Nov. 27, 2019

Opportunity for affordable housing

Recent news has published that Kmart in Santa Paula and Sears in Ventura will soon be closing, as has Kmart in Camarillo.

These buildings should be repurposed for housing. One really good thing is that there is plenty of parking, which is always a major concern in new builds.

Please don’t allow these buildings to be shuttered and become an eyesore. As a citizen, I would encourage and challenge these cities to partner with developers to immediately construct affordable housing.

And don’t forget green spaces.

Judith A. Beay
Ventura

Turkey Day and politics

I am sure that very little contentious talk will come from our assembled family over a sumptuous table of traditional treats for Thanksgiving — we are all in agreement about Trump’s perfidy and manic decisions. Of course he needs to be impeached and then removed from office by the Senate, forthwith.

The latter ain’t gonna happen, though. We now live in a society where facts themselves are enemies, and ill-willed partisans marshal anger against them. I sometimes imagine that Trumpsters view him the way one might view professional wrestlers — as a fake show that still amazes with its over-the-top, well-rehearsed performance. Some will say we have been dazzled by fantasy for centuries and fact-challenged for quite some time, but I disagree.

Fantasy once had its limited niche in our struggling rational consciousness, while now it is our consciousness. Talking and learning from rational people with different opinions and values keeps us sane. That talk across the political divide has been shut down. I honestly wouldn’t know how to express my worries and remedies for our country to an ardent Trump supporter, though I can imagine a different Thanksgiving dinner where that may have been possible.

There’s always been anti-science know-nothings and religious fanatics, true. But the shift to pervasive crazy talk about our society over informed debate has overtaken us quite quickly as have the effects of climate change. Projecting remedies for global warming out to 2050 is obviously too long an arc for our various eco-fixes. The shift in climate afflicts the world already.

And our ability to curb the worst of political fanaticism may actually take that long — at least a generation or two. And we will have to fix our political system the way we are trying to fix the way we live on the planet — with both radical and incremental changes. The analogy I’m posing here indicates we may need to adapt to our new political realities the way I believe we must to climate change — not just preserving nor restoring but adapting to changed conditions, which is nature’s way. What might that mean? Maybe that can inform the conversation over a problematic national holiday but one officially dedicated to sharing food, friendship and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Robert Chianese
Ventura

 

Nov. 21, 2019

Seniors in mobile home parks

My name is Ralph Trigo and I live in Lemon Wood Mobile Home Park for seniors. I thought this would be affordable, but I was wrong. My rent has gone up about $100 a month plus another $46.50 a month added on to pay for capital expenses. This has been since we were bought out by Sun Communities in 2017.

They do not believe in maintenance, just capital improvements.

These added costs make it difficult for seniors on fixed incomes to pay. No one in this town seems to care. We tried to reach our council person for our ward, and no response. The rent review board is a joke, as they might as well sleep through the meetings. Lastly, the city council does not pay attention to us. Where do we go now?

Ralph Trigo
Ventura

Pause, love, listen

It seems our nation and our world is going through some tumultuous times.

In these days when a Twitter or Facebook posting can result in instantaneous outrage — how do we allow for a pause? In these times when one’s fault or failure can be captured on YouTube (and elsewhere) and replayed again and again on endless loops . . . how do we allow for a pause? It’s clear that in our world demanding instantaneous responses (the more vulgar the better) we could all benefit from a pause.

So
Pause
Love
Listen

it occurs to me,
once we place a label on one another
a label other than brother or sister,
we, to a certain extent, mis-know one another

it occurs to me,
when encountering another being
if all I can see are their faults  (faults as defined by me)
I am blinding myself to that person as they actually are

it occurs to me,
I have the option of adding to the hatred and division in our Nation and in our world today
or
doing my upmost to reflect the recognition that all human life is sacred, without exception or precondition or required viewpoint

it occurs to me,
I have much to learn about reality
and yet I must face my today with much unlearned

it occurs to me,
I am blessed beyond what I can measure
I am thankful for my faults, for I cannot imagine a better teacher
I am thankful for family and friends, for I am not called to address life challenges on my own

it occurs to me
I have learned much in life by listening to others – including those I most disagree with

So
Pause
Love
Listen (all this division and hatred breaks my heart)

