The powers that be

Mr. Solano’s comments hit the nail on the head regarding Mr. Moomjean’s assertions about Reagan! (Power to Speak, 12/1)

But I would like to add just a few more thoughts . . . Until all the politicians have an honest dialogue with this nation (and I doubt Obama will dare do it), explaining the cold, hard facts of where we are headed; most people will still hold out hope that “the good times will return by electing the proper president” in the White House.

Until the American public understands, it should be prepared for a significant reduction in its standard of living when the money stops arriving from government safety nets in the near future. China and Japan can’t continue to loan us more money that will only make that hole deeper and deeper. We must dig ourselves out of. The corporations and wealthy who presently enjoy reduced taxes via Bush have made it clear they aren’t carrying the country’s burdens. The line has been drawn in the sand!

This notion our economy will somehow magically come screaming back and provide the tax base to save all these programs is simply a dream sold by politicians who see the writing on the wall but refuse to tell us.

Even the people receiving government pensions will be in for a wake-up call because many of their pensions are bankrupt and the Pension Guarantee Fund designed to protect them has been bankrupt for years. California’s entire safety-net system has been using federal “bridge” loans to pay for critical things such as disability, unemployment, aid for dependent children, etc. Remember, the federal government is bankrupt.

Any jobs left in this country will need to have wages low enough to beat our foreign competition and produce a product that can compete in places and markets we never cared about before. China has made it very clear it is  going to be a tough competitor in all areas of business, and its refusing to play by the rules (if you can believe what you read) might give the next decision-makers reason to start another war.

Most folks forget (or aren’t aware) of the message big business sent us when Reagan took the keys to the White House and immediately removed the solar panels President Carter had installed to show the American people his commitment to changing American energy policy. It was a defining moment that will forever haunt us because no one really understood the implications it would have going forward. Dumb and Dumber making policy! Trickle-down theory” indeed.

Capitalism and big oil stop at nothing!

Dave Gunall

All the hate

“Right now Obama is hated on the left.” … Why would anyone read Paul Moomjean?

“Why would anyone want to be president?” The Right Persuasion, Dec. 8.

OK, I get that Paul probably wrote and submitted this piece before Cain actually “suspended” his campaign, so the error of timing in that regard is understood. It’s obvious that no one at the VCReporter is (or ever was) fact-checking Paul’s articles… you’d certainly go broke buying red pens.

Paul spends the first two-thirds of his rant dismissing, questioning the reality, suggesting who is responsible for placing the “blame or forgiveness” on a few of the “alleged” indiscretions of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich … with a short graph or two focusing on the Clinton/Lewinski scandal still being in heavy rotation with late-night humorists (Leno, SNL). The only recent reference I’m aware of, however, is pointing out the hypocrisy of the right when it comes to condemning politician’s extra marital affairs.

Moomjean states that Newt “needs” forgiveness only from his wife (I believe that should read wives, plural, in Newt’s case.) In typical Moomjean style, of course, there is no mention of Newt’s far more serious ethics violations voted on by Congress overwhelmingly against him, levying fines of an unprecedented $300,000 against Gingrich. Of course, none of this is at all surprising as I skim Paul’s familiar words … “yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah,” … then quite suddenly he writes, “Right now Obama is hated on the left.”

Wait, what? Is this some kind of Mr. Subliminal message? Obama is NOT hated on the LEFT, he is only HATED on the RIGHT. The left is disappointed, mostly because the right has, to the very best of its ability, paralyzed any potential progress to the detriment of Americans and for the “good” of only the GOP and the top 1 percent! Most of Obama’s “broken promises” have been derailed by a greedy, stubborn Congress or manipulated by powerful lobbies. Regardless, Obama’s approval ratings are still approximately 50 percent of this polarized country.

I’m trying to remain confident that when it comes down to it at the ballot box next November, most Americans will realize that, as Paul claims, “nobody’s perfect” and choose the 100 percent American-born, honest, Christian, law abiding, loyal husband and father, non-robot humanoid with an untarnished personal past to continue to lead this country with intelligence and integrity out of the extremely deep hole that we’re in because of decades of the philandering right’s lies, greed and abuses. VOTE OBAMA 2012!!!

