Re: Ventura County Edition editorial page debut, June 29:
Wonderful launch for a very significant milestone in the history of The Times. Thanks to each of you on the local level, and all those people downtown, who finally decided it was time for The Times to see Ventura County as a strategic part of Southern California.
Without editorial comment, and its attendant dialogue with the people of this community, The Times was missing a key part of the new and emerging California. Cultural, financial and political changes are rolling California toward a new destiny. It's important for this community to not build a fence around itself. Equally important is that The Times, as it transitions toward the next millennium as a powerful recorder and influencer of California life, be there for the whole of this microcosm of evolving civilization.
If you put on a new pair of glasses, it's not hard to see what a role model, and yet what an infant, Ventura County is. Congratulations to all of the contributors to Sunday's debut editorial page (and its future participants). This will, no doubt, color the content of the "B" section and the conversation of our "A" community.
BOB and MADELINE MURPHY
* Ready, fire, aim!
Before you people jump into the editorial business in this county, you might take the time to investigate the issues as thoroughly as your reporters recounted them at the time they occurred.
I am referring to your debut editorial "The Power of Prevention" (June 29). Contrary to your assertion--and as your paper reported at the time--Sheriff Larry Carpenter and Dist. Atty. Michael G. Bradbury didn't "engineer an ordinance that protects their budgets . . . "
In fact, some 58,000 citizens of this county signed a petition, which was subsequently adopted as an ordinance by the Board of Supervisors.
The ordinance required that all money from the half-cent sales tax of Proposition 172 be divided among five public safety agencies, and that budgetary allocations for these agencies could not be allowed to fall below the level of 1993 expenditures, plus a small annual cost-of-living increase.
Having chaired that successful petition drive, watched hundreds of unpaid volunteers work gathering signatures for many weeks and months, and proudly attended the board meeting at which our ordinance was adopted, I do not consider it a "windfall."
It is rather a consciously thought-out public policy principle, put into practice. As the California state Constitution says, "Public safety is the first responsibility of local government."
As you yourself put it, "Most county residents would say that is great. There is no arguing with the overall success--and importance of--Ventura County's crime-fighting efforts."
Then why the argument?
There is no issue of constitutionality, no "dilemma" that may take a lawsuit to resolve. There is one county in California that has its priorities in the right order, and I sincerely believe that "the current arrangement" is "taking us where we want to go."
OTTO G. STOLL
Citizens for a Safe Ventura County