Oct. 29, 2020

Big Greenhouse?
I want to express my concern about the lack of reporting on funding for the campaign and its potential connection to its beneficiaries. $1.7 million dollars have been spent on the Yes on Measure O campaign, the second most out of any VC ballot measure. Per the VC Star, 99 percent of the funding comes from Glass Investments Projects, Inc., a greenhouse patent company. 
What the Star did not report is that, according to a publically accessible trade magazines, Glass Investments Projects is a subsidiary of Houweling’s Tomatoes and its patents have been filed under the name of Casey Houweling, the proprietor of Houweling’s and owner of the 120-acre greenhouse in Camarillo. 
Despite this clear and direct connection that can be backed up by a simple Google search, both Casey Houweling and Jeanette Lombardo, Glass Investments spokeswoman, have denied knowing who would benefit from this measure. The fact that only existing greenhouses can be transformed into pot growing operations means that Houweling’s, which dominates the greenhouse agricultural system in the county, is buying a virtual monopoly on marijuana grow operations at the expense of any other interested party, which will then be left out. They are doing this while they lie in interviews about having no idea what farmers the measure would benefit.
Houweling’s has already developed one of the largest greenhouse pot grow operations in British Columbia, and it can only be assumed that they are doing this here and I find it outrageous that there is no reporting on who is really funding this measure and what its impacts may be in terms of providing a monopoly to the secret architects of this measure. The voters of this county deserve to know who is behind this measure, who is funding it, what their interests are and how they will benefit.
Miguel Wise

Oct. 22, 2020

My Octopus Teacher

Netflix’s explosive new documentary My Octopus Teacher chronicles a complex relationship between a man and the world’s most bizarre animal – an octopus. It further testifies to our highly conflicted relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Most of us treasure our “pets” – dogs, cats, horses. Our allegiance to them transcends that to our own species. If our dog and a Congolese child were competing for scarce funds for life-saving surgery, we know who would live. 

Yet, we torment, kill, and consume other animals that are similar in appearance, intelligence, and ability to suffer. Then, we bristle at East Asians who do the same to animals we consider pets.

We pride ourselves on being intelligent, rational beings. We have gone to the Moon, unraveled and modified genetic codes, and found cures for deadly diseases. Yet we still have not figured out our relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Some of us have. Vegans profess compassion and respect for all sentient beings. Veganism requires no special courses or certifications. Every one of us can become one on our next trip to our supermarket.

Vinnie Castanza

Gruesome Newsom

There are many, many reasons why voters should vote for someone other
that our current governor, Gruesome Newsom.  Here are just a few of the more
significant reasons out of the dozens of reasons:
1.  Dictator Newsom issued a decree, over a year ago, that all cities in
California must, repeat must, build high density housing on every acre of open
space throughout each city.  Low cost housing was the objective, but there is
no low cost housing anywhere in California except for tents, small trailers,
and dog houses!!!  This massive, mandatory building decree has caused all
of the following horrors in our cities:  crowded streets, hundreds of pot holes
in every street, crowded freeways, more pollution, higher taxes, more diseases
and so forth, ad nauseam!!
2.  Forrest fires everywhere:  Why?   NO manned watch towers in
any area the way it was a long time ago!!   So, with no one watching, the
fires get out of control before anyone gets a clue like “Hey that looks like
it might be a fire!  There is a lot of smoke; maybe someone should investigate
to see what it is!!”  Also, there is no real, truly effective fire prevention program
under Newsom’s dictatorship!!
3.  High speed rail costing over a billion dollars:  Nice idea but the cost is far too great and Gruesome Newsom knows it!!  Japan, and European nations, including Russia, have massive rail systems with hundreds of high speed trains, that they built for one 5th  of that cost, for each system!!
4.  Dictating the closure of thousands of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Flu has killed far more people than COVID-19 each year, but that does not matter.  The king has spoken!  Let the peasants obey, or else!!
I could go on and on, with a dozen other reasons, but I have to stop, since
space is limited, in this forum.
John Jay

Endorsements for Weir, Johnson and Schroeder

As the city of Ventura updates its General Plan, the Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation endorse Weir, Johnson and Schroeder for city council.

