July 15, 2021

On SoCalGas operations

I am sick of the euphemisms employed by SoCal Gas to minimize the high-risk operations they are carrying out in our city simply so they can continue to use the compressor station at 1555 N Olive Street. 

They refer to the incineration zone at 1555 N Olive Street which would be destroyed if the station were to blow up as an “area of high consequence.” (No, it’s a death zone, which by the way would completely take out the portion of Highway 33 which runs very near the site at Stanley Avenue). 

They call toxic pollutants “constituents,” minimize the massive venting of dangerous gases as “blowdowns,” and a major leak on July 2nd that had dozens and dozens of people calling 911 in a panic was dismissed as an “unplanned venting” rather than admitting it was an actual accidental natural gas leak with disastrous possibilities.

Too many people have been manipulated by this SoCal Gas campaign of deception to believe that the compressor site is safe when it absolutely is NOT SAFE!

SoCal Gas must stop lying to the people, cease their plans to expand that site that presents a clear and very present danger, and shut it down. Nowhere else is such a dangerous operation happening literally across the street from an elementary school (EP Foster). The risk is UNACCEPTABLE, and this for a fuel which we all know must be phased out of use anyway during the climate crisis we are facing. 

Shame on SoCal Gas for thinking that so many lives are expendable, for putting profits ahead of the well-being of the people, and for the disgusting ways they use their euphemisms to avoid admitting to the people of this city how terribly risky their operations are.

Outraged and fed up—
Kari Aist

July 1, 2021

On Elegies

Thanks to Michael Pearce for his article in the VCReporter (“On Exhibit: John Nava and David Kassan’s Elegies at Vita Art Center,” June 24, 2021) describing an exhibit at the Vita Art Center. I’ll go there to see how the exhibit links the rejection of refugees during the Holocaust to the rejection of refugees today. At a Plaza Park rally a couple years ago, the head of a mariachi band that played spoke in favor of immigration, saying, “When the Jews needed to come here from Europe, the county opened its arms, but now, when people need to come from south of the border, we hear the country is closed.” I informed him afterward that, in fact, Jews were turned away from the U.S. and other countries and were murdered in Europe. We say, “Never again,” but rejection of refugees still happens.

David Goldstein

D.C. is the 51st state

Right now, the hundreds of thousands of people living in the District of Columbia are being denied congressional representation.

And this denial is no accident. D.C’s status as a district and its lack of voting power and representation is deeply rooted in racism. After the Civil War, white men in power didn’t want Black men to build power for Black communities by voting, so D.C. — a place where the majority of the residents are people of color — became too much of a threat in their eyes. So Congress stripped D.C. of its ability to self-govern.

The District’s residents couldn’t participate in presidential elections at all until the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961 — just 60 years ago! And it took until 1970 for Congress to give D.C. a delegate in the House of Representatives, but this person doesn’t have the ability to vote on legislation. Now, in 2021, residents still can’t control their own laws or their budgets through the local representatives that they elect.

We can change all of this by making Washington, D.C. the 51st state. It would finally give D.C. long overdue representation in the halls of Congress, allow its residents to self-govern, and begin to unravel the harmful, racist laws of our country’s past and present.

I’m urging my senators to support making D.C. a state as soon as possible.

Marion Rodd

The far right is bullying young trans athletes

Trans children are the latest minority that the far right is targeting – children who stand up to discrimination and hate by participating in school sports. Fascists are targeting trans athletes to stir up people’s fears in order to gain and retain political power. Roughly 35 bills have been introduced by state legislators throughout the US that would limit or prohibit transgender women from competing in women’s athletics, according to the LGBTQ rights group Freedom for All Americans.

Ultra-conservatives say that trans athletes must compete as the sex that’s assigned at birth. They overlook the fact that endocrinology experts say there’s no clearly defined relationship between testosterone and athletic performance.

In regard to privacy, to alleviate the discomfort that all students – transgender and cisgender alike – might experience in locker rooms, school officials can effectively and inexpensively retrofit these settings with privacy screens until permanent structures can be built. 

Compassionate education professionals in Ventura County must focus on the well-being of ALL students.  The priority for athletic coaches is improving people first, athletes second. Winning, who wins, and the prospect of being awarded college scholarships are not the goals. Trans students must be offered the full experience of school life (which includes sports) in order for them to academically succeed and ensure their place in the world.

Ngozi Nnaji, mother of Andraya Yearwood, a Connecticut trans girl, says, “I don’t care if any person thinks that Andraya has an advantage. It’s so much more than that for her. We’re talking about life or death. It scares me, the stats, the numbers, what she’s up against. What my child won’t be is suicidal. What my child won’t be is on drugs. If track gives these young kids an opportunity to be and to live in their truth, how dare we take that away from them? For me, that’s being unfair.”

Allen Chinn
Democratic Socialists of America – Ventura County