The citizens of Fillmore owe a debt of gratitude to Richard McKee of Californians Aware, and his attorney Kelly Aviles for discovering several Brown Act violations by the Fillmore City Council majority, and for insisting that the violations were admitted and cured.

There remains a stubborn reluctance in the council majority to fully admit these violations, even though they have a signed a settlement with McKee and Aviles. The settlement mandated that a refresher course on the Brown Act be attended by the entire council. This was accomplished at last night’s regular meeting at city hall. It was an ego-bruising embarrassment, and some of their expressions showed this. Councilman Brooks is reported to have stated that he didn’t need this sort of schooling, but recent history proves he is wrong.


Councilwoman Washburn took time during the meeting to criticize general comments by Councilman Conaway, in a recent Ventura Star. Washburn stated that she didn’t appreciate having the entire council characterized as being shocked or disappointed upon learning of the shut-down of the Boys & Girls Club. Brooks chimed in, stating that he, also, was not “disappointed” upon learning of that fact. However, the Star article did not quote Conaway in that regard. This sort of pettiness has become a hallmark of the Katzenjammer coalition on the council.

Conaway has been correct in just about every important issue that has confronted the new council this year, and is rarely listened to. Most recently, he was correct about the Brown Act violations for which the city has had to pay $6,000 in legal fees to Aviles. The council majority also repeatedly rejected Conaway’s complaints of legal irregularities.

This has been the worst year of the past 20 in terms of willful, negligent, and very costly actions taken by the new council majority. Determined hostility and deliberate lack of cooperation with the council minority (Conaway and Hernandez) by the majority (Walker, Brooks and Washburn) is an unwelcome leftover from last November’s election. The Katzenjammers intended to wipe-out all incumbents, including the city clerk. They almost got a clean sweep, putting in Brooks, Washburn, and Westling (city clerk), all under the auspices of ex-(failed) Mayor, Gary Creagle. They got three of four.

This was the most intense, well-planned and focused campaign in Fillmore’s history. This group promised everything in its effort to “take back our town” – and has delivered nothing but confusion, confrontation, and the most costly series of mistakes and blunders in city history.

Before year’s end the Gazette will compile a report on the state of the city, its finances, its achievements, and its failures. It will include a brief comparison to the previous council’s achievements and failures. I can promise some stunning differences.