Searching for Dante

On Aug. 12, our family suffered the devastating loss of a member of our family when one of our dogs disappeared mysteriously from our campsite. Since this tragedy happened I keep thinking that if we had known what we know now we could have avoided this. We have learned that you should watch and protect your dogs with the same sort of vigilance as you watch your kids.

Our extended family had a great time at our four-day camping trip at Lake Cachuma up until the very end when Dante mysteriously disappeared from our campsite. He vanished on Sunday morning while hundreds of people packed up and left around us. We believe Dante was a target because he is a small, good looking, friendly, purebred dachshund.

Dante is a loved member of our extended family and a best buddy to our 31-year-old son who raised him from a puppy. We are all so devasted by this but especially our son. He is lost without his little buddy.

Our family is searching far and wide via all avenues. We, like so many, offer a large reward and no penalty. We just want our family member back. In our search we have joined countless lost dog Facebook groups and daily read through hundreds of posts about lost dogs. We found that so many families are suffering similarly. Dognapping has become an epidemic in the United States. Dogs are taken from yards and homes. The American Kennel Club estimates 2 million dogs are stolen each year.

Not every stolen pet is actually taken with an overt action. Many pets that get out and run off are never seen again. Some people who find lost pets make little-to-no effort to find the grieving family. Please don’t assume that a lost pet was dumped and keep them or rehome them without making an effort at reunification.  Dante is microchipped but we’ve also found that most vets do not verify ownership by checking for a microchip. We wish this was standard practice.

To our community we ask that you help reunite families when pets are separated. Lost pets can be given to a rescue or shelter. If you decide to foster a lost pet you can register them with your local shelter so that if a family is looking for them they can still use the shelter system to find them. There are so many families in addition to ours that are suffering greatly from the loss of their pets. We will never give up looking for Dante and hoping that someone does the right thing and returns him to us.

For more about Dante’s story please visit

Teresa and Kurt Coffman

Lawless fake president

The recent funeral of Sen. John McCain seemed like one for a president.
That’s because we don’t have one.
In the face of the spineless paralysis of the Republicans in Congress who are afraid to do anything about getting rid of this, one of the best ideas I’ve heard yet is for all five former presidents to combine as an irresistible force to put pressure on the congressional Republicans to remove Donald Trump from office.
In concert with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s telling Trump that unless Trump resigns, his son will go to jail, these two events might do the trick.

Clive Leeman

Irony, anyone?

For months Casitas Municipal Water District candidate Angelo Spandrio has blanketed social media platforms with his, often unfair and misleading, posts criticizing the District and its management of water resources. His supporters have touted this as a hallmark of his accessibility. One of his loudest criticisms is, in fact, that CMWD is not responsive to public input. Ironically, I have now joined a growing number of his potential constituents who have been prevented from engaging in a dialogue with him about water issues because he has selectively blocked me from commenting on his, otherwise, public Ojai Water News Facebook page. Others he has “blocked” outright so that they cannot see or comment on his frequent posts. This practice of silencing the public will not serve him well as a candidate and will prove disastrous should he be elected. What did I ask that was so provocative as to warrant blocking? I asked for his plan (particularly strategies and actions that were not already initiated by CMWD) and what his position is on compliance with federal and state laws that regulate diversions. Is that too much to ask of a candidate?
Since I wrote this letter originally, Angelo Spandrio, rather ungraciously, unblocked me, saying: “At the request of Suza Francina I’m unblocking you from this page.” Then he implored me to “please, don’t say again ‘What is your plan, Angelo??!!.’ Good grief, it’s two months before the election.” Afterward he scrubbed all his Ojai Water News videos from FB and disabled that page. I am concerned that a candidate for public office who rose to notoriety for asking questions of CMWD should feel so threatened by potential voters doing the same to him.

Crystal Davis

Does one life matter?

