June 25, 2020

“Doctor” Trump’s Medical Advice

Let’s hope the medical community doesn’t listen to our Commander in Chief giving medical advice that increased testing causes more cases of COVID-19. If that premise is true, does increased testing cause more diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc., etc.? A suggestion for “Doctor” Trump: Go back to building hotels and leave the running of our country to educated and rational people.

Judith A. Beay

Single-payer health insurance

The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused historical levels of unemployment. Over 40,000,000 people are unemployed and counting. 

As of May 13, 2020, 27 million of these newly unemployed Americans lost their employee based medical insurance. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that between 25 million and 43 million people could lose their employer-based medical insurance if job losses continue. Most people in the United States get their health coverage through their jobs.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were already 28 million people in the United States without medical insurance. The ranks are rising. The pandemic highlights the need for single-payer health insurance that covers all Americans at all times. If there is any time people need access to healthcare, it is during a global pandemic.

We can’t depend on our jobs to receive our healthcare. People who purchase individual insurance plans struggle with medical costs due to exorbitant premiums, large co-pays, high deductibles and expensive medications. Now more than ever, we need a single-payer system that guarantees healthcare for all. Many countries like Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the UK have single-payer systems that cost far less and perform far better than our system in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and many other measures.

The bulk of our medical dollars goes to pay insurance company CEOs, administrators and drug companies. We would have much better bargaining power with drug companies if there were a single-payer system. Lack of health care for all further separates the haves from the have nots, keeping the poor even more disadvantaged.

The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (HR-6906/S-3790) enables Medicare to cover all Americans who lack health insurance during the pandemic until a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available. Please contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Julia Brownley and encourage them to add their support. Senator Kamala Harris is one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

Ultimately, we need Medicare for all. All Americans should be guaranteed access to medical care at all times.

Lynn Rockney, MD 
Physicians for Progress Ventura County (representing 50+ local physicians)

June 18, 2020

Lack of social distancing at police checkpoints

We are in the middle of a pandemic, where world health authorities are urging and mandating people to limit their exposure by wearing masks and maintain social distancing. On Friday evening, June 12, while driving home through Camarillo, I and hundreds if not thousands of others were forced through a Ventura County/Camarillo Sheriff/Police License/DUI checkpoint, where we were required to hand over our drivers licenses to unmasked officers only two or three feet distant. Some drivers like myself, with a recently expired license (note DMV offices had been closed for months), were told to get out of their vehicles and sit while many unprotected police officers milled around within two or three feet, handling our personal possessions (car keys and documents) and talking loudly and close-up over the traffic din. During this close-up interrogation, my car was driven by another unprotected police officer to a parking spot up the road. I was forced to sit in this situation for about 25 minutes until I was released. 

Who on earth is responsible for planning and executing a police checkpoint at this time, when citizens are reminded daily to stay at home and avoid contact with others? I personally have been staying home, with the exception of a few errands, avoiding contact with the public and wearing protection if exposed. I was traumatized by my experience during this police checkpoint. When I asked several officers why they were not wearing masks at such close proximity to citizens forced to engage with them, they all responded that it was not a requirement. 

With an eye toward shedding more light on this extraordinary use of police in this time of pandemic, I am pursuing both a public investigation and publicizing a dangerous abuse of policing power, which involuntarily exposed untold numbers of citizens to potential danger. This should not have happened. 

Oliver McCann

BLM and Ventura’s military

As the BLM protests continue, it is amazing to see America’s military leaders rise in opposition to President Donald Trump. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper declared his opposition to Trump’s plan to send the U.S. military to quell protests. Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Army four-star General Colin Powell said that he was “proud” to hear other high-ranking officials speak out against Trump and to see protesters taking a stand against his administration. Retired Secretary of Defense and U.S. Marine Corps four-star General James Mattis said, “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’ ”

Trump’s only response to our military leaders is schoolyard name-calling. That is just his latest mockery of the U.S. military. Trump has never respected our troops. After dodging the draft because of “bone spurs,” he had the gall to say that his getting venereal diseases was equivalent to the Purple Hearts our warriors received in recognition of the wounds they got defending America. He jeered at our prisoners of war. He jeered at our Gold Star parents.

As Mattis said, “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” The military holds him in disgust. How can we be best defended from our enemies abroad when our military doesn’t trust or believe the dishonest commander in chief? 

