Posts Tagged ‘White collar crime’

The Morning After (Veterans Day)

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Phoenix Patriot Foundation

Phoenix Patriot Foundation

I did not do my customary blog entry on Veterans Day yesterday. To be honest, it was more out of embarrassment, than anything else.

As everyone went about engaging the socially acceptable platitude of “Thanking a Veteran”,¬† I could not help but be very uncomfortable by what I have been watching happen to our Veterans in recent years. The day as a holiday yesterday, made me even more miserable about being an American.

It is no secret, nor is it news in any way, that War is waged on the backs of our youth. That the Political Will, embedded in a Nation’s employing of Imperialism, is carried out under order by our Military.

But what has happened to us when as a Nation, we have leaders who think nothing of kicking Veterans in the mouth when their active service is complete, as a matter of policy?

As I watched the President issue his rhetoric-driven Veterans Day message yesterday, I could not even be angry about the amorality of it, as I have come to expect that sort of thing from the man, as it is part of the job description for Politicians to tell us what we want to hear. He exemplifies the most pointed aspects of bad leadership to me. An expensive mistake in many ways.

But those people who went to War deserve more than words. In fact, they need much more.

I am seriously embarrassed by what I am seeing Vets go through today.

Here is a telling piece from the New York Times on losing a son to a broken system.

Yesterday I was sent a very inspiring story written by Kevin Cody, which is about a Surfer named Peff Eick, and a music video the veteran of Vietnam had made, and the man’s continuing service to his fellows. Read the article and watch the video here.

Bill Moyers writes on it all, here.

Tom Waits nails it all down, in Hell Broke Luce, and shares it here.

Hell Broke Luce was informed by this story.

I hope this series of links serves to better inform us all regarding the larger scale of our Veterans, who I see not as victims, really, but as highly trained assets that were a part of a disciplined fighting force. A great leader does not flush high value assets. You care for them.

You also never leave your people behind, let alone kick them when they are down. This is a Military standard, not a generally accepted public one. We maybe ought to consider changing that.

Thank a Vet? Bullshit. Words are cheap. Do something for them. There is a high value in that. And it is not because it feels good or gets you some sense of belonging, but because it is the right thing to do. Maybe if we all hold ourselves to that standard, at some point we will begin to elect people to office who will as well.

Civic Duty

Civic Duty

 

 

The Importance of Water

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
AzureRose

AzureRose

 

The image above was shot in Maldives, an island Nation which lies approx. 1200 SE of India and in comprised mostly of water.

The man in the frame is Jon Rose. I am not sure why, but frequently my work tends to be prophetic in nature. This message above is a good example of that.

For those of us who live our lives around the Sea, the significance of water is an ever present issue for us. Life is all about Flow. In fact, one of the groups which I am a member of, Triiibes, just put on a global retreat here in Ventura along the theme of Flow, which held deep significance to all who attended.

When I was on Bali earlier this year, I ran across the story of a man who brought clean water to over 50 villages on Bali which exist in an area with little clean drinkable water. That man had been Jon Rose. He went on to found this organization, Waves for Water.

There is little which is as important as water to man, and this blue ball which he lives on. It is no secret that just as Nations use oil as an economic lever, and go to war over it, there is a looming battle over water rights Globally, Nationally, and yes one is possibly even coming to your own town. You can see it as clearly as a wave headed to shore. Why? Because water is life, and if you control life, you have power.

It is no secret that my little town of Ventura, is getting ready to do the same thing: exercise greater control over water and the fees which it will charge for access to it by local residents. In fact, we have a telltale of the direction in which they plan to go with water. They hired a PR firm for a distinct purpose. Now you may be scratching your head a bit about this. PR firm? What?

Ventura has a history of late, related to our City Manager who was brought in to work here from another town (where he was fairly unpopular) in order to implement a tenet termed Sustainable Urban Redevelopment. That has not gone well for him here. Many of us are ready to run him out of town on a rail over his management track record which has brought the City all manner of wonderful income and personality downgrades, and cost us a fortune in money and Community Unity.

