Keeping the Wild Things alive, always

There have been many articles, radio programs and TV commentators remarking on the death of Maurice Sendak (Tuesday, May 8, 2012). This was indeed a remarkable man, who, in his many interviews, denied his own vulnerability when it came to the consideration of children. However, although you may find it in almost all of his books, I believe his inherent sweetness shown through most strongly in his most famous book.  At the end of Where the Wild Things Are, when Max “sails” back home to his room, he finds his supper waiting for him … and it is hot.  In other words, his mother, who in anger sent him to his room without supper, made certain that he did have a hot supper before going to bed. Contrary to some interpretations, Max found that he was not alone.

That vision is so tender, so dear, so loving, that one has to wonder about Sendak’s own denial of writing for children. After all, what he is telling them is that (among other things), no matter how much your mother gets angry with you, she loves you and will always take care of you … and make sure that you are OK. The first time I read those last words (as I was reading it to my grandson, whom I raised), my voice choked up and I was covered in goose bumps. To this day, so many years later, it still gets me. There is so much love in that ending, and there is so much love in all of his books. I cannot help but recommend that parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles get these books for their young children and read them aloud. It will be a wonderful experience for all concerned.  Maurice Sendak was raised in a time when he knew he had lost many of his relatives to the horrors of the Holocaust; and he was gay and grew up in a culture that was not ready to accept him for who he truly was. For all of his resistance to sentimentality, I have to believe that he was a true sentimentalist at heart, in a heart that was very full of love.  His writing and his drawings display this so clearly. Rest in peace, Mr. Sendak. We parents and our children will never forget you.

Jan Richman Schulman

We are Westside Ventura

The Westside of Ventura would like to thank our City Council. Thank you for recognizing that the Westside has a critical need for open space/park space …, people and nature space! We thank you for your support and commitment to Kellogg Park, and for your continued support and commitment for the Westside pool.

On the Westside, we have been dreaming of parks and pools for too many years. Now is the time to make those dreams come true. Our common dream of a healthy, vibrant, connected Westside cannot be put off any longer. We are energized. We are watching. We are ready to work with you.

We’re not asking for the world. We’re asking for more parks and open space that we can safely walk, ride our bikes or skate to. We want these places to be family-friendly, environmentally sustainable, easy to operate and inexpensive to maintain. We want places where adults, children and nature can come together. We want places where we can be active, coexist, explore and interact. This will increase neighborhood vitality. It will promote health. It will decrease obesity and other health problems in both children and adults. With more of us spending time outdoors and interacting with our community, crime and negative behaviors will decrease. Parks, pools and open natural spaces promote community. We love where we live, but we want it to be even better.  We want to build community. We know this can be done. We are the Westside. We are diverse and eclectic. We are ready, we are willing, and we are watching.

Morris Wills

Thanks for sharing

I’d like to commend you (Jan Schulman) for your Mother’s Day offering. Sentimentality so often dominates these yearly remembrances. Frankly, I didn’t expect to be drawn into the story, but ended up reading it all, marveling at the principled woman, caring woman denied so much by a poor choice of mate.

Please pass on to Ms. Schulman my appreciation of her candor, her “like it is” sharing.

The image of the four siblings together touched me, my profoundest wish being that Ms. Schulman’s broad smile reflects her having experienced a life her mother never found!  

Duane Waln

Being accountable when politics get ugly

In a conversation with Julia Brownley at the close of a recent candidates’ forum, she claimed to be ignorant of anything the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out to smear a fellow candidate, saying it was the first time she had seen the material.


Several people posted it on her campaign website days before, with questions about her stand. The questions were taken down and not answered.

She is endorsed and funded by the party of Harry Truman, who said, “The buck stops here!” She is also supported by the DCCC, a group that makes big expenditures to fund smear ads, behind the cloak of anonymity. Without transparency, we must hold each candidate accountable for the actions of their devious support groups!

Ms. Brownley, it’s your campaign, and the buck stops with you! Please be accountable for, or denounce, all the misinformation disseminated on your behalf by the DCCC. The voting public demands and deserves that respect!

