Category Archives: Mailbox

Vol. 14, No. 25 – Sept 8 – Sept 21, 2021 – Mailbox

Hello Sheldon,

I follow your column each week but was saddened to read your insensitivity when you commented on Phil Valentine’s death with ” At least he won’t have a heart attack or paralysis.” I thought we were above that, that’s what they do, put down others, not us. This saddened me.
Hope your day is better.
Each new day is an opportunity to think better.

H. Olson

Looking back at it I completely agree with you it was insensitive. I’ll try to do better.


Just thinking about the two little ——— who burned up the school: I wonder if it would be possible to put them to work with the crew rebuilding it? Maybe a few months of slave labor would give them a fresh perspective (I believe they’d have to be paid, but the money could go into a victim’s relief fund). They’d actually learn a trade, too. Or they’d get hurt on the job and sue the city for millions. What do I know?

Alfred Lewis

Dear Ventura County Elections Division:

It is very frustrating to discover that the Mail-in Recall ballot for Governor is folded in half when you get it through the mail, and that the NO bubble is below the fold so you do not see it until you open the ballot all the way. This favors the YES bubble.

I have also been told by friends that when you order a replacement ballot, the YES and NO bubbles are both visible at the same time.

This puts the integrity of the election for me out of bounds. I call for a new statewide recall ballot with equal visibility and access to YES and NO positions.

Robert Chianese

Ventura, CA


While waiting in line at the pharmacy for my medications, a number of thoughts came to me. I wonder if others have had similar thoughts. As a Type II diabetic its hard for me to find things to eat on the menu of most restaurants. With more and more people coming down with Diabetes II Maybe someone should make a restaurant that deals with low or no sugar dishes–with disserts what our requirements permit. I must admit I get rather tired of salads all the time.

There are enough people with this condition to make it a going concern. Such a business my also cater to dieters as well as those of us with restrictions.

Richard Senate

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Anywhere is walking distance if you’ve got the time.
~ Steven Wright

Vol. 14, No. 24 – Aug 25 – Sept 7, 2021 – Mailbox


San Buenaventura could run out of water. Really. We have only local supplies to rely on and they are very low and dependent on fall and winter rains (in 2021-22) for real re-supply. We need lots of rain to fill our lake, river, streams and aquifers.Will they come? If you think this is just a severe drought, you might think so. If you think climate change has shifted water and air currents in new, possibly permanent directions, steering rain away from us, then no.


As we fret over the size and height and the number of new housing units in our city, we need to ask where will the water come from to supply these new residents? We are told the new buildings are more efficient users of water, but what water? Obviously water we existing residents depend on. We are soon going to feel the squeeze of new water restrictions, based on diminishing local supplies and the impact of thousands of new local residents in the new housing buildings.  

How do we get the public and our City Council and Planning Commission and staff members and local elected to stop developing new housing until we have adequate water to support it and keep existing residents supplied with what we need? Our slow or stubborn response to these environmental realities could hurt us locally and globally.

We must petition our local government to develop only what we have water to support, based not on historical models but new environmental realities facing us every day.

Bob Chianese


On the topic of the feral cat problem throughout Ventura County: Over the past 20 years I have had many discussions with Ventura County Animal Regulation and yet the problem continues. I have written numerous letters to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on this issue, as have others that are very involved with this effort.

Most recently, I was informed that the feral cat problem was (finally) going to be discussed with the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and Animal Regulation on August 12, 2021. It has now been postponed until November 2021.

While I fully appreciate that there are many issues facing our civic leaders, the continued lack of discussion, engagement or acknowledgement to those who continue to express concern is troubling. We cannot, as good citizens, continue to ignore this massive problem with the hope that ‘someone else’ will take care of it or worse yet, that it will simply go away. We can no longer afford magical thinking. Solutions must be explored that enhance the ability of Animal Regulation to assist more broadly and actively where feral cats are concerned. Also with Animal Regulation, we must collaboratively increase opportunities for feral spay and neuter surgeries.

As responsible citizens, community members and human beings, we must be the voice, the caretakers, the stewards and the advocates for animal welfare.

