Household energy costs

We recently moved to our new home. The previous owners had just installed solar panels on the roof and had prepaid the lease with the provider for the next 20 years. Edison actually christened the panels while we were in escrow. The size of the array was determined by the annual energy usage of the previous owners; the number of kilowatts provided was meant to zero out their electric bill.

After a few months for Edison to get the accounting up and running, it was clear the panels were doing their job. It was also clear that the previous owners were complete energy hogs. I think they just didn’t realize how wasteful they were. All the lights were incandescent or halogen and all the appliances were old and inefficient. The house has a small pool, and its old 2-hp pump ran for eight or nine hours a day.

We began making upgrades. The lighting is now LED, and the kitchen appliances are now Energy Star. We saved up and just replaced the pool pump with a modern variable-speed design that uses about one-fourth of the energy.

A key point here is that nothing about the lifestyle the house provides has changed; we are in no way compromising our choices. We are simply updating to modern, more efficient things. Things that do the same job (or better) while using a lot less energy.

The house now creates a large surplus of electricity. Our extra power flows back out onto the grid and partially powers the neighbor’s homes. Because today’s meters can measure power flow in both directions, by the end of the year, Edison actually sent us a check! We made money.

There are two points to sum up. One is the obvious — you can save a lot of money by being energy smart. The second point is a little deeper and relates to the solar panels. If the previous owners had made the efficiency updates we did, before they bought the panels, the size of the array would have been a lot smaller. It would have cost them a lot less (and us too because I’m sure the expense factored into the sale price of the home).

We, on paper, now have enough extra capacity to power an electric car for my entire commute (if only they’d come down in price).  That would save us an additional $150 a month on gas, not to mention cut out some pollution.

Household energy efficiency is a great road to walk; instead of “paying the man” you put a lot more $ in your own pocket.

      Peter Richardson


Hideous tirade

This had to be one of the ugliest letters it has ever been my displeasure to read (“Not just homeless,” 1/29). I realize that Justin Markman does not intend to show one ounce of humanity (because it might be “dangerous” to do so?), but this inhumanity is beyond distasteful; it is utterly disgusting. As word has been spread regarding the anniversary of the rescue/release of the surviving victims of Auschwitz, an article like this helps me to understand that still, today, in this country, in this community, there are people who love looking down at people who they consider to be less than themselves. Still, today, man’s inhumanity to man (aside from the obvious terrorists) still roils around in angry, irrational, ugly-minded people. I will not respond to the letter issue by issue; I simply cannot sit by and allow such hideous tirades to go by without objection. That is one of the things that happened in Nazi Germany. I do object.


Jan Richman Schulman





School playgrounds

I would like to know why, in Oxnard and El Rio, schools close their school grounds to children on weekends and in summer. The school belongs to the taxpayers and the children of these communities. The only children that get to use the grounds are the ones who climb over the fence. On any weekend, you can see as many as 20 on any school grounds. Since the school grounds belong to the children, give it back to them.

Jerry Lucero


Let the dogs run free

My only conclusion, after reading the letter of Danielle Loveall (“Dogs on the beaches,” 1/15) is, she hates dogs. All of us are God’s creatures, none of us perfect. That annoying constantly barking dog. The person writing in demanding another law for the individual instead of society as a whole. I don’t write in demanding open season on the armies of American coots which deposit their waste all over the fairways of the golf courses I play. I consider it part of the natural environment and play through as stated in the rules. The daily bombing campaign of her cherished seabirds on our piers, vehicles and statues can only be compared to the Allied air campaign of World War II. I whole-heartedly agree with vigorous enforcement of those who do not pick up the waste of their pets. No excuses when bags are usually provided. We could have dog beaches like those in San Diego and Santa Cruz. I would recommend a meditation area far out on the break wall close to the water. Let the dogs run free and happy on all beaches as God intended.

Elmer Holland
Port Hueneme


Headline didn’t match

I was curious as to why the Jan. 15 issue of the VCReporter makes the subject of the cover story to be about “desalination.” After reading it and rereading it, I see a short reference to “desalination of salt water intruded groundwater” but really the bulk of the article is about water recycling. Desalination to my mind, where it takes place in arid regions (like ours and in the Mideast), relates specifically to desalination of ocean water as it comes directly out of the ocean. The plant your paper featured dealt mostly with taking used water and purifying it, which is an interesting concept. Indeed, it was stated that the recycled water won’t “flow into the ocean.” To me, the title of the article didn’t exactly match the content.

Thanks for a great paper!

     Rick Bisaccia


The Pope’s decision

I very much appreciated your article regarding the sanctification of Junipero Serra (“Holy controversy,” News, 1/15). I was just beginning to have good feelings about the current Pope, hoping he would make some needed changes within the church. As regards the complete disregard of the Chumash peoples in this decision, this seems completely puzzling to me.  Maybe he is getting some very bad advice. The Chumash I have met over the years have always expressed negative opinions about the actions of the priesthood.  One story related to me is that there are Chumash bones buried upside down around the mission. How true this is I have no idea. But at minimum, no reasonable person can feel good about the Pope’s decision. I feel very sad about it.

Carol Ann Rose




Loveall dogs

Danielle Loveall signs off on her letter as Member of the Audubon Society (Jan. 15). Do all Audubon Society members hate dogs? My advice to Danielle is, get a dog. Guess what, Danielle, dogs don’t have wings and birds fly away and land again on the beach to continue their search for food. I have never seen a dog catch a bird, unless it is sick or injured.

