When I first saw the “Survivors” cover, I sort of lost my composure and had to walk around the corner of a convenience store to … cry.  I was just picking up milk and stuff, and never saw such an emotional response coming, let alone in a GUSH. My wife’s surgery with the smallest of breast cancer concerns had, after all, gone exceedingly well during the previous year. (So far, she’s good!)

So I brought the issue home and looked at the cover, anew. Had this sudden, weird (for me) outburst been due to personal stuff? (My grandmother, my mother, her sister and my sister had also wrestled with breast cancer.) Or was it … something else?

I decided that, to be sure, my personal history with breast cancer played a part in those initial tears, seeing the cover. But having looked at the cover further, and thinking about it, I’m convinced that the MAIN thing that moved me to tears was the beauty, the courage and the smiles that the photograph itself exhibits. 

Put another way, if you happen to believe that Love is the most powerful force in the Universe, how can you NOT fall in love with those eight women?  (And smile while doing so!) Wow.

Jay Windsor, Ojai

Sarah Palin’s short campaign

The one crucial difference between Sarah Palin and the other three candidates in the presidential race is not that she is a woman but that, until five weeks ago, she had never experienced a national campaign.

Joe Biden, John McCain and Barack Obama all began campaigning for President almost two years ago. All three have visited almost every state in the Union, honing their policy positions in many debates and thousands of media interviews, gathering in millions of dollars, and sweating their way through the results of primary after primary.

For almost two years, they have subjected themselves to the fiery political crucible.

When, during her debate with Joe Biden, Sarah Palin rather plaintively said, “I’ve only had five weeks to do this,” she was unwittingly revealing the reckless gambler mentality of her coach John McCain, who for reasons of glamour and sensationalism, threw Sarah Palin into a marathon without even training her for a 10K.

Clive Leeman, Ojai


Rotting fish, conservative policy

In 1989, the nation faced a financial crisis caused by the collapse of hundreds of savings and loan associations. Fearing both the size of the bill if the troubled institutions went under and the damage such a meltdown might cause to the economy at large, Congress and President George H.W. Bush in 1989, after nine years of conservative rule, created the Resolution Trust Corporation to take over troubled thrifts, as the banks were known.

The current attempt to bail out the nation’s financial system mirrors these actions of less than two decades ago. It would seem that bailouts are a natural corollary to the conservative ideology of small government and subsequent policies of deregulation.

Why has no one in the press pointed out this common and obvious consequence of failed conservative economic policy we see at the end of these two eras of conservative rule? Have we become so cowed by the conservatives’ McCarthyistic ‘liberal bias’ mantra that we no longer have the courage to stand up to them?

How many more times will this have to happen before middle-class conservatives wake up and smell the rotting fish?

Richard G. O’Dea, Moorpark

Ventura’s spending spree

I see the City of Ventura is up to its old wacky ways again. Apparently, the City is now considering spending $3.5 to $4 million on a so-called “beautification plan” for Cemetery Memorial Park, which will include 3,000 bronze grave markers across the park’s lawn area. In its wisdom, the city council has determined that this is the best way to honor and commemorate some of Ventura’s pioneering families that were previously interred there.

This plan for the park has never been revealed or discussed with the neighboring residents, many of whom object to acres of open space within a public park being absconded with by the City Council to advance another one of its strange pet projects. Here’s the beauty part — the City has yet to identify any funding to pay for this project.

Here’s an idea: Why doesn’t the City erect a memorial wall, similar to what’s been done for war veterans at the County Government Center, to honor those formerly buried at this site, rather than suck up all this grassy area that is currently being used by kids and families as play and picnic areas?  That probably makes way too much sense for the folks down at City Hall. But, lest we forget, these are the same people who brought us the infamous 911 fee and the magnificent bus stop artwork at the Pacific View Mall.

Roger Clarke, Ventura

Reject animal cruelty

Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end for the U.S. meat industry?

The escalating costs of corn and soybeans caused by harvest shortfalls, rising global demand and government-mandated ethanol production are forcing widespread cutbacks in the number of animals raised for food. So does the current credit crunch.

A recent report by the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts recommends a phase-out of intensive confinement, which would force additional cutbacks.

For the animals and caring consumers, such cuts are long overdue.

The 10 billion animals killed for food in the U.S. each year have no life before death. From birth, they are caged and crowded, deprived and drugged, manhandled and mutilated. At the slaughterhouse, they may be scalded, bled, skinned and dismembered while still conscious. Although 93 percent of consumers condemn such abuses, no state or federal law prevents them.