Red light cameras, parking meters, onerous and proacative code enforcement where you need (legally speaking) to pay a permit fee for basic elements of home maintenance, and now this, a threat of radically increased water fees to help offset the massive fiscal loss of all the other programs. My town invited the devil in. They may need to perform an exorcism.

Water is globally agreed on as a basic human right. Watch this and get a glimpse of how water rights affect us.

The latest wave looming is in water. Rumor has it that residents will be seeing more increases in water-sewer rates to the tune of a fairly substantial and potentially fiscally debilitating increase, that will serve to both line ailing City coffers as well as milk local residents over the performance of our City Mgr, which is underscored by dire economic times.

But water?

Of course.

Recently I received a letter from the City, advertising a VERY cool film called Flow. Flow is all about the value of water. The film screened here in Ventura at the Ventura Film Society’s festival a couple years back. I am well aware of it, and the dire message it delivers regarding the war for water.

So why is Ventura doing this? How much is 2 plus 2? Why does the City need a PR Firm to “raise awareness about water”? Why are they using the local chapter of Surfrider to help promote it?

Pretty simple to figure that green washed corrupt mess out now, isn’t it?

Think about that collective of villages on Bali and Jon Rose who helped them.

Now reverse that.

There you have what the City of Ventura and it’s Mgmnt has planned, if one cannot afford to pay the rate increase.

There are a vast amount of undercurrents which surface, and can suck a city into the stream of ill health. In this one you are seeing the affect of an inappropriate Philosophy of Governance which sees Citizens as serfs, bound to provide assets for the Feudal lord to dispose as he sees fit.

Ever hear of  the term, Permaculture? Think on the affect of a 100-200 percent increase of water rates for homeowners engaged in permaculture systems, which are thought of by many, as THE preeminent way forward for communities

I would really like to see my City Council fire Rick Cole and his Cronies.

N0 City needs this type of thinking.

And about what they will actually DO with the funds?

“Everybody wants clean water, right?”

In this link penned by a sage Attorney, in a publication Entitled Res Publica,  is a very informative look at how water and sewer funds were diverted into other social causes. That is illegal. It was done here in Ventura, by the City Manager.

Repression and bad Govt are frequently behind a green mask these days, or offered in the guise of increased sustainability, health or a benefit of some sort for the Community. But all too often today, it is a mere charade, and is a game of musical chairs done with a veiled but specific intent, to extract funds from a populace, to cover failed economic policies and drying up income streams for Muni Govt.

If a Community aids and or abets this, it dies a little death.

No flow.

Seth Godin had this to say today on Extending the Narrative.

The image below was shot at the entrance to Downtown Ventura. This is the tone being set here by people not from here. It is NOT the tone of my Community. They are the polar opposite of this. So why invite that in, ever?

Time for a purge.

Time to flush out the corruption in Govt.

It needs to begin where we live.

Water is life. Make it a priority to preserve your water and access to it. Work to keep it clean.

Be aware.

Here is a remarkable story about water. It is both detailed and rather long, but well worth a read.

Here is another great and easy to absorb piece suggested by Paul Jenkin, our local water expert who is a Science Advisor to Surfrider Foundation. It is called The Cycle of Insanity.

selfish

selfish

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first as and only legitimate object of good Government” -Thomas Jefferson

Pursuing Happy

Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Happiness Is

Happiness Is

One of the things that always strikes me about Bali and the Balinese is the degree of happiness which exists.

Some may say that being happy is a choice. Well it is, sort of. But not the type of selection one may suspect. Happiness is in the choices open to you as an individual and member of a Community, and in the case of a Citizen of the US, the pursuit of it, is a National Guarantee.

Here is a fantastic read on Happiness, by Dr William B Stewart. Take close note of what he says about the US Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Peace

Peace

I very recently returned from Bali, a supposed “Third World” nation, to Ventura California. A place that by all rights and history, should be a bastion of freedom and happiness, seeing it was founded on the backs of settlers who became ranchers, farmers and¬† oil field workers. One would call those, “salt of the earth” types. People whose families and existence were based on the pursuit of happiness.

