: your Nov. 6 article, "Traffic plan shot down, but sales tax wins out":
Although Measure V suffered a defeat during the recent election, it certainly had its benefits by being on the ballot. Despite being outgunned 80-to-1 by the deep-pocketed anti-V group and the flood of home-grown scare tactics, Tim Flynn need not feel too badly. I firmly believe that without the threat of Measure V, the city of Oxnard would never have developed what it calls its "traffic mitigation plan."
So, let's now monitor how well, or should we say "if," the city actually executes any plan at all to mitigate traffic in this city.
As far as Measure O is concerned, our family also opposed this measure. Why? Because of the way the city currently spends our tax dollars. If our tax dollars were spent wisely in the first place, we could have supported it. The article states that one voter supported the measure to provide better police and fire services. Will it cost $10 million to $12 million for this increased protection? Will all of the money be spent that way? I think not. Some or most of the money will go to other unspecified areas. How much more to the theater downtown? How much longer must the taxpayer provide the guaranteed subsidy to this venue? How much has it cost the taxpayer thus far and how much in the future? And the new city offices are very nice, too.
With that level of resources, our streets should be squeaky clean, the streets should not have one pothole, city-owned property should be maintained, and when a taxpayer calls the city for a service call, maybe it can be resolved in a reasonable amount of time.
-- Sylvia Robles, Oxnard
Re: Harvey Paskowitz's Nov. 6 letter, "Congratulate the media":
So Paskowitz believes The Star and the media helped Barack Obama get elected. How insulting to the millions of voters across this great land who made their decision from their belief that the Republican Party has let us down for eight years.
I guess Paskowitz should buy a radio and turn on local station KVTA 1520 AM if he wants to hear "outright lies, unsubstantiated rumors, half-truths." Just take a listen to those on-air "personalities."
If Paskowitz needs his "Republican fix," that's the place to go.
-- Gary J. Grayson, Ventura
Re: Murray Rickman's Nov. 7 letter, "More taxes, socialized medicine":
When my candidates lost their bids for the presidency in 2000 and 2004, I didn't see the need to complain or to write a negative letter about the bad things that were headed our way. I broke down and cried and called the one person I knew in my heart would make me feel better -- my mom. I told her how I felt, and I cried my heart out, and she said one word, "Pray."
So that's what I did. Every day, I prayed for our commander in chief.
Like Rickman, I, too, felt the need to put something in writing to say how I felt about the election in 2004. The tone was not anywhere near the tone Rickman set in his letter. I wrote a letter to The Star titled, "This liberal is praying for George Bush." I did not agree with his policies, but I needed to pray that the decisions he made were right for the country.
I prefer not to look back at the numerous mistakes that were made in the name of "freedom." Might I ask that Rickman at least give President-elect Barack Obama a chance before he condemns him? Is that too much to ask? I think not.
If you are out there and your candidate lost, might I ask all of you to please give our guy a chance and to also do your share to unite this country which has been so bitterly divided these past eight years? I will be praying for you.
-- Rosie Martinez, Ventura
America has been lost in an abyss and mired in mindless, debilitating ignorance for the past eight years. Being able to "drink a beer" with a president has led to a numbing intoxication devoid of reason, deplete of common sense. We have tasted an incongruent cocktail of assorted mixtures over an unchilled ice from an opaque glass too small to bear its contents. No colorful Hawaiian umbrella and citrus slices here. Fortunately for us, the bar has gone out of business, and the employees are being retired.
In President-elect Barack Obama's first press conference, we see a man of humble beginnings who has achieved the nearly impossible. He possesses an inquisitive mind capable of communicating logic, sincerity and candor. Isn't it refreshing to hear our president-elect speak extemporaneously in concise sentences, expressing completed thoughts rather than clipped sardonic retorts designed to disguise a lack of real understanding? The problems we face now will require the very best intellectual reasoning possible to overcome. Finally, the Democrats got it right.
Republican candidates' attempts to marginalize a southside Chicago "community organizer," a holder of a fistful of academic credentials, didn't work this time. "That one" organized a national political campaign to a historically successful conclusion. An overwhelming national rebirth of political awareness put an end to mediocrity, an end to unduly rewarding greedy motivation, an end to contempt for the people they were chosen to serve. We have wasted time and resources. We have lost the respect of other nations, the value of our economy and the lives of our young soldiers. America will no longer allow this tortured view of religious intolerance to set public policy, an incongruous mixture never constitutionally intended to compliment one another. It is truly a renaissance of intelligence at work here, and it is about time.