And the same applies to the Republican Party, whose past attack ads are still fresh in our memories.

Don Rowland

Getting the facts, firsthand

When you vote for someone, do you vote based on merit, qualifications and experience, or is your vote based on NASTY THINGS. The Democratic Party is now following the Republican Party’s lead in saying NASTY THINGS so as to disqualify the opposition. It seems that merit has had its day. Apparently, the idea that someone like Linda Parks who is running on her experience, merits and qualifications is not as profitable as the NASTY THINGS approach. Can you think for yourself or are you comfortable letting some political machine alter your brain? Find out the truth about my friend Linda Parks, and tell the Ventura County Reporter how may lies it took before they fooled you. Or stick them in the trash where they belong. Just make sure your facts are firsthand and not second. Funny things happen as the information passes from record to claim.

Send Linda to Congress.

Bob Coutts
Oak Park

Political tactics at their worst . . . again.

I am a lifelong Democrat who deplores the highly partisan nature of both parties, where the welfare of the party has replaced working for the good of the electorate. Now my party has taken the low road to advance its agenda. I refer to its mailer that vilifies Linda Parks, the only independent in the 26th Congressional District primary, by saying that she’s really a Republican trying to give the Republicans two candidates in the election and, worse, that she is a “Tea Partier.” The mailer stoops to featuring photos of Palin and a Bush/Cheney sticker, alleging that Linda Parks’ election would end Medicare and benefit the Tea Party. This is far from the truth. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee PAC and her opponent’s separate mailers conveniently ignore Linda Parks’ Web page, which clearly states her positions on Medicare and other issues. The committee banks on most voters believing its big lie. In politics, if you repeat a lie often enough (e.g., she’s really a Tea Party Republican masquerading as an independent for convenience), people will believe it.  Big lies count on people not gathering facts themselves but voting on what the self-serving parties tell them is true. Charging that Linda Parks is not what she professes is ironic since the Democrats’ hand-chosen candidate, Julia Brownley, claims 26th District residency though she rented an apartment in Oak Park when they selected her to run, and she claims to represent much of Ventura County in the state Assembly. (She represents only a sliver of the county from her Santa Monica base.) At a recent candidates’ forum, Linda Parks asked the Democratic Party’s candidate about her misleading attack mailer but Julia was mute, showing that she condones the misinformation.  The attack mailer and Julia’s tacit approval give us further cause to seriously consider someone who is independent of crushing partisanship.

Martin Kaplan, Ph.D

Distinguished research professor emeritus
Northern Illinois University

Linda Parks needed in D.C.

Ever since Linda Parks began her community service as a city of Thousand Oaks planning commissioner in 1993, followed by her election to the City Council in 1996 in which she received the highest number of votes in that city’s history, Linda has demonstrated her selfless dedication to her community and the constituents she serves.

Ever since her successful run for Ventura County supervisor in 2002, she has voluntarily limited her campaign contributions to $500 per person at a time when there were no limits on how much a candidate could accept. To this day, unlike her opponents, she remains steadfast in refusing to accept any PAC, special interest or party contributions.

Re-elected in 2006, Supervisor Parks established a Fire Safe Council, and began a series of Senior Summits that assist senior citizens in need, in addition to creating a Veterans Services office. As a committed environmentalist and protector of our local mountains, Linda continues to serve on the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a nonpartisan voter, believing that party affiliation does not necessarily represent the best candidate for the job. As a result of recent redistricting, her Democratic opponent relocated to run against her. Can you say “carpetbagger”?

I am thrilled to support Linda Parks in her run for Congress. Her strong, independent voice is desperately needed in Washington, D.C., to stand up for what is best for all Americans, and help break down the walls of gridlock surrounding special-interest politics and work toward a greater bipartisan effort to move  the national decision-making process forward.

Toby Keeler
Old Topanga

Independent to the extreme

Linda is the most independent political figure that I have ever known. Those phony ads to depict her as a crony of the right wing only reflect on the moral decay of the left wing, which is afraid of the independents who represent the majority of our country. We need representatives who represent us, not the “core.”

