I just finished reading your story about parking meters (News, 1/8) and just can’t believe it. Once again, our “intelligent” City Council is thinking about dollar signs and ignoring common sense. How can we forget camera lights at intersections (they didn’t bring in revenue), or the 911 fiasco (that just made the Council look bad)?

Ventura tries to be both a large city and one with small-town ambiance. Small towns do not have parking meters. Our downtown is filled with expensive shops, upscale restaurants, thrift shops and a movie theater. I eat at maybe three restaurants there, rarely go to thrift shops, and once in a while go to a movie. If I had the added expense of parking, I just would not go downtown at all. I bet there are many more like me out there, too. This Council just doesn’t think about the common citizen. This just looks to be another political SNAFU that is gonna cost more city funds to administer than it is going to bring in.

Tom Best, Ventura

Asking questions, not a racist
Racism in your face.

Look up the word racism in any dictionary, and you will be astounded at the true meaning of the word. The criticizing of Obama, supporting the English language, protecting our borders and other topics that invite accusations of being racist are not listed. In simple terms, the definition is: A belief that one race is superior to another.

Of all the people in the United States, Obama and McCain were the best we could come up with to run for president. Embarrassing, I know. The fact is that Obama is not qualified and McCain would give us more lackluster government. So I don’t have any issues with the way the vote went. It’s the attempt to silence the rational thinking and constructive criticism on controversial topics (like Obama’s qualifications) by calling people racist that’s asinine.

The word racist can easily be directed the other way. It’s a fact that many blacks voted for Obama simply because of his skin color. The unequivocal evidence to support this is provided by blacks themselves. I’m sure many have seen the Obama T-shirts that read, “Black the vote” or other similar slogans. I say that’s racist. Ouch, the truth stings a bit.

Obama has many issues that require investigating. A clear-minded, free-thinking person of any race can see that. What I despise are some people’s attempts to compromise these investigations simply because they think their race is better.

As a side note, you may have noticed that I didn’t use the term Afro-American. You’re either an American or your not.

Ron R., Ventura

Misguided viewpoints
Shane Solano has some interesting viewpoints (Letters, 11/13), like being a proponent of a feudalistic society where only land-owners are allowed to vote. He suggests that would better skew our elected leaders to a more intelligent choice.

However, most land-owners are probably “lords” by inheritance and can therefore be as ignorant and careless as anyone. In any case only one-third of the population votes, so already, stupid people don’t vote. It was “land-owners” who assigned unrealistic values to their properties and the lack of oversight by the government that have largely gotten us into the mess we’re in today. I seriously doubt that even if land-owners were the only voters that Solano’s third party candidate choice would have prevailed or the Republican Party, either, which I expect would have been Solano’s second choice.

Now, Mr. Solano is suggesting that green values and technologies are unnecessary (Letters, 12/31), misguided and will only add to our economic woes. He suggests we should continue to invest in fossil fuels and furiously complete the extraction of every last drop, be it in southern Utah’s national monuments or right here in the Santa Barbara Channel, that the best course of action is to keep using fossil fuels and eat a lot of meat.

We (people and government) have been pouring all our capital, earned and taxed, into big oil and other corporate machines for the last 30 years. Throughout the high tech and real estate economic boom, I’ve witnessed land-owners everywhere buying up Hummers and Excursions, and building ever bigger mansions to heat and cool.

When I was young (about 1975), there was a brilliant fellow in Provo, Utah, who had developed a hydrogen-powered engine. He had successfully redesigned a Cadillac Seville, a bus and other vehicles, which, as far as I know, still run on Provo’s streets. The Caddy had a toggle switch on the dashboard that would switch back to fossil fuel if you ran out of the hydrogen contained in a small cylinder in the trunk. It was amazing. I was awestruck …. I never heard another word about it. I recommend the 2006 documentary “Who Killed The Electric Car” for another excellent example of what’s wrong with Solano’s way of thinking. Had we embraced and developed these technologies over the years, we’d be in a much better position today, not only in America, but worldwide. And the longer we wait, the harder it will be.

New Zealand had the foresight to harness hydro, wind and solar power, renewable energy sources, to embrace recycling and chose greener cultural paths years ago. It has worked there, and they are certainly enjoying the rewards of their efforts today.

No, Mr. Solano, It’s no fantasy … they’re here … green business, technology and other new mindset ways of better life are beginning to thrive, are imminent and indeed necessary. But you won’t find it at Wal-Mart or by drilling, and I’m afraid without any “governing,” most of the country will apparently just keep bending over for big oil and follow the rest of the herd into whatever abyss the wealthy land-owners send us.

With Barack’s team in place at the infancy of the “green technology” age, I hope and believe we now have a fighting chance and will be making great strides in the coming years, breaking free of the death grip of corporate and, if you will, “land-owner” greed that has increased the disparity between the 2 percent wealthy and the rest of us, and caused so much harm to our planet.

