updated Nov. 17

A respectful knee

The foundation of American capitalism has been the exploitation of slave labor, white, brown or black.  In “The Billie Holiday Story,” she is quoted as saying, “I got real evil one day and just plain decided I wasn’t going to say anything or do anything unless I meant it. Not ‘Please, sir, Sir…’ Nothing, unless I meant it.  You have to be poor and black to know how many times you can get knocked in the head just for doing something as simple as that.” Collin Kaepernick proves that we are still in Billie Holiday’s era, when it comes to civil rights.  Blacks can’t even say — or, by taking a respectful knee — show how they feel in today’s society.  They are owned by the “owners.” 

By black-balling Kaepernick, “owners” might as well be saying, “N—–,I’ll tell you what you can say, and when you can say it, if it’s on my field, on my plantation! And if you don’t like my rules, we’ll whip you and starve you boy, and no one will know your name.” 

Many people, especially in the Deep South, blame Kaepernick for his own predicament, and that his actions are not seen as a statement drawing attention to the fact we still are not treating African Americans as equals in our society; instead, southerners everywhere see Kaepernick’s and others’ self-expression as mutinous acts against America, the military, and patriotism.  Many Southerners, from South Carolina to southern California, say Kaepernick’s defiance, or self-expression is deserved of alienation, blacklisting, and a return to poverty.  Many rich white American “owners” continue to demand the right to control the freedom of speech of the poor, particularly minorities.  I say, shame on them, and shame on our democracy, when the owner’s word is the last.

Collin Kaepernick, by not being able to pursue his happiness for the game he loves, is being denied his rights.  If it’s any consolation, historian G.K. Chesterton expressed Billie’s experience and Kaepernick’s best, stating, “When one is oppressed, it is a mark of chivalry to hurt one’s self, in order to hurt the oppressor.” I want to thank Collin Kaepernick for his sacrifice, his sacrifice of fulfilling himself, in order to draw attention to the voiceless who are denied our first bill of right, and who have died, because of America’s 400 year history, and ongoing oppression of Black people, of Brown people, of Poor people.

Grant Marcus

Media partially to blame

It’s a sad occurrence whenever we have one of these massive shootings wither in Las Vegas, at a church, at a school or anywhere else.  Of course all of the decent minded citizens of the United States are upset and rightly so.

However, anytime one of these horrible acts are perpetrated on the unsuspecting public the Media, mostly TV and Internet think it is their duty to publish or post the incident on all of their programs whatever they may be.

The problem, as I see it, is they continue to “Harp” on each incident over and over for 5 to 10 days every hour and all day long. (Unless something more gross comes along.)  It’s fine to relate the news, once or possibly twice but all they are succeeding in doing with their relentless harping on the subject is instill into the minds of the people out there that are already on the mental breaking point another good idea to become famous and get their 15 minutes of fame.

To make my point just think of how often these incidents occur now, in the past we were subjected to an occasional shooting of maybe two or three people at a time and these occurrences were fairly well spread out. Then the media would mention it all most as an afterthought.

It seems now that the media turns each occurrence into a circus sideshow and stressing how many people were killed or injured and going so far as to mention a particular occurrence was a record. Each subsequent nut case now has something to set his or her sights on.

I don’t know about other people but I feel the media is partially to blame for some of these acts.

Rellis Smith

How many is enough

Re Paul Moomjean’s diatribe against gun control. I see that 58 dead is not enough to wake him up to reality. I wonder what it would take. 100? 1000? As for his silly claim that we need an arsenal too keep our country free, no nation in the world would invade us with an army. If we go to war it would go nuclear. If he is talking about defending us from our own government then he suffers from delusions of grandeur if he thinks an untrained army of volunteers could stand up to our army if it came to that. If that is what the 2nd amendment was for then it would mean that citizens should have access to all military weapons. RPG’s. 105 Howitzers, Stinger missiles etc. If you don’t claim that is right under your interpretation, then you are admitting that some weapons can be controlled. Even very conservative Justice Scalia said that rights of the 2nd Amendment were not unlimited.

 Alex Magdaleno


Haven’t the lessons been learned about paving a river for flood control??

History is about to be repeated.  The County Watershed Protection District (WPD) is proposing to pave 2 miles of the Santa Clara River side for flood control.  Just look south about 50 miles to see where that leads.  The proposed Santa Clara River Reach 1 (SCR1) project purpose is to fix the existing earth levee from Hwy 101 to Central Ave. for re-certification into the national flood insurance program.  After studying 3 main alternatives, WPD picked paving with soil-cement 8” thick by 35’ deep.  The lower 29’of the levee would be covered with soil (known as backfill), but storms are expected to scour away the backfill progressively over time.   

Paved levees have proven to be an ineffective outdated method of flood protection. They are overtopped year after year across the country, they destroy water quality and wildlife, they exacerbate water scarcity, and they lead to urban blight. Kiss natural vegetation goodbye, and say hello to a 3 story high spray paint canvas.