Ethics is a word that does not carry much weight in Washington, D.C.  Send Linda to help change that.

Carl Lanterman
California native

USAF Veteran
Retired Businessman

Linda Parks stands for integrity

I am sitting here looking at two fliers that arrived today.  At first glance, I thought, hmmm, must be from the Republican PACs – but no, one is from Julia Brownley and the other from the Democratic Congress.  The one thing they have in common is their slamming of Linda Parks, who apparently had the effrontery to run as an independent in the coming primary election in the race for the new 26th Congressional District seat. No acknowledgment that perhaps Ms. Parks is operating from a position of principle and has a point. Ms. Parks’ biggest crime in the eyes of small minds seems to be that of changing her party affiliation from Republican to independent. Unlike Ms. Brownley, Ms. Parks didn’t change her residence in order to run for election, merely her party – a party which in recent years has become synonymous with partisan logjam and from whom, sad to say, one doesn’t hear compromise or conciliation. Be that as it may, the warring has to end and people are needed in place to make it so. The issues should no longer fall on deaf ears in hallowed halls but should be tackled earnestly, by the best and brightest of both sides sitting side by side, trying to work it out and persevering. I want people who care to be in charge, people who will make things happen, people who will listen to each other, who will recognize a good idea when they hear it, no matter from whom it originates. Those in government who have a fiduciary duty to do so need to chart this country’s course. Let us elect those who have the right mind and ability to undertake this enormous task. Linda Parks is such a person. She has integrity, intellect and honor. Please follow the lead of the Los Angeles Times and this Democrat, and vote for Linda Parks for the 26th Congressional District.

Barbara Kerkhoff



Not impressed with county supervisor candidates

I just got my absentee ballot and I had to shake my head in dismay at the paltry choices we have for county supervisor.  

The first two names on the ballot are Neal Andrews and Christy Weir, two current City Council members who were greatly involved in the WAV and Bus Home “art” messes that have cost the city millions of dollars while producing very little. Imagine what they would do to county finances. “New Art County” anyone?

Then there is Bob “I have a HUGE pension” Roper, looking to suck even more money from the county than the $230,000 he already gets for sitting around doing nothing. How motivated will he be to work?  The only thing he would work at is seeing that his friends get fat pensions, too.

Then, of course, there is Steve Bennett, the “supervisor” who sat back and let Roper loot the treasury. (Unions had NOTHING to do with it.) I imagine he has his own pension sewed up, so why run for a House of Representatives seat when you can make more money doing nothing?

Anyway, I have decided to write myself in because I know that I am honest, hard-working, and I would protect the hard-earned dollars of the citizens of Ventura County.

I can’t say that about any of the other candidates.

John Darling

Bennett, the easy choice

Long ago, all I did was vote. I was neither involved in nor informed about politics, locally or nationally. Fortunately I woke up and began to study the issues, work for what I believe in, and meet our leaders. What a concept!

On June 5 I will cast my vote for Steve Bennett for county supervisor. I will vote for him because he is one of the finest elected officials in Ventura County. I will vote for him because I have watched him closely for more than a decade, and know him to be a great leader, serving the well-being of all.

Bennett’s leadership has resulted in great accomplishments in fiscal balance, protection of public services, support of those in need, preservation of our environment, and toughening of campaign finance regulations.

I wish all my ballot choices were this easy.

Kristofer Young, D.C.


The dirty bag debacle

Re: In response to “Tony Strickland and a great future in plastics” by Shane Cohn, Ventura County Reporter, May 3
OMG! This (Strickland’s position) is one of the most ignorant things I have heard lately (and there have been a LOT of ignorant things!). First of all, if people are so lazy and so stupid that they won’t wash their reusable bags, then what in the world makes Strickland think that they are washing anything (including their hands) — or being particularly careful about any contaminants in their lives? The whole thing with our right-wing Republican friends is that it is more important to come up with an argument against the Democrats (the “left,” if you will) than it is to make any sense. (It is always more important to make our President Obama fail than it is to recognize when he does something good for our country. After all, George W. Bush tried for years to get Bin Laden and could not. But can you imagine the Republicans’ glee and ticker-tape parade for Bush if it had happened on Bush’s watch? The mind boggles).  Strickland’s idiotic suggestion is just another example of the panic and hysteria being demonstrated by the right-wing component of the Republican Party.