My second issue is people come to the SPAN Thrift Store on weekends to find a place to euthanize an animal when it is an emergency situation, i.e., hit by car, seizures, etc. and so far the only answer I can help with is go to their vet or VSMG, which runs about $500. Ventura County Animal Regulation has licensed vet even in the daytime on weekends to do this. I feel this is wrong.

Valerie Bereman

SPAN Thrift Store

Dear Mr. Editor (Sheldon)

I agree the city parking lots can be a horrible filthy mess.  Maybe they could get the city owned Street Sweepers to brush by the parking lots once a week.

Which parking lot were you reviewing?  We have a lot along the shoreline. THE CONCRETE MULTI-STORY ONE NEXT TO ALOHA.

Along with Ancient Aliens and Spinach you could add Broccoli, Grits, Collard Greens, Mustard greens, Turnip greens, Poke Sallet, Corn Pone, and anything that crawls up out of the mud and looks like a tiny Lobster.  

I look at the Aliens from a different perspective.  They left thus junk here because they didn’t want in their world.  As for Popeye, he didn’t look much like an Earthling before or after Spinach.  Olive Oyl and Bluto could have been Disney character before Micky Mouse.

 Regarding newspapers, it went on to say; “Especially notable is a loss of reporting in smaller towns, suburbs and real areas. Leaving thousands of American Communities with no local coverage.”  A way that the government might help the failing news industry is by way of a bill that has bipartisan support in Congress.” 

This goes to show that once in a “Blue Moon” Congress can agree on some things.  (PS You’re right we don’t have a Blue Moon this month, but it’s coming someday!).

 “This country has, for whatever reason, also refused to produce the network routers.”


For a moment I thought you were going all the way back to Al Gore, but he was only a wannabe President.

Michael Gordon

He only is happy as well as great who needs neither to obey
nor command in order to be something.
~ Johann Goethe


Vol. 14, No. 23 – Aug 11 – Aug 24, 2021 – Mailbox


Do we really need 6 day a week service? we get real mail maybe 3 times per week. 1 of those days are the ads. Maybe we could save money and have 4 day a week delivery.

Keep cost of postage down.

Ralph Trigo
Lemonwood MPH


Thank you for your photo and heading of an empty tree well on a Ventura city sidewalk in your last edition of the Breeze. I agree, the city needs many trees planted and I am concerned there is no future plan to get this organized and completed. 

I hope someone can educate the public on a plan of action to include volunteers to water trees, what type of trees will be planted for specific locations and a map showing where the trees will be planted next. 

Organizing, fund raising and volunteers are needed to get this plan of action going. Attached are photos of an empty sidewalk tree well and median divider on Telephone Road that has clearly become an eye sore of the City. 

Marsha Moreland

Working Physician turns 100

Here are a couple of comments on the June 15th Ventura Breeze article “Working physician turns 100 on June 9th “ written by Mohammed Hasan:

Lewis Walton, Marina del Rey

Beautifully written, Mohammed, and a fine tribute to Dr. Canton.  My wife, also a physician, devoted much of her life to community health education, trying to lessen the risk of heart disease. She had worked on the open heart surgery team in Bakersfield.  I am glad you were able to honor Dr. Canton this way.

Dr. Tim Cannon, UCLA Health, Ventura

Wonderful tribute to a living legend, thank you for writing it and forwarding it to me. Best,”

Editor’s note:

Dr. Canton is author’s longtime friend and neighbor. Hasan offers free community classes on Longevity with good health. Dr. Canton has been a guest speaker at the longevity class a few times. You can reach Hasan at or (805) 218-5574.

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Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




Vol. 14, No. 22 – July 28 – Aug 10, 2021 – Mailbox

The Ocean Hears

View the Dawn; it overlooks a sunrise,
A visible song; is nature’s voice.

Our tide hastens a full moon,
A Pacific sign; tomorrow’s fog is near.

Seagulls build their home on a pier,
The silent hint; they soar beneath.

Sunset longs to give a Ventura morning,
And Grant the Dawn to chorus the day.

Can anyone silence the ocean?

By Jeff Russell

I attended the meeting July 10, 2021 at Mission Plaza Park with Kevin Clerici. 

