Updated Oct. 20

Support Central Coast Heritage Protection Act

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, together with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Kamala Harris, have introduced an important bill to protect lands and waters in the Los Padres National Forest: the “Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.” The bill, H.R. 4072 is officially co-sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will create new Wilderness Areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Los Padres National Forest. The selected Wilderness Areas have been carefully planned in coordination with neighboring landowners, businesses, trail users and conservation organizations to preserve key wild lands while keeping existing roads and trails open. This important land and water protection legislation will preserve our watersheds, scenic vistas, recreation areas, wildlife habitat and creeks for the benefit of current residents, visitors and future generations.

This water and wilderness bill will also be a benefit to our economy through enhancing tourism, with visitors to the Los Padres forest already spending over $24 million per year at local businesses. Preserving additional key areas of wilderness and wild rivers will assure future generations of access to camping, hiking, trail riding, kayaking, fishing and wildlife, and meet increasing demand for outdoor recreation. 

Perhaps more importantly, preserving the national forest lands makes Ventura County a great place to live and work, preserves the character of our county, and protects our critical watersheds from threats from mining, drilling or road building. All the proposed wilderness additions add on to existing wilderness areas, thereby amplifying their ecological and recreation value while leaving existing multi-use trails open.

It has been 25 years since the last wilderness addition in the Los Padres National Forest. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act has more than 500 supporters, among them elected officials including the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, business owners, mountain bikers, veterans, faith leaders, anglers, conservation organizations and others who support permanent protection of these special places and waters.

The Ventura County lands proposed for Wilderness designation are some of the most scenic and resource-rich lands in our National Forest. The 159 miles of creek and river that would be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers include upper Piru Creek, upper Sespe Creek and Upper Matilija Creek, all important local water sources and essential fish habitat.

Passage of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will assure protection of these vital lands and waters for future generations of Ventura County residents and visitors, and will preserve the Ventura County that we know and love. County citizens are encouraged to express their support for this important bill to members of Congress.

County Supervisor Steve Bennett
District 1

Increase foreign aid

Recently our president made it clear to the world that the United States would step back from the position of global leadership that it has maintained for years. This move diminishes our ability to face the threat of terrorism. To remedy potential threats and secure a more peaceful society for ourselves and our vulnerable Muslim allies, the United States must increase the international budget to developing nations to counteract the instability that fuels transnational terrorism.

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition,” stated Secretary of Defense James Mattis. International leadership in the realm of development has proven to be an effective manner of combating transnational terrorism. Lebanon, for example, has received large sums of foreign aid since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. The small country of 6 million, which underwent civil war between Christian and Muslim religious groups during the ’90s, currently holds 1 million refugees. As U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard puts it, “The fact that the situation in Lebanon hasn’t resulted in serious instability as a result of the refugee crisis is due in large part to the efforts of the international community to help Lebanon meet this challenge.” Foreign aid has assured that the massive strain endured by Lebanon may be borne and that the threat from terrorism and religious violence in this country be eliminated.

If we wish to relieve the threat we face from transnational terrorism and build a positive relationship with Muslim countries we must step up in the global arena and increase foreign aid to help these developing countries that suffer the conditions that breed such awful phenomena. I urge that we contact our federal representatives to increase the international affairs budget.

Matthew Teasdale
Newbury Park

Jong Un to kill us all

Your Sept. 28 editorial: Flirting with Nuclear War

North Korea’s young dictator Kim Jong-un is a murderer.  He has no compunction  about killing anybody he considers a threat, even young children.

According to the New York Times (Feb. 14, 2017), “Since taking power, Mr. Kim  has executed more than 140 senior party and military officials deemed a threat to his authority.”

In December 2013, he executed his uncle and former mentor, Jang Song-thaek, and all his uncle’s blood relatives, including young grandchildren.

Earlier this year he murdered his half-brother Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia.

He is so used to killing people, what’s to prevent him from killing the rest of us?

