Not just homeless

Re: Changing our thinking on homelessness, by Jan Christian, minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Ventura. (VC Reporter, Jan. 8) The good minister’s observations about the lack of services available to “the homeless” (etc.) and how the city of Ventura is preventing local nonprofits from filling the void by canceling their programs when residents complain are all spot-on, but there is something missing in the entire “homeless” argument that never seems to be addressed, and that is individual situations and responsibility.

“A few bad apples spoil it for all of the rest” is a very real situation and speaks directly to the dilemma at hand. And just labeling all of these various individuals “homeless” is to ignore the bigger picture.

“The homeless” are not a species of animal and should not be referred to as such. They do not all behave the same (as with other species) and thus there is no one solution that will work for the entire group. “The homeless” are a dirty, smelly, often nasty amalgamation of drug addicts, drug dealers, runaways, prostitutes, pimps, gangsters, felons-on-the run, felons-in-hiding, chronic alcoholics, veterans with PTSD and the mentally ill (many as a result of their drug and alcohol addictions) and your average lazy people who don’t want to even try to earn a living. Only a small percentage of these people even want our help. Many (perhaps most) are too busy burglarizing homes and cars and stealing purses to support their drug habits to want to even be counted amount “the homeless.” These are not just homeless people — these are CRIMINALS who are homeless by CHOICE, who live in a criminal underworld of drug addiction, alcohol addiction and prostitution. The only help they want is a fast buck from panhandling, drug dealing or prostituting themselves.

I’m sure there are a few individuals without criminal records who may find themselves among this criminal element for a short period of time, but those individuals find their way to The Salvation Army shelter or some county agency that can help them find a temporary place to live and to do a legitimate, serious job search (so long as they stay clean and sober and have no warrants for their arrest). Others, of course, just get themselves pregnant and go on welfare, but even that route requires them to be clean and sober and increasingly responsible for the care of both themselves and their newborns.

When I see all these stories about “the homeless” as if they are some lost flock of little lambs that just need to be led into the barn, I just want to heave, but not until after I stop laughing at the absurdity of it all.

These are mostly dangerous, criminal INDIVIDUALS who need to be AVOIDED. If you’d like to bring them a meal now and then, fine; but do NOT give them CASH or RIDES anywhere. And do NOT LET THEM KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. If you don’t think that they talk about the suckers who help them out, think again. If you’re an “angel” type, trust me — for every one of them you help, there are three or four who know who you are and are just waiting for the right time and place to hit you up. (Upside the head, that is.)

The best thing we can do to support “the homeless” (at least in Ventura) is to support our local POLICE!

Justin Markman


No trespassing

RE: Lawsuit filed over access to Matilija Falls, News, 1/15

Nice photo [of Matilija Falls], but you may not want to publish directions so nice people like Jeff Kuyper who care SO much more about the land than the people who continuously responsibly steward it, even in the wake of a more litigious and less respectful population of trespassers. Buz has been unfailingly polite and respectful of all who we encountered on the trail in the 10-plus hikes I accompanied him on, merely letting them know they had entered private property once they passed the “All Trails” sign pointing towards Murietta.

Ellen James




Brown’s problems

Interesting. Brown gets a pat on the back for using conservative fiscal policies that dragged California back to economic solvency (“A refreshing focus on the state of education,” Editorial, 1/8). California’s unemployment rate remains among the nation’s highest, at 7.2 percent, and it is suffering massive out-migration to other states — not of the wealthy, who can afford to pay Brown’s higher taxes, but of the middle class, who cannot tolerate the cost of living and stagnant job market. California’s personal income tax system has a top rate of 13.3 percent. That rate ranks highest among states levying an individual income tax. Brown also has to face up to California’s hundreds of billions of dollars in debt and unfunded liabilities, which is the might of the public sector unions.

Roger Owens


Improving McGrath

May it be so! Giving the estuary back to the aquatic life forms is a great thing (“Coming soon: A new McGrath,” News, 12/4). In the 1969 flood event the Santa Clara River flooded the campground, wiped out the abutments to the river bridge, and wiped out the Ventura Harbor. Our man-designed environments at the ocean need to give the river space to preserve and improve the environs for wildlife as described in the VC Reporter article.

Ventura County


Try another economist

Please stop relying on Bill Watkins as a sole source of economic analysis. He’s little more than a conservative propagandist.

A real economist would ask himself why Ventura County is more challenging for young people and renters than other coastal communities in California, noting the spike in real estate prices not commensurate with wage or job growth, and the lack of either rent control or effective affordable housing requirements. The impact of height ordinances and lack of decent infill would be considered as well.

