Smart meters, fear and the defense of ignorance

It is clear that no amount of logic or scientifically gathered information will sway the opponents of SCE’s implementation of smart meters in Ojai, so my opinion is not directed towards them but rather to those of you as yet undecided on this quirky, local issue. (“Smart meters: Ready or not, here they come!” News, 4/12)

The opposition’s argument consists of two basic components: first, that smart meters pose a threat to your health and safety; and second, that they are unnecessary and in fact benefit only SCE. Neither of these statements is patently true or false; however, a directed education is required to make an informed judgment, generally the case with all things technological, and also something in very short supply in this country today.  Hence fear mongering, I’m afraid, and the vague feeling of undefined discomfort experienced when we must reluctantly turn to experts in matters we know little about.

I find that SCE’s Public Relations Department has done a poor job in its part of rolling out the smart meters. Its web pages provide little in the way of in-depth description, perhaps because it correctly views the smart meter as simply another member of the ever-burgeoning class of wireless devices in common use, which includes mobile phones, wireless routers, even baby monitors, and also because an in-depth technological exposition would be a near waste of resource upon a largely uneducated population. But that’s OK, since the vast majority of that population happily enjoys the benefits of the aforementioned radio frequency (RF) irradiators.

So the opposition claims there is no benefit to the single customer. This is not precisely true for users who wish to be so environmentally progressive that they will actually study a detailed usage report to determine when and how they could be utilizing less energy.  But the smart meter network is mainly intended to assist SCE in its current and future due management of an entire grid, something that will benefit our society if not the single user.

The opposition also claims that you will be a victim of insufficient testing, suffering the deleterious effects of RF energy. This is the more tiresome and disturbingly ignorant part of the argument. This particular class of RF device has had the snot tested out of it and there is no acceptable evidence of inherent risk, and certainly not “clear danger.” A mobile phone makes a smart meter seem downright impotent in terms of RF energy emission; do you recall the brain cancer scare with the emergence of mobile phones? Well, how about 4.6 billion current subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2009?! And no society seems more devoted to public health and safety than the European community, where over 40 million smart meters have been installed. Sorry, but the opposition is empty-handed on science, and long on windy, frightening anecdotes.

At the end of the day, one begins to realize that the smart meter opponents have but a single issue, something I call “Mama, no!!” They are a small group of citizens who don’t like being told they have to do something, like adopt new technology. Any real traction their issue may gain will stem more from the fact that Ojai is a small and somewhat isolated town, rather than from the merits of their arguments. I encourage every member of our free society to exercise his or her voice, especially where it really matters, but not with shout-downs in meetings of city councils nor with “torch and pitchfork” demonstrations, but with civil and informed debate.

Thom Thomas

Well-intentioned gone wrong

The article regarding Alexander Johnson’s legalized extortion practices perfectly illustrates the dangers of using government compulsion to “solve” societal problems and “help” the less fortunate. (“Compliance gone wild,” Feature, 4/5) Maybe it can give political do-gooders and busybodies, and especially their useful idiot enablers who consider themselves “activists,” by calling for expansions of government power, an idea of why libertarians oppose this type of legislation. Those few of us who see freedom as preferable to authoritarianism don’t oppose legislation allegedly designed to “help” the disabled, women or minorities because we “hate” any of these groups of people, but because we know how these kind of “well-intended” laws always tend to produce exactly the kind of injustice the VCReporter article touched on.

How much time, effort, and resources have been wasted by localities and individual businesses trying to comply with ridiculous federal disability-equalizing regulations?  How much money and productivity has been extorted from good, industrious, and innocent people by opportunists like Mr. Johnson and the ever-present leeching attorneys who represent these legal criminals? How many more effective, fair and productive ways to assist the disabled would exist, today, had the horrific ADA never been imposed?  

Though I appreciated seeing this article in the VCR, the author did a kind of bait-and-switch by portraying Mr. Johnson’s actions as an “abuse” of the ADA when, in fact, it is the very existence of ADA itself which has spawned and encouraged abuse against innocent property owners. Contrary to popular beliefs, it isn’t necessary to sacrifice good people in order to “help” others — we also don’t need political/legal systems which enrich leeches at the expense of hard-working and honest people.   

