LNG Companies undermine American economy

After decades of being under the thumb of OPEC, America is now poised to be able to call some of its own shots on energy policy. This is due to recent discoveries of domestic natural gas reserves that could give us a 100-year supply. This supply could allow us to move away from imported petroleum products and more-polluting coal-fired electrical power plants.

These discoveries have resulted in a big decrease in current prices of natural gas. The savings have helped many individual consumers, manufacturers, power supply companies and our national balance of payments.

But wait. Before we can start to run with this incredible stroke of good luck, we must deal with a plan to reverse our potential gains. LNG companies have a plan to undermine the American economy by exporting liquefied natural gas to foreign nations. Indeed, some of the same companies who once claimed that by importing LNG they were in effect importing jobs now seek to export our jobs.

Exportation of domestic supplies of natural gas seems to be in direct conflict with every interest of our country. Unfortunately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already acted to allow one plant and has several more in the pipeline.

These plans have an immediate impact upon Californians, as newly constructed pipelines designed to bring natural gas from Wyoming to us will instead divert supplies to Coos Bay, Ore., to be exported as LNG.

Ventura County should be forewarned that it may once again be targeted as a site for massive LNG facilities, but this time aimed at exportation of LNG.

FERC has completed a study that shows a 54 percent increase in natural gas prices. It could be worse.  Meanwhile, all of the environmental impacts of drilling for natural gas and constructing thousands of miles of high-pressure pipelines benefit foreign economies.

Many of the proposed areas for natural-gas drilling are some of America’s most beautiful places, like the Wind River Range in Wyoming, Valle Vidal and Otero Mesa in New Mexico. Impacts to these areas hardly seem justifiable when tied to domestic uses of the gas produced. But the sacrifice made becomes outrageous when all benefits go to LNG purveyors and foreign nations.

Obviously, there is a need for revision of state and national energy policies. Just as important is a requirement for local jurisdictions to construct planning documents that do not allow construction of LNG projects for exportation.

Earlier projects have already taught us that current loopholes in local planning documents are large enough to sail a supertanker through. Coastal communities like Oxnard and Ventura and the county must revise general plans and local coastal plans to prevent reconsideration of Ventura County for LNG projects.

In the end, all of the economic evidence presented by the LNG companies in support of importation of LNG proved to be untrue. There is no reason to expect anything better as they try to persuade us that it is in our interest to export our finite domestic supplies of natural gas.

     Alan Sanders
President, Ormond Beach Observers

It’s simple, really

All the Republican candidates want to cut taxes on the rich, even beyond what Bush did. They want to deregulate industries, protect greedy corporations and predatory banks, and repeal the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Republicans not only want to protect and increase defense spending, they’re searching for the next reason to go to war. Their answer to government is to privatize it.

They want to soak the poor and seniors. They’ve sabotaged the economy and engaged in unprecedented union busting.

They believe outsourcing American jobs is a good thing and neglecting America’s infrastructure will help the country’s long-term economic health.

They not only deny climate change, but advocate policies that would destroy the environment, which includes gutting the EPA.

They attack women, gays, undocumented immigrants and Muslims and create straw men to knock down.

They want to repeal health care reform and destroy Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

They scapegoat the unemployed and search for reasons to deny Americans the right to vote.

They believe buying elections is the American way.

Republicans are the party of destruction and greed. Period.

Democrats believe in the common good, government and science.

There’s no comparison. Vote for Democrats. It’s that easy.

Tom Becham

Keep the cuts fair

At a time when budgets are tight, and programs and services in our community are being cut back, the Pentagon budget keeps getting bigger.

The secretary of defense announced on Jan. 6 that he plans to slow the rate of growth for the Pentagon budget; but even under this proposal, in 10 years the Pentagon budget would still be bigger than it is today.
I hope that our members of Congress will stick with the current law, which requires the Pentagon to cut its budget by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade — twice what the secretary is proposing.