Chris Jensen

Three reasons to run for president

Once again, Paul Moomjean has gone off into his fact-free fantasy world that makes up The Right Persuasion. Moomjean claims that the allegations of an affair with Ginger White came right after allegations of sexual harassment while he was at Godfather’s Pizza. (Right Persuasion, 12/8) Factually not true, but, hey, if you’re a conservative, facts are liberal, right? Herman Cain was accused of sexual harassment while he was the CEO of a lobbying firm, the National Restaurant Association, and these claims were deemed so well-founded that the National Restaurant Association paid one claimant one year’s salary and the second claimant more than one years salary. Shortly thereafter, Herman Cain left the National Restaurant Association with more than one year left on his contract. The rest of Mr. Moomjean’s claims amount to a pile of sophomoric drivel.

There are three distinct reasons people decide to run for President.

First, to get rich quickly, see Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. Even after announcing she was not going to run, Sarah Palin asked her supporters to continue to donate to her PAC so that she could take bus tour vacations on the faithful’s dime. Newt Gingrich has been king of the scammers, the Nigerian prince of the right wing. He ran the Patriot of the Year campaign, where, for a donation of $5,000, you could attend an awards dinner and receive a handsome certificate signed by Newt himself. This was followed by the Entrepreneur of the Year award scam; again, for $5,000 you could attend an awards ceremony and get a handsome certificate signed by Newt himself. In 2010, this was followed by the Medical Practitioner of the Year scam. Even now, Newt Gingrich is much more likely to hold a book signing or DVD-sales lecture event than a campaign event.

The second reason is just plain ego. Donald Trump toys with delusions of grandeur and periodically announces he might run for president to stroke his ego. Similarly, Rick Perry honestly believes his own delusions, which led to the great Texas Transportation Corridor fiasco. A state dead-last or near the bottom in numerous categories ranging from child health care to education.

The third reason is, there are true Americans who have visions for America that transcend the current state. Great presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt come to mind. I believe that, though their visions were radically different, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama will be evaluated by the same criteria.

Norman Rodewald

Missing the essence of Reagan

Shane Solano in the deconstructive article on the “myth” of President Ronald Reagan missed the essence of the man, not seeing the forest for the trees. Reagan’s record was no “myth.” Solano was so busy scoring what he considers negatives about the Reagan administration, he overlooked the positive influence Reagan had on an entire nation left in a miasma of negativism and despair by lugubrious Jimmy Carter, a dire situation very similar to the current Obama administration.

Shane very much underestimates the benefits of Reagan’s optimism, which lifted people’s spirits. He calls it “sappy” and “emotional pap” to say Reagan “made Americans feel good about themselves” and “gave us confidence again.” A strong, confident leadership is infectious. Wouldn’t we all welcome Reagan’s kind of leadership today that could accomplish that task and set us moving together again?

The Reagan economic program ushered in a 25-year economic golden age. America experienced rapid growth and only two minor recessions in those 25 years, whereas there were four recessions in the previous 12 years, two of them big ones. He cut the top tax rate from 78 percent to 28 percent, and — lo and behold! — despite lower rates, the rich ended up paying a greater share.

Reagan, unlike President Barack Obama, had faith in the Constitution, pride in America’s accomplishments and didn’t run around the world apologizing for us. He strengthened our neglected military forces and commanded respect Where Carter’s pleas to free American prisoners in Iran were ignored, that country feared what Reagan might do and released the prisoners as soon as Reagan was elected. Whatever misjudgments Reagan may have made, his accomplishments by far surpassed them.

Shane sees Reagan’s morning in American as rather “dark.” If Reagan were to run again today, I wouldn’t doubt most people would “see the light” and rush to elect him once again.

Miriam Jaffe
Thousand Oaks



Taxing the untaxed

The folks in the United States of America, and most of the rest of the world, are in an economic mess, thanks in most part to the egocentric White House administration of the period 2001 to 2009.  The balance of the mess can be attributed to the greed of the people who run Wall Street and most of the large banks in the world.