There is a much better way to design flood control. Water scientists, water industry professionals and public agencies throughout the nation have moved toward integrated regional water management (IRWM) which means working on related issues together.  Even the WPD itself has an IRWM plan.  This project is not based on IRWM principles and its objectives need to be revisited to include key issues such as: storm water conservation, groundwater recharge, native plant and animal ecology, education, and recreation.

Storm water conservation could be a major keystone of the SCR1 project. Every state and local agency, including VCWPD, acknowledges storm water is a resource and an increasingly important component of water resiliency policy. Flood control projects should no longer be designed to waste water.  The project should include features to accommodate future spreading and storage in the large land areas adjacent to the levee with peak flows from the main River corridor as long as required flows remain in the natural environment for robust native species riparian ecology.  

Groundwater recharge is a critical need of the Oxnard Basin aquifer which is located under the project location, yet the levee project has nothing to address this need. The Oxnard Basin is listed as the #2 most critically impacted statewide groundwater basin on the State CASGEM list due to seawater intrusion. This project needs to contribute water for recharge to the Oxnard Basin and interface with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) being developed by the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency.

The proposed soil cement is Impervious and a poor water resources management solution. Soil cement prohibits water infiltration, prevents water quality improvement, and produces a dead zone with zero vegetation and wildlife habitat.  IRWM flood protection solutions promote natural river functions to reduce velocity and peak flows, to promote natural biodegradation of contamination, and support long-term native vegetation growth.  Permeable levee surfaces have been approved by the Army Corps in a strikingly similar situation to SCR1 as shown in their Final Feasibility Plan for the Los Angeles River Restoration (see Fig. 1).  At that location the ACOE plans to remove pavement and restore the side bank with vegetation! Why doesn’t WPD skip the paving and go straight to the better solution? 

Let’s save a billion dollars.  Provide flood protection with foresight and based on integrated water resource management principles.  Use far more fiscally responsible plans than single purpose flood control projects.  The SCR1 environmental impact report is being prepared and comments on the project scope can be sent to SCR1info@ventura.org by Nov. 18, 2017.

Nina Danza, PE
registered Civil Engineer
Ventura Sierra Club chair

The only way to go   

re: October 12th Article Seneca Oil Seeks Exemption For WasteWater.

Seneca Oil wants to keep injecting wastewater into our aquifer? Gee whiz, that sounds totally harmless! But a few facts conveniently left out are terrifying. Oil and gas wastewater is radioactive and polluted with up to 600 of the various toxic chemicals used in extreme extraction. This could include acids, acrolein and biocides, designed to kill all life forms. Perhaps even worse than the potential of showering and drinking deadly cancer water is not having any water at all. It takes 50 barrels of fresh delicious Ojai water to extract one measly barrel of stinky planet-warming oil. Last checked, Lake Casitas was at a thirsty 36 percent. Meanwhile Ojai, Oak View and Ventura has a desperate Stage 3 drought declaration declared forcing residents to pay 20 percent more, and reduce allocations by 10 percent, which in my opinion is effectively subsidizing bad water behavior by dirty oil companies.  

Ban it. Say no. Electric cars and solar are the only way to go.    


Barry Harrington
Stop Ventura Fracking

Artifact of another time

In 1791 the Second Amendment made sense. 

Our young federal government had no standing army. Militias, composed of armed citizens, were expected to quell rebellions, resist invasions and keep order. While the president had ultimate authority, the states were charged with organizing and manning the militias.

The South feared the more populous North, particularly the distaste for slavery among the northerners. Slavery was vital to the South’s economy but not the North’s. 

Southern leaders lobbied to add a guaranteed right to keep arms as part of the Bill of Rights then being considered. Their local militias needed firearms to control the captive populations in their midst — people with every human reason to rebel or escape. 

Thus the Second Amendment. 

Today we have the largest permanent military the world has ever known, one dominating the national budget, Slavery is illegal. And America’s current enemies want our destruction rather than our territory. Neither Kim Jong-un nor the Taliban would be deterred by an armed citizenry. 

But the Second Amendment, this artifact of another time, is held up as reason to allow millions to own guns—even for some to collect huge caches, many of impressive lethality—all without any test to evaluate their need for them nor anyone’s fitness to handle the responsibility. 

While mass shootings horrify us, they account for a tiny fraction of the thousands of our fellow Americans murdered or injured in gun-related crimes. Guns also figure in more suicides than any other means. 

The right of self-defense, deeply imbedded in common law, did not require a Constitutional amendment. Nor does anyone’s safety require AR-15 assault rifles or bump stocks. 

“Awash in guns” endangers us all. America needs rational limits to firearms access.

Margaret Morris

How to beat “the political system”

The police should be investigating the Republicans and their party. They are committing criminal acts in passing legislation that causes immense physical and mental harm to millions of regular American citizens against their will.

Their gerrymandering, their manipulation of the vote, their corporate paid-for brainwashing of the general American public and their endless lying propaganda are tantamount to stealing the democratic right of every average American through criminal deception.

Their arrogance, their self-righteousness and their extremely antisocial behavior is indeed criminal inhumanity against all those they represent.

They, as predatory pawns of international corporations, have rigged the voting system so that it defies and defiles democracy while creating the empty illusion of democratic government.

