Letters to the editor: County needs growth spurt; guns and teen deaths

Managed growth is the answer

The closing of the Simi Adventist Hospital’s maternity ward highlights a serious problem in Ventura County. Economic prosperity is not being sustained. As a result, young couples are either moving away, or having fewer children. Officials state that the birth rate has fallen 24% at their hospital from 2017 to 2023.

Further evidence of economic decline comes from Matthew Fienup’s annual report, where he states that Ventura County is worst in the nation when considering both the high cost of housing and low wage rates.

We must do a better job of encouraging young people to stay here and grow their families. Local governments must promote high paying companies to relocate here, through tax incentives and other means. We must have land use policies that are favorable to residential housing. Every young couple dreams of having their own plot of land that they can call home, with a safe place to teach values to their children. They don’t want to live in a five-story high rise, which soon turns into what is commonly called “the projects.” Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) are one solution to solving the high cost of housing, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of families.

Save Open space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR), extended for 50 years, has cast a dark cloud on new residential housing. Farmer’s property rights are extremely limited. They cannot develop housing projects, or even processing plants for their crops, without a public vote. A loosening of the stranglehold of SOAR, plus attracting high-paying industries, will reverse the decline in the economy and the birth rate. There is either growth or decline. There is no middle ground. Growth, properly managed, is the answer. The alternative is a continued decline in economic prosperity and healthy families.

Doug Blois, Camarillo

Gun violence affecting teens, too

There is much anxiety about deaths amongst American teens from illicit and prescription drugs. The anxiety is understandable. The problem is real. But what is not understandable is the lack of American outrage over the fact that the death toll among American teens from gun violence is worse than from drugs.

As many know, two American parents were just sentenced for their blind refusal to understand that giving their son a gun was not merely irresponsible, but far worse.

So out of curiosity for actual facts I did some research. From July 2019 to December 2021, 2,231 American teens died from overdose. That’s both a tragedy and unacceptable. But in the same period, 2,590 American teens died from guns. And a large segment of the population shuts their eyes and repeats the Sgt. Schultz mantra, “I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing.”

Dare I mention that the proliferation of guns is a prime factor in the continued growth of drug distribution and deaths.

We can no longer continue to see, hear and know nothing.

Iran Cohen, Thousand Oaks

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Letters: County needs growth spurt; guns and teen deaths