Many ideas have sprung forth on how to reduce spending and increase revenue in order to get the United States and other countries out of this bottomless pit. Suggestions range from eliminating Social Security, Medicare and other health programs to reducing drastically the amount of funding going to education, reducing or eliminating retirement benefits for employees of various corporations and governments, taxing the rich more, taxing the middle income more. The list goes on almost infinitely.

The one idea that could possibly take the economy out of the deep hole it is in, almost single-handedly, is the one suggestion that no politician would even think about, never mind proposing it to the legislature. THAT PROPOSAL WOULD BE TO BEGIN TAXING RELIGION.  The religious organizations around the world have been living the Very Good Life for hundreds of years while their own flocks have been living, in most parts, in abject poverty.

Many of the religious organizations around the world are extremely rich. They have, and hoard, TRILLIONS of dollars while their leaders live an extremely opulent lifestyle.  With the amount of money these organizations bring in on a yearly basis, the amount of tax money brought into the economy could well be in the billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

One of the rules of being granted a tax-free position, and the most important one, is that the organization receiving this tax free status cannot attempt to influence any political process. Recently, however, more and more religious organizations are slipping into the political fray on many and varied processes.  If the law were truly followed, anytime a religious or any tax-exempt organization attempted to influence a political process, its tax-free exemption would be removed immediately. Of course, with the billions of dollars these tax-exempt organizations spend on lobbyist each year, they are able to greatly influence the decisions of the majority of the legislature.

This country and other countries around the world will never have true control over their respective economies as long as this tax-exempt status exist.

Taxing religion only makes good sense!


Rellis Smith

Holiday cheer and spirits

This month’s Winter Wine Walk/Christmas Tree-Lighting and Holiday Street Fair event, while a bit chilly, had plenty of hot entertainment (Teresa Russell, Jeanie Tatum, Soul, funk and Latin rock sounds on a huge stage, complete with snow-making machines and colored stage and snow lighting). The event was downright cold in many respects.

First, instead of allowing the tradition of local churches to distribute socks and sweaters, cider and hot chocolate to the less fortunate (while singing Christmas carols), or allowing various groups to sing Christmas carols from the street corners (I’m sure they didn’t say you couldn’t, it’s just that the sound from the main stage was so loud they would have been drowned out by the volume), the event organizers opted for a “wine walk” and unseasonably loud music (none of which was holiday- or Christmas-themed). Aside from the Ventura Youth Choir and Gold Coast Concert Chorus singing holiday standards at the Ventura Mission, it created the feel of just another street fair (minus the snow-makers).

Last year’s tree-lighting/holiday street fair had plenty of great carolers, including members of the Ventura British Brass orchestra performing beautiful instrumental holiday arrangements in three-part harmony. There was no huge budget for some big rock concert stage, and there were just as many people at the Mission to hear the children’s choir. And they had a beautiful city Christmas tree in a public park (Santa Clara and California) with yet more holiday-themed entertainment.

This year there was no city Christmas tree (I know times are tough, but come on!), but instead they went back to an old tradition of lighting the Mission’s two iconic pine trees. All well and good, but a.) there was not one ornament on either tree (not even a star on top) and b.) there were two trees instead of one (they should call it the Holiday Christmas Trees lighting ceremony). While they did have a Santa (kneeling and praying to a plastic baby Jesus in a plastic manger before lighting the tree) and the mayor, a priest and Santa singing “Oh, Christmas Tree” (my personal favorite part of the show), there just wasn’t the community spirit that past holiday tree-lighting ceremonies have enjoyed (or even a real Christmas tree!).

Oh, there were plenty of “spirits” flowing into the wine glasses of the wine walkers, all right. There just wasn’t any spirit of Christmas.

You don’t take away the city Christmas tree, discourage churches from donating food and clothing to the needy, and discourage Christmas carolers in favor of a rock concert on the eve of the Christmas/Holiday Street Fair and still call what you have a Christmas-themed event. While the city leaned heavily on the Catholic church to bail it out (with the tree-lighting and use of the steps for the youth choir) the evening still flopped as a truly Christian event.

I guess Christmas isn’t for Christians anymore.

Apparently, it’s for wine drinkers.

