A new home for Porpoise Pools

The Point Mugu Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization started up in 1997. I was instrumental in getting it going because I had been helping the beleaguered Ventura County Animal Control service pick up and transport injured marine mammals — mostly sea lions, harbor seals and malnourished elephant seal pups — to rehab facilities in San Pedro and Santa Barbara, volunteering my own truck and gas. The need for a local facility was obvious; and due to my experience working with marine mammals in 1968, ’69 and ’70 at Point Mugu’s Marine Bio-science Facility near the mouth of Mugu Lagoon, I felt I could garner the professional help required (veterinarians with marine mammal experience) by the main permitting agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, to qualify for a permit. With the help of friends and former associates of the Marine Bioscience Facility, a place we called the Porpoise Pools, we received permission from the U.S. Navy to open a rehab facility for marine mammals and sea birds at the abandoned facility. Work and funding was well under way until we began experiencing problems endemic in almost all wildlife rescue organizations — disgruntled volunteers and obstructionist permitting agents. Trouble ensued and we found it advantageous to seek establishment of a facility elsewhere. That’s what we’re working on now.

I was proud to assist the research veterinarians I worked alongside during my years of employment at the Porpoise Pools and was even privileged to assist in editing the definitive book on marine mammal husbandry, Mammals of the Sea, edited by Sam H. Ridgway, D.V.M., Ph.D.  After a brief hiatus from marine mammal work I secured another position with Navy civil service in Port Hueneme as an environmental protection specialist and worked there until I retired in 2008 and immediately returned to school at UC Santa Cruz to complete my education that had been interrupted by service in the Army in the late ’60s. I graduated in 2012 with a degree in literature and creative writing and am presently writing a novel about sea otters while continuing to work on establishing a marine mammal rehab facility in Ventura County, which, along with Santa Barbara County, is uniquely situated directly across the channel from sea lion and elephant seal rookeries on the Channel Islands. I appreciate your interest in our collective efforts in this regard.

Daniel Hayes Pearson
President Point Mugu Wildlife Center


Mental disorder corrections

Kudos to your reporter Joan Trossman Bien, who did an excellent job explaining a very complicated subject in her article “Mental disorder” (Feature, 1/23). However, having been interviewed for and quoted in the article, I do feel it necessary to correct a few points.

In the article, she referred to the uncertainty of reimbursement for therapists. I was referring to therapists who are “out of network.” Therapists on insurance panels (“in network”) have agreed to a contracted rate.

Concerning the waiting lists for psychiatrists in Ventura, there, too, I was referring to psychiatrists who are “in network” providers.

Finally, to clarify things on the subject of parity diagnoses, I would like to make clear that I gave her examples of some parity diagnoses but it was not intended to be the complete list. She mistakenly listed severe anxiety disorder rather than panic disorder as a parity diagnosis, and while binge eating disorder is not a parity diagnosis, bulimia is. 

I realize that a subject of this complexity is rarely tackled at all in the media. As the director of Beachside Therapy, I do appreciate the efforts made by Ms. Trossman Bien and this newspaper to help the public know where to turn for help and what obstacles there are in qualifying for that help.

Kerry O’Reilly, Psy.D. FIPA

P.S.  As of the DSM IV-TR, here is the published list of parity diagnoses in California for adults and children: schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism or pervasive developmental disorder and children’s severe emotional disturbances.




Purposeful prevarication

There are so many mistakes and outright false statements in Mr. Freeman’s piece “Debt and taxes, part I,” (Sharper Focus, 1/9) that one hardly knows where to begin in rebuttal. First, he is intellectually sloppy or purposefully prevaricating when he attributes everything that happens during a given president’s term as the fault of or a credit to that president’s policies and ignores the actions of the Congress or of the American people, or overarching economic, political or international events. So when he writes that the debt increased during Reagan’s years, Freeman makes no mention of the fact that the nation’s “purse strings” were controlled by the Democrats during those years. And when he points out that the annual deficits decreased during Clinton’s term, he does not point out that it was the Republicans who controlled Congress during that time and who forced Clinton to work toward a balanced budget. The historical facts are that from 1932 until today the Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives for only 18 years, yet the nation’s annual deficit decreased or there was an outright surplus in 15 of those 18 sessions.

