I recall, partially, an old saying my Dad once told me. It had to do with avoiding bad company. It went something like this: A drunk stumbled out of a frontier-age bar and fell into the earthen street gutter, where a pig happened to be resting. I only remember the final words, “You can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses, and the pig got up and slowly walked away.”

This image came to mind as I received the great news that Fillmore has, again, won its argument with the Board of Equalization. The city’s much-condemned tax sharing contract concerning Owens and Minor, which has existed since 2003, has been validated by the Board. The bad company alluded to in the short scenario is like Fillmore’s Katzenjammers; reasonable residents of Fillmore should walk away from their infamous political shenanigans.
This political cabal has swept away virtually all of the honorable, competent members of city government in the past two years. It’s truly amazing. Gone is more than a hundred years of city government experience, driven away by insufferable arrogance and micromanagement habits of the Katzenjammers who have opposed the great achievements of prior councils and city managers, and staff.

I would like to refer readers to the Fillmore Gazette website: fillmoregazette.com, to a letter submitted by former (20-year) City Manager Roy Payne. It is dated 06-08-2009. Roy identifies the hierarchy in the Klub Katz cabal, as Washburn, Brooks, Westling, Creagle, Stroh, Walker, Sipes, etc. Roy focuses on this tax sharing contract with remarkable clarity. It’s worth a read. And, Roy is correct!

Everything this group has touched has turned to economic rot. They pushed the north Fillmore Measures H and I, which will cost the city at least $300,000. They fought against the water treatment plant, completely ignorant of what they were opposing. They have repeatedly criticized the Owens and Minor tax sharing contract, which has brought millions of dollars into our city coffers, designated for the Reserve General Fund, earmarked for additional police services. (Please see: Sales Tax Revenue Sharing, fillmoregazette.com September 24, 2008 for more detail)

Four of five city council members are charter member Katzenjammers, as is our new city clerk. Only Councilman Steve Conaway remains to stem the flow of enthusiastic council stupidity.

Well, the election is over. Let’s see how Walker, Washburn, Brooks, and Sipes unscramble the mess they have created. Wait until the money begins to flow out of city coffers to re-do the entire north Fillmore plan. Wait to see exactly where all of that mandated low and very low income housing has to be shoehorned in the few remaining buildable areas within city limits. Watch as all of the remaining (now unbuildable) land in north Fillmore goes back to weeds as landowners abandon their plans.

How many times must we hear Katzenjammers like Bob Stroh jabber away about how terribly dishonorable and “unethical, illegal, and immoral” the tax contract is? It’s just incredible. Talk about keeping bad company! I have to wonder if most of the City of Fillmore is asleep while this sort of deception continues.

With Obama at the helm it seems America is headed across the river Styx without a guide. Let’s hope Fillmore can somehow avoid finding itself up that infamous creek without a decent fiscal paddle.

 


 

I’m going to use my editorial space to answer Bob Stroh’s letter. Bob is the Katzenjammer’s unofficial propaganda go-to guy. He spiels what he is fed without properly digesting it.

Space is particularly short this Thanksgiving week so my answers have been inserted after each question, in italics.

A few facts should be noted: PERC did not bid for the Fillmore job. There are significant geological differences between Santa Paula and Fillmore sites. Both plants were mandated by Sacramento. Both plants treat water for the same result, very differently.

Much of Bob’s letter expresses his own uninformed opinion. Much of it is simply false.

A letter from PERC relates to this subject and is included at the end of this editorial.

Re: Gazette Editorial (11/11/2010) To address incorrect information and clarify issues.
By Bob Stroh
“Gazette: Construction Costs” “The total capital cost of the Fillmore project is $82 million.” Fillmore’s complete cost will be published before the end of this year, it will come in at about $76M, Santa Paula has never published its complete project cost. This includes $26 million for effluent disposal. So if the plant was only $39 million, where did the other $17 million go? The Santa Paula plant is twice the size of ours and their plant capital cost was $44 million with $8 million for effluent disposal. These numbers are incorrect: Santa Paula’s bid price was $57M. Their buyout price from PERC is currently $85M or Fair Market Value, whichever is greater, just for the plant. Fillmore’s prices include construction bid price, land, legal, environmental, RWQCB costs, consultants, etc. Santa Paula’s prices are only the construction bid price.