-- Charles Williams, Oxnard
Re: Dennis Nabor's Nov. 7 letter, "Voters helped Oxnard":
I was upset by what Nabor wrote regarding the defeat of the Oxnard traffic initiative and the comments made about Tim Flynn and the people of our community who attend the Oxnard City Council meetings.
The Oxnard traffic initiative was defeated because Mayor Tom Holden and his big-developer and big-business buddies raised more than $800,000 to sway the people of Oxnard with tons of trash mailers containing scare tactics on a daily basis. The money raised by the proponents of the Oxnard traffic initiative was given by individuals, not by big business.
Flynn's defeat is a big loss to the city. He was the only one on the City Council with guts to say what needed to be said and the only one looking out for the best interests of the city and its citizens. He didn't have a handout for big money from out-of-town developers and big business. He is a person of integrity and high moral values, and he loves this city. I salute Flynn's drive to make Oxnard a better place to live.
The citizens who speak out at City Council meetings are also people who love this city and want some changes made. This is their right. If they didn't care how our city is run, they wouldn't be there to voice their opinions. These citizens should be respected and thanked for coming out of their comfortable homes to sit in the cold City Council chambers waiting for their turn to speak. How else would the City Council members know what concerns them?
So, Nabor should get his information straight the next time he decides to belittle people.
-- Eva Urias, Oxnard
To some who are exercising their right to protest the passage of Proposition 8 on Nov. 4, I have a question: While it is anyone's right to question or bring a lawsuit to an action, please explain why it is that only after the elections were over was there a question concerning the legality of putting it on the ballot?
If opponents believed it to be unfair or illegal, these questions may have been more helpful to us had the issue been addressed before the vote instead of after.
Or, were we just too sure that others would vote as we did?
-- Patricia Bentley, Ventura
Though the Bush era is almost over, the damage caused by his reckless pursuit of self-empowerment will be felt for generations to come. This is your final chance to make right the wrongs of the past. Call for impeachment now!
-- Rob Clement, Ojai
The senior community keeps getting the short end of the stick. With the current economic conditions and the costs of goods and services, older folks are being put into a very difficult financial situation. They can't afford their mortgage payments and are losing their homes through foreclosures, and they can't rely on family members to help, since, in so many cases, their adult children are losing their jobs or homes, too.
Many seniors are being forced to make choices that aren't good for them, and they shouldn't have to be faced with deciding whether or not they eat or pay for their utilities and medical expenses.
Typically, no one ever mentions how using funds from a reverse loan can stop the bleeding. But that's because most people believe that they are a very bad choice. What's worse: giving up food, medicine and possibly losing a home in foreclosure, or finding out how about the benefits of a reverse loan? The bank doesn't take the property away from the heirs; they receive it and the remaining equity. But this is what the general public and even professionals believe.
When the decision is made to use a reverse loan, the senior has the peace of mind knowing that they have enough money every month and their kids don't have to worry about how to help their parents. This is a very, very safe option and is backed and insured by the federal government.
It's too bad that so many people remain ignorant and in the dark about a very obvious solution that will make a difference in the quality of someone's life.
-- Lorraine Jones, Simi Valley
(The writer is a reverse loan consultant with Omni Reverse Loans. -- Editor)
I have worked at the polls for several elections, and I am sorry to say this will be my last.
I am not sure many people know the hours a poll worker is required to work: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Yes, that's 15 hours!
I did have one 45-minute lunch break. Although two 45-minute breaks and two 15-minute breaks are allowed, I only got that one 45-minute break. Most of the polls I worked were staffed with seniors and retired people. I am 39 years old, and let me tell you that 15-hour day is a lot for this body! The next day I was tired, had a migraine and was sick.
I don't understand why the day can't be broken into two shifts. It doesn't make any sense to me.
I am a proud American, a veteran of the Air Force and am always willing to do my part. I just won't be working the polls anymore!
-- Connie Kline, Simi Valley
It's not every day that one gets to be on the ballot with Barack Obama and John McCain! If that was all I got out of my run for City Council, it would have been worth it, but I got so much more.
To the people who supported me and even to those who didn't, my sincerest thank you for becoming engaged in the process and voting.
Thousand Oaks residents are the most energizing, uplifting and opinionated folks concentrated in one community. There is a strong sense that we should have a say in what goes on here, and I think that's why we make such an effort to contribute.
Congratulations to Jacqui Irwin and Tom Glancy, and many thanks to all of the other candidates. I am most grateful for the experience and look forward to my involvement in whatever lies ahead for our city.
-- Holly LaRue, Thousand Oaks
To those who say that it will be my fault for what is about to transpire in the upcoming Barack Obama administration, I say I hold them responsible for the last eight years:
For a never-ending war in Iraq that has cost us $11 billion a month, with the only outcome being to coalesce and strengthen al-Qaida.
