No nation will be able to meet the challenges of growing the economy and creating jobs in the 21st century without a serious investment in green technology.
Please make your best choices when it comes to voting for green technology. Let our consumption be as resourceful as possible!
-- Jeni Wood, Camarillo
September 2009 Archives
No nation will be able to meet the challenges of growing the economy and creating jobs in the 21st century without a serious investment in green technology.
Re: your Sept. 21 article, "Landowners fear cost of cleaning up McGrath Lake":
To mitigate the costly cleanup problem at McGrath Lake that has existed for more than three decades of DDT and PCB concentrations and other pollutants as reportedly found, I suggest the following solutions:
-- Fill the lake by using the dredged material of silt that must be removed periodically from the Ventura Marina entrance to allow for safe maritime passage and then transport it less than 3 miles to McGrath Lake for fill.
-- Or use the silt that must be removed before the demolition of Matilija Dam -- approximately 2 to 9 million cubic yards -- that is slated on the nation's dam removal list, thus eliminating the need for importing fill material from outside Ventura County that is compatible to the coastline environment and, in turn, saving millions of dollars to the adjacent landowners' regional sanitation district, state parks department and the farmers.
In both suggested instances, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be the lead agency in removal and disposal of the silt.
-- George Galgas, Oak View
(The writer serves on the board of directors for the Ojai Valley Sanitary District. -- Editor)
I have known Jim Monahan for many years. During this time, I have had occasion to interact with him both personally and professionally. I have found him to be a man of great integrity, understanding and wisdom.
I have seen him quietly buy groceries for someone in need. I have seen him hire homeless persons, giving them an opportunity to better themselves if only for a while. I have seen him spend many hours serving on various committees throughout Ventura.
Having spent a great of time with Jim during this re-election process, I am impressed that he answers his own phone. How many other politicians do that? My volunteer job for his campaign is working in his office. He spends countless hours talking with Ventura citizens about their specific concerns and possible solutions. He is a great advocate of networking and is able to draw on his broad experience in the community to refer and connect people with similar goals and/or problems.
Anyone who knows Jim knows that he was born and raised in Ventura and that he loves this city -- always has. This means that he genuinely cares about what happens to our beautiful Ventura. We need his continued experience and leadership now, even more than ever, as we face so many important environmental, public safety, social and economic challenges, to mention a few.
I am proud to serve on Jim's committee. Please join me by voting for Jim on Nov. 3. A vote for Jim Monahan is an investment in the well-being and betterment of Ventura!
-- Faye McDonald, Ventura
Re: Gary J. Proffett's Sept. 25 commentary, "Is there a healthcare beer summit on tap?"
Not much of my morning goes into skimming The Star's Opinion page, particularly letters to the editor and commentaries. Too much of the content, although presumably well-intended, seems too often to involve overwhelmingly blatant self-interest, wing nut (both left and right) rantings, bad information, simple ignorance of pertinent factual data and just too many topics too trivial to warrant the reading time investment.
That having been said, what a pleasant surprise and great start to the day it was to read an objective commentary about an immensely important topic written by someone both knowledgeable and backgrounded. This letter's purpose is to say thanks for the time, effort and insight provided.
The writer is Proffet, of whom I have no personal knowledge. But I do know that his commentary cuts through the smoke of rhetorical bias and self-interest currently rising from our nation's capital. It objectively deals with important aspects of health reform, including portability, pre-existing conditions, patient accountability and much more. I hope every reader gave it time and attention.
I hope readers will clip it, reread it and send it to whichever political hacks are, at least in theory, representing your interests in D.C.
-- Chuck Kircher, Ventura
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 27 essay, "The ever-growing role of community journalism":
If you haven't read Star Editor Howry's essay, read it now before you recycle it. Howry answers the often-asked question, "Why didn't you cover my organization's event?" He also explains the importance of newspapers engaging communities in conversations.
No one agrees with The Star all the time, probably not even Howry, but imagine if there was no Ventura County newspaper. Times are hard in the newspaper business. The Star has made a number of changes recently in an effort to keep things going.
As a complainer myself, I say, "Support The Star!" Do we really think anyone else could keep all their readers happy all of the time? Howry also explains the Web site, vcstar.com, where you can post stories and photos, list events for calendars and even write a blog.
-- John Torkelsen, Camarillo
Re: Payam Minoofar's Sept. 25 letter, "Questioning Beck":
I am astounded at Minoofar's vitriolic tirade against Fox News and, specifically, Glenn Beck. I've seen or heard nothing on Fox or Glenn Beck's program that wasn't supported by demonstrable facts.
With all his hysterical accusations of Beck's "asinine assertions" and "outrageous lies," I looked in vain for even one fact backing up his assertions.
If Minoofar can't stand Fox or the commentators on Fox, Beck in particular, I suggest he go to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc., where he can count on hearing what he wants to hear. Just because he doesn't like what he hears on Fox doesn't mean that what they are reporting isn't true.
-- Marjorie Olson, Ventura
Re: Terry Paulson's Sept. 28 commentary, "Obama, we've got questions":
Where do The Star and Terry Paulson get the nerve to be so rude and disrespectful regarding the president of the country? They owe an apology to readers.
-- Kate Faulkner, Ventura
Re: John I. Hanson's Sept. 13 letter, "We need to get it right":
Hanson states that America has "the greatest healthcare system the world has ever seen." Not true! Our healthcare system is ranked 37th by the World Health Organization; 18,000 people per year die unnecessarily from lack of insurance; and 62 percent of bankruptcies are linked to medical bills, with 78 percent of these people having health insurance.
Private insurance companies control and ration healthcare. They do not provide it. They handle paperwork and take in money. Profit is their motive. They are beholden to shareholders. CEOs make outrageously high salaries. Their employees (non-medical) make decisions about whether we can have the treatment doctors prescribe.
Twenty health insurance CEOs admitted before Congress that their employees receive bonuses for dropping people from coverage when seriously ill. How can anything be worse?
My preference would be Medicare for all. It has worked well for more than 40 years. Administration costs are 3 percent compared to 31 percent spent by private insurers. It would be simpler for doctors who now deal with paperwork from several companies/plans. It would become solvent if everyone paid into it.
My second choice is a public option available to all.
Hanson says, "Just ask those people in Britain and Canada how good their plans are." He says they come here "when they need serious medical attention." I have asked! My sister had breast cancer surgery. Her 74-year-old husband had two knees and a hip replacement in one year. There are no long waiting lists. There is excellent care and no worries about how to pay for it. No one would give it up in the United Kingdom.
As for Canadians and Brits coming here, there are thousands of Americans traveling to Thailand, India and other countries.
-- Barbara A. Weinberg, Camarillo
I am retiring from Ventura Unified School District after 31 years of service. During my career I have been an active member of the Ventura Classified Employees Association, and I have served as chair of the Political Action Committee for many years. As PAC chair, I have participated in past interviews with all the declared candidates for the VUSD board.
It is my fervent opinion that the incumbents, John Walker, Velma Lomax and Mary Haffner, are the best choices. They have the experience, the understanding and the interests of the students, parents and staff of Ventura Unified.
All school districts, including VUSD, are going through difficult times; John, Velma and Mary and the ones to see us through.
-- Mary Jane Davis, Oak View
Health insurance is unavailable to many people with pre-existing conditions; if available, it may be unaffordable considering the premiums, deductibles and co-payments.
The cost of health insurance reflects not only the high cost of healthcare but also the lack of competition among health insurance companies. In many states with less than 2 million in population, and in small towns in California, one or two companies have virtual monopolies.
To increase competition, Democrats favor a "government option" to compete with private companies. Republicans argue that lack of competition can be remedied by allowing insurance to be bought across state lines, and the high cost of care can be cured by limiting malpractice lawsuits, thus stopping unnecessary treatment by doctors practicing defensive medicine.
California has had severe malpractice restrictions for more than 30 years, but still there have been cost increases beyond the rate of inflation. The problem is not malpractice lawsuits, but doctors who are paid for each visit and not for the overall patient project. Thus, efficient doctors are penalized for being efficient. Multiple office visits and tests may not be necessary, but they are lucrative.
People today may lawfully buy insurance across state lines, but only if companies will sell insurance in that state. Before any company will sell insurance, it must negotiate fee contracts with local doctors and hospitals. If a state has a small population, it is not worth it for a company to spend the time and money to negotiate with dozens of doctors and hospitals who themselves have virtual monopolies in their communities, if the nearest hospital is 50 miles away.
Any informed and rational analysis would conclude that the only way to lower costs and increase competition would be a government-controlled option to the present system.
-- Raymond A. Greenberg, Westlake Village
Women need to know that lobular breast cancer is not always seen in mammograms or X-rays because it presents in sheets, making it harder to detect as it spreads. At initial diagnosis, it is usually a Stage 4, meaning it has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, and the five-year relative survival rate is 20 percent. My cancer has never shown on a mammogram, not even when I had a very evident "dimple in my breast" or when it recurred three years later on the other side.
I discovered, too late, that my doctors' copies of my mammogram reports stated, "breasts are heterogeneously dense"; "this limits the sensitivity of mammography"; "dense breast tissue may obscure an underlying neoplasm"; "4 to 8 percent of cancers are not identified by mammography." Had that information been shared with me, I could have asked for additional testing. I saw those reports only when I rounded up copies of mammograms for my surgeon before my lumpectomy.
My bottom line message is: Your breast size is not what determines the density. Density is the type of internal substances your breast is made of. Always ask for a copy of the doctor's mammogram reports. Don't just take the standard "We are pleased to inform you that the results are normal" letter as the last word. Get a copy of the doctor's report and go over it with them. If your report says you have dense breasts, ask for -- no, insist on -- an ultrasound MRI or the new MBI, Molecular Breast Imaging. A biopsy might be needed. The earlier a cancer is detected, the better your survival rate is.
Don't be part of the 4 to 8 percent whose cancers are not identified by mammography.
-- Mary Sumpter, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 27 article, "Feinstein's private bills help constituents avoid deportation":
I check the definition of constituent, which basically means someone who has or can vote for a person to represent them in government. Have illegal aliens been voting for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.?
-- Kerrie L. Cortez, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 24 article, "Obama nudges nations to help the U.S.":
The Associated Press mentions, positively, how different President Barack Obama's was from earlier U.S. presidential addresses to the United Nations, stressing "an unmistakably new, more humble tone."
I grew up political in the city of Chicago and matured in central Illinois, and to my ears, Obama's tone isn't exactly what the Associated Press and others hear as humble. Growing up where and when I did, to me Obama sounds like what he is: a person of consequence, a man who doesn't have to raise his voice.
To illustrate this principle, consider Fat Tony on "The Simpsons," softly voiced by Chicago-born Joe Mantegna. With his hyper-correctness of language and attempts at fine manners, Fat Tony is a joke. But he's an insightful joke; that's how an old-school Mafia don is supposed to act -- though exaggerated: with dignity and good manners, like a boss, not some swaggering street thug.
For real-life examples, observe older military officers. If you're a grunt, your sergeant will yell at you; if the colonel interacts with you at all, he'll probably be polite.
The "strong, silent type," or at least quiet type, is a traditional image for manliness.
That image has competition.
In some American subcultures, the swaggering motor-mouth is considered manly. That just wasn't the judgment I grew up with. We knew about the competing types, but we considered them ... let's call it "immature louts" here, but we would have put it far more crudely.
So to my ears, George W. Bush wasn't particularly manly or impressive; Obama is. Obama talks like a president, a person of power and consequence. And, I suspect, within a few months, he'll quietly make clear to all that crossing him is dangerous.
-- Richard D. Erlich, Port Hueneme
Re: your Sept. 27 article, "Economic kick-start is slow to be felt here":
Some $56.7 million spent to "save" 434 jobs. This equates to $130,000 per saved job, with zero new jobs being created. What an incredibly inefficient use of stimulus money!
Imagine if this $56 million had been invested in our small businesses. We would be witnessing a revitalization of our private sector, with new jobs being created -- at much less cost per job -- rather than simply maintaining the status quo.
-- Bruce H. Thompson, Ventura
The trouble with healthcare reform is that the majority has health insurance. Even with unemployment at 10 or even 15 percent and presumably no insurance, we are again talking about a minority. All this means that coverage of the uninsured requires majority fear of losing their job or having compassion.
Compassion? No problem. We are a Christian nation, right? Or maybe not. Going to church seven days a week and twice on Sunday does not necessarily mean one is a Christian. The Republican Party long ago wrapped up the fake Christian vote with a fake claim of being "pro-life." They say they are pro-life, but their hands are tied until they can stack the Supreme Court. Of course, stacking the Supreme Court means justices with other agendas also. Remember the days of no government interference, of laissez faire, of robber barons being in control, when unions were outlawed and slavery was legal?
A lot of pro-life things could be done now without waiting for the power to make abortion always illegal. But, that again requires compassion, which is in direct conflict with the Republican agenda.
-- Leo Bowman, Ventura
Some thoughts on how the Guiberson fire was fought:
I believe that most backcounty fires start small. When smoke is first detected, why does the fire department not immediately assess the area by helicopter and kill that fire while it is in its infancy? Soak that sucker right into the ground with water and retardant.
At the height of the fire we had 14 helicopters and two planes in the air. If we had those immediately available, the fire could have been killed at its source instead of spreading. We could have saved millions of dollars and thousands of acres if this had been done.
The lives of 2,800 brave and dedicated firefighters were also on the line. This could have been avoided. Was red tape involved? I dare say it was.
-- Michael J.E. Burge, Ventura
Ann Coulter is right. Her book title is, "If Democrats Had Any Sense, They Would be Republicans."
Freedom-loving Americans, the Democrats are going to vote on a bill that has not yet been written. If you do not buy health insurance, the fine is lowered to $1,800 from $3,900.
I hope and earnestly pray that those who voted for Democrats will vote for the party that, at least, is for more freedom and smaller government. Sure the Republicans make mistakes. But the mind-set of Democrats is the failed European model of socialism. Even the Europeans are realizing their mistakes and turning toward the right.
Why do the Democrats never learn from their mistakes?
The Democrats have three purposes: They want voters who are dumb, dependent on government and always vote Democrat.
Ask yourself if you are part of a group that always votes Democrat. Maybe there should be some rethinking.
Call the elected officials. Stop this insane health plan.
-- Lois Shefflette, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 28 article, "Bill could regulate handgun bullet sales":
This bullet bill will deflect resource (tax) dollars from an already tight law enforcement budget.
I do not believe this bill will enhance the quality of service citizens receive from our law enforcement community, any better than the laws we have already passed. By passing this bill, prosecutors will be able to say to the people that they have proof this "scum bag" bought a bullet. So? We are creating more wasted manpower. Enforce the laws we now have.
I agree with the Oxnard police chief that we need legislation that makes us feel warm, but I think using current laws to the fullest extent might get us to warm and fuzzy.
-- Mark Callies, Camarillo
In the recent political storm, a lot of misinformation has been slung around. The term "czars" has been used to back up communist conspiracies and as a reason there needs to be an investigation into what these people are.
I thought I could clear things up a little for anyone choosing to use "czar" as an offensive term.
The term "czar" has been used in the U.S. for nearly a century to describe the position at the very top. It was most popularized when then-President Ronald Reagan appointed his drug "czar" to fight the war on drugs. But it isn't actually an official title. It's just a nickname given by the people and the media.
Since then, the term "czar" has been applied to officials, advisers and appointees under the administration. Since it is just a nickname, the number of "czars" isn't specific. Former President George W. Bush had lots of "czars" too. Isn't it good that our president is looking for advice from a variety of sources?
Keeping this in mind, can we please stop using "czar" as a derogatory term?
-- Matt Johnson, Camarillo
Won't it be ironic when America is socialist and Russia is capitalist and they're beating the pants off of us?
-- Miriam Jaffe, Thousand Oaks
Re: Dan K. Thomasson's commentary, "Strategy lacks any unanimity":
It doesn't help to have an incompetent president who doesn't know what he's doing. Hanky-panky in the Afghan election is their problem, not ours. Why is the president distracted by it?
We're there to literally find and kill off terrorists so they can't hurt us. There's little hope of establishing a lasting democratic government, since it will likely collapse when we leave. Our mission is to search for and destroy our enemy and to stay there as long as it takes to be sure they can no longer hurt us. If that takes one year or 20, so be it.
It doesn't help either that in their "great wisdom," past administrations and Congress have seen fit to reduce our military strength until we're a eunuch incapable of a realistic effort in our own behalf. And it seems to escape the complainers that with an adequate force the casualties will go down, not up.
Our mission there is for our sake, not Afghanistan's.
Then there's Pakistan, where we should be insisting that we go in and help deal with the terrorists whether they like it or not. If the terrorists prevail, they get a ready-made nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it. And so far, Pakistan's ability to beat back the radicals appears marginal at best. What happens if they fail?
-- Roy W. Hogue, Newbury Park
Re: your Sept. 14 article, "$1.9 million grant to help build recycled water pipeline":
The recent article on recycling our waste water again made me wonder about the large acreage of citrus that has been planted on the hills around Simi Valley in the past couple of drought years. Who was able to get permission to plant these trees, and where has, and where will, the water come from?
I hope our residential water use takes priority over these trees if recycling and rationing has to be imposed. Those trees should turn brown before we have to drink our own dishwater.
-- Robert A. Gregg, Simi Valley
Re: your Sept. 24 article, "Water rates to increase in T.O.":
For my entire life, one has prided one's self in living an energy-efficient lifestyle: conserving our precious resources -- resources that many take for granted; washing only full loads of clothing on the cold/cold cycle; hang-drying as opposed to unnecessary utilization of electricity as gas from the dryer; hand-washing dishes rather running a half-full load in the dishwasher; minimizing shower time.
The thirst of houseplants shall be quenched with bottled water, as opposed to tap.
The September water bill was $9.70. Yes, you read that correctly: nine dollars and seventy cents.
How much more can one conserve in water usage than this?
We all have read the dire situation of the drought conditions ravaging California. Now those of us who have reduced use and conserve our precious resource shall be rewarded with an 11 percent hike!
There are many who rely on water as their livelihood. Recent travels to Northern California, driving past the vast orchards and farmland, was a reminder of just how precious this commodity is. Rather than penalize those whose livelihoods depend upon water intake, target and penalize those who hoard and blatantly waste water, washing their driveways, sidewalks and vehicles, allowing the water to gush from the hose as it lies on the driveway for hours on end, sending streams of contaminated soapy suds into our oceans and streams.
Reward those who conserve; don't penalize.
Doubling one's water monthly water bill, given the dire state of our economy, shall be wrong, wrong, wrong.
Please allow your voice to be heard. Send a positive message.
-- Natasha L. Jones, Thousand Oaks
Re: Terry Paulson's Sept. 28 commentary, "Obama, we've got questions":
Paulson asks, "How will private insurance companies survive when they must accept all who apply no matter what their condition?" He shows no concern for the 45,000 Americans who die each year because they cannot get private health insurance that would pay for life-saving treatments.
Private health insurance companies will not survive because they do not understand the business they are in. Insurance involves sharing risks among a large group of people who individually face a financially uncertain future. Instead, a handful of insurance conglomerates have partitioned this group among a myriad of subsidiaries and plans such that the benefit of risk sharing is lost. This industry believes that it cannot maintain its current business model without a monopoly, i.e., no public option and no competition from other countries.