Here is my take on the plans, first the issue, then my solution:

1.  Straighten the sidewalk for better access to the Museum.  The current sidewalk has an area between the planters for the 2 westernmost Coral Trees that is diverted toward the park (away from Main Street) and then back again.  In the diversion area are agapanthus plants and sod.

The sidewalk could be made straight very simply by paving over some of the agapanthus and sod.

2.  Need for extra parking along Main Street.  There is currently a grassy section that continues from the aforementioned diversion to Main Street.

Remove the sod.  Build a curb at the sidewalk edge, put in parking places where the grassy area is currently.

3.  The 3 existing planters for the healthy Coral Trees and the perfect “rolling hill” from the sidewalk down into the park should be left intact.  Every person with a young child will attest to the perfection of the “rolling hill.” Also it is an attraction and it adds to the interest of an otherwise relatively flat park.

4.  The easternmost planter is holding the stump of a Coral Tree.  It sits about 4 feet above the ground level of the park.  An inviting entrance to the park from the Mission is needed.

If the easternmost planter and the 4 palm trees and a few other bushes were removed, it would be a relatively simple matter to level that area, ending at the planter of the easternmost living Coral Tree.  This would greatly expand the level area in front of the Mission and have the feel of a small town square.

5.  If you want to encourage use of the park, plant at least a couple more shade trees in the park.  The few areas with shade around the park are in constant use.  The huge fig tree is a wonder, but very uncomfortable to sit beneath.  There is currently very little shade in the park.

6.  We must think long term.  There are Coral Trees in Santa Barbara that are almost 300 years old.  These 3 Coral Trees on Main Street are not even close to the end of their natural lives.  The key issue here is maintenance.  The planters must be maintained.  The trimming and watering issues are maintenance issues.

7. Homeless people should not be an issue.  Homeless people are everywhere and this issue should be addressed at the root of the problem (our federal tax structure and government spending.)  The Ventura Partners are doing a good job with the homeless and the restrooms.

I believe everyone in attendance on Saturday agreed with most of these ideas.  In  fact it was unanimous that the existing Coral Trees remain intact.  We all agree it would be a travesty to remove these beautiful trees.


Mary Volpe


It is difficult to keep quiet if you have nothing to say.
~ Malcolm Margolin

Vol. 14, No. 21 – July 14 – July 27, 2021 – Mailbox

To opinions

In the El Jardin courtyard on Main street near California street there was a 100 year old Fiddle leaf fig tree, Ficus Lyrata. Usually these are house plants. This bad boy was at least 40 ft tall and in the sun. Ficus trees are notorious for surface roots and this guy was right up against the building, I’m sure that’s why it’s gone, but gosh a hundred years?

John Gleason

Let me get straight to the point.  I miss living in Ventura
By Beverly Russell

I want to come back.  I have lived all over the world, New York, Chicago, London, Paris,
San Miguel de Allende, Mumbai, Sydney, Australia, Hong Kong.

So why am I telling you this. The bottom line is rents have gone sky high in my favorite community – so I am looking to share a house or rent something small and reasonably priced possibly in a private home. My references are impeccable, Check out my website Beverly and other sources, Barnes

I have been awarded two honorary doctorate degrees in fine arts from Parsons School and Kendall College for writing articles and books about architecture and design and also had the honor of receiving the most notable recognition by Mayor Koch of New York – Beverly Russell Day was designated August 26, 1986. This academic status led me to invitations from several colleges, I am an OLLI teacher at CSU Channel Islands.

Since then, I have written -a variety of 20 books, the latest works are 4 Maisie & Billy stories written during the Covid lockdown of 12 months.

What am I looking to recapture in irresistible Ventura?  Coming from a smogsville illiterate desert, I long to riffle through the books on the shelves at the Ventura Public Library, where the intelligent librarians introduced me to several exemplary fiction authors unknown to me then, Ruth Rendell, Charles Finch to name just a few. The library encouraged fund-raising and I was more than happy to pitch in.

The Ventura Art Museum took up my offer as a volunteer and fund raiser and in a day or so after brief but necessary training I was assigned to the front desk two or three times a week. Was it my British Accent that got me this prestigious job?  Well my gratitude to those who picked up on the value of the Alistair Cooke connection.

