City traffic also a mess

I enjoyed the article by Mr. Kraft (“Destination nowhere,” feature, 9/26). The article highlights many of the freeway issues facing Ventura County.

An idea for another article is to discuss the internal traffic nightmares of Ventura, Oxnard and other Ventura County towns.

Oxnard is just a mess. The city of Oxnard should consider expressways and garden ways to move traffic. This type of traffic management has been done successfully in Santa Monica and the Bay Area.

East Ventura has a two-lane and then a one-lane and then a three-lane street (Johnson) for residents to enter the 101. Victoria Avenue: eight lanes of gridlock and a Walmart in the future of the street. Downtown: Something must be done to connect downtown to the beaches. I have read some discussions. Time to quit talking and act.

Half-cent tax until project is completed. Possibly. There are solutions and the cities of Ventura, Oxnard and East County need to work on solutions now, before our traffic problems are similar to Hollywood or Westwood or the L.A. Valley.


Clay Farr


Call the GOP out

Our weakness is in allowing our Republicans to compound the disgusting capitalist madness that brings us to our knees, at our expense, for the gratification of the few. Republicans have betrayed the love they once knew in their own hearts. They have buried their ideals, their ethics, their feelings, their sympathy, their compassion and their care for other people. They treat voters like commodities. Republicans must be held accountable for the damage they have caused us all economically and emotionally. No more political correctness. No more respect and understanding for their position, their service, their experience or their personal privacy. No more excuses. Call out every Republican individually. Corner them; expose them in a no-holds-barred, in-your-face, personal confrontation. Confront them head-on for their lack of personal ethics, lack of humanity, lack of kindness and lack of backbone in standing up for their own truth and the rights of the people they represent. Attack their betrayal in the media, in their constituency, at their kids’ football games and in the streets outside their homes. Show them up as the self-serving, kiss-ass weak political sheep they are. BLOW THE WHISTLE on their individual hypocrisy, their flaws, their lack of care, their personal wealth, their sources of income, their sponsors, the corporations they represent. FOLLOW THEIR MONEY. Challenge them to act like the Christians they claim to be. Nail them to the cross of their wrongdoing in any way that publicly exposes their deceit, lies and betrayal. BLOW THE WHISTLE on their sex lives, their indiscretions, their privilege, their confidential emails, their “friends” and their dirty little secrets. Do not fight fairly; when we fight on their terms we lose. Embarrass them; teach them that there are consequences for acting without honor, integrity and care for the people they represent.

Christopher Judges


Vote for Francis

I wholeheartedly endorse Richard Francis for Ventura City Council. Not only will the city of Ventura benefit from his leadership, so will our entire region.  Everyone knows that he wrote the SOAR laws protecting farmland and open space, but few in Ventura know how he helped elderly, very low-income residents — many of them WWII veterans — who were being forced from their mobile homes in Thousand Oaks.  Richard responded as he has on so many other occasions by stepping up to stop the injustice. His advocacy for those in need will never be forgotten by those of us who know his good work. I urge Ventura voters to vote for Richard Francis and elect a leader who will make a positive difference to our region.

Linda Parks
Ventura County Supervisor, District 2





Proof in the pudding

In his “Right Persuasion” column (“No unmotivated worker left behind, 9/26), Mr. Moomjean once again delves into his navel lint for his economic analysis of the effects of raising the minimum wage. Instead of being fact-free, let’s look at actual data. In 1989, Washington state raised its minimum wage above the prevailing national minimum. An economic analysis was then done to assess the effects, comparing eastern Washington state to western Idaho. These very similar demographic and economic areas were compared. Contrary to Mr. Moomjean’s navel lint musings, eastern Washington state showed increased economic growth over western Idaho. The reason was simple, low wage workers had more money to spend, which they do spend out of necessity, which generated increased business activity, which led to more hiring and increased employment.

In 1994, the Democrats in Congress raised the national minimum wage. After the Republicans took control of the House in 1995, there were no further raises in the national minimum wage for more than a decade. During that time, many state and local governments raised their minimum wage. In 2001, researchers looked at 16 state or local raises to the minimum wage. In 16 out of 16 cases, the result was increased business activity over the surrounding area, which led to increased employment over the surrounding area.