We might reasonably expect that the health insurance industry would be the leading advocate for reducing the costs of healthcare so that more Americans could use it. Instead, the industry is focused on reducing corporate costs by denying access to treatment. They have allowed our nation's healthcare costs, as a proportion of our gross domestic product, to rise to the highest in the world.
It is time that we asked our health insurers to find a more efficient business model or to step aside. We can no longer afford them.
-- Nick Fotheringham, Thousand Oaks
Just say no -- to equine RV parks in scenic corridors.
Choosing the corner of Lake Vista Drive and Mulholland Highway for the Reagan Equestrian Campground in Malibu Creek State Park is an abomination. This facility will mar the view for miles along a state designated scenic drive: Mulholland Highway.
The concentration of animal waste at this site will pollute an already polluted Malibu Creek watershed. Instead of subsidizing the lifestyles of a few well-heeled equestrians at a time when the parks can barely afford to remain open, I believe the state should consider banning horses from the Malibu Creek watershed.
There are insufficient water resources to establish the shade trees depicted in this plan. The result will be a barren, half-paved field full of unsightly buildings, recreational vehicles and Dumpsters storing horse manure.
This facility is immediately upwind of hundreds of homes in the densely treed community of Malibou Lake. The Santa Ana winds blowing from the fire pits at this facility pose a grave danger to hundreds of homes.
This facility is literally a few hundred yards uphill from Malibou Lake, which feeds into Malibu Creek. Both these bodies of water already have water quality problems, with fish kills commonplace. We already dump enough bacteria on the beach to force closures. We should not encourage large animals to roam the hillsides, defecating and urinating next to Malibu Creek. Private properties are available nearby for this land use.
Express your opposition to this location by writing Los Angeles County District 3 Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ron Schafer, district superintendent of the California State Parks at email@example.com. E-mail a copy of your opposition to Ruthgerson@aol.com.
-- Ted Fulton, Agoura
I am amazed at the protest against the president's attempt at healthcare reform. It seems that the loudest protesters are those who already have coverage, as if they think they will never lose the insurance they have right now.
This isn't about politics. It's about a basic human right: to know that if you get sick, you won't be in the hands of a "for profit business."
I have had coverage with Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield now for more than 12 years with the company I work for. You never know how good insurance is until you actually have to use it.
My wife last year needed an MRI at two doctors' suggestions because the normal mammogram was not sufficient in diagnosing her problem. Calls were made prior to the service being performed, and it didn't seem it would be a problem. After a year passed by, we were informed the claim was being denied because they felt the MRI was not medically needed, leaving us with the bill to pay.
Is this the kind of health insurance we need in this country? With no competition and regulation, this is the lack of basic health coverage we can expect from the insurance industry.
We need healthcare reform now, for those who don't have the coverage and for those who have the coverage like my wife and I have, but who still end up having even a basic claim denied.
Let your politicians know we cannot let our health and well-being be in the hands of greedy, for-profit companies anymore.
-- Andre Castro, Oxnard
I live near the old Kmart on Victoria Avenue, so I was greatly concerned to read that the Walmart in Oxnard generates 500,000 weekly shoppers. If this highly questionable number is even close to accurate, then a Walmart on Victoria Avenue will make that already crowded street nearly unpassable.
If the much smaller Trader Joe's receives seven trucks a day, as staff there has told me, how many big rigs will be in and out of the Walmart, where they will have to go through customer parking? What will compensate for the extra damage to the street? What is the impact going to be in our neighborhoods from the pollution generated by all this additional traffic?
What do the City Council members who oppose Measure C have to say about these issues?
-- Esther Sorkin, Ventura
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jim Monahan now for close to 50 years. No one loves Ventura more than he does, and that's why he is once again getting my vote for Ventura City Council.
We were classmates all the way through school. So, we go way back. After finishing high school and going on with further education, we were both in the oil business and we were competitors. We often bid against each other, but we also respected each other and have become lifelong friends.
What's special about Jim is that he's everyone's friend, whether you voted for him or not. If you're in front of him, he listens. And he always has his cell phone on. If he can't answer he'll return your call. I've never known anyone else on the City Council to be so accessible.
It upsets me when I hear people say that Jim has been on the City Council for too long. I disagree. No one knows more about how to get things done in Ventura than Jim. He has experience and wisdom, and he shares a viewpoint of people who need representing -- people like businessmen, policemen and firefighters.
And now that Jim is semi-retired, he spends more time than ever looking out for our city's best interests. Join me in voting for Jim Monahan.
-- Ed Lyon, Ventura
In all of the discussions surrounding the utter stupidity of Glenn Beck, no mention has been made of Fox News' purported responsibility for reporting facts.
Fox News is a multibillion-dollar operation with considerable resources at its disposal by way of all the reporters it employs and all of the publications that work for the same owner, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. It stands to reason, then, that Beck's asinine assertions about socialist conspiracies and President Barack Obama's birth record are nothing but asinine assertions. After all, not a single reporter in the entire conglomerate of news agencies that Fox owns can substantiate a single one of Beck's claims.
The two logical conclusions that one can draw from this fact that the entire Fox conglomerate cannot produce a single piece of evidence to substantiate Beck's asinine remarks are that 1) the entire Fox news conglomerate is totally incompetent or 2) that Beck is a pathological liar.
I am willing to give the entire Fox news conglomerate the benefit of the doubt and to opt for the second option and accept that some journalistic competence exists in the Fox news conglomerate. However, this is simply an article of faith.
If Fox News is going to support Beck, then it must produce bona fide journalism that substantiates Beck's outrageous lies. If Fox News cannot do so, then it ought to fire Beck.
The only other honest alternative is to rename itself Fox Innuendo.
-- Payam Minoofar, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 21 article, "Measure C would ban big-box grocers":
As a member of Livable Ventura, I want to clarify a couple of issues raised in this article.
Measure C would not ban big-box grocery stores except those that are part of superstores -- general merchandise stores over 90,000 square feet that devote more than 3 percent of that space to grocery items. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods and big-box stores that don't sell groceries, such as Best Buy, IKEA, Fry's, etc., would not be affected. Wholesale club stores that require memberships would be exempt.
Also, if Walmart succeeds in reoccupying the 1960s-era Kmart store on Victoria Avenue, Measure C would limit its size if it sells more than 3 percent of nontaxable grocery items. In case you missed it, the key word here is "nontaxable." Measure C would have no effect on the sales taxes of Ventura and would help us keep good jobs in our community by not allowing Walmart to expand into a gigantic superstore in the future.
Please vote yes on Measure C to preserve the unique and special character of our city.
-- Karen Kinrose, Ventura
I recently received an Oxnard public hearing notice regarding proposed increases in solid waste rates by 7 percent within a year. Within the details of the reasoning behind raising the rates was an item about retrofitting city diesel trucks.
This increase is based on the fraudulent work of our California Air Resources Board. My city is being blackmailed into raising my fees to comply with regulations based on outright fraud while flying in the face of legitimate scientific research.
Regulations imposed by CARB are based on an analysis and a report generated by a discredited pseudoscientist employed by CARB. He was recently censured by the California State Personnel Board after it was learned he had falsified his credentials.
CARB has not challenged the misleading data in his report. In fact, it has ignored legitimate reports repudiating the claims made in CARB's report -- UCLA Professor James Enstrom draws attention to the highly questionable science used in the creation of the rules. CARB has, instead, continued to impose onerous and economically harmful regulations based on faulty scientific data.
CARB recently fined the city of Fresno $49,000 for "ignoring" the mandates. That's pure blackmail.
CARB needs to be held accountable. It received more than $900 million this year from the same state legislators who fired more than 8,000 teachers because of lack of funds. Yet CARB continues to grow in funding and continues to be the largest resting place of political cronies from both sides of the aisle. Without accountability, expect more economic harm to be inflicted on cities like Oxnard and residents at the bottom of the revenue chain.
-- Steve Booth, Oxnard
A meaningful effort to prevent the frequent and astronomically expensive, agonizingly devastating and lethal wildfires in California is long overdue.
As an ex-U.S. Air Force pilot who has flown everything from tail-draggers to B-25s, I offer the following suggestion: As soon as meteorologists predict that hot, dry, surging Santa Ana winds from the desert will invade coastal areas, we should launch day and night airplane and helicopter patrols over the scattered undeveloped areas east and upwind of all areas of population. (Whatever happened to the Civilian Air Patrol?)
Volunteer pilots, reimbursed for operating expenses, and pilots-for-hire could fly patrols with their own small aircraft. Military and National Guard pilots could augment patrols in suitable small fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Ultimately, potential fire areas could be patrolled by drone aircraft and satellites.
By quickly spotting initial wildfires, we can prevent horribly wasteful conflagrations.
-- Don M. Johnson, Ventura
I have had the great pleasure of working with Ventura Council member Ed Summers in his capacity as council liaison to the Ventura Unified School District and as a board member of the Ventura Education Partnership. He has always seen the great value in making sure our students get what they need to prepare them for the future.
But his forward thinking also carries over into his work for the city. Ed never stops looking for ways to improve the lives of our residents, and he works hard to make sure citizen input is carried through into policy. His work ethic and listening skills have served him well in the last four years.
In these difficult economic times, we need strong, experienced leaders who can help build bridges in the community. Ed has been very good at this, and his wide range of support in Ventura proves it.
Ed has my support in his re-election effort.
-- Debbie Golden, Ventura
(The writer is a trustee of the Ventura Unified School District. -- Editor)
Re: your Sept. 23 article, "Federal funds to fight homelessness":
Regarding the stimulus funds received in Ventura County and the article reporting on this success, I would like to underscore that although these cities applied separately for the funds, there was coordination of effort.
It was through the cooperation of the County of Ventura, the cities of Oxnard, Simi Valley, Ventura, Camarillo and Thousand Oaks, seven local Task Forces on Homelessness and the Ventura County Homeless and Housing Coalition that these funds will be available to assist families to stay housed.
Under the supervision of the Ventura County Human Services Agency Homeless Programs, the funds will operate seamlessly and consistently in the county.
It is good fortune that the awarding of funds was announced on Sept. 22, the same day Ventura County Together launched their "The Buck Starts Here" Campaign, encouraging everyone in Ventura County to help to make a difference by giving $1 a month or what they can manage. Funds are shared by participating agencies serving basic needs in Ventura County. The Board of Supervisors endorsed this effort on Sept. 22, and in upcoming weeks, it will be presented to the city councils in the cities.
See www.venturacountytogether.org for more information and to participate in this countywide campaign. We are all in this together!
-- Debora Schreiber, Ventura
The demise of H.P. Wright Library has not happened -- yet. Its doors are still open, at least through the end of November.
The Save Wright Library Campaign has raised more than $92,000 from Ventura citizens with the hopes that Wright Library will not close before a municipal funding source can be identified, a way to keep Wright Library open at least at current service hours and levels.
That more permanent funding source is Measure A, the half-cent sales tax increase proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. Our City Council has agreed to a spending plan that will see 6 percent of the funds raised by this tax increase going to keep Wright Library open and perhaps enabling all of Ventura's libraries to increase hours of operation, services and enhance their book collections.
If Measure A does not pass on Nov. 3, Wright Library will close Nov. 30. Once Wright closes, it will never reopen.
Wright Library means so much to so many people, i.e., the children who attend the nearby elementary schools and walk or ride their bikes to Wright, the seniors who walk across the street from their homes, the families who bring their children to story hour and special enrichment programs, the junior and senior high school students who do research or meet with tutors and the adults who use the computers to look for work.
We can't let bad economic times force us to lose institutions that are essential to our quality of life. I urge you to consider what the loss of Wright Library will mean to you, your family and neighbors, and I urge you to vote yes on Measure A on Nov. 3.
-- Berta Defren Steele, Ventura
(The writer chairs the Save Wright Library Campaign and is vice president of San Buenaventura Friends of the Library. -- Editor)
This week Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted not to turn the water on for the Central Valley farmers and their workers, causing 30,000 to 40,000 workers to remain unemployed -- I am betting they're mostly Hispanic -- and losing 14 percent of our food chain.
Rumor is the environmentalists took this to court and won over saving a fish.
With 12.2 percent unemployment in California, what happens? If they find this fish or something else the environmentalists find and take to court, that will shut the water off -- or just stop farming -- in Ventura, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and Imperial counties.
The job loss will be devastating to our California economy, and unemployment will skyrocket.
Feinstein must tell us this will not happen, and she'll have our back. She has a duty to inform her voters in all her districts why she voted to stop the water from flowing, keeping all those people unemployed.
-- Gene Bernardi, Ventura
Re: Clifford D. May's Sept. 10 commentary, "Why winning in Afghanistan matters to the U.S.":
Does anyone really know what the U.S. military is still doing in this war and what the real reasons we went there in the first place are?
We have been fighting over in Iraq and Afghanistan now for over eight years, yet we still seem uncertain of what it is we want to accomplish and when it needs to be completed. President Barack Obama needs to find ways to persuade the American people that this war "is both worth winning and winnable," or the support needed will continue to diminish until it is nonexistent.
While we continue to support and fight a war on terrorism, the loss of American lives continues. This matter remains dear to me, as I have lost loved ones sent to fight this war. Because of this, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue supporting this effort without having some truthful answers from the leaders of our country.
Those who have gone to fight this war went into it passionately and fully dedicated, and now they want and deserve the reassurance that what they are fighting for now is what they were fighting for to begin with.
"Eight years after 9/11, with many on both the left and the right arguing for retreat, and a president who doesn't appear to know his own mind, can anyone say with confidence that they are wrong?" No, probably not.
If our own leaders are uncertain of their views and continue waffling, then maybe we should begin to think of pushing for a tangible strategy by finishing up what we started and getting out for good.
-- Melissa Simpson, Thousand Oaks
Accusations of liberals who for years called former President George Bush names on and off the floor of Congress, along with a president who has so little respect for his own office that he trashes Bush in every official speech, are to be expected from a group that cannot tolerate free speech, open debate and the truth.
The race card is so abused it is crumpled and stained by the real racism of those who play it now.
Americans can see the hypocrisy of Attorney General Eric Holder, who will not investigate the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group that has faced charges and been investigated for years for voter fraud, embezzlement and corruption.
They know now that President Barack Obama is willing to lie over and over to get his agenda passed because the tighter his grip on our country the more he can avoid telling the truth.
Since he is not interested in tackling the trial lawyers, there will be no tort reform. Since he is not really interested in competition but only control, there will be no sale of health insurance across state lines, no risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions and no verification processes to keep tax dollars from insuring illegals. There will also be no strict regulations against abortion funding, when the first thing he did in office was to authorize U.S. dollars to fund abortion worldwide.
We are sick of the lies. We are sick of the deceit. We know a con game when we see it, and the one being played out is bigger than Bernie Madoff's. We will not lie down for this scam, which is meant to trample and destroy the Constitution. There is no ideology here, just the same old evils: greed, corruption, power.
-- Patti Chiarelli, Thousand Oaks
For far too long a time, we have ignored the magnitude of the growing threats of climate change.
The plain truth is, no nation will be able to grow its economy and create jobs without a serious investment in green technology.
In the United States, this dire picture has changed dramatically during the past eight months. We have done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution than at any other time in our history. The Barack Obama administration has made the largest ever investment in renewable energy and invested millions to reduce energy waste.
In June of this year, the House of Representatives passed an energy and climate bill, which will finally make green energy the profitable kind of energy for American business and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
These forward-moving initiatives demand our full endorsement and continuing support. We can't afford to procrastinate or delay any longer -- not now, not at this time. There is too much at stake.
-- Larry Russell, Ventura
Re: Dan Thomasson' Sept. 19 commentary, "No need to invoke race into debate":
Thomasson took former President Jimmy Carter to task for alleging that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., was racially motivated when he shouted, "You lie" at President Barack Obama. Thomasson wrote, "One would hope that Jimmy Carter, as he has been frequently in the past, is dead wrong in his allegation."
The House rebuked Wilson for violating the rules of conduct expected of all members. Wilson was wrong; he should have apologized to the House. He was right to say, "You lie," but he said the right thing in the wrong pew.
The plan the president referred to states that those not lawfully in the U.S. are not eligible for healthcare benefits. Wilson, and the president, knew that HR3200 didn't include any enforcement and verification provisions. Wilson knew, and the president must have known, of the report by the independent, bipartisan Congressional Research Service stating that HR3200 "does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens, whether legally or illegally present ... from participating."
Wilson knew that in July, U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced an amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee stating that people applying for these benefits must be screened through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement Program. This system has been used, very successfully, in screening to ensure that illegal aliens are not receiving other social services. The amendment was defeated 26 to 15. Could Obama have been unaware of this vote in the committee?
It's doubtful that, when Carter tossed out the race card, he was ignorant of all of the above. As a measure of the extent to which his advice and opinions are valued, sought after, and respected, some of his books have been available at the 99-Cent Store for 99 cents.
-- Bernie Huberman, Thousand Oaks
The other day, I went to Home Depot to buy a new American flag for our home. None was available, and one of the store staff went on the computer to check and discovered that they were listed as "out of season."
When did the American flag become out of season? Apparently, they are available between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July -- period. What does that say about American values? I am disappointed, but I guess I am not surprised.
At the same time, I noted that there were more employees in the store than customers, and I had to ask myself, "Why do we need another Home Depot?"
America is the land of opportunity but, I guess, not of displaying the flag. How sad that is. Let's do something about it.
-- Wally Zemans, Newbury Park
Re: your Sept. 24 article, "Groups want review after veterans lose their vision":
The Star reports that eight veterans who were treated at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Northern California lost their vision and that this loss was potentially preventable. The article indicated that the veterans, who had glaucoma, were not being treated by medical doctors (ophthalmologists) but rather by optometrists.
It should be noted that the VA medical system is one that is completely run by the U.S. government.
Could cost have been a consideration in the VA's determination to use optometrists versus ophthalmologists? I don't know. In any case, I only have one response to make: Welcome to Obamacare!
-- Bob Klepner, Newbury Park
I was dismayed to learn that Ventura City Councilman Jim Monahan voted against the project to provide safe sleeping locations for Ventura residents who overnight in automobiles. I was even more dismayed when I heard Monahan's explanation of his vote, that he "doesn't condone people sleeping in their cars."
That's it? No alternative suggestions? Just "I don't condone it"?
Has Monahan forgotten about the Highway 101 bridge construction worker stabbed to death while sleeping in his car? That happened maybe three years ago and on the south edge of town. The killer's motive, as I recall, was to steal the handful of dollars the worker had in his wallet.
Earth to Monahan: Nobody condones the fact that homeless families have been reduced to sleeping in vehicles. However, this recession has brought some Venturans to that point, and I think it's the city's responsibility to provide safe sleeping locations for them -- places where they won't be thugged and robbed for the few dollars they may have on their person.
My suggestion to Monahan is that he set aside his moral evaluating and do the job he was elected to do. I'm not interested in hearing about a council member's feelings on public problems. As a Ventura resident and voter, I expect solutions.