Thank God patriotic Americans revere and respect our troops and consider Trump and his scorn of our military just as bad as those who spit upon our troops returning from Vietnam. Every day more and more voters who thought Trump was a breath of fresh air realize that he is nothing but a lying, incompetent, would-be dictator and the enemy of our troops.

Joseph A. Connett

 June 11, 2020

Taking a Knee

Taking a knee is, and has always been, a sign of respect. It morphed into something else, however, on September 1, 2016, the day Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the National Anthem at a preseason NFL game.

Kaepernick’s kneeling was meant to be a symbolic and peaceful way to protest racial injustice in America. Some understood and lauded the reasoning behind Kaepernick’s peaceful protest. Others did not, including me, in the beginning.

What I failed to do on that day three and a half years ago was to separate the cause of the protests from what I perceived as the “un-American” method of protest. And even worse, what I failed to realize was that Kaepernick’s method of protest was a long-held sign of respect, deference and vulnerability.

My husband kneeled when he proposed marriage. The army officer knelt when he handed us the flag which had been folded in honor of our Dad, a U.S. Army Veteran, at his funeral. When speaking to a child, one often kneels to ensure they are on the same level. High school football teams take a knee when ask by their coaches to do so. As a child, my parents knelt with me at bedtime during our prayer.

Unfortunately, the sight of an NFL player kneeling before an American flag so enraged White America that we couldn’t see, nor did we seek to understand, the underlying meaning nor the peaceful and respectful way in which Kaepernick decided to make his voice heard.

How did Kaepernick come up with the idea of kneeling as a way to protest racial injustice? He solicited the advice of a former Army Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer. Boyer advised Kaepernick that taking a knee as opposed to sitting down during the national anthem was a sign of respect and an appropriate way to peacefully protest.

The idea of kneeling during the anthem came from and was applauded by a military veteran, but enraged much of white America as we denounced, vehemently opposed and threatened Kaepernick for his “lack of patriotism and disgusting display of un-American activity.”  Think about the irony!

Colin Kaepernick, I will kneel alongside you ANY day! 

Stacy Miller
Oxnard, CA

Why aren’t nail salons open?

I am increasingly frustrated with the governor’s seemingly arbitrary decrees on the reopening plan. I say arbitrary because I have never read a reason for the exclusion of these services. Nail salons are still not included in the latest reopening plan. Why not? Barbers are open, hair salons are open, now gyms and other businesses and services are opening this Friday. WHY NOT NAIL SALONS? Even before the COVID-19 lockdown, at the nail salon I patronize in Santa Paula, its operators wore masks and gloves when providing services, seats and tubs for pedicures were cleaned and relined after each patron. Instruments were sterilized and packed for one use with one patron. SO WHY AREN’T NAIL SALONS BEING ALLOWED TO REOPEN? I have been a patron of nail salons for many years because my toes develop severe ingrown nails, which is very painful and restricts active mobility. Furthermore, people with diabetes also regularly use nail salons for pedicures. So again, WHY AREN’T NAIL SALONS OPEN?

Cynthia Mathieu
Santa Paula

June 4, 2020

George Floyd protests

My condolences to the family of George Floyd.  Sadly, George Floyd’s death and the resulting aftermath is just the most recent horrific event of this type we have witnessed.  We have a responsibility to assure that everyone receives equal treatment under our country’s laws.  We have the right to demonstrate under our Constitution to show our support for this.  However, it is unfortunate that some are using peaceful demonstrations to loot and that is not helping the cause. 

I believe we need to support our minority communities with equal education, jobs, housing and other social and economic opportunities.  Speaking out in a united peaceful voice is the way to support each other, not lawless vandalism and looting.

We need to safeguard all our residents and their constitutional rights by also supporting our public safety officials who understand that without the support of the communities they protect, they become ineffective. Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States must re-evaluate hiring, training and disciplinary procedures to assure these types of events are not repeated.  Government must have the support of the people to be effective.

This is a difficult time, especially with the coronavirus pandemic.  COVID-19 is not under control and we still have much to do before there are vaccines or treatments for this illness. Consequently, I am asking that we support our county officials, especially in Oxnard.

Our Constitution allows us as citizens more opportunities to effect change than any other country in the world.  We are able to voice an opinion, assemble to demonstrate and, most importantly, we decide who will represent us in government.  I am also asking all our residents of all nationalities to please vote this November to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be heard and treated fairly. 

Finally, I am asking all residents to please follow the guidelines set forth for your protection from the coronavirus, especially during these trying times.

John Zaragoza
Ventura County Supervisor, District 5