The official tourist brochure accurately describes Ventura  as a place of an artistic culture and enduring history, that checks stress and  pretense at the door.  The Rubicon Theater is a pivotal arena for artistic diversity, see www And there is more…the harbor, fishing, the beach, Channel Islands, the scenic hikes, the Botanical Gardens, the Pier, the annual Music Festival which draws participants from international venues. No exaggeration to say Ventura is a privileged locale.

And thank my lucky stars (I was born a Sagittarius traveler) I am retreating to my true destination San Buenaventura Ventura. where the benevolent wind is at my back.

There is no security in life, only opportunity.
~ Mark Twain

Vol. 14, No. 20 – June 30 – July 13, 2021 – Mailbox


The horrendous collapse of the condo tower in Miami, with over 150 people missing at this point is a modern tragedy. It is impossible to imagine the pain and suffering of the victims and the terror of those who wait to hear if any more can be found alive in the rubble.

But a tragedy is not an accident, nor an uncaused calamity. Scientists are now starting to claim that sea level rise is the culprit, which in turn is caused by human actions. The whole Florida coast in this area is subject to weakening and sinking from sea water intrusion.

There are sure to be more such reports in the near future. However this is not new news, since Trump’s Mar a Lago is also vulnerable to sea level rise, with the further contributing factor that Trump canceled Obama measures to fight sea level rise along the Florida coast.

Painful ironies never stop these days, and Trump is frequently the off-screen perpetrator.


Robert Chianese, Ph.D., Emeritus Prof. English, CSU Northridge
Past President Amer Assoc for Advance of Science Pacific Div
Fulbright Senior Specialist, columnist American Scientist magazine

to opinions

Cars on Main and California Streets

Please keep them off as the air is cleaner now and like cities and towns in the rest of the world we now have a great communal space and the merchants I talk to like it also.

Michael Salisbury

Dear Ventura Breeze:

In the June 2-15 2021 issue, page 17, the ‘Tree Town’ inset noted the recent planting of 8 Honey Locust trees, mentioning “Honeylocust canopy trees line Main Street from downtown to Five Points…”.  This is incorrect.  The vast majority of street trees along E. Main Street are Queen Palms (#207) and Jacarandas (#133) according to the 2020 City Tree Master Tree Plan, Appendix B Theme Street Tree Well Replanting (pg24/107).  In fact, Queen Palms represent almost 5% of all Ventura street trees.

Oddly, the popular and attractive Queen Palm is absent from the 2019 City of Ventura Recommended Tree List.

Also strange is that even though Ventura has its own city Fire Department and an Urban Forestry Program, somehow the 2020 City Tree Master Tree Plan incorporates the Ventura County Fire Department Fire Hazard Reduction Program, a document which is ill-suited for determining appropriate trees along urban corridors.

Overall, it seems that the future of Ventura shall be without palms, which is a shame given their instant associate with beaches, sun, and fun, which really is Ventura in a nutshell.

Lucien Belmont

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement
~ Jack Rosenbaum

Vol. 14, No. 19 – June 16 – June 29, 2021 – Mailbox

Dear Sheldon,

Does anyone like gas-powered leaf blowers? From neighborhoods and business complexes, to parks and schools, it’s impossible to escape their raucous presence. They are mega polluters which spew smog forming compounds, such as ozone and carbon monoxide into the air. What’s more, these machines can generate 115 decibels of sound, which can cause hearing loss and psychological stress.  

To improve air quality and reduce noise pollution, homeowners and landscapers should switch to battery electric blowers. They’re zero emission and about half as noisy. There are models that can last up to 45 minutes on a charge, and the batteries are interchangeable with other lawn equipment of the same brand. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have cleaner air and quieter communities? We can. All it takes is ditching the gas blower and going electric.

Kristen Kessler Ventura

But the still “spew smog forming compounds.”

Crawl of our Ocean
By Jeff Russell

Winds that gust a wave goodbye,
Are watchful out to sea,
Misty waters with a sunny slide,
The crawl beneath the tide.

Swells retreat into warm horizons,
Deposit new life on Pacific shores,
They are the access of natures journey,
The sands of a gentle pull home.