Over the last decade, the Pentagon budget has grown by 100 percent. Some of that growth was to pay for the wars, but a lot of it went right into the Pentagon budget. Right now, we are all having to cut back. The Pentagon should have to as well.

Elisabeth Van Atta

New rule just for Mitt Romney

Since Mitt Romney enjoys offshore accounts in the Caymans, evades taxes through Swiss banking, finds pleasure in outsourcing jobs and firing people, believes that the only way African Americans can get into heaven is if they are “sealed to a white as a slave,” and thinks corporations are people, while he doesn’t care about the poor — I have a new rule, ESPECIALLY for the privileged Mitt Romney:

He must, as a requirement, change his name to “McMoney” before he can begin treating us as his subjects and accept the nomination by his Royal Republican Party for the office of president (or, in his words, “the next CEO”) of the United States.

(This letter to the editor has been paid for by no one but the thoughts of a nurse, sick and tired of the privileged 1 percent at the expense of the rest of us.)

Grant Marcus, RN  

From the web


Ode to Ormond

RE: Ormond Beach, the beautiful problem (Cover feature, 1/26)

There are riches that cannot be counted.

There is the dune-dusted estuary of the dream-giving Santa Clara River.

There is the tectonic grandeur of the sunset-hued striations of the Topa Topa Ridge.

There are the emerald oceans of green which separate and bind us with our sister communities.

There is the urban wilderness of the Santa Monica Mountains where the cougar and coyote and hawk hold sway.

There are the memories of the Blue Dolphin People traversing the wind-swept Channel in their painted, hand-hewn tomols to the pristine magnificence of Anacapa where we might also stand where they stood and imagine.

And resting uneasy at the apex of this crown of jewels is the most splendid treasure of all, Ormond Beach and her wetlands, where we can witness nature restored and, in turn, be ourselves restored. Our vision, made real, will be given to our children and their children.

And they will know that there are, indeed, riches that cannot be counted.

— stevenash

Re: New law changes checkpoint impound standards


A blatant dismissal of facts

So many things, so little space.  (News feature, 2/2)

First, Jose, you are automatically charged with a DUI if you have a BAC of .08 or above.  That means you were already guilty when you gave the first breath sample.  You can still be charged even if you are below 0.08 if you fail the field sobriety test badly enough. I have absolutely no sympathy for you, a drunk driver, regardless of immigration status.

Second, Mr. Gabriel, you know that illegal immigrants were not being targeted. The evidence for the police placing checkpoints only in areas of high concentration of DUI crashes and arrests has been out there for years. They show up in Hispanic neighborhoods, business districts, industrial areas and everywhere else DUI is concentrated. You are refusing to acknowledge a hard, factual truth.

— onramp

No license, no car

RE: News feature, 2/2

It all boils down to “If I’m an illegal immigrant I don’t have to obey the laws!” That is what Todo Poder is saying. This law doesn’t apply to the poor “illegal” immigrant. BS, there is no gray area; don’t drive if you’re not licensed and insured. I don’t really care what your immigration status is, I don’t care what race or religion you are or anything else you have going for you; if you drive without a license, you should lose your car until you get one. If you can’t get one, then don’t drive.

There is really not much more to say.

— teflon431


Break the law, but no justice

“Now I will be more comfortable to go through a checkpoint, and if they try to take my car just because I don’t have a license, I will say, ‘Sorry, you can’t take my car, sir!’ ” he said with enthusiasm.

“Just because”?

Sorry, but if anyone is unlicensed, they shouldn’t be driving.

What is the point of everyone else following the law and getting licensed, when there is no penalty for those who don’t?

And Jose’s enthusiasm at being able to thumb his nose at the law is just wrong.

— foeindevoid



And another thing, or 10 …

How exciting to know that people are reading my letters to the editor. Complimented recently — I ran into the Reporter’s own Chris Jay at Brooks on one of its last nights, who told me he thought that my letter was the best he’d ever read in the VCReporter. Now Mr. Forrest “Obama is a primate” Mize has mentioned me in his recent letter to the editor.

