Medicinal marijuana

Upon reading your article Movember in this week’s issue, I noticed that several of the top-10 medical issues (cancer, Parkinson’s, opiate addiction, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cirrhosis) killing men in Ventura County are conditions that may be alleviated or significantly reduced by medical cannabis, which is banned for distribution and cultivation throughout the county. This is not to call cannabis a miracle cure-all that works for everyone in all situations (you still shouldn’t smoke it), but it’s been proven safe and effective for thousands of years. Prohibition on this plant is relatively recent, compared to the years throughout history that we’ve been prescribing it. Across the country citizens are legalizing it but Ventura County is a desert for safe access. How sad that politics trumps reason and public health and wellness, creating a situation where you have to drive to LA or buy on the black market if you want to take charge of your health.

Now that the State of California has enacted the MMRSA, it’s time for local legislators to get serious about providing a mechanism for patients to have safe access to this medicine under the new, complex regulations set forth by state legislators, details of which are being shaped right now. Even the federal government acknowledges the role of cannabis in any cancer treatment plan. (See www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq.) It’s also time for doctors and nurses to educate themselves on the endocannabinoid system and for patients to know it’s an option for much more than nausea and appetite stimulation.

I implore city and county officials to reconsider their bans on medical cannabis, before voters pass broad legalization measures in 2016. There’s no time like the present to fight disease and find wellness in our community.

Karen Kelly

Use force of fame

Five of us were invited to set up exhibits before the Neil Young Concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Oct. 10. We talked about the Grange and the future of sustainable farming.  Around a hundred out of the audience of 5,000 visited “Neil’s Village” where we and others talked about solutions for climate change, GMOs and threats to biodiversity.  

Because I love the message of his new album, The Monsanto Years, Neil’s 45 years of rock stardom feel like a preparation for this Rebel Tour. A brain aneurysm in 2005 might have left a fresh sense of purpose for this album and tour. He came to deliver an all-out three-hour performance with messages about GMOs, pesticides, pipeline politicians, Safeway and big-box stores, the Supreme Court and the California law that you can’t carry seeds more than three miles and give them away, which he dramatized by throwing a basket of seed packets to the crowd and inviting the police to arrest him. The Rebel Tour sounds as though it is meant for everyone, but not everyone could afford to go hear the rebel band leader. Still, maybe a few hundred white privileged males will go home and do an inventory of their cupboards and refrigerators. Many were drinking and yelling “Old Man,” a self-sorry old ballad he did not sing. Instead we heard the new “People Want to Hear About Love” about denial of our corrupt, polluted world.

He’ll be 70 in November. He said, “I’m workin’ here.” Hard to know, but it did not seem to be for money. May he inspire more celebrities to use the full force of their fame and talent to call out Citizens United, greed, toxic food and the laying waste to Mother Earth.

Jan Dietrick
President, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries
Member, Ojai Valley Grange




Soft bigotry

The language of bigotry has evolved. In the ’60s it was blatant, N-word this, N-word that. By the ’70s, with the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, this language was no longer acceptable. Ronald Reagan expressed his opposition to California’s Fair Housing Law by expressing it as “freedom” to rent to whom you choose. Similarly, he kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign by going to Philadelphia, Mississippi, site of the horrendous and brutal murder of three civil rights workers by the Klan. So did Reagan talk about civil rights? No, he championed “states’ rights”; you can go ahead and practice your Jim Crow apartheid without federal interference. The language was the new, soft bigotry. Reagan described a “welfare queen,” another new soft bigotry term. By the way, she was fictional, created by a Reagan speechwriter to cater to the bigots.

 We moved through the ’90s with this new soft bigotry. Then we had President Obama, and the bigots came out in force. Where is his birth certificate? Where are his college transcripts? Did he get into school on affirmative action? Remember the Obama free phones? Actually, the Lifeline Assistance Program began in 2008, before Obama was elected, under President George W. Bush. But the soft bigotry said Obama was giving free phones for votes. Now, this bigotry has evolved to “free stuff.” In his Left of Left column (Oct. 22), Mr. Moomjean sings this bigoted song in full throat, declaring the Democratic candidates are offering “free stuff.” In his bigoted conceit, Mr. Moomjean believes that those who support Democratic candidates are so stupid, they only vote when they get the promise of “free stuff.”

