The most ironic city council meeting in Fillmore’s history took place this past Tuesday. It was almost comical.
The Ventura County American Public Works Association (APWA) represented by Chris Hook, presented Mayor Walker with two beautiful plaques, one from the APWA for our new wastewater treatment plant construction, and another for the same plant, named Project of the Year at the National Engineers Week Banquet at the Reagan Library, February 18.

The irony begins with the fact that Walker was chosen to receive the awards, though she, with Councilwoman Washburn and Councilman Jamey Brooks were the three most vigorous voices against the plant design.

For six years these three, with the usual Katzenjammers (including failed former Mayor Gary Creagle) fought tooth and nail to stop this project. Their endless challenges against the project, in the face of a mountain of scientific information, and a huge amount of expert opinion recommending the project, cost the city more than a $1 million in delays. None of these people has any expertise at all in plant design or construction. They insisted the experts were wrong.

The plant was completed, below budget and ahead of schedule. This ended the huge mandatory fines which were accumulating each time the old plant failed to meet the new, stricter state and county clean water requirements.

So, Mayor Walker, no doubt, squirmed as she received the awards, especially because the man responsible for the successful completion of the plant sat behind her, unrecognized. That man was Director of Public Works, Bert Rapp.

Adding to the irony was Councilman Brooks, who took the happy occasion as an opportunity to slam the project with a dramatic verbal squeezing of bitter grapes. Brooks has no class, no sense of propriety, no common sense. He may be accurately characterized as a party pooper. Lucky for us that we now have the proper facility to handle it.


Transitional Finance Director, Anita Lawrence, was gracious in her presentation of the Mid-year Budget Review. She was acknowledged, by Councilman Steve Conaway, as haven worked especially hard to fix the train wreck of a budget cobbled together by interim finance director John Wooner and interim city manager Larry Pennell after former Finance Director Barbara Smith was “forced” into retirement by outrageous mistreatment. Their “budget” was nearly $9 million off. Let’s see, how much did the city pay these two fix-it men? And, why in the world was Ms. Smith’s offer to finish the budget she had started, free of charge, rejected?

Walker, Washburn, and Brooks were supposed to provide the ingenious solutions for cutting the budget and opening-up city government.

It seems like only yesterday when everyone watched Brian Sipes wave his copy of the Pennell-Wooner “budget”, proclaiming proudly, “We finally have a budget to be proud of.”

What a farce the new majority in city council has become. Jamey had his sword to cut the budget. Gayle had her engineering expertise. And, Walker was going to run the best, most open government in city history – except for a series of Brown Act violations.

Remember in November!