Boys & Girls Club needs your help

As members of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura, we are reaching out to inform the community that the club needs to raise critically needed funds. Over the past few years government and other outside funding sources have declined while the membership needs have grown. As a result, we are being forced to face the possibility of having to cut services to up to 50 children currently enrolled in the clubs.

Demand for the club programs has increased significantly while the financial resources have diminished. What surprises many people is that our five local clubs are dependent on local funding. Some people assume that we are funded by the national Boys & Girls Club, and that is not the case. The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura receives less than 1 percent of funding from Boys & Girls Club of America and a little more than 25 percent from government agencies and foundations. More than 70 percent of our funding comes from local donations; and in order to maintain vital local services for children, the club is forced to make a plea to our community. We know the generosity of the local Ventura community and ask for your help before year-end.

Our five club sites help more than 500 children and families each day and more than 1,500 throughout the year — and there is a growing waiting list of more than 100 children. In the past five years, our membership has remained consistent while overall funding has dropped 26 percent and operating costs have increased.

City and county law enforcement recognize the vital role the club serves in the community and have requested that the Club increase membership and expand hours. The club is much more than a safe place for kids, each of our programs is faithful to school curriculum, helping our club members become more successful in school and grow into more productive citizens.

The club needs immediate additional financial support from the local community or we could risk losing essential services. The need is great and the solution is modest — donations of $25 a month or $300 per year secure the place and future for a club member.

An investment in the club generates an extraordinary return: Club members have a 97 percent high school graduation rate, 92 percent improved self-confidence, 83 percent improved family communication and zero teen pregnancies. One dollar invested in the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura returns $16 to the Community. (Results are based on an independent study by California Lutheran University, released 2010.)

To help, we are asking supporters to send tax-deductible contributions to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura at 6020 Nicolle St., suite D, Ventura, CA 93003; contribute online at bgclubventura.org; or call 805-641-5585.  In doing so, you will make a difference in a child’s life.

Ed Summers
Current President, Board of Directors
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura

Paul Newman
Incoming President, Board of Directors
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura



I really don’t believe the VCReporter is a racist newspaper at all. However, the cartoon that ran on page 4 in 11/21/2013 certainly portrays an obvious Hispanic woman as the “cleaning lady” within the Ventura City Hall.  Bad choice, folks, really bad choice.

Rellis Smith




The Good Samaritan

With the holiday season upon us I somehow remember the good times of my past. My life has somehow taken a new direction. My family is dispersed due to my husband becoming ill a few years back. He was diagnosed with Lewy body cell syndrome of dementia two years ago. My 22-year-old son graduated from Digital Arts school over a year ago, my 25-year-old daughter has been living with my 87-year-old mother, and I have found myself living alone in Ventura. Times change and we move on, but our memories remain intact. Family will always be important to me, aside from all the commercialism of the holidays. I find myself at 55-years-old readjusting to life — a period of adjustment.

Recently I have been enduring a lot of stress, having my identity stolen three times, but replaced. We pick up where we left off and move on. Last evening I happened to set my wallet down along with some important papers and business cards. I arrived home, and within one hour discovered that both my wallet and papers were missing. I panicked, thinking that I would have to replace all of my identity again. I found my phone and a man had left a message that he had found my wallet in the downtown area where I had misplaced it along with the important cards and papers. I called him back and he said that he would return my things in the morning, and not to worry. All he said was that he believed in “good karma.” How grateful was I? I thanked him immensely.

The next morning bright and early and pitch black, he met me with my cherished items. He came by motorcycle dressed in black leather. I told him he was a knight in shining armor! I again thanked him and told him that it was rare that this would happen in the downtown area. He was in the Navy and recently moved from upstate New York. He and his wife had been out the night before and discovered my wallet on a wall along with the papers. He luckily found my son’s phone number and got my phone number from my son.

Let me tell you that this restores my faith in humanity. There are good Samaritans out there. Things go in cycles. Good luck returns after times of bad luck. You just have to keep the faith. I will never forget this good deed, as I have always tried to be the good Samaritan myself to other people. The man was right. Good karma will come to those who do good deeds!

Janine Sullivan

Ventura’s alcohol problems

In a recent Star story we learned the Ventura Police Department has once again successfully applied for and received a traffic safety grant, which will add to the department’s ongoing efforts to address DUI and alcohol-related problems. But it appears it’s not getting any help from the city’s planning department.

Ventura already has more than 311 retail alcohol establishments, more than any other city in the county. And at last week’s planning commission meeting it was reported that more alcohol permits are being issued without a public hearing before the commission — a change designed a year ago to be “business-friendly” and to “streamline” the review process. I should say so! Staff apparently has yet to meet a booze proposal they didn’t like, because at least three applications in the last year were given a green light when staff themselves reported businesses did not meet required findings under the Municipal Code for getting a permit.

(One wonders if permits would be issued if fire code regulations were not met.)

When the police are dealing with fights, stabbings and fatal crashes that result from alcohol misuse — in a city that is already saturated with alcohol — the new permits are nothing short of “friendly fire.” The city leadership would do well to look at the costs of new outlets, not just the tax revenue, and make the work of local police that much more effective.

They could start by simply saying “no” to alcohol permit applications that do not meet the standards set forth in local law, and could go a step further and put ALL applications for more booze sales up for public hearing before the Commission.

Suz Montgomery
Prevention Alliance




God lives here

God lives here; the setting sun knows it, as it lowers itself slowly into the sea, an orb of gold, shimmering with the memory of the treasures of my day, taking its last bow, closing the curtains on the dark thunder clouds of what might have been, bringing peace to 10,000 miles of ocean, turning its color from teal to steel, dressing each wave’s white horse mane with a glistening silver tip, as they ride their black arches in toward the shore with a power and certainty I wish I knew.