Our society defines a minimum acceptable living standard. We do not let people starve to death, freeze for lack of heat or clothing, die of preventable disease for lack of vaccination, etc. When an employer hires a worker at a level below the cost of that minimum standard, society subsidizes the cost through food stamps, heating oil subsidies, rent subsidies, Medicaid, etc., to bring that individual up to the acceptable minimum. In every case studied where the minimum wage has been raised to bring it closer to the cost of that minimum standard, employment has increased, tax revenues have increased, and social welfare costs have decreased. An analysis a few years ago showed that the average California low-wage Walmart employee received more than$1,600 in state benefits, just as in Michigan, an average Walmart superstore cost taxpayers more than $900,000 in public benefits to employees. Wages paid below the level necessary to support the minimum standard of living our society expects costs all of us through taxes and benefits directly the exploitive employer.

Norm Rodewald


Minimum wage question

Mr. Moomjean obviously doesn’t have a glass jaw as, despite many blows, he keeps it thrust forward. You’d think there would be some counter-punching on his part, but apart from ballyhooing the line of one news source, I’ve never seen him take on, let alone discredit, any number of intelligent challenges in the letters to the Editor, and I read many.

In last week’s VCReporter, 9/26, “No unmotivated worker left behind,” Moomjean suggests a game of logic. Well, here’s one involving Thomas Sowell, whom Moomjean praises. At the suggestion of friends  a while back I read several of his articles. I’m remembering one in particular a couple of years ago in which he focused on the then-new OWer’s [Occupy Wall Street] movement. Nowhere in the article was there any suggestion that Sowell ever came within miles of a demonstration, or even that he had had any personal contact via phone or email with any of the principals. I don’t think he would have considered it beneath him, but the fact remains he was viewing them from afar in all senses.

At the same time I read Chis Hedges who had spent lengthy periods of time on the ground specifically involved with what was going on. Now logically, whose judgments should weigh more heavily on my mind?

As to other articles I read, it was obvious that Sowell had well-reasoned pieces, but in none of them did he begin by justifying their initial premises. Didn’t that have to have been the beginning point?

As to lowest minimum wage, one would think that Moomjean wouldn’t ignore that, among the developed nations, we rate very poorly. Now, I know that correlation doesn’t prove causation, but that Australia, the least-affected by current hard times, also pays the highest minimum wage certainly should engage Moomjean in some wonderment!

One of the heroes of modern industrialism, Henry Ford, to the consternation of fellow industrialists, paid high wages to the laborers in his factories. He felt there was something wrong if those producing a product couldn’t afford to buy it!  Was Ford widely misguided?

Duane Waln


Ventura City Council election


Nasarenko, Francis, Brown for City Council

Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation has endorsed Richard Francis, Lorrie Brown and Erik Nasarenko for City Council.

All three candidates expressed their support for hillside preservation, the Ventura River Parkway and the renewal of SOAR. Each candidate wants to protect Ventura’s quality of life and our surrounding environment. 

Richard Francis brings decades of experience in our city to the Council — including his prior service on the Council. As a lawyer and co-author of the SOAR initiative, he has been instrumental in preserving open space and agricultural land in Ventura, helping retain both these strong economic engines in our community. Francis sees our focus on the environment as critical to Ventura’s future.

Lorrie Brown was born and raised in Ventura. She is dedicated to protecting our environment and protecting the quality of life that she enjoyed while growing up in Ventura. With her master’s degree in public policy and her work as community planner, Brown’s perspective will be a positive addition to Ventura City Council.

Erik Nasarenko is committed to preserving Ventura’s rich array of outdoor recreational opportunities, including the beach, the new Botanical Garden Trail and the Ventura River Parkway. As a Ventura County Deputy D.A. he protects the most vulnerable in our community, victims of domestic violence, children and the elderly. On the Council he will work to protect the city, its citizens and our surrounding environment.

All three candidates bring valuable experience to Ventura. Let’s elect Richard Francis, Lorrie Brown and Eric Nasarenko to the Council on Nov. 5.

Diane Underhill, President
Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation

Passing the torch — Elect Francis

As Election Day approaches, it is with mixed emotions that I watch from the sidelines as the candidates for City Council reach out to the electorate, asking for their confidence and their vote. Being elected to public office is an honor and is something I take very seriously.

I know that when I first threw my hat in the ring 16 years ago I wanted to focus the city’s attention on our natural environment, especially our beaches, protecting our hillsides and water quality issues. After being on the Council, I also made a commitment to helping Ventura become a sustainable city economically, environmentally and equitably.