-- Rick Scott, Ventura
Thirty years ago, I was at an amusement park with my soon-to-be wife. On the ground I found a wallet with three $100 bills and no ID. Without much thought, I turned it in to the counter help and went on playing a pinball machine. Shortly after, the owner, quite distraught, ran to the counter and was relieved to get his property back.
A couple of weeks ago I found a $20 bill next to a vending machine at work and, for the first time in my life, I hesitated. Over the years, I have always turned in items that I have found. However, I have also neglectfully lost prescription glasses, a tennis racket, golf clubs and various other items. And to this day I have never had the benefit of someone turning in any of my lost items. Because of this perceived justification, for a moment, I thought, "Ha, my turn!" But, thankfully, only for a moment.
I know times have changed. Cheating in school seems common, lying to get ahead to many seems to be necessity, and, as I turned in the money, many of my coworkers looked at me as if I was a complete fool. But I was taught that I will never need anything I can't earn. I believe that is true, and I am sure character -- anyone's -- has to be worth more than $20.
-- David Mince, Simi Valley
Re: your Sept. 19 article, "Supervisor wants EIR for Edison line":
While we appreciate the media coverage for the hearing held on Sept. 18 regarding the power lines, the article is skewed and incomplete.
The article quotes Edison representative Tom Burhenn as saying, "The project would be on the east side of the right of way to avoid existing agricultural uses on the west side." This statement is ridiculous when considered in context, and disingenuous.
The article fails to report the critical fact that there are homes to the east side, and Edison plans to install these lines within 60 feet of residential homes. Edison is not doing the community any favors by placing the poles closer to homes and children, rather than disturbing the blueberry fields on the west side.
In addition, Edison reluctantly admitted, just the day before this hearing, that it has plans to place another row of 220 kilovolt lines to the west side of the existing lines, so obviously it has no regard for the blueberry fields it is professing to protect.
The article also fails to mention the extensive public response and support that followed Supervisor Linda Parks. The article cites predominately Edison, when in fact only one Edison representative spoke for five minutes. The community response that followed over the next two hours was overwhelmingly in support of Parks.
Parks has done an admirable job of defending the county's interests. Unfortunately, Edison has not been forthright in providing the county or the public with information about its intended plans for multiple developments in Ventura County. Parks is reasonably requesting information and environmental review. She should be applauded for her commitment to the community and her undivided loyalty to the County of Ventura.
-- Danalynn Pritz, Esq., Westlake Village
Ladies and gentlemen of the right, here's a quiz:
Which of these men recently said that criticism of President Barack Obama was racially motivated? Was it the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
If you said "none of the above," you're absolutely right.
It was none other than James Earl Carter, whom you may remember as a former president, but who was also prominent for being a peanut farmer from Plains, Ga.
Now, if James Earl Carter, who's as white as it's possible to be, and as Southern Baptist as it's possible to be, detects racism in the criticism of Obama, we're talking about true racism here!
Remember when Ronald Reagan, in instructing how to detect a trait in someone, famously said, "If it walks like and duck, and talks like a duck, it's a duck"? Well, y'all are walking and talking like true racists, which should shame you, if the word were in your vocabulary.
And those of you on the Christian Right should be especially ashamed, because nowhere in scripture will you ever see the words "racism" and "Christianity" in the same sentence.
-- Bob Jackson, Simi Valley
I was appalled recently when I went into my neighborhood grocery store in Thousand Oaks. Ten feet away from the door or less were some people standing in front of a booth that had pictures of our president with an Adolf Hitler mustache, along with hate literature and CDs attacking him.
I don't care whether you voted for our president or not, this is not acceptable behavior for an American citizen. There are insane people out there, and to add this type of fuel to their already fanatical thoughts is wrong. Certainly we should have freedom of speech, but not at the risk of causing harm to our president.
There are proper forums for speech, and there are proper posters and words, but what I witnessed was not proper. I will not shop at any grocery store that will allow such people to do such things on their property.
-- Mary Pitschmann, Thousand Oaks
Re: Anthony Harper's Sept. 18 letter, "Homeless a concern":
Funny, for someone who has so much concern for our homeless population in Simi Valley, I've never seen him at one of our meetings. It's pretty easy to throw rocks. What's that old saying? "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
-- Barbra Williamson, Simi Valley
(The writer is on the Simi Valley City Council. -- Editor)
I can't believe President Barack Obama scrapped the European missile defense plan! This was a first-round deterrent for us as much as Europe. This ranks right up there with former President Bill Clinton giving nuclear reactors to North Korea and Iran, who are now busy making weapons to point at us.
I'll bet Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is happy! Why don't we just kneel down in front of them and say, "Take us!" They will.
-- Barbara Baxter, Simi Valley
On Sept. 20 on ABC News, the president responded to claims that fining citizens for not having health insurance does not constitute a new tax. "I absolutely reject that notion," the president said.
How utterly false and deceptive that he should choose his words to imply that he rejects the idea of fines, when all he is saying is that a fine is not a tax. That is a lie. When you pay a fine to the Internal Revenue Service for late filing or underpayment, then that penalty is deductible as a tax on the next year's tax return.
During his election campaign, he said he was against any forced plan or fines. The mainstream media is at fault for not calling him down for such outlandish inconsistency and deception.
-- Marshall Nathanson, Thousand Oaks
The debate over healthcare reform by the Democrats is not a debate over fixing the medical insurance problem, but a selfish debate to make other people pay for their healthcare.
The Democrats created the medical insurance problem starting some 70 years ago, when benefits paid by employers were not included as income to employees. The medical insurance, Social Security and individual retirement problems would be solved by repealing the 16th Amendment -- abolishing the income tax. Then employees could buy their own insurance.
The Democrats in California have made medical insurance expensive by requiring insurance companies to insure everything and not allowing Californians to buy insurance from companies outside of California. The Democrats have refused to allow lawsuit reform; this is why medical providers have high costs and do extra tests and procedures.
Reforming the medical insurance system is easy, but the reforms would require individual freedom and following the Constitution, things the Democrats do not believe in.
To summarize, medical insurance reform should:
-- Reform the employer pay of benefits or, preferably, abolish the income tax. If there is an income tax, then the medical insurance cost should be a deduction.
-- Reform the lawsuit system.
-- Allow competition by eliminating the overregulation of insurance policies and to allow competition across state lines.
-- The federal and state governments must follow the Constitution.
-- John Henke, Newbury Park
What if we're no longer "United" States?
Have we evolved from trusting infancy into rebellious teens? In the way of too many older nations, the tail begins to wag the dog, and only formation of a dictatorship will regain control of the wild masses.
When united, we are invincible.
Let's resolve to solve our differences by intelligent, rational, civilized means and be proud to be an American again.
-- Elinor Gustafson, Thousand Oaks
If you tell the big lie often enough, some people will eventually believe it to be the truth. So much for the media blitz.
The president did not have the courage to include Chris Wallace of Fox News in his five-station media blitz. It appears that he is afraid of reality TV.
I don't usually watch George Stephanopoulos, but I have a new respect for him as a result of his interview with President Barack Obama. When he asked the president if mandatory health insurance amounted to a tax on the middle class, the president attacked him with his usual, quiet-spoken semantics. Worse, he attacked Stephanopoulos personally when Stephanopoulos produced the Merriam-Webster definition of "tax." He used the office of president to try to intimidate Stephanopoulos, but it didn't work.
When asked about the ACORN scandal, the president tried to dismiss it as something not really important or worthy of his attention, disclaiming knowledge of the millions that have been given by the government to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Come on, Mr. President. Nobody believes that out here in the real world.
-- Bill Gourlay, Westlake Village
Re: Dan K. Thomasson's Sept. 19 commentary, "No need to invoke race into debate":
If anyone has the knowledge and life experience to speak on the subject of racism in this country, it is former President Jimmy Carter.
As Dan Thomasson stated, Carter still has legitimate cachet in this country and the rest of the world. With his background, who better to speak to the ills of racism than the former president? When Carter speaks, it is with a unique perspective of where this country has been and where it ought to go. It is a perspective very few people have.
Carter has always been extremely thoughtful, purposeful and measured in his words. If he felt it was necessary to voice his concerns above the rising din of incivility and mean-spiritedness, it must have been because he was truly alarmed by it. It is high time that someone of integrity and sincerity, someone who has been on that national and global stage, address the vagaries of racism without deceit or camouflage. And if his words make the likes of Thomasson uncomfortable, so be it. Now is not the time to pretend that the reproach and vilification of President Barack Obama and his policies are simply a matter of ordinary disagreement.
Carter has stood up and said what others of similar stature should have addressed long ago. It would be wise for all of us to listen to his words and take a long, hard look at ourselves and what we are doing to each other and the country at large.
-- Rodney K. Boswell, Thousand Oaks
The recent exposé videos of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have resulted in a large public outcry against this organization, and rightly so. This has led to Congress voting to defund ACORN, with broad bipartisan support, again rightly so.
Now, how about Planned Parenthood?
Similar undercover videos have shown members of this organization, which receives more than $300 million in taxpayer money each year, willing to cover up cases where statutory rape and/or sexual abuse could be occurring with underage girls. Instead of reporting the abuse, the staff encourages the girls to lie if necessary in order to obtain a judicial bypass for an underage abortion. Is this not as serious an allegation as the crimes of which ACORN is accused? It certainly seems that way.
I hope and expect that bipartisan bills to defund Planned Parenthood will also soon be making their way through Congress and towards the president's desk.
-- Noel D'Angelo, Thousand Oaks
We have to keep in mind that the Southern demographic that has rallied around U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and his "You lie!" outburst are the same people who believe the election of President Barack Obama, the Confederate defeat at Chattanooga, Tenn., and Andy Kaufman throwing chalk in Jerry Lawler's face are all equally and enduring crushing defeats to Southern nobility and religious chivalry.
-- Ethan Orloff, Simi Valley
The elite media, including The Star, fail to cover stories exposed by Fox News because they seem to equate Fox with sensationalism and being on a par with the National Enquirer. Charles Gibson of ABC News is a prime example of this elitist attitude. He laughed when asked about the ACORN expose and stated he had not heard of it and perhaps it is best left to the cable channels. Now he is a laughing stock. I would like to see The Star and other media outlets step up to the plate and tell the whole story.
We have found that Fox may be a bit over the top, but the caliber of its reports is high. The videos are not cut, pasted and taken out of context.
Van Jones said clearly that polluters and white farmers poison people of color. He explained in his own words why he became a Communist and how he would go about making changes in our country and much more.
The videos of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, were taken in offices throughout the country. This is not the first expose of ACORN -- it has tentacles everywhere. I am sure it will be back under a different name. They have received millions of government dollars and were in line to receive billions in stimulus money.
Personally, I feel it is an outrage that this has not been exposed before. Because of Fox, Van Jones is gone, and Congress has voted to stop funding ACORN.
If you missed the videos, I am sure you can find them on You Tube and decide for yourselves.
-- Consuelo Yznaga Davis, Camarillo
So now if you question the policy of the president, who happens to be black, you are a racist?
The fact that the talking heads are focusing so much on the "first black president" shows that Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of "judging a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin" is still a long way off.
We are all one race -- the human race. We all have a different ethnicity. We are all somewhat prejudiced.
I first realized that Barack Obama supposedly being a "post-racial" candidate was false when he was asked if he thought people were ready to vote for a "black man." He replied that those who wouldn't vote for him because of his policies were the same people who wouldn't vote for him because he was black. Really?
In his book, "Dreams from My Father," a very interesting story, I sense Obama had an identity crisis growing up, and possibly still does. If anyone has some hang-ups or prejudices about "race," I believe he does.
I don't agree with his policies, but not because he's black. Does that make me a racist? I would vote for Herman Cain, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams or Condoleezza Rice because they don't believe government has a right to redistribute wealth, which Obama feels is OK. He has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, but he has said he feels it is flawed.
Obama could be as lily white as I am and promote the same policies, and I still would disagree with him!
-- Brian D. Schwan, Ventura
Criminal justice science is one of two core police sciences that police officers use to control the law enforcement system. The two core police sciences are called heroic justice science and criminal justice science.
I'd rather have the citizens doing good deeds and becoming one with the positive half of the law enforcement system -- the heroic justice system. I don't want the citizens doing crimes and becoming one with the negative half of the law enforcement system -- the criminal justice system.
Police officers on occasion use heroic justice science to encourage people to do good deeds, and police officers use criminal justice science to discourage people from doing crimes.
When public safety is an issue, should police officers be tactically limited to using only penalties -- criminal justice science -- to solve all problems, no matter what? Or should police officers be allowed flexibility so that they can solve the most problems by using both rewards -- the heroic justice science -- and penalties -- criminal justice science?
Sure, police officers have a core police science for when people do something wrong -- called criminal justice science. But police officers -- they're the good guys. They should also have a core police science for when people do something right - called heroic justice science.
If there is a science for when someone does something wrong, should there also be a science for when someone does something right?
-- Isaac Berks, Camarillo
Re: Joy Putinta's Sept. 18 letter, "Thought-provoking":
For someone who has "always doubted much of the information," it took a long time for Putinta to get to "Loose Change 9/11." The movement was in full steam within a year of Sept. 11. This version is the fourth or fifth version. The revisions generally don't present any new information but drop assertions that have been refuted.
I watched a convention of the followers -- those who paid a substantial fee to attend -- on C-SPAN a number of years ago. The academics who presented the scientific data were generally Ph.D.s and department heads at prestigious universities. Their fields were English or political science, among other non-engineering or physics fields.
Putinta should continue to keep an open mind and Google "Popular Mechanics 9/11." She should read the complete article and question the authority and motivation of the "Loose Change 9/11" producers.
-- Ray Johnson, Fillmore
After my military service ended, I was not old or financially secure enough to retire. My priority was a career that allowed me to serve my community and take personal responsibility for my retirement. I do not want to be a burden for my family or have to rely on public charity during my sunset years.
That's why I chose to work for Ventura County. Even though the private sector would have paid 15 to 30 percent more for my education and skills, the job would not have been as rewarding.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there. Here are the facts:
After working 20 years for the county, I will receive 40 percent of my salary upon retirement. But I have been planning ahead so I can maintain my independence.
Between my military pension and healthcare benefits and the county's pension, I will have enough to get by, though certainly not lavishly -- approximately 70 percent of my annual income. Members of my union, the Service Employees International Union, contribute monthly toward our retirement. The county's contribution is generally similar to what private companies pay into Social Security, and when stock investments do well, they don't contribute anything.
Hard work, smart individual choices and responsibility are core American values. If you are able to work, then it is your responsibility to prepare for your retirement to the best of your ability. My retirement is not a gift, it's something I've planned for and helped grow. That's being responsible.
-- Carolyn Lucille Consoli, Camarillo
The best antidote to bigotry is to shine a bright light on it and watch the cockroaches scurry. Most young people lack the prejudices of some older Americans and helped elect the president. We cannot allow those with latent racism to taint what should be a great moment in our history. Most young people seem to be colorblind and, hopefully, in another generation or two, those with old prejudices will pass and take their views with them.
The Republican Party claims demonstrators are grass-roots Americans with a different point of view from President Barack Obama. It silently allowed this racist segment to march and shout and encouraged the objectionable behavior behind the scenes. It started with candidate Sarah Palin, the "birthers," shouting at town-hall meetings and questioning the president addressing school children. The evidence is plentiful: pictures of the president as a monkey, a witch doctor and history's evil dictators.
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouts "You lie" during Obama's speech, yet Republican anti-healthcare-reform policy has been lying about killing Grandma, death panels, illegal alien coverage, abortion funding and government takeovers. Republican leaders quietly fan the flames.
Most unacceptable is carrying loaded weapons at presidential appearances, signs calling for the violent overthrow of the government (treason), and the racist hatred spewed by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. With our nation's sad history of political assassination, these bullies create an atmosphere where some nut will feel justified in committing violence against our elected officials.
The Department of Homeland Security should detain and investigate anyone at a demonstration carrying a gun or a sign inciting violent overthrow of the government because they are domestic terrorists.
-- Stuart Wing, Moorpark
Re: Ericka Lunbeck's Sept. 16 letter, "Socialist or Communist?":
Lunbeck's letter asks if we know the difference between a Democrat, a Socialist and a Communist.
Yes, we do. With the voters voting for hope and change last November, we are headed into Socialism, defined as government ownership of production -- government takeovers in the auto industry, finance, healthcare and now student loans.
Socialism is further defined as a transitional stage between capitalism and Communism, but distinguished by still unequal distribution of goods and pay.
But look where we are going with redistribution of wealth, progressively higher tax rates on the most successful and setting pay rates in private industry. This is the Communist playbook. It's a radical departure from the land of opportunity and individual freedoms that our country's founders intended.
So to answer the original question: Yes, we know the difference. The better question is: Where are we headed?
-- Allen Merriam, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 19 article, "Supervisor wants EIR for Edison line":
For several years now, we have watched homes burn to the ground in wildfires, some of the state's worst ignited by downed power lines. Yet, Southern California Edison continues constructing new power lines throughout our county -- piecemeal, without consulting public officials. This minimizes public outcry.
Despite the devastation, SCE refuses to consider safer options, preferring always the cheapest route. (By the way, it now seeks Public Utilities Commission approval to pass on to consumers the cost of repairs caused by wildfires.)
The line of double towers (220 kilovolts) that has bisected Santa Rosa Valley for 39 years is next on the block. SCE proposes a new 66 kilovolt line to its east within 60 feet of residential properties (to cover its bad business decision to sell two Oxnard facilities) and later to construct a third row of 220 kilovolt towers on its west side, a plan that was disclosed last week. The PUC stands poised to rubber stamp the first phase.
SCE won't reveal its present and future grid development plans. It won't modify this project to mitigate negative impact. That's why Supervisor Linda Parks requested the PUC hearing and testified on our behalf.
What's wrong with requiring SCE to disclose its plans? It would enable the county to coordinate a master plan that, among other things, could avoid placing the fire hazard and visual blight closer to homes. Shouldn't there be a moratorium on approval, pending compliance? And since the easement crosses a seismic fault, sensitive habitat and vast Chumash archeological resources, what's so wrong with requiring environmental review?
We are being strong-armed by a megacorporation that regularly enjoys record profits and is expanding during a recession. As east winds approach, can anyone downwind afford not to care?
-- Peggy Ludington, Camarillo
Re: Eunice M. Koch's Sept. 20 letter, "Wasted energy":
Koch asked in her letter, "Why are seniors fighting extending these benefits to everybody?" She is referring to Social Security benefits and Medicare. She uses the word "entitlement." Yes, seniors who have had Social Security and Medicare deductions taken from their paychecks for all of their working careers are entitled in their golden years to get something back. Employers put an equal amount of money into the system as the employee pays. I had Social Security and Medicare deductions taken from every paycheck during my working career. It was not my option to pay into this system -- the money was taken off the top of my check.
Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, an immigrant can step into this country and, at age 65, collect Social Security even if they haven't paid a penny into it.
To seniors who have paid into Social Security and Medicare: Yes, you are entitled to it. To an immigrant who hasn't paid a penny into the system: No, you are not entitled to it. If you get Social Security and Medicare, it is a free gift to you on the backs of all the seniors who have had money taken off the top of their paychecks for all of their working career.
Koch needs to understand the difference between an entitlement and a free gift.