Justin Markman



Open supervisor seat

As happy as I am to see Steve (Two-Tongued) Bennett (News, 11/23) running for a state job and quite possibly causing him to stay out of Ventura county for extended periods of time, I find it really comical to see the “lemmings” running for the hole he left in the county supervisors bench.

First you have Mr. Brian Brennan, a very “laid back” kinda guy who has been occupying a Ventura Council Throne as a member of the Gang in the Ivory Tower for quite a few years.  He will more than likely be the front-runner for this position, mainly because he has been working as Bennett’s right-hand man for a couple of years.  If he is elected, I certainly hope he pays more attention to what the heck is happening in the County Supervisors Throne Room than he does to what is happening in the Ventura City Council Throne Room.

Then you have Ventura County Fire Chief Mr. Bob Roper. Mr. Roper has been in the fire department for 30 years; he more than likely has a very comfortable retirement all sewed up for when he decides to leave the fire department.  He now has, if he is elected to the position of county supervisor and is able to remain for a number of years, a good chance to “double dip” on the Ventura County retirement system.

Then out of the blue, an old name we really haven’t heard much of for a few years, Mr. Richard Francis. He is one of the mindless buffoons who, along with Steve (Two-Tongued) Bennett, crafted the S.O.A.R. measure that was one of the main causes of the massive rise in the cost of property and homes in Ventura County, which, of course, also contributed greatly to the economic mess we are in at this time.  I shudder to think of the damage he could cause if he is elected.

Then, not to be outdone by these young whippersnappers, we have the champion of all the bums, drunks and drug addicts in Ventura; Mr. Neal Andrews has said he is seriously thinking about running for the position also.  The real reason Mr. Andrews is on the Ventura City Council is for the “social aspect”; he gets to go to all the parties, the dinners, the plays, for free; and most important, he gets to spend our limited tax money taking trips to places like Las Vegas, Washington, .D.,C, and many others.  He has spent more money on “city travel” than any of the Gang in the Ivory Tower.

It really doesn’t matter a bit which one of these hopeful people is elected. It won’t make a tinkers damn in this county. The people who really make decisions in this county work from behind the scenes, much as the “big boy” politicians in Washington, D.C., are run by corporations and Wall Street greed mongers.

Rellis Smith

In the eye of the beholder

So now Paul Moomjean is extolling the virtues (?) of Newt Gingrich (Right Persuasion, 11/23). Well, that is about par for the course.

 Gingrich hasn’t had an original or workable idea since he arrived on the national stage in 1994, and nothing has changed. In fact, it has been said that Gingrich is “a stupid person’s idea of a smart person.” What does that say about Mr. Moomjean?

 If you gave an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of computers and an infinite amount of meth, every two weeks or so they’d produce something identical to one of Mr. Moomjean’s columns.

Tom Becham


I just thought I would thank you (staff writer Shane Cohn) for the article you wrote featuring Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist Movement in May. I am a member based in Singapore, so it seems your article has traveled to all corners of the globe! I am originally from the UK and I will be sharing the article with the 60-plus members we have here in Singapore, as well as the many hundreds we have in the UK .

Richard Jenner



A housing problem

In this economy, the availability of safe, affordable housing located in quality communities matters more than ever. Unfortunately, the omnibus agreement reached by Congress that provides funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2012 significantly underfunds programs needed to maintain housing for our nation’s most vulnerable. In a recent poll commissioned by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and conducted by IBOPE Zogby, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they have lost their homes, require some sort of housing assistance due to a change in economic status, or know someone who has. Fifty-one percent opposed cutting funding and/or eliminating federal programs that provide housing assistance to vulnerable populations, and of those, 72 percent said they are willing to take action to protect such programs. As these respondents well know, providing a place to call home for our nation’s families, seniors and veterans must be supported in Washington and remain a national commitment!