John Sanders Jones
Ventura

Nov. 14, 2019 

Port of Hueneme

The Oct. 24 [issue of the] VCReporter cover page shows the port symbolically flexing its industrial muscles, an impressive gesture of economic expansion. And “A port going green” is an indication of their environmental stewardship at the port; but not so green in the adjacent community where they covet property for parking 5k cars. “The Port of Hueneme is building a pathway to zero emissions, but one project puts community at odds,” this is an understatement!  The 34-acre parcel on the corner of Hueneme Road and Perkins is critical for the Oxnard AWPF [Advanced Water Purification Facility] expansion and to serve as buffer zone transition onto the Ormond Beach Restoration Plan reserve.  If the port truly wants to reach zero emissions and its impacts, they would need to stop importing gas-powered cars at best, and not store them adjacent to a nature reserve to protect from pollution impacts!

Let’s practice what we preach and recognize the OBRP efforts and the adjacent property essential for a community “Gateway” project.

Irene Rauschenberger
Oxnard

Voting your environment and not your party

We’ll all get to vote for our environment during the next presidential election! I was afforded that opportunity earlier than most. As one of nine directors sitting on the Ventura Regional Sanitation District (VRSD) Board, I voted not to approve the district’s sizable investment portfolio for this year. Why? It contained “a minor” amount of Exxon-Mobil stock. I reminded our other directors of the similarity between Exxon and Big Tobacco.

I was disappointed that mine was the only “No” vote. We won’t know how much influence divesting of fossil fuel industry stock from major and minor public and private investment portfolios will have. But still we need to try. What we do know is that such efforts, even when they start on a small scale (like mine), tend to inspire more of the same. Hopefully, my example will convince my fellow directors to vote “No” next time.

Bob Nast
Oxnard

Trump supporters

I am sad, incredulous, stunned at those fellow citizens who continue to support Trump! He lies nonstop, denigrates career military and civil servant employees and accuses everyone else of lying while fabricating conspiracy theories. Any innocent person would willingly want their supporters to testify, show requested evidence, including tax filings, etc.

I am especially saddened by the 98 percent of Evangelicals who are staunchly supporting him when his policies and actions are so against their Biblical teachings!

Trump and the GOP are not upholding the Constitution, only their party. They also ran on “draining the swamp”; under Trump and the GOP, the “swamp” has grown tremendously; just look at his inner circle and how many are in prison, indicted, committing perjury and refusing to appear when subpoenaed.

If a president lands in prison, would taxpayers still have to pay for 24/7 Secret Service protection?

Judith A. Beay
Ventura

Nov. 7, 2019

Homelessness and Predatory Landlords

Each night, over 1,650 people are homeless in Ventura County. Homelessness has jumped 28 percent in 2019. Contributing factors were families displaced by the Thomas Fire and the overall scarcity of affordable housing in our county.

Gov. Newsom attempted to do something about the problem of homelessness, and signed a rent control law. The new law only allows landlords to increase rents by 5 percent plus inflation each year until 2030. What a great idea! But it was unforeseeable that this would cause a domino effect, paving the way for greedy landlords to exploit tenants before the Jan. 1 deadline. Landlords are evicting tenants — sometimes for no cause — so rents can be dramatically increased before the new year.

For the past six years, I’ve lived in a small rental house near downtown Ventura in an area referred to as “Off the Avenue.” Until the 1950s this area was “Tortilla Flats.” It is still a multicultural mixture of down-to-earth people. Most of us are renters. Most live paycheck to paycheck. I have one neighbor who works three full-time minimum-wage jobs just to pay rent and feed his family. 

I love my eclectic neighborhood: teachers, artists, laborers, couples with young kids; retired folk.

This house was built in the 1920s. It has rusty pipes, worn wiring and visiting rodents. But this has been my home and I have loved this house with a pride equal to ownership. 

I was surprised when a stranger hand-delivered a 60-day Quit Notice. Another predatory landlord evicted my next-door neighbor just two days prior. And rumor has it that two families over on the next street face the same demise. All over the state, families are facing the financial disaster. Moving is stressful, unsettling and costly.

It was well within the landlord’s right to give notice to evict . . . it just wasn’t very kind. And right before the holiday season makes it especially heartless. And greedy.

I hope we all find affordable housing. I doubt we all will. Some will move in with relatives and friends, while others will stay in the cramped quarters of a parked RV. And unfortunately many will join our large homeless community living down in the nearby Ventura River bottom.

This is all very tragic. Why do we continue to treat each other this way and choose profit over people? What is wrong with humanity?

Nancy Swanson
Ventura