Shane Solano

Rub me down

Re: Ventura: The new massage city (Slapshot — news, 4/5)

I can’t tell you how much I laughed and had a stupid grin on my face for the rest of the work day after reading your article. I read it while I was at lunch. What a pleasant gift. Everyone kept saying, “What is wrong with you?” I replied, “You have to read this.”

Lori Kennelty

The truth about smart meters

The CCST report has been completely discredited as fraudulent junk science. Rather than being an independent, science-based study, the CCST largely cuts and pastes estimates from a brochure by the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry group. The EPRI estimates are incorrect in a number of regards.

Smart meters produce cumulative whole-body exposures far higher than cell phones or microwave ovens. Smart meters’ radiation exposure can be up to 160 times more than cell phones!

Daniel Hirsch, California radiation expert and UCSD instructor, criticizes the industry-influenced CCST report that incorrectly minimized smart meter risks, based on the widely distributed, industry-generated Tell Associates report. CCST is a partner with U.S. DOE (U.S. Department of Energy), funder and promoter of smart meters.


Kevin Schmidt

Blatant conservative hypocrisy

Last April 2011, Paul Moomjean spat out his biweekly crock about Earth Day being some kind of “pagan” holiday, one that would not be celebrated by Christians or Jews. This year he’s at it again, only trying to present environmental conservation as some sort of right wing ideal. Paul should just keep quiet about Earth Day. The Republican platform is about deregulation, drill baby drill, frack baby frack, cut that wood, lay that pipe, mine that coal … ditch the EPA …ditch standards … global warming is a hoax … and that every man is entitled to any amount of money he’s able to amass, no matter the consequences to “his” human worker bees or the planet.

Promising that huge profit-driven corporations will “police themselves” is exactly like the FOX tending the sheep. (Pun intended.) Beyond the obvious attempts to undo years of progress for environment protection the GOP and the right are damning the viability of renewable energy and vilifying anyone, including Obama, for trying to progress them. All the while insisting on continued tax breaks and incentives for the oil companies, who now post the greatest profits of ANY industry in history! Shut the hell up and own it, Mr. Moomjean and all your “conservative buddies.” You couldn’t care less about the environment if it gets in the way of any big-business profits. And using Walmart and McDonald’s as examples of “good job” creation is like praising Fukushima for helping control the population explosion or BP for lubricating the bottom of the gulf of Mexico.

Chris Jensen

If you really want to know…

A recent letter from Forrest Mize claimed (among his other semi-coherent, marginally sane ramblings and unsupported straw-man attacks on Democrats) that no one can claim any specific accomplishments for President Barack Obama. (“Those socialist liberals got us here,” Letters, 3/29)

Well, there are over 200. Whether you will see them as accomplishments is debatable.  (After all, you seem to think that the “infallible” book upon which you base your faith prohibits abortion, when there is no specific mention of it. Sure, you could say “Thou shalt not kill” covers it, but the Old Testament God who prohibits killing in the Big Ten, COMMANDS it elsewhere in the Bible. In fact, the God of the Bible is kind of a sadistic, amoral jerk.)

You can find those accomplishments here:


 I doubt you will ever go to that website, though, Mr. Mize. I’m sure you don’t want to disrupt your faith-based politics with something as meaningless as data or facts.

Tom Becham



Pulling California out of recession

I recently read the article on what we need to do to get California back to prosperity (Power to speak, 3/22). Number one, cut taxes — both company/corporate and individual. California pays the highest state taxes in the country. After taxes, there is no money to buy anything. Cut spending. We take in enough revenue to more than cover our state’s expenses but we have so much waste of our tax money. We pay too much for government officials’ salaries! I am sure we can get officials for much less than $400,000 to $600,000 a year.

Next, in the article, someone advocated a “living wage.” What does that mean — $10,000, $20,000 or $100,000 a year?

I had a business some years ago. Hired many people. Some made a decent wage with benefits while others were young people still in school who earned minimum wage because it cost me to train them. (When those at minimum wage got better skills, they often got other jobs working for other companies with wages commensurate with their new skills.)

When government tells companies how much to pay, it ends up with fewer jobs, less pay for hard workers.

When the government raised the minimum wage, I had to let people go. I could not afford as many personnel. When the government tells a small business what to pay and the business cannot afford it, it cuts workers.

The bottom line is to allow the business owners to hire people they can afford to pay, while providing training, then raise their wages to a competitive level. If the employees don’t want to exert the effort to improve and gain skills, they can choose to take their talents” elsewhere!

