Vol. II, No. 23, December 2016
World War II at the Museum
World War II Veterans Assemble at the Hueneme Museum Photo BMK
The Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum recently hosted a gathering of veterans of World War II.
Joe Villalino, CPO USN (Ret.) recounted the story of his father Ignacio who survived the Bataan Death March by escaping and joining the Philippine guerilla resistance. Despite the horrific cost of defending the Bataan Peninsula, Mr. Villalino pointed out that the effort delayed the Japanese advance and ultimately “made victory possible”.
Gabe Pesce began his career as a Navy Ensign headed for submarine duty when he was “volunteered” for Japanese Language School. His facility with languages led to a career in the Army Air Corps and then the Air Force from which he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1974.
His duties as a Japanese language expert found him going ashore on numerous Pacific islands to announce the surrender of the Empire. Invariably his efforts were met with gunfire from the remaining Japanese troops. He soon learned to broadcast the Emperor’s surrender message before attempting any engagement with the Imperial Army.
Jim Daniels, Master Chief USN (Ret.) joined the Navy as a 17 year old in 1942. As an Equipment Operator, he saw action on seven different Pacific islands. He described the war effort as a time when “everyone took part and did their job”. He later served on the Port Hueneme City Council as Mayor pro Tem.
Cpl. Orvene Carpenter, USMC (Ret.) enlisted with the intent of becoming an aircraft gunner, but being too tall to fly, was sent to the Pacific as a seagoing Marine. He did, however, get his wish when he found a dive bomber unit that was in need of replacement gunners. He described his duties as mostly “chasing subs”.
Coincidentally, he was at one point stationed on the same island as Jim Daniels, his future colleague on the Port Hueneme City Council. Though they didn’t know each other at the time, Mr. Carpenter described Mr. Daniels as “the most important person on the island. He made fresh water from salt water.”
Speaking of the education of a young farm boy thrust into the middle of a naval war, Mr. Carpenter recounted standing watch on the bridge of a ship when he spotted a school of dolphins cavorting in the morning light. He excitedly called over the intercom to the man on the bow, “Do you see the fish coming your way?” Suddenly the ship heeled over in a violent evasive maneuver. When the excitement died down, the young Marine was called before the Captain who explained in no uncertain terms that onboard ship “fish” is a term that refers to enemy torpedoes.
Poor eyesight limited the military options for Cpl. Ralph C. Nichols USA (Ret.).
When he joined the Army he was given a choice of “radio or infantry”. He was trained in cryptology and assigned to Hickam Field in Hawaii. All the messages to and from the forces in the Pacific passed through his office.
Mr. Nichols had an outstanding career once he returned to civilian life. He became a teacher in 1949 and joined the Oxnard High School District in 1956. In 1959 he was the principal who opened Hueneme High School.
Martin Singer USACE (Ret.) came out of ROTC in 1943 and headed for Armored Field Artillery school in Fort Knox, but the Army needed engineers, so after six weeks training “we were in Germany building bridges,” Mr. Singer recalled. After VE Day, Mr. Singer was given the responsibility for rebuilding the German Supreme Court building in Berlin, which became the Allied Command Headquarters.
Modestly, the 96 year old Mr. Singer admitted, “It doesn’t require much training to be an Army Engineer. In fact, the less the better!”
Also in attendance was Mary Daine who recounted her experience in the Women’s Marine Corps as an Air Gunnery Instructor.
Orvene Carpenter Tries on His Veterans’ Hat Photo BMK
Video of WW II Presentation Available
“Not Every City Has a Great Port”
Arlene Fraser Delivers State of the Port Address
The Harbor District is responsible for more than $9Billion in goods movement, supporting 12 different auto manufacturers, and importing bananas from South America. While imports are important, the Port also exports 38,000 automobiles per year (Toyota being the largest exporter), and ships apples and peaches to Central and South America.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen is the largest customer at the Port, providing shipping services for automobiles and industrial equipment. Recent cargo includes brewing equipment for Firestone Brewery, and rail cars for the San Francisco BART.
Acknowledging the local workforce, Ms. Fraser described “a strong union port. Without the labor there would be no activity at the Port.”
Ms. Fraser described the Port as the “gateway” to North, Central, and South America, Asia, and Europe. “Not every city has a great port,” she said.
“We Can Calm the Waves”
Instead of building seawalls and abandoning coastal structures, could the future be instead a “living shoreline” where a seaweed reef not only absorbs wave energy but also removes carbon from the ocean, thus combating acidification?
In a recent presentation to the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON), Mark Capron, one of the pricipals of Ocean Foresters, remarked, “Retreat is abandoning our coastal ocean in its hour of need.” BEACON is a joint powers authority formed by coastal cities and the counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara to confront issues of coastal erosion in the two county area.
Mr. Capron expressed confidence in the promise of protecting the coast with barriers of seaweed. “We can calm the waves,” he asserted.
History by the Minute
Beverly Merrill Kelley
Let’s face it, we’re all busy people. We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time? This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two. And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society. If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to Kelley@callutheran.edu.
The only real worry for the Sand Sculpture planning committee last year around this time, was that the participants who agreed to enter the competition might be required to bring their own sand. You see, during the summers of 2013 and 2014, the Sand Sculpture event during the Hueneme Beach Festival had to be cancelled, not due to a lack of participants, but due to lack of sand.
In reality, Hueneme Beach Park itself could be considered a 20-acre sand sculpture—fluctuating in size and shape from year to year. When the Navy built the jetties at the Port of Hueneme in 1940, they interrupted the littoral flow of sand to Hueneme Beach while also creating a corrosive eddy current that scours away 1.25 million cubic yards of seashore every year.
As early as the winter of 1946-47, Richard Bard, “the Father of Hueneme Harbor,” was painfully aware that the harbor jetties designed by the Corps of Engineers blocked the southward movement of sand. Bard asked that the Corps of Engineers find a solution, and in 1950 they came up with the idea for a sand trap to be located in a second small boat harbor further west.
Bard continuously lobbied Washington DC for funding but nothing happened until 1956 when the Berylwood Investment Company deeded that land for Channel Island Harbor to the County of Ventura. Delays in construction persisted and actually resulted in a grand jury investigation before the Army Corps of Engineers got their act together circa 1960. Richard Bard dedicated Channel Islands Harbor on May 30, 1965.
The Electoral College and Trump-crazy Baby Boomers and Everything Else
I could be pretty shrill and annoying about it.
Earlier this year it dawned on me that despite all the attention on Millennials, that it is Boomers who are at the apex of political power in 2016. Trying to be more wryly ironic than shrill and annoying, I wrote that we’d have to wait eight or even sixteen years before things really swung against the GOP and conservatism. Which is probably a safe bet. It’s going to be a long, long fight.
Just before the recent debacle, when everyone knew it was to be a Democratic landslide and crushing defeat of conservatism, I was wondering how the New Deal had remained the ideology of the land and core of the government for 48 years (1932-1980) but Reaganism had lasted only 36 years (1980-2016). I was wondering what accounted for those 12 extra years that the Left had managed over the Right.
Oops. Turns out it was not twelve less years of Reaganism (or the mutated variants thereof) at all. Conservatives could keep trashing the country for twelve more years…even though they get fewer votes every election cycle. Democratic candidates at every level get more actual votes, when you meaninglessly add all of them up together, than Republican candidates. There are more voters in the United States who are not conservative than there are conservatives. Yet look who’s running the show.
Turns out liberals are over represented in bigger states and in urban areas which means we wind up with less representation per vote. And then there’s the fact that baby boomers vote conservative (despite all their Woodstock Generation pretensions), and they vote more, much more, than people younger than they.
That’s true of generations in general, voters over fifty vote at a higher rate than those under fifty, the further you go down in age the less the voting percentage. You bitch about kids too lazy to vote now as people bitched about you all not voting enough then.
Indeed, turnout in 2000 was much lower than turnout in 2016….you might blame those lazy Gen Xers for eight years of Bush/Cheney….
It’s just a political fact of life–old people vote more. Old people tend to be more conservative. And this bunch are especially conservative. I’ve always been struck by how the generations preceding the Boomers–the Greatest and Silent generations (who comes up with these names?)–dumped Goldwater in a landslide. They knew crazy when they saw it. But Boomers saw George W. Bush and voted for him. And now there’s Donald Trump, the Boomer president.
I had thought George W. Bush was the quintessential boomer president but Trump takes that cake now. Most Boomers seem to embrace crazy. And when America’s older people (the ones below 70, anyway) are from the largest baby boom in US history, while Millennials were spawned in the lowest (and still declining) birthrate in US history, those older voters will be a powerful presence on election day.
It doesn’t help that people live longer now than they did in 1980–about four years longer for males, an entire presidential election cycle, meaning your crazy grandpa gets to vote for a president at an age when his own crazy grandpa was long buried. And it certainly doesn’t help that the part of the Democratic coalition that Democrats have such high hopes for–Hispanics–are still voting well below the rate of Whites (and below the rate of Blacks, too). And that so many of the states where Trump did so well this year–and districts where GOP congressional candidates did well–are 80% and more (many much, much more) Caucasian. Even worse that so many of those districts are experiencing a drain of their younger, college educated population–the ones who rejected Trump out of hand–to the coasts, where they pile into larger, urban areas with less congressional representation per capita than their folks have at home.
Not to mention those two senate seats no matter how small (or large) the state. Half the United States legislature is based on the notion that the number of voters is irrelevant. The slave south held a headlock on federal policy for sixty years using that two senators per state power. And then in the 20th century the South was able to maintain its ideology of white superiority through that same senatorial power. Eventually the south took over the GOP and with that same small state power has dominated US policy making and resisted the policies of a black president with all the furor and Machiavellian genius of John C. Calhoun. That same senatorial dominance means electoral votes out of sync with popular vote. Hence, Trump.
This will not change much in the next four or eight years. The average baby boomer is my age, just coming on sixty, with another twenty years of voting (that is, five presidential elections, ten congressional elections, and about six senatorial elections) left in the average one of us. As boomers get older their voting rate just keeps rising, and it’ll take a decade before attrition–Boomers will die, eventually–surpasses that increasing voting rate and finally drops their numbers beneath those of Gen Xers and Millennials, who will have gotten older and grumpier and more prone to voting by then.
Like I said, that is ten years off. And by then the Hispanic baby boom that accompanied the explosion of Hispanic immigration in the 1980’s-90’s (immigrants always have lots of kids, their kids slow down and grandkids sometimes have no kids at all) will have gotten old enough to finally start voting at a rate approximating whites.
Unfortunately they will mostly be in bigger states–California, New York, Florida, Texas–the way the Irish were once mostly in big urban areas that limited their political impact, but nonetheless, it will help to chip away at the white GOP majority. The GOP is at peak strength now, unless, somehow, they suddenly appeal to blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women and people under 40. Which is probably unlikely. Hell, just the opposite.
So what am I getting at? Just hold on, this crazy Trumpist GOP surge cannot last. You will not see a series of Trumpoid presidents. Or an endless GOP majority in congress. But it won’t end right away either. They have a solid eight years ahead of them. Unless, of course, there is some sort of Watergate-scale catastrophe. But I’m not getting my hopes up. I am just waiting for the slow change of generations. That is generally what has flipped the political course of history in this country.
We boomers are in our last spasm of power now. Sure we didn’t actually win the popular vote in the presidential race. And for sure more people voted for Democratic candidates than voted for Republicans, again. But just enough older white people are in just the right places. Watch how we 52-70 years olds muck it up for the rest of you.
Then again, our parents were gung ho for the Cold War and Viet Nam and nearly blew the world up once or twice. Their parents somehow combined Jim Crow and the New Deal.
Every age has its issues. We are yours.
The collapse of the Trans Pacific Parnership
A void in Asia?
As incomes drop, leaders popularity grows.
The Broadway set designer for Hamilton discusses his work.
At the Museum
As the final offering for 2016, the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum will recognize the contributions of a long-time resident and community volunteer with its third annual “People Who Make a Difference Award.”
This year’s recipient, Elaine Garber and her family will be present at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum 220 Market St. on December 10, 2016 at 11:00 AM to accept the award. In addition, her daughter Lydia Stevenson has prepared a fascinating presentation highlighting the tangible and intangible ways Elaine Garber managed to make Port Hueneme a better place to live.
Among her distinctive accomplishments, Elaine Garber still holds the record for years of continuous service (1959-2010) on a school board. In recognition of more than 50 years, the K. Elaine Garber Educational Media Center next to Bard Elementary was named in her honor in 1986.
In addition to founding the Port Hueneme Historical Society at this Museum, Elaine was named the 1989 Port Hueneme Leo J. Ramirez Citizen of the Year award, awarded the Excellence in Education Award by U.S. Sen Barbara Boxer in 1999, served on the 1964 Ventura Grand Jury, and was granted a lifetime membership in the Parkview PTA.
Elaine, who remains passionate about her community, its history, and all things educational, also filled her days serving as a private tutor as well as volunteering with such well known community organizations as Harbor Days, Friends of the Library, Friends of the Bard, Port Hueneme Museum Commission, American Association of University Women, and IRS Vista.
Yet it’s Ms. Garber’s personal history that we feel the audience will find most inspirational—from finding her way as a bride to Port Hueneme in 1955 to trading her full-time teaching career for motherhood to generously sharing her home with needy relatives and friends to personally nursing her beloved husband until his death in 1996. We know you won’t be disappointed.
Animal Services Raising Money for New Kennels
Funding sought to replace aging kennels in veterinary hospital. How to contribute:
Ventura County Fire stations accepting toy donations
Now through Christmas Eve, bring a new, unwrapped toy or sports equipment to any VCFD fire station to be donated to local children and teens.
How to Donate:
Join us at the Loft at 7:30 on December 3rd for a warm-hearted musical evening filled with the love and joy of the season. If you enjoy vocal harmonies, smooth memorable melodies, and uplifting messages of faith and love, you will not want to miss out on this special evening!
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J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher