JULY 30, 2020

Government conscience
While most of the country is modifying its police departments to conform with new and fair officer behavioral guidelines, Ventura county (Oxnard) pretends it is immune to police racial violence, abuse and murder of innocent individuals.  The fact we disregard racism doesn’t mean it is non-existent.
The murder of Alfonso Limon and the “No Warning Shots” policy implemented by police chief Jeri Williams toward Hispanics was not only ignored by our city council, Williams was congratulated  by Mayor Flynn for her excellent work.
Flynn’s favorite city project was the two gang injunction that targeted Mexican youngsters exclusively.  The injunctions resulted in Mexican kids having police records that would follow them the remainder of their lives.
Flynn denied the same kids an amateur boxing league (a Mexican favorite sport). Boxing has been proven by academicians to improve class attendance, lift grades and form better students over all.  So, why would Flynn oppose this and several other projects that would enhance the status of the Mexican community?
I’ve known about Mayor Flynn’s deep racial bias since he became a member of the city council. His true feelings became obvious as mayor when he refused to consider the minimum wage (many Mexicans take as additional jobs to make ends meet) and would not consider a way to eliminate Mexican Family Dysfunction (MFD), undoubtedly Oxnard’s most serious obstacle.  Eliminating dysfunction would also eliminate gangs and gang violence. 
Flynn opposes these improvements.
Miguel Espinosa, Jr.

July 23, 2020

Social justice

BLM (Black Lives Matter) is a continuation of the peaceful March in Selma 65 years ago. The remarkable life of John Lewis who suffered not only indignities, but  was brutality beaten because he was a black man.

Has anyone with white skin ever been refused a library card, a seat in a restaurant, the use of a public toilet, or a drink from a public water fountain?  Has any white person been lynched for trying to register to vote? 

Sixty-five years later, I ask white skinned people if they have had to wait in line for six, seven, eight or nine hours to vote? Or, having polling places reduced in numbers or accessibility so people of color either cannot access the polls or, again, stand for hours in line. Jim Crow is alive and well in primarily Republican controlled states and cities.

How can anyone with a moral compass, or those who profess to be religious, continue to vote for legislators who continue to treat our fellow citizens with degradation?

Judith A. Beay

A theory

My intense dislike for Donald Trump began when he entered the race for the presidency. My intuition and training in psychology combined to analyze his extreme narcissism and sexual psychopathy as a vast elaborate enterprise…to use his dictatorship of the U.S. to conquer the world.  

His previously established friendship with Putin developed into a plan to conquer the world. Putin’s role was to use his Intelligence background to guarantee a win for Trump and a loss for Hillary.

The current U.S. chaos caused by the virus and the cop killings of blacks is playing into Trump’s plan.

Americans are, simply, too naive to get it.

Miguel Espinosa

July 16, 2020

We must invest in arts education now!

During this uncertain and destabilizing time, I have watched with growing alarm as school districts across LA County propose drastic cuts to arts education programs. While there is no doubt that the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 is forcing leaders to make difficult decisions, I take this opportunity to remind our school board members that California education code legally requires every student to have access to arts education.

Additionally, multiple studies show that arts education increases student engagement, their sense of connection, average daily attendance rates, and thus graduation rates. This cannot be overlooked as distance learning fuels an “engagement crisis” and dropout rates spike across the state. Evidence shows that students with arts ed are:

5x less likely to drop out of school,

4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, and

3x more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree.

This is an issue of basic equity. We know low-income students and students of color face the greatest barriers to the high quality arts instruction they deserve. And, because the creative sector generates one in 10 jobs in the SoCal region, cutting funding for these essential programs will negatively impact an entire generation of students preparing to enter California’s workforce.

If we fail to recognize the importance of arts education, we fail our children. We must invest in the arts programs that will ensure students have the tools they need to thrive. Do not cut arts education funding when our children need it most.

