Vol. 13, No. 12 – Mar 11 – Mar 24, 2020 – Opinion/Editorial

∙The Breeze has never received as many negative emails and phone calls regarding any subject (even Trump) as has been sent to us regarding Scientology. Emails that I won’t even print. I have been accused of awful things because of the article and my comments regarding Scientology.

Please understand that I (and the Breeze) are not supporting or recommending Scientology or any other religion. Personally, I will wait to evaluate what type of neighbors they are and not because people tell me how awful they are. Lots of people think all religions are bad, and there are books condemning all religions.

Let’s say I have a new neighbor, let’s call him Charlie, and people tell me that he is an awful person. I won’t pre-judge Charlie, I will evaluate him after a few months and see how he is. If he is a bad neighbor, I will condemn him, if a good neighbor I will be his friend if he brings no harm to me or the community.

As you know, they released hundreds of balloons at their grand opening ceremony. I was there and said to myself, “Holy s—, that was a big mistake.” It was stupid but not the incredible crime that so many are accusing them of.

They don’t advocate the death of the first born (Exodus 12:29 as called for in the Bible), and I have never heard folks getting upset with that.

I know, and have now met, a few Scientologists, and they seem to be very fine people.

Some say that Scientology isn’t a “true” religion, as they are deemed, so they shouldn’t have tax exempt status. I don’t think any religion should be tax exempt, especially the TV preachers who make millions of dollars.

Readers have asked why the city would allow them here?  The city can’t just arbitrarily decide which legal entity can occupy a building if it is zoned for that use. This might work in a dictatorial country, but certainly not in the U.S. (or at least not yet).

They say that they will clean up our beaches and welcome us to use their facilities. Let’s wait to see if that is true, and that they aren’t just going to try to proselytize us.

It was also suggested that a petition be started to require them to remove their signs. They submitted sign designs to the city and complied with the necessary requirements.

Debbie Cregan, the president of the Church of Scientology in Ventura, did apologize to the City Council for the balloon mix-up. “This is not the way we wanted to introduce ourselves to the community,” Cregan said. “We are here to apologize.…we have been doing beach cleanups and starting tomorrow we will be doing daily beach cleanups.”

∙Congratulations to Ventura Assistant Police Chief Darin Schindler who was selected to lead the department as the new chief following the retirement of Chief Ken Corney. I like the fact that a member of the Ventura Police Department was selected. He will do an outstanding job.

∙Congratulations also to Mayor Matt LaVere who has been elected to serve on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. Sorry to see him leave Ventura City Council – he followed in the footsteps of Steve Bennett. District 1 Ventura, the Ojai Valley and northern Oxnard.

Regarding Bennett, who ran for the 37th Assembly District there will two candidates, one Republican from Santa Barbara and one Democrat from Ventura, there will be a November runoff. According to results from the Secretary of State, Cole had 28,234 votes or 32.1% while Bennett had 21,004 votes or 23.9%, neither achieved a required majority to win.

∙The City Council hasn’t decided whether to eliminate the Design Review Committee but voted last year to eliminate the Historic Preservation Committee.

The two committees are each filled by five volunteer members appointed by the City Council. They hold public hearings on some (not all) development proposals. To replace them the city would hire outside firms to help evaluate development projects and many of the decisions would be performed by the Planning Commission, and in some cases the City Council.

Director of Community Development Peter Gilli stated that eliminating the two committees could make the process of approving or denying development proposals more efficient and shorter.

After decades of complaints from business owners and developers about how hard and time-consuming it is to get anything built in Ventura, streamlining the process has always been a top priority of the City Council.

Also, the city plans to consolidate its permit operations into a “one-stop shop”, so a property owner or developer will no longer have to wait sometimes up to 10-15 years to have a project approved. The approval process should not be a way of discouraging construction and development. I am all for simplifying and speeding up the permit process.

∙I’m sorry I just can’t control myself. Making a speech regarding the terrible virus that is killing people everywhere in the world including in the U.S., Trump was wearing his “Keep America Great” re-election red campaign hat. Good grief, what do people throughout the world think? I am, personally very embarrassed.

President Donald Trump sought to lay blame on the Obama administration for slowing down new diagnostic testing, but a Republican senator’s office and a lab association said this is not correct.

An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Obama administration made no such rule change.

Trump used a freewheeling press conference, intended to provide updates on the coronavirus, as an opportunity to attack Democrats, praise his own intelligence, lash out at CNN and spread false and misleading information about the status of the outbreak.

The president went on a rant criticizing Washington state’s governor, Jay Inslee, as a “snake” and saying he disagreed with his vice-president’s complimentary remarks toward the Democrat.

In a moment that some commentators have called one of the most “disturbing” and “frightening” remarks of Trump’s response to the public health crisis, he said he would prefer that cruise ship passengers exposed to the virus be left aboard so that they don’t add to the number of total infections in the US.

“I like the numbers being where they are,” said Trump, who appeared to be explicitly acknowledging his political concerns about the outbreak: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

∙As reported in this issue, Ben Bunji Namba passed away on February 26. He is just another wonderful supporter of the arts in Ventura to pass away in the last few years. Hopefully others will pick up where he, and the other great benefactors, left off.

∙A reader sent me an article regarding carbon dioxide disputing the CNN statement that I quoted in the last issue(Among greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the most significant contributor to global warming). The information he sent came from Range Magazine, Spring 2020, page 57. If you would like to read it http://rangemagazine.com. It is an excerpt from Jim Hollingworth’s new book “Climate Change: A Convenient Truth.”

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