In Forrest’s letter (1/26), he asks (me by name, actually) what it is that we like about Obama. I can pointedly answer, “not everything,” but I now feel the personal responsibility to correct a few of Mr. “Can’t wait to see all the sad people taking their Obama signs off their lawns” Mize’s specifics. 1.) “Stifling unemployment” — Myself a victim of Bush’s recession, suffering the worst four years of my career, I understand the repercussions of runaway greed and financial collapse brought on by deregulation and 1 percent abuses … but things seem to be improving … because of Obama … I don’t know? 2.) “Foreclosures” — When my home’s value quadrupled in two years, 2003-4, during King George’s reign, I knew then that something was horribly wrong. I’ve been able to keep my house, which I was fortunate to buy in more honorable times, but again, it’s clear to me that Obama inherited the mortgage melt, he didn’t cause it. 3.) Should Mr. Mize research, he’ll learn that many people receiving “food stamps” are employed. Walmart teaches its underpaid employees how to abuse the system to compensate for their crappy salaries. God bless those less fortunate who need food stamps. 4., 5., 6., etc.) “Downgraded Credit rating” … GOP congressional politicking … “stimulus” … NOT a failure … should have been bigger … “taking corporations” … saving the U.S. auto industry. I wish they had taken over BP … “giveaways to unions,” like who … teachers, 9-11 first responders? “Closing Guantanamo” … gotta give you that one, Forrest, but “failed foreign policy,” please! … Killing Osama, Kadafi. … gone, Iran DOES NOT HAVE NUKES but I suppose you think we ought to drop another few trillion and go on in there, guns a-blazin’! Don’t forget taxpayers’ grandchildren still gotta come up with tens of trillions to pay for Bush’s Iraq war … the country that didn’t have WMDs. “Solyndra” was an unfortunate business failure, hardly a scandal. Cheney’s company Halliburton getting caught ripping off $100 million and Enron, now those were scandals!

This letter is getting a little long so I’m gonna skip Mize’s other lies, save one — “Obamacare.” I’m a healthy, single, self employed, middle-aged man, I pay more than $300 per month for a $5K-deductible policy that doesn’t cover squat. I like health care reform … I still wish there was a public option … but grateful I can now be insured regardless of pre-existing conditions. I still can’t stand my greedy insurance company, and big pharma sucks! Health care in America has been badly broken for way too long. “Obamacare” is a small step in the right direction.

Finally, to answer Forrest directly: I’m not sure I can say I “like” Obama … or any politician. I don’t like that he extended the Bush tax cuts, escalated the war in Afghanistan, he’s caved to the right too many times, spent too much on war, he’s been too cautious and forgiving of big corporations and Wall Street (appointing Monsanto’s Randy Alexander to No. 2 spot in the FDA, and signing for permanent detention really pissed me off) yet I shudder to think how it would be had the old fella and the ditzy Alaskan gotten in.

And finally: Forrest, if you want to be upset with somebody for screwing up your country … their names are George, Dick, Donald and, currently, John Boehner so go ahead and cast your vote for “The Mullatto Messiah” because the options on your side are, again, far worse.

Chris Jensen

Do you see what I see?

Thank you for running this! (“The sky is falling,” Cover, 2/2)

You have no idea how much this means. I’ve been spouting off about this “situation” since November 2011, when I experienced firsthand a local “spray day” and subsequently became very ill. I started photo-documenting it every time I noticed unusual trails in the sky. You just validated my concerns, and now the people I have been talking to will finally realize that this does need attention and that we have no real information who is spraying. (I have photos clearly showing these are NOT all commercial jets.)

Thank you again for keeping journalism free, alive, and most of all … UNAFRAID!!!


Meet Howard, a vocal reader

Kilea’s article on DUI checkpoints and unlicensed drivers is very good. (news, 2/2)  

Everyone does their own talking without injecting editorial bias (the greatest sin of contemporary news). My own favorite is Jose, whose Mexican village culture isn’t melting very well in America’s law-and-order pot. I can hear Mark Twain chuckle.

