"Realities Revealed" Editorial - Link 10
[Editorial from Wednesday February 29th, 2012]


I missed last night’s council meeting. After reading the Star’s story, especially the comments from former failed Fillmore mayor (and non-resident) Gary “hothead” Creagle, appointed Mayor Gayle Washburn, and appointed Mayor Pro Tem Jamey “the preacher” Brooks, I thought all must be lost.

Au contraire! Justice may be glacially slow, but Fillmore seems to be sliding to a successful conclusion regarding the Owens & Minor tax case.

According to our outback political philosopher Creagle (didn’t know he was a “retired sheriff’s deputy”) the 2003 tax contracts with two consultants are “a scam”. That implies illegality. He finds the whole thing “...utterly disgusting”. He thanked the council for bringing this matter (which has been litigated since 2009) “to light, so the citizens of Fillmore know why we have no money.”

Oh – is that why we have no money?

And Washburn told the Ventura Star that “...the negatives [regarding this arrangement] have outweighed the positives”. Really?

And, as for preacher Brooks (who once informed a stunned audience that he “has come to bring not peace, but a sword” -- those words have a familiar ring) the contract with Owen & Minor was “not my idea of good ethics”.

All of this condemnation and criticism seems curious in light of the Superior Court’s finding in the matter. The contract was found to be completely valid in the law, and without taint of wrongdoing or bad intent of any kind. The city merely exercised its constitutional right to make a contract, which was hugely beneficial to the City of Fillmore. That contract remains valid and enforceable, and was determined to be so when the city’s demur was upheld in court.

According to City Attorney Ted Schneider, the city will not have to pay a penny for the Owens & Minor deal. It stands as agreed to. Mr. Schneider is also confident that the city will prevail in the O&M tax allocation dispute at the Board of Equalization. An agreement has been reached between the Board of Equalization staff and attorneys have agreed that from 2009 forward, sales tax generated by O&M belongs to Fillmore.

That decision is being appealed by the City of Livermore and the City of Industry administratively.

It is uncertain, however, that the city will be successful in the case of six other retailers (in addition to O&M) which are in reallocation proceedings with the Board of Equalization. Therefore, the city may lose some funds to reallocation, but the Board is escrowing sufficient money to cover any such reallocations in the event the city is unsuccessful in those six other cases.

The sanctimonious expression of outrage and disapproval from the Katzenjammers is just so much hypocrisy. On the one hand they strain to find fault with the former councils which approved the O&M contract. On the other, they crave that money to replace the millions they have squandered through waste and gross mismanagement, from the North Fillmore Specific Plan and Measures H and I, to the present. Include in that mismanagement the methodical deconstruction of staff, department heads, employees, and all of the foolish machinations of temporary and interim replacements.

This council, with the exception of Councilman Conaway, has been a total disaster.