President Trump is like a stupid kid goading a deadly poisonous snake, not realizing or caring that this particular snake could kill all of us.

Clive Leeman

Humanities Rx for survival

Friday’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) draws attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and the global movement to abolish these weapons as the only reliable way to guarantee that they will never be used again. The award brings the reality of these consequences front and center to the world stage. The nuclear armed states with their addiction to nuclear weapons due to their misguided false sense of security in having these weapons, and their refusal to proceed further with the disarmament process, will now be legally bound to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This award stigmatizes the nuclear armed states with their nuclear stockpiles and empowers the nonnuclear nations who have spoken out in the adoption of this summer’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Physicians for Social Responsibility’s international federation, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, itself a recipient of the 1985 Nobel peace prize, founded ICAN in 2007. PSR worked with ICAN presenting scientific data on the humanitarian and medical consequences of nuclear weapons at a series of three intergovernmental conferences in 2013 and 2014, the 2016 U.N. multilateral disarmament forum, which ultimately led to the 2017 U.N. treaty negotiations and adoption of the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 122 nations on July 7, 2017. The Treaty prohibits the possession, use, threat of use, development, testing, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of these weapons and forever stigmatizes these weapons and the nations that maintain their nuclear stockpiles.

The small and mighty permanent staffing of ICAN has allowed it to be nimble and strategic in its work, engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments. It has built a mighty global coalition of more than 400 partners in 101 nations, creating a movement that is unstoppable; and along the way has reshaped the debate on nuclear weapons, generating a momentum toward elimination.

ICAN typifies the often-quoted words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The prize is a tribute to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hibakusha, and victims of nuclear explosions and development around the world and their vision to prevent future generations from suffering the horror of nuclear detonation.

Until now, nuclear weapons were the only indiscriminate weapon of war that had not been banned Chemical and biological weapons, as well as landmines and cluster munitions, have already been banned. Nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to our humanity and the U.N. The Treaty through the work of ICAN is now our prescription for survival.

Robert F. Dodge, M.D.,
Writes for PeaceVoice
Serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Beyond War, Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions.

Stand for Hensley

I have been following the shenanigans in Port Hueneme with the continuing internecine warfare on the Hueneme Council. Although I live in Oxnard, I shop daily at the shopping plazas in Hueneme on C.I. Boulevard and what happens in that city is of interest to me and many others in the harbor and beach area.

When Jim Hensley, Tom Figg and Will Berg were elected, I was hopeful that they could bring out-of-the-box thinking and a new sense of purpose to the council. Instead, there are continual battles and nasty divisions that do nothing to advance the agenda for a city that is in dire financial straits.

I am at a loss to understand why all this is coming down on Councilman Hensley.

I have known Jim Hensley for almost 20 years and worked with him on a number of projects and committees. I have found him to be a man of great integrity and especially hard-working and reliable. It is my experience, as someone who, prior to retirement, managed many people in a variety of jobs, that people like Mr. Hensley are often resented for being too demanding in their expectations. I know Councilman Hensley is willing — always — to go the extra mile for what he believes. If that is perceived by Hueneme staff to be stepping on toes, then it is only that they are not used to fully committed council members.

With city and department managers coming and going at the rate they have in the past few years in Port Hueneme, the council members need to be activist to ensure that they are well-informed and not at the mercy of information and analyses that fall through the cracks of staff shortages and a difference in prioritization.

I would like to see Councilman Hensley restored to his previous assignments and privileges, as I think the Hueneme Council functions less efficiently without the wide-ranging input he was able to provide before he was cut off at the knees.

Lauraine Effress

Repeal Second Amendment

Mr. Moomjean offers us the usual platitudes from the right when it comes to gun control. I would argue that we certainly can control the use of guns in this country; it just takes a brave portion of Republican voters to stand up to the NRA.

