Tuesday, former Ventura County Sheriff Larry Carpenter formally endorsed Commander Geoff Dean for sheriff in the June election. “Carp” has the highest praise for Dean’s integrity, experience, and ability.

Commander Dean has a very impressive 32-year record of public service, and is endorsed by every independently appointed police chief in the County. He is also endorsed by “every organization representing front-line law enforcement professionals.”

The numerous high-level endorsements for Dean are significant evidence of his proven character and ability. But, for those of us who know and admire former Sheriff Larry Carpenter, lifetime resident of Fillmore, “Carp’s” endorsement is persuasive enough; certainly enough for me. I must join in endorsing Geoff Dean for Ventura County Sheriff.


There has been some confusion concerning last week’s council story. In question was the reference to the city budget and an alleged $9 million error. The reference cited, verbatim, “Some things were budgeted more than once, by $9 million.” was taken from Finance Director Anita Lawrence’s statement at the meeting.

Ms. Lawrence was praised for her work in correcting the budget mess left by Pennell and Wooner, not criticized.
This budget problem begins with the new council majority severing all meaningful communications with former Finance Director Barbara Smith, forcing her to resign two years early, before she was able to complete the last part of the budget. No one was qualified to take her place, and the council Katzenjammers refused Barbara’s offer to assist in finishing the budget, free of charge. Her offer was rejected. Time being of the essence, council finally found Pennell and Wooner, a friend of Pennell’s, to rescue the budget as interim employees.
Rather than finish what Ms. Smith had already completed, they decided to go creative with an entirely new budget format. The whole thing proved to be a disaster, remaining unfinished and full of errors (at least 30) when Wooner suddenly told everyone he had to go. Prior to this, Interim City Manager Pennell alarmed the entire city with his (erroneous) announcement that we would be bankrupt in 18 months with immediate drastic cut-backs.
Then, the budget was taken-up by Anita Lawrence, who has done a great job with this third attempt, stitching Smith’s, and Wooner’s partial budgets together, and making sense out of it all.

The disgraceful treatment of Barbara Smith by the Katzenjammers (Councilmembers Brooks, Washburn, and Walker) created this frustrating and very expensive problem. There is just no way to cover-up the responsibility here. Barbara Smith could have (as she had done for 23 years) finished the budget, then quietly retired.

Therefore, kudos to Ms. Lawrence for doing a good job.

If the Katzenjammers would act like grown-ups, admitting their mistakes and checking their misbehavior, we could all move on. But I don’t see how this would be possible without the truth being made of record. These problems are not small and inconsequential. These problems are the result of bad management by intensely political micromanagers who have little experience on the job, and even less respect for staff members. The object of their election plans was to get all of their people in, and all of the experienced people out, one way or another. They have succeeded in wrecking the management of city hall which had been highly competent. It was their expressed intent to eliminate key management at city hall – and they succeeded.

Our new city manager is doing a very good job. What’s left of staff, and new staff seem to have survived. Let’s hope city government continues to improve.


My condolences to the family of “Dick” Schuck who passed away this week. I didn’t know him well, but well enough to recognize a hero. Dick was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division which parachuted behind lines a day before D Day in WWII. He had many adventures during the war. Dick told me that he was assigned to a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) which was quite heavy, though he was one of the smallest guys in his company. He always had a smile for everyone. He will be greatly missed.
Rest In Peace, Dick.