For Mr. Moomjean, the citizens of the California in the California Master Plan for Higher Education decided that it was in the best interests of their children to support a high-quality higher education system, which would consist of two-year junior colleges, four-year state colleges and four-year universities, all tuition-free. The so-called “free stuff” is nothing more than to reverse the gutting of that plan by the Great Prevaricator, Ronald Reagan. Mr. Moomjean, stop the language of soft bigotry. If you believe this crap, you don’t belong teaching in a public school; and if you don’t believe you’re a bigot, search your values to find out why you echo this language of soft bigotry.

Norman Rodewald




The right to vote

In the 2014 election 60 percent of the nation’s population failed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. As Americans, our vote is our chance to change what we don’t like in government. Our vote is also an opportunity to keep those politicians who work FOR us in office.  

Some say their vote won’t change anything. Those who refuse to vote cannot blame anyone but themselves for the government in office thereafter. They do not care enough to educate themselves on issues that affect all of us. Such negative thinking resulted in seven years of Congressional gridlock.

Many Republicans and Democrats agree that Congress is bought and paid for by lobbyists, super PACs, and Wall Street. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a good example of politicians on both sides of the aisle whose votes were purchased to pass the worst trade deal in the history of this country. Congress should not have taken any money for their votes.

The 2016 presidential campaign, financed by the Koch brothers, Wall Street, super PACs, lobbyists and special interests, raises the question: “Is the presidential election, hence our country, for sale?”  

Two presidential candidates refuse to accept money from Wall Street and super PACs: businessman Donald Trump (Republican) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Democrat). Though the two candidates differ on most issues, they agree on public campaign financing for a fair election.  They are not for sale.

The right to vote is the one chance we have to make our country better. It is our one shot at realizing our hope for the future of our children, grandchildren and the planet. The right to vote matters. Let’s start educating ourselves now on the presidential candidates so we can make an informed choice when we vote in the primary election in June 2016. One year from now we will be voting for the 45th president of the United States of America. Let’s make that vote count for something that matters: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, not one procured by the Koch brothers, Wall Street.

Now that would be real change.

Elle Stockton
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Candidate for Ventura City Council

It is with great pleasure that I announce my candidacy for Ventura City Council in 2016. I have been a 25-year resident in Ventura, where I helped raise my son and granddaughter after I moved here from Malibu. I have been involved in city politics in Ventura, as I was also in Malibu, and before that in Boston and Los Angeles. I am a graduate of UCLA in political science and business accounting and have been involved in many campaigns here in California. One of my campaign agenda items is to get working on helping the homeless find shelter this November. In addition I am pro-police, pro-business, a slow-growth advocate, fiscal conservative and a preservationist. I pledge to serve no more than two terms, and promise not to display yard signs on public property. In addition I promise not to accept any campaign contributions, as I will be beholden to no one or to any special interest. I promise to use my auditing skills to tighten up our budget and possibly try to lower taxes within the city by saving budgeted money. I look forward to a positive campaign and to meeting the thousands of voters that I hope will select me as their next Councilmember. Thank you very much.

Randall Richman



Random impressions

It Who are these people? They [Democratic presidential candidates] talked about the issues that concern me, they spoke to each other with respect, and they threw facts around with abandon to support their positions. I mean true facts, not references to misleading, edited videos. Obviously not Republicans.

Clinton sounded very polished. Her demeanor seemed “presidential.” A fine performance. Sanders did not go far from his stump speech — except for one brilliant unscripted moment when he blurted out the best line of the night and brought down the house, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damned emails.”

I have no sympathy for complaints that moderator Anderson Cooper picked on anyone by raising legitimate concerns, especially since it gave the candidates a chance to address them. He did a good job.

Sanders did not “rescue” Clinton on the email distraction. After his smashing line, he quietly pointed out that an FBI investigation was in the works and should play out. Moreover, Clinton didn’t need rescuing as she defended herself well on the issue.

Her reason for changing her position on trade, however, was vague and missed entirely why progressives hate the TPP. She may not even understand why. Likewise her claim to be better able to get things done than rival Sanders fails against reality testing. Sanders has crafted several successful agreements with Republicans by seeking common ground (increased funding for the V.A., for example) while she has had no great success in across-aisle cooperation as either senator or First Lady.

It’s patently obvious that Sanders already leads the party’s agenda and is the reason for Clinton’s slide to his positions. As president, she could slide back.

I note that major news outlets all chose Clinton as the debate’s winner but that social media, focus groups and the network’s’ own polling all showed overwhelming preference for Sanders. Could it be that the allegedly liberal media reflect the business interests of network owners rather than the views of rank-and-file Democrats?

Margaret Morris

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