Through a fruitful partnership between the city and our residents, we have accomplished a lot Ventura. We have worked hard to protect our quality of life and have made great strides to help Ventura thrive, particularly in the downtown. During my tenure, we also accomplished creating a road map for Ventura’s future through the visioning process where more than 300 people participated. The resulting “Seize the Future” document is something to be proud of.

But, with the current Council, I have become concerned that our road map — the citizen’s vision — is being compromised. We seem to be at a crossroads as to whether we will stay focused on our vision or change directions. It is my hope that we stay focused and in order to do so we need to elect Council members who will carry the torch and make decisions that are in the best interest of Ventura’s citizens. 

That’s why I am endorsing Richard Francis for Ventura City Council. He shares many of my values and goals for Ventura and with his wealth of experience and vision, I am confident he will serve the people of Ventura well. I hope you will join me.

Brian Brennan
Ventura City Councilmember


Don’t elect Francis

I sure hope people give some serious thought before voting for Richard Francis for Ventura City Council.  Francis represents everything that’s wrong with the city of Ventura right now. During his tenure on the Council last time (from 1987-1991), Francis was a divisive force who pushed issues that were (and continue to be) detrimental to the economic prosperity of the city. Many of the overkill planning and building regulations that are in place today in Ventura are a direct result of Richard Francis’s presence on the City Council in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His mindset was always to make it more difficult for businesses to operate and thrive in the city. This, of course, has had serious long-term consequences on the city’s tax base, which continue to plague the city today.

Even as other cities rebound from the economic recession and begin to restore some of the vital services that were reduced or lost during the last five years, Ventura continues to be in cutback mode. A quick drive around the city will confirm this.  Parks are being left untended, streets and medians poorly maintained, and our public safety has been compromised with a rise in crime over the last few years. People do not feel safe walking through their neighborhoods at night and residential and automobile break-ins are more frequent than they’ve ever been.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not laying all of the blame for this on one man. His votes on the Council had to be co-signed by three other members. But, the thought of returning to the days when Francis and his cohorts on the Council pushed our City backward instead of forward does not hold much appeal for me.

There are nine candidates for City Council on the ballot this year, many of whom have fresh ideas, new energy and represent a departure from the status quo at City Hall.  Richard Francis is not one of them.

 Mike Gibson





Parking shenanigans

I would like to bring to your attention an unfair practice within the City of Ventura.

A group of friends went to the “Blues, Brews, and BBQ” Festival on Sunday, 9/22, held in downtown Ventura in Mission Park. We parked in the parking garage since there were signs out front advertising “Festival Parking Here.” After having to pay the admission fee, purchasing food (since the samples were not plentiful enough), and purchasing beer tickets, upon leaving the Festival, we found $40 parking tickets on each of our cars, because even though the festival lasted six hours, parking in the garage was only for four hours. Somehow, this makes no sense after all the money spent on and at the Festival. Had we known beforehand that someone would need to leave the festival and move our cars around, we would have just searched a little longer for free parking in one of the side street lots.

I think that for events like this, parking in the garage should be allowed for as long as the event lasts so that those coming from other cities are not unfairly fined.

After this, you can rest assured that we will not be visiting downtown Ventura for any more events. What a rip-off. I wonder how many more of those who received tickets on their windshields (and there were quite a few) are as outraged as we are.


Rebuttal to fracking accusations

Grant Marcus goes off on me like a blown-out gas well for my praise of George P. Mitchell, the inventor of fracking (Power to Speak, 9/5).  He lobs his fact-free personal assaults at me for being a paid shill of big oil and an academic sellout for petroleum’s grant money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Full disclosure here requires me to confess that Mr. Marcus was an eager and dedicated student of mine many years ago in our local halls of ivy — CSUN’ s Ventura Learning Center. I taught literature courses; we seemed to hit it off then.

I begin my essay on Mitchell, who recently died, stating upfront the ills of fracking: It causes small earthquakes and may set off larger ones; it reintroduces toxic-laden waters into deep wells and pollutes nearby land with methane gas. Marcus berates me for supporting the very problems I list. Clearly, one thing he missed about being a literature major is the need for careful reading. My basic point was that Mitchell and other inventors lack the foresight to see the potential negative consequences of their intentions. That’s a very old story, but that’s not all.