Jerry Lucero

How Edison smart meters work

The smart meter is both a receiver and transmitter. When Edison transmits your meter’s address code, your meter responds by transmitting its readings. It takes less then a second of transmission. After it sequences through more than 100,000 meters in about 15 minutes, it starts over again. The RF or EMF pulse energy is so small that a normal RF detector meter cannot measure it. It most likely emits less RF energy then any other consumer device. The system works off an FCC-approved safe channel.

I bet wrongly that the California Public Utility Commission would allow this labor-saving system because we have so much unemployment. I also suspect that reported illnesses are a phantom.

 An article about the dangers of Edison smart meters that appeared in your paper a couple of weeks ago got many people into a panic about the meter affecting their health. It was false and misleading, and I respectfully hope you will publish the above to help correct this.

Sy Einstoss

Let me clarify separation of church and state

Re:  Letter from Mike Mislinay of March 29

I am not writing to inform Mr. Mislinay, because he is so badly misinformed that it is too late for me to educate him (although he questions my intelligence and education without knowing me because he is so eager to denounce me. Hmmm … why so desperate?). But in case some of your other readers misunderstood what I wrote in my earlier letter (3-15), let me clear it up, please:

It is true that the language “separation of church and state” does not appear in our Constitution. The language reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” The metaphor “separation of church and state” was used by Thomas Jefferson when referring to our First Amendment, and he meant it to stand as a “wall of separation between the church and the state.” He originally stated this in 1802. It means that the church stays out of the government’s business, and the government stays out of the church’s business. Over the years, that wording became a standard expression for our First Amendment, and pretty much everyone knows that. Ask anyone (including so many newscasters) if they believe this is part of the Constitution and they will say yes, because in spirit and intention, it is. 

Unfortunately, the religious right seems to interpret this amendment to mean “freedom OF religion — ONLY,” and does not include “freedom FROM religion.” Therefore, atheists, and those who might practice some religion that is not recognized, are in danger of government interference if that is the interpretation, which is wrong. I have no idea what Mr. Mislinay’s real objective is.

My point was that women who want the right to handle the choices of childbirth according to their own preference, regardless of religious preference, might be in danger from the government if laws are passed refusing them access to birth control in their health insurance. Certainly, those religious groups who do not believe in birth control are free not to use such insurance, but they should not deny this choice to those who do want it.

Anyway, that’s my take from the blue blue sky. Mr. Mislinay can find “separation of church and state” by looking up one of our greatest founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, among others, since he was unable to find it on his own. That expression was also used by James Madison, the principal drafter of the Bill of Rights, as well as by President John Tyler in 1843, and by John F. Kennedy in 1960, when he stated, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute….”   He can also find it any day, any time in so many newspapers, books, publications, TV, that that language has almost replaced the original language of our First Amendment. He’s just playing dumb. Oops. Maybe he’s not playing.

Jan Richman Schulman

“You’re welcome”

Thank you for publishing the letter from Forrest Mize. (Letters, 3/29) It helps to establish the Reporter’s willingness to offset its predominantly liberal bent.

Jack Weber

Open Letter to Rick Santorum and his “Warriors on Women”

Stop handing us this claptrap about what “God” wants.

I don’t believe in your “God” so there’s no point in telling me that your policies are based on the will of God. There is no God, and therefore there can be no “will of God.” That is why the Constitution says we shall have “no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

In plain English, the government will not impose any religious opinion on anyone, and no government action may be based upon one person’s guess as to what God might want.

America’s great poet Walt Whitman said this nation has “an ardent belief in … the severance of its government from all ecclesiastical and superstitious dominion.”

Somewhere in Valhalla or on Mt. Olympus, there may be a deity that commands abortion; the gods that most Americans claim to believe in sure don’t seem to have any problem with mass killing in the name of patriotism.

Each of us has the right to decide what we think about “God,” and each of us has the right to decide what we believe about abortion and contraception. And you should keep your bigoted noses out!

Richard Lancaster

Editor’s note: Though Rick Santorum pulled out of the race for president after the VCReporter received this letter, the letter is still relevant.



The deaths of cyclists

RE: Most cyclist s also travel by car (Letters, 3/29)

Alisan Peters, I am very happy for you that you and the rest of the cyclists you mention also own cars. It’s kind of hard to cycle when it’s raining out. It’s also real nice that you obey the law and get a license and insurance for your car, along with a driving license to allow you to drive your car.