For the loss of thousands of lives.
For the loss of respect in the rest of the world.
For making us a laughingstock at the United Nations.
For zero progress toward energy independence.
For zero progress in the fight on global warming.
For a 6,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a loss of 250,000 jobs in October.
For the shredding of our Constitution in the name of security.
For the use of torture by an enlightened nation.
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
They say they can't believe the stupidity of the voters who are demanding change. I couldn't understand the people who wished to continue on the same path for the next four years!
If, as they prognosticate, President Obama turns out to be a disaster, then I will again demand change in four years, whether it be Democrat or Republican. I'm certainly going to give the man a fair chance.
-- Richard Smith, Simi Valley
I'm launching a formal complaint in regard to the inferior and unsafe conditions left on our street after a public works repaving or resurfacing project conducted Oct. 30 at Coventry Drive in Thousand Oaks.
As a longtime resident of this neighborhood and having witnessed several resurfacing projects on our street, it's the first time the street has actually been left in a worse condition than before the surfacing job. There is loose gravel coated with oil or asphalt covering the road. The street itself is riddled with holes, the surface is very rough, the blue reflectors that indicate fire hydrant locations are useless and none are visible.
The loose gravel kicks up onto our cars' paint and finish, damaging them. It is also carried onto our driveways by our cars, staining the driveways and, ultimately, we find the stuff tracked into our homes.
Our children are now unable to use the street with their toys, skates and boards.
The conditions of the road with holes will quickly deteriorate and crumble away once the rain and low temperatures arrive.
As a taxpayer of this county and city, I'm not willing to support such unsatisfactory use of our resources.
I'm sure the city of Thousand Oaks would not make the streets of Lang Ranch or Dos Vientos communities look like this. So why does it think it's OK to do it here?
I'm expecting that the city and Public Works Department will take action to remedy this condition in our neighborhood as soon as possible.
We take pride in our city and community and would like to continue to do so. But when faced with such lack of workmanship and careless manner in which the city's work was conducted, it makes it difficult to support future projects and activities.
-- Jordi Fuentes, Thousand Oaks
Now that I have had a couple of days to digest the results of the recent election, I have concluded that I am proud of my country and disappointed with my state.
I am proud of my country because the voters brought Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of 45 years ago to fruition: They voted for our president-elect on the basis of the content of his character and not the color of his skin. We should all be proud!
I am disappointed with my state because a majority of voters elected to amend the California Constitution in order to take away existing civil liberties from a group of our citizens. This is so contrary to the heritage of this country, where we have amended the Constitution in the past in order to grant rights, not to take them away.
I wonder what group will be next, now that we have started down this slippery slope. What is the next minority group that the majority will attack because they are different?
-- Mike Teobaldi, Westlake Village
Re: Teresa Rochester's Nov. 7 article, "Poll to ask about wants, how to pay for them":
I find it absolutely galling that the Thousand Oaks City Council would even consider asking us what types of taxes -- or "revenue generators," as they prefer to sugarcoat it -- we would be willing to support.
Before they dare to raise any of our taxes, I strongly urge council members to begin by eliminating the wasteful and unwanted services and programs they currently champion. A great start would be ceasing the illegal $100,000-plus annual expenditure of our tax monies that they spend to maintain and operate their day labor site.
-- Dawn Williams, Thousand Oaks
Re: Tom Gregory's Oct. 31 letter, "Do they deserve benefits?"
Gregory inappropriately, in my mind, called for voters not to vote for incumbent council members to avoid a fringe benefit that council members become entitled to after five years. Gregory also, erroneously or dishonestly, stated that all the dependents of council members become eligible for lifetime medical benefits after the council member has been in office five years. Children of council members, like children of most of us with medical insurance, are entitled to medical insurance through the age of 21 or through college if they are taking a full load, not for the rest of their lives.
Interestingly, Gregory did not have a problem with Ed Masry resigning from the council shortly after reaching the five-year mark following a six-month medical absence. Could it be that Gregory had no problem with Masry getting medical benefits for himself and his widow because Gregory and his wife, Debbie, have been active supporters of Linda Parks, Claudia Bill-de la Peña and some failed candidates for council?
-- Don Harris, Thousand Oaks
Regarding the passage of Proposition 2 and the failure of Proposition 8, I'm concerned that we now have another tough decision to make: Will gay and lesbian chickens be stuck in their cages, or can they come out, too?