Laura Penrose

JULY 9, 2020

Putting the Lid on COVID-19

A recent study showed how turbulence from a toilet bowl creates a large plume that is potentially infectious to a bathroom’s next visitor. Wearing a face mask when using public restrooms and washing your hands will of course help. However, the most effective way to keep potentially infected aerosols from flying into the air is to simply install lids on public toilets including public schools, parks and golf courses. So far, Soule Park Public Golf Course is taking action to install toilet seat lids. In addition, Oxnard’s mayor, Tim Flynn, passed the request to his public works department for comment. Given Oxnard’s dire budgetary situation, I’m not especially optimistic. Perhaps reducing some of Oxnard’s police and fire departments’ oversized budgets, which account for two-thirds of Oxnard’s total budget, might help? We no kidding need to prioritize expenditures and put the lid on COVID-19.

Bob Nast

Three shorts on COVID, masks and statues
I would like to make three short comments on separate issues:
ON COVID 19:  As a retired health care professional, I
could not believe how our government was absent for 2 months,
during an escalating pandemic.  Then VP Pence appeared to 
tell us what “remarkable progress” we were making, even 
though we had just seen spikes in several states that equaled 
New York.  In California, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 
43 percent and the city of Los Angeles  tallied in one day more cases
than any other STATE in the nation.
     Then Pence said this: “The fact that they are finding more
young Americans who have contracted the Coronavirus is a 
good thing.”  As a healthcare professional, I know the VP 
couldn’t be farther from the truth and here is why:It is some of
our youth that are not as affected by the virus and who are
prone to be asymptomatic carriers of the disease.  In effect,
they are more likely to bring the disease home to their families
and more likely to spread the disease in the community without
knowing it.  And, they are more likely to cause harm to their 
parents and grandparents by doing so.  
     Pence’s statement also encourages the invincibility of youth 
while undermining the seriousness of the disease.  Covid 19 is 
not just a respiratory illness, it is a systemic disease we are just
learning about, and those who get it could be affected by the
disease for the long term.  Youth are also being hospitalized with 
the disease in greater numbers, signifying that the virus may have
mutated into stronger strains.  Let’s not forget young lives are 
affected by CV too, and those young lives matter.
ON MASKS: Trump and Pence have masked this issue as free speech.
But how do masks prevent anyone from free speech?  They don’t unless
you are a Party that can use division for political advantage.  We have
seat belt laws.  We have laws that tell us we must stop at red lights. And
we have laws that say you can’t use your vehicle as a weapon.  You 
shouldn’t be able to use your face and breath as weapons either.  Isn’t 
this why we have no smoking laws for public places?  
    Trump says more testing has caused more cases. No.Testing does not 
cause more cases, viral infections cause more positive tests.  What does
this have to do with masks? A virus finds a host through contact and gets 
that contact through respiration.  Masks will prevent the spread of the virus 
by about 80%, as it entraps our breaths.  Isn’t a mask worth wearing if it 
will prevent you from giving CV to a loved one?  If we saw this virus in the
same way we view HIV, maybe we wouldn’t be so willing to pass it on.
     As masks limit the distance of your respirations, 6 feet of social dis-
tancing protects you further.  South Korea showed us by example how 
effective masking and social distancing can be. South Korea got cases of 
COVID-19 the exact same day we did, and yet just by mandatory masking 
and distancing, testing and tracing, the country never locked down, had only 
300 deaths, and is now reopening.  We can learn from South Korea.
     Businesses can support the cause: “Shirts,Shoes, Masks Required.” 
And while we’re at it, let’s remind our on-duty law enforcement officers 
to enforce California law by practicing the wearing of masks. I’ve been
seeing many ‘officers’ in the public domain making political statements 
without them.  If the law won’t follow the law, who will?  What worries me 
is this is the intent.  So in spite of lawless enforcement, come on Ventura,
ON STATUES:  I am of Jewish ancestry.  Had Germany resurrected
monuments to Hitler or his generals in response to Nuremberg, the
entire world would have been on notice.  Instead, Neo-Nazism is made
illegal in Germany and there are no statues praising the history of
Hitler.  Had my country chosen to resurrect statues of Hitler here in, 
the US, I would have experienced great emotional duress, lived my
life in deep paranoia, and would have serious trouble trusting my 
government’s judgment on anything.
     So I must ask, why are we resurrecting statues honoring slavery 
and slave owners?  Most confederate statues weren’t erected until the 
1960s and early 1970s, as a southern reaction to the Civil Rights Act, the 
Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown vs Board of Education, and on new
congressional bussing laws.  The response by George Wallace, David 
Duke, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Sessions and others (many friends of Trump)
were a good ol’ boys racially charged network intending to reverse racial
equality. So these monuments are not so much about history as they are 
instruments of racism. I can, in part, relate to how African Americans 
must feel when they go by them. 
     In Ventura, we have a statue of Father Serra, who represents a
genocidal leader that destroyed the Chumash Indian population. 
Serra created forced labor camps that became death camps.  He
worked Indians day and night without water, then dumped their bodies
in the walls of his churches in order to support the Mission structure.  
     I wonder if God would approve of a church built on the bones of
genocide?  More importantly, and empathetically, I wonder how Native 
American Indians, Mestizos, and Latin Americans feel today, and if
they can trust our Federal, State, and local politicians who allow people
like ‘Father’ Serra, the Hitler of his day, to be revered and honored with 
statues in his name?  
     Our local officials need to take a good hard look at history, a good 
hard look in the mirror, and then make some changes, putting ‘Father’ 
Serra in a museum that would also document his sordid past.  We 
should no longer honor slave owners, mass murderers, or monuments 
such as Albert Pike or Robert E. Lee, the ‘fathers’ of the KKK. The KKK, 
by the way, is what Hitler used as an archtype for his Holocaust of the 
Jews.  Know History, and stop honoring false gods, like ‘Father’ Serra.
Rather than protect these monuments of dead slave owners, let’s 
protect the lives of all Americans equally.  There is no better time than
a pandemic for a nation to come together on this.
Grant Marcus

