Re-elect Randy Haney to Ojai City Council
Our community is at a critical juncture managing the Ventura River watershed. Circumstances demand a level of understanding of how our watershed works, applied to a level of collaboration among all parties beyond what has been achieved, to date.
Critically important is to have a voice on City Council who understands best practices we should be aspiring to as well as how the various agencies involved need to work together.
By now, it is generally understood that failures in watershed management led to the adjudication litigation. After being initially reticent, the City Council came to recognize that its unique position of being the only party with standing in the adjudication lawsuit not involved as a direct water user or water utility agency gave it a uniquely constructive role in resolving this conflict.
Throughout, Councilmember Randy Haney has been a critically important voice committed to understanding the overall issues involved and steadfastly supporting agency collaboration and effective advocacy to the Court.
He has dedicated himself to understanding how the watershed works from a long-term perspective. He is not subject to simplistic and outright misleading generalizations which many prone to advocacy over analysis have unfortunately and repeatedly demonstrated.
His work was essential for getting major parties into the ongoing mediation process, which is making good progress toward settling the adjudication lawsuit without onerous and dysfunctional involvement from those outside our community who clearly do not have our best interests at heart.
Without the city’s aggressive advocacy, it is doubtful we would even be in this mediation process.
It is important that Councilmember Haney be re-elected to the City Council to continue this important work. We need his voice of experience, knowledge, and integrity to continue as an elected official as we, hopefully, conclude this mediation process successfully and implement those watershed best-management practices needed in in these challenging times.
This intellectually honest approach to all kinds of challenges facing our community has been Randy’s trademark since first taking office. The voters of District 2 will be well served re-electing Randy Haney.
William Weirick — Ojai
— The writer is a city of Ojai councilmember who is not running for re-election in December.
Vote for Andrew Whitman for Ojai City Council
There is only one reason I would consider moving from the real village of Meiners Oaks to the city of Ojai, and that would be to vote for Andrew Whitman.
Russ Baggerly — Meiners Oaks
Philosopher John Austin argues that words are meaningful actors. They do things to their audience — a whole lot in the case of Robin Bernhoft’s Sept. 9 letter, “Republican round-up?” simultaneously prodding contortionist defenses and scathing reaction.
Cover for Bernhoft is provided by claiming “hyperbolic symbolism” for the author’s phrasing. Sure, “hyperbolic,” as in extreme, but his Holocaust reference cannot be summarily dismissed and forgiven for its repulsive ideas and imagery.
Like the original piece, much of the scree from the defenders make use of red-herring claims to avoid confronting the literal claims of Joe Biden’s speech.
Biden’s remarks referred to certain of those among the MAGA followers of the disgraced, twice-impeached telepathic former president (DTITFP) as a threat to democracy.
He did not say all MAGA Republicans, he did not count red hats or target vigilantes or “10 million” MAGA followers.
Let’s leave that sideshow behind. Pointedly, what he called out is the multitude who fail to accept the results of the 2020 election, who would take election of leaders away from popular vote, those who are sympathetic to the notion that the results of an election should not be accepted unless your side wins, and those accepting violence as an acceptable means of determining elections and the power to determine national policy.
Forget MAGA if it helps. Call this troupe anti-democratic Republicans (ADR’s) who are currently under the sway of the grievances of the losing DTITFP and other grievance politicians.
How extensive is this empty-of-facts movement? One-hundred-and-forty-seven Republicans who voted against certifying the election, the head of the Republican Party who labeled Jan. 6 as “legitimate political discourse,” a majority of Republicans who dismiss Biden as the legitimately elected president.
The writer asserts: “Biden’s egregious accusation.” Egregious in the sense of shocking as unfortunately true and demanding self-reflection on those holding conservative political views to take seriously the above factual tenets of anti-democratic Republicans and repudiate, rather than sidestep, the big and little lies that underpin the current swerve of this movement from the tenets of a democratic society.
Michael McMahan — Ojai
Expand visual and performing arts, too
Re: your Sept. 16 article, “Ojai Unified to expand music programs this year”:
I applaud the Ojai Unified School District expansion of the music program. As most everyone knows, our music program is vital in Ojai.
I am writing for the school board’s consideration to expand the other visual and performing arts disciplines in the upper elementary grades.
As school board members know, there is a requirement for a visual and performing arts course at the high school level.
At Nordhoff High School, we have well-established visual and performing arts curriculum pathways. In my experience as a 50-year theatre educator who is involved in educational theatre on the California and national levels, I know that exposing upper elementary students to drama classes even one day a week builds their confidence, communication skills, collaboration tools to create an ensemble with empathy and listening skills, as well as being fun.