-- Charles Jaseph, Camarillo
Re: Dave Pressey's Sept. 20 letter, "Intangibles of humanity":
Pressey makes reference to religious truth and moral and ethical foundations based on Judeo-Christian principles. Perhaps Pressey can outline the process he uses to arrive at "religious truth." Is he using the Bible -- the same Bible that references talking snakes and donkeys, burning bushes, a flat earth and a sun that orbits the earth?
As to moral and ethical foundations, the Egyptians and Romans had moral and ethical foundations for thousands of years, long before there were any Judeo-Christian principles. Were those Christian principles the same ones responsible for millions of deaths and tortures throughout history? They included, just to mention a few:
-- The demonization of other religions, e.g. Christianity demonizing pagans ("They're devil-worshippers!") and the Romans demonizing Christians ("They're atheists and cannibals!").
-- Persecution of heretics, e.g. Galileo for daring to suggest that the Earth orbits the Sun.
-- Children dying because their parents refused them medical treatment on religious grounds, relying instead on faith-healers and prayer.
-- Slavery, supposedly supported by scripture ("Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, just as you would obey Christ.", St.Paul, Ephesians 6:5)
-- Holy wars -- followers of different faiths (or even the same faith) killing each other in the name of their (benevolent, loving and merciful) gods.
-- The destruction of great works of art considered to be pornographic or blasphemous, and the persecution of the artists.
-- Censorship (often destructive) of speech, art, books, music, films, poetry, songs and, if possible, thought.
-- The requirement of theism in order to stand for public office or to testify in court.
-- Serial killers believing they are doing the work of Satan (or sometimes Jesus).
-- Often-fatal exorcisms by priests believing they are destroying the work of Satan.
-- People suffering dreadful injury or death in the belief that their faith has made them invulnerable (e.g. people climbing into lion enclosures at zoos with a Bible as protection).
-- Whole societies divided by minor differences in belief or doctrine, often resulting in violence.
Perhaps Pressey should study the scientific method and the process utilized to filter out people's delusions and fantasies and focus on reality, not imaginary supernatural beings used to control people and collect money. Religion and churches are the biggest moneymakers of all time.
-- George Pohoski, Camarillo
The health plan by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is more a GOP gimmick than a plan. As long as we provide a capitalist solution to our health problems, there will be no improvement to our health dilemma. It is the fox guarding the hen house.
The first change must be to establish limits to insurer fees. Without "options," limits cannot be guaranteed. This is the basic law of nature where consumer protection is concerned. Without "options," there is no protection -- period. The "fox" is still in control and the capitalist solution continues.
The best thing for Americans is to replace capitalist theories with consumer advocacy measures. Now is the best time to do that. The consumer must, at last, come before the business mogul. The problem in Washington is that all of our congressmen are capitalist-oriented, wealth enthusiasts -- foxes.
-- Miguel Espinosa Jr., Oxnard
Re: Bari Carrelli's Sept. 20 letter, "Luck ran out":
I want to tell her that I was once in the same position -- a single mother with two kids, one with muscular dystrophy and no insurance. At that time, in the 1970s, the Social Security Administration had a great program for disabled children called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. Parents were not required to be paying in in order to get this benefit -- it was simply for children. Along with the SSI grant came medical coverage from Medi-Cal, the state version of Medicare.
I'm just wondering if she has checked into this federal benefit for her chronically ill child. It was a real blessing to my family. Of course, I realize that government programs for children have changed over the years, but I urge her to look for government help. I can't believe that there isn't something out there!
-- Mary Fairbanks, Camarillo
Re: your Sept. 20 article, "Proposed state tax set to be unveiled":
The newly proposed state tax looks suitable for (a) destroying the remaining economy, (b) driving more businesses into bankruptcy or relocation to other states, (c) inviting more out-of-state businesses to market to Californians and (d) eliminating millions of more jobs in the state.
If companies will only be able to deduct the cost of materials but no payroll costs, the results might be:
-- Few employers remaining in California.
-- Most products being made overseas.
-- Only sales positions in California.
-- Commission-only sales.
-- More contractor arrangements.
-- No salaried employment positions outside of government jobs.
-- More customer self-service and "customer check-outs" at local stores.
-- More Internet or out-of-state purchases by consumers with money.
-- Maybe the disappearance of the middle class, since few high school or college graduates will be able to find anything beyond minimum wages jobs, if any exist.
The Department of Defense and National Guard should benefit, since more high school and college-university graduates will probably turn to the military for a paycheck.
-- Tom Novinson, Ventura
There is another federally run healthcare plan besides Medicare. Ask any veteran how they feel about the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. I know what my answer is, and I don't want another botched system. Just fix the one we have, and don't listen to those lobbyists!
-- Pat McCambridge, Ventura
One-way newspaper, one-way political cartoons, one-way Democratic Party, one-way president, one-way TV news.
Those pushing the Democratic Party must be really desperate. They are now trying to silence honest political debate and dissent by playing the race card.
Bad ideas and bad policy that bankrupt families and companies and nations, no matter who they come from, are still bad! Our government programs all go bankrupt -- the Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.
The majority of Americans don't want government-run health care and are saying just that.
Our Congress and president and those who represent "we the people" need to get their heads out of the sand and do as their employer, "we the people," direct them. No government hands in our healthcare system, please!
Who elected President Barack Obama? It wasn't just black or white or brown or Democrat or Republican or independent, but "we the people." We Americans have the right to disagree and dissent and debate and to voice our opinion on any elected official of any race, creed or color.
Here's mine: I think The Star's continual one-sided political view stinks! The Star should report the facts, not its far-left opinion, and let the people decide!
-- Bert Dickey, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 18 article, "Police hit the road to nab unsafe drivers":
The Star wrote that "the hardest question to answer is why Oxnard consistently scores the highest among California cities for things such as hit and runs, pedestrian accidents and alcohol-related collisions." It does not take a rocket scientist to answer, "Enforcement."
Oxnard police do not stay vigilant. I have contacted the Oxnard Police Department about the illegal lane usage going south on Wooley Road at Five Points. (Go to the OPD's Web site and they even show it). OPD had officers there maybe four times and they wrote many citations. Now, after two months, it's as if they never were there.
You have to be vigilant at enforcing the laws. If drivers who commute this intersection see that the police could be here anytime, drivers would drive within the law.
-- Ted Maloney, Oxnard
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, R-Moorpark, voted against the 20,000 children of Ventura County who do not have her nannies and the compensation with which to pay for their child's healthcare at this time. She voted against these children, and I now will vote against her in the future.
It's "We the people," not "We the Stricklands." Shame on her.
-- Susan Komar, Camarillo
The Star recently argued that President Barack Obama makes a strong case for his healthcare reform. This is simply not true.
He wants to insure everyone lower costs and increased security for the insured.
If Obama's goal was to insure the uninsured, he could do it a lot cheaper with vouchers and let the recipients make the decisions. If his goal was to reduce costs, he would eliminate current tax incentives to overspend, reduce lawsuit costs and, most importantly, let the consumer directly pay for the services. If his goal was greater security for us, these bills wouldn't create "expert" panels that ration our care.
Instead, the Baucus-Obama plan would increase costs by requiring "qualified coverage" that includes all kinds of features you don't need, nor would insurance be allowed to bear any relation to risk. The huge new taxes to be imposed on businesses and individuals will certainly not be healthy for the economy either!
Medicare is not a relevant example because it is only currently solvent due of the vast payments made by the working class, and it's heading for bankruptcy.
And speaking of the promise to protect Medicare, why is $409 billion of Medicare spending targeted to be cut? If it's really all fraud and waste, why not fix it now?
Incidentally, when Obama was asked for a "moral imperative" for his healthcare reform, he answered, "We are God's partners in matters of life and death." Scary!
The Baucus-Obama plan would penalize you $950 to $3,800 a year for not buying government-approved policies. This is what then-Sen. Obama opposed when it was proposed by Hillary Clinton. So if this plan is so great, why the harsh penalty for opting out?
-- Arnold Hockenmaier, Camarillo
Re: your Sept. 17 article, "Folk singer Mary Travers dies at 72":
I'm sorry that The Star didn't include a picture of a young Mary in her obituary. When I was a little girl growing up in the 1960s, she was one of my role models. Mary was glamorous in a very non-Barbie way, with her straight blonde hair, bangs and boots -- plus she got to sing on stage with those two cool guitar players. I really wanted to be her.
Mary, we will miss you.
-- Martha Siditsky, Simi Valley
The Simi Valley Woman's Club would like to thank the Simi Valley Days Parade Committee for its hard work. It went off well, as usual.
We would also like to thank Do-It-Center for the loan of palm trees and Party City for their donation of decorations. Their help made our entry fit the "Tropical Carnivale" theme.
Please support these local businesses. They help Simi Valley organizations.
-- Laura Morse, Simi Valley
(The writer is parade chair of the Simi Valley Woman's Club. -- Editor)
Another drastic reduction in inmate rehabilitation and education programs! Little or no substance programs will now exist. What are we thinking? We now will merely warehouse inmates and do little to help them learn to function on the outside when they get released.
This continues a trend that started when Pete Wilson was governor.
The odds are overwhelming that most released inmates will be returned to prison. In-prison programs can greatly reduce that number.
Let your elected representative know that inmates need access to rehabilitation and training. It is the cost-effective and humane thing to do.
-- Bob Lowe, Simi Valley
Here are examples of what I would like from my healthcare provider:
-- Customer satisfaction ratings that are better than any other provider for six consecutive years or more.
-- Efficency, with cost increases over a 10-year period of only 0.8 percent, while the national medical consumer price index rose 39.4 percent.
-- Quality, with the New England Journal of Medicine rating them better on all 11 measures of quality.
-- Care, with the "Annals of Internal Medicine" and "Care of Diabetes Patients" rating them superior.
-- Quality, with the RAND Corp. finding them outperforming all other providers in 294 measures of quality of care, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance rating them the best medical facilities over the likes of the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General and others.
-- Effectiveness, with the Elderly Life Expectancy study rating them best.
I'm asking for a lot. And I'm getting it -- from Veterans Affairs.
The results above have not been accomplished by using "pre-existing condition" barriers. In fact, the VA serves patients that are sicker, poorer and more prone to mental illness and all chronic illnesses compared to the general public.
I've had more than 50 years of experience with providers, including the VA. Based on my nonsystematic comparison, I had surmised that the VA was significantly superior. So I wasn't surprised when I read about the studies I mentioned in "Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Is Better Then Yours," by Phillip Longman.
We can repeat individual horror stories about all providers, including the VA. But systematic studies comparing performance make compelling reading. I would rely on such studies and expand the charter of this government-run system, making it the "public option" available to anyone who wants the best care.
-- Ron Paulinski, Ventura
On Sept. 15, as I went about my business in town, I wore my Barack Obama sweatshirt. It was rather warm and I was a bit uncomfortable, but I wore it to show my support for the president because that was the day Congress officially admonished U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for his inexcusable behavior. It was a slap on the wrist but at least showed that Democrats anyway will not tolerate such disrespect to the president of the United States in the halls of Congress.
Nor should it be tolerated anywhere else.
I don't think there is any doubt that racism is alive and thriving in this country: The past weekend's orgy of hate and the disgusting verbal sentiments and signs proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But neither do I believe that such people represent the majority of citizens in this country who voted for Obama. However, those people have been largely silent.
If you feel as I do -- that racism and hatred has no place in this country -- speak out. Write a letter. Contact your representatives. Attend an event or a rally. Obama is doing his part to help make this a better country. Let's help him and show the world what kind of people we truly are!
-- Karen Murphy, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 16 article, "Shelter funding entangled in Senate":
I began the article on the failure of the state Senate to approve a measure providing a $16 million transfer of funding to domestic violence shelters expecting to be mildly irritated by yet another example of our dysfunctional state government. By the end of the article, I was way past the mild part.
This transfer came from the Assembly on a 76-0 vote. The Senate GOP refused to vote as a "principle of trust" because the Democrats hadn't listed a particular GOP senator as a co-author on a piece of legislation, hadn't completed the agreed-upon tinkering to a corporate tax relief bill and had evidently refused to kill a free on-line tax preparation program offered by the Franchise Tax Board. This last item is being pushed by the major provider of tax preparation software.
With a little research, I found the FTB Ready Return program has been around a few years and can serve as many as 3 million California filers with very basic returns. Gee, tax filing made easier by the government for simple returns. The annual cost to the state is less than half that received by our own Tony Strickland from this same software company.
I've been a fiscal conservative since before this guy was born, and this isn't fiscal conservatism, and it isn't trustworthy. Strickland took a large amount of money from a corporate sponsor and is pushing its agenda at the expense of battered women, with the excuse that this bill could be reconsidered later! I wonder how many women will find it's reconsidered too late.
This is why I left the GOP for the land of independents, though I doubt I'd vote for a Republican today if the opponent was Daffy Duck.
-- Harry J. Lee, Ventura
Re: Beth Carroll's Sept. 16 letter, "Turn lane too short":
I got an identical ticket from a motorcycle cop. He was parked on a sidewalk waiting on Rose Avenue, watching (and waiting) for drivers like me trying to turn left onto the short street leading to Best Buy. There I had the choice of sitting in a through-lane, backing up traffic off the freeway and across an overpass for a whole light cycle, waiting to get into the almost empty left-turn lane, or crossing over some of the yellow "island" and getting in it. I did the last and was immediately ticketed.
I went to court with maps and explanations. The judge understood but hesitated over whether to dismiss or fine. So the cop lied, saying I drove through the "island," "about five car lengths." The whole "island," painted lines blocking and protecting the turn lanes, was only about two lengths! But before I could speak, I was convicted. I had to pay $300 and attend traffic school, all for a sensible solution to a silly and dangerous traffic design -- and a lie!
The judge said, "If there's a problem, tell the engineers!"
Sure, like I'd waste more of my life.
-- Russ Husted, Ventura
Over the past few days I've seen multiple stories, including hidden video, regarding the corrupt -- and possibly criminal -- use of taxpayers' money within the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. These events have taken place in at least four cities across the nation. This is a very serious misuse of taxpayer money by a "nonprofit" organization.
Why don't I see this story, along with the updates as they unfold, in The Star? Is The Star protecting some special interests? The media are supposed to be unbiased, yet The Star is not reporting this huge story. It should be on the front page!
Perhaps The Star's biased reporting is one of the reasons for the newspaper's circulation declines.
-- Keith Johnson, Camarillo
I am personally against President Barack Obama's healthcare makeover. It is not because I do not agree that some reforms are necessary, but because I do not agree with the way the Democratic Party is going about it. Why should we have a 1,000-page bill that few people have read and fewer understand when a better approach is to pass a number of smaller issue-specific bills that deal directly with specific problems in our present system?
If pre-existing conditions are problematic, let's have a bill that deals with that. Such a bill would be a few pages long at most and could be understood by everyone.
If medical malpractice lawsuits are a problem, let's have a bill that deals with medical malpractice, including tort reform and defensive medicine. Again, such a bill could be understood by all.
Years ago, we used to have regulation in our airlines. When we did, our airlines were more user-friendly than they are today. There were more flights and better service. We did not have a U.S. Government Airline competing in the marketplace with other American firms. We do not need the government to compete with private insurance carriers -- we need the government to regulate it.
Finally, I do not believe that the Congress or the president will be able to come up with a single omnibus bill that repairs all the problems, remains fair to all and does not kill free enterprise. Based on previous experience, I have no reason to expect that they can get this right.
Let's have regulation if it is necessary. Let's have several small bills that fix problems without destroying our basic system. We do not need another monstrous bureaucracy managing a law that only a few understand.
-- George Milder, Oxnard
Re: Gisela Rahmeyer's Sept. 17 letter, "Healthcare or race?":
Rahmeyer's letter started out so elegant in reinforcing this country's need for civility and respect in dealing with one another. But then she failed to adhere to her own great aspirations by attacking those who obviously do not agree with the healthcare reform as it stands now by insinuating that we are "secretly" unable to tolerate an African-American man as president.
How sad that race was once again thrown into the mix. When are individuals such as Rahmeyer going to be able to view President Barack Obama as an intelligent, articulate man instead trying to polarize people with the race card? Although I don't agree with many of Obama's opinions and policies, and therefore did not vote for him, I was proud of my country when the majority of people could look at the man and not the color of his skin in electing him as president. To employ Rahmeyer's suspicions would imply that people voted for Obama because he is African-American and not necessarily because they felt he was qualified for the job. How sad it would be if this president's legacy is that he was African-American and little else.
Healthcare reform is a topic that invokes strong opinions and feelings on both sides of the table and/or street. There is enough blame of a lack of decorum to be spread around on both sides of the debate. Wearing "silly hats" and carrying signs are part of the rally process and allows people to voice their opinion for or against the issues.
Let's start discussing the various issues and listening to those with differing opinions and stop insulting people who do not agree with us. Let's start looking for a reasonable solution to healthcare and stop mudding the waters with accusations of racism.
-- Deb Daniel, Ventura
I want to thank and congratulate The Star for the great job the paper has done in exposing and thoroughly covering the Van Jones and ACORN scandals. Yeah, sure!
-- Bob Crockford, Moorpark
Re: Jay Ambrose's Sept. 17 commentary, "Obama now has the public's undivided attention":
It is refreshing to get an unspun version of President Barack Obama administration's actions to date. Obama said he wanted to be judged by those with whom he surrounded himself in the White House. He has chosen a tax cheat as Treasury secretary and several kooks and wingnuts as "czars" who essentially marginalize his own cabinet. And then there are those who help guide the "ship of state": Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, Charles Rangel and other unsavory characters who are in cahoots with Obama.
The Republicans did a terrible job at running things when they had control of both the White House and Congress -- I thought they out-Democrated the Democrats -- but the Democrats are determined to do the Republicans one better, to the despair of all those who value the Constitution and American ideals.
-- Jefferson C. Romney, Westlake Village
Re: Dale McFeatters' Sept. 12 commentary, "Subliminal socialism: What Obama really said":
This commentary was in very bad taste. The Star is a fine paper; however, this article was an embarrassment. To make comments about the president of United States that were so disrespectful is unbecoming, no matter which party one is a member.
-- Dr. Robert B. Amenta, Westlake Village
We can all help support shelters that aid the homeless and battered in Ventura County. One such is the Lighthouse Women and Children's Mission in Oxnard. One can also donate to Battered Women rather than having a garage sale.
If we all step up, we won't have to depend on the state government to do it for us. The larger the state, the smaller the citizen. Everything the state does for us that we could do for ourselves diminishes us as individuals. We should help those in need in our own cities and county instead of depending on those in Sacramento whose only interest is personal gain.
-- Mike Kohl, Simi Valley
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., should not apologize to Congress. An apology should be given when one feels remorse.
This has nothing to do with whether or not Wilson "spoke the truth." It has to do with the proper time and place for speaking out. As one pundit put it, Wilson acted more like a drunk in the ballpark bleachers than an esteemed congressman. Yet Wilson has made it clear that he does not regret that he has embarrassed his state, his office and his mother, who, I'm sure, taught him better manners.
Congress hears enough empty words as it is. There's no need for Wilson to add to them.