-- Kevin Plambeck, Thousand Oaks
How ironic that in the same election that we elected our first African-American president, we would also, in California, vote to deny a group of our citizens their civil right to marry. The work is not done. It has only begun in teaching our fellow citizens about equality under the law.
-- Bonnie Biddison, Oak Park
Re: Paul Krugman's Nov. 8 essay, "It's no time to stand pat":
How dare Krugman suggest that there is something wrong with people if they don't share his feelings. He's got a lot of nerve!
He wrote: "Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, is a date that will live in fame (the opposite of infamy) forever. If the election of our first African-American president didn't stir you, if it didn't leave you teary-eyed and proud of your country, there's something wrong with you."
Sorry, but there is nothing wrong with me or anyone else who didn't shed "tears of joy" when Barack Obama was elected. We are, however, proud of our country and probably more patriotic than Krugman.
Yes, it was "stirring" to see that we finally have an African-American president, but this new presidency is more about substance than about race. If we should shed tears, it should be over the fact that an unknown character of dubious integrity like Obama could get into the White House considering all the notorious associations and friendships he has had with the likes of William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko and how vague he has been about his views.
The socialist agenda he has in mind will destroy our nation, and the fact that so many people have bought into it and still embrace this man would make me shed tears more than the fact that we have a black president. The media's behavior is unforgivable for shamefully protecting him throughout the campaign.
However, as he is our president-elect now, we do need to come together, cross our fingers and wish him well for the sake of our country. After all, we are Americans!
-- Gary Hoover, Simi Valley
On Nov. 15, several markets in Simi Valley are collecting food for the local food pantry. It seems they are almost out of food because so many people are now seeking help.
In the 19th Senate District, millions of dollars were spent by the candidates seeking the office.
Am I the only person who finds this obscene? How much help could this kind of money have provided? How can the candidates justify this kind of spending? I would be very interested in hearing from them why they feel justified spending that kind of money. I am just as sure they will never respond to such a question.
-- Jack Brewer, Simi Valley
Perhaps the most horrific thing I have read about lately regarding our economy is the story that, despite the bloodbath on Wall Street, many of the major remaining investment firms and banks are still squirreling away billions of dollars for year-end executive and employee bonuses. This includes companies that have received emergency funds from the U.S. in order to recapitalize and survive. The bonuses will be smaller than in prior years, but the fact that they are to be paid at all seems preposterous.
People across the country are losing jobs, homes and most of their lifetime savings, and some well-heeled suits are going to get nice seven-figure "attaboys?"
The Wall Street argument is always the same: These bonuses must be paid to retain the best and the brightest. These bright guys have managed to take prestigious firms, some which have been in business since the 1800s, and run them into the ground in the space of 12 months.
My personal retirement savings, some of which includes the now mostly worthless stock of some of these icons of capital, has suffered enough losses that I now get to work a few more years than I had planned. That's my bonus.
Now, I am supposed to sit idly by and watch some of my tax dollars go into bonus checks for these imbeciles?
We need Congress, the president, and perhaps the armed forces to go to the CEOs of these firms and say to them simply, "No, not this year!" Bonuses are supposed to reward success, not failure.
Message to the arrogant "gentlemen" on Wall Street: Until we climb out of this abyss, which we certainly will do, everybody must pitch in. If this means forgoing your million dollar stipend, so be it. Be happy you are working.
-- Ron Peters, Thousand Oaks
Re: Victor Dorff's Nov. 6 commentary, "With one group denied a civil right, will your group be next?":
Supporters of Proposition 8 have been called bigoted and hateful throughout the campaign. When one cannot debate an idea on merit, there's always name-calling. I have not seen language similar to that used by supporters of traditional marriage anywhere.
But Dorff's commentary goes far beyond that, comparing Proposition 8 supporters to Nazis. This is vile and despicable and should be condemned by reasonable people on either side of the argument. It is truly shameful.
What leftist agenda-driven hysterics like Dorff cannot -- or refuse to -- understand is that there are reasonable, compelling and powerful arguments in favor of preserving and promoting traditional marriage -- by definition, that between one man and one woman. Changing that definition is a radical idea and is the actual slippery slope Dorff can't see. For example: What's next, bisexual three-way marriage? Don't they have civil rights, too?
Clear-thinking people have been listening to the ranting of leftist paranoid hysterics for years now -- President Bush is like Hitler, our civil rights are being destroyed, the elections are going to be suspended, martial law will be declared. These are typically directed at government, but not always: Our men and women in uniform ruthlessly murder civilians, etc. But Dorff is leveling his hateful, sick accusations at us, our friends and neighbors -- people like the parents of the students he teaches.