Ventura returns a living tide.

Dear Editor:

As a person living with metastatic breast cancer, the June 15 COVID-19 restrictions being lifted makes me rather nervous.  From all outward appearances I look just like everyone else.  With my hair and makeup done, my prosthetics on and my scars covered I could even pass for a healthy person most days.  On the inside are where the real health issues lie.  What healthy people don’t understand are the worries I live with on a daily basis.  I worry about being immunocompromised from treatment, about not knowing who has been vaccinated and who has not, about being in close proximity to others outside of my germ family.  I worry that my lung metastasis could cause a more severe case of COVID-19.

Astra-Zeneca, the manufacturer of the anti-cancer drug I take, has a nurse helpline.  Shortly after the vaccine was authorized for emergency use I called that nurse helpline to inquire about the vaccine and any known side effects or interactions with my treatment.  Their answer, “We have zero information regarding that.”  I asked when they would have that kind of information.  Her answer again, “We have zero information regarding that.”

There are still so many unknowns with this virus, even the drug manufacturers don’t have enough data.  I plan to continue to wear my mask inside and in situations where social distancing isn’t possible until I feel comfortable going without.  I’m thinking I should start a movement for the immunocompromised to wear a special ribbon or something on their mask that lets others know we are wearing masks to express we have a condition which may not be visible on the outside and to respect our personal space.

The research is now showing that the vaccinated immunocompromised may not be as protected from the virus and may not develop antibodies.  So if you see me out in my mask with a ribbon tied to it, it will be your social cue to give me some space.  For now my mask will continue to be my security blanket and hopefully a reminder to others, especially to those who are healthy, that not all disabilities are visible.  As Germany Kent says, “Be kind.  We never know what people are going through.  Give grace and mercy because one day your circumstance could change and you may need it.”

Be well,
Marissa Holzer

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
~ Mother Teresa

Vol. 14, No. 18 – June 2 – June 15, 2021 – Mailbox

A response from a thank you sent to a donor. Printed with her approval.

You are very welcome.  I have been enjoying “The Breeze” for years. 

You always list the Audubon Field trips and other community events.  Actually, you are the reason that I became a birder.  Newly married, I moved up here from Culver City to be with my husband, saw the listing of the lectures and field trips welcoming beginners and said to John, “This sounds like an interesting lecture.  Let’s go!”  John, “I’ve been a VAS member for 17 years.”  Estelle, “great!  You can teach me all of the birds!!!”  So, we both started from scratch knowing only mallards and blue jays which are really scrub jays and years later now are “Beginning Intermediate” birders.  John Connor is my husband and he also sent money. 

I also love the Harbor Police section.

Thank you again.
Estelle Ichino

Mystery of Ventura’s Tide

The pull of our tide will invite you in,
In hopes of experiencing a Ventura memory.

View the Dawn in search of Pacific treasure,
Hinting to her, you are a swell of mystery.

She’s a secret pier that prolongs your stay,
Inviting your attention to liquid sunsets.

We are ocean waters of scenic moments,
A delightful way to discover California.

by Jeff Russell



It is important to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.
~ Stephen A. Kallis

Vol. 14, No. 17 – May 19 – June 1, 2021- Mailbox

To the Editor:

 Mr. Editor, I must take issue to your statement found within the Opinion/Editorial section of your recent issue (May 5) under the sub-part “Georgia’s new sweeping elections law”.

 In part you wrote: “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector,”.

 I have been a native resident of California since 1943; with only a short vacation of 10-years in East Texas.  From all that time it has been an election violation in California to have any voting campaigning or solicitations within several hundred feet of a polling place.  The offer of food or drink would come under the same law if any campaign material (buttons, badges) were worn by the person offering food or water.

 From watching, reading, and listening to various news reporting organizations it appears the state of Georgia is trying very hard to get in line with California. California, which has led the way in National issues for decades.

 Michael Gordon

Michael: Just to clarity I just quoted Georgia law I didn’t write it.


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You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough
Mae West

Vol. 14, No. 15 – April 21 – May 4, 2021 – Mailbox


I think that Governor Newsom has done a great job dealing with the pandemic and with the expansion of voting rights, among other things, but his latest call to re-open the state seems suspect at best.  I am hoping that he is doing this in response to the advice of scientists, though I have read nothing to indicate this.

Instead, I read about the circus the GOP is putting together in a doomed effort to recall him.
I hope he knows that the clowns running this circus will never succeed and I hope that his call to re-open the state is not a knee jerk reaction to it.  I know everyone is hurting because of the pandemic but I think it is still too early to get back to normal simply because there is no “normal” anymore and we may never be able to get back to our lives as they were.  A world-wide, killer, pandemic will do that.  Especially now that we are grasping the fact that it can change and mutate into deadlier forms making our current efforts a moot point.

The old adage, “Money is the root of all evil” comes to mind when I read about states opening up while the pandemic rages on.

When politicians go ahead with re-openings anyway, another adage comes to mind, one that I hope everyone understands and appreciates before it is too late.

That adage is, “You can’t take it with you!”.

John Darling


Just read your article on the flu(covid shots) you need to check your facts first , the covid shot has not been approved by the FDA , because it was considered a state of emergency that the shot needed to get out as soon as possible , You as a news paper needs to check your facts as you spread the news.

Michele Bruns

Note: This was not an article or the opinion of the Breeze. An opinion from a reader.


I just wanted to thank you for your kind words and a very appreciated book review.  It was very therapeutic to write this book and I am so humbled by you and other people I respect being so supportive.  We have a lot of talented people in our community and a lot of very interesting stories. I’m thankful that you are part of my life journey Sheldon.

Thank you Doug Halter

Dear Sheldon:

Is it possible to get severe withdrawal symptoms from not getting to read The Breeze for a really long time? Well, you can.

I stopped driving several years ago, so I was incapable of picking up The Ventura Breeze. What a deadly experience. I discovered that I loved reading The Breeze, and without the car, I couldn’t pick up The Breeze at the local market. I couldn’t pick up lots of things, but the thing I miss most was your paper. The Breeze was a great fit for me for years. It was the right size, published material that I liked reading about. Was published by a man who loved dogs. The Breeze had all kinds of things I enjoyed looking at and reading about, and best of all, The Breeze was generous to me, publishing some of my articles. I enjoyed the paper for it’s contents and for the variety of information about Ventura and all the neat places that surround me.

You know what happens with withdrawal? Of course, you do. I have been suffering from Breeze withdrawal. Fortunately, I was able to pick up an edition of the Breeze recently, and discovered how much and how deep was my withdrawal. One look at The Breeze and one affectionate run through, and I realized how much trouble I was in. Without the Breeze, I was on the verge of a serious series of bad withdrawal. I have pulled through this almost deadly experience. I know I need some heavy doses of Breeze deliveries and reading the paper good and thorough. I need The Breeze reorientation and relaxation recovery cure. The current edition has me close to being cured. The rest of the treatment is now up to me to be sure I don’t suffer another major withdrawal experience. Believe me. This will not happen again.

Thanks Sheldon. Best regards and Best wishes for all of us.
Es Cole and Manny


I must take issue with one of your comments about Asian Hate in New York.

“Ignorant people say, “They should go back to where they came from.” We all came from somewhere else except Native Americans. So, using this approach, all of us, except Native Americans, would need to go back to where our ancestors came from. Mine from Russia and Romania.”

Ignorant people say… Not only are they ignorant, they are historically clueless. Many thousands of ethnic Asian folks were born, raised, and dies right here in America, since the 1840s. Those decedents are natural American citizens. They can’t ‘go back to where they came from. They are here!

So, using this approach, all of us, except Native Americans…
Even our “Native Americans” came from somewhere else. There is very strong genetic evidence that the original Native Americans migrated from Mongolia, up to Siberia, across the Bearing Sea Ice Bridge, into Alaska, down into America, South to Mexico, and perhaps into South America.

Your ancestors came from Russia and Romania; mine came from Scotland, Germany, and Native American (New York). North America was a grand grazing land for the Dinosaurs.

Just my few cents worth,

Michael Gordon

So its sounds as if no one should live her.

The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used to failing.
~ Albert Schweitzer