Re: “Integrity in politics — an oxymoron?” (editorial, 2/2): “one might think that hundreds of millions … to create jobs ….”

Actually, campaign money is invested immediately into the economy, mostly for wages of the 99 percent: consultants, staffers, transportation (airline, bus, car rental), advertising (TV, radio, IT, print — The Reporter!), hotels and restaurants (maids, servers, cooks, managers), retail expenses for clothing, haircuts, wigs, shoes.

The business of a political campaign is Milton Friedman Economics 101.

Re: “Mitt can’t win,” Right persuasion, 2/2

I agree with your observations of the Mormon religion, based on my marriage in a pioneering Mormon family and my years as a Baptist Sunday school teacher.

Will being Mormon cost Mitt the presidency? I hope you are wrong.

Also, you wrote, “Many feel [Obama] might be a closeted Muslim.” Correction: We know he is a Muslim and we are voting for anyone but Obama.   

    Howard Paul Blasingame



No comparison to the president

Reading the editorial article of Jan.19, “Time for local cities to reassess their own payrolls,” I was struck by a statement that has become a recurring theme in the U.S. today. The statement, “President Barack Obama’s salary is $400,000 for a country of 307 million. Sotelo gets paid nearly three-quarters of what our President makes.  It seems rather high in comparison.” The rationale that all salaries must align with a sliding scale beginning with the president of the United States, has become a mantra in many articles and arguments today.

The president makes a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment.  He or any president and his or her family also have housing, planes and helicopters, cars and drivers at their disposal, maid service, food, gas, electricity, phone service, child care, body guards, insurance and even those little trains that run underground between White House and Congress,  etc., etc., all free of charge. He even has his own movie theater. And mostly tax free. He eats at the finest restaurants free, dines at state dinners, entertained by the greatest entertainers, and on and on. Added together, it has been estimated that the President makes in salary and compensation well into the tens of millions of dollars each year.

So the $400,000 we throw his way every year is just, well, pocket change.

And that does not count the after-presidential benefits. Any money he or she has forgone during the presidency is more than made up for in book deals, consulting salaries, speaking engagements, free travel, sitting on boards, lobbying fees and, again, on and on.  It is like being paid for going to a four- or eight-year university. Then the president gets a real job to earn some real money.

But most people would not suffer the intense personal scrutiny for even the enormous presidential compensation package. All any layperson need do is look into the eyes of anyone running for president of the United States (Democrat, Republican, Independent) to see that the compensation package includes an intense desire for power, fame, recognition and legacy.

I do not think Ed Soleto’s or any other city manager’s salary, much less that of any other individual in the U.S., compares with the total compensation package given to the president of the United States.

I am not saying a president does not deserve the compensation, some more than others.

I am saying the argument against or for any compensation/salary package should stand alone and be based on the contribution and value the individual brings to the organization.

George N. Bullen


Attaboy, VCReporter …

Congratulations! For the first time in a long time, you put in not one but three stories (in a row, even) that made sense. I’m in shock; someone ought to check your temperature.

What happened? Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed, go get drunk or maybe stoned?

I’m talking about the Jan. 19 issue.

First, the one about the local cities paying out too-high salaries. No shit. Not to mention our fair mayor at $176,000 per year for not working. Criminal, it won’t last.

Second, the one about the land- and money-grab redevelopment agencies. The crooks have been stealing land and building future ghettos way too long.

And last but not least, Obama’s Abu Ghraib. That un-American, anti-American commie muslim has been getting a pass way too long. I think your rag got in the Abu Ghraib hysteria and should have been ashamed of yourself. You and the Dick Durbin, Sen. Ted (Chappaquiddick, Chappaquiddick, Chappaquiddick) and unfit-for-command Kerry.

For the good work, you get one attaboy. Keep up the good work.