A hungry child or senior that happens to be poor did not choose poverty or going without. All lives do matter and with the aid of a few good people, lives could be enhanced greatly — and yes, with charity.
We (those of us) that live in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties can do good works to end hunger right where we live.
Take an example of a woman living in the deep South (southern USA) that worked her whole life to save enough money and create a food share program to feed hungry children. She collects donated food, she prepares meals (300 of them) and drives 100 miles a day to make deliveries. Why? Because she FEELS it is her duty.
Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties are among the most prosperous counties in California and yet there are thousands of families that go to bed hungry — something is wrong with this picture and some good-hearted souls will come together and change the outlook for many disadvantaged people. Yes, it will take some organization, planning and execution, but this writer will volunteer his time to help organize — All Life Matters. Join me?

Jay North

Vote yes on Prop. 6

I urge you to vote yes on Prop. 6. This is a grass-roots effort to repeal the increase in the gas tax by $0.12 and an additional increase in the car registrations fees by up to $175. It has been estimated by Reform California, the committee leading the repeal effort, that the average family of four will pay $780 more per year in gas and registrations fees. While Jerry and his politician friends in Sacramento are wasting our car taxes on other things than roads (like the bullet train), they had the audacity to raise the taxes even more! To place this initiative on the ballot, some 580,000 signatures were needed. Through truly grass-roots efforts, over 1 million were collected to qualify the initiative on the November ballot. In 1977 the average citizen like you and me told the politicians they were tired of unfair taxes. So Prop. 13 was passed. Let’s tell those Sacramento clowns that “We are not going to take this anymore.” Vote yes on Prop. 6. For more information go to

Richard Gagne, D.D.S.

Keep up the “Good Knee”

Re: “What would Bill Bowerman do?” by Paul Moomjean, Sept. 13
Obviously Moomjean feels justified in attacking Kaepernick (K) for Taking the Knee (caps are intentional) because K was blacklisted by so many teams. He feels, he says, that Nike is disrespecting our past and goes on to refer to a number of war-related events. And, Moomjean, this is not an unpopular “showcase” of K’s beliefs. It is a demonstration of what it means to be an American. It is a demonstration of Free Speech. K wanted to make a point about “Black Lives Matter” (they do!), not demonstrate some expression of disrespect for our flag or for our country. Because of our Constitution, K is not only free to, but invited to, speak out about what he believes. Whether one agrees with him or not, we should all be so grateful that he has the right to do just that. He wasn’t speaking about war in other countries. K was demonstrating what the “war” in this country means: that some races are more “allowed” than others. The shootings of black men across our country has increased and goes unpunished, and it is essential that people, in agreement with K or not, stand up against racism, against murder, against hatred. I hail Kaepernick for what he has done, and I went out to buy another pair of Nikes right away. I am proud of them both. They make me realize that although, in the last few years, I have had such a sick feeling about our country and what is happening to it, I am thrilled to have K and Nike to look to for reassurance. Keep up the “Good Knee.”

Jan Richman Schulman

The Passing of Humanity

By the year 2040 the only intelligences on Earth may well be artificial intelligences. During the most recent few decades, companies have been created all over the world whose main mission is to develop computers that think, and to build robots to carry out whatever orders their computer brains give then. During that same time frame, the children of today have been hypnotized and brainwashed into letting their computers and electronic gadgets do their thinking for them. So many people have fallen into this category that no one has the time or interest to take a look at the world around them to see what has happened to the one planet and life-giving environment we all depend on.

In May of 1992, an opportunity was presented to the U.S. Government to use brief applications of controlled heat to replace tens of billions of pounds of toxic chemicals used annually to grow our food. This opportunity was killed to benefit the US.D.A.’s chemical company benefactors. Government methods used to kill this opportunity have not been honest, legal, in the interest of future generations or global health. U.S. politicians work to please special interest money, not We the People. A recent program on Public Broadcasting said that babies born today have about 200 cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies at birth because of what their mothers ingested in their food, air and water.