However, (and I write this with great reluctance) a cancer moved into my Community in the past decade. Lubricated by money and the pursuit and love of it, a Socio-Political faction obtained control of the town through the City Council and hiring of a dis-re located City Manager to run the town, which proved to be at the expense of the freedom and happiness of the township, which is a Corporation.

Repressive Disconnect

Repressive Disconnect

As the US economy spiraled into a new abyss, those people engaged in a philosophy of  City Governance one would at best call repressive, and at worst Totalitarian. The irony of course, being that most of the empowered are rather well paid at Taxpayer and Community expense.

Red Light Traffic cameras were installed, as a means of obtaining a new source of income. Parking pay stations were installed in the Downtown as a means of controlling traffic and the populace, under the guise of progress, killing it, at the expense of 1.8 million dollars. Only two City Council members resisted fairly consistently, Jim Monahan and Neil Andrews.¬† City¬† Mayor Bill Fulton, City Manager Rick Cole and the other Council members,¬† pushed for all of it,¬† on occasion, shouting down and conspiring against any who disagreed with the repressive and money losing attempts to create a “Sustainable Urban development” out of what is really a sprawling village.

Home

Home

I have long been involved in Ecological Study and Rules development and the more foot to the ground aspects of Environmentalism and Progressive development. I have never seen such an obvious attempt at Greenwashing and false flag flying under the guise of Sustainability, as I have seen by the leadership at large in Ventura Ca. Look into the backgrounds of the various members of City Governance and their allegiances, and you will find development companies and interests. You will find six figure salaries. You will find  a potential for corruption that makes Indonesian Govt look like a school for choir boys.

In Sustainable Systems, architecture demands that needs be met with available assets, thereby perpetuating the system itself. What Ventura has gotten shoved down it’s throat by these well compensated individuals is the opposite of that. It is the definition of Parasitism, where eventually the foreign entity kills or severely damages the host.

For this Community to thrive, the drain on it  must be removed.

Ever hear of the term “Proactive Zoning and Code Enforcement”? That is where the City Zoning and Code enforcement people show up at the door, flash a badge (They are actually NOT Law Enforcement) and ask to enter your home under the guise of A) Having a complaint lodged by some mystery person or B) Just wanting to make sure that your property is “safe”.

Then, IF the homeowner is gullible enough to let the inspector in, that CITY EMPLOYEE cites the occupant of the home (citizen) for anything that they can find and fine them for. Cannot pay it? No problem. The City of Ventura leins the home and it goes on the list for collection by the County Tax Assessor and sale later, by the County of Ventura if you still cannot pay. No kidding. Approx 148 homes are currently on that list and the Institute for Justice in Washington DC sent a letter to the City (watch their video on the 14th Amendment!), saying it was in violation of the Constitution of the United States. Not one of these homeowners was offered time payment plans or a hardship application.

A once proud heritage

A once proud heritage


So there is a City Council Election next week in Ventura, and three seats are being contested. The incumbents have made clear choices about their and the City’s future happiness. The challengers, (With the exception of candidate Cheryl Heitman, who moved to Ventura from Thousand Oaks this year) are long term members of the Community. Some have at great personal expense, fought against what has been done to their town. One of them, Ken Cozzens, is a retired Sheriff and local business owner (both highly qualifying vocations to have represented in office). Another, Carla Bonney, even went so far as to acquire nearly 12k Citizen signatures that would place the parking pay stations on the ballot, only to have her community building efforts be halted by City Attorney Ariel Calonne, who had been informed of the efforts all along. What he did looked very bad. It may have been what it looked like. It may not. But in any event, the people who all thought they should get the opportunity to VOTE on the changes rammed down their throats by the Mayor, City Council, Rick Cole and the Downtown Ventura Organization, were denied that opportunity.¬† Get the picture?