Dee Dee Chambers

Getting to the point

To agree that Occupy protests are fueled by anger towards greed has become a growing misconception of the Occupy movement’s popularity in many U.S. cities. The civil/financial/political battle between the “top 1 percent and the 99 percent” has entered its second month, despite many critics’ attempts at deflating arguments by simply saying that protesters support the 1 percent when buying products such as iPods or Nikes. Owning technology doesn’t mean that one automatically agrees with a corporation’s ability to control market spending and buying. I certainly agree that more direction is needed with the Occupy Movement.
You can’t just stomp your feet and cry that life isn’t fair. Education is key, and more people need to understand that we live in a society where the finer points of our Constitution do not apply to citizens any longer. Nor does it support the creed and ideals of America as we once knew it. It has become an artifact of American history; a biblically incorrect government document that has been spit on by every politician in office, who tries to justify why they should still get a pension when their “civil” duties are finished. To be in government is an honor, not just a privilege or a paycheck. Where does it end? Numerous major corporations claimed bankruptcy and got “bailed out” by government loans (gathered from taxpayers’ paychecks), but yet all of their (thousands of) employees lost the 401ks and pensions in their entirety; not to be paid back?
Still not convinced that Occupy protestors are just a group of “unemployed jealous Americans,” as presidential candidate Herman Cain said? Perhaps the use of FULL RIOT GEAR/BODY ARMOR for an unarmed crowd of protestors will help to put issues in perspective? Can we say “Petty excuse of Power”? To use the militarization of the police force against common UNARMED civilians will only lead to a more violent and segregated society. I believe inequality is the main focus of many protesters. Police and protesters are alike in that, for every five moral police officers, there are two that lack morality; and for every five peaceful protesters, there are two disobedient “criminals.” It is an unforgiving cycle of confusion versus tactics that we are facing. Justifications for police brutality as well as for petty arrests for holding signs and peacefully chanting have continued to escalate in recent weeks all across America. Police and government officials are prompt at proving justice in pepper-spraying an 82-year-old grandmother for not putting down her homemade sign so they can make way for “reinforcements.”
However, how does one justify a bank that was granted a multibillion dollar bail out, giving its head CEO a “generous” (more like grotesque) raise AFTER the conditional agreement of the bail out was NOT to give bonuses or raises to upper management employees, i.e. board members? All the while repossessing someone’s home who lost their job because their employer “exported” their job overseas? Power to people and grandmothers!

Shane McDonald
New Liberty

Oh, the insanity!

Roughly half of the voting populace seems to believe, if only enough politicians with D’s next to their names can be elected all will be right in the world. The other half believes the same about politicians with R’s next to their names; unbelievably, these respective groups of delusional people will go so far as to say everything good that exists today is due to either D or R politicians in the past having written some words on a piece of paper. This means, roughly 100 percent of the voting populace is functionally insane — disconnected from reality. As one who no longer participates in the religious ritual that voting represents, witnessing this celebratory orgy of violence in which liars, swindlers, torturers and murderers are cheered on by their current and future victims/enablers is becoming more and more disturbing. It’s like watching two groups of people cheer on two different sports teams — and it’s just as relevant as to who wins.  
However, the insane folks who participate in electoral politics actually seem to believe the fate of the world turns on whether the Reds or Blues are put in charge of the U.S.S. Titanic. Except, in this game, the players are psychopaths who have massive powers over the lives of hundreds of millions of other human beings. I would cry my eyes out with laughter at some of the hyper-partisan political letters I read in the Reporter if mental illness were a laughing matter. However, instead, I cringe in terror at the realization that tens of millions of insane people eagerly stand ready to support psychopaths masquerading as political saviors who would impose any depravity on those who would disobey them. Throwing people in cages, taking their children, stealing their livelihoods and property, denying them basic human dignity and respect, murdering them, torturing them … even the mass murder of children is accepted by insane “conservatives” and “liberals” as a routine and wholly acceptable fact of American governance these days. I’ve got a suggestion for all of you who legitimize evil by participating in the political process: Before imagining you’re saving the world by voting for a likely psychopathic stranger promising you the sun, moon and stars (but who is, in reality, under no obligation to do anything for you whatsoever), save your souls first.

