Letters to the Editor
February 03, 2021

To the Editor:
The "Flu"
Thank you for publishing the fascinating article on the 1918 “Spanish Flu” as experienced in Fillmore. The article makes the point that the virus was not “Spanish” (any more than the “Wuhan Flu” was necessarily Chinese in origin). The article on the 1918 pandemic also made it clear that the Fillmore medical authorities’ ultimate insistence on social distancing was a reaction of science, not a “communist plot” to ruin lives and businesses.
Science is clear that new viruses are caused by people intruding into animal habitat or living in close proximity to them. Enough exposure to animal viruses can sometimes result in transfer to humans. These places often have poor sanitation, places that do not have an EPA to provide living standards. There are many theories as to why Covid-19 erupted now and exactly where, and the Chinese likely suspected something threatening and should have sounded the alarm earlier. The scientific world has known about viruses and their potential for pandemic for years. This one was "novel" and the vaccines prepared proactively were not very useful against it.
The world, particularly the US, was aware by mid-December 2019 that a significant health threat was here. Pictures of hundreds of rapidly-built Wuhan hospitals, with thousands of beds, were in the news by then, and something odd was happening in Italy.
Six weeks later, on January 20,2020, Americans were evacuated from Wuhan airport by hazmat-suited Chinese. Our government provided no masks or any other protective gear. When they arrived at March AFB, the evacuees were deplaned and disbursed, by CDC health officials, without PPE, instructions for protection, or how to self-monitor for symptoms. Then the government health officials hopped on commercial flights to other destinations.
Covid-19 news was in the public realm nearly two months before government reacted. We chose to minimize the risk and take care not to spook the stock markets or alarm the electorate in an election year, and to rein in the CDC and our world-renowned health scientists so the consequences of our failure to act responsibly in the public good would be less obvious.
There is an extensive article analyzing the increasing mutations of Covid-19: http://www.wired.com
Culture Former FBI Agent Breaks Down Interrogation Techniques. Former FBI agent and body language expert Joe Navarro breaks down how he approached interrogating during his time with the FBI.
In the right-hand column, there is an article by Megan Molteni, "Worrisome Corona Virus Mutations are Emerging. Why Now?"
In the last paragraphs, the author quotes Tulio de Oliveira, and geneticist and bioinformatician in South Africa, about what we can do now to reduce the horrific risk of ever-mutating viruses: "Buying time until then means doing everything that has so far proven effective at limiting its chances of finding new hosts, and new opportunities to mutate: social distancing, mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, and increasing ventilation. “The important thing,” says de Oliveira, “is to realize we have to drive transmission to almost zero if we are to avoid new variants emerging in the future.”
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
Blueberry farmers in California and across the country on the verge of bankruptcy because of an influx of foreign imports flooding the U.S. marketplace with cheap, low-quality fruit.
If the U.S. government does not take action to address the flood of fruit saturating the market – dismantling the ability of American farmers to compete – our domestic blueberry industry will be gutted in two to five years. This means hundreds of blueberry farms, like my fourth-generation family ranch in Ventura County, will be forced to close.
Imported blueberries used to stop entering the United States just as we began our harvesting season, which typically runs from January through May here in California. But this is no longer reality. Imports from Mexico and Peru, in particular, now enter our market throughout our harvesting period. Since 2015, imports have surged by 62 percent, and the main countries growing blueberries – Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru – have ramped up production solely to sell into the American market. The result is falling blueberry prices that are devastating the balance sheets and business prospects of blueberry farmers here and in other states.
The Biden administration can act to save the American blueberry industry. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently investigating the impact of blueberry imports on domestic growers and will make a decision on our case on February 11. We’re not asking for a ban on blueberry imports; American farmers just need some temporary relief to help us compete on pricing during our critical growing harvest season and level the playing field.
A strong domestic food supply chain is important to the sovereignty of our nation, and the American blueberry industry is worth defending.
Josh Waters,