Compare Strickland’s idiocy with Brownley’s common sense suggestion to limit the use of plastic bags, and it should not be hard to make a rational intelligent decision in the coming election. (Gee, I wonder if it’s time to wash out my filthy dirty reusable bags now? Duh….)

Jan Richman Schulman


You’ve got it all wrong, Solano

This is in response to Mr. Solano’s pro-growth Chamber of Concrete, regulation is bad, the market knows best cliché fest — what a load of crap (Letters, 5/03). So since I want to protect the quality of life where I was born, that makes me a communist? A communist? And believing that one Hell-A [sic] is enough makes me in favor of Soviet-style planning? You must’ve hit your head reaching for the Super Glue so your remote never strays from Fixed News.

If wanting to preserve Ventura makes me a commie, and paving it all makes you what — a patriot? How about an idiot? No regulation gave us L.A. — it also gave us the Great Depression, the savings and loan scandal in the ’80s and now the recession, thanks to the greedy squids on Wall Street; and now we have Mitt Romney, a man who makes plastic look authentic, a man who made his dough by creating jobs — in other countries by outsourcing American jobs overseas. He’s counting on the short-term memory of the American voter.

If selling your property is going to facilitate the creation of yet another L.A. here — or Oxnard in training — then, no — you can’t do it. Also, you can’t murder, rob or steal. Destroying the quality of life for the many to allow the greed of the few is murder, robbery and stealing, except on a grand scale.

And planning killed small-town America? Wrong again. It’s the Chamber of Concrete and their bought-and-paid-for toadies in local government that enabled the Walmarts that killed mom-and-pop America.

I know what, Mr. S. — since property owners in L.A. have been allowed to do what they wanted and now that place is so screwed up that the only sensible redevelopment plan is nuclear, maybe Mr. Solano should move to Hell-A [sic] and write a letter every week and share the highlights of his newfound freedom. That is, if he gets home in time from traffic hell and still has the energy to tap a key.

The free market is a lie that the robbers want you to continue to believe so they can continue their rapacious ways. Greed must be tightly regulated because people cannot be trusted. And Mr. Solano can enjoy the past he so clearly misses, the same one that probably never existed in the first place.

Bill Locey


Job loss yet another danger of smart meters

Attention has been focused on the considerable health risks of the so-called “smart” meters. But there are other important issues at play here. Some Edison workers will lose their jobs by December because of this change. Choosing to make a few more corporate dollars by putting families out of work is not OK.

The “opt-out” procedure is a sham as Edison intends to convert all meters. Many of us signed up for the delay or opt-out provision, but new meters were installed anyway. Our only recourse is a futile telephone exchange with no results. Requiring customers to pay for choosing to opt-out is extortion and no one should fall for it.

There is nothing “smart” about this entire process. Edison bigwigs are laughing all the way to the bank.

Marilyn Crosby


The dangers of train tracks

I just finished reading my snail mail edition of the April 2012 Trains magazine recently.

I was very impressed with reporter Don Phillips’ commentary entitled “Dangerous fad prompts Union Pacific (UP) photo policy.”

In the past, I have written to many of you as a result of tragic incidents along the coast main line here in Southern California.

Recently, we had another terrible incident in which a trespasser was struck and killed by a Metrolink train in Simi Valley.

While a very sad incident, Phillips stressed in his recent column that we are entering another period of extreme danger to our young people.

Specifically, he noted the increasing frequency of trespassing incidents on railroad rights of way where both amateur and professional photographers are posing their subjects directly on the rails or in and around entrances to tunnels, which provides an interesting perspective to their graduation and wedding photographs.

Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous fad that must be stopped immediately when seen by the public.

He reminds us that “people who would never try to walk on an airport runway or an interstate highway somehow think they can walk on a railroad ….”

“… People seem to think that railroads are accessible and safe public properties, and that trains always make enough noise to hear them coming.”