I also have a car or two for which I pay for license and insurance every year to help pay for the roads and other amenities that allow us to drive our cars. Oh, I forgot to mention, I also own a Honda scooter, and guess what? I am required to have a license both for the scooter and one to drive the scooter plus I am also required to have insurance for the scooter. Now that doesn’t seem fair; after all, I already pay for license and insurance for my cars.
Here are a few statistics for you to ponder:

Bicycle accident statistics

U.S. bicyclist injuries in 2007: 43,000 (58,000 in 1997, a reduction of 26 percent)

U.S. bicyclist deaths in 2007: 698 (814 in 1997, a reduction of 14 percent)

California bicyclist deaths in 2007: 109 (only four states had higher death rates for bicyclists)

Who is more likely to be in a bike accident?

· The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes in 2007 was 40. The vast majority were male.

· 15 percent of those killed in 2007 were younger than 16.

· The average age of bicyclists injured in crashes was 30. The vast majority were male.

· 28 percent of those injured were younger than 16.

“Carpenteria Valley — A Ventura man had to be airlifted to a hospital Monday afternoon after crashing his bicycle on Highway 150, the Ventura County Star reported. The accident happened at about 11:40 a.m. on the highway east of Gobernador Canyon Road. According to news reports, the cyclist, Joseph Powers, 48, was riding downhill when, for reasons unknown, he lost control of the bike and was ejected. Powers was flown to Ventura County Medical Center with back injuries.”

“Fatal bicycle accidents concern Pasadena

“Last year, the city had 82 bicycle collisions and one fatality. This year so far there have been 64 collisions reported.”

Now since these cyclists have no insurance for the most part, who do you think pays for their care in the hospital? Do you suppose it could be taxpayers?

In the future please think before issuing your opinion.

Rellis Smith

Editor’s note: Cyclists may not have vehicle insurance for their bikes, but it certainly does not mean that they, for the most part, don’t have medical insurance.

My suspicions tell me

Who the hell is Forrest Mize?

I’ve wondered this for some time … based on bits and pieces of his numerous letters in the VCReporter, I had come to my personal conclusion that Forrest was a lonely, confused and bitter old man. I envision him sitting in his little apartment all by himself, with no family, no friends and no company, listening to Rush on his antique transistor radio and/or falling asleep in front of the television with FOX news blaring from the speaker. My romanticized visual image of Forrest is a Walter Matthau look…with a permanent frown and hairy ear lobes. I also deduced from one letter that Forrest may have served in the military in his youth … WWI maybe. If that’s the case I’m thankful to him for his great contribution and sacrifice … I find myself with the instinctive urge to respect him … I guess because I’ve imagined him my elder and that’s how I was raised. Because of his letters this year (my only source of information about Mr. Mize), I fear that Forrest’s health has taken a turn for the worse … I suspect severe dementia. I’m not joking, this is a horrible disease and I am extremely sympathetic to those afflicted including my 86-year-old mother.

Forrest’s recent depictions of history, the law and current events are all over the map without an inkling of reality. His senseless ravings are starting to sound rather psychotic. Forrest is confused about why people have called him a racist. He apparently doesn’t remember his own remarks that were printed in the Reporter calling the POTUS “the Mulatto Messiah” or “the primate in the White House,” I expect he will go on believing that the Democrat’s “Holy Grail” is actually “dismembering babies” and that “Limbaugh, Breitbart” (RIP… I wonder if he knows), “Sarah Palin” and himself “Forrest Mize” are the only real voices of reason. I’m not going to respond to Forrest again … I don’t see any point … but I wish him well, so I’ll take this opportunity to say, farewell, Mr. Mize, thanks for engaging me, by proxy, in political debate. I wish you no harm, old fella. I hope your transition the next world is fast and painless.

Chris Jensen

All about perspective

Re:  He who bears false witness

I am writing in response to the letter by Tom Becham in the VC Reporter of March 15.

His vilification of Andrew Breitbart certainly caught my attention; however, reading further exposed his contempt of President Ronald Reagan also.

I found it very amusing that he was so insulted with the “smear campaign” of ACORN.  Perhaps he didn’t realize that ACORN was besieged with charges of corruption before declaring bankruptcy in November 2010. It is hardly an example of citizenship that I would promote.