-- Linda Levitz, Camarillo
President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress regarding healthcare and insurance reform. While the debate has been robust and ongoing, there have been many myths and lies incorporated with the debate so as to "kill the bill." Congressional Republicans and U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, have all but led the fight to end healthcare and insurance reform.
Gallegly's claim on his Web site that Obama and HR3200 are cutting Medicare benefits to seniors to pay for the healthcare reform is false. Still, it does not stop Gallegly from repeating it.
The truth is that the pending House bill, HR3200, extracts $500 billion from projected Medicare spending over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Such extractions are not found in payments to physicians, but rather are found in trimming projected increases in Medicare payments for medical services. Added increases, such as physician payments, ultimately will bring savings down to less than half that amount.
The truth is none of the predicted savings and/or cuts come from reducing current or future benefits for seniors. AARP, a senior advocacy group, has said: "None of the healthcare reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services."
The lies on healthcare and insurance reform need to stop, and work on reform needs to start.
-- Christopher James Grant, Ojai
Re: Dale McFeatters' Sept. 12 commentary, "Subliminal socialism: What Obama really said":
I can't believe this was printed as an official paid-for commentary. Instead of criticizing President Barack Obama's speech to our students and other policies on what he has said or done, McFeatters resorted to something that worked for Adolf Hitler in rallying Germans to eliminate the Jews. He spread fear and lies that can lead to mistrust, hate and unconscionable acts.
McFeatters told us the president's subliminal message was about spreading socialism and, in case you didn't know what that meant, he informs us: It leads to communism.
In McFeatters' words, "Say goodbye to Labor Day. Next year we'll be celebrating May Day. Bring your red flags." And later, "What's expected is that you will read the complete works of Karl Marx, starting with the first hundred pages of "Das Kapital."
However, instead of getting into Obama's mind, we got into McFeatters'. We know that he believes in the axiom that all is fair in love and war and that he is against socialism. He doesn't dare say that he would be for the elimination of "socialistic" programs like Social Security and Medicare or against regulating Wall Street. So we are left with imagining because he left us with no substantive argument to critique.
Instead, though, I challenge McFeatters to tell us how he would have handled Wall Street's crash or the bankruptcy of GM, AIG, Lehman Brothers, banks and the current problems of healthcare. Does he still believe that the markets are pure and should be left unregulated? As he saw the Lehman Brothers go down and the possibility of the entire financial system with it, would he have stuck to his ideology and let them go?
So please, McFeatters, tell us what you really think instead of making up lies about Obama. Then we can have discussion based on real things said or done.
-- Edward Lay, Ventura
I work nights a lot, and I see a tremendous amount of water being wasted, all by unneeded or broken sprinkler heads. Why would anyone need to water behind a shopping center, in the weeds or woods where it looks like the homeless live? And more often than not, I see broken sprinkler heads gushing water like a fountain into the streets.
We need to find who is responsible. We need to make them repair them, and we need to regulate or oversee all the people who are installing and not maintaining the sprinkler systems.
I literally see thousands of gallons being wasted in most of the shopping centers I've been in during the last five years. What can we do about this?
-- Richard Jablonski, Oxnard
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 13 essay, "Our not-so-civil discourse":
I appreciated the essay by Howry about showing more civility and respect for people who have opposing points of view. Thank you! It is precisely because of this "incivility" that I feel unwilling to join the debate on the healthcare bill. Who can argue with a lynch mob?
Instead of offering alternatives to the plans on the table and listening to the proposals, the opposition outshouts the president and waves insulting pictures. Is this still about the health plan, or is this onslaught of misinformation calculated to rally the people who secretly still can't tolerate that the highest office is occupied by a very able and very effective Afro-American man?
-- Gisela Rahmeyer, Ventura
Just who are these "healthcare protesters" anyway? They are the same bunch that, three years ago, were telling us we should scrap Social Security and invest all of our retirement income in the stock market.
-- Ed Hopkins, Fillmore
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 13 essay, "Our not-so-civil discourse":
It's easy to agree with the thrust this essay, that civility in expressing political disagreement is often times missing today. But can we get this message across to the likes of Van Jones, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Ward Churchill, Michael Moore and others?
Tea parties and independently run town hall meetings are an orderly expression of unhappiness by much of America with government that has grown too big. Town hall meetings run by U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and others reading out of the Obamacare play book, with restricted advance questions, may invite a modicum of impertinence to be heard.
Oh, well, I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored.
-- Jack Weber, Oxnard
Name-calling is a technique to promote propaganda. It is used to incite fears and arouse prejudices. Name-calling is a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments. It does not advance the political discussion or educate any of us.
Glenn Beck called President Barack Obama a racist who hates white people and has a chip on his shoulder. Did he show confirmable proof? What does Beck advance as a better way to handle those Obama situations shown in the proof?
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted, "You lie!" during a president's address to a joint session of Congress. Did he show concrete proof of how that's true? The bill says no coverage for illegals. It is not the job of the president to work out the daily details. We voted for representatives to do that. Did you vote for Wilson or any other representative to use name-calling, or did you vote for people who will work out the details of issues?
Protesters carry signs saying Obama is a Communist, Socialist, Adolf Hitler, The Joker, etc. Do they back it up with verifiable facts? Do they take their accusations, reveal the facts, then offer a solution?
These are not silly name-callings. They are hurtful, spiteful, malicious, racial name-callings to evoke terror in the public. The terrorists are in our own community!
-- MarSan Friedman, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Sept. 13 article, "Healthcare plan foes fill corner to protest":
I read this article with interest. What really caught my eye, though, was the picture of a protester holding a sign with an image of President Barack Obama with "Communist" in red letters over his head. Communist? First a Socialist and now a Communist? Really?
It is these sorts of blatantly ignorant statements that are turning the Republican Party, once a proud and honorable one, into a joke! This year I sadly changed my voter registration from Republican to Libertarian because I could no longer stand by a group of people devoted to such ridiculous, fear-based ideology. I may not be thrilled that a Democrat is leading the nation, but I do know the difference between a Democrat, a Socialist and a Communist. Do you?
-- Ericka Lunbeck, Simi Valley
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 13 essay, "Our not-so-civil discourse":
It is difficult to witness the display of uncivil behavior of the current demonstrations on the healthcare debate across the U.S. Such behavior stems in part from poor journalism and media distortions of the truth by fringe, conservative radio talk show hosts and certain cable news networks. Another contributing factor is the poor example set by many of our elected representatives.
Last week these same "free speech" advocates objected to having their school children listen to a motivational talk by the president of the United States. This would be laughable, if it wasn't so sad. Did parents who kept their kids home from school or the school officials who refused to air the president's talk really believe these were good lessons in civics or government?
The current state of civil affairs presents a serious challenge to the future greatness of this nation. Haven't we advanced beyond the Boston Tea Party or the Civil War?
I was pleased to read Howry's essay, as well as The Star editorial on Monday, "As bad as we think." Both were exemplary in their attempt to reset the current national standard that passes for responsible journalism.
Responsible media provide a foundation for an educated citizenry. I thank The Star and its editorial staff for demonstrating Pulitzer-level leadership, so vital to a vibrant democracy, especially during tough and troubled times. History is full of sad examples where fear substituted for reason, an educated electorate and a free press. By taking the "road less traveled," The Star has made a difference in our community.
-- Mel Silberberg, Thousand Oaks
Tens (or hundreds) of thousands of protesters march on Washington to protest this administration's policies.
I would hope that President Barack Obama gives as much attention and thought to these protesters' issues as former President George Bush gave to the multimillions throughout America and the world who walked in protest in February and March of 2003 against a planned invasion of Iraq.
-- Debra Jacobs, Simi Valley
Van Nuys Boulevard arrives again in Thousand Oaks with its three new massage parlors, including neon and curb signs, cheap storefronts and seedy window displays. Forget the debate between slow-growth and fast-growth housing issues; degrading the basic appearance and quality of the community will decide the issue to our becoming like Reseda. Hey, maybe after a massage we could go cruisin' T.O. in our Chevys?
-- Kevin O'Leary, Thousand Oaks
Re: Betsy Nowrasteh's Sept. 10 letter, "9/11 event inappropriate":
I attended the Sept. 9 1 p.m. showing of "Loose Change 9/11." Nowrasteh would be well advised to view the film before criticizing it. The incredibly detailed, verified and scientific data in the film is overwhelming. I have always doubted much of the information in the "official reports" and commission findings. In fact, on 9/11, I was troubled immediately by the virtual impossibility of the immense World Trade Center buildings falling with such precision and at breakneck speed. There are innumerable aspects of that day that defy logic and common sense. "Loose Change 9/11" addresses them as factually, thoughtfully and clearly as possible.
If the sponsors of the presentations "rented" the room at the library, then Nowrasteh's "tax dollar" is not at work. The film is in no way "spitting on the innocent dead ... and on all the warriors." In trying to get to the bottom of this horrific event, the producers honor the memories of these people who died and continue to die due to the deceit, greed and lust for power of former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former President George W. Bush and other members of his administration.
I would recommend the movie to anyone who has any nagging questions or wants to learn more about the events of 9/11. Keep an open mind and question authority. It was a life-changing experience for me.
-- Joy Putinta, Camarillo
I'm not sure what the duties of the Star's Community Advisory Board are, but I'm surprised that none of them has requested that The Star publish an in-depth review of the facts leading up to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepping in and seizing Affinity Bank.
If there is a "teachable moment" about the nation's recent banking crisis, the failure of Ventura's own Affinity Bank, to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars, would seem to fit the bill.
Let's hear some facts about the miscalculations that led Affinity Bank to fail. As a regional construction lending resource, what regional projects may now be in jeopardy? How does a community educate itself about the mechanisms of financial collapse if its only regional newspaper neglects to communicate the details of a homegrown failure and who's poor judgment is responsible for it?
-- David Dolan, Ventura
In victory during George W. Bush's failed administration, conservative Republicans were boastful, bellicose and belligerent. Bush avoided much of the opposition's public contempt for his intractable policies by making most of his speeches before hand-picked sycophants and/or captured military audiences where disrespectful outbursts were not likely to occur.
Now in the resounding defeat of the last election, conservative Republicans are still boastful and bellicose, and their belligerence has ramped up to even greater lows of disrespect for the very behavior they previously touted as un-American.
The outburst by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., during President Barack Obama's joint session healthcare speech is just the latest in a series of outrageous protestations, this time inane, inexcusable and inappropriate to the setting. A lawyer, state senator and former colonel in the Army Reserves, Wilson certainly must know that the president and commander in chief of the Armed Forces carries a rank that must be respected by law and by common decency.
Wilson's allegedly spontaneous "You lie!" comment at the president's truthful assertion that illegal aliens would not be eligible to receive benefits under the proposed healthcare plan bespeaks of something deeply sinister about him as a man, his party and the constituents he serves. If a mere apology is all that is offered for such egregious behavior, does this set the stage for the next such outburst against Obama's policies? What if Wilson had been the chief executive delivering a speech before Congress and Obama was the congressman making the same alleged spontaneous remark? Would an apology have sufficed for his misconduct? I think not.
-- Charles Williams, Oxnard
For President Barack Obama to tell America that his healthcare plan will not fund abortions is laughable. Every healthcare plan pays for them. Since abortion is not covered under your typical health coverage, the doctors perform them and bill them as miscarriages. This is the oldest and most profitable game in the book for an obstetrician/gynecologist.
So unless the naive president can cure that, then he's only fooling himself in thinking his plan or any plan will not fund abortions.
-- Larry Gonzales, Oxnard
Just when I thought the Carmen Drive bridge over Highway 101 couldn't get worse, it did.
If you are headed to the Camarillo Premium Outlets from the north side of 101 and don't get into the single lane going south over the bridge, you will be committed to getting on the northbound 101! Next off is Las Posas Road! What a boondoggle!
-- Gail Metcalf, Camarillo
Re: Dale McFeatters' Sept. 12 commentary, "Subliminal socialism: What Obama really said":
I guess they let any lunatic write for Scripps Howard News Service these days! This commentary was so laughable that I was waiting for a punchline. We already know that there are so many uninformed Americans who would believe this distasteful article that I suppose that's why it was written, and that's not funny.
-- Catherine Duvendeck, Camarillo
Re: Dale McFeatters' Sept. 12 commentary, "Subliminal socialism: What Obama really said":
Is there such a paucity of good material that The Star must provide editorial space for the most outrageous paranoid diatribe? At first, I thought it was a spoof; reading further, I realized it was not. The piece instead was a combination of 1950s red-baiting hysteria, John Birch paranoia and Chicken Little fear.
Let's face it, one must be down and out in imagination with a little sickness added to transform the president's message to schoolchildren into a Marxist subliminal subtext. But then he tells us why: Look where it all began -- President Barack Obama was born and schooled in Indonesia.
I realize it's as difficult for some white guys to see black people on the front page instead of the sports and entertainment pages as it is to see a Latina woman now sitting on the Supreme Court. They rage and ask what is happening to our America?
A variety of opinions is fine and, at times in the U.S., we have even encouraged diverse opinions. However, some views are beyond the pale. A future installment of McFeatters' "Looney Tunes" may well be the promotion of the candidacy of Glenn Beck for president. After all, Act One was Sarah Palin.
-- Bruce Allen Hardy, Ventura
Re: John C. Bersia's Sept. 11 commentary, "Anti-terror bragging rights serve as a distraction":
I share Bersia's views totally on the subject and can only wish that it is the general consensus of every citizen in this great nation of ours victimized by the horrors of 9/11. Acts of evils can never be underestimated. We should always be vigilant so it does not happen again.
We have God to be grateful to for giving us President George Bush and our brave men and women who strongly and bravely persevered during those trying moments of our lives. While we lived safely and peacefully in our own homes, they were courageously engaged in a dangerous fight against evils and subjected to verbal abuse and demonstrations from the very citizens they were trying to protect.
I wish to add that these ongoing "anti-terror bragging rights" do not only serve as a distraction, but they also prolonged this war we waged against evils. I strongly believe that if we had united all the way in our support for this war from the beginning, it would not have gone this far. Our strength, power and determination as a nation united to fight these evils would have been enough to scare them away. But evil as they are, they are also smart enough to know that "divided we fall." Our divisiveness gave them the guts to carry on.
While it is true that negotiation among other nations is an option to settle a dispute, it can never replace our ability to depend upon ourselves at any moment we are provoked. To protect our nation at any cost must be everyone's top priority. Either we follow the lead or get out of the way.
-- Socorro G. Mercado, Oxnard
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 13 essay, "Our not-so-civil discourse":
President Barack Obama claims that his healthcare plan will not add "one dime" to the deficit. Does Howry honestly believe that?
I don't, and most folks with common sense believe this is an absolutely absurd claim. That's as close to a lie as one can get. The truth is the United States of America cannot afford the taxes, deficits and debt we will incur as a result of a radical government overhaul of one-sixth of the economy.
Part of the anger Howry is witnessing in America is due to the irresponsible bias in the mainstream media that protects Obama and his misleading financial representations of a major healthcare overhaul by the government.
I truly believe if the mainstream media did its job of asking the tough questions and providing objective reporting of the facts, Howry would not see as much "uncivil discourse" among Americans. To cite just a couple of examples, the mainstream media completely ignored the radical kooky background of Van Jones and will not investigate the corruption within the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
I recommend folks read "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media." The mainstream media is not providing the balanced accountability, truth and conscience all Americans crave.
No wonder there is so much anger and frustration among ordinary Americans.
-- Sean Ragan, Camarillo
The Government Accounting Office, a nonpartisan government entity, has been telling us for quite some time now that both Social Security and Medicare will be insolvent in the very near future. So instead of all this bickering with regards to healthcare, why not just fix these two government programs before we add more debt to the American taxpayers?
-- Brian Haueter, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 13 article, "Squeezing in education":
In 1934 I graduated from the new Mountain View Grammar School in El Monte. My eighth grade graduation class was combined with sixth and seventh grade in one room and one teacher. There were no disruptive problems, as we were taught at home to behave and to respect our teachers and other adults.
My father attended classes in the old building, complete with bell tower and housing storerooms, the principal's office and a room for parent functions such as graduation. My principal was my father's teacher. I can still remember the old cloakrooms with the lunch smell of egg sandwiches and apples, and I can visualize the rows of paper bags on the shelves.
Perhaps one of the possible problems with schools today is lack of discipline at home, with children losing respect for parental and adult authority, as well as for each other.
-- James Beck, Ventura
Re: Dale McFeatters' Sept. 12 commentary, "Subliminal socialism: What Obama really said":
McFeatters accused President Barack Obama of indoctrinating the youth of America with "subliminal socialism."
The president's speech was nonpolitical. He used clear language, easily understood by the youthful audience it was intended to reach.
McFeatters wrote his poisonous interpretations of the president's message to the students of America in sentences and sometimes long paragraphs below the president's words as though the speech were written in a foreign language and had to be interpreted.
The president's words were loud and clear to the youth of America: Go to school. Stay in school. When you are there, listen. Spend your school years learning and building character. Make something of yourself to be personally happy, and finally, be an asset to this country, your family and yourself.
If those words hit the American youth on an even deeper subliminal level, then the speech's message was even better than expected. To misinterpret words that are so clear and ideas that are so well meaning, is an insult to the writer, and in the case of McFeatters' article, to the reader.
Being spoken to clearly and directly by the president of their country, with language and in a tone a father might use, can be so impressive to an age group looking for direction through leaders they can respect and imitate while they deal with their metamorphosis into adulthood. Better our president and their parents than drug dealers and gang leaders.
-- Cynthia Loughman, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 13 Pulse page commentary, "Just the facts, please," by Frank Bland, and John I. Hanson's letter, "We need to get it right":
Opponents of President Barack Obama's healthcare plan should get together on their arguments. Many times all you have to do to find an answer to one objection is to read another letter from a different opponent. These two items in The Star on Sept. 13 illustrate my point.
Hanson says that Medicare pays only 60 percent of healthcare costs, forcing private insurers to pick up the remaining share of government costs. From this we are expected to conclude that under a public insurance plan, government muscle and lowball negotiating will undercut private health insurers and drive them out of business.
But in his commentary, Bland says that hospitals and doctors get more money -- a lot more, he says -- when they are reimbursed by Medicare rather than by an insurance company like Blue Cross. In his words, the government "doesn't know what it's doing" when it negotiates healthcare contracts and "can't seem to figure it out." Bland insists that the government should just stay out of the healthcare business rather than busting the federal budget with bad contracts.
So which is it? Is the federal government such a hardball negotiator that its healthcare pricing will drive private insurance companies out of business? Or is it squishy soft, so inept at negotiating a fair price that it will bankrupt taxpayers in any public healthcare program? Reform opponents really can't have it both ways.
Then again, maybe this sort of confusion inevitably happens when you start with the conclusion you want to reach -- no Obama healthcare -- and then create arguments to support your position.
-- Rick Scott, Ventura
I would like to inform readers that Coastal Clean-up is Saturday.
I won't be here, so this past Saturday, with a crew from Procter & Gamble, we picked up trash on Mandalay Beach just off 5th Street up to the Mandalay power station.
We have been doing this for a few years, and I am a bit sad to report that the majority of dog owners are not picking up after their pets! I have never seen the beach in such poor condition as last Saturday. I was elated to notice that some owners did use bags that we picked up.