Of course, this is not true.

Call 911 and save a life.

This could prevent further tragedies.

Arthur James “A.J.” Farrar, M.S
AJF & Associates



The futility of the partisan politics

Reading the deathly boring, inane charges leveled by mainstream, ideologically bound conservatives/Republicans against ideologically bound liberals/Democrats — and vice versa — never fails to put me in mind of two groups of screeching, agitated chimps jumping up and down and throwing feces at each other. I’m sure those in power who play these two silly groups of chimps against each other are similarly amused at the antics of the hairless apes. Keep hurling away, my friends … keep slinging shit alongside “your” group of chimps until the day you finally defeat the “others.” Afterward, you can celebrate your “victory” by reveling and rolling around in your own crap. One fine day, when only the Democratic Party (or is it the Republican?) exists, why, then, brothers and sisters, we can look forward to peace and prosperity!      

Shane Solano

I vote for Christy Weir

We can count on Christy Weir to be a strong, independent voice as a Ventura County supervisor. Her hard work over the last eight years as a Ventura City Councilmember, and mayor for two years, is evident by the improvements made in our city. Her willingness to hear all sides of an issue, as well as her refusal to accept special interest endorsements, shows she is truly an independent voice in our county. Ventura County needs this kind of leadership.   
I have known Christy for years to be an honest, forthright, thoughtful, intelligent friend who will go the extra mile to continue to improve the city of Ventura along with the county areas in the Ojai Valley, parts of North Oxnard, the north coast, and Lockwood Valley.

Join me in voting for Christy Weir on June 5. If you are voting by mail, be sure to get your ballot to the Elections Division by 8 p.m. on June 5. Mail early!

Jean Stiles



Fear not, conservatives

As one who left the Republican Party decades ago, I am saddened and disgusted by the level to which conservatism has degenerated. Basically, conservatives now live in a world of fear and greed. Conservatives fear change, fear people with different backgrounds, fear independent women, fear that their religious tenets are too weak to stand on their own in the marketplace of ideas. People who are afraid hate to be afraid; they are angry at their fears, and strike out at those who make them afraid. That is the reason we see the racist rants about the president, misogynist rants about independent thinking women, demands that the coercive power of the state be used to impose religious tenets on all others. Conservative politicians make use of this. George H. W Bush had his Willy Horton ad. Ronald Reagan wanted to create a welfare program to reward his corporate backers, the B-1 bomber. To do this, he created a bumper sticker slogan, “Window of Vulnerability,” can’t get much scarier than that. Imagine, we had several hundred Pershing II medium range ballistic missiles in Western Europe, flight time to Moscow 7 minutes; hundreds of ICBM’s with thousands of warheads capable of hitting any target in the Soviet Union in 30 minutes; hundreds of sub-launched ballistic missiles capable of hitting any target in the Soviet Union in 30 minutes, and we have a Window of Vulnerability! And to solve this vulnerability, a weapon which was canceled because it could not penetrate the Soviet air defense system would now be able to arrive six hours after the entire Soviet society had been destroyed and proceed to make the rubble bounce! You had to be paralyzed with fear not to see the ridiculousness of this bit of flim-flam.

As to greed, conservatives do not want to pay a dime to improve the public benefit, but they can’t say it is personal greed, so they develop wonderful self-serving rationalizations and flat-out lie. A recent writer decried the public employees making $300,000 to $400,000. In fact, a total of 407 or roughly one-half of one-tenth of 1 percent (0.05 percent) make over $300,000, and these include city managers with hundreds of million-dollar budgets with thousands of employees, heads of major teaching hospitals, heads of major universities with 50,000 or more students. Another great rationalization is that minimum wage benefits unskilled teenagers. According to the bureau of labor statistics, just over 15 percent of those making minimum wage are teenagers working their first job, the majority are between 24 and 45 years of age. And what happens when the minimum wage is raised? The rationalization covering the greed says people are laid off because employers can’t afford the costs. The facts are contrary. There have been two studies in peer-reviewed journals. In one, eastern Washington state was compared to western Idaho after Washington raised the minimum wage. Employment went up in Washington, not down, when compared to Idaho. The second looked at 16 state or local minimum wage increases between 1995 and 2001. In 16 out of 16 cases, employment went up compared to surrounding areas. Worse for conservatives, the reason employment went up was the people at the bottom income levels spend all of their income, and the increased income meant more spending, more business activity, more hiring, more tax receipts, lower public assistance costs.