RE: Logging in Los Padres National Forest

Thank you for the balanced and informative article about the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed project allowing the felling of old-growth trees in the Los Padres National Forest (“National forest logging plan getting heat from enviro groups”, June 18, 2020).

Besides “ignoring the science” regarding the ineffective wildfire mitigation practice of removing old-growth trees and vegetation in remote areas, the disruption of native habitats, and the worsening of climate change via removal of carbon from the forest, the cutting of large 100+ year old trees also impacts the water supply in our still drought-stricken county.  

The machinery needed to fell 5 foot diameter trees compacts soil and reduces its ability to retain water.  Winter rains result in erosion, increasing the risk of landslides and sediment-filled run-off pouring into our local lakes and reservoirs.  Similarly, we see these disastrous effects when it comes to the widespread timber industry practice of clearcutting.

I encourage readers to voice concerns about the federally funded, fast-tracked Reyes Peak Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project, as well as clearcutting, by submitting comments to the Mt. Pinos Ranger District office and to cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=58012 before August 14, 2020.

Leslie Lange

JULY 2, 2020

Calling for change in Camarillo

On behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens de Camarillo, #3284, the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States, we support the advancement of the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Latino population. 

Last week, we wrote a letter to the Camarillo City Council. We asked to take part in the conversations to promote equity and positive systemic changes. This week, we were met with the utmost disrespect from city councilmember Charlotte Craven. She wrote a published opinion piece calling for letters to be sent to the council to vote against a resolution acknowledging that Black lives matter to our city. Additionally, Councilwoman Craven mischaracterized a request to review the city’s police contract (which should be standard procedure for contracts) to intentionally incite public outrage. 

Craven indicated letters received were “mostly from people who live in the barrio, who depend upon the police.” This is a divisive and racist statement, specifically a microaggression. Craven alludes to Latino people living in some Camarillo “barrios” and the need to over-police Latinos. The fact that Craven failed to recognize her own racial bias against Latinos, is the very reason why it is necessary that the Camarillo City Council support pro-equity resolutions, such as affirming that Black lives matter. We as LULAC District 17 stand united with our Black brothers and sisters and locally we have shown our support by actively participating in the NAACP Ventura County’s George Floyd event and by organizing vigils and protests for racial justice.