Lastly, picking up broken bottle glass is not fun. It cuts through our bags and can cut your legs. Cut it out!
-- John W. White, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 13 editorial, "Shutting down DUI offenders":
This editorial didn't mention that mandating ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders is an incremental step in a project that seeks to put alcohol sensors in all cars.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is leading a movement -- supported by automobile manufacturers and the federal government -- to develop ignition interlock technology suitable for installation in all cars. MADD is trying to subtly encourage Americans to be supportive of such in-car alcohol sensors by making interlock technology more ubiquitous. That's why requiring interlocks for all offenders -- even first-time offenders who are statistically unlikely to commit their crime again -- is MADD's top priority in California.
Once in all cars, interlocks would be set well below the legal limit -- at 0.02 or 0.03. See the proof on our Web site, www.InterlockFacts.com. That means the end to moderate drinking prior to driving. You will no longer be able to have a glass of wine with dinner, a beer at a ballgame or a champagne toast at a wedding before driving home. That application of the technology isn't anti-drunks, it's anti-drinks.
-- Sarah Longwell, managing director, American Beverage Institute, Washington, D.C.
Re: your Sept. 13 article, "Nurturing 'grand' kids":
I agree with the author on all the points she brings up regarding raising productive, healthy, well-adjusted and well-behaved children. I would only add that these "tips" should be practiced by the parents, as well.
The problem with our youth -- i.e. gangs; lack of respect for their elders, private and public property; teen pregnancy; poor grades in school; etc., etc. I'll stop here -- is simply poor parenting, in my opinion. It was way different in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. These "time-outs," lack of discipline and all the other feel-good measures have simply failed to work in many instances.
-- Stan Vath, Oxnard
It sickens me to think that we have employed people to represent us in our government that are ignorant, disrespectful and racist. No other president has been called a liar to the whole world. It's a sad time for us in these United States of America.
-- Verlean P. Owens, Moorpark
Re: your Sept. 10 article, "Triple 9s result in more births at T.O. hospital":
As an experienced nurse with a graduate degree in prenatal and perinatal psychology, I feel compelled to address this article that depicts the overmedicalization of birth in our culture today.
The World Health Organization guidelines state that the Caesarean section rate should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of all births, and it is known that rates above that seem to do more harm than good. Yet, in the United States today, the Caesarean section rate is over 30 percent, twice that of 1996, and continues to rise, with some hospitals as high as 50 percent.
The reasons for this are many and controversial but mostly stem from the fact that parents are not made aware of the evidence-based research that shows that birth interventions do more harm than good. This creates an environment that places low-risk pregnancies with less than optimal outcomes for mothers and babies.
While childbirth is a natural human biological process, it is the leading cause for hospitalization in the United States today. The current trend for childbirth care is highly technical and contributes to almost half of the most commonly performed hospital procedures for the entire population, including C-sections and labor inductions. These procedures add greatly to our rising healthcare costs and, in this era of healthcare reform, should be a focus issue.
It seems that many of the parents mentioned in this article who chose these technical means to have their babies born on 09-09-09 did so because they believe it is a symbol of "good luck." I am overjoyed that all of those babies are "doing well." Yet, I am concerned that, if the facts were really known about the overmedicalization of birth in this country today, many would consider more holistic means to bring to bring their babies into a more natural, caring and loving environment.
-- Mary Anne Vernallis-Strohsahl, Newbury Park
On a recent morning, as I was dropping my daughter off at school, I received my very first ticket in my 25 years of driving. As I waited eastbound on Borchard Road to make a left turn toward Sequoia Avenue, I saw the familiar motorcycle cop at the corner. I was sitting just behind the left-turn lane, along with 11 other cars behind me. Do all of you know that sitting there will get you a traffic ticket? This turn lane holds about four of the 15 or more cars turning left in the morning. What we are supposed to do is block through traffic and wait to the right of the turn lane.
The polite officer informed me that all 12 cars were doing the wrong thing, but only two of us were cited that day. If 12 out of 12 drivers are getting it wrong, I'd say there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
The next day I did as the officer told me and waited in the through traffic lane. I was honked at and nearly rear-ended. I am outraged at this unsafe situation. Drivers, beware.
-- Beth Carroll, Newbury Park
Re: Ron Hertz' Sept. 11 letter, "Expose the lies":
Hertz needs to stop drinking so much Kool-Aid.
-- Linda LaRue, Thousand Oaks
What is the big rush to pass legislation on healthcare reform if it isn't going to be enacted until 2013? Oh, that's right: That is after the 2012 elections.
Let's have a trial period on whatever is passed by Congress. Starting in 2010, have all federal employees, including all House and Senate members, be covered by it. If it works, fine. If not, it doesn't harm the people who don't work for the federal government.
-- Dave McDonald, Oak Park
There is an element of the healthcare reform movement I would like to see explained with more specificity and perhaps quantified.
As is the purpose of these proposed changes, more Americans will be receiving regular medical attention. Is the infrastructure of the medical and healthcare system in America prepared to handle that increase?
The proponents of a revised system like to throw out the number of Americans without healthcare insurance as 48 million. The assumption is those people rarely see a doctor. Critics point out this number is being misinterpreted and not representative of the problem, but since the supporters love that number, let's go with it.
The population of the United States is 307 million plus. The 48 million "uninsured" represent about 15 percent of the population. These are people that will be competing with you and me for doctor's appointments and hospital services. If I am lucky, my doctor may double-book me when I have a serious problem such as sudden dangerously high blood pressure or rapid heartbeat. But for average medical needs, I may have to wait two weeks to a month for an appointment.
Based on that, the existing medical system would seem to be operating at capacity. My experience is that a 15 percent increase in demand on a system in that state will swamp it.
Do any parts of the healthcare bills include incentives for people to become doctors? Are enough young people ready to commit to student loans of $150,000 plus? Are there provisions to provide tuition to the medical schools? Are the medical schools staffed to deliver larger numbers of physicians? I am told it takes 11 to 13 years of preparation to produce a practicing doctor.
I would appreciate seeing letters on this aspect from doctors and people involved in the healthcare field.
-- William Vietinghoff, Thousand Oaks
In the past 12 months, the California Department of Transportation has spent a vast amount of money building onramps and offramps to nowhere along the 118 Freeway entering into Simi Valley. They are massive projects with huge amounts of earth movement and are apparently very, very expensive. But so many of us ask, "Why?"
The Rocky Peak offramp that exists going west leads to virtually no community, no businesses, really nothing. Why did the state feel it necessary to build more onramps and offramps here?
Many of us would love to know the rationale behind this massive roadwork.
-- Bill Clark, Simi Valley
There was a time when the Main Street media was the watchdog for the American people. But I don't think that is the case anymore.
A videotape was recently released showing two people from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now advising a couple on how to start a brothel and avoid paying taxes. The two people from ACORN were fired.
This story was covered by only two news outlets. The Star did run a small article on the firing of the two people.
Well, the next day, another office was caught on videotape doing the same thing. The same two news outlets reported this story.
Why is this important? This group receives taxpayer funds from Housing and Urban Development and is in line to receive more of our money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Some months ago, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., started an investigation into ACORN and then stopped. When asked why, he stated that the powers-that-be told him to drop the investigation.
ACORN is the same group that is under investigation in a number of states for voter fraud.
I am asking the American people to write Congress and demand that all funding to this group be stopped. Who are the people that told Conyers to drop his investigation and why? Congress should investigate this group. What is the purpose of HUD funds going to this group? This is more of our tax dollars at work.
-- Tom Dickson, Moorpark
Re: Frank Bland's Sept. 13 Pulse page piece on healthcare, "Just the facts, please":
As a registered nurse with a certification in case management, I may be able to shed some light regarding this issue.
The government does not negotiate with hospitals. Each diagnosis is "weighted," or given a certain dollar amount. Medicare pays hospitals for a patient admission, not on a daily basis, but pays the hospital based on the diagnosis. For example, if the diagnosis is pneumonia, the reimbursement may be $3,000 (hypothetical) regardless if the patient was in the hospital for one day or 20 days. Based on this type of reimbursement, hospitals are not able to project what the reimbursement would be on a daily basis.
The determination of the dollar amount is called Diagnostic Related Group, or DRG. The criteria for each diagnosis has been determined by a panel of physicians who are experts in their field.
On the other hand, most insurance companies, as well as Medi-Cal, negotiate a daily rate with hospitals, and the reimbursement is individual to the agreed rate between the hospital and the insurance company. Other insurances reimburse 70 to 80 percent of the charges. So you can see that if all insurances paid at 70 to 80 percent, a bill of $55,000 would have netted significantly more than a daily agreed upon rate or a DRG reimbursement.
Yes, there are many factors hospitals need not to profit, but to meet the bills. The salaries of not only nurses, but social workers, dietary workers, janitors, security, transportation orderlies, administration, radiology technicians, laboratory personnel, medical staff personnel, respiratory therapists, staffing and other secretaries, pharmacy personnel, switchboard operators, engineers, admitting and emergency personnel, plus care of uninsured patients who are unable to pay, not to mention maintenance of the physical plant, are all part of the costs of the hospitals. These costs do not end at 5 p.m., as in most other industries, but require 24-hour services.
Hopefully, this has shed some light on the issue and clears things up -- or has it?
-- Lauri Lefner, Simi Valley
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 13 essay, "Our not-so-civil discourse":
I was distressed at this essay about Rep. Joe Wilson's shout of "You lie!" Howry's essay stated Wilson might be forgiven if President Barack Obama had been lying.
Well, he was lying -- perhaps not technically, but the House Democrats voted down an amendment that would have required verification. The vote was 29 to 16 along party lines, so it's obvious the door is open, especially since Obama has called for amnesty for illegals.
As a newspaper editor, Howry owes more to his readers than biased reporting. I read an article in Investor's Business Daily by Thomas Sowell, a distinguished black economist with far more credibility and substance than Obama -- Sowell has a bachelor's degree from Harvard, a master's from Columbia and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His article was a scathing denunciation of the president's claim that he can insure millions more people without adding to the deficit, calling it "world-class chutzpah and an insult to anyone's intelligence."
Would that Howry could be so straightforward with facts, not opinion.
-- Joyce Goetz, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Sept. 14 In Brief article, "Obama condemns protester's killing":
Way in the back, way on the bottom of the page, with a few small paragraphs, The Star finally recognizes the slaying last week of a pro-life "activist" (read: sign holder).
But I guess congratulations are in order, because President Barack Obama's reaction was all of two small sentences, a considerable downsize from the outrage over the shooting of an abortionist who had brutally taken innocent human life for many years.
Where is the outcry for the shooting of James Pouillon, an innocent man who has taken no human life but only wished to speak for those whose lives have been summarily dehumanized and grimly and savagely destroyed?
The sign he held merely stated the reality of abortion. When we get our heads out of the sand and face that reality, perhaps the media and our president will have more than a few words to express the loss of men like Pouillon and those he strives to protect.
-- Dorothy Hage, Newbury Park
Re: your Sept. 13 article, "Healthcare plan foes fill corner to protest":
I was at the protest event. Here are several clarifications and a question:
-- For all of the repulsive things that President Barack Obama is, he is not a communist. Most of us realize this.
-- The correct issue to focus on is spending, not taxes. While I sympathize with Shelley Best, who wore the black robe of death, one can all too easily get the impression that if taxes were half of what they are, she would be happy. But in that case, spending would likely continue unchanged because the difference would simply be financed by more deficit spending. That is the problem.
-- To Matthew Johnson, virtually all of us in this protest movement are not arguing for no government, just smaller and more responsible government with most of the day-to-day decisions in citizens' lives made by the citizens themselves, and not by the government.
-- Now the question for Johnson: Just where in the world would we be allowed by government to establish our own Libertarian government? I, for one, would be delighted to go there and do it, and I look forward to Johnson's answer.
-- Dennis Edwall, Thousand Oaks
Re: Ron Hertz' Sept. 11 letter, "Expose the lies":
Hertz' letter purports to show that the events of 9/11 were orchestrated by the U.S. government, and that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by explosives planted by President George Bush.
This is the world's easiest pass/fail IQ test. If you believe in Hertz' nonsense -- where there is not even a scintilla of evidence to support his position -- you fail the test. It's that simple. I would not want to try to convince my 8-year-old granddaughter that there is no tooth fairy, and I would not want to try to persuade Hertz to change his views, as he is unable to understand reality or chooses to ignore reality for political purposes.
The same anarchist groups that created the World Trade Center fantasy also produced a 100 percent false presentation showing a cruise missile crashing into the Pentagon and not an American Airlines 757. I lost a friend and fellow grandfather in that crash. I guess Hertz' response would be that the airliner vanished into thin air and the passengers were transported to another universe, plus the Pentagon employees who were killed and their families would accept the loss of their loved ones as a sacrifice for the good of the country.
While it's fun to believe in conspiracy theories -- maybe President John F. Kennedy was killed by someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald, although there is apparently zero credible evidence of that -- and I do hope somebody finds the Loch Ness monster, even if it's just a big slimy eel, false 9/11 conspiracy theories are insulting to the folks who died that day and insulting to all Americans.
-- Tom Reilly, Thousand Oaks
Well, I see having been away for awhile that the controversial Walmart issue continues to linger.
I was wondering when the last time was that someone suggested our economic system works best when government stays out of issues like this. I could see, perhaps, the necessity for government, politics and the public to intervene if someone wanted to build a Super Spearmint Rhino on Victoria Avenue in Ventura, so close to our Government Center and all. After all, this is not the kind of place we want our publicly paid officials spending their lunch hours and then expecting them to get anything done the rest of day. Getting anything done is already something we have to question, and certainly that would not help.
But Walmart? Does anyone remember Harry's, Mayfair or Santa Cruz Markets? How about Jue's? I do. Safeway (Vons) put them all out of business. Business is business, right?
-- Joel Vitt, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 5 article, "After seven years, writer leaves job":
I just happened to read where our veterans officer, George Compton, is retiring.
As a Vietnam veteran and local community member, the veterans of this community have surely lost one of the best. Since the retirements of Charles Lowrance, Paul Calcaterra and many others, to have another brother of our veterans community leave is a terrible loss.
For many years, George Compton has been there for all of us, one way or another. There hasn't been a function, parade, meeting, sit-down, Veterans Day or Memorial Day holiday that this man has missed.
The shoes that George Compton has had to fill over the years were not an easy pair, to say the least. This man has assisted so many veterans that it is impossible to thank him for his continued service just because he is no longer in an office!
I have been to local schools with George Compton and have attended many functions that had to do with veterans, and he truly is the veterans advocate. But most importantly to us, he is a true-hearted friend.
I know that just because he has retired doesn't mean that we have seen the end of him, not in the least.
We have read his articles for many years, heard his speeches, and he has seen so many veterans pass on, he has shed tears with a lot of us, and yet he never once blinked an eye and never complained about what he went through in Vietnam.
There isn't a veteran in this community who would not share a foxhole or go on patrol with George Compton. He is a gentleman, always telling a veteran, "Thank you for your service and welcome home!"
Well, George Compton, we can't thank you enough for your service. We respectfully opened our hearts and minds to you, and you gave us your all. The times, the service, were all good. The Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County Inc., salute you proudly, and you will always have a special place in all of our hearts.
-- Dave J. Betti, Oak View
(The writer is president of Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County Inc. Compton was the Veterans Services officer for the Ventura County Human Services Agency. The county Veterans Services Office wants to continue the column and is searching for someone to write it. The agency hopes to bring the column back sometime in the fall. -- Editor)
Re: your Sept. 9 article, "Local students say Obama's speech inspiring, educational":
It is sad and pathetic that so many Ventura Unified School District students were denied the opportunity either by their school or their parents to hear the president's inspiring and motivational speech challenging them to do their best, work hard and never give up. Those same Ventura Unified students weren't as fortunate as the students from Mesa Verde School in Moorpark, featured in The Star, who were able to watch the speech and have a classroom discussion with their teacher afterward.
Were robocalls and notes sent home warning parents of all presidential addresses to students or just for this one? Were the robocalls alerting parents they could "opt out" of this dangerous and insidious message paid for by your tax dollars or by the GOP?
This was a shameful disservice to all our kids.
-- Carolyn Godfrey, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 9 editorial, "Hey, kids, listen up":
I was very pleased at the president's speech to the school children. What he said was right on the money. He didn't go into any victim routine. It reminds me of Bill Cosby's remarks before the press stopped covering them.
I don't know the answer, but was the text of the president's speech available the day before? If it wasn't previously released, then fearing an agenda was not unreasonable considering previous speeches.
Maybe the whole "have kids writing letters" thing was a trial balloon by the White House or a prestrike by his critics, in which case it worked by not having it in the final speech. I say good.
Why is it necessary, when referring to his accomplishments, to call President Barack Obama the "first African-American U.S. president," as The Star did in its editorial? It is similar to Joe Louis being referred to as a "credit to his race." I think "becoming president of the United States" would be sufficient, without adding a racist statement.
-- Rich Calverley, Santa Rosa Valley
It is inconceivable to me that we, supposedly the most powerful country in the world, rated 37th in life expectancy and 18th in overall coverage, would deny its citizens universal healthcare.
President Barack Obama is a pacifier, a man who will not work with just one party, regardless of whether or not that one party's progressives know that single-payer healthcare would save money, would cover everyone and wouldn't take four years to initiate. Obama has capitulated, once again, to the insurance industry.
This is a huge disappointment from someone who promised change. His speech was meant to pacify all sides -- once again.
-- Linda Ferland, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 9 Opinion cartoon:
Just a note to say Mike Thompson's cartoon cracked me up! There isn't much we can laugh about concerning illegal immigration, but this was just great. I thank The Star for running it!
-- Judith A. Mathison, Ventura
It is likely that some form of healthcare reform will soon be legislated. There will be a large increase of people with access to medical care -- a worthy goal, for sure. But will the legislation provide for some method of increasing the number of doctors and nurses? We can only hope that will be the case.
We can be pretty sure of this, however: Every member of Congress will be exempt from any unintended consequence of whatever is legislated. Why? They will continue to have their independent and quite elite medical plan, even after they retire from office.
-- Ken Gates, Ventura
Re: George Roberts' Sept. 10 letter, "The Walmart mirage":
I suppose having two Targets in Ventura because someone did not want to give up the space on Main Street -- fearing Walmart would take it and anger the Walmart haters -- is part of the mirage this author is referring to when he mentions cheap goods. However, what the two professors of finance did not say is that with no Walmart in Ventura, the citizens of our great town will simply keep shopping at the newly renovated Oxnard Walmart because they have cheaper goods.
The taxes they are paying to Oxnard are real, not a mirage. What is also not a mirage if that happens is that 100 percent of nothing is nothing.
-- Gene Bernardi, Ventura
I opted to show President Barack Obama's speech to American students to my Spanish classes at Newbury Park High School because, whether they supported him politically or not, I saw it as an opportunity for a successful adult to inspire them. After watching it, I asked them to write a reflection and consider its relevance to our Spanish class. I wanted to share some of their comments:
-- "Obama's speech to us relates to Spanish class because Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world and by learning it you're able to connect with people all over the world."
-- "Obama's speech relates to our class because he tells us we all have strengths and weaknesses, which is very relevant to learning a second language. Some aspects of Spanish come easily to us, but others require working hard to understand."