He mentions (“Gun control can’t be controlled,” Right Persuasion, Oct. 11) that we cannot control drunk driving, only “the punishments if committed.” This is simply not true, as we have multiple harm reduction methods to address it. We have an entire Department of Motor Vehicles that regulates the safety of automobiles, gives out licenses to drive, requires classes and even periodically checks the safety and road-worthiness of cars. The sale of alcohol is also a highly regulated affair, with many safeguards in place to help curb drunk driving, including limiting hours of sales, ignition interlock devices for offenders and prohibiting sales to minors.

After every one of these tragedies, we keep having these same damn discussions. It is laughable that some, like Mr. Moomjean, believe that the Second Amendment will somehow protect them from an “Evil Government.” How does he plan on standing up to the tanks, predator drones, and bombs that our military has? Ask the folks at Ruby Ridge or Waco, Texas, how that worked out. The “Stand Up to the Big Bad Government” argument is simply a red herring.

It is time to repeal the Second Amendment, confiscate all civilian-owned military-grade firearms, and license gun ownership. Gun safety can be achieved; we just have to have the guts to stand up to the bullies and equate their cries for freedom with our cries of freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Joey Waltz


A little discretion

Just read your article about Erika Gorman (“A mother’s call,” News, 8-24). I am totally in favor of breastfeeding,  both private and public. It has been proven that breast milk has all the nutrients a child needs and that cow’s milk and formula are not as beneficial. HOWEVER, I truly feel that breastfeeding in public should be done discreetly, i.e. mom’s boobs can be covered in such a way as not to draw the attention of adolescents, teens and adult male gawkers. We are not living in a country where this is acceptable to most and it is so easy to breastfeed without drawing attention to oneself. I think a lot of these women are displaying their entire breast for shock value. I breastfed my two children in public without anyone reporting me. Be discreet, ladies!

Connie Brescher
Port Hueneme

Under pressure

I have a concern about the lack of using the proper tire pressures according to the tire manufacturer’s recommendations instead of the automobile manufacturer’s tire recommendations since those recommendations ONLY apply the original tires that came with the car. After-market tires generally have much higher maximum tire pressure ratings often 10-12 psi higher than what is listed on the car!

I have learned that just about all tire professionals are for some reason required to use the pressures listed on the driver’s-side door either by their company or there is a federal law they must comply with. This is unacceptable for many reasons;

  • Under inflated tires
  1. give poorer performance, handling,
  2. produce more wear on the tires giving shorter tire life, $ $ $,
  3. causes more drag (friction)m which reduces gas mileage, $ $ $.
  • This illegitimate plan only hurts the American drivers by increasing our cost to drive, which is bad enough with  all the taxes, insurance and fees we have to pay in order to have a vehicle on the road.
  • This plan also reduces our safety on the road by having tires running at less than optimum performance. Poor handling because of tires that are wandering back and forth on the rims or tires that are drastically underinflated could come off the rim in an aggressive maneuver while trying to avoid an accident.

I have found that unless we as tire buyers request, sometimes assertively, that the tire mechanic pump the tires up to just under the maximum pressure that is embossed on the side of the tire, they will not do it. After all, who knows better what the tire requirements are, the tire makers or the dealerships and department stores who sell the tires?

It baffles me as to why there is such a push-back to comply with what seems to be the obvious solution for an unwritten “rule” that should never have been implemented. It only hurts us. So please speak up and demand that your tires be properly inflated … as your safety may be dependent on it.

Frank P. Antonowitz 

Rehashing the old trope

Your article “In Pursuit of Environmental Justice” (Cover feature, 9-1) was an excellent in-depth look at this critical issue. I was encouraged by Supervisor Parks’ strong stand on protecting those at highest risk from pollutants. But Supervisor Long’s response was distressing. She never addressed environmental justice, instead rehashing the old trope of “expanding economic opportunities.” You can’t dress up corporate greed as simple “economic opportunity,” when people’s lives and health are at stake. Supervisor Long represents many of the most vulnerable parts of our County. I would suggest that she consider that sick parents and children won’t make good job candidates, now or in the future, for those polluting jobs she’s trying to protect.

