A deadline is known in the newspaper world as the final second you have to get your story to the editor before it’s just too late.

On Dec. 24 around 6 a.m., Mr Jeffery W. San Marchi, the owner, editor andchief bottle washer of the Ojai/Ventura Voice, the super-friendly shopper with political bite was restocking his newspaper racks throughout the city of Ventura, and was at his last stop in the Ventura Harbor when he physically met his final deadline.

San Marchi was stricken with a massive heart attack and by the time the paramedics arrived it was beyond time. Many folks either loved San Marchi’s bi-weekly newspaper, or they absolutely hated it. To Jeff it didn’t really matter how many folks disliked his newspaper style, he felt that at the very least he always told it like it was. He enjoyed championing the underdog almost as much as he enjoyed hammering the local politicians. If he felt one of the local politicians was stepping over the line, he had no qualms about putting a story about that person in his rag.

No matter what you thought of the Ojai/Ventura Voice, if you knew Jeff you knew he was a person who enjoyed his work, and his work was his life.

I really can’t say I know anybody who could do on a daily basis what Jeff did. He ran his newspaper entirely by himself. Sure, a few of us wrote our articles and opinions, but it was Jeff that did all the editing, design, copy work, ad placement, photos and graphics. He would work until very late on the night before the paper was to be out, run the copy to the printer in Santa Barbara, pick up the completed newspapers, place them in the hundreds of racks in Ojai, Oak View, Ventura, Ventura Harbor, Oxnard, Santa Paula, and anywhere else he happened to be. Then, during the week he would make runs to re-stock the racks. One of his greatest pleasures was finding a rack completely out of newspapers.

I’m not really sure exactly when it was Jeff started the Voice, but I know that it has been around for at least 20 years. That in itself tells you much about the man who ran it, for any business to last 20 or more years is amazing. For a local, bi-weekly rag to last over 20 years is downright outstanding, especially when it is being run by a single person. One of Jeff’s favorite sayings was from Mark Twain, “I don’t give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way.” Another way to tell how much Jeff was liked is to look through his newspaper, he was blessed with a whole lot of friends who placed their ads with him on a regular basis.

I don’t suppose the Ojai/Ventura Voice will be taken over by any other foolhardy person, and that is too bad. If there is one thing that is sorely needed in our county it’s a newspaper like the Ojai/Ventura Voice that is not afraid to let the citizens know when something isn’t exactly copasetic.

Jeff, were gonna miss ya, buddy. Whereever you wind up, keep up the good work!

Rellis Smith,

Editorial should be obvious

Thank you for this editorial (See “Freedom not the sole domain of the religious,” Editorial, 12/20/07).

The sad thing is that this should even need to be said, that it’s not blatantly obvious to every American at this time in our country.

Stuart Bechman,
Simi Valley

Absinthe admiration

I was enraptured by Bill Lascher’s tantalizing tale of the emerald enchantress (See “Absolution from Absinthe’s absence,” Straight up, 12/20/07), thence recaptured by the spirits of the Edgars, Allan Poe and Degas, and reminded of my own undying love for:


That night she sparkled with starbright in her eyes

Some time late the enchantress began to lift her veil

We finished our dinner at the Napoleon House

A carriage driver — parked a block toward the lake side

Next to the police compound — offered us a ride about
the Quarter

We traversed St. Louis, then Rampart Street

And were making our way back along Esplanade toward the river

When my friend advised me to purchase bottles of

Pernod Anisette and eight ounces of Wormwood herb

Then I was instructed to mix the substances

At the ratio of one cup Anisette to two large tablespoons Wormwood

Then my friend said,

“Leave the brewing to sit until five moons count and strain the leaves”

Ivan Smason,
Santa Monica