Jan. 14, 2021

The distinct differences between the Black Lives Matter protests and the Stop the Steal protests
One distinct difference between Black Lives Matter events and Stop the Steal events is this:  At Black Lives Matter events, cops beat protesters; at Stop the Steal events, protesters beat cops.
At Black Lives Matter protests, there are legitimate concerns that unarmed people are needlessly killed by cops.  At Stop the Steal protests, there are cops killed intentionally by armed people with no legitimate concerns.
When unarmed crowds march peacefully in the Washington mall to protest injustice, the president reacts by calling them “thugs and terrorists.”  When armed crowds storm historical federal buildings and wreak havoc and destruction, the president proclaims, “We love you. You’re special.”
The president has rendered distinct feelings toward those who seek peaceful means for justice and reform, and for those who seek government overthrow and insurrection by violence; and sadly and incredibly, the latter is championed by this president rather than the former.
When statues of questionable historical value, and which represent slavery and the enemy of a confederacy, are pulled down by our diverse citizenry, our president calls it a “desecration” that “must be stopped.”  When our Capitol building, hundreds of years old and representing our government and our democracy, is desecrated by privileged white people, the president calls it an act of “strength” that must “forever be remembered.”
Those who march with Black Lives Matter to reclaim civil and human rights are called “terrorists” and “Antifa.”  Those who carry tiki torches and guns, and who readily admit they are neo-Nazis and white nationalists, are referred to by this president as, “very fine people.”
There is definitely the distinct difference between how white privileged people are treated by this president, and how diverse peoples of color are treated by this president.
There is also one other distinct difference:  The Stop the Steal movement is led by people with hundreds of years of privilege. And the Black Lives Matter movement is led by people with hundreds of years of bigotry, slavery, brutality and inequality.  And a majority of people, fairly, see this distinct difference play out in real time, as those of color continue to suffer.
Grant Marcus
Biden’s “Unity” inaugural
Biden is making a mistake for his inauguration ceremony, which will be held outside in public view and, I trust, with obvious shields, protections, and troops. But the threats from the militant insurrectionists only increase each day, with their announced plans to surround the Capitol and assault it with weapons to kill legislators. The FBI is also warning about “nationwide armed protests” next week.
We learn the Pentagon has authorized 15,000 National Guardsmen to defend the inauguration, whose theme is “Unity.” I expect we are all beyond irony these days, but what sort of uplifting display of unity will all these fortifications and troops make? To display that things are returning to normal in our country is a lie, a dangerous one, since the insurrectionists continue to view our legitimate government as illegit and criminal. They will try to overthrow it in numerous and ongoing ways.
I’m worried that Biden and the Democrats are setting themselves up for a far greater catastrophe. I’m contacting Sens. Feinstein and Harris and our local legislators to express my worries.
Robert Chianese

Restaurant closures

This last week, two more restaurants permanently closed in Ojai. I work at one thriving restaurant in Ojai and one advantage we have that most don’t is we own the building. Most restaurateurs have as their largest expense, rent.

We are witnessing the collapse of our economy due to a virus with a 99%+ survival rate. Let that sink in.
In the UK, the average age of COVID-19 deaths is 82.4 while the life expectancy in the UK is 81. In the U.S., the age is nearly identical for life expectancy and average age of COVID- 19 deaths 72.
And the man who invented the PCR tests, he has said himself that the numbers cannot be accurate when they’re used the way we’re using the test. Who would you listen to, journalists or a PhD Noble Peace Prize winner who created the test?
Jeff Bellamar
As a  senior I should know already about when a vaccine will be available. I heard in February but we have no idea where, when or who will give the shots. The state of California and the governor should be making it a priority to give the vaccine to the most at risk to die from the virus. They have had a few months to plan as the approval date for the vaccines were anticipated. If the state was doing its job, every senior should have a date, time and location already scheduled. We seniors don’t care about these showcase inoculations of high profile people and politicians, it means nothing to us. Do something California or let’s find people who can get the job done.
Robert W. Coshland

National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Human trafficking impacts between 4-6 million people annually worldwide, 71%  being women and girls. Human
trafficking (HT) is the exploitation of a person for sex or labor through the use of force, fraud or coercion.  It is a human rights crime as it deprives a person of his or her freedom and causes them irrevocable harm – both mentally and physically. Many people believe that this is something that only happens in other places.  However,  California is ranked as one of the top four HT destinations in the United States with our Central Coast  being identified as a natural transit corridor for trafficking.  Trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion dollar industry annually and the second largest criminal enterprise in the world.  Traffickers consider it to be an easy way to make money as it is low risk with a renewal resource.  Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organization which advocates for human rights and gender equality, has been involved in projects and advocacy surrounding this issue since 1995. For HT to end there need to be efforts in awareness and  prevention, protection (police resources and safe houses), prosecution, and policy changes. Our local Soroptomist International  clubs (Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo) have sponsored STOP Human Trafficking  awareness events for 13 years.  Only with the public being educated and aware of this issue is there hope for ending this heinous crime.  For more information go to www.stoptraffickingventuracounty.org. If you need help or see potential abuse call the Human Trafficking Hotline at  1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733. 

Kathy Morgan

Jan. 7, 2021

RE: Unemployment fraud cases

In response to your article in the December 31, 2020 edition of the VCReporter (“Unemployment fraud cases active in the county: EDD failed to fix vulnerabilities” by Kimberly Rivers), as a former employee of the County of Ventura (including the District Attorney’s office) and the State of California and having an unhappy interaction with the IRS, I am of the opinion that Elaine Howe, the California State Auditor, will have an uphill battle trying to convince the EDD of the need to remove peoples’ Social Security numbers from its communications.  The reason why I say this is because these entities represent power and authority and as such are not beyond using coercion in the form of potential identity theft to achieve their aims which I feel are financial with a side of bullying to further ensure that the public continues to comply. Did you know that the IRS will send demand notices ever 6 weeks with your SSN printed twice on each page?  

Julie Schaab