There is more. Much more.¬† I HATE dirty laundry, and my town like many, has skeletons which maybe ought not be exhumed. Or maybe they should? Ever read about our town Cemetery that was turned into a dog park illegally? Today, dogs walk where bodies still lie interred, the area scraped of grave markers, which were dumped in Hall Canyon. The City uses the issue to distract the public from the real issue: this large Midtown section of the city is the only section that has no real parks, so people continue to fight over the use of a cemetery. Legally, that is exactly what it still is. People’s families and the History of Ventura are buried there! No park for you, but here, have this cemetery. The dead won’t mind. After all, they are dead. The act violates all manner of State and Federal codes as well as the basic conventions of humanity in every culture of the earth. To make matters even more onerous, one James Sumner, a Medal of Honor holder, is also interred there. Ventura just wanted a park. Parks are happy places. Cemeteries are about something else. The bodies lie there still. Understand?

Goal of Governance

Goal of Governance

Now don’t get me wrong. Politics are dirty business and politicians seldom are leaders of any real sort. They typically only follow the money trail. So why expect Ventura to be different?

Because Venturans live there. And for that reason this tract of Coastal Land could possibly be one of the most vital assets in California. But only if Venturans determine the direction and application of Law, Civil Liberty, and Development. We must pursue Happiness. We must seek it out, architect it, and make it work for our future generations. There is smart growth in that. Anything less is just demise.

As the Occupy Movement and¬† crime in high places, struggle together for control, the only real chance for happiness, is for the community to assume control of it’s destiny, and in doing so, be allowed the opportunity to pursue liberty and happiness. It is why I will not expatriate, much as I love the peace that exists elsewhere in the world. It is why I am and remain, an American. That is my choice. I am not paid to be here. I want to be here.

Want to see a happy future for your children? Occupy your town. Take it back from those who are there to milk it for personal gain. You and I must do this. There is no one else with that responsibility, who will do it for us.

I hope things change, yes. But regardless of who is in a City Govt position, we all have an investment in our Communities, and must believe it to be worth all of the struggle to restore, and must understand, that eventually, the townships of America will be occupied by the Citizens, and not prurient interests hiding behind false flags.

Icon of  Ventura Justice: Judge McGrath's home

Icon of Ventura Justice: Judge McGrath's home

Seems like a prudent thing to me: the pursuit of happiness. For everyone. It is why our founders wrote it into the Law.

My son Josh produced this. A young man who is an idealist rooted in the realism of our National Socio-Political condition.  A Venturan.  No Substitute.  He gets it. So should we.

Love your family. Cherish your Community. Occupy. Take your town back. Make it YOUR homeland. You restore our Country by doing so.

That is an honorable thing.

Light Fantastic: Happiness

Light Fantastic: Happiness

Liberty and Independence Day

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Chapter 4 in the series on California

Liberty is an interesting Philosophy. Wiki explains it here.

What separates the US from many other nations that have existed, is a history which hasÔĽŅ repeatedly illustrated that freedoms and liberties can never perpetually exist under rule of mortal men, as they are endowed by our Creator. What is right, wrong, and moral comes from the teachings of God. Not from sinful creatures that gain Govt power and force others to accept their twisted perversions of rule. Liberty is a Godly principle.

The Path of Liberty

The Path of Liberty

I live in a State that perhaps has done more in recent years to curtail individual choice and liberty, than any of the places to which I travel, here in the US and abroad. There is an implied benefit to that loss of liberty. But I have my doubts that the cost-expense involved is prudent, necessary, or of sufficient benefit, that it could be deemed equitable, should a cost to benefit assessment be made.

That is one of the real and primary issues which will keep California in the economic and environmental gutter. We not only exalt our sacred cows here, but we feed and water them at the expense of the blood sweat and tears of our State’s citizens-families.

Recently a woman¬† named Carla Bonney, took exception to the City of Ventura¬† forcing paid parking on the Community for the third time in that Old City’s history, without benefit of a vote by the populace. Prop 218 states this. People get to vote on fees- taxes being imposed. That is the law.