“The truth is that the extreme costs of this sewer plant are due to the plan (undisclosed and unknown until recently) for ratepayers to subsidize the Business Park. The cost of the land, the levee and River Street extension would not have been incurred had the City used another site on land we already owned. In addition, the extended sewer mains, utility infrastructure and storm drains (from D St. to Plant) increased costs. THE MAIN REASON THE PLANT WAS SITED AT ITS CURRENT LOCATION WAS TO FACILITATE AND SUBSIDIZE THE BUSINESS PARK. KDF is NOT helping the City, the City and taxpayers are helping KDF. The question is whose plan is this?” The reason the plant was built where it is was so it would be in the downstream corner of the City for long term system efficiency. The old analogy that “stuff” runs downhill holds true. The City made the location decision before it knew that the plant’s future neighbor, KDF Communities would contribute $3M to pay for 50% of the levee and for all of River Street from C Street to E Street. Partnering with the Business Park was a bonus to building the plant in the correct location. Business Park owners have helped reduce costs to Fillmore rate payers, not increased them as Mr. Stroh would have readers believe.

Gazette: “Fillmore owns its plant outright while Santa Paula has a buyout clause”
“Fillmore does not own its plant outright because it carries a 40 year bond debt of $57 million principal plus $77 million in interest, ($134 million). This does not include $19 million taken from the Redevelopment Agency. Plus whatever debt service is associated with that.” It’s naïve to think that Santa Paula is not paying interest on the cost of the plant. Their rate payers are paying interest for the financing of the plant only they’re paying for it through the monthly payments to PERC. If the City of Santa Paula desires to buy the plant, at any time, even 30 years from now, they’ll have to pay $85 M or Fair Market Value whichever is greater. Some say it’s the same as leasing a car for 3 years then buying the car at original sticker price plus dealer mark ups.

Gazette: “In every way Fillmore’s plant is far superior in cost and efficiency.”
“Santa Paula's plant has a much smaller footprint, saving millions in land costs. (Fillmore paid $2.4 million just for land purchase.) Santa Paula's plant can be operated by 3 operators. Fillmore requires 6. Both plants have won awards and are recognized as state of the art.” The Fillmore bid included a credit if the contractor used less land. This would have given PERC a $1M advantage had they bid the Fillmore project but they chose not to. How much did Santa Paula pay for the land for their plant? I think it was about $5M. Fillmore’s 6 member staff maintains not only the plant but the collection system throughout the city as well as well as the recycled water system. Santa Paula’s 3 member staff only runs the plant.

“It seems like the Santa Paula paper is keeping its citizens informed. If the Gazette did, citizens would know about the issues with Fillmore’s plant. Including; the delays to get an APCD permit, that W. M. Lyle’s took all of the “open book” funds(intended for cost savings sharing), and the 21 change orders, some of which were implemented prior to Council approval. In Santa Paula, this is what caused their Public Works Director to be fired.” The confusion expressed in Santa Paula concerning rates and interest is quoted from the Santa Paula Times, with permission. The City of Santa Paula has not said why they terminated their Public Works Director and all the rest of the Public Works staff other than for budget cutting reasons. Can Mr. Stroh produce evidence from the City of Santa Paula stating that his statement is fact based? All of the change orders were implemented with proper City Council Approval. Of the 21 change orders 16 were requested by the City, 3 were requested and paid for by business park neighbors, 2 were requested by the contractor for changed conditions. All of the 21 change orders amounted to 7.7%, the contractor requested change orders were about 2%, a normal construction project budgets 10% for change orders.

“Santa Paula’s current sewer rates are lower than Fillmore’s sewer rates.” Santa Paula = $77, Fillmore = $82. Santa Paula is twice as big as Fillmore and should have an economy of scale and pay less per gallon treated. Santa Paula has twice as many customers to divide the cost over and they are not recycling the water. Santa Paula’s rates should have been $20 per month lower than Fillmore not $5. Santa Paula like Fillmore could not afford to discharge to the river because it was too expensive. Santa Paula’s geology enabled them to utilize percolation ponds at a cost of $8M while Fillmore had to implement a water recycling program at a cost of $13M. All of these reasons should have given Santa Paula very low sewer rates. How much higher would Santa Paula rates be if they had poor geology and had to recycle the water?

- “Santa Paula’s monthly “all-in” costs of the facility is $19 per resident (including all capital replacement reserves), while Fillmore’s “all-in” cost of their facility is at least $31 per resident (excluding all capital replacements reserves).” The standard cost comparison is in the sewer rates themselves and the population of the city. Who knows what formula for “all-in” is?

