In Brief

Congressional candidate with no love for Congress

Write-in Congressional Candidate Henry Nicolle has denounced all his representatives in public office.

“Until such time that the people may reconstitute lawful representation with constitutional authority,” he declares, “I hereby withdraw my tolerance of government at the hands of any man or woman currently in public office or employment.”

He argues that no one in government has authority because everyone is acting outside the authority of the Constitution. “They’re actually anarchists,” he charges.

“The American Revolution formed the basis for the great American experiment: Can people be their own government or not? We failed tremendously on the government side because we let people in government take our powers away from us,” says Nicolle, who is running for office in California’s 24th district with no party affiliation.

He is using this forceful criticism as an open invitation to his series of public forums, where he hopes to discuss the possibility of an indictment of President Bush “and others” whom he also believes to have been complicit in the atrocities of September 11.

“The president and Congress proceed to operate in a mode outside of the Constitution, which is treason, especially when their activities bring us to a state where other people go to war with us,” he says.

But his meeting has little to do with his own campaign; he argues that there are no true town hall meetings in Ventura County and it’s time for a public discussion. His call-to-arms is simple: “There is no inherent authority in the government in our country.”

Henry Nicolle will host a public meeting at Ventura County Christian School Auditorium, 96 S. McMillian Avenue, Ventura, on July 27, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., and on Aug. 11, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Nicolle may be contacted at 758-4446.

— Saundra Sorenson

Seatbelts for all!

In a move that benefits everyone’s safety, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have introduced legislation requiring seats and seat belts for all migrant workers traveling to and from their jobs with coworkers. The Farm and Forestry Worker Transportation Safety Act, introduced July 20, aims to curb the hundreds of deaths and injuries of migrant workers each year. Many migrant workers carpool in overcrowded vans, where most do not have access to seats and seat belts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 78 workers were killed in transportation accidents in 2004. In addition, there were 440 injuries.

Feinstein has supported such legislation for years, especially after a 1999 Fresno County accident which saw 13 tomato field workers die after their van collided with a tractor-trailer. The workers were riding on three benches in the back of the van.

Similar accidents have occurred across Maine, where agriculture is very dependent on migrant workers. Last year, Snowe supported the Surface Transportation Bill, a similar bill aimed at stopping the misuse of the large vans that migrant workers are transported in. With this new bill, both Feinstein and Snowe hope to decrease migrant worker deaths and injuries nationwide.

— Chris Balchum

Trouble for women

In 1995, delegates from 189 nations met in Beijing, China to discuss universal women’s issues. That meeting of the minds resulted in the Beijing Platform for Action’s “12 Critical Areas of Concern for Women.” Now, thanks to the Ventura County Commission for Women (VCCW) and a $7,000 grant awarded by the McCune Foundation, these issues will be addressed locally.

The 12 areas of concern address human rights, poverty, education and violence. The VCCW is looking to hold a series of conferences, lectures and seminars, beginning with the Economic Justice Forum for Women on Oct. 14, with women leaders in attendance.

“We\’re not focusing just on any specific area,” says Janis Gardner of the VCCW, “we\’re going to run the whole gamut.” She adds, “We have a tremendous amount of homeless people, women who have children who are on welfare. Bringing all these women [leaders] together in one conference will hopefully help to solidify the bigger picture, which would coincide with the Beijing platform.”

The VCCW submitted its annual report to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors two weeks ago, and the 50-page synopsis of the organization’s efforts details its hopes to restore funding for the Teen Sister Pregnancy Prevention Project, which is a response to recent studies showing sisters of teen mothers are four to six times more likely to become teen mothers themselves. County funding for the project ended in 2004.

For more information on the VCCW, visit

— Saundra Sorenson

In Brief

High voltage

A weapon newly adopted by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department is designed to immobilize suspects without causing the kind of permanent damage or death so often linked to other weapons — namely the kinds that shoot bullets.

Manufactured by Taser International Corp., Tasers — those little numbers commonly known to incapacitate alleged wrongdoers with powerful electrical signals — will be used by sheriff’s deputies beginning in mid-August.

“We are working on trying to reduce the amount of violence during officer and suspect confrontations,” said Sgt. Don Aguilar of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. “We’re implementing other programs to try to reduce violence and we do have other, less lethal options.” The department’s Crisis Prevention Team program was created in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities, and weapons like beanbag guns do the trick without inflicting permanent harm.

The department began investigating less lethal forms of weaponry a few years ago as a means of “reducing violent outcomes between law enforcement and the mentally ill.” The Taser is currently in use in more than 8,500 law enforcement agencies in the United States, according to information released by the department.

Due to the impacts the new weapons could have on community members, mentally ill or otherwise, several stakeholders participated in planning the implementation of the Tasers, which will be carried by all deputies on patrol. The National Association for the Mentally Ill, emergency medical response providers, other local law enforcement agencies, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and concerned community organizations have taken part in the planning and training phases. “Those in emergency services will be treating those affected by Tasers, so we need to make sure everyone’s on the same sheet of music,” said Aguilar, who stressed that all deputies will undergo extensive training before the Tasers are out on the street.

The $485,000 price tag for the Tasers will be derived from the county budget, and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the funding in May.

The Taser model chosen was the X26, a small device, with a yellow handle, that shoots two probes 15 to 35 feet. The signal the Tasers shoot is high voltage, but low current, which means it probably hurts like hell but won’t kill you.

— Stacey Wiebe

Hello Hollywood

Downtown Santa Paula could very well be a veritable cornucopia of celebrity sightings this week while a handful of big names are in town to shoot Georgia Rule, an upcoming black comedy by Garry Marshall.

Starring Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, Lindsey Lohan, Dermot Mulroney, Cary Elwes and others, according to the ever-handy Internet Movie Database, the film is about a rebellious teen (Lohan) who’s being secretly molested by her stepfather (Elwes) and is sent by her dysfunctional mother (Huffman) to live with her grandmother (Fonda) for the summer.

The girl’s summer getaway is Santa Paula, though there’s no telling what location the fine Ventura County city represents. Somewhere in Georgia, perhaps?

Filming began in downtown Santa Paula Tuesday and will take place through Friday night, said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who added that the rain towers on Main Street will be used to used to produce rain effects on Thursday.

Bobkiewicz said he thinks the residents of Santa Paula are pleased to be showing off their city. “The community, when I first arrived here in 2002, was tired of movies being filmed here because of the kind of inconvenience it can cause, but it’s been a while and I think we’re all pleased that it’s happening again.”

Mr. Woodcock, starring, among others, Susan Sarandon and Billy Bob Thornton, was shot in Santa Paula a few years ago and has yet to be released.

— Stacey Wiebe

Open sesame

The doors of Santa Paula Hospital finally opened July 13 after plenty of sturm und drang, drama at the state level and impassioned pleas from Santa Paula city officials.

Staff from the office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to light a fire in the offices of in the California Department of Health Services, the agency in charge of performing the final inspection needed before the hospital could open its doors. Representatives of the agency told Ventura County and Santa Paula officials that the agency was occupied elsewhere.

Mayor Richard Cook and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz were prepared to fly up to Sacramento to address the governor and representatives from the department of health services regarding the delay, but state officials had the problem quickly solved, Bobkiewicz said. “We were able to get their attention with the threat of coming,” he said.

With reconstruction completed and staffing fulfilled, the hospital has been ready to open since May 25, but sat idle until the final inspection was performed by the department of health services on July 3.

On opening day, Bobkiewicz said, the doctors and nurses and staff waited with baited breath for the very first patient. “There was a period of time when there was no one there and someone finally came in with some back pain,” he said.

— Stacey Wiebe








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