Friday, October 27, 2017

Guest editorial: Weinstein’s fading world Ventura Published 11:15 a.m. PT Oct. 23, 2017 636432917187767257-AP17283858700110.jpg (Photo: AP FILE PHOTO) CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN COMMENT EMAIL MORE From Joanne Lipman, USA TODAY: In my first job, as a 22-year-old newspaper reporter, I went to interview a businessman. He ushered me into his office. He locked the door. Then he stripped to his underwear. This was in the 1980s, at a time when women didn’t call behavior like his “sexual harassment.” We called it … going to work. So I did what other women in my place would have done. I interviewed him in his underwear. Then I got out as fast as I could. Back at the office, I told my editor what had happened. His response: laughter. He thought it was hilarious. I shrugged it off too. This was the price of working in a man’s world. So unremarkable was the event that I didn’t bother mentioning it to my roommate or my mom. More than 30 years later, it’s astonishing that in many ways,



From Joanne Lipman, USA TODAY:

In my first job, as a 22-year-old newspaper reporter, I went to interview a businessman. He ushered me into his office. He locked the door. Then he stripped to his underwear.

This was in the 1980s, at a time when women didn't call behavior like his "sexual harassment." We called it … going to work. So I did what other women in my place would have done. I interviewed him in his underwear. Then I got out as fast as I could.

Back at the office, I told my editor what had happened. His response: laughter. He thought it was hilarious.

I shrugged it off too. This was the price of working in a man's world. So unremarkable was the event that I didn't bother mentioning it to my roommate or my mom.

More than 30 years later, it's astonishing that in many ways, so little has changed. Thousands of women are recounting similar experiences of sexual harassment - and far worse - in the wake of the accusations by multiple women against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Social media feeds are flooded with horrific #MeToo tales of abuse.

Yet I'm struck just as strongly by something else: the response from men. If one thing has changed in these past three decades, it is this: Men aren't laughing. Nor are they brushing off the issue as if it's somebody else's problem, as they have so often when sex scandals have erupted that ensnared other high-profile men, from Bill Cosby to Presidents Clinton and Trump.

Instead, more men are stepping forward, owning the fact that solving sexual harassment is their issue too. We're seeing some serious soul-searching going on.

In the wake of the Weinstein accusations, Harvard Business Review ran a piece headlined, "Lots of men are gender-equality allies in private. Why Not in Public?" Variety weighed in with "Men must step up to change the Hollywood culture that enabled Harvey Weinstein," while Esquire gave advice on "What to do if you see a female co-worker being harassed." In USA TODAY, coverage included "Are you disrespecting women at work? How to be an ally."

For women, the sight of men starting to tackle these issues is a huge relief. For perhaps the first time, this doesn't feel like a "female" problem, something women have to put up with and try to solve on their own. It feels instead like an all-of-us issue, a problem that we need to solve together.

It's also the continuation of a cultural shift that has been slowly building momentum over the past few years. More men have started speaking up not only about harassment, but also about joining with women to close the gender gap.

The United Nations began its HeforShe initiative, which asks men to support female equality, in 2014. The non-profit Lean In organization created a #LeanInTogether campaign aimed at bringing in men. A student effort from the Fort Foundation, a non-profit that encourages women to pursue business education, began inviting in male students and faculty with its Men as Allies Initiative.

Harvard Business School started a Manbassadors club for men who support women's equality, a concept that has spread to multiple other schools. Millennial men, ranging in age from 18 to their early 30s, are more likely than those in other generations to favor an egalitarian relationship between husbands and wives.

Individual men are re-examining their own behavior. Television producer Glen Mazzara, known for "The Walking Dead" among other hits, noticed that women in television writers' rooms were being interrupted during pitch presentations and talked over by the men in the room. He created a new rule: No interruptions, for anyone.

Wharton professor Adam Grant, co-author with Sheryl Sandberg of the best-seller Option B, told me he intervenes when he hears offensive remarks about women. Sometimes, asking a quiet question - "What did you mean by that?" - is enough to jar men into realizing what they've said. In more extreme cases, Grant takes the offender aside to let him know that others are noticing his behavior, and that it is hurting his reputation.

These men are speaking out not just because it's right, but because it's smart. Equitable workplaces are more successful. Multiple studies have found that adding women to all-male teams leads to greater financial success. Firms with the most female board members outperform those with the least by almost every financial measure.

Yet women remain vastly underrepresented in boardrooms, in politics, in executive suites from Hollywood to Silicon Valley to Wall Street, and everywhere in between. Women alone can't transform a workplace culture that was created by and for men, which has allowed harassment to fester for all these years. We need men to join us.

In journalism, we talk a lot about "tipping points" and "defining moments." Very rarely do these moments truly last. As Irin Carmon pointed out recently in The Washington Post, some of the men who boast about being "allies" - including Weinstein, who publicly supported several women's initiatives - turn out to be anything but.

Yet perhaps this time will be different. Women aren't shouting into a vacuum anymore. The call for men to step up is coming from the men themselves. It's reaching across generations and across the political spectrum.

There's a growing realization that this isn't a "female problem," and that solving it isn't just good for women. It's good for all of us.

Joanne Lipman is editor in chief of USA TODAY and the author of "That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (And Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together," to be published by HarperCollins in February. Her views are separate from those of the USA TODAY Editorial Board.

all letters TO Acorn Oct 27 17 books cvusd, measure E, Cal Am, NFL Kneeling, growt issues

Developers, council counting on apathy

How many developers and Thousand Oaks City Council members are counting on the ignorance and apathy of a significant percentage of our electorate as they consider increasing the population of our city by up to 40 percent? How many residents know how to calculate how many people constitute a 40 percent increase?

Blessed Henry Louis Mencken, pray for us.

Robert Brown
Thousand Oaks

Iqbal  Quidwai   

Newbury Park CA 91320-1821 USA  I.quidwai at 

Let citizens settle density debate

Regarding the controversy over low density, high density, newhome construction, low-income housing, mixed-use high rises on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, deconstruction of Measure E and social and political leanings of the City Council, why not put all this to rest the democratic American way? Let us vote.

Let the majority of citizens of Thousand Oaks determine the future of our city.

Jill Henderson

Thousand Oaks

In defense of writer who spoke up on racism

I read the Acorn letters every week. I have many reactions to them. I agree, disagree, laugh, become a little informed or a little outraged, but I never respond. Until now.

I have to respond to Amy Telling's ignorant and hateful Oct. 12 letter calling a young woman with the guts to call out racism in the community a paid plant and a liar.

I've lived in this community since 1970. I've grown up here, gone through the public school system, got married and have now raised my own children in this lovely community.

But I have seen racism, bigotry and, most offensive to me, anti- Semitism exist here in this quiet little suburbia as far back as I can remember. No, it's not often. No, it's not pervasive. But it's not nonexistent.

I remember in the late 1970s when my family got a call that our synagogue had been desecrated with swastikas and going down to repaint the building. I remember in the 1980s when my brother, a Thousand Oaks High School student at the time, received a sketch by another student who had depicted Nazis and swastikas surrounding our family home and calling out my brother for being Jewish.

I also remember in 2010 in my daughter's fifth-grade classroom when a student carved a swastika onto her desk.

These events really happened. And they continue to happen.

We only have to look at the recent incident at NPHS—where someone broke into the announcer's booth and blasted hateful Hitler speech to all who could hear—for one such example.

I commend the young lady for speaking her truth and enlightening us all with her experiences so that we can be more aware of what actually does go on around here, even if we don't want to believe it.

We are a microcosm of the larger world here in our sleepy community, and Ms. Telling's letter proves that to us.

We need to speak out when we hear falsehoods so that this hatred does not fester and grow bigger without our noticing.

Julie Nolan
Newbury Park

Instances of bigotry in T.O. not hard to find

It turns out "tales" of racism are fact. Ann Telling, in her Oct. 12 letter, finds it difficult to believe that racist incidents happen in Thousand Oaks.

Mrs. Telling also believes that secret far-left operatives are being paid to write letters to create problems in our community, and she asks for proof of claims of hate crimes and racism. Specifically, she does not believe one claim that swastikas were drawn at a local middle school.

I just did a 10-second Google search. On March 5, 2009, the Acorn printed a story about just such a crime.

Here is an excerpt: "Two Thousand Oaks High School students were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, vandalism and the commission of a hate crime, police said. The arrests came on Feb. 19, two days after swastikas were painted on the locker of a 13-yearold Jewish student at Redwood Middle School. . . . Police served six search warrants at the homes of several students suspected of being involved, a police report said. Two male suspects, both 15, were arrested, charged and released into their parents' custody."

So, no, Mrs. Telling, the letter was not penned by a fake leftist operative. When I did a Google search on Thousand Oaks+swastikas and Thousand Oaks+racism, I found this is clearly not an isolated incident here.

Please, if you are reading this letter, take five minutes to educate yourself about these incidents. They are happening whether you want to believe or not.

Patricia Kessler

Thousand Oaks

Longtime resident wants city kept 'quiet'

I'd like to respond to last week's editorial, "People need homes—don't lock them out."

You say: "And to the critics who worry about more congestion, where were those same concerns when it was you who wanted to move here?" My parents moved here in the early '60s, establishing our family roots. Most of our family still live here.

Those of us through Facebook connections (I Grew Up in Newbury Park group) and just good oldfashioned face to face really love the fact that we have some kind of open space; we are still clinging to it and thankfully have passed the keeping open space measure.

