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    POLITICS | Responding to Supervisor Steve Bennett’s Tone-Deaf Editorial Statement

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    On April 3rd, an opinion piece published by Mr. Steve Bennett in the Ventura County Star compared our living in quarantine today to Anne Frank’s struggle in-hiding for survival under Nazi occupation. The tone-deaf tagline says it all:

    “Yes, Anne Frank and seven others hid in a 450-square-foot attic for 761 days. We’ve got this! Steve Bennett represents District 1 on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.”

    Supervisor Bennett may have good intentions for publishing his opinion, but he demonstrates a tone-deafness by equivocating ‘stay-at-home orders’ with the well-known story of the famous young, Jewish holocaust victim, Anne Frank.  Like most exploitations of the Nazi analogy, this one fails miserably.  Before forming an opinion, I reached out to a few local Jewish community leaders to hear their reaction. Here’s a sample from a young student leader in that community, Cage Englander. “By using the example of Anne Frank, Mr. Bennett minimizes the complexity of our current virus crisis. Mr. Bennett’s use of Annr Frank is strictly to solicit emotional reactions on the back of an indescribable tragedy. To compare the millions killed in the Holocaust to a pandemic that requires compassionate support is beneath any propriety.”
    Here’s another view by a young Santa Barbara Jewish student leader, Sullivan Israel, “The comparison between today’s local citizens, who are required to stay comfortably at home to protect themselves and others from a virus, and Anne Frank, who was forced to hide in a cramped attic from murderers who wanted to kill her solely based on her ethnicity, is disgusting. The Nazis were people, choosing to hunt other people and kill them. This virus searches blindly through our population, killing based on chance and viral contagion. This comparison could only serve s a divisive ploy to drive people apart, rather than unite them–something we need desperately right now.“
    Although I do not believe Steve Bennett is anti-Semitic, his opinion piece reveals that he is woefully out of touch with the challenges our community faces in this pandemic. Okay, perhaps his many years in public bureaucracy dulled his touch with ordinary citizens.  We are not hiding in our attics to avoid murderous Nazis, we are prevented from socializing and working to keep our community safe.  Perhaps spending so much time appealing to special interest groups, large donors, and party elites, have made  Mr. Bennett  forgetful of the realities of everyday people.  Simply tossing a fluff-piece in the press with a poorly thought-out historical connection is an unworthy demonstration of community leadership.
    Over the last few months, I’ve been silent on the life and death threats posed by this pandemic That’s because I was infected with COVID-19 in February.  But thankfully, I have fully recovered with only mild medical attention of my doctor after responsibly self-quarantining.  This week I will go to a clinic in Ventura County and donate my immunized blood to those most in need of it.  If you have also recovered from COVID-19 I implore you to donate your blood for this purpose as well.  Take action, Steve. It speaks louder than words.
    Charles Cole
    Candidate for 37th California Assembly District

    Republican for State Assembly, California’s 37th District


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    Alex Madajian
    Alex Madajian
    1 year ago

    Hello Mr. Kavonian,

    The Charles Cole campaign has reviewed your comment on the Citizen’s journal and decided to follow-up as you personally suggested.  

    The campaign decided to comment on Bennett’s inconsiderate op-ed because a Jewish volunteer of ours pointed it out.  We personally asked multiple other Jewish residents for their honest thoughts on comparing a Jewish girl hiding from Nazis, to not going out with people because of a virus with a fatality rate of <5%.  They were unanimously in agreement that he was out-of-line, out-of-touch, and disrespectful.  It was not anti-semetic, but they were in agreement his essay was clearly insensitive.  

    In your personal experiences with Bennett, he very well may have been polite and cordial to you.  However, any politician can be polite and cordial.  Looking at his record, people are disgusted to see he takes a 6-figure pay, and he is receiving from over 3 pensions in addition to his  current supervisor pay.  On top of all that, he wants another pension by taking himself to the CA Assembly.  

    As for saving homes, he certainly has an atrocious record on that.  Because of his SOAR program, Bennett drew a line cutting out hard-working people the possibility of developing their own property, while he allowed exceptions for his big-donor friends who saw their property values skyrocket.  

    If he is such an honorable person, why is it he has done nothing to stop anti-American marxist educational programs like JCCC?  What steps has he taken to ensure we will have good police officers protecting us, rather than cave to the mob demanding we defund and abolish the police?  

    Because of his disdain for high-income energy jobs, rather than reforming property rights, he has done everything he could to ban them.  Instead of using the vast amounts of energy-sector potential as a tax base, he has sold out our community to the cannabis industry.  Instead of making clear rules for the energy industry, he would rather let the pot industry own us and our community.  

    Again, your personal interactions with him may have been delightful, but that is not why Charles Cole ran.  For too long Santa Barbara and Ventura have been run by "nice" politicians who don't care about actually improving our community.  Their policy and actions only seem to perpetuate a self-serving life-style.

    I can see you are an America-loving patriot.  As is Charles Cole.  Although I do not know Bennett personally, I can honestly say from my time working on this campaign that Charles does indeed love America and its basic Constitutional principles and values.  I am deeply fearful Bennett will give a pass to marxists, corporate lobbyists, mob-rule, or whatever force is convenient, rather than preserve what made this country and state great.  

    One final note, you may have noticed, I am also an Armenian (100%).  So yes, I too know a thing or two about Genoicde, and one thing I know is I am no victim.  Also, I am not only a former Boy Scout, but I'm an Eagle Scout; and I know a thing or two about that as well.  

    Have an excellent Independence day!

    -Alex Madajian
    Social Media Director; Cole for Assembly 

    Richard Kavonian Jr.
    Richard Kavonian Jr.
    1 year ago

    I see Mr. Bennett message as respectfully and honorable in mentioning Anne Frank’s name in reference to a pandemic that will kill millions (and maybe a billion people) because where I live in district one many people live in small bungalows off of the Avenue that are required to shelter in place to escape a killer (albeit a pandemic not a person). But the analogy is not only clear, it was respectful. I have observed Mr. Bennett for a long period of time, on a daily basis and have found him to be Very sensitive of others and responsive to their needs. Like when he went on the front lines in danger of his own life to save the homes of his neighbors who had fled their own homes in fear of their own lives in the recent Thomas fires, risking his own life to help other people! How dare you speak of this respectful, polite, Boy Scout type individual in such disrespectful manner! It almost sounds like a purposeful character assassination to me! This is highly offensive and disturbing and I think you (and those other people you are representing) owe Mr. Bennett a public apology. If you knew this man you wouldn’t have to depend on other people to decide how you feel about him. I speak for myself with my chin up and head high. Richard Kavonian, Jr., Ventura Ca. I am of Armenian ancestry myself and a collateral victim of the First genocide of the 20th century, with over 90% of the genetics to prove it. If you have any questions you may contact me directly.

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