We have numerous theatre professionals in Ojai who might want to be involved as a Theatre Artist in Residence. There are two of us right now who are hired by Ventura Charter School to teach fifth- through eighth-graders drama, plus I direct every fifth- and sixth-grader in a youth production with sets, lights, costumes, props, etc.
Also in the Sept. 16 OVN, in the article about the Storytelling Festival, there is a quote: “Brian Bemel, created Performances To Grow On in 1995, to address the lack of arts and performances in public schools.”
With Lin Coleman as producer, the Ojai Art Center Theater offers free Summer Theatre opportunities.
Ojai is a mecca for the arts, so, OUSD school board, please include drama curriculum for upper elementary students.
Gai Laing Jones — Ojai
Suicide hotline 988 will save lives
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a volunteer advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I am calling on my members of Congress to pass legislation to prevent suicides and support crisis care.
One year ago, on Aug. 28, my 20-year-old daughter attempted suicide. I was unaware of how much she was hurting. She jumped out of my car while we were driving through the canyon on the way to the beach. I will always struggle with this part of the story.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline must be sustainably funded so that confidential, voluntary services by trained counselors are accessible. H.R.7116, the 988 Implementation Act, would provide federal funding and guidance to states for 988 crisis services across the nation.
An alternative to 911 for mental health crises, 988 connects callers to Lifeline centers. These centers de-escalate 98% of crisis calls without dispatching emergency services. Well-resourced crisis support systems can connect callers with local resources, including someone to talk to (call centers), someone to respond (mobile crisis teams), and somewhere to go (crisis stabilization centers). We must ensure that every state has the capacity to provide comprehensive crisis response services to help save lives.
For more information, go to afsp.org/988.
Join me in urging Congress to take action to #StopSuicide!
Patricia Lynn Laas — Simi Valley
Thank you, Holy Cross Preschool
I want to say thank you to Holy Cross Preschool and Kids Club for loving our boys through the years! Both our boys, Ryan and Evan, were longtime attendees under the direction of Lida Wachnuik.
Thank you to Ms. Deana, Ms. Allison, Ms. Robin and Mr. Ganelli. We have so many wonderful memories of the staff and kids who attended.
I want to also thank Holy Cross Lutheran Church for their many years of support, too. You will always be a cherished memory for the love and support you gave as we raised our boys.
Carri and Mark Jacobs — Oak View
Herbicides killed trees at park — not drought
Re: your Sept. 16 article, “More trees, more pickleball planned for Soule Park”:
I was disappointed to see that the county government is still pretending that drought was a factor in the death of close to 100 mature trees at Soule Park.
It was confirmed many months ago (and published in the Ojai Valley News) that the improper use of herbicides by the county caused the death of the trees in the park.
That the county continues to downplay this fact, and mention drought at all, is disturbing since the loss of these trees had nothing to do with drought.
It is also somewhat mystifying why the OVN continues to simply quote county officials and does not call out this obfuscation of the truth.
Jan Scow — Ojai
— The writer is a professional arborist.
Looking for relief from rising rent
I live in Ojai Gardens. This week, I received a raise of $193.50. I was shocked. I’m an 87-year-old senior and this was completely unexpected. I’ve lived in this community since 2002. I have worked all my life.
I never got a raise equivalent to the rent charged. The complex is composed of seniors, young families, etc. I don’t know how they’ll make it.
The rents are soaring and no one seems to care except the people who own the property. The raise was allowed under AB1482 in San Francisco. A raise of 5% was allowed with a cost of living of 5%.
There is no place to go except the obvious and that looks good. I have written to everyone. This owner has raised our rent to more than $1,200. The city of Ojai should have some protection for people as far as rents are concerned. I’m not looking for a handout. I’m not from that generation. I am looking for some relief. Can’t something be done?
To the new retirees: Be prepared.
Bernadette Brown — Ojai
What if teachers took a week off?
Re: Brenna Furness’ Sept. 23 letter, “Ojai teachers deserve long-overdue pay raise”:
Ojai Unified School District is administrative-centric.
I view the Sept. 14 school board meeting as humiliating for the teachers and for me as a taxpayer with kids enrolled in our district. Providing raises and new contracts to executive staff is a message of who is important and who is not.
I have never seen an executive receive a raise before the union. In fact, the executives traditionally receive the same increase as the union staff. I hope the teachers’ increase will be the same as the superintendent.
The board cannot approve a union contract without first notifying the Ventura County Office of Education. My advice would be for the teachers not to show up for a week and let the executives explain why the top half is more important than the bottom.
Darris Lange — Ojai