Shane Solano

Moving forward

Thank you for writing about Donna Iverson in your 11/23/2011 article “The realization of hope.” I remember that day, three years ago, when we did the breast cancer survivor cover shoot for the VCReporter. Deciding to remove our tops and cover where our breasts once were was extremely liberating for us, thanks to you. Oftentimes, liberation involves a certain amount of risk. We had no idea what our families or friends might think by doing this. What we did know was that we had just lost another friend to breast cancer and wanted to make a statement that we stand together and carry on for those we still hold dear.
In life, we all have risks. It is up to us to determine the importance of those risks and whether we want to move forward despite our troubles. When Donna had a reoccurrence soon after our photo shoot, it was an amazing sight to see how she chose to move forward. Donna, and all the others you mentioned in your article, set fine examples to our community, especially during this holiday season. Although we may think we are left with nothing during life’s most difficult times, there is always hope. We realize we do have something. We have each other. And with each other, we can realize our internal gifts that can sometimes appear from nowhere. For Donna, it is the gift of personality, perseverance and her continued drive to find light in each passing day — something she may not have been aware of before her cancer.
Thanks to the VCReporter for helping Donna and so many others feel liberated and acknowledged. One photo and a good story carries light to us all.

Lisa Barreto, Founder
Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer Foundation



Ventura’s off-year election

Once again the city of Ventura paid more than $100,000 to hold the council election on an off year. What this means is that Ventura holds council elections on odd-number years, and most of the rest of the country holds local elections to coincide with the general elections on even-number years. In the case of the city of Ventura, it would mean a savings of more than $70,000 if our elections were held in conjunction with the general elections.

This year, 2011, for example, out of all the registered voters in the city of Ventura, less than 25 percent even bothered to vote. When there is a general election, the turnout of voters is usually well more than 60 percent and higher.

The three winners in this council election received as follows: Cheryl Heitmann 6,132 votes or 14.96 percent; Carl Morehouse 5,918 votes or 14.44 percent; Christy Weir 5,719 votes or 13.95 percent. The thing is that all voters were allowed to vote for three candidates so it is more than likely that the same people voted for all three of these candidates.

The rest of the candidates, in total, received a total of 23,221 votes or about 55 percent of the total votes. In all, there were 40,990 votes cast. If you divide that number by three, you come up with 13,663 as the actual number of people that cast votes for this election in a city with a population of more than 108,000 people.

What this all boils down to is that if you add up the number of votes for the three winners and divide by three, you come up with 5,923; this is the number of people that decided which of the 11 candidates would be sitting on the Thrones of the Ivory Tower and running our city. The main problem with this last election, other than being conducted on an off year, is the fact that there were simply too many candidates. If there were 23,221 voters and 5,923 voted for the winners, that left 17,298 voters to divide between the seven remaining candidates. Ergo, if there were only … say two other candidates, it is highly likely that the election would have been vastly different.

We could have wound up with three brand-new councilmembers instead of having to put up with two of the same incumbent foxes guarding the hen house.

It is high time that this city merged into the 21st century and started having elections coinciding with the general elections on even-number years, and while we’re at it, we need to start electing our mayor instead of having him appointed by the “good ol’ boy” system.

Rellis Smith

Man vs. train

I have been alarmed by the increasing number of train vs. “pedestrian” reported incidents in our communities recently and the errors in the stories printed about the incidents. Most recently, a male victim was trespassing on private property – he was not a pedestrian on a public walkway as erroneously reported by a local media outlet. Nor is a conductor on a train responsible for sounding the horn and stopping the train. The engineer on the train runs the locomotive and is responsible for initializing emergency stop procedures and sounding the train horn, not the conductor.

Unfortunately, trains cannot stop quickly and require a long distance to do so. Also, trains are never able to avoid collisions with people or vehicles. They cannot change their course of travel. Only people can do that.

Trespassing on public/private railroad rights of way is illegal and very dangerous to all concerned. There is more than one victim in these incidents as well. Railroad engineers and conductors are also traumatized and must live with the memories of the events also.

We must try to clarify the details of these incidents in the future to prevent additional injuries or deaths. When residents see children or adults trespassing on railroad property, they should call 911 immediately. These are life-threatening behaviors.

Remember, with the increasing number of passenger and freight trains moving across our region, anytime is train time in our communities. Act accordingly.

Arthur James “A.J.” Farrar, M.S.

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