Furthermore, we demand Camarillo City Council review its budget and police contract and follow the evidence-based practices of Dr. Goff and the Center for Policing Equity, and thus support what police chiefs around the country support: an equitable financial investment in communities through mental health services, public school investments, and social programs that help communities thrive. 

Martha Martinez-Bravo, MA, PsyD
LULAC de Camarillo #3284, President

So you want to be supervisor?

The people of Oxnard may be in for a major disappointment this November. I am referring to the horrible tragedy that would occur, not only if Trump is reelected, but if either Mayor Tim Flynn or Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez is elected Supervisor of the Fifth District which includes Oxnard.

Just a few years ago, both had an opportunity to turn a tragedy into a dream if only either of them had held their constituents in as high esteem as they do their personal political ambitions.  

That opportunity came with the tragic murder of 21-year-old Alfonso Limon at the hands of Oxnard’s police assassins.

Alfonso was an innocent pedestrian coming home with his younger brother when Oxnard’s cops opened fire on him. A witness said Alfonso held his hands high in the air begging the cops not to kill him.  

My point is, either Tim or Carmen or both had the responsibility to protect their constituents from such brazen violence.  Neither showed their face for fear they would be forced to do what they were elected to do…PROTECT US!

If we look around, today, where police have killed Blacks unnecessarily, we find not only protesters, but their community leaders pitching in to obtain justice. Some communities are dismantling or defunding their police departments. Not Tim or Carmen, they play it safe, away from the needs of the community.

The city of Oxnard has a violent racial history, some of it involving the Ku Klux Klan. In my youth, Oxnard schools and neighborhoods were segregated. Many teachers neglected Mexican students. Those with college potential were ignored, never reaching their potential.

All of the tragic racial unrest that came before, could have been alleviated by leaders who, seeing the opportunity, would lead the community forward to a just and great society. 

Tim and Carmen didn’t come to our aid when they had a great opportunity, what makes you think they will do it in the future?

Miguel Espinosa

Hilarious and terrible

It was hilarious to see Trump’s failure at his rally in Tulsa. After bragging that 100,000 would come to see him, only 6,000 showed up. He was left ranting to an auditorium that was 2/3 empty. Attendees did applaud his biggest triumph — he showed that he can (sometimes) drink a glass of water using just one hand.

It is terrible to see Trump’s failure during the pandemic. His lies and incompetence have led to the deaths of over 100,000 Americans. More die every day from what Trump calls the “kung flu” — a racist phrase his own White House counselor blasted as “highly offensive.” And he is determined to increase American deaths by cutting virus testing. Trump ludicrously says, “If we stopped testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.” And says, of the pandemic, “It’s going away.” His own experts, like Dr. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say Trump is wrong. We read the headlines so we too know that Trump is wrong .

People voted for Trump as someone who would freely speak his mind. Thank God that more and more of those voters now see the truth: Trump has the mind of an incompetent bigot. Those voters are not racists. They join the leaders that Trump hired, civilians and generals, who now openly disparage him and are determined to vote him out. Vote Biden and Blue to send Trump back to bankrupting his own businesses and not killing Americans.

Joe Connett

Offensive, culturally insensitive Junipero Serra photo on VCReporter cover

It’s triggering for many folks, I’m guessing, to have that closeup photo on the cover of the VCReporter of Junipero Serra [June 25, 2020 issue]. People have clearly stated that passing by the statue is painful, revives intergenerational trauma, hurts enough that they want the statue removed from its prominent public placement. Having his image on newsstands all over the County was an inconsiderate decision at best. 

I am troubled by this image and and I don’t even have ancestors and a culture persecuted and murdered by the guy, his church, and its minions. I do have an understanding of the full history, not just the church-sanitized, whitewashed version taught for so long. 

Please put people before profits when you decide on your publications’ front-facing optics.  

Kari Aist