- “Santa Paula will own their facility at no transfer cost at the end of the 30-year contract whereas Fillmore will have an additional 10 years to pay off their bonds in order to own their facility unencumbered.” This statement ignores the Santa Paula Agreement with PERC. In 2010 the purchase price starts at $85M for the $57M plant and reduces each year thereafter down to $0 on December 31, 2040, provided, however, that the Fair Market Value of the Facility is not higher. So the buyout fee in year 2040 will be $0 if PERC has run the plant into the ground due to lack of maintenance (not a realistic scenario) or it could be the sky’s the limit Fair Market Value if PERC takes good care of the plant. So Santa Paula’s cost in 2040 will be $0 for a plant that needs work or perhaps sky’s the limit for a plant that is in good condition. During the next 30 years Santa Paula is paying for the debt service on the plant through the monthly service fee to PERC but at the end of the 30 years they would have to pay again if they want to own their plant (see Santa Paula Times article 11/18/10). Fillmore on the other hand owns their plant from the start. The comments provided are for demonstrative purposes only and should be used to illustrate the terms of the Santa Paula contract only. PERC is a reputable company providing a critical service to the citizens of the cities they serve.

- “Santa Paula does not have an interest rate or any interest rate risk for 30-years.” Fillmore does not have an “interest rate risk” as the city secured a fixed rate for the life of the loan.

- “Both American Water and PERC were hired to provide critical infrastructure and operations services to their respective cities. The specifics of the decision making process for each city is not transferable to the other city. Citizens of both cities are paying a high price to meet the State Mandates which originated under the Clean Water Act.”

Mr. Stroh suggests that the plant could have been built somewhere else but he neglects to state where. He wants readers to believe that the new plant could have been built on the old plant site as a cost saving measure. Ventura County found out that building a new plant on top of an existing operating plant yields higher costs, hence the reason they shifted focus and bought land to site the new plant after they rejected the first round of bids for the Piru plant.

It’s Stroh’s belief that the plant was built to help KDF and the business park! This sort of outrageous slur typifies Katzenjammer propaganda. The plant was built were it was because it was logical, appropriate, achievable and the least cost option. The plant had to be built regardless of any developer or development now or into the future. The plant was built to comply with a State Mandate, not to help developers. There is no point demanding proof from Stroh, he has none.

Every change order was approved by the city council. Yes, Fillmore is dealing with another regulatory agency in securing a permit (APCD, county air quality, but this involves simply education about our new state-of-the-art monitor. Our plant has zero harmful emissions – one reason for its many awards). This is not even an issue.

Bob seems to live to diminish Fillmore’s achievements. He and the Katzenjammers continue to do the same with regard to the lawful, beneficial, and completely moral sales tax controversy. The Katzenjammers are shameless.

Both communities were faced with an imposing unfunded mandate from the State of California. Elected officials in both cities met the challenge of complying with the mandate. Each city took a different path to achieve its goal. Fillmore has met the all the challenges and has a facility that will serve it well for decades to come.

Martin Farrell

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Letter from PERC

Santa Paula’s Water Recycling Facility: The Facts
At the conclusion of the reprinted Santa Paula Times article “SP Council Forum: Cost of new water recycling plant sparks comments” by Peggy Kelly from the November 10th edition of The Fillmore Gazette, a misleading editorialized comparison of the Santa Paula and Fillmore Water Recycling Facilities was added to the end of the article. The facilities cannot be compared without demonstrating the difference in their procurement, capacity and process.
PERC Water believes the City of Fillmore should be applauded for its innovative selection of the DBO delivery method for its new facility. Here are the facts about the Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility:
- The Fillmore facility was contracted as a Design-Build-Operate (DBO) project, requiring the City of Fillmore to fund the full capital cost to design, build and commission the facility.
- The City of Santa Paula used the Design-Build-Operate-Finance (DBOF) delivery method and was not required to fund any capital costs to design, build and commission the facility. The City of Santa Paula pays a set monthly Service Fee effective the commencement of operations, which includes the following components:
o All capital for the design, construction and commissioning of the facility
o Interest during construction (two years)
o Equipment replacements and capital expenditures for 30-years, including risk
o Interest rate risk for 30-years
o O&M costs and power consumption risk for 30-years
o Future expansion from 3.4 MGD to 4.2 MGD
- Santa Paula does not have an interest rate or any interest rate risk for 30-years. All risks associated with interest rate fluctuations are assumed by Santa Paula Water LLC.
- Santa Paula residents currently pay for a 4.2 MGD facility, whereas Fillmore’s residents currently pay for a 1.8 MGD facility. Fillmore’s cost to expand the facility from 1.8 MGD to 2.4 MGD is not included in the DBO cost.
- Santa Paula’s current sewer rates are lower than Fillmore’s sewer rates.
- Santa Paula’s monthly “all-in” costs of the facility is $19 per resident (including all capital replacement reserves), while Fillmore’s “all-in” cost of their facility is at least $31 per resident (excluding all capital replacements reserves).
- Santa Paula will own their facility at no transfer cost at the end of the 30-year contract whereas Fillmore will have an additional 10 years to pay off their bonds in order to own their facility unencumbered.
- Santa Paula’s facility was completed seven months in advance of the mandated regional deadline for completion.
- Santa Paula’s facility was recognized as the most energy efficient and cost effective MBR facility by Dr. Shane Trussell, a leading expert in Membrane wastewater treatment process technology.
- Santa Paula’s facility reduced the expected wastewater treatment power consumption costs by at least 15% as a result of design enhancements made by PERC Water – a savings they are splitting with the City of Santa Paula.
- Santa Paula’s facility uses 70% less land (5 acres) than the City had anticipated.
- Santa Paula’s facility financing structure has been recognized internationally by Global Water Intelligence as a “ground-breaking transaction, which can be emulated across the United States.”
- The City of Santa Paula selected the DBOF delivery method instead of a PERC Water DBO proposal that considered City financing.
- Santa Paula’s facility is in full compliance with the Regional Board’s waste discharge permit for what the Facility is intended to treat.
- More than 85% of the construction hours worked on the facility were from local union workers.

