Citizens for SOAR renewal

If you are like me, sometimes you are in a hurry and duck out of your favorite store or meeting place to avoid signature-gatherers with petitions. I just want to alert everyone that for the next two weeks you might want to pause and take the time to sign the SOAR initiatives, which stand for SAVE OPEN-SPACE and AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES. You need to sign two — the one for Ventura County and one for your city, signing your name the way you are registered to vote, in order to get SOAR on the November 2016 ballot.

By signing the petition you make it possible for people to vote on whether or not protected agricultural land or open space areas can be rezoned for development. This does not stop development, but gives citizens the choice to decide yes or no.

The current city and county SOAR initiatives are set to expire at different times. This new initiative will renew SOAR and get all the SOAR initiatives throughout the county on the same schedule, with the uniform sunset date of 2050.

Given the limited water and land resources in our cities and county, and increasing pressures for development, it is important to let voters weigh in on whether converting agricultural or open space land is in the best interest of the community at large.

This is an all-volunteer grassroots signature-gathering effort. The people with petitions are your friends and neighbors who are all taking time out of their own busy lives to help renew the Ventura County SOAR initiatives.

So as you are rushing to complete errands or chauffeuring kids to their next engagement, please take a few moments to help these SOAR signature-gathers give us a say in whether our communities should rezone land for more development. This is a democratic means to preserve our valuable open space and agricultural resources now and in the future.

Diane Underhill, President
Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation

Set of shills

The death of Justice Scalia has exposed how desperate the Republican Party is to retain its 40-year stranglehold on power. The news had barely broken when Republicans ranging from several presidential candidates to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were announcing that President Obama should not appoint a replacement. Imagine, the body is being transported to a funeral home prior to shipment to his home and the Republicans launch a full-scale crass scramble to retain power.

It was not like this when President Eisenhower made a recess appointment in an election year, or even when the Democratically controlled Senate confirmed Justice Kennedy in 1998. It is only when a Democratic president has the gall to attempt to exercise the role of office to which he was elected by over a 5-million-vote margin. This is one party, bought and paid for by a few very wealthy backers, that is determined to hold on to power at any cost to the nation.

The Republican Party has ceased to be a legitimate party in a democracy, it is no more than a bought-and-paid for set of shills fighting over the chump change rewards their overlords let them feed on. They have in the past 48 hours exposed their total abdication of propriety and honor. For shame.

Norm Rodewald