Carla took time away from work and family, to  acquire over 10,000 signatures, in order to place the existence of the metered parking on the ballot. I saw her abused for this by many people in City Governance and their supporters.

In fact, one of the more typical reactions recently penned into a local newspaper as part of an expression of outrage against her, spoke of how we all should be willing to pay our fair share, and that includes paying for use of our streets and beaches. “Everyone should pay.”

(Sounds quite reasonable, until you peel back the veneer of false equitability)

The problem with this reasoning, is that those people who railed against Carla, never took the time to examine both the how and why of her actions. They were not able to. Those same people cannot see nor realize that all of us are being sold down river.

The reason for that, is because Californians long ago lost sight of the meaning of Independence and Liberty. We abdicated that, to a State Govt which ran amok with the trust we invested in them, and turned around to destroy the very people who by vote and tax, empowered them. That choice resulted in fiscal and political benefit for certain elected officials and frequently, not for many others.

Carla simply had said: no, we have the right to choose. Those others who rail against her publicly and privately?  They are not much different than the repressive British Govt which the Colonists fled England to gain respite from. Ultimately, the states collectively determined that the British monarchy, by acts of tyranny, could no longer legitimately claim their allegiance (1).

I cringe at seeing people agree to pay fees for things which were already bought and paid for with Property and State income taxes, as well as District Sales Taxes. I mean REALLY? You think it is  a good idea to implement and perpetuate a fee for parking, why? A fee for using a National resource like the beach-ocean, why? So a City Manager can receive a pay compensation package in excess of 200k per year? Really? You would sell out your liberty and that of your children and grandchildren, and forever alter the feel and appearance of your town for that? The livelihood of bureaucrats?

As citizens, we need to implement a cost to benefit look at EVERYTHING in order to exist in California,whether we are Independent Small business owners, or simply heavily taxed heads of households, working multiple jobs to stay afloat in this awful economy. Should our Cities not be held accountable to employ  the same self examination as the people who they were appointed, elected, or hired to serve?

I have long felt that fewer today “get” the concept of service, who are used to being paid a regular and generous salary applied by virtue of office. That is because the nature of their job description creates a disconnect from the reality of those they Govern. So the decision making process they utilize, averts any motivation to examine cost to benefit. This only serves to exacerbate the suffering of the community they ought to be serving, by systematic removal of unencumbered access to resources traditionally included by the City, State, Federal Govt, and yes, in turn, founding fathers of the Republic which is a right, by virtue of your Citizenship.

This is a great crime.

So make this “Liberty Day” for your Community, as we celebrate our Nation’s Independence. Pasted below at the end of this blog, is our Declaration of Independence. Think about what those words mean. Everyone should cherish this. It is the lifeline to restoration and preservation of the Republic, and direction of the future safety and health of successive generations in our towns.

Thank you Carla, for voting to restore my liberty in this one small area, with your service.

This is how freedom looks. This is it’s face. Ventura needs to take a look. So does California. Time to reconnect.

A Ventura Merchant and Daughter of the American Revolution.

A Ventura Merchant and Daughter of the American Revolution.

Below in this Gallery, are some  people who exemplify independence and liberty in my town, this State, and Country. Cherish them, as well as those who passed before we got here. Who are they? Americans, Californians, my friends, your servants. They will be taking the Community, State and Nation back now, one law and liberty at a time. Quite a tribe.

The cost of freedom: Eternal Vigilance.


In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united Sates of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.‚ÄďThat to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ‚ÄďThat whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.‚ÄďSuch has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sources:

(1) Wikipedia

The Big Nevermind

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Pay Up

Pay Up

The City of Ventura is my home. I have owned a house and various other properties and leases here for 30 years.

Communities are pretty simple really. Generally they are composed of diverse components, all assembled in a willingness to live and work in a place that they find desirable. The willingness to contribute, is directly proportional to establishing a  sense of forward motion. Effect must equal cause. Benefit is weighed against cost.

