A last minute attempt to have our city council members address a letter from Mr. Roegner has mostly failed due to time constraints. At press time we have received comments from Councilman Steve Conaway alone. Other members were unable to respond on such short notice, but we appreciate their efforts. The Gazette will reserve the same space for those other members who may wish to respond next week.

As for my opinion on the issues Mr. Roegner raises in his letter:
The concept may be too difficult for Mr. Roegner to understand, but the loan term for plant construction was deliberately extended from 20 years to 40 years to greatly reduce the monthly payment burden on Fillmore residents. This is the same reason, Dave, that causes most people to accept a 30 year mortgage on their homes rather that a 15 or 20 year loan, monthly payments are lower.

As for the PERC company building our plant for “half price”, again Mr. Roegner fails to understand the simplest fact: While PERC talked about building the plant at half the price, THEY CHOSE NOT TO BID ON THE PROJECT! I repeat: PERC’s talk of building the plant at half the price was just that – talk. They chose not to bid on the job. Neither Mr. Roegner nor Mr. Sipes understand the difference between an informal “proposal” and a legally binding “bid”. Instead, the winning bidder (the most experienced contractor in the country for such projects) built a magnificent plant for us, coming in months ahead of schedule and under cost estimates. Our (much praised) Design-Build-Operate contract also relieves us of the burden of financing further maintenance, etc.
Our new treatment plant is also highly efficient, and was recognised as Project of the Year by the County of Ventura. The last time I checked (many months ago) our plant had received at least 8 other prestigious awards for design and function. All of the many experts the city consulted recommended the system we constructed. And, the hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of fines we have paid and still owe for “polluting” the river are finally gone, never to return. I know this will not suffice to explain the situation to you Dave, but I have tried, once again.

As for your last fatuous complaint, concerning the lucrative agreement for sales taxes from two other cities, which will bring in millions to the City of Fillmore: It was extensively vetted during council sessions, carefully studied by our legal counsel and found to be a completely lawful contract. Lawful contracts are constitutionally protected, Dave, and this was a windfall which came to us – we did not seek it out, if that matters. The courts have since validated the lawfulness of the agreement. The spurious lawsuit filed against the city in this matter was thrown out of court. The fact that funds have not been released to the city thereafter is evidence of a corrupt legal system, not a reflection of any wrongdoing by the city. This contract was composed of a lawful offer, a lawful acceptance by the city, and lawful consideration paid to the city. Regardless of what Sacramento does after the fact, by way of legislating this sort of agreement into a prohibitive status, the legislature is wrong and is inflicting just another wound into the constitutional fabric of our state and nation.
So, our council at that time did the correct, intelligent, lawful, and ethical thing. Congratulations to those past council members.

ELECTION DAY is nearly here. For what it’s worth, these are the candidates I support:

City Council: David Lugo. Mr. Lugo has had no previous council experience, is presently serving as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner. I recall another city councilman, Evaristo Barajas. Evaristo had no previous experience before taking office. But he learned quickly and became a distinguished multi-term councilman and mayor. Mr. Lugo has the same potential, and he is fiscally conservative with common sense.

I must say, my next endorsement causes me real pain. I have, and rightly, criticized her for many things, including micromanagement and various bad decisions. However, under the frightful circumstances this year’s candidate quality present, I simply have no choice but to endorse Mayor Patti Walker. This is more than awkward for me. But the alternatives would be devastating.

School Board:

Without hesitation, I endorse Lucy Rangel, Mark Austin, and Kim Rivers. I have met each of these good folks and think each would bring new life and a fresh perspective to our school board. They all have strong qualifications and equally strong characters. I am very happy to endorse Lucy, Mark, and Kim.