I agree, dogs should be kept out of restricted areas to protect habitat and let birds nest as needed. Your letter is nothing more than a list of negative behaviors that do happen at times. For the most part, dog owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs. Guess what, Danielle, dogs are even welcome at street fairs in Ventura. This is a beach town and dogs on the beach chasing Frisbees are a very common sight. It is called an American freedom. Again, remember the word FREEDOM.

Miss Audubon Society, please get a dog and a life.

Jack Hopkins
Member of the Human Race.
Dogs included.



Dogs on the beaches — Dog’s plan

A recent letter from an Audubon Society member was published advocating reallocating monies from moving McGrath State Beach Campground farther south and restoring the estuary habitat to passing a law to “ban dogs from all beaches and paying law officers to enforce it.” This letter is insensitive and ill-informed.

First off, as a bird lover, why would you want to divert money specifically designed to restore the estuary? This is directly against your self-interest. The state is losing thousands of dollars of revenue by keeping McGrath State Beach closed. Moving the campground is a win-win for residents and the environment.

The submitter goes on to point out that “My sense of God, peace and relaxation is lost when barking dogs ruin my meditation.” When I go to the beach and see my dog ecstatically running and playing, I feel at peace and relaxed. I would say that I feel closer to God.

Dogs are a great benefit to the community and homes. Approximately 40 percent of Californians own a dog. I love my dog, and people can see that I love my dog. Any dog owner understands what wonderful creatures they are. Through my dog I feel that I’m more of a part of the community because I know I have a bond with complete strangers. The beach is a great meeting place for dogs and dog owners alike to share their love for their best friend.

I admit that there are irresponsible dog owners and agree that it’s wrong for owners to deliberately disobey posted signs. But ban all dogs from beaches? Why not dedicate a beach, or beaches, just for dogs. Santa Barbara allows dogs on Hendry’s Beach, and Del Mar has a dog beach, just to name a few.

The submitter wants to spend government money to ban dogs from all beaches because “It is the only way to protect the natural species and have God and peace on the beach.” I believe there is a solution that can benefit both dog owners and nature lovers since usually they are the same. Ms. Loveall, sounds like you need a dog!

TM, dog owner
Ventura County


No to Oil by Rail

My name is Lance Charles. I call myself a visionary design scientist. All of my ideas are a direct result of years of study in the field of whole systems design. As my name implies I can be sharp around the edges but I am very soft in the middle. I come to you with a childlike mind to figure out what in the world is going on here?

Oil by Rail. Please tell me just where you would like the next big oil disaster to occur. Where do you live? Let’s make it happen there. The idea that we can hide the problems and defer the cost has got to end. It’s just plain wrong. As long as King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Gas) is in control we are all in great peril.

And a word for those other millions of vital but endangered species without a voice! They say no to Oil by Rail. They say no to Fracking, They say no to King CONG and YES to clean ways to live and travel without harm.

Lance Charles
Simi Valley
Re: “Ojai,” feature, 1/29
Jiddu Krishnamurti was actually single, but he did spend time in Ojai with an ill brother who benefitted from the clean air and natural environment.




A matter of faith

I am as horrified by Charlie Hebdo massacre as I am for 9/11. Any attack on society with free speech becomes escalation for both sides. What kind of escalation if we are the better people? The U.S. was attacked for our beliefs on 9/11. Spain was attacked. Now France. It is natural to split into opposing groups and escalate the hatred as played out in Lord of the Flies. ISIS (or ISIL) has demonstrated violence does not exterminate ideas.

We must equally consider the source of all our hatred to remain civilized and free. Faith plays a significant role in our culture.

Pope Francis proclaimed that “One Cannot Make Fun of Faith” recently in the Philippines.

As Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492, Christian faith claimed people not found in the Bible are created by the devil. People of European descent still use the term as an insult while science demonstrated redskin is also applicable to Europeans that are also not found in the Bible.

In 2000, the Catholic Church defended capital punishment for blasphemy as told by Cardinal Angelo Sodano on the anniversary of Bruno’s immolation. Bruno was executed by fire in 1600 for using the scientific process to prove Earth spins like a top while orbiting the sun. Our scientific process was developed by Alhazen in the Muslim world almost six centuries before.

Ideas do not perish with violence. Quite the opposite.

If killing to suppress an idea as a matter of faith is OK for Christians, then surely it must be equally OK for Muslims? And equally OK for any faith.

Free society only remains free by escalating the discussion of ideas that interfere with freedom, with an emphasis on everything that make us laugh out loud.

Maybe religious leaders that continue to justify hatred based on the ancient writings of people that had no idea where the sun went at night are the real threat to freedom?

Free people remain free by expecting faith will never be an excuse to suppress ideas by interfering with human rights using violence.

If faith is incapable of withstanding attack by words and pictures intended just to bring laughter into an otherwise hostile world, should we instead ask how weak our faith really is?

We all remember a good joke.

I hope we can all realize our real objection to the Charlie Hebdo experience is that freedom comes before faith in societies that focus on the pursuit of happiness.

Gregory Wilson


No separation

The article misses the point (“An inalienable right,” Editorial, 1-15). Islamic extremist shows … and a leader saying journalists are being killed because they are “infidels” or nonbelievers.

Killing infidels or nonbelievers is the only goal of the Islamic extremist. The infidels need not be armed or a threat to the Islamic extremists.

Any violation of disrespect, curse or slander Allah, the Prophet or the religion of Islam will have be thus deserving capital punishment.

Koran is the central religious text of Islam states “it is the Creator of human beings Allah who gave the right of speech to people and defined the limits on what is acceptable and unacceptable speech.”

There is no separation of church and state in Islam.

Roger Owens
Ventura County

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