-- "If you're able to communicate with the people, you'll learn more about them, their culture and the circumstances they are living in. By knowing that you can help them, give them shots (if you're a doctor), to help them not get sick. You will learn more about the diseases they have and might be able to find a cure."
-- "He said it is tough to do good in school, but that it gives us the best reward in the end and the same is true for Spanish. The work and time put in to learning Spanish leads me to classify it as a demanding class. However, once we overcome all its difficulties, we'll be granted the prize of being fluent in the Spanish language."
This is the future of America. I am proud to know that they are the ones that will be teaching, inspiring and leading future generations to come.
-- Claudia Leigh Caudill, Ventura
Re: Wolf Breiman's Sept. 10 letter, "Whose truth?" a response to Emily Barry's Sept. 3 letter, "Pursuit of wisdom":
A student from St. Thomas Aquinas College wrote a letter extolling the quality education of that institution and the pursuit of wisdom and objective truth. Shortly, another letter followed challenging her letter.
The challenge stated that religion and objective truth are not compatible, a veiled attack on faith-based philosophical or religious truth. Unfortunately, the secular mindset will challenge any truth embedded in the moral and ethical foundations of this nation that are based on Judeo/Christian principles.
As for objective truth, the only objective truth for unbelievers is material evidence observed through sense perception. Essentially, that leaves mankind devoid of a sense of right and wrong and all the accompanying values inherent in the human condition. Humankind is more than eating, sleeping, reproducing, and vegetating. Those activities relegate mankind to merely "globs of protoplasm" -- certainly, not human!
The human condition has a higher sense of truth than matter-in-motion or the things observable by sense perception. We are not animals. We have a sense of right and wrong. We have the capacity for sacrificial and caring love. We have a sense of justice and mercy. Parents have the capacity for unlimited love of family. Soldiers have a sense of duty to orders and concern and compassion for comrades. Charities abound that care for the marginalized people of society. Humans have the capacity to forgive. The lists of intangible and unmeasurable attributes of the human being transcend the physically observable "objective truths" of sense perception.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the French sociologist, observed that Americans have many different religious denominations, but unlike the sectarian conflicts of Europe, we live in peace and harmony, for the most part, because we have a common basis of ethics and morals based on the Judeo/Christian religion. It is an observable and verifiable fact that those intangible truths that Breiman challenges result in a more harmonious and humane society.
-- Dave Pressey, Ojai
Re: Betsy Nowrasteh's Sept. 10 letter, "9/11 event inappropriate":
The same First Amendment that allows Nowrasteh to express her views in a letter to The Star -- and that allows The Star to publish it -- is the same First Amendment that allows 9/11 Truth Squad to show their film. Those who find the film's premise to be offensive, and I am one of them, can not attend, can protest (another First Amendment right) or can organize another event to promote their views (also a First Amendment right).
The fact that the First Amendment protects even despicable views such as those Nowrasteh lists -- the idea that President George Bush planned the events of 9/11 and those of the Ku Klux Klan and Holocaust deniers -- can be uncomfortable to all of us. But trying to determine truth in our democracy requires a free exchange of ideas. It is in that exchange that facts are separated from opinion. It can take a long time for that to happen, as witnessed by the too-slow decline of the Klan.
The problem with Nowrasteh being the one to try to decide who should be able to use their First Amendment rights is that if she can so decide, someone else could decide about her being able to do so. It's better to let the Constitution hold sway, as uncomfortable as that can sometimes be.
-- David Combe, Ventura
Re: Clifford D. May's Sept. 10 commentary, "Why winning in Afghanistan matters to the U.S.":
Reading May's commentary in light of Sept. 11 being upon us gives one a large dose of reasoning. The question of why we remain there is answered very plainly.
The Taliban and their culture show they can count on us to delude ourselves into believing that the war there is not going to gain us anything. They are counting on us to walk away believing it is a war we cannot win.
May's last paragraph explains it for all to see: "They are not seriously attempting to delude anyone. Rather, they are counting on us to delude ourselves. Eight years after 9/11 with many on both the left and the right arguing for a retreat, and a president who doesn't appear to know his own mind, can anyone say with confidence that they are wrong?"
Just think that last paragraph over, and it is very plain they are using historical facts to win this war.
I know it sure has made me think very long about that statement.
-- John Adams, Camarillo
Has everyone seen the bicycles scooting around with motors? I have a few questions and comments concerning these recent entries into public transportation.
What is the age limit? I see young children using these motorized vehicles. Doesn't the law require a person to be 16 years old and hold a valid driver's license?
Where are the helmets? Law requires all persons to wear a helmet while operating a motorized two-wheeled vehicle. I also see people riding on sidewalks, which should be forbidden. Are these converted bikes considered "street legal?"
The city is in need of cash, so how about requiring licenses to operate these vehicles? Personally, I see these motorbikes as yet another lazy person's form of exercise.
-- John Plait, Ventura
Democrats keep saying Republicans have no ideas. Wrong.
Darrell Issa, R-Vista, has submitted HR1316. It puts all Americans on the same plan as the U.S. Congress. It is 61/2 pages long.
According to information from conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock, our Congress has 11 companies to choose from. These 11 offer more than 100 plans. This sounds great to me. How about you, freedom-loving Ventura County residents?
-- Lois Shefflette, Oxnard
We are divided as a country because we cannot trust each other or the people we send to Washington to do what is right for the country. There are too many special interests, too much hypocrisy, too much power and too many lies, on both sides, from the president on down.
The objective is not to give us an improved healthcare system -- they could care less about that, as they have their own healthcare system. It's about power and control of 18 percent of the nation's economy -- control that is permanent and irreversible, a system that cannot be disbanded with another vote three years from now.
I hate to say we must remain static because we can't trust our leaders to lead, but that is the truth. It doesn't matter if they are liberal or conservative. Their motives have more to do with seat retention than with healthcare reform.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of our Constitution took the biggest risk of all, yet we're willing to undo 200 years of greatness so some politicians can continue to enjoy their ill-gotten riches from their special interest concern of the day.
Healthcare needs reform, and it can be reformed without committing to the dramatic and irreversible step of falling under a government-run system. Listen to all of the options, not just the one pushed by President Barack Obama. Yes, there are others! Seek them out.
We are divided because we have no trust -- not in our government, not in our leaders, and, as some would have it, not even in God. Fixing healthcare isn't going to be an easy resolve that can be accomplished in a few months. Neither is fixing our loss of trust. Unfortunately, they may go hand in hand.
-- Bud Bockoven, Moorpark
While the proposed building of new condominiums on Erbes Road between Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Hillcrest Drive seems to be a good idea in helping to improve the aesthetics, one has to wonder if a park or a grassy knoll that we all can enjoy might be a better option.
With traffic increasing in Thousand Oaks at an alarming rate and with the volume of cars that travel along this stretch of road each day -- and oftentimes at speeds beyond the posted limit -- building new condominiums may only exacerbate the problem rather than help it. Instead of always thinking that one needs to continue building on unoccupied land, perhaps we as a community ought to encourage others to build things like parks that helped to bring us here to begin with as an escape from the "concrete jungle" that many of us came from.
No one ought to stand in the way of free enterprise, but then again, we as a community shouldn't always think about revenue while sacrificing our city's dwindling wealth of natural beauty and needed parkland.
-- Thomas Larson, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Sept. 2 article, "Barking dogs' neighbors get a break":
I attended the Aug. 31 Simi Valley City Council meeting hoping for some good news about this barking dog business; I walked away furious at Councilmember Glen Becerra's comments about those of us who are working to find a solution for incessant dog barking.
I am a dog owner. I am not a curmudgeon or crank living to "make others miserable," as Becerra dismissively stated. Over the years, my husband and I have at times lost our ability to nap, sleep at night with our windows open, run my home tutoring business with the windows open, or work or entertain in our yard due to incessant barking because people go to work or off for the weekend or out until all hours, leaving a dog alone outside. I know the world is "a noisy place," as Becerra unnecessarily reminded us, but incessant, continuous dog barking does not fall under the definition of the normal noise in our crowded world.
I am encouraged by some of the Aug. 31 progress, such as the shorter logging period and transferring the hearings for Simi residents from Ventura to Simi. This is progress, but we have a long way to go. Fines for repeat offenders may have to be implemented, the current (new) system may very well overburden the few available Animal Control officers and increased complaints have already caused months-long delays in getting the necessary paperwork and response from Animal Control.
The more congested our town becomes, the more important manners -- common sense, consideration and kindness -- become. Taking responsibility for our pets is simply good manners.
-- Julie Harris, Simi Valley
I have become aware that the State of California is making further attempts to violate my Second Amendment rights by making it more difficult to purchase ammunition. What doesn't our government understand about the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed?"
Well, let me tell you, Assembly Bill 962, which was recently passed by the California Senate Appropriations Committee -- otherwise known as the California Socialist Committee on Socialistic Implementations -- is definitely an attempt to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. My response? I purchased 500 rounds of .22-caliber ammo, four more 10-round clips for my .22-caliber rifle, and 500 more rounds of 9 mm ammo. I figure I'll need it for living in a society where only outlaws have guns.
I'm also going to post a "Gun Free Zone" on my front lawn. I'll be a liar, I suppose, but the coward burglars who break into my house thinking I am unarmed will be dead. Not a bad trade-off. I can live with being a liar if it means one less burglar to worry about.
Fact: California has among the most restrictive gun laws in the United States.
Fact: California's murder and robbery rates are 12 percent and 20 percent higher, respectively, than the national average.
Fact: Crime rates in the U.S. were at 30-year lows in 2007. Crime rates have gone down while the trend in the last 20 years has been a relaxation of gun laws throughout the United States, California excepted.
Wake up and smell the gunpowder, fellow Americans. The socialists are hard at work putting an expiration date on our Constitution.
-- Randy Wheeler, Moorpark
I am currently in my sophomore year at CSU Northridge. My sister, a recent college graduate, is having a terrible time landing a job, and watching her struggle forces me to speak out.
Having Walmart come into Ventura seems, on the forefront, a great idea, yet I disagree. Yes, Walmart has a lot of "pros" to such a business, but family-owned businesses are unable to compete with Walmart prices, causing them to shut down.
The number of jobs Walmart would open for Ventura residents, in my eyes, does not seem enough to allow this business to end up in Ventura. The number of jobs left over for Ventura residents are mostly minimum wage, part-time jobs. Small businesses would be forced out of Ventura because small businesses cannot compete with Walmart's low prices. It will leave small business workers unemployed, causing a rise in the unemployment rate.
The low prices would cut the cost of living for Ventura residents and force residents to move out of Ventura because of individuals being unemployed. So, the cost of living will not be a determining factor anymore, therefore will lower the number of residents, which will hurt the city even more.
Unemployment has already skyrocketed to 10.9 percent, according to the Employment Development Department of California.
Walmart is known to have dead-end jobs, which are not helping the economy at this time. The cost of living will be cut down due to the opening of Walmart; however, the number of residents Walmart's business will drive out of Ventura outweighs this. In time, Ventura will end up hurting over the expansion of a Walmart.
-- Daria Abtin, Simi Valley
Re: your Sept. 2 article, "Barking dogs' neighbors get a break":
Simi Valley City Councilman Glen Becerra's comments and the City Council's decisions about barking dogs distort the issue and disrespect constituents.
Becerra reportedly tried to "consider both sides." On one side are community members who simply want to enjoy their homes without incessant barking. What are the interests of the other side? To allow their dogs to create a public nuisance without repercussion? I wish Becerra would clarify exactly what position he wishes to balance.
I was also surprised to see him question his constituents' motives. These people simply want the barking to stop. He instead commented that "some people live to make other people miserable." Who are these perpetrators, what misery are they trying to inflict and who are the victims? The people voicing their concerns simply want to go about their lives. They are as busy as Becerra, and to describe even a small percentage of them as mean-spirited busybodies is insulting. He should kindly refrain from blaming the victims of the problem and focus on the true source of misery: dog owners who care about no one but themselves.
When Becerra reasoned that fining dog owners won't stop the problem, he displayed a poor understanding of the issue. Fines actually would stop the problem. Dogs are very obedient by nature and respond to their owners' direction. I have seen firsthand how fast dogs quiet down when their owners tell them to. Fine the offending owners and you will be amazed at how fast the problem disappears. If it does not, it means the owner can't control the dog, and the city has a public nuisance problem.
Misguided priorities, disrespect toward constituents and faulty thinking do not reflect well on Becerra or the council. I implore him to reconsider these issues, consistent with his mission of public service.
-- David Shechter, Newbury Park
On the eighth anniversary of 9/11, the Foster Library in Ventura has rented a room to two groups -- the 9/11 Truth Search and Ventura County Stop the War -- to screen not once, but twice, the conspiracy film "Loose Change," which asserts that President George Bush bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that apparently there is no Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida or any other Islamic threat.
Is this my tax dollar at work, spitting on the innocent dead of that day and on all the warriors who have since fought and died in the cause? As a publicly owned facility, they would never rent to the Ku Klux Klan on Marlin Luther King Day or to Holocaust deniers on Yom Kippur -- and they shouldn't do this.
-- Betsy Nowrasteh, Camarillo
Dog owners should contact Cesar Millan, expert dog psychologist, for help so their dogs can stop barking at night. Millan has been very successful in solving many dogs' problems. That way, the disagreement can be solved amicably instead of escalating into a big fight.
-- John & Pongpan Hargett, Camarillo
Re: Jerry Guy's Sept. 9 letter, "Insanity is showing":
Not only was I shocked when I read Guy's letter claiming that America is an insane asylum, but after visiting the replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, I also found it as a slap in the face to what America stands for and to all the men and women who have given their lives to defend this great -- not stupid -- nation.
Yes, some people did not want their children to hear the president's speech, but is that reason enough to disrespect our country by calling it insane? If Bill Maher and Jerry Guy really believe this country is stupid, I defy them to go and say that in the presence of the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
-- Tina Hermosillo, Camarillo
Re: Steve Binder's Sept. 8 letter, "Who's playing roulette?"
Binder needs to update his facts. Blame for our country's myriad maladies can only be placed squarely on the Democrats and President Barack Obama.
Remember that the Democrats have been in power in Congress for the past 21/2-plus years, and Obama has been in charge for eight months. It is their decision to increase troops and military spending in Afghanistan, increase our national debt to unheard-of heights and try to foist a disastrous health plan on a public with no way of paying for it. Medicare will be bankrupt in just a few years; why would anyone trust the government to run any comparable plan?
Open minds are critical in times like these.
-- Catherine Wirtz, Thousand Oaks
Re: your Sept. 5 article, "Some boarders have complaints":
I am a member of the Mounted Volunteer Patrol. We provide assistance to the National Park Service at Rancho Sierra Vista and California State Parks at Point Mugu, both of which are adjacent to Circle K Stables.
I board my horse at Circle K primarily because it is convenient to my patrol duties.
I've been at seven different stables over the years, and I can tell you that the Perez family does a good job here.
The old Two Winds facility was not well-operated. Newcomers were unwelcome. It may have been less expensive, but you got what you paid for.
I've never had a problem with feed, arena conditions, attitude or anything else at Circle K.
I do encourage my fellow boarders to follow the published barn rules concerning parking and dogs.
Of course, anyone who is unhappy with Circle K is free to find a facility that better meets their needs. Taking one's business elsewhere is the best way to make one's dissatisfaction with a private business known to its operator.
-- Brent Lamb, Newbury Park
I have never had an issue with the administration at Sycamore Elementary School or the Simi Valley School District, but when my children came home and informed me that they did not see the speech given by the president of the United States, which was an elegant urging for children to stay in school and use education to achieve all they can in this world, my heart sank.
The school bowed to pressures from people who had not yet read the text of the speech and who seem to be afraid of the man this country elected to lead us less than a year ago.
I was taught to respect the Office of the President when I grew up. By denying them the opportunity to be spoken to by their elected leader, the school sent the subtle message that what the president says does not matter, or, worse yet, is harmful to them.
My children watch the news and are aware that a speech to children was planned, yet now they believe that the president must have wanted to say something wrong and they needed to be protected from him. Shame on all of you for sending this message to our children.
The opportunity to have children express their own thoughts was lost. In short, a chance to educate children about our world was lost.
It's no wonder we all want to fight with each other. We are not shown that difference of opinion is good, and that's what makes America great.
These educators all failed today. I am embarrassed by what I thought was a fine school system.
-- Bart Sumner, Simi Valley
Re: your Sept. 8 editorial, "Dialing back the hysteria":
The writer doesn't say what the original speech was about that brought on the hysteria. It was President Barack Obama who had to dial back his left-wing rhetoric and indoctrination of our children, wasn't it? He wasn't going to just tell them to obey their parents, stay in school and be good boys and girls.
The absurd statement that some activists and right-wing talk shows urged parents to boycott Obama's speech is ridiculous. On the contrary, parents can think for themselves, no matter how hard liberals try to make you think they have to do the job for you.
Liberals think the American people are stupid, but I can tell you that they are underestimating the people who love this country and want to maintain their freedom. And I beg to differ, they are not all right-wing wackos like the left is trying to portray.
Why don't the media hacks report on the many questionable czars this man is appointing? Wasn't it Obama who said, "Watch who I associate myself with?" Well, I've been watching, and I am appalled at the backgrounds of some of these appointees. I was always taught, "birds of a feather...."
Hearing the president speak is a memorable moment for children when the motives are honorable and benefit all. This president has a real hard time telling the truth.
I would also like to point out that not all students are getting their news from Comedy Central. There are some pretty darn smart kids and young adults out there. What an insult to their intelligence!
In my opinion, the beliefs of this administration have a lot of similarities to those of Karl Marx, and the American people are picking up on it.
-- Judith Patton, Moorpark
Re: your Sept. 5 article, "Health debate continues":
I was disappointed with Rep. Lois Capps' "information session" at the Bethel AME Church.
There was no real discussion. She parroted the benefits of the plan and would not admit that there might be some rough spots or maybe some unexpected consequences. Even many Democrats are expressing concern about parts of the plan, but to Capps, the plan is perfect in every way. It was like watching a 90-minute Democratic National Committee commercial. We sat there like good school children and were admonished if we so much as applauded.
I am a practicing optometrist and deal with Medicare and Medi-Cal. Both plans are running out of money. Last month Medi-Cal eliminated all optometric care for adults. I have patients who need care and cannot get it. Sounds like rationing doesn't it? If you add millions of people to the healthcare system, there will be rationing of care.
When you think about a government-run healthcare plan, look to the postal service and the unemployment office as examples. The phrase "good enough for government work" is still frequently heard. Costs will increase beyond estimates. The postal service is raising the cost of stamps every time you turn around.
Rather than destroy our current system, let's fix what we have. Make health insurance tax-deductible to the employee, just like it is for employers. Eliminate state mandates. Let us buy the plan we need. Allow us to buy our insurance across state lines. The result will be more options at better prices, and there will be more people with insurance.
The DNC response is that this cannot be done because of existing law. Well, just modify the laws. That's simpler than creating a massive new bureaucracy.
-- Don Steensma, Oxnard
Re: Joe Howry's Sept. 6 essay, "Wounds never truly heal":
The most painful experience in my life is always with me. Not a day goes by without something triggering a memory of the Vietnam War -- a nightmare, daydreaming, automobile backfire, helicopters, fireworks, etc.