Seemingly the public is left no choice whatsoever but to fry in the hot oil of Republican legislation and accept the terror that surrenders average American people to the horror of the Republican demonic vision of Humanity.

With every passing day, Republican laws against us are expanding in depth and depravity. They are happily sacrificing everyday Americans to corporate greed and psychopathic ideas that fabricate false-flag terrorism and manufacture endless fear dividing every American against all others in the name of their “democratic right to rule.”

Republicans are on a roll — more war, more military, more wealth for the wealthy, destruction of healthcare and the environment, destruction of worker safety regulations, etc.

All in all, Republicans are willing to weaken us to the point of our surrender when we, like they, are in favor of enriching and emboldening psychopathic corporations in their efforts to turn regular American citizens into corporate slaves.

With the massive amounts of money flowing over our democracy, we are drowning, having no power, no resistance, being unable to even swim in the deluge of political bribery for corporate control of our democratic system.

Are you as an American, willing to be “defanged and made impotent” by the ruling politicians and their barbaric masters, or are you going to join with the regular people in your interconnected communities and UNITE in friendship and kindness?

It is up to us to create a new system of government. We need direct democracy for a New America with a prosocial vision of a united people to take the place of the unopposed criminality of Republicans, Democrats and the political system.

Some guy once said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He had a point. Loving others and encouraging them to love themselves and others, too, could be the very basic plan we need to find our way out of the homicidal madness of corporate greed and power. Regular Americans unified behind a prosocial, caring and kind intersocial, interracial agenda can and will defeat all those who seek to destroy us for their own selfish desires. I propose a Public Union for a Prosocial America, (PUPA), tied to a set of “Love your neighbor” principles that will create a new politic for the prosperity and happiness of all Americans.

Christopher Judges

Mother Nature is watching

The letter about Mother Nature targeting the Gulf Coast Oil Industry missed two other targets for Mother Nature’s fury.

The bedroom communities of Northern California hit by fire storms, particularly Santa Rosa, have numerous people with daily commutes of 40-60 miles each way.  Are these huge carbon footprints large enough to be worthy of earning the fury of Mother Nature?

The retirement communities in Florida are filled with people from the culture and generation that used more fossil fuel all their lives than any previous generation. Their level of greenhouse gas creation (GHG) was unprecedented; a coincidence or a motive for Mother Nature’s fury?

Beware the fury of Mother Nature. The more she heats up from GHGs the more powerful her fury and she is just getting started.

OK, Mother Nature being angry at our transgressions is not a rational explanation but using clear reasoning and science to get people to take action does not seem to get people’s attention. Nature is not judgmental; it follows the laws of physics and chemistry regardless of morality. The rain and sunshine fall on the good and the evil alike! In fact, science and nature cannot even identify “good” or “evil”.

Science tells us that GHGs released into the air trap more heat on our planet. The rate of heat capture will accelerate as we add more and more GHGs into the atmosphere. As the planet heats up:

Winds will become stronger and faster

Strong winds will occur more frequently and may blow in different directions than in the past

Rain storms will bring more rain in less time

Some areas will become wetter including the Gulf and East Coasts while some will become dryer including the Western States

Most areas will become hotter, some will become cooler

Furthermore, GHGs come from using fossil fuels and work as follows:

The more fossil fuels we use the more all of the above will happen and the more rapidly things will shift.

The impacts we are seeing now are based on current levels of GHGs, increased concentration in GHGs will intensify the changes and make the current conditions seem mild by comparison

The more we take GHGs out of the air, the less those things will happen. We can put it into the soil, the forests and the ocean (carbon SEQUESTERING).

The GHGs are created at all levels of our culture and our economy and each one of those levels will need to take action to reverse this including the personal level of our individual daily activities.

What can we do on the personal level? Stop burning fossil fuel. Drive an electric Vehicle. Ride bicycles more. Walk more. Get a solar system on our homes. Use less plastic. Build your life around living locally.

Mother Nature is watching you and she is in a very bad mood.

Russell Sydney

Let the taxpayer take the risk

Are we all being naive as we try to caution against reckless and unbalanced tax cuts by the trump administration and GOP Congress?  Past experiences in Kansas, Reagan’s and Bushes deficit/debt problems have lead to serious economic downturns and deep recessions and should be a lesson for anyone.  But what we have missed is that following these downturns the wealthy gain an increasing portion of the nations wealth. This was true even as Obama tried to bring the deficit under control which is required before you can decrease debt.   The deeper the recession the greater the gain for the wealthy. 

Very wealthy people have large amounts of “discretionary” income.  This enables them to maintain their standard of living during these downturns as well as “scoop up” distressed businesses, properties and investments.  Then they will await the recovery.  Think that’s nonsense?  Did anyone see the increase of wealth going to the upper class after Bush’s recession?  Do you really think an economic downturn is always a poorly planned program?  Or is is It by design?  Don’t we all like to buy low and sell high?  The difference is now the government can use this method by letting the taxpayer take the risk.  What have they got to lose?  Now  questionable business tactics are being taught by the present administration to willing political recipients seeking donations to aid re-election and job security.  Will this make America great again?  Or a Plutocracy which is government by the wealthy?  

Jim Matlock