On Oct. 22, 2014, The Wall Street Journal ran an article “Race to Find Organic Pesticide.” This story described how the U.S.D.A. and its chemical company partners created and released worldwide 54 billion dollars’ worth of a new bacteria as a replacement for chemical agricultural pesticide. A scientific report from 1996 stated that releasing a new bacteria or virus is more dangerous than releasing nuclear contamination. Six months after the 2014 article, it was reported that coral reefs round the world were dead or dying, including the Great Barrier Reef. Twelve months after the report the crabs on the West Coast of America are producing high levels of neurotoxin. By August of 2016 it was reported that poisonous algae blooms threatened people and ecosystems across the U.S. Bacteria thrive in warm places. Our equatorial oceans are dead, plus other huge environmental dominos are falling worldwide. Government experts blame everything on global warming instead of chemical and other pollution.

I have noticed that many life forms have disappeared after each of our infrequent rains in Southern California — snails, ladybugs, caterpillars and many more. I’ve worked 36 years, over half my life, trying to get people to look up from their computers long enough to see what was happening to the earth beneath their feet. Early on in my garden I learned that God and Mother Nature are one and the same.

On Oct. 22, 2014, I realized that Pandora’s Box had been opened and that I had failed to complete my mission. Without nature, already our rain and fresh water are polluted, our air is unclean; and now that the bees are disappearing, soon there will be very little food to eat. I believe that, except for the few who are hidden away, humans have little to no future past the end of the 2040s, and only the artificial intelligences may remember our passing, May God’s mercy be with you.

James C. Nichols
Thousand Oaks

Spontaneous miracle

August 28-30, I attended the Climate Reality Project gathering the LA Coliseum. Over 2,200 participants, including those from 40 countries were represented. Vice President Al Gore moderated and many notable world-class speakers such as Mayor Garcetti, Alan Horn Chief of Disney, a senior scientist from Scripps and many others.

Politically, what was so profound was that on Tuesday, while giving an amazing presentation of the recent climate tragedies of record triple digit intensities around the globe (California, Boston to Siberia), extreme wildfires, droughts, economic impacts and hardships, and most importantly the science behind global warming, Al paused a moment to say, SB 100 wasn’t going to make it because of only four “no” votes. The huge crowd groaned. Al said, I’ll tell you their names later, but I need to get on with this critical information. After he finished, he said, OK, I’ll tell you their names and stated who the four assembly representatives were and their districts. Instantly, like a knee-jerk reflex, with no further instructions, the majority of over 2,000 people’s heads bent down as if in prayer, their fingers quickly and silently sending messages to their networks — all while the presentation continued on, but nothing more was said about it as there was so much vital information to be given.

The next day, Al announced that the four holdouts had flipped and changed their votes and now supported SB 100, and the bill was on the governor’s desk. A huge cheer exploded. Their prayers, or call them their hopes, had been answered. This experience, to me, was one that I can only describe as a “spontaneous miracle.” No phone calls, no letter writing, only fingers dancing on their smart phones and all of it taking just a few minutes to flip legislators’ votes and make a significant change in California’s history.

What makes it so critically important is that what California mandates for the automobile industry, they follow. If carmakers want to sell cars in the largest market in the United States, they have, and they will scramble to meet any regulations that must be met for them to do business. Now California is officially on its way to become the second state committed to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Hawaii was the first. Hopefully, many more states will follow, already many are planning to do so.

To me it felt like the Arab Spring event that spread like wild fire in the Mideast, even to the Wall Street sit-in. It was a spontaneous happening and in this case, it yielded immediate positive results for our state, country and planet.

Sage Rainbow

Drank the Kool-Aid

Well, it looks like Paul Moomjean has finally drunk the Kool-Aid (“All the president’s men,” Right Persuasion, Aug. 28). I know that’s a reference that offends some people, referring, as it does, to a horrendous tragedy. I feel OK about it in this context, because the consequences of the Trump presidency are so cataclysmic.