The wounds of war, physical and emotional, will never heal for me. I don't want to forget my comrades who gave their lives for others. Some of us were drafted and some enlisted. We were black, white, Indian, Hispanic and Asian. Sure we had our differences -- this was 1968, 1969, the civil rights movement was still going on. But in the battlefield, we were brothers fighting to keep each other alive.
My men were brave and gave their lives for us. And for me to try to brush it off and forget them would be dishonorable.
-- Tony Vasquez Jr., Fillmore
The First Amendment was not necessarily written to protect the rights of old folks to yell at their members of Congress. Freedom of the press, enjoyed by our media, was given with an obligation. Our Founders feared most of all an overreaching, oppressive central government. The duty of the press was to be an aggressive watchdog for the people.
Over the last several weeks, neither NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times nor The Star uncovered or wished to report on the shenanigans of the green-jobs czar, Van Jones. Not until he resigned because he might be an embarrassment to the White House did anything come out, then with the innuendo that he was driven out by right -wing radicals.
If the media are going to be nothing more than cheerleaders for the current administration, they're falling down on the job.
-- George Niznik, Oxnard
Re: George Will's Sept. 4 essay, "It's time the U.S. left Iraq":
I rarely agree with George Will, but he is "right on" regarding the U.S. pulling ground troops out of Afghanistan. I disagree when he says the U.S. should continue bombing using drones, etc.
The U.S. has been in almost continuous wars and conflicts for decades, and today we have military occupations in more than 100 countries. History shows that when a country spends more than 50 percent of its gross national product on what's known as the military industrial complex, it's doomed to fail.
Wake up, America! It's way past time to end the warring. Let's have "surges" for healthcare, education, housing, rebuilding deteriorating infrastructures and repaying all our debts.
Let's use our military dollars more wisely. Instead of invading and destroying other countries, which then kill civilians and military personnel, let's use those monies to strengthen our country's homeland security.
-- Judith A. Beay, Ventura
Re: your Sept. 6 editorial, "Doing right by the little ones":
I read this editorial with a sigh of relief. I, along with many others, have voiced major concerns about the results of ending Healthy Families, which served children who had no other place to turn for health insurance.
I was pleased to see that both Democrats and Republicans realized that when poor children don't receive the proper healthcare, it affects the entire state. I was appalled to see that my assemblywoman, Audra Strickland, R-Moorpark, the mother of two young children, chose to vote no, along with four other Republicans, on AB1422.
It's fortunate for the Strickland youngsters that they don't need to depend on Healthy Families to cover their basic health needs due to the excellent healthcare benefits afforded California legislators. Strickland, sad to say, did "wrong" by the less fortunate little ones.
-- Sharon L. Hillbrant, Camarillo
Sept. 11 was a pivotal day in American history. Our great country was attacked by radical Islamic terrorists.
That day I woke up. I was one of those Americans who took everything for granted. That included my country, my freedoms and my life. After 9/11, everything changed. I realized America was vulnerable to attack, our way of life was under assault, and I as an American citizen had a responsibility to get involved.
As a result, I decided to no longer sit on the sidelines. I started by collecting stuffed animals for children who had lost a parent on 9/11 with my friend, Linda. Our next step was to send packages to the troops in Iraq. This continues to this day. Third, I started getting informed and began writing letters to newspapers. Finally, I joined the Santa Barbara Tea Party & Culpepper Society.
I feel our politicians are not looking out for the best interests of America.
America, do not forget 9/11 and the lessons learned from it. Do not forget we all came together as Americans. Do not forget we have ruthless enemies and need a strong national defense. Do not forget our politicians represent us, not rule us.
Please America, honor those whose died on 9/11. Say a prayer, attend a 9/11 event or write a letter. Do not forget.
-- Diana Thorn, Carpinteria
For those parents who feared that President Barack Obama's speech would brainwash their innocent children, this task will be difficult. Turn off all the family radio and television sets for two days, hide the daily newspaper and tell them not to talk with their classmates for a week or two. Super vigilant parents should make sure their children do not read the U.S. Constitution.
-- Sherman N. Mullin, Oxnard
Incredible! Some people did not want the president of the United States to encourage their kids to do well in school!? Bill Maher was spot on when he said that America has become a stupid country, but it goes way beyond stupid. We have truly become the insane asylum of the universe!
-- Jerry Guy, Oxnard
As an educator and a parent, I am dumbfounded by the objections to President Barack Obama's address to our country's school children. The text of the president's speech, available for preview, reveals that the crux of the message to students is to work hard in school, be accountable, set educational goals and to take responsibility for one's own learning.
This is good stuff. Really good stuff.
Why any parent would dispute the value of such a message is unimaginable. Clearly, too many of our citizens are being easily influenced by the ranting furor coming from certain media outlets. It is an absolute shame that people have actually been convinced that our president intends to indoctrinate their children with "his socialist agenda."
In fact, there is a precedent for American presidents to address our nation's students about the importance of education.
In 1991 President George H.W. Bush gave an address to students from a Washington, D.C., middle school. He stated, "When it comes to your own education, what I'm saying is take control." He also emphasized the importance of getting a first-class education, working hard and speaking up in class.
In 1986 President Ronald Reagan took questions from a group of high school students at the White House that was later broadcast nationally. Reagan encouraged the group of students to stay in school and say no to drugs.
Whatever one's political views, I cannot understand why any American adult would be opposed to having a child give 18 minutes of his or her time and attention, not to mention due respect, to our elected leader to hear a message about the crucial importance of taking responsibility for one's own learning and making education a top priority. Academic success has a profound effect on a child's ultimate success in life. Kids need frequent and direct communication about the importance of school. They need to hear it from their parents, their teachers and their president.
-- Angela Light, Camarillo
So now it begins.
Even before the healthcare legislation is signed into law, the things we feared and asked our representatives about at these town hall meetings is becoming reality.
Because I have a friend at a care center in Oxnard, I recently received a letter from its administrator stating the following:
"As I'm sure you are aware, Congress is currently considering legislative proposals to reform the health care system. Unfortunately, the current legislation in the House of Representatives proposes cutting Medicare cuts for nursing home care by more than $32 billion over 10 years. This would be on top of a recent change in regulations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put in place in July. That regulation change already cut funding for nursing home patients by $12 billion, cuts equal to $176,200,200 in our state alone. The combination of these cuts is unsustainable and will result in the loss of 50,000 vital healthcare jobs. These are the same people that our residents depend on for quality care."
The letter goes on to say that more than 70 percent of the care center costs are labor-related and that the impact to the staff will directly affect the kind of care they can provide.
So, these are not irrational fears or concerns that many pro-healthcare advocates have labeled as scare tactics or outright lies. This new healthcare system is going to deprive many (mostly seniors) of quality healthcare in the near future.
-- Richard Wiegman, Camarillo
Re: your Sept. 5 article, "Health debate continues":
I attended U.S. Rep. Lois Capps' recent town hall meeting in Oxnard. It was fully controlled and an exercise in futility. She either was unable or unwilling to answer sincere questions.
When asked where in the Constitution the government had the right to take over healthcare, she mumbled something about health and the pursuit of happiness.
When asked how much money the healthcare companies gave to her campaign, she said she didn't know.
When asked what had led her to believe that government could run healthcare when Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Amtrak, the postal service and the government itself were bankrupt, she went off on a meaningless pie-in-the-sky rant that evaded the question.
She said the healthcare bill was deficit neutral, when the Congressional Budget Office stated the cost would be $1 trillion over 10 years.
She said it would be a nonprofit-type organization that would compete with private insurers to bring the cost down. But a nonprofit with deep pockets -- i.e., the ability to print money -- will drive private insurers out of business and the government single-payer system will result.
She further stated she would vote for Obama's plan regardless of what her constituents thought. She proved herself to be an empty suit who was going to follow her own agenda regardless.
Anyone in the audience who did not go along was referred to as another "Jerry Springer."
Good luck, America.
-- Peter Poulson, Oxnard
Re: your Sept. 5 article, "Health debate continues":
It was reported that the majority of this crowd was pro-public option. Actually it was about 4-to-1 against.
The meeting was respectful on both sides, but the audience was treated condescendingly, chided by the moderator for any noise at all. It was frustrating to not be able to ask our questions directly or show a sense of agreement or disagreement.
Capps obviously knows her constituents oppose this legislation as written and had organized her strict meeting rules accordingly. Anyone not following the rules would be escorted out.
As correctly reported, Capps asserted she will vote in favor of HR3200 even if the majority of her constituents are against it. She claimed that healthcare is a civil right and will thus be voting in favor of this bill based on moral grounds.
It's interesting that she threw in morality, considering she is the author of the Capps amendment, a so-called compromise to the healthcare bill that would grant taxpayer-funded abortions through the back door by way of a bookkeeping scheme. But that's another moral story.
One question posed to Capps was, "Where in the Constitution does it say that there is a right to healthcare?" Capps' answer was an embarrassing gaffe -- she stated that the right to healthcare is in the Constitution. Her words: "It says, 'right to health, liberty and pursuit of happiness.'" This drew laughs and gasps from the audience.
While it is an imperative that healthcare costs are lowered, there are many free market solutions that we should try before handing over a chunk of our economy and freedoms to the wasteful and often unethical federal government. Capps, disappointingly, was not interested at all in any such market-based reforms.
-- Laurin Dalon, Oxnard
Re: Ann Paul's Sept. 7 letter, "Leash law ignored":
I live in Fillmore, and people seem to think it is OK to let their dogs run loose here also.
I walk every day with two small Chihuahuas, and it is very scary when loose dogs come after us. I have found a foolproof way to stop them in their tracks. I bought a 99-cent small spray bottle, and I put pure ammonia in it with the sprayer on stream.
All you have to do is spray it at the dogs. They hate the smell and will run away every time. You don't have to hit them with it -- just the smell will chase them away, guaranteed. The bottle fits right on the belt loop of your pants.
-- Judi Clark, Fillmore
Michael Moore, as usual, abandons fact for fantasy in his latest movie screed condemning capitalism as the world's No. 1 scourge. Most tellingly, he ignores the fact that the greatest monstrosities of the 20th century were committed not by capitalists, but anti-capitalists: Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse-Tung.
Also, his theme would be convincing if he turned over to charity all the profits he will enjoy from his film.
-- Don Anderson, Oak View
Is it true the national address to our school kids by the president of the United States was censored from our schools?
How does this happen? Why, it's the big lie! Wild-eyed messiahs of the airways have started another campaign against the president. The big lie is the president's address to the school kids is going to indoctrinate them into socialism. Wow! President Barack Obama's socialism is pushed at every opportunity by his media foes to reinforce the big lie anytime actions by the president are presented. If you tell the big lie enough times, people will believe it.
Who are these preachers of these truths? Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, just to name a few of the more notables. Television and radio are powerful media used every day to pound on the big lie. You may want to believe it is their values and convictions that motivate them to tell the masses the truth and the voice our outrage. It is great theater.
I believe their motives are much simpler. The big lie is very profitable to their pocketbooks. They have all made careers on perfecting this message, and they are accountable to no one. It is sad to see parents used as pawns for their big lie and greed.
Panicked parents called and threatened school districts not to show the president's address to their kids or else. Who has indoctrinated whom? Unfortunately, the message children didn't hear from the president is "to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble." This is a pretty tough message to swallow and much like the messages from our previous presidents.
Shame on the media who invest in the big lie and the parents who buy into it. And shame on the school districts for censoring the president without him ever speaking a word.
-- Jace McManama, Thousand Oaks
U.S. Rep. Lois Capps is not telling the truth about HR3200. She said you would not lose your private insurance. Page 16 of the bill sets up a process for taking away private medical insurance.
We need to ask the following questions:
If my company moves out of California and I stay and become self-employed, can I get private insurance? The answer is no.
If my company cancels the private insurance plan and takes on the public option, can I buy my own private insurance? The answer is no.
Where in the Constitution does Congress have the power to force a nation healthcare plan on the public? The answer is nowhere.
-- John Henke, Newbury Park
For those of you who want to preserve the "status quo" in healthcare, here are some observations:
-- $2.2 trillion national health expenditures in 2007, accounting for 16.2 percent of gross domestic product.
-- Healthcare costs grow 6.9 percent annually, based on historical data.
Assuming perhaps an optimistic 3 percent GDP annual growth rate, healthcare costs will consume 19.5 percent of GDP in 2012, 23.5 percent in 2017, and 28.3 percent in 2022.
Clearly this is not sustainable. We can't afford not to implement healthcare reform.
-- Robert Schnitzler, Simi Valley
Re: Deb Holler's Sept. 4 letter, "Gallegly's available":
I'm afraid Holler is the one who's uninformed. During the Ventura County Fair, my friend and I went to U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly's booth and asked if he was planning a healthcare town hall. The persons working there hadn't a clue what we were talking about. My friend then wrote a request to Gallegly asking him about it. We heard nothing.
It's all well and good for him to make a talk before the Rotary Club in Simi Valley, but what about the rest of us? I for one have lived in Newbury Park for 15 years and am quite active in various things and have yet to lay eyes on him. And how many people knew of the Rotary Club meeting in Simi Valley?
U.S. Rep. Lois Capps recently held a healthcare town hall and heard people from both sides.
The Democratic Club of Conejo Valley and the Democratic Clubs of Oxnard and Moorpark held forums for their members as the program for their regular meetings, but on the whole, we were once again largely ignored.
-- Jody Avery-Smith, Newbury Park
Re: your Sept. 7 article, "White House adviser quits over remarks":
The article on Van Jones resigning seemed fair. The only thing it seemed to leave out is that Jones admitted that he was a communist and a rowdy nationalist, per Wikipedia. When did it become OK for a communist, rowdy nationalist or any radical to be advising the president of the United States?
President Barack Obama has surrounded himself with many, many, questionable people, so I think it's fair that with all of the controversy that surrounds him, we scrutinize who is advising our president.
-- Cynthia Townsley, Oak Park
Approximately 300 rural properties will be affected by the proposed general plan update the City of Simi Valley is considering.
The Kadota Fig area of Simi Valley has a long history dating back to pre-incorporation of the city and is zoned rural to allow horses and other animals. The proposed rezoning will allow medium- to high-density apartments and condos into this neighborhood, and only negative consequences will follow. The new residents will not want to be next to horses or other farm animals or deal with the related issues involving their upkeep. Also, any improvements or sale of an existing property will change the zoning to automatically disallow these animals. This is inherently unfair to the residents of this area who want their rural lifestyle.
I urge the residents of Kadota Fig to attend the joint City Council/Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 22 to voice their concerns and opposition to these proposed changes.
-- Kevin Brown, Simi Valley
Our Legislature commendably provided funding for additional children to keep their Healthy Families health insurance.
Unfortunately, having insurance coverage doesn't equate to having access to medical care. Anthem/Blue Cross, the administrator for Healthy Families, receives the same premium per child it used to, but it has cut its payments to pediatricians by more than 50 percent. The difference results in even more unconscionable profit for Anthem.
Doctors can't afford to keep their offices open at these rates and will have to stop seeing Healthy Family children, even though the insurance has been preserved. No access to care means no care, and children suffer so Anthem can keep its stockholders happy and pay its executives their exorbitant salaries and bonuses.
Anthem wins, pediatricians lose, children lose. What is wrong with this picture?
Healthcare reform should start with controlling the monopolistic insurance companies and Anthem in particular.
-- Michael Gollub, M.D., Thousand Oaks
(The writer is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. -- Editor)
A public option for healthcare and insurance is the divisive issue, fueling intense argument across the country. Why is President Barack Obama continuing to divide the people and the parties in this way? A government competitor is unnecessary to achieve a more caring, balanced, cost-effective and affordable healthcare system.
If, instead, Obama will seriously look at reform through such options as health savings accounts, allowing interstate insurance competition, tort reform, tax deductions for individuals purchasing insurance privately and other measures that support both individuals and business, he'll retain what's working in American healthcare, help change what isn't and stem the fear that America is sliding further toward government monopoly.
If Obama will take this position and admit it to the American people, he'll regain trust from both sides. I agree that some folks are getting silly about their criticisms, including their fear about his speech to school children. But he must realize this is coming from a deeper place: It's a growing mistrust of the administration that's beneath the rhetoric.
Obama must acknowledge the concerns and put the federal government back in the position that the Constitution intended: "promote" the general welfare -- do not try to "provide" it. The public option needs to die a dignified death.
-- Diane Hawkins, Newbury Park
Re: your Sept. 4 article, "Ventura police union defends controversial phone survey":
The members of the Ventura Police Officers Association should be ashamed of themselves. They've brought local politics to a new low with their misleading and deceptive push poll against Neal Andrews. I couldn't help but grimace when their union president insisted they didn't use "loaded or manipulative questions," and then refused to release a copy of the script.
If Andrews' opponents are resorting to distortions and lies about his record, he must be doing something right on the City Council. He'll get my vote. What's more, unless they disavow this smear campaign, none of the four candidates endorsed by the VPOA will.
In this economy, the last thing Ventura needs is a City Council indebted to special interests with more money than scruples.
-- Mike Johnson, Ventura
There is no doubt that a Walmart in Ventura will make money -- for Walmart. What is in serious doubt is if there will be any significant gain in sales tax revenue for the city.
The only economic study of Ventura's retail sector -- done by two professors of finance -- shows what we already suspected: Ventura is maxed out with stores that sell "general merchandise" (cheap goods). That means any new large retailer here will simply draw sales from an established store, whether it's from a Target or from a neighborhood store.
It's easy to throw around big dollar numbers and suggest Walmart will bail out the city's budget. It's another thing to come up with any proof of that.
-- George Roberts, Ventura
My husband and I have two medium- to large-sized dogs. Every evening we walk them around our neighborhood for exercise. We are responsible dog owners, as our dogs are always on leashes and we always clean up their messes.
We are frustrated by the irresponsible dog owners in our neighborhood who continue to have their dogs hanging around their front yards untethered. Time and time again, these loose dogs run out after us as we pass their homes, sometimes dangerously darting across the street, to confront our dogs. This is not only dangerous to their dogs as they carelessly run out in the street, but also to our dogs who often feel they are being attacked. When only one of two dogs is on a leash, the leashed dog often acts out in an even more aggressive manner, as they feel they have a disadvantage.
I would like to remind these irresponsible dog owners that we have a leash law here in Ventura, and even though their "dogs know better," which we have been told on more than one occasion, they are still animals and, for the most part, cannot restrain themselves when they see another animal.
-- Ann Paul, Ventura
I remember growing up in Thousand Oaks fondly. It's a pretty area, the people are nice, and most of us are blessed with "enough" of everything we need. But recent events have made me embarrassed to admit I was raised there!
I first considered writing when I saw crowds gathering in support of a ban on gay marriage before the elections. As I said, the majority of residents are affluent, educated and can live as they please. So why would they support legislation that restricts the rights of others? I wished at the time that everyone would adopt a "live and let live" mentality and just be happy for what they have! But, at least everyone was peaceful.
Now I am really angered to action after hearing about a local healthcare demonstration that ended in punches and the oral truncation of one senior gentleman's finger! Are you kidding me?