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Read Stroh’s letter here http://www.fillmoregazette.com/letters/november-25th-2010

 


 

A good many notable things have happened in Fillmore during the past week.

Fillmore High School football team played Santa Paula High School for the 100th time, in the oldest such rivalry in California’s history. Sadly, the Flashes lost by 3 points in a very exciting event. The game was covered by TV and radio stations as never before. Congratulations to each member of the Fillmore team for playing so well and so hard. Kudos also go to Steve Conaway for his play-by-play coverage and to the Booster Club for its incredibly hard work in planning this historic game. The entire event was professionally executed.

***

The Fillmore High School Hall of Fame Committee, under the direction of Joe Woods, admitted approximately 80 new athletes. This was an enormous undertaking lasting more than 4 hours. A complete story with photos will be published in next week’s edition of the Gazette.

***

Many thanks go to Dick Diaz who wrote the story on last week’s special dinner for Santa Paula and Fillmore football players. Dick always does a superb job and is always ready to help. Commemorative certificates and plaques were presented on behalf of several dignitaries, and both teams and cheerleaders enjoyed a fine dinner.

 


 

What had been known as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of hostilities in WWI, is now recognized as Veterans Day. November 11 was chosen for this important holiday because the armistice caused the fighting to end on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The unprecedented human slaughter of that world conflict was to be followed by WW2, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and several other conflicts all over the world.

What we celebrate and solemnly commemorate on Veterans Day is not the Armistice, or the several treaties. We celebrate and honor the strength and bravery of our men and women who have fought and died defending our nation as millions of soldiers, sailors, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guardsmen.

Today it is particularly important to remember these sacrifices because a powerful, radical Leftist influence is eating away at America, its Constitutional foundation and most treasured traditions. Let’s all remember the price our military heroes paid to preserve America, and remain ready to fight and defeat our enemies, foreign and domestic.

* * *

I want to thank Don Johnson, publisher of the Santa Paula Times, for permitting the Gazette to run a story by that paper’s distinguished reporter, Peggy Kelly (see article here http://www.fillmoregazette.com/community/reprint-santa-paula-times-regar...). The story reveals the serious problems Santa Paula is having with its new water treatment plant, constructed by PERC, the company our Katzenjammers fought so hard to have build Fillmore’s plant.

I invite readers to compare the consequences of the PERC contract with the outcome under Fillmore’s contract with American Water. Kennedy Jenks designed our new plant (as well as the original 1955 plant), and W.M. Liles did the construction (which is exceptional). Be proud – our plant has received 8 awards for design and function. It is the state-of-the-art standard in the industry.

Fillmore vs. Santa Paula sewer costs. Here are some facts regarding the Santa Paula sewer contract.