Then, in an effort to bolster his weak arguments, Mr. Freeman tries to equate the nominal value of dollars in the 19th century with today’s dollars when, of course, the most unsophisticated observer knows that dollar inflation has been huge over the last 50, let alone 200, years. And moreover, that the real value of the nation’s GDP has increased 20,000 times since 1836. He also raises the old socialist canard that lowering tax rates leads to lower tax revenues when just the opposite has been shown to be true and when even the most liberal economists have begrudgingly admitted it to be true. Mr. Freeman also tries to turn the “projected” surpluses of the Clinton budgets into real surpluses without acknowledging that those projections melted into thin air right along with the dot-com economy on which they depended, leaving “W” to inherit an economic recession. Mr. Freeman is also wrong when he says that “nobody cared.” But, of course, fiscal conservatives cared. The record shows that conservatives have been decrying the nation’s profligate spending as unsustainable for a century. They have been predicting another fiscal calamity since the Great Depression. In fact, they have been so far out ahead of the coming crisis that very few people take them seriously since they can’t predict when the actual crash will come. The problem is that the reasoned and actuarially based projections of conservatives cannot win the votes of the low-information voters who are more than happy to vote for the guy who promises them free stuff. The upshot of Mr. Freeman’s article is that he believes we need more government spending and even higher, confiscatory taxes. But that only leads one to ask, “What’s his beef?” The fact is that the Democrats have essentially controlled the federal government since 1932 and the prevailing political philosophy during all those years has been one of higher taxes and deficit spending, regardless of the occasional election of a Republican president. Whether one thinks it good or ill, we have the country that 100 years of increasingly socialistic policies should have gotten us.

L. Randolph Brown
Center for Rational Economic Thought




Not in any backyard  

Our family has lived in the Midtown area of Ventura for 11 years, blocks away from the homeless services called “Operation Embrace” offered at 3100 Preble. Our two young children attend Blanche Reynolds Elementary. We, like our neighbors, have watched this neighborhood transform over the past few years from a safe, quiet place for our young children to grow, to a dangerous and frightening place that the police visit frequently. We no longer feel safe in our own neighborhood and are disappointed, frustrated and angry that the city has allowed the services at 3100 Preble to continue, without the proper permit or monitoring, for so long. We are not histrionic or hysterical, but instead, have had numerous negative personal experiences with some of the participants coming to 3100 Preble for services that have negatively colored our view.

We believe that the services offered at 3100 are enabling some of the participants of the program to maintain their current situation without any incentive to improve their quality of life. The Harbor Church is undermining the fantastic work of other Ventura Social Service Organizations such as The Salvation Army, Project Understanding and Turning Point, which require some effort on the part of the participants to attempt to help themselves, and hold them accountable for their own recovery. The services offered at 3100 Preble are a glaring example of a “hand out,” not a “hand up” and are truly not helping anyone. They are merely enabling those who choose to continue to live their lives this way, and in the process, endangering the children of this neighborhood.

It is the children of this neighborhood who are suffering. These children do not have another place to go or other options to assist them. These are their homes. This is their school where strangers are jumping the fence to get in and where lockdowns are happening repeatedly. This is their daycare where men are exposing themselves to them. They are the ones who have lost their park and playground to drug use, stray needles and persons with outstanding warrants. They are the ones waking to find people sleeping in their backyards and defecating on their front lawns.  They are the ones hearing verbal assaults on the way to and from their school. They do not have a voice here — except for the parents struggling to have their voices heard.

We are not saying “Not in our back yard.” We are saying, not in any “backyard.”  This type of service is zoned for commercial space for a reason. It should not — cannot — continue to operate next door to an elementary school, a daycare and the park utilized by both. The City Councilmembers conducted an appeal hearing on Monday, Jan. 27, and will have to decide whether to agree or disagree with the Planning Commission and uphold the denial of the CUP permit. I strongly hope they do, because if not they will be partially liable for the inevitable further injuries to these children. In our opinion, overturning the Planning Commission’s denial, under any condition, would be nothing short of negligent.

