Saturday, 17 March 2018

June 2008, Issue No. 3: Not since the anticipation of a sequel to 'Showgirls' has there been such a buzz in our little valley. Nothing was leaked in January or February, but then in March an announcement 'look for it', and then in early May came the blog confirming 'any day now'. Surely, a clever yet unnecessary scheme to build excitement was at play here. No matter, I could wait another five months.

I was not disappointed when the new old Voice arrived on my favorite local sidewalk. Although most won't be honest enough to admit it, I will speak it out; who doesn't just love war, especially a new local war? And there it was, on top, in bold graphics on the front page; 'newspaper wars'! Promises of nasty articles and unending letters to the editor, verbal battles, mudslinging and even misleading photos swim through my head. Oh, I thought, this is gonna be good.
My hand was quivering as I opened to "Our Readers Write..." on page two. Big thanks to Lanny Kaufer for his letter clarifying that this indeed was the one and only Voice.
Even though it did say the Voice on the cover, one can not be too sure of these things. It looked like the old Voice too, but what with the passing of the much admired, hard working publisher/editor Jeff San Marchi in December and the noticeable absence of most of the regular contributors I admit I was a bit confused. The other three letters (?) in that section were just as interesting. The Voice hit my newsstand at three o'clock p.m. on Saturday so by the time I read the letter about the event at the skate park I was still able to get over there and catch the last fifteen minutes of it.
The piece on Arroyo eradication was just as riveting the second time around. I read the same article in the OVN two weeks prior, but who can get enough of the ever controversial weed eradication issue? Lastly, kudos for scooping the OVN with your 'Chasing Baja' "Our Readers Write..." letter. I thought they (OVN) looked foolish for printing an identical letter. Is that legal?
Speaking of, she's back. The ever clever and Chatty Cathy Elliot Jones finally has her very own, pull her string and let her go column. Who else could be better qualified to write a definitive piece on anti-Semitism in Ojai than someone who plays a Jew on the high holy days? In her bold and aggressive attempt to expose the real neojai-Nazis living here she meandered through international and national politics, racism, sexism and the elections to eventually make her courageous point about the evil enemy. So, let's put the
matzo on the table. CEJ didn’t have to pretend she was defending a 'friend'. Someone upset her old man, her main squeeze and live in love, Ray Alpern, and they were not going to get away with it! I get it and we all know who they are too! I guess if they didn’t know how mad she was at them they sure do now. Good? This is great! (Way to use absolute power of the press!) Personally, I think the editor should give her two pages!
Finally found a face and name from the old Voice. I was home. A sense of comfort and familiarity came over me as I perused Richard Senate's article. I was saddened to learn later that day that it would be his first and last column for the old Voice, but, hey, there's the extra page for CEJ!
How civic of the new old Voice to give free advertisement space to Chris Wilson in exchange for writing about his ADD. I can hardly wait to see what else he finds fascinating in Ojai besides his $20 ojai face. Speaking of ads, I loved the where's Waldoish game you can play by guessing how many times the Rent This Space verses the guy with the coffee mug boxes appear in the paper. I find it very generous to give up all that valuable advertising space just so we can amuse ourselves. FYI, I counted coffee guy: 6, Rent this Space: 10. Coincidentally, on page 10, I read 'The Babe in The Woods' by Lisa Clark (a.k.a. "not some woo-hoo, Ojai spiritual vegan hysterical hippy"). I'm so impressed that a publication serving Ventura and Ojai would be lucky enough to find a journalist living 1,300 miles away to write for our local paper. It was so satisfying reading all about her busy
life in Montana, waltzing down memory lane with her, complete with coded names and college yawns, rehashing trash on Suza, and being privy to her personal correspondences. Everyone says Hi back. Thank god, the female one, L.C. didn’t send that eagle feather to CEJ, I mean P. B., or there could have been another picture of her on the front page of the OVN as it IS a federal crime to possess, feathers.
Whew, Mr. Kaufer was right. I recognized another old V o i c e name when I eyeballed "Rockin' Ray Does The Bowl..." (So many bowls to choose from). Who wouldn't know that name? Why, 'Rockin' chair' Ray Alpern is practically a flippin' R&R royalty in these parts what with being the once "ex-cousinin-law" to some really R&R guy in a band from 1969 that I read about in RA’s column. I also got to read about John Fogerty and his connection to Creedence Clearwater. It was like being in ancient history class at R&RU
with Ray as the cool professor. Rock on! RA sounds like a Living Treasure nominee to me? Then, after reading his investigative piece on “Newspaper Wars” I’m thinking Pulitzer. What intense writing. For example, RA’s opening line: "If it weren't true you couldn't make this s*** up!" followed with the ending to the same paragraph, "...let's just hope our heads don't explode in the process!" Are you kidding? I live to have my head explode.
I'm loving this. Let the wars begin.
Unfortunately, from what I heard later at my coffee office, turns out it is possible to make this stuff up or at least spin the truth and/or omit any inconvenient information. All's fair. I said I was honest. My own disappointment with the new old Voice was about the cover tease. Where was the story on trouble with the law? All I saw was some, after calling it in, set up, like from the inside of a van using a long lens shot of the "publishers" with a caption that said they were being "interviewed" by the cop. Where's the arrest, the handcuffs, the police report? And what's up with "...a very helpful Deputy Jenkins", Ray? That's the man; it will always be the man.
So, I will end on this upbeat note because I owe a HUGE thank you to the new old V o i c e. Turns out the June 2008 Classified Ads section I was using to find a car was just a reprint from the last Voice Jeff San Marchi published in December 2007. Same exact classified, with one omission of a god thing, and one addition
of a fire truck. What luck, the car I called on was still for sale and given that I knew the ad was over five months old, well, I practically stole it. Don't get me wrong, the five month wait was well worth it and I look forward to the next publication of the Voice, and if I have to wait until November, it's cool. Hey, I may need to buy another car. Keep up the wars. Peace out.
- Sue Metooh, Oak View

Story Source: Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Issue#10, Jan. 2009

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