Which leads to the most sobering fact about Dorff. He is "teaching" our children. What exactly is he teaching them? "Freedom of expression?" Free speech comes with responsibility, but Dorff is as irresponsible as they come.
Dorff wondered if putting his name on his essay was a bad idea. It's simpler than that: His ideas are just plain bad.
-- Brian Ordelheide, Calabasas Hills
Re: Thomas D. Elias' Nov. 7 commentary, "Vote shows a change in the level of prejudice":
It is too bad The Star gave top billing to Elias' commentary. It is clear Elias himself is acutely prejudiced, in that he obviously considers anyone who voted for Proposition 8 and against his views prejudiced.
As one who voted for Proposition 8, I would suggest the same-sex union groups refocus their energy and frustration to giving their special unions their own distinct name. I would suggest "pairriage."
It will be immediately obvious to all what is meant by a couple declaring that they are "parried." These couples would, should and deserve, without exceptions, to have all of the same legal and civil rights as traditional married couples. No one in California would deny these basic -- equal -- rights.
Voting for Proposition 8 was not discrimination or prejudice, but a strong desire to preserve and defend the ownership of the traditional term, "marriage."
It is Elias who is obviously prejudiced against people having a different point of view by labeling those with differing views "prejudiced" and the people with these views "bigots." What if Proposition 8 had lost? Would the next action by Elias' group be another proposition mandating the word "husband" could also be a female and the term "wife" could also be male?
I suggest Elias and the group he espouses take note of the philosophy and demeanor of our inspiring newly elected president. He reached out and achieved his support from the center of the whole American electorate. He would not force his personal philosophy down someone else's throat, like the same sex-union people are trying to do. He would seek an accommodation to satisfy both sides. And he would call neither of them "prejudiced" or "bigoted."
-- Martin Jansen, Agoura Hills
Re: Natalie Swan's Nov. 9 letter, "Where's church-state separation?"
The Mormon Church did not give one dime to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. Individual members may have contributed, but the church did not.
-- Candi Garrett, Thousand Oaks
It is appalling that the American automakers are asking taxpayers for $50 billion to bail them out, on top of the $25 billion they asked for in September. The taxpayers have already stated their preference for the cars they want. They vote every day with their dollars by buying cars not made by the Big Three. They are saying to the American carmakers that their cars are not worth the money, especially compared to the foreign-built cars.
The first $25 billion is supposed to help the carmakers retool their plants to produce more high-mileage cars. It doesn't matter what kind of mileage the American cars provide, most consumers still don't want those cars. Congress should not hand over money to support manufacturers whose products are rejected daily by the buying public.
Let General Motors, Ford and Chrysler go out of business. Don't ask taxpayers to support companies that make products that the American public does not want. We should not be asked to bail out a failing industry.
-- Jerre Reimers, Simi Valley
Re: Doug Halter's Nov. 9 Pulse page commentary, "All about equal rights":
Error has no rights.
Since a marriage can only exist between a male and a female, a male cannot have a right to marry another male, nor can a female have a right to marry another female.
-- Michael S. Vorac, Thousand Oaks
How dare those right-wing Christians try to mix church and state! As has been stated numerous times, religious teachings have no business in our government. We must root out all religious philosophies from our current laws.
Let's start with the Ten Commandments. "Thou shalt not kill" is definitely a Christian belief. Strike all laws prohibiting murder. "Thou shalt not steal." There are those Christian wackos again, trying to push their agenda. And what about "Love thy neighbor?" We will not let them win! From henceforth, I propose we enact a law requiring all citizens to hate their neighbors.
It is impossible and impractical to call for complete separation of church and state. The people of this nation are religious, and in our democracy, "we the people" are the state.
The Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This means the government cannot form a national religion, not that people cannot vote based on their religious beliefs. If we can't vote for what we believe in, what is the purpose of voting? We have been granted the right to vote for our beliefs, regardless of where those underlying beliefs come from.
The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Prohibiting me from voting my conscience is intolerant and bigoted.
-- David Weitzel, Thousand Oaks
Though fun to watch on TV, I despise demonstrations, particularly if I am on my way to an appointment, important or otherwise. I am not at all surprised the recent No on Proposition 8 march turned violent.
Personally, I can think of many causes with which I resonate strongly, not the least of which is Proposition 8, which I opposed. Yet history -- think the worst excesses of the French Revolution -- and many other unfortunate events had, until recently, made me feel fortunate to live in a country of laws.
I resonate with George Wallace's famous rant: "If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it'll be the last car he'll ever lay down in front of."
The law of the jungle is more natural -- and far more common in the history of mankind -- than an organized, civilized society.
-- Joe Mack, Newbury Park