Bernie Olson

A prudent investment

I very much enjoyed Jan. 26 Power to Speak, “Following the bloody love of money.” There was one question that remained to be answered: How did Halliburton stock perform over the past 10 years? A simple check on the web provides the answer. Over the past decade, the stock has gone from roughly $6 per share to as high as $57 per share last year.  I’m no rocket scientist but it appears that the stock grew tenfold in that time.  And then there were stock splits, too. Well done, Mr. Cheney, well done.

    F. Bundy


The new Fox news pundit

A study released by the University of Maryland in December found that listening to or watching Fox News made one less informed or — let’s face it — dumber. F. Mize’s letter (1/26) offered abundant proof of this obvious conclusion (as if more be needed) as he listed the Fixed News talking points and other half-witticisms absorbed from listening to fascist paranoid whistle heads like Mark Levin and Glenn Beck. Maybe we should clone bin Laden — after all, he was a job creator. And, Mize — say “Hey” to the ghost of George Wallace at the next Klan meeting.

    Bill Locey



One can only assume

I wanted to thank the Reporter for the exposé on the WVAV (not a typo) project. (“Riding the storm out,” feature, 1/16) The Working VISUAL Artist Ventura debacle has always been a confusing mess to me.  Now that I read about the obscure and untraceable funding for the project, it appears to me that it was meant to be that way.

I was shocked to see that none of the condos that were supposed to make some of the city’s money back have sold. Instead, they are now just overpriced rentals like every other rental in our town.  I was also shocked to read that retailers, willing and able to rent, have been turned down by the WVAV managers. Why? I would think that any paying renter would be better than leaving retail space unoccupied.

What I was not surprised to read was that there were no writers mentioned in your story. I can only assume there are none in the complex. I guess writers, who bring us plays, music, movies, novels, short stories, poetry and all the rest, just don’t rate with the city of Ventura City Council. Under the current leaders, Erle Stanley Gardner would have been evicted from his downtown Ventura law office as soon as he picked up a pen to start writing his world-famous Perry Mason novels. 

The city would be better off just giving up this losing project and turning it into a real low-income housing complex. We could call it WFIV, Working Families in Ventura. The city might actually see some return for its money if it did.

John Darling

*Editor’s note: In the article about the WAV (1-19-2012) it was mentioned that writers as well as visual and performing artists live at the complex. Space and time did not allow for interviews with residents representing every sector of the arts.


What goes around

I just wanted to send a quick e-mail to say thank you for the recent article beautifully written by Karen Castillo Farfán. When I suggested to Karen that she contact School on Wheels tutors Steve and Laurie Hagerg, I had no idea that they had been homeless, too.  It is amazing to read about these wonderful people in our community, who are giving back and making a difference, and all the more humbling to read their story. I hope your readers enjoy it, and thank you again for highlighting our program and the amazing people who make it work.

Sinead Chilton
Marketing Consultant | School on Wheels Inc.


Who owns my phone?

Like so many, I’ve made heroic efforts to keep my phone free of telemarketers. The no-call list was useless. Marketers ignored it or maybe they felt it didn’t apply to them because they weren’t selling anything. They were just taking a survey, they said, or offering some free trip or video or whatever. No pressure. Right. And the Nigerian banker who invites you to commit a crime with him is not a con man, either.

Without viable enforcement, the list was a waste of time. Now, I screen all calls. This is a problem, however, when one expects a call back, say from a doctor or the police or other folks involved with one’s health or safety.
The next retreat I contemplated was canceling my land line altogether and depending on my cell phone. But last week I got a telemarketing call on that!

People with too much oxytocin and too little sense excuse this omnipresent intrusion on the hard economy and the telemarketers’ need for work. But how is my suffering this annoyance benefiting the economy? How is it providing useful occupation for the minimum-wager to make unwelcome inroads on people’s privacy?

They might be offered useful work, perhaps learn new skills, stimulate the economy and serve the community by minimal wage jobs financed by all of us. Yes, I know that would be socialism, we’re told.
Common sense is more like it. I’d be happy to see my tax dollar going to this end instead of, say, subsidizing agribusiness.

This situation is just one example of the everyday insanity of our economic values.

Margaret Morris

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