Sue Manion

From the web:

Re: Rocketdyne still hot (3/29, news)

The truth

Once again, Mr. Collins has shown us that “the truth is out there.” It is very sad that we cannot depend on these agencies to present the facts.

Bravo, Michael, and thank you for a great piece that is easy for a lay person to understand.

Reverend John Southwick

A proper cleanup

Another reason why we need other eyes looking at these reports. Thanks, Michael, for pointing this out. Now we know, now we should encourage the responsible parties to do the right thing and look forward to a proper cleanup with source removal as an only option.

William Preston Bowling
Founder ACM
Aerospace Contamination Museum of
Education, www.acmela.org/


An EPA official will “look into it”? What does that mean??? Maybe they should have looked into it before blowing millions of our dollars. I hope VC Reporter stays on this. I want to know how this happened. Brownley should start an investigation before it’s too late.

Rebekah W.

Re: We all pay for health insurance (Editorial, 3/29)

The Know-Nothings

Regardless of how the activist majority of the Supremes feel about the mandate, it is their charge to find some part of the original document, i.e., the Constitution, to hang their biases on.

My copy of the Constitution says nothing forbidding it.

Parenthetically, the most rational solutions to our health care cost and complexity were left off the table before the debate even began who Obama. Perhaps the greater part of our health care resources is siphoned off by the private insurances to their executives. Single payer, national health care, and so many other systems to take profit motive out of this important human service were never considered. And the Know-Nothings claimed the president was a socialist anyway!


Start with your own health

People should never forget that real health depends on how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry, but I agree health insurance is important for everyone. Search “Penny Health” or online for dollar-a-day insurance plans.




Poor decisions in Oxnard

The 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 budgets called for 98 uniformed firefighters for the city of Oxnard. The legislative body in April of 2011 approved 12 more firefighters using Measure O funding. As of Jan. 1, there were 92 uniformed firefighters. Based upon conversations I had with senior firefighter officials at the end of February 2012, six firefighters were to have joined the fire department March 19. I have been informed by fire department officials, that city staff canceled those six positions.

How is it that city staff can cancel those six positions and refuse to fill those budgeted positions without the consent of the legislative body? Who gave city staff the authority to put the public in mortal danger?
The national standard for five-minute response time for call for service of the fire department is to occur 90 percent of the time. As of June 30, 2010, five-minute response for a call to service is occurring less than 60 percent of the time.
Members of the legislative body, when they campaign, state that their objective is to have a safe, clean and prosperous community. How safe can we be if the fire department’s hands are tied by staff and the legislative body is just ignoring the issue? Why am I picturing an image of Nero and Rome?

Larry Stein
An Oxnard Activist

We don’t want to be guinea pigs

SCE has subcontracted with Corix to replace its analog meters with “smart meters.” These smart meters have health and privacy implications that have not been adequately tested. Distributing this technology profusely to the people without their informed consent is a violation of our civil rights. The information about the implications should be explicitly detailed as the consumer is to be subjected to its impact until health implications surface. Like the pharmaceutical industry, we do not want to be guinea pigs in this capital experiment.

Currently, residents can delay the installation. But this only pertains to their individual meters. What if your sleeping area butts right up against the wall where, on the other side, 12 meters for the whole apartment complex are located? Such is my dilemma. I have a 2-year-old son who may very soon be subjected to this dangerous technology against my will! If so, I will have to move and Corix may not even allow me enough time to vacate to a new residence.

I reside in an apartment complex with my 2-year-old son. We have 12 meters located on the wall directly behind our head board sleeping area. Although I opted out (only a delay) as well as two others, there are nine remaining meters that will impact my son’s safe living space. I was only informed by a neighbor one week ago that this would take place. I moved in December last year. I am desperately trying to get others on board but know this is a much larger concern for all of us. My immediate concern is to get my son and myself safe. The larger picture is holding Edison accountable for credible third-party research as well as allowing citizens to make the choice not to participate. The health and privacy issues are far-reaching and I do not think the public should be the guinea pigs. As I stated earlier, we are already in a society where medications are allowed to be given out and the health impacts learned later after health and even death has been sacrificed.

Please inform the people to help stop this assault on our health and our privacy. We the People must defend our constitutional rights.

Michelle Gould

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