I gained some respect for Paul during the campaign and the earlier part of Trump’s term, calling the Donald out for the weasel that he is. I was so saddened, now, to see him steering us away from removing the president from office. I wondered if he had spoken up as emphatically when Bill Clinton’s impeachment adventures were unfolding, for offenses that pale in comparison to Trump’s daily assaults on truth, integrity and compassion, not to mention competence.

Reading Paul’s derisive comments about rats also makes me wonder if he thinks the country’s interests would have been better served if that rat John Dean had chosen to continue to cover for President Nixon to avoid the inconvenience of his leaving office before completing his term. Meanwhile, I imagining Nixon turning in his grave, seeing the Republicans turn a bind eye to behavior that might have gotten Nixon tarred and feathered.

This business about rats I find especially galling, as I am sure there are any number of criminals, inside the government and out, who were only brought to justice by turning a witness to cooperate with the prosecution. Can Paul really think testifying for the prosecution is worse that seeing a dangerous criminal go free?

I think we should all regularly revisit the videos of Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz, among others, vilifying Donald Trump, along with more current clips of them excusing his recurrent outrageous behavior. This outrageous behavior depends upon the complicity of spineless congressman who continue to put party above country. Now, that’s what I call being a rat.

Tom Moore

Alpha, beta dogs

According to the article (“Public nuisance challenged,” News, Aug. 30) there are around 73,35 dog owners who don’t have a clue about responsible pet ownership. Responsible dog owners establish themselves as the alpha dog, and they work with their dogs from the moment they are adopted to socialize the animal around people and other animals, and establish voice control. Read how the Monks of New Skeet do this to see what I am talking about. Responsible dog owners continue working with their dogs throughout their lives so they remain socialized. I’ve seen too many dog owners leave it up to the dog, resulting in alpha dogs whose owners are just fine being Betas or lower in the pack hierarchy. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been attacked when walking or on my bike, and woken in the middle of the night by somebody’s barking or crying dog. I’ve used pepper spray, tried to get away from the attacking animal, attacked back, pleaded with the owner (whose attacking dog is always off leash to “call your dog”), all to no avail. The height of hypocrisy is when a dog owner tells me “my dog isn’t barking” or “I threw them out in the middle of the night because I didn’t want to listen to the barking.” Frankly, I find the attorney’s statements of due process for the dog owner to be astonishing in light of the very few instances of Animal Control taking action (69 out of 7,335 complaints).  In my opinion, the judge should have ruled in favor of the people who complained, and required the dog’s owner to complete a mandatory training to socialize the dogs (à la the Dog Whisperer). For the people who think I am a dog hater out there: Yes, I have raised and loved a dog, yes I worked with my dog every day on socialization; yes, Winnie was under voice control; and yes, Winnie was on leash when walking in public.

Please do not use my name if you choose to publish this. There are too many kooks out there who have no problem threatening people with differing opinions.


Art, music therapy for VUSD

While I applaud the “rebranding” efforts and intentions that VUSD Superintendent David Creswell expressed in his recent interview with the VC Reporter (“Talking about education,” News, Aug. 30), he mentions several topics that need further discussion. I’ll stick to one. He says that school safety is “a huge goal.” It is also the 11th word of the VUSD mission statement. So I ask, why doesn’t he hire more professional people in the realm of therapy for troubled students? Many progressive school districts nationwide have seen a vital need for having practicing music and art therapists on their staff, but there are none in VUSD, even though what these therapists offer would be a tremendous asset to struggling students, many of whom have already been flagged by school mental health staff. We hear about these “red flagged” students time and time again after school shootings. Working with school psychiatrists to pinpoint children who feel marginalized, art therapists offer other ways of reaching children who may not excel in academics or sports. For more than 25 years, I’ve seen this work! Art therapies help by building trust, boosting confidence, empowering self-esteem, calming minds, and offering new pathways into learning and social skills. As a certified music therapist MT-BC, I have offered time and time again to do a free demonstration of the power of music therapy at the school district. I’ll offer it again, here, in print. Please consider adding this enriching program that fosters student well-being and school safety to the many children who would benefit from it.

lka Brett Cripe
Oak View