Christy Weir – District 2 – knows the big issues facing the city. She’s prepared for meetings and asks important issue-clarifying questions. She supports Ventura Land Trust’s (VLT) efforts to acquire land for all to enjoy. She bikes the Ventura River Parkway Trail and understands the need for outdoor recreation. Christy advocates for our urban forest. She holds the line against unsightly, incompatible development to send the message that Ventura demands quality. Christy works hard for all Venturans to protect the environment and our quality of life.

Mike Johnson – District 3 – a 10-year member of the College Area Community Council, Mike diligently studies important city issues. He’s closely followed the water and infrastructure challenges facing the city and will be an informed council member on day one. While another District 3 candidate suggested SOAR protected land be annexed for development, Mike is against sprawl and will be a strong voice on City Council to preserve SOAR land. VCHP endorses Mike for his commitment to the environment; his support for VLT, SOAR, the Ventura River Parkway; and his pragmatic approach to problem-solving.

Joe Schroeder — District 7 – has years of financial-management experience as past President/CEO of three of California’s largest Credit Unions. He brings a wealth of fiscal knowledge that will aid the recovery from the economic hit the City has taken during this pandemic. Joe supports VLT, SOAR, and enhancing the Ventura River Parkway because he understands the need to preserve hillsides and open space for recreational use to improve Ventura’s quality of life. VCHP endorses Joe for his financial expertise and his commitment to environmental and economic justice.

Vote your district’s candidate – Christy Weir, Mike Johnson, Joe Schroeder – their knowledge, integrity and values will help guide Ventura’s future.

Diane Underhill, President
Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation

Don’t Expect Election Results on Election Night
For California, this election will be like no other election before. Voters should not expect all election results to be called or announced on Election Night as in previous elections, and that’s okay.  With more mailed-in ballots a delayed result means the system is working as it should to ensure the integrity of our election process.  Broadcast networks did not begin election night forecasts until the 1970’s.  And they are just that “forecasts,” not results.  The vote is only final when all the votes are counted and certified by the Secretary of State on Dec. 5.
A surge in mailed ballots requires our election officials to adapt their ballot counting practices, and it is important for voters to be patient.  A complete and accurate ballot count is more important than a fast ballot count.  
With the increase of absentee (mailed-in) voting in 2020, it is essential that every vote is counted and every voter’s voice is heard.  Ballots will be accepted and counted until Nov. 20 as long as they are postmarked by Nov 3rd.  We should all prepare for many elections results to be announced several days to weeks after Election Day.
Betsy Patterson
League of Women Voters of Ventura County

Oxnard should not allow Amazon to pave over precious agricultural land

Last week, Oxnard’s Mayor Flynn announced a deal with Amazon allowing them to build a humongous facility off the 101 at Rice Avenue.  Amazon is a company that has been instrumental in killing small businesses throughout the county due to their predatory business practices.  Instead of paving over our open spaces to create huge warehouses for wealthy, large corporations, perhaps we should utilize the structures that already exist to empower community leaders. This change from agricultural to urban land use means additional wild space will be required to convert to farmland to make up for lost food productivity.

Amazon is promising 1,500 jobs, most being $15 minimum warehouse jobs, which don’t provide a living wage. At what cost to the people of Oxnard (and our environment) does this “opportunity” come? More air polluting traffic? Higher city maintenance costs? Wouldn’t investing in educational facilities and industries that attract higher wage jobs be better?

Additionally, a new report showed that 20,000 Amazon front-line workers got COVID between March and September. Warehouse workers alerted the country to terrible working conditions. Amazon wasn’t doing enough to protect them from getting sick. Some improvements were made at first, but soon they went back to endangering workers for profit. 

We implore the City of Oxnard to reconsider this decision. Amazon fulfillment centers do not generate broad-based employment growth (Economic Policy Institute) and have wreaked havoc on the well-being of residents in other California cities.