So all of you conservatives, throw off your fears and greed. Come out and look at the world as it is, free of fear. It’s not too scary, don’t be afraid, we’ll hold your hand until you get used to it. You will lose your anger and hatred of those you fear, and you will reap dollars for the pennies spent in the public square.

Norm Rodewald

My vote is for Weir

This communication is to support Christy Weir in the upcoming election for Ventura County Supervisor. My recommendation is based upon the following:

1. Commitment. Christy is one of the founding members of the Downtown Ventura Organization and has been key in leading the Downtown toward financial stability and vitality. Her commitment has not wavered over the past several years and is in addition to her other excellent work as a City Council Member.

2. Communication and follow-up. If you want a response from a City Council member, you can count on Christy. She does not always agree with your position, however she listens and seems to be open to new ideas. She actually responds to e-mail and will return calls.

3. Balanced approach. Christy is the most “apolitical” City Council member that we have.  She resists the traditional parties, unions and special interests that try to sway her opinions.  She is her own person.

4. Experience. Christy has a good balance of government, business and life experience.   Her experiences with the Ventura City Council have not made her cynical and, in fact, have made her realistic about the challenges our government faces.

We could not do better than to have Christy represent us. A fresh face in county politics who would represent our interest honestly, finally.

Dan Frederickson




One fail, one win

The anecdotal recital of a one-time egregious application of a strip-search law in a recent editorial to justify the health mandate in Obamacare doesn’t work with me. (“The dangers of various interpretations of the Constitution,” Editorial, 4/05)

However, the masterful lead story about “compliance gone wild” evens the score and more for a conservative ex-businessman as am I. (Feature, 4/05)

As I previously said, factual reporting allows editorial license.

Jack Weber

Keeping lawyers busy

Your issue of 4/12 is very one-sided. I am 82 years old and only recently handicapped due to a loss of a foot. My transportation is by wheelchair.

I go places I have been to for many years and never noticed their provisions. Some of them have no aids at all. If I got lawsuits against all of them, I could keep a dozen or more lawyers busy full time. I see you taking the side of business but not the side of the handicapped!

Let’s try to report both sides.

George Mabry Sr.

There are other options

“It would seem that Venturans want to have their cake and eat it, and without any of the calories.” (“Focusing on infill and redevelopment over suburban sprawl,” Editorial, 4/12)

This statement really hits the nail on the head.  I’ve run into numerous locals, over the years and up to now, who complain about the high cost of housing in Ventura while simultaneously holding the view that no building, anywhere, should be allowed — or only allowed under very narrow guidelines. It amazes me how few people understand that costs are attached to the restriction of economic activity.

Communistic laws like SOAR and soviet-style, multiyear government economic planning initiatives which collectivize land ownership and usage can be expected to work as well as they did in the former USSR and its satellites. How does Bill Fulton know how much housing needs to be built, where, and in what form over a 25-year time frame? What gives him and/or any other person the right to lock away tracts of land from development and/or tell land owners what they are allowed to do with their own property? Why is the only option to crowd more people into the city instead of letting people disperse into outlying areas? What if the “planners” get it wrong?

The consequences of this kind of soviet economic planning can already be seen in the urban sprawl that was encouraged by the government building vast road systems which allow for “free” travel, and in zoning laws (and vast numbers of other laws and regulations) which have encouraged the centralization of economic power into big-box stores/large corporate producers and large retail centers at the expense of local neighborhood shops which once existed at the community level amongst residential homes. Ironically, we’re seeing the “planners” now trying to encourage developments which mix commercial and residential usage in order to cut down on sprawl and the need to drive everywhere … a problem that the former free market and absence of zoning regulations solved many decades ago!

Shane Solano

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