Instead we get Bill Watkins using the Reporter as a platform to praise Texas oil-based minimum-wage job “growth” over California’s diverse economy, while denigrating common-sense environmental protections. The VCReporter can do better.

David Atkins


Amazing work

They cleaned over 350 tons of garbage, or 700,000 pounds, or about 17,500 black garbage bags of junk. (“A river runs cleanly through it,” News, 12/31) Animals are now moving through the cleaned area. Deer and bobcats are a healthy sign. That’s some amazing work! As for the homeless, that’s fine they don’t have to live in a home, but they can’t live on public property that they don’t own.

Slade House


Inquiring minds

Do all the homeless really want a home? (“A river runs cleanly through it,” News, 12/31) It is my understanding that some homeless choose to live that way because they don’t want the responsibility. Maybe we should ask.

Tim Lackey


What Democrats did

This week job creation figures were announced. Unemployment down to 5.6 percent. More jobs created in 2014 then anytime in the last 15 years. Mitt Romney told us he would get unemployment down to 6.5 percent by 2016. Obama beat him hands down, doing better in half the time. Newt Gingrinch told us he could get gas down to $2.50 a gallon by 2016. Obama did better than that.

Thank God I was smart enough to vote for someone who knew what he was doing.

Too bad local wingnuttery are not that smart.

Bob Johnson


Disappearing resources

We used to have Project Understanding in the neighborhood (“Changing our thinking on homelessness, Power to speak, 1/8). People could drop off surplus homegrown fruit and veggies for the homeless along with the regular processed stuff. It was also a place for the homeless to access a variety of services. Now it’s downtown and doesn’t accept pantry donations. Why did this resource disappear?

The economy has improved by the numbers but panhandlers are still out all over town, many soliciting in places where they could be hurt from traffic. People have no idea where to refer them when approached. We are advised not to give handouts but to give to charities instead. But when has that ever worked?

Rethinking capitalism, an uphill and necessary labor, will take too long. Yes, the system is rigged and doesn’t work for some people and barely works for most people but what do we do about what IS?

People and their dogs in the estuary or the riverbed are an ecological nightmare. What are the alternatives? I simply don’t know.

The Rev. Christian is right. We need leadership to this need from those we have elected as leaders.



The way it was

At one time it used to be clean, safe and fun to go out to the Ventura River mouth near the fairgrounds. (“A river runs cleanly through it,” News, 12/31) Now … not so much.

Shane Border




Dogs on the beaches – far from God

The plan to restore McGrath State Beach for a public campground would be devastating for the bird estuary and the money would be much better spent for passing a law banning dogs from the state beaches and paying the officers to enforce it.

It makes my blood boil when I see someone disobeying the law but, what makes it even worse is the DISRESPECT for the natural wildlife that lives on the beach and the shores of California state beaches. These ignorant people not only leave the dogs off the leash to attack and harass birds, seals and the animals that habitat the area, they even take them into areas WHERE DOGS ARE COMPLETELY RESTRICTED.  I see the signs being torn down that forbid dogs.

I feel my sense of God, peace and relaxation is lost when a barking dog ruins my mediation, listening to the ocean waves and gulls. Not only that, there are times that dogs off the leash run up to me and throw sand all over me and my towel.

Now let’s talk about DOGS DEFECATING AND URINATING ALL OVER THE BEACH AND SURROUNDING AREA and the PIGS that just leave it there — intentional or not. I’m sure children playing in the sand and adults lying there are subject to a host of disease from this toxic waste.

I was pleased to see John Connor’s follow up to the “Christopher Judges letter” (another one). WE NEED CHANGE and a law passed making it completely illegal for dogs on the beaches! It is the only way to protect the natural species and have God and peace on the beach.

Danielle Loveall
Member of the Ventura Audubon Society


Understanding the homeless

I live in Ventura California. The poor are everywhere here. There are always beggars on the street corners. Even when it’s sunny, poor people here are bundled up in layers of dirty old used clothes. They live outside at the river bottom year round and emerge only in hope of scoring something to keep them going. Maybe they want a bit of food or pot or a beer — maybe something stronger just to keep their sense of hopelessness under control.