Democratic Socialists of America – Ventura County


Vote  no on Measure O

I urge voters to vote No on Measure O. Measure O would allow 600 acres of pot grown in greenhouses in the unincorporated county.  Its pungent odor will impact neighbors, greenhouses use tremendous amounts of electricity, and the initiative doesn’t require organic products.  Additionally, our sheriff says it will increase crime, and there is already more pot grown in the state than could ever be consumed locally and it’s illegal to transport it out of state. 
Linda Parks
Ventura County Supervisor

Ballot propositions loaded with misinformation

Everyone out there in voter land needs to be extremely careful when deciding how to vote on any ballot proposition. If you vote based on the TV ads, you are dangerous to yourself and everyone else. Don’t vote on any proposition.   The TV ads are loaded with outright lies, misinformation, distortions, and half-truths. Ads with none of the foregoing are as scare as hens teeth! Statements that are not given under oath and penalty of perjury are nearly worthless!

Proposition 23, in particular, is the worst set of lies and distortions of the entire bunch!!

It is meant to SAVE the lives of kidney dialysis patients and NOT harm them.  Guess who spent millions of dollars to defeat Prop. 23? The companies that profit from treating dialysis patients!!!  They do NOT want to be regulated.  Why?  Because they want to continue their crusade of gross negligence, which leads to the death of many dialysis patients each year!!  

Read the actual propositions, and the full text (if possible). . . . Ignore the TV ads, since there is little truth in any of them, either pro or con.  Try to read the propositions, the analysts’ summaries and the fiscal impact for each one. If you still do not understand the proposition, vote “no” or leave the space blank. Too many people voting in ignorance can drastically weaken our already feeble democracy.

John Jay

District 1 Endorsement: Christy Weir

I am writing in full support of Christy Weir for Ventura City Council, District 2. Ventura is lucky to have the continuity of public service that has been demonstrated by Christy over many, many years. I find her perspective on topics that are important to residents to be balanced and thoughtful — especially in the areas of the environment, the future of Ventura, the diverse needs in this historical city and support for our local businesses.

These city council seats are difficult to fill with others who have not had the history nor the detailed knowledge of providing governance to the city’s constituents. Although some decisions have been difficult to make to please everyone (as evidenced by the removal of the Father Serra statue), I find Christy’s guidance and sensitivity to the indigenous people of Ventura to be refreshing and representative of “the right thing,” something that is greatly needed in this divided country today.

Please join me in District 2 with a vote for Christy Weir!

Barbara Mather, Ph.D. 

Candidate forums available

In an effort to inform voters, the League of Women Voters, Ventura County, conducted candidate forums for local city council, mayoral, state senate and assembly elections as well as the Congressional District 26 election. The League of Women Voters also conducted discussions of the California Ballot propositions and Ojai School Bond K. You can access the video recordings of these events at the following link: https://my.lwv.org/california/ventura-county/candidate-forums

Be an informed voter! And, make a plan to vote!

Wayne Morgan

Oct. 8, 2020

Vote 2020

Come on people, White, Black and in between,
let’s stand and vote together, make a big scene.
Majority Rules and we are they
don’t let them destroy us
let’s get in their way.

Let’s all vote this November. Vote as one,
if we all vote, we will get this thing done.
Let’s change their policy, and make it count.
Vote, Vote, Vote, let’s vote them out.

Tired of the way this country is going.
Well then, let’s get it together.
To vote is our right,
all votes matter
Black, Brown and White.

John Broude

Nicole Wall for VCCCD

Currently most of our eyes and our attention have been on the national stage during this election. We, however, need to be diligent and not overlook the important local elections. One such local election, which will have a lasting affect on the future of our community, is electing a new member to the Ventura Community Colleges Board of Trustees.

Who best to determine life-changing choices for the students, colleges, faculty, staff and communities they serve, than an educator. The board needs an experienced dedicated educator who has lived and knows the challenges facing education and especially Community Colleges at this time.  Nicole Wall is the right person at this critical time. 

What Nicole Wall brings to the board is a commitment to equitable access to quality higher education for all and educational and vocational training to create and sustain economic stability for Ventura County.  Nicole Wall supports culturally responsive pathways for students, to access and succeed in higher education. Nicole Wall is prepared to collaborate with VCCCD stakeholders, community members and organizations to ensure a strong community.

The fact that Nicole has this desire to reach out past the classroom into the community to serve you, your children and your grandchildren, speaks volumes of her character and her willingness to ensure the upmost quality of education.

Nicole Wall is an educator not a politician. Ventura County Community College District needs good stewards; trustees the community can trust . . . Nicole Wall is a candidate we can trust.  