Robin Gerber
Speaker, best-selling author, historian

Drilling, gassing and, yes, spilling

Stop Ventura Fracking wanted to thank the VC Reporter and CFROG’s Kimberly Rivers for a terrific article (Cover feature, 9-1) and photo finally bringing Environmental Justice attention to our once quaint working-class neighborhood, which for the last five years has been under intense oil and gas siege here in West Ventura.

Notification is a death sentence for your dream. Imagine suddenly getting a letter tacked onto your porch saying, “We’re going to be drilling 24 hours a day next to your house” and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. As that letter circulated around our neighborhood, Stop Ventura Fracking was born. Our West Ventura neighborhood featured in your photo includes two mobile home parks, Encinitas and Magnolia, which perhaps should be called ExxonMobil Home Parks because they are so close to extreme toxic chemical oil extraction.

Despite a code against the flaring of gas, flares burn 24 hours a day (Editor’s note: waiting for code citation). In fact, two flares on School Canyon Road burn within 2.7 miles of the VC Reporter’s home office! Meanwhile, Lake Casitas’ last water (39 percent full) is being stolen from hydrants along Ventura Avenue. Untold “unlimited” millions of gallons at approximately .002 cents a gallon also are destined to be polluted forever and unusable. This is the worst area in California for water-intensive Big Oil to extract as we simply have no state water hookups from Ojai, Oak View, North Carpinteria, all the way to Mills Road.

When Lake Casitas is gone, that’s it folks. If and when we hook up to state water, residents will pay (untold millions, possibly a billion over 10 years) for that too, effectively subsidizing Big Oil. These are the alarming kinds of things you discover as you peel back the oil onion skins.

Imagine scrimping and saving for your first “dream home,” only to find out that they are using tanker trucks of acids, sulfates and deadly chemicals next door. The convoys of vacuum and water trucks spewing toxic diesel fumes drift on the Ventura ocean breeze right to where kids play. Trucks from Texas marked “Radioactive” speed through as if not to be seen. Bags of silica marked “premature death-barbed particles too small to be seen” that OSHA says cause silicosis and lung cancer, stacked right next to the Ventura River Trail, make residents fearful of exercising outdoors.

This couldn’t be a worse spot for toxic extraction. These are families…, with kids. Yet here they are —drilling, gassing and, yes, spilling. Go to CalEnviroScreen map at VCReporter.com and join Stop Ventura Fracking on Facebook to see actual down-and-dirty photos of chemical trucks in school zones and much worse.

Our Ventura dream-home neighborhood turned into an oil and gas nightmare. And nobody at the top seemed to care. When we complained to leaders they scoffed, “Move.” When we complained to the oil and gas companies they scoffed, “Move,” Now we are telling them to move. This is our Ventura.

They stole our neighborhood, our dream home, our air and water. Now we will finally have some environmental justice.

Barry Harrington
photojournalist for Stop Ventura Fracking

I’m a dreamer

I dream that Congress will work together and alongside one another to come up with an improved DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. I dream that our nation will recognize and appreciate the value of every human life, without exception or prerequisite or condition. I dream that each and every one of us will work harder to empathize with those with differing viewpoints. I dream that I may grow when I acknowledge my failings and shortcomings. I dream that I may find great beauty hidden in the plain and the simple. I dream that I am ever more grateful and thankful for all I am blessed with.

John Sanders Jones

Terror of Trump

How disappointing that Ray Freeman (“I’ll be blowed,”Sharper Focus, 9-14) chooses to trash Hillary Clinton’s new book. While I so often appreciate Mr. Freeman’s point of view, he is way off base here.

I am, although not having read the book yet, dismayed by all of the negativity directed at HRC. She’s right about so much of what I’ve heard through news clips. We are living thorough the terror of Trump because of the obstructions that she cites. It had to be told.

Carol Spector