SANTA PAULA:
The Design, Build, Operate and Finance Agreement dated June 16, 2008 between the City of Santa Paula and Pacific Environmental Resources Corporation (PERC) contains the following:
Article IV of the Agreement gives the City the option to pay, at any time, a “Design/Build Buyout Fee”. Payment of this fee by the City eliminates the Design/Build Component of the Service Fees and also conveys title of the Facility to the City. In other words the City of Santa Paula and those that pay a sewer bill do not own the plant until they pay this fee.
The Design/Build Payout Fee is set forth in a Schedule found in Appendix 6 of the agreement. The Fee starts at $85,266,689 (Construction bid price was $57,307,351) upon final completion of the facility (August 2010) and reduces each year thereafter down to $0 on December 31, 2040. Provided, however, the definition of the Design/Build Payout Fee states that the Fee shall be the greater of (a) the Fair Market Value of the Facility, or (b) the applicable fee set forth in Appendix 6. So the buyout fee will be greater than the $85 million and greater at any time than the de-escalating scale shown in Appendix 6.
After, paying the Design/Build Payout Fee, the City is still obligated to pay the annual O&M Component of the Service Fees, paid on a monthly basis and adjusted annually in accordance with the Consumer Price Index – All Consumers (LA, Riverside, Orange County (All Items Less Energy). The City also has the option to terminate the O&M Component by paying the O&M Service Termination Fee set forth in a Schedule found in Appendix 6 of the agreement. The Termination Fee starts at $1,410,363. The Termination Fee reduces to $0 on December 21, 2040.
Payment by the City of Santa Paula for both the Design/Build Payout Fee and the O&M Service Termination Fee ($85,000,000 + $940,000) would give the City complete ownership and control of the Facility.

FILLMORE:
Fillmore’s construction bid price was $ 42,742,454 - $2,900,343 reimbursed by our neighbor KDF for 50% of the Sespe Creek levee and River Street = $39,842,111. Fillmore owns the plant outright. We also have a termination fee of $520,000 as of November 2010 that reduces by 1/20th every year.
FILLMORE / SANTA PAULA SEWER PROJECT COMPARISONS
FILLMORE: Construction Bid Price - $39,842,111
SANTA PAULA: Construction Bid Price - $57,30,351
FILLMORE: Buyout Price - $0
SANTA PAULA: Buyout Price - $85,000,000
FILLMORE: Operations Termination Price - $520,000
SANTA PAULA: Operations Termination Price - $1,410,363

The Santa Paula treatment plant should have provided significantly lower sewer fees than Fillmore’s due to efficiency of scale, Santa Paula having about twice the population of Fillmore. As you can see, this is not the case. In every way Fillmore’s plant is far superior in cost and efficiency. Our plant came in under cost and well ahead of schedule. And, Santa Paula doesn’t even own its plant!

This is proof that the Katzenjammers, with their cute tactics (remember the “Sewercide” antics?) phony technical data, and unending complaints and redundant demands for “answers”, were wrong all along. This cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in waste due to delay and obstruction. That they will never admit this is evidence of their fundamental duplicity, which characterizes the ethos of that organization, Klub Katz.

* * *

Grad Night Live needs a new place to park the cars donated to it for re-sale as part of its fundraising activity. For 20 years Raelene Cheney has supervised this life-saving non-profit organization. I hope the city might provide space (perhaps at its maintenance yard) for a few cars. The need is great. The time is short.

* * *

Untruthful, emotional statements from Katzenjammers at the council meeting podium are neither new nor surprising. They are tedious and sometimes humorous, but almost always false. Comments by Ken Creason, Gary Creagle, and their ilk are typical. Creason did not disappoint at Tuesday’s city council meeting. His complaints against the Gazette, me personally, and against former Mayor Roger Campbell were really childish this time around. He pouts about one candidate’s campaign signs being placed next to his favored candidate’s. He implied that Mr. Campbell or I may have stolen or damaged his candidate’s campaign signs.

Ken, time to grow up – and man-up. If you believe I had anything to do with such skullduggery say so, or stop wasting council time. Your childishness is other folk’s aggravation.

* * *

I was also accused by Mrs. Westling, our city clerk’s spouse; I will not repeat the charges. I did explain to Mrs. Westling after the meeting, that I had nothing to do with her complaint. She graciously accepted my word.

 


 

Fillmore’s election is over. I wish I could rejoice. The Katzenjammers have won again.

I guess a formula of sorts has been established to win city elections. In part, this formula includes the inclusion of at least two candidates to serve as scapegoats, sacrificed to drain-off about 25 percent, the clueless part of our electorate. But that’s democracy.

Conservatives pretty well swept the national election, but we still have to contend with Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown, and Old Rubber Lips, Barney Frank. The city council catastrophe is nearly complete now, with the exception of Councilman Steve Conaway who is the last remaining vestige of common sense, experience, and moral character. We deserve the government we choose. Let’s