A brotherhood of gulls rises from the shore, pushing off from the wet sand; their footprint hieroglyphs tell me everything, then not, as a sliding pool of clear seawater gently washes over them, dissolving their messages. They travel east on the last of the breeze, just above the breaking waves, paralleling the shoreline, silhouetting themselves against the last glimmers of sun, creating a thousand glorious photographs not taken, for I am alone on the beach with my dog. Gulls streak by not noticing either of us, their focused-eye determination unwavering in their acrobatic flight home, to where I know not.

The tide is coming in, bringing with it the cool of evening, its waves washing gently over old pebble stones of gray that are never dirty and always clean, leaving them surrounded like momentary moated castles till the next wave baptizes them again as if they were perpetual sinners. The dog sees something that demands her immediate attention. She dashes, consumed by possibility, mightily galloping across the sand full of fun and excitement, chasing scurrying little chick-birds feasting at the water’s edge. They rush away in unison like hunter-gatherer washer-women who rise up together as one, flying frantically to find the last moments of the setting sun, still warming the dampened sand.

We turn toward home, the evening readies itself to descend, a chill in the air hastens itself around the dog and me. I know God lives here on the beach in Ventura and I must leave him now. It’s his secret but it’s safe with me. 

Christopher Judges


An inconvenient truth

They’re calling Haiyan the most powerful typhoon to make landfall, ever. One survivor interviewed on the BBC said it was more like a tornado, the storm surge first driving him to his top floor and then the record-breaking winds pulling his roof off. Several small towns were completely destroyed and victims were left to fend for themselves amid the ruins. Unburied dead lay strewn about and people cried out for food and water.

At the concurrent U.N. Climate Conference in Warsaw, the Philippine’s representative, Yeb Sano, made an emotional appeal for meaningful progress in addressing climate change, even announcing a hunger strike until the goal is achieved.

You may not know there was such a conference. Many don’t. It attracted little attention in our media. Perhaps the climate crisis is stale news. More likely it remains a deeply “inconvenient truth” even now.

It is inconvenient to the political right’s cult of small government, for only a powerful government has any hope of addressing the consequences of climate change. Is it any wonder so much money from conservative sources goes into denying it?

Further, facing climate change is inimical to any concept of growth, economic growth or population growth. Growth, that black hole at the heart of capitalism, will only increase our use of the fossil fuels driving climate change.

Before we can even acknowledge the size of the threat, we must jettison some of our most cherished beliefs.

Hunger strike? Yeb Sano will get very skinny.

Margaret Morris



Slower traffic move right

I enjoyed the article by Mr. Kraft, (Destination Nowhere, feature, 9/26) regarding the freeway issues. With more people moving into Ventura County and the lack of funding to add lanes to the freeways it certainly seems like the 101 is only going to get worse. Reading the article led me to ponder what other solutions might improve the situation.
I like living in Ventura and have for 20 years. I like my job but my job is in Hollywood so I’m driving the 101 and I’m in my car for about 3 1/2 hours most days.

At 6:30 a.m. traffic moves quickly and efficiently. For the most part, these commuters are skilled drivers. They drive with purpose (getting to work) and the flow of traffic is much faster and more orderly than any other time of the day.

Traveling the 101 mid-morning is very different. There are fewer cars but the commute is really slow. It’s a freeway of unskilled, un-aware and ignorant drivers blocking faster drivers who are trying to get around them. This makes for a lot of extra and dangerous lane changing, bad vibes and general chaos. It only takes a few slow drivers to clog up the road. Except for accidents, this is the reason freeways slow to a crawl.

In California we have a law: California Vehicle Code 21654. It basically says SLOWER TRAFFIC MOVE RIGHT. If drivers respected this law and if the CHP enforced this law, we would all have a much faster, safer and happier commute on the 101.

Even though the speed limit is 65 mph, I’ve been told by several CHP officers that in most cases they will not stop speeders unless they are driving over 80 mph. Because of this there are drivers who want to drive faster than you. When a faster driver comes up behind you, you become “SLOWER TRAFFIC.” If you don’t move right, the faster driver will execute at least two lane changes to get around you, which increases the danger and stress for all nearby drivers.

The best way to travel is to find the lane that suits your speed and stay there until it’s time to move right for a faster driver. Hopefully, when you catch up to slower driver they would move right for you. Imagine what it would be like if we all did this.

SLOWER TRAFFIC MOVE RIGHT is considered good freeway etiquette by experienced commuters. Unfortunately, the DMV doesn’t test drivers on this law and there isn’t much promotion of the concept. I found a good web site. Go to http://californiakeepright.com for more information.

Bradley Spurr

For our veterans

Early last month Ventura and the nation honored the men and women of the armed services on Veterans Day. Even though the day of remembrance has passed, the federal government’s responsibility to all veterans, including homeless veterans in Ventura, should not be forgotten.

According to the County of Ventura’s 2013 Homeless Count and Survey, 53 of the County’s 134 unsheltered veterans live in Ventura, which has the highest number of homeless veterans of any city in Ventura County. Yet 56 miles away at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus, work has been dragging along for years on the renovation of buildings to house and provide health care to veterans, particularly those who are chronically homeless and suffer from severe disabilities. 

In August a federal judge ruled that the VA was misusing parts of the 387-acre site by leasing out land to a television studio, hotel laundry service and a private school, among other entities, resulting in property agreements that do little in the way of delivering health care to vets. Sadly, rather than work to resolve the issue, the VA announced it would appeal the decision.

For veterans here in Ventura and elsewhere in our County who are too physically or mentally disabled for outpatient services, the West L.A. facility must become a viable and permanent supportive housing option.  Our veterans, and our communities, deserve nothing less.

Erik Nasarenko, Councilmember-elect








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