Mitchell used some of his money in very beneficial ways, and I praised him not as the inventor of fracking but as an early champion of sustainability, conservation and alternative energy. I won a Mitchell Prize in 1979 for establishing the Sustainability Council of Ventura County. The top winner that year was Paul Ehrlich for his book Population Bomb. Other winners promoted educational reform for children, native cattle for ranching in Africa, and new methods for using sustainable strategies in business, global food supplies and coastline management. The Mitchell Foundation these days funds grants on water, sustainability science, clean energy  and natural gas sustainability (http://cgmf.org/p/current-initiatives.html).

As an English professor, I can recommend an instructive text that Mr. Marcus and others may want to study: George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. Shaw presents the high comedy conflict between industrialist Andrew Undershaft and his daughter Barbara, who is a “major” in the Salvation Army. Barbara the idealist wants to save the world through charity, good works and life-transforming programs. Her irascible father wants to grant her lots of money to do this, but she won’t take it — why? Because he is the inventor of dynamite, the means of killing thousands! Shaw, of course, is playing with the tensions between tender idealism and crass realism, with the added kicker that Undershaft is modeled after the real Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. How this drama resolves these conflicts is still worth a read.

There’s something of this Undershaft/Barbara tension within George P. Mitchell, complex character traits that will likely elude Mr. Marcus.  

Robert Louis Chianese
Ph.D. Emeritus Prof. English,
CSU, Northridge





The other truths about fracking

Here is my response to the VC Reporter opinion section “Power to Speak” of Sept. 5. The article titled “The whole truth about fracking” written by Grant  Marcus, a registered nurse, only regurgitates  the disinformation and just plain lies about hydraulic fracturing and attacks industry-sponsored funding of research done in universities. The anti-fracking environmental movement is frustrated by the total absence of evidence that the process causes any significant environmental harm. All of the studies done by the U.S. Geological Survey, EPA and numerous state agencies have shown exactly the opposite of what these groups have been screaming ever since GasLand 1 was released. This is evident in the second installment, Gasland Part 2, where Josh Fox can only accuse the EPA and government of being bought off by Big Oil to lie about the groundwater pollution problem he says is caused by fracking. If that was true 60 minutes would be all over it. There has never been a confirmed case of ground water contamination caused by fracking. End of story.  

The fact is, with the drop in energy prices brought on by the abundance of gas created by hydraulic fracturing, power plants are now changing from burning coal to much cleaner-burning natural gas. This has resulted in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions from these plants. Lower carbon emissions, this is a good result don’t you think? Since 1997, there have been more than 16,500 wells drilled and fracture-stimulated in the Dallas area of Texas. Since this time, atmospheric benzene levels (a major cancer-causing chemical) have decreased, not increased, by about 50 percent.


Here is the reference if you want to check for yourself, Grant:

So, with no support for groundwater pollution and air quality not a problem, let us say that earthquakes will destroy our cities if we fracture stimulate where there are faults. I am a California Registered Geologist who helped design and locate wells that we planned to fracture-stimulate. It was critical to avoid faults because they will steal the fracture energy resulting in a poor-producing well. Yes, we make no money, a bad thing. We used 2-D and 3-D seismic (remote sensing technology) to locate faults so they could be avoided.  However, with 2.5 million fracture stimulations done around the world since 1949, there have been cases of induced seismic events (people caused earthquakes). The fact is, there have been 198 published examples of induced seismicity since 1929. The biggest event caused by fracking was recorded in the Horn River Basin in Canada in 2011 with a magnitude of 3.8. You would probably have been able to feel that event if you were paying attention.

Here is the reference:

Fracturing has been used in Ventura County since the early 1980s and there have been no related earthquakes. Instead, there have been many high-paying jobs created and the price of oil and gas continues to drop. That benefits the poor and middle class.

Oh, and one more thing, the 600 toxic chemicals you cite is a bit off. The fluid used to fracture-stimulate is composed of a 98 percent water and sand mixture. Depending on the rock formation stimulated, in most cases only three to 12 chemicals are used in the process.  Many of those chemicals are used in homes every day and some are even used in food products.  Want to know what is in fracking fluid?

Just go to:

The energy industry has even developed a frack fluid made entirely of food-grade products.  These mixtures cannot be used everywhere but the industry is really trying to address public concerns.  

I could go on and clarify the rest of the claims, but I think you get the point. Develop your opinions from real factual sources, not Hollywood.  

Jim Hill








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