Chris Jensen, Ventura

Back to your corners
I was pleased as punch to read the ongoing discussion between my friend Mr. Robert Barrett and Mr. Shane Solano, the man with the curious opinions. I would like to try to dampen the antagonism with my own contribution.

While I appreciate Mr. Barrett’s disgust over Mr. Solano’s views, I have a couple of points for him. I tried to explain them the last time I saw him, but I think that the amount of beer I had consumed was interfering.

For Mr. Barrett:
1. “Without waging any further personal attacks,” (Letters, 11/26). These words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean. It seems to me that calling someone a “loser” qualifies as both “personal” and an “attack.” If your goal is to prove that you don’t like Mr. Solano — well done. If your goal is to show that his opinion lacks merit, well … it gets lost in the noise. All I see is “loser racist hate-monger lunatic loser.” As an exercise, go through your letter: replace “right-wing” with “left-wing”, “racist” with “hippie,” etc. Doesn’t it sound a bit like those “right-wing hate-mongers”?

2. VC Reporter’s “standards,” (Letters, 11/26). I completely disagree with your assessment. I think that publications like the Reporter are most useful when they do publish different opinions. We need as much communication as we can get if we want to survive. No matter what you may think of Mr. Solano’s views, it is critical that they be heard in a public forum.

Bad ideas do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored. Only when they are brought into the light of day can society be inoculated against them.

In response to Mr. Solano:
It seems the root of your proposal (Letters, 11/13) is that having a voice in the government should be based on property ownership. While I agree with you that this is very much the case right now, I cannot see how this is a desirable state of affairs.

At first, it seems a complete reversal of the last 10,000 years of progress. Human history has shown a gradual change in power structures from the few ruling the many to the many ruling themselves. We started out with kings and pharaohs.

Over time, women and men have struggled to gain more control over their own futures.

To me, the real question is: What do we want our society to be working toward?

If you think that our goal should be to concentrate power in the hands of a few, I believe your plan would help. Disenfranchising those who don’t own real estate would make the government responsive only to the needs of property owners. The common interest of property owners is to own more property. It seems obvious where this cycle leads.

I think that as a species, we ought to be working toward something else. We are creatures of immense potential. Every person has the capability to enrich the lives of all of us. Squandering that potential is our greatest sin. This applies to everyone, not just those focused on acquiring real estate.

Life is not a zero-sum game.

Reverend Stevo, Ventura

Gun article appreciation
I’m flabbergasted at Paul Moomjean’s piece, The Right Persuasion, in the January 8th issue. Good flabbergasted.

Thank you for printing the most reasonable article on gun control I’ve ever read. He articulates the underlying fundamental issue held dear by every law-abiding firearms owner and shooting sports enthusiast.

More, please.

Dwight Whiting, Ojai

Blacks can’t be the scapegoats
Regarding the execution-style murder of this young man in the Bay Area, Oscar Grant, it would appear the people of this country are in need of one gigantic wake-the-hell-up! We are approaching the start of the second decade of the 21st century, with a black man preparing next week to take the oath of office for President, and the police throughout this land continue to use young black men for target practice! When, when are we going to wake up and realize that black folks are just like anybody else, not some gigantic threatening menace? People all over the world essentially want the same things from life. To live in peace, raise their families and prosper as best they can. That’s it. America, as someone who has interacted with and lived among black people for the better part of three decades, trust me, there is no giant conspiracy, with brothers sitting under a dim light talking in hushed and clipped tones, plotting to overthrow whitey. Just isn’t happening. It’s been 400 freaking years! I think if it was gonna happen, it would have by now.

This isn’t to say crime doesn’t exist, of course it does. But disproportionately black men and women in this nation are incarcerated, or in the system in some form, either on probation or parole. Not only caught up in the system but blamed many times over for things they did not do, with an all-too willing public convinced prematurely of their guilt. Remember Susan Smith, the lady in South Carolina who rolled her own two children into a lake, then said she was car-jacked by a big, scary black beast? And everyone bought it. Or how about Charles Stuart, the man who shot his own wife then himself, fatally wounding his wife. He also blamed a black man for the crime, and someone was actually arrested, a guy named

Willie Bennett from South Boston. A month later Mr. Stuart jumped off a bridge to his death after his story fell apart.

The point is we in this country are ready to equate these evil deeds with this imaginary boogeyman that, in turn, leads to the death of young brothers like Mr. Grant, who apparently was doing nothing more than trying to quell a disturbance which had broken out on New Year’s Day. He was handcuffed and cooperative but still shot and killed. The guy had a four year old daughter, parents, friends. He was somebody, somebody who deserves to be remembered.

William Brennan, Ventura