So onward the ship sails with all of us aboard, planning, building, laughing, crying, fighting, healing, birthing, living, dying: together.

For any of this to occur, the members of the community must feel that they each, by their contribution, have a positive affect.  They must believe in the product. Otherwise it all just stops.

That is why everybody matters.

Seth Godin, a marketing genius, and the brain behind the Global network called Triiibes of which I am a member, has this to say regarding products we put ourselves behind.

Being someone who must establish benefit in my product and taking my relationship with the people who I serve very personally, I spent a few days looking around at the latest thing the City of Ventura has implemented in it’s little Downtown:¬† Big Blue Parking Pay Stations. Police are swarming the streets. That is new as well.¬† A somewhat beleaguered group of downtown merchants, and what appears to be an oppressive choice by the City of Ventura, done in a manner that is confusing, insulting, and restrictionist, no matter how one looks at it, was a high profile tone where ever I walked, listened and shot.

With the exception of a few abject apologies and explanations to six distraught visitors, I said NOTHING. I just watched, and listened.

I have never seen a population so ticked off by what, in a couple months, as the affect settles in as a fact of daily life, is really a small thing: pay parking downtown. But if I am silent, or put money in the meter, or place myself in an environment swirling with Law enforcement, I am endorsing what City leaders have done. I do not agree,  nor will I accept the aggravation and thereby let it change who or what I am.

I know how retail works. (I was in it for almost twenty years. Think about what one can learn by opening a door to the public for twenty years) This could possibly kill Downtown Ventura again (This is the third endeavor to meter downtown and by far the most onerous and expensive).

I suspect that City Hall has engaged in an attack on the citizenry of Ventura that will eventually see Federal investigation.(Parking meters are only one of multiple things which the City is doing to-for the people of Ventura)  I do not need the headache, nightmare or further association with the City of Ventura. No one does. Not really. Not at this cost.

So rather than bitch, rant and moan about the meters, engage continually on Facebook, or in Community meetings, I am simply going to share what I witnessed this week and list several avenues available as a means of remediation, then move on to more productive endeavors.

This is bigger than what one would suspect. The proverbial tip of the iceberg, it just lets you know how city leadership is, and what they are.¬† Entitlement does this. Disconnectedness and disrespect are it’s fruits. Most of our City management are not from here, so they are applying rules and methods learned somewhere else, to a community that in the past five years seemed to be reaching an appropriate stride.

But our capitally leveraged economy has collapsed in the past five years. Big change. Everyone has been left in the lurch. Including the City. It is tough out there.

The Ventura Star. Our local newspaper, explains the meters here.

A Pasadena blogger explains our City Manager, Rick Cole, here. They are from one of his prior projects-towns. I was stunned by what I read, but seeing what has been going on here, it made sense. Read it and decide for yourself.

The Ventura Star looks at Mr. Cole and other City leaders here.

A look at a recent recall effort (and it’s failure) of our appointed Mayor, Bill Fulton, here.

What the Federal Government seems to be discovering, as it continues in it’s investigations of corruption in California City Governance, is that frequently, common threads link issues and people across county and city limits. It is true about birds of a feather.

YOU can report corruption and your personal experiences right here at the FBI website. If you feel your Civil Rights have been or are being violated, you can try there. More information here.

If you have an issue with City Governance, you can also try to file a complaint at the county level, which is an overseer of the City. The DA’s office website link is here.

The Brown Act, a State Statute which among other things, gives you a right to be in on every City meeting and input the process, is defined here. Cities need to know about this act, especially if a citizen suspects  that backroom deals are being cut, to facilitate the existence of onerous local code. The law is pretty clear. But you need to know that it exists.

The County Sheriff’s office which maintains legal authority and control¬† has an excellent list of resources where you can speak with a higher elected official. Do not mistake the local Police Department with the Sheriff’s office. PD is under City authority. The Sheriff is County. Just like in the Wild West, the Sheriff will ultimately uphold your Constitutional rights. They are tutored in them. In fact my film partner, Rob Dafoe’s dad, was a career Deputy Sheriff in Santa Barbara. Those guys know a lot.