Their “rich” friends live in section 8 rundown apartment housing — getting by on meager government assistance. Maybe they’ve got a couple of odd-ball kids from different relationships. Often they have old work injuries. Maybe they are not bright enough to fill in all the forms they MUST to get the benefits due them. Always forlorn, never understanding regular people’s social rules, unaware of their mistakes, they feel trapped and worthless. They are the very longtime unemployed, deeply sad at not having anything, having lost everything. They don’t understand. They are not conniving; they are poor and defenseless, so depressed and weak mentally and “out of it” that they exhibit all the traits the media blames them for. They are more often than not sweet and docile, ready to give you a hand or share their little bit of “nothing much” with you.

I used to live in a million dollar home in Studio City. I lost it in the crash. When I lived there, no one said hello to my wife and me. No one gave a damn about us. Now we live in an apartment block — the poor are all around us. There are so many poor people with nothing to give us, who want nothing from us, who all say good morning, who all smile, who are all good neighbors.

On Christmas Eve some homeless guy stole some copper wire from the laundry room and all our apartment block’s lights went out. Everyone here laughed. They had all been there. For them life was better these days; they could smile. So they had no Christmas tree or presents — food was short but they understood the homeless man’s need to steal to eat. They all said they hoped he would soon be up to their level.






It’s time to let you know how very much I always enjoy your cartoons (Critical Line, Steve Greenberg). Always exactly relevant. I especially enjoyed your most recent in honor of your father. Coincidentally, my father was born in 1922, joined the merchant marines and spent the war in the Pacific. He was also in a printing-related business for many years. He shipped out of Port Hueneme but met my mother in Renton, Washington, through a marine buddy of his. An interesting story of his was, when his grandmother died (who had raised him), he was allowed off ship for her funeral. That same ship was torpedoed in the engine room where he would have been. And so now here I am through fate? Luck? And glad to share the planet with folks like you.

Carol Ann Rose


No one in charge of Ventura’s development

The City Council has now considered a temporary ban on new massage parlors. This reveals a sad aspect of our local government — no one seems to be minding the local development store.

How could 65 “massage parlors” (an euphemism) have sprung up by themselves, about half of them along Main Street? Is there no inventory of such permits as they are being issued? No review by City Council? No planning division comment or input about these equity-killing sex shops? No way to stop the growth of an unsavory fraudulent industry even with laws that protect business development? Apparently not — not until now.

So now we have to have a Council vote for a ban on permits for new “parlors” and a temporary one at that. In other words our planners and City Council do not or cannot control the growth of certain businesses until they become too obvious or ugly to ignore. There is a master plan that citizens devised in 2005 to guide Ventura’s growth and development, the residential growth management program (RGMP). Apparently no one in charge looks at it or follows it or uses it to shape our city.

We learn from The Reporter (Dec. 18, 2014) that Ventura is ranked the No. 2 bad spot for young people to find housing in the nation — No. 2! Just behind New York City. Do we not want some young people to stay in town? Do we not want a mix of ages and ethnic groups in our fair city? The reporter mentions that we are a retirement mecca for well-off out-of-towners. Good, we welcome them, but not only them.

We need affordable housing. So why are city planners and some members of the City Council trying to subvert the law requiring affordable housing in that massive rental housing development proposed at the end of East Santa Clara Street?

And then there’s the same attempt to subvert the same affordable housing law with the forthcoming proposal from Regent Properties for upscale houses on our precious hillsides — all estates all the time.

And there are hundreds of already-approved building permits without water to supply them. And hundreds more waiting in the wings for approval.  

Our leaders seem bent on depriving low-income citizens of a chance at finding housing, while the 1 percent elites will have the secluded estates unencumbered by ordinary people next door. Where will they get the water?

Any newcomer can get a permit without water to supply it while folks already here have to restrict and conserve.

And what about the shrinking middle class? We have to suffer increased traffic, water shortage restrictions and sleaze operations right inside the city. And who does this serve? And who is listening to the public’s view of what our city can and should be? Apparently not those in charge.

Development in our fair city is out of control, out of order and outside of legal requirements.

We need a ban on new permits, another citizen look at the overall plan and process, and a reassessment of how many and what kind of developments we want.

The Council began taking back the development process at a recent meeting, but citizens need to be back in charge and instruct our distracted leaders how to mind the store. Halting permits and reinstating the RGMP are two first steps.

Bob Chianese


Subscribe to get VC Reporter Digital Edition, emails and newsletters delivered weekly in your email inbox.


For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website at https://vcreporter.com/privacy-policy/

By clicking to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.







You must be registered and logged in to post your events.

Error, no Ad ID set! Check your syntax!
Get hooked up!

Get hooked up!

Join our mailing list and get updates and other cool stuff.

You're in! Thanks!

Share This