Last night’s council meeting was unnecessarily long and needlessly provocative. With the November election close at hand, I guess we’re in for some candidate grandstanding.

It was also showtime for the Gazette’s struggle to prove its status as the only official newspaper of record for the City of Fillmore.

Since May, when the city was provided a memorandum on the legal status (adjudication) of the Gazette, until last night, the council majority (Mayor Patti Walker, Mayor pro-tem Gayle Washburn, and Councilman Jamey Brooks) has striven to hand this official status to the Ventura Star, a local daily newspaper. The law on this matter couldn’t be more clear, that is, the Gazette is the only properly adjudicated newspaper in the world for the City of Fillmore; the Gazette, alone, is entitled to publish the city’s legal notices, as it has done for many years.

For political and personal reasons alone, these three council members have delayed the inescapable decision to approve the Gazette’s status for fiscal year 2010-2011. Since May these three, with the cooperation of City Manager Yvonne Quiring, have solicited the Ventura Star to bid on this issue and become newspaper of record. The so-called bidding process was all but fraudulent in its disregard for established protocol, especially with regard to mandated bid specifications. The relevant law, as presented to the city, was deliberately disregarded, and the futile delay has cost the city in the no-contract interim.

This entire scenario deserves an in-depth story of its own. It is a textbook case of three unethical council members seeking to thwart the law for their own personal and political purposes.

The Gazette was faced with a hostile audience last night. The usual Gazette haters, Ken Creason, Bob Stroh, and Gloria Hansen, all card-carrying Katzenjammers, expressed their unhappiness, not with the Gazette, but with my editorials. Their complaints were pathetically petty. Stroh’s complaints began with “...eighteen years ago...” and claimed that we were withholding his subscription. Then he complained about not receiving fair space for his letters. Please refer to Also, Realities, August 3, 2009. Creason hated my editorials as well, falsely stating that the paper failed to report the $500 donation from Brian Sipes and his mom to the salad bar at the Senior Center. Please refer to the April 15, 2010 edition. We would never ignore a story of this magnitude; we’re talking 500 heads of lettuce! And Hansen thought my editorials were too mean-spirited. Therefore, they all concluded, take away the Gazette’s status as newspaper of record and give it to the Star. Besides, the council majority added, a daily has a much larger circulation. To which I say, of course, but the Gazette is 100 percent dedicated to Fillmore news, where the Star’s coverage is insignificant. We’re here all day, every day, through earthquake, fire, and flood – for the past 21 years.

Had the award gone to the Star (temporarily) it would have been the first time in 100 years that any paper outside city limits had that honor. The bidding process (which should not have taken place) was completely corrupted. The Star’s cover letter is filled with serious false and misleading statements, and numbers. This hub-bub was all political.

During the past year or so the Star has attempted to lure me into their list of customers. I’ve toured the plant and received two teams of Star executives here in Fillmore. Their offer was more than generous from every angle. Two things kept me from going with them. First, I have been printed by an excellent company for several years. Secondly, I felt, bottom line, that I couldn’t trust the Star – which suspicion was proven by their attempt to steal the newspaper of record distinction from me in Fillmore, a legal impossibility.

A fuller revelation of this bizarre story is merited – a bag of salt to rub in the wound is due to the Star for its sorry machinations.