I will not be a part of this. There is an entire world and life outside of where my house is, that I continue to explore and share. Being downtown and seeing the affect of all of this, just saddens and angers me. I do not need that.  Being responsible for my own life, tone and family, the act of being awash in dirty negatives, will shortly devalue my soul,  Art and Craft. We become who and what we are in bed with. I want no part of an entity that hurts people or environment to survive. It is the ultimate in destructive unsustainability.

I must believe and have trust in the place I market, and expose to the world. Because by endorsing it, I am putting my own self behind the invitation to experience this place.

This is an image of a trash and recycle station. The former head of the Downtown Ventura Organization Rob Edwards’ brainchild, which serves as a billboard and refuse collection device. When these went in, Rob asked me if he could get usage of some of my Ventura imagery to be placed on the bins so that they would encourage, inspire, and market the strong points of this town. The City had no money to license the images. So I loaned them free of charge, a large collection, roughly equating in usage value to about 10,000 dollars. Rob was on point. The message was flawless.”Look at our town and ocean: preserve and protect it.

The City fired Rob Edwards shortly after that. Rob now heads the San Mateo DVO. Rob is one talented and smart man. A former cop, he understands cities, and community. This is what is on the bins today.

Recycling a Town's Dreams

Recycling a Town's Dreams

In the course of a year, hundreds of magazines and commercial entities use my work. I even lend usage to financially beleaguered City Departments for nominal or no charge promotion of this place. I engage a Global community of media professionals in Film, Editorial and Commercial work with Ventura as my home base. I believe in the people of this place enough to have somewhat recently, branded myself as a Ventura Photographer and Film Maker rather than a Santa Barbara one, in spite of my roots in and library of, SB related work and community.

What that does basically, via metadata embedding, captioning and basic marketing tools, is create a small fortune in high credibility marketing for the City of Ventura. At no expense to the City, beyond offering an inviting, ethically run, safe place for the world to visit. I put myself on the line in doing this. My colleagues trust me to be ethical and true in what I portray.

Below is an image which I shot yesterday. It is of Kathleen Fitzgerald, the former Director of Sales for the City of Ventura Tourism Department. She is moving back to the City of Longbeach after being let go of here. Like Rob Edwards, she believed in this place and marketed it Nationally and beyond for almost 5 years. She was a huge service benefit to Ventura. No one will probably ever know the number of hats she wore and the massive victories she accomplished while an employee of the City of Ventura. A few of us helped her sell off and pack her belongings. Venturans do  stuff like that. We tend to stick up for those who stick their necks out for us.

I Tried: Kathleen Fitzgerald

I Tried: Kathleen Fitzgerald

So after seeing (actions are everything) what the City really thinks of this beautiful place and its wonderful people, by my own sense of  ethics I must make a choice, as I am eminently responsible for what I market and will not be a party to what I perceive as being harmful, degrading or  illegal and in violation of Civil Rights.

I have one ethical choice, as our actions, define our self and community.

So: nevermind.

“If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.” Theodore Roosevelt

Below is a gallery of images and how Ventura looks to me right now. If you come here. the people of this place will appreciate you, endeavor to help you, show you beautiful things, and our City may screw with, and threaten and charge you for things which you may be able to acquire for free in other communities.  Being warned, I hope that you still come. (Forewarned is forearmed.) Our town is truly the Real California. Though that can be a scary thing these days.

Ventura’s Zuri Allen Star, wrote a song called Walk With Me. It says a lot.

Speaking of nevermind, Saturday Night Live often develops cultural commentary that transcends generations. They did it again here. A conversation between City and Citizen. I doubt that Nevermind is now an option for them, but it is for us.

Ventura is what it is: a pretty, and remarkable patch of historic land and ocean with a culturally engaging populace. We just seem to have a lot of vultures here at the moment. Must be the dead bodies.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

home