Ryan and Mary Brehm

Editor’s note: We have received several letters from this Midtown Ventura community, all relaying similar messages, but due to space issues, we aren’t able to publish all of them.




It is time to see it as it is  

After reading another collection of distorted facts, lies and hate from your contributor Mr. Freeman, (Sharper Focus, “Debt and Taxes”, 1/9) I cannot resist responding to it. 

In his Marxist-socialistic mind, the facts are not important and learning this from Goebbles (for those born too late, Goebbles was the NAZI propaganda minister), Mr. Freeman is hoping that the frequently repeated lies become truth, and he is doing just that. Unfortunately, responding to every quote or paragraph would take a few pages; I will concentrate only on a few.

Conveniently mixing (after correctly explaining the difference between  “public debt” and “gross debt”), Mr. Freeman states that Clinton wrestled national debt to 65 percent and left the office with $236 billion surplus, and left us a PROJECTED (meaning not real but guessed what might be if …) surplus of $5.6 trillion in 10 years. Those numbers are the most repeated lies liberals use in order to defend their failed socialist policies. So here are the real numbers through Clinton years:

1993 — National debt — $4.41 trillion  
1994 — National debt — $4.69 trillion — deficit $ 281.26 billion
1995 — National debt — $4.97 trillion — deficit $ 281.23 billion
1996 — National debt — $5.2 trillion — deficit $ 250.83 billion  
1997 — National debt — $5.4 trillion — deficit $ 188.34 billion
1998 — National debt — $5.5 trillion — deficit $ 113.05 billion
1999 — National debt — $5.65 trillion — deficit $ 130.08 billion
2000 — National debt — $5.67 trillion — deficit $ 17.91 billion
2001 — National debt — $5.8 trillion — deficit $ 133.29 billion

If anyone sees a surplus of $236 billion or decreased deficit down to 65 percent, or even $1 of surplus, please let me know, because I don’t see it. Deficit, though, I see; and $133.29 billion.  Bush increased the debt indeed; there is no argument about that.  But if I recall the Democrats were in power from 2007. The housing crash was caused by their liberal policies of lending money for housing established by them through controlled Fannie and Freddie. 

Just in 2008 alone, President Bush insisted on revision and control of Fannie and Freddie 17 times, but Democrats Senators Barney Frank and Chris Dodd stopped his every effort. So don’t blame the Republicans, Mr. Freeman.  
The sluggish economy is our big problem indeed; here Mr. Freeman is correct, but not with his solution. 

Obama used stimulus packages several times, but with no positive effect on our economy. Only his friends and Wall Street bankers are striving, and now our debt is more than $17 trillion and growing. So who else is to blame other than President Obama and his minions? He rules over five years now and we’re getting worse and worse.  

On the contrary, by lowering taxes Bush turned the inherited Clinton crises quickly around, regardless of the added impact of 9/11 on our economy, and set a record of 52 months of job growth; and for most of his years we had unemployment under 5 percent, comparing today’s 13 percent (if using the calculation formulas from Bush administration); but this fact Mr. Freeman conveniently ignored. The biggest decrease in middle-class income and wealth happened on Obama’s watch, due to his policies, so it is time to see it as it is. 

Like it or not, Mr. Freeman, it is capitalism that brought billions of people from poverty, but this is not what we have now. Progressivism/socialism is what we have now (the more correct label is fascism) and both are failing ideas. They never work, and blaming the opposition will not solve anything, Mr. Freeman.

Facts are facts

Tomas Jina Sr.
Santa Paula


An act of terrorism

What really amazes me about this entire Chris Christie brouhaha is that nobody has brought up the idea that Chris Christie and his staff should be indicted on the United States Terrorist Act. What they did to the city of Fort Lee was obviously a terrorist act. Since the Washington Bridge is considered by the authorities one of the number one sites for terrorism it would seem logical that they would be considered terrorist of the first order.

Rellis Smith

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