So most people voted for keeping that open space. Most people love the fact we're not congested—yet.

The answer to that question for me and my family is this: We were here when it was quiet and we want to keep that quiet for as long as possible, and it sounds like a lot of people want to keep it that way, too.

Cherie Dumond Doherty
Thousand Oaks

Where do Gen Xers fit in Kosmont plan?

On Sept. 28, the Acorn reported that Larry Kosmont, an economic consultant hired by the City of Thousand Oaks, advised the City Council that sustained economic growth in this "aging" community can only be achieved by catering to millennials looking for nice apartments with amenities close to nightlife.

Mr. Kosmont advised the council to therefore consider higher density in some areas because millennials are not looking for the traditional picket-fence-style home with two cars in the garage.

Well, somewhere between the retirement-age population that Mr. Kosmont sees as the defining demographic in this city and the millennial generation that he believes the city so desperately needs to attract are the members of Generation X.

Gen Xers are nowhere near retirement age, yet they fuel the economy in this community of traditional picket-fence-style homes by, among other things, buying homes from empty-nesters and raising children here.

They settled down in Thousand

Oaks precisely because it is the antithesis of Mr. Kosmont's vision.

It's not high density; its boulevards are not laced with apartment buildings, and it's not a mecca of millennial nightlife.

If Gen Xers wanted to raise their families in that environment, they would have settled down in the San Fernando Valley.

Suffice it to say, if the City Council follows Mr. Kosmont's advice and starts amending the general plan to make way for apartment buildings and other higher-density development to threaten the lifestyle, environment and charm that attracted Gen Xers and their families to Thousand Oaks in the first place, it should get busy trying to figure out how it will sustain economic growth on the backs of apartment renters when real estate values start to fall and Gen Xers kiss this town goodbye.

Lawrence J. Imel
Thousand Oaks

Kids losing sense of what's inappropriate

A wise man once said, "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

It seems to me there is a prevalent tendency in some segments of our society today to focus and celebrate the opposite. This concerns me greatly, and it should concern every parent who realizes how desensitized we are becoming to what once was rightly considered highly inappropriate.

Would you want your 16-yearold son or daughter to be reading and sharing a very sexually explicit description of a father raping his young daughter and the pleasure he is deriving from it? Do you want your child discussing such disgusting and blatantly obscene material in an English class?

Well, it might just happen without you even being aware of it.

Take a look at, better yet, scrutinize, the CVUSD approvedreading list. You have a right as a parent to know what is being taught and to object if it compromises the values your family upholds.

I'm disappointed beyond belief that educators are focusing on books with objectionable and controversial themes for highschool age children. They will be exposed soon enough to mature themes during their university years. No need to do it now when they have yet to internalize the good values that their parents are trying to instill in them.

Like many of the adults in this community, I was never required to read objectionable materials in all my years of learning and yet managed, like many of you, to become a critical thinker, a lawabiding citizen and a contributing member of society.

How much more do we want to erode values like moral decency and integrity?

Educators and CVUSD leaders, please take a good look at the materials you are promoting. Would you feel comfortable reading any excerpt from any one of those books out loud in a public setting?

If the answer is yes, I feel sorry for your children and grandchildren, and I suggest you change careers for the benefit of our children.

Maria C. Bean
Newbury Park

Opt-out policy hurts teachers, students

As a former English teacher and a grandparent of three who've attended CVUSD schools, I've followed with interest the debate about including "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" in the curriculum.

I believe it's so important to include award-winning, current books like this among the great classics. For many students, it's a way to keep them interested: It may well be the beginning of a lifelong love of reading.

For many, books like these give our students a glimpse into the lives of Americans they don't come into contact with.

As Atticus Finch says in "To Kill a Mockingbird," "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

The discussions presented by teachers around books like this will hone critical-thinking skills, which is at the core of our greatness as a nation.

At a school board meeting, I listened to a board member promote the idea that the district adopt an opt-out policy in which teachers would have to provide an alternative assignment to any student whose parents did not approve of a book. From my own experience, I know how difficult this would be.

If teachers have to create separate assignments, the quality of education being provided now will be diluted. That would be a negative outcome for everyone.

Public schools serve the entire community. One of the strengths of our system is broadening young people's horizons, not narrowing them.

At the school board meeting I was so impressed by the articulate teachers and students who spoke as part of the community. CVUSD has been doing an outstanding job.

Let's not create roadblocks on the road to our students' success.

Cindy Muscatel

Thousand Oaks

Why no commentary on kneeling in NFL?

On the NFL players' protest, I'm surprised there hasn't been much commentary in the Acornabout the controversy of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Let me break the editorial silence. Without discussion of the substance of the NFL players' protest but affirming their right to do so, they must take it off the playing field and find another symbol for its focus—not my flag, not my anthem, not my country.

Meanwhile, I'm boycotting the NFL, its merchandise and its sponsors.

Robert Hodson
Thousand Oaks

Parents know what's best for their kids, period

Public hearing should be held in Thousand Oaks

What the heck? Has anyone else noticed the public hearing regarding Californian American Water's request to increase water rates for the Ventura County District on Oct. 30 is being held in downtown Los Angeles?

This is ridiculous. Any hearing concerning Ventura County should be held in Ventura County.

California American Water has to be pleased as punch this hearing is being held 40 miles from Thousand Oaks City Hall.

In addition to having to travel into the middle of Los Angeles at the peak of rush-hour traffic, parking is a minimum of $10.

Is there no way to force the removal of this hearing from Los Angeles to where it will be accessible to the people it is going to affect?

John Snyder

Newbury Park

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Editor's note: The notice described above is for a hearing unrelated to Cal Am Water's controversial rate-increase proposal. See related story here. KJ     TANKS KJ

Are you tired of people lecturing you through letters here about books kids "should" have to read at any age in public school, without parental consent?

Are you getting annoyed by those who insist they know what is best for your child, and you should just suck it up, buttercup, deal with modernity and stop trying to shelter your child from the real world?

A small group of activists thinks your voice, as parents and taxpayers, is not worthy of respect.

In a letter last week one activist's preachy lecture included "All men are created equal."

As if we prefer inequality? As if the Conejo Valley does not provide rights equally? A better representation of the diverse views of our community would suggest the "consent of the governed" first. Government works for us.

I'm very disappointed in elected school board member Betsy Connolly, who, during the Oct. 17 board meeting, belittled and marginalized many concerned parents because she does not agree with their choices.

This was well after she and her colleagues were handed a local survey answered by about 300 parents, guardians and citizens, resulting in near unanimous support for full disclosure and informed consent prior to studying profanity, obscenity, strong sexual content, violence and/or racist language.

I'm confident in the parents in this community that they are not just trying to "shelter" children from realities of the world, tough themes or valuable lessons.

Please find time in the coming weeks to express support for parents who only want informed consent prior to their children studying profanity, obscenity, strong sexual content, violence and racist materials.

They just want to have some control of the time and place for their individual child's exposure to such material.

I'm confident in the wisdom of our teachers, as they won't want to face future problems resulting from outraged parents whose children were not yet personally prepared to cope with some adult material forced on them. Harming even just a few is bad.

Even if a lesson is beneficial to most students, we should still protect the parents' right to informed consent.

Timothy Bond

Thousand Oaks

Policy would serve nonsecular interests

I urge the denial of opt-out procedures for literary works selected by faculty as CVUSD is discussing.

Contemporary works include issues such as diversity and modern problems in terms students can more easily understand. Parents can certainly discuss more controversial works with their students, but to opt out presents major problems.

Public school is a secular setting, and there are those who wish to have their own religious concepts supersede other factors.

I wrote to one school board member who responded and asked if I wanted to present pornography to students, an inaccurate representation of the literature being discussed for curriculum inclusion.

Also, it places an unfair burden on teachers to address multiple reading assignments rather than discussing one major work.

It's important to consider these points and extend our trust to our professional educators.

Dale Alpert

Westlake Village

'Challenging' has a variety of definitions

Those against parental rights use deceptive and disingenuous arguments such as "education is meant to be challenging," as if to imply that advocates for parental rights don't want a challenging education. That's completely asinine.

The crux of the issue is the different definitions of challenging. Challenging to me means rigorous, captivating and enlightening. It includes books of contemporary significance that speak to the core of the human experience, a profound reality that transcends time and place.

It's not chosen based on the author's nationality, religion, politics, race or gender. It's not chosen to fit any quotas.

Challenging to those on the other extreme may merely mean whatever's controversial. If it's shocking, profanity-filled, ageinappropriate and quota-filling, it fulfills the requirements of a good modern education.

If it portrays another race, it means it's diverse and inclusive. If it has salacious descriptions, it's called expansive and real world.

Then there are a majority who believe challenging is in the spectrum between these two extremes.

Modern is another word that has a wide variety of meanings. Obviously, we all want our kids to be prepared for the modern world and be exposed to modern ideas. Modern to me means complex literature relevant to contemporary issues.

However, the other extreme may think the modern education needs to mirror the worst of the modern delinquencies and depravities of the modern world. Anything less would be limiting.

And again, we probably have a majority that believe modern is somewhere between these two extremes. I say we respect all views, because we will never all agree to one ideology; we are different people with different views.

I challenge us to practice inclusion, diversity and mutual respect. We must have an informed parental disclosure, consent and choice on those controversial books. This allows for every parent according to their views, the right to choose for their child.

Amy Chen

Thousand Oaks