Lauri Caward Moore
30 yr. educator, Ventura College

Your vote, your voice

Your vote, your voice. Make it heard! The November election is rapidly approaching. Voting is your right and your duty but first you must register. If you are not yet registered to vote the deadline to register online is October 19. To register online go to RegisterToVote.ca.gov. The League of Women Voters of Ventura County recommends that all registered voters check their registration status online at VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov. You will want to be sure that your address is current since ballots will be mailed to you, and to select your language preference. Prepare now to make sure your vote is counted!

Kathy Morgan

Joe Ramirez for VCCCD

Joe is superbly qualified for this position given his vast experience and understanding of the importance of local community college education for our students. A long-term resident of Fillmore and graduate of Fillmore High School, Joe attended Moorpark College, UCSB and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  And with extensive experience as an educator and administrator at California Lutheran University, Rio Hondo College, Oxnard College, Los Angeles Mission College, and LA Community College District, Joe understands the merits of community college education.  

Joe also has a passion for helping students, especially those who need extra help and guidance . . . In retirement, Joe works with high school students to ensure that entering students are prepared to take full advantage of community college opportunities.  

Joe will be a strong voice for community college education for all students and families in Area 3.  He will work to upgrade academic opportunities system-wide, including at VCCCD’s Santa Paula Satellite Campus, but he will also advocate for a new and very different community college educational center in the Santa Clara Valley that will attract students from other areas of Ventura County.  Joe understands the need to prepare students not only for advanced academic work, but also to prepare students to join the workforce in Ventura County and to pursue careers in such diverse fields such as “manufacturing, the trades, and healthcare.” 

Joe’s extensive educational and professional experience, deep understanding of community college education, compassion and educational vision is much needed on the Ventura County Community College Board of Trustees.

Marcia Edwards
Santa Paula

I have been a school board member for over 20 years and am currently the Clerk of the Santa Paula Unified school board.  Being a board member takes time and commitment, especially to those who elect you.  That is why I will be voting for Joe Ramirez for VCCCD Trustee District 3.  In 2019, County Superintendent Stan Mantooth made over $300,000 in salary and benefits.  Mr. Mantooth is already a highly paid public employee, yet he believes he has time to represent District 3.  While Mr. Mantooth may have experience, he only has that while representing public schools with taxpayers’ money.  Naturally, Mr. Mantooth has connections with the College Board and Chancellor, but not for reasons an elected official needs or constituents want. District 3 needs someone who will represent ALL students and families.  Joe Ramirez is just that candidate. Mr. Ramirez has vast experience and can represent us without any conflict of interest.   He will not already be “one of the boys” and will be able to represent District 3 fairly.  For too long District 3 has had representatives on the College Board that do not represent District 3, but have continually allowed opportunities, programs and money to go to other districts.   Mr. Ramirez has worked and been active in District 3 and understands the needs and challenges of Community College students, especially those in District 3.  My vote goes to elect Joe Ramirez to help bring to District 3 what our students, families and taxpayers deserve. 

Michelle Kolbeck
Santa Paula

Trump’s narcissism

Trump’s narcissism, his sense of invincibility, has proven, at last ,to be his downfall.  He is not likely to survive the coronavirus, despite, the diagnosis of “Mild Symptoms” because he falls into the category of “most vulnerable” due to his age and obesity.
Trump really believed to be too superior to be affected by the virus, the way he believes himself to be superior to people of color.  Catching the disease proves him to be utterly wrong on both issues. I consider his catching the coronavirus, vindication for the millions around the world, including his fellow Americans who have suffered and died  because of him.
Miguel Espinosa, Jr.

Yes on Prop 15

I’ve seen several letters encouraging people to vote against Prop 15. They say things like: it’s a first step toward repealing all of Prop 13; it’s a giant tax increase for small businesses; these tax increases will be passed on to consumers and raise prices. All these claims are untrue. They are fictions designed by rich corporate opponents to scare you. 

Prop 15 was put on the ballot by a broad coalition of community, faith and labor organizations who joined together to restore funding to schools and critical services.  This bill explicitly protects Prop 13 on residential (including rental) and agricultural properties. For small businesses it creates an exemption from personal property tax and for other businesses it provides a $500,000 exemption. 

We passed Prop 13 in 1978 to prevent retirees on fixed incomes from losing their homes due to rising property taxes.  We did not know that Howard Jarvis and his tax-cutting friends owned many commercial properties that would also benefit handsomely. And since people move and die, and corporations can live forever, residential property tax has skyrocketed from 55 percent to 72 percent of total property tax. 

Residential and commercial properties are fundamentally different. Commercial property is intended for business, which is governed by market forces. Having Prop 13 protections on commercial property is anti-competitive and anti-entrepreneurial; it gives unfair advantage to older businesses and puts an extra burden on newer businesses.  Consumer prices are based on the market, not on property tax. Other states realize this. After California passed Prop 13 many other states copied us, but none of them included commercial property. We are the only one.

Please join the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, California teachers, and other mostly volunteer organizations who want to make our tax system fair.  Vote YES on Prop 15.

Pat Essick

Oct. 1, 2020

The safety of voting from home

The circumstances of this election are like no other in a hundred years.  We need to execute our Constitutional right to vote and stay safe from the COVID-19 virus.  The best way to do that is to vote from home.  To make sure your vote counts:  1) Update/verify your registration, 2) Select the language you want your ballot in (Voterstatus.sos.ca.gov), 3) Track your ballot (WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov), and 4) Vote early.  The League of Women Voters of Ventura County suggests voting by mail by Oct. 20 to make sure your ballot  arrives in time to be counted.  Complete your ballot and deposit it in a drop box, mail it, or deliver it to a voting center.  All of these are safe options.  For more information about the election, visit the Ventura County Elections Division at venturavote.org

Pat Butler

Support for Joe Ramirez

I am supporting Joe Ramirez who is running for District 3 Trustee-Ventura County Community College District. Joe is the right man for the job. His career as student advocate at the college level will serve Ventura County community college students well. Joe was raised in Ventura County, has worked at both Oxnard College and California Lutheran University, and knows the challenges that local students face. Joe has assisted many students in his career and has made a difference in their college success and lives. More evidence of his experience and suitability can be found on his website.www.ramirez4trustee3.com.

Leslie Nichols
Santa Paula

Joe Ramirez is running for Trustee for Ventura County Community College District, Area 3. You will not find a more qualified candidate for this important post. Joe is a seasoned professional who started his education at Moorpark College before transferring to UC Santa Barbara to complete his B.A. Joe received his master’s in education from Harvard, then chose to return to his Ventura County home. 

Joe’s career included both student-centered positions like student advocate and student counselor, as well as administrative posts that give him valuable insight into district operations. Joe served the students of Los Angeles Community College District, California Lutheran University and Ventura County Community College District, including a post at Oxnard College. Joe is committed to student success, and he knows the power of education to transform the lives of students and their families; just listening to students Joe has helped in his career is inspiring! Joe will be a caring and compassionate advocate for the needs of all students, while properly overseeing the administrative functions of the district. 

Vote Joe Ramirez for Community College District Trustee!!

Mary Ann Krause
Santa Paula

De-weaponize our police and empower our communities

Defund: A term that has taken on new meaning these days, gets twisted by those who wish to argue in bad faith to leave a broken system unchanged. But, defunding is about the reallocation of funding, taking duties away from law enforcement that would better be handled by mental health specialists or unarmed community liaisons.  It means transforming our legal system to break the cycle of violence, oppression and despair created centuries ago by our nation’s racist landowners who hired armed men to protect their property and themselves from the perceived violence of people of color and the poor.  It’s about acting on the persistent demand to shift our social, political and economic paradigms to generate lasting peace, prosperity, educational excellence and justice in all our communities. Let’s replace much of our police force with solutions that actually reduce and prevent crime.  

In California we’ve made a step in changing laws by dismantling our old cash bail system which penalized the poor.  Let’s also stop police from arming themselves as if they are going to war with the citizens who pay their salaries, police unions from getting too powerful and city councils from indiscriminately throwing money at police departments. Should a police department really be able to demand double the amount of any other department in a city’s budget, and get it?

What we fund is what we tolerate — racism, exploitation, injustice! Let’s work together to find other means of keeping our communities safe.

Angelo Haynes
Police Oversight Working Group
The Democratic Socialists of America-Ventura County