Recent undercover investigations by humane organizations have documented egregious animal cruelty at California and Iowa slaughterhouses. The resulting media coverage has led consumers to examine their own roles in subsidizing extreme animal cruelty with their shrinking food dollar.

This is why, on or about Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday), 400 communities in all 50 states and two dozen other countries observed World Farm Animals Day with public education events (see www.WFAD.org). The purpose was to expose and memorialize the cruel treatment of animals raised for food and to promote an animal-free diet.

It’s a great opportunity for each of us to reject cruelty and to embrace a healthful, cost-saving, plant-based diet.

Vince Helferich, Ventura

VISTA bus’s misleading schedule

Last Sunday afternoon, I decided to ride to Santa Barbara on the VISTA bus, only to find that it HAS NO 7 p.m. RETURN TRIP back to Carpenteria or Ventura on Sunday evening!

The schedule is very misleading. There is a Sat/Sun schedule that includes a 7 p.m. Saturday evening nonstop southbound trip, that many of us assumed applied to Sunday evening as well. There were approximately 12 people stranded at the MTA depot at 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, as the driver explained the schedule had ‘dash marks’ through the Sunday 7 p.m. southbound box, meaning ‘no service’.

I won’t bore you with the details of my three-hour ordeal to find a pay phone in Santa Barbara, the kindness of the busboy with the cell phone, or the rich diners who didn’t have quarters for my dollar (maybe they didn’t want leprosy or warts from a pay phone person), or getting a friend to drive from Ventura to rescue me.

Let’s just say that VISTA Coastal Express bus service should reprint its schedule in RED CAP LETTERING to WARN us that there will be NO WAY OUT OF SANTA BARBARA on Sunday evening, or better yet, ADD THAT SERVICE TO THE SCHEDULE.

If Santa Barbara and Ventura County are truly fans of public transportation, I strongly suggest that they and VISTA bus service fix this problem.

Robert Barrett, Ventura

Tim Flynn owes apology

Flynn v. Holden article by David Michael Courtland

Tim Flynn has publicly insulted me, Latinos and Oxnard residents — who have lived in Oxnard all of our lives and/or for many years — by calling us “plebeians” (meaning unsophisticated, lower class people) run by what he calls “patrician” (meaning characteristic of aristocrats) [in the] quote Tim gave in his interview.

I have spent my life working for equality and the dignity owed to all human persons; to imply that I (who have worked for four U.S. Presidents: Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Nixon) and other Latinos (who have accomplished far more than I) have allowed others to take advantage of us is humiliating, a lie and does great dishonor to our families and all Oxnard Community. Tim, you owe us an apology.

As I see it, the problem with Tim Flynn is that he moved to Oxnard from another city —for the purpose of running for City Council. He has made the mistake of not learning or allowing himself time to become acquainted with the many innovative changes made to our city. When attending city council meetings, I often witness Tim seeking to upstage other city councilmembers. He often gets in trouble with other council members because he does not listen, and has not learned how to negotiate his point of view by respecting other elected members. It is sad to see a young elected official’s failed leadership. I voted for Tim, and it is sad to see him fail.

Correction is in order; the strongest opposition to Measure V (Councilman Tim Flynn’s Traffic Initiative) are not businesses; they are, in fact, Oxnard community organizations, working families and community leaders such as: League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Oxnard Federation of Teachers, Oxnard Clergy Council, vast majority of the unions, fire and police associations, all of the candidates for Oxnard City Council except one (who is still studying it), former

Mayor Manuel Lopez, myself, etc. I will deliver the partial list to your office so you can review it — every day we have people who signed the petition come forth canceling their support.

Councilman Flynn’s Traffic Initiative is not about fixing traffic; in fact, it is a “stop growth” measure. Those of us working to improve traffic are upset because Measure V actually blocks funds designated and needed to fix our traffic problems. Everyone wants to improve traffic — Flynn’s proposal hinders our efforts to do so.

Finally, Tom Holden is one of the best mayors Oxnard has elected, no question about that. I encourage voters to vote for him.

Lupe Anguiano, Oxnard


Republican motto: No gov’t interference

A very interesting side note to this massive 700 billion dollar bailout can be found on page 28 of the 2008 Republican Platform under the title “Rebuilding Homeownership.” 
Here one can read, “We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all.”

I am a little confused. Does that mean we do not support government bailouts unless it is for our wealthy buddies on Wall Street who we deregulated to have a free for all with our economy and our futures? Are these Republican values at work here? Someone help me out with this. 

Trent Jones, Ojai