With all the fuss over a Wal-Mart opening in Ventura I felt compelled to include my two cents. I’m absolutely for Wal-Mart opening here in our town!

The last time I checked this was America “the land of the free.” Freedom, in its definition, gives a person the ability to choose. When Sam Walton opened his first five and dime store he realized that choice existed in America. By giving the customer a choice, you ensure yourself longevity and success. So if you want to be the best and be the most competitive, you offer people an alternative.

No one is forced to shop at Wal-Mart. If they “choose” not to shop there the store would cease to exist, case closed. But people do choose to shop there. Why? Why do you think?

Whether it’s to save money or save time really isn’t the point. It’s called America. If I want to shop there, I will. Do people really believe that socialism is the key to keeping our country great? Just tell them to turn on their computer and then ask again.

Is Wal-Mart really that bad? Bill Gates is not the devil, and neither is Sam Walton.

I always wonder when I see silly signs saying “Save Our Town” why the same people are not putting signs up in their yard calling for the ban of Microsoft. They say Wal-Mart is a monopoly, but why not Microsoft? Macintosh makes a great product, and you know what? People buy it. Not because they are forced to but because they have a choice.

If someone sells a cheaper widget how do you get the public to buy yours? You sell a better widget. Better quality, easier to use, longer lasting.

Anyone who shops at Wal-Mart knows they are not buying the best quality merchandise. What you are buying is cheap. But again that must mean something to Americans. When I choose to buy something that gets me by in the short term, instead of investing in something that will last a lifetime, I have that choice, I’m an American.


When you open a business in America you are not opening it with the hopes of being mediocre. You open it with a competitive ambition to be the alternative to every other business similar to yours, which in turn brings you customers and success.

If we take that ambition away from retailers by forbidding them to open in certain towns or communities for the sole reason that it makes other businesses have to work harder or smarter to keep their customers we are stripping away our own freedom.

I’m a consumer. Do not take away my ability to choose. I’m smart enough to make decisions on my own!

Aaron Hope,

Public design 101

I was encouraged by the abundance of spirit and enthusiasm on display at the April 2 “Cover Over 101” public design workshop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura. The purpose of the workshop was to solicit thoughts and ideas from the public on the concept of capping the freeway in Downtown Ventura to provide, among other things, better connectivity between Downtown and the beach area.

During the last City Council race, Doug Halter and I were both strong advocates of moving this plan forward as a key element of the city’s long-term economic development strategy. Clearly, there are significant challenges to be overcome to bring this plan to fruition, not the least of which is finding viable funding sources. However, Ventura has always been a place where dreams are born.

I can only hope that the naysayers are not given too much sway in the continuing discussions of this project. Kudos to those who have participated in the process so far. You definitely share the vision of how great our city can become!

Mike Gibson,


VISTA ridership increasing


There is a small error in the article entitled “Ventura not quite all aboard” by Cheryl Ellis (see News, 4/3/08). In the article, it stated that VISTA is carrying 200,000 passengers this year and recovering from a downturn. In fact, VISTA will carry approximately 200,000 on the Coastal Express (between Ventura and Santa Barbara) this year. That service has only existed since 2001. 

VISTA overall has also seen a significant increase in ridership. In 2000-01 VISTA carried 423,108 riders, by 2006-07, that increased to 803,836. In the first two quarters of this fiscal year, VISTA carried 412,990, and ridership is continuing to grow. Contrary to the Reporter story, VISTA did not have a fare increase in 2002, and has not experienced a decline in ridership in any year since it was created in 1994. 

Victor Kamhi,
Director of Transit Services,
Ventura County
Transportation Commission