| Ventura County Star
Ventura has opportunity to rectify past mistake
By Mark Brandl
The cemetery in Ventura should be restored and the headstones that can be located and saved from the Olivas Golf Course levee or other locations must be replaced in Cemetery Park.
Whether a park is needed at that location or whether people need a place to let their dogs run is immaterial. This was the final resting place for Ventura's founding families, rich and poor alike. These people bought their little plots and paid for memorials so they would be remembered.
Just because we choose in this "enlightened" age to demand our selfish current needs be met in allowing us to use this as a park does not mitigate the fact that this is the final resting place of men and women and young children, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, peoples of native indigenous culture and immigrants alike.
We should respect and honor them in their final place of slumber.
The city of Oxnard has many fine old memorials in the Santa Clara Cemetery and I imagine there are many in Santa Paula as well. This is a fine testament to our past. The old Bard-Gerberding Cemetery in Hueneme on the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Ventura Road (formerly Fourth Street) is now covered over by a Taco Bell. What would those fine citizens think of our concept of the "better use" of that land?
Imagine the outcry if we decided to tear out all the headstones at Arlington Cemetery just to let people play Frisbee or have motor cross races. Many people might think that is a "better use" of that land as well. But it does not make it right and the decision of the City Council in the 1960s to desecrate the cemetery is an act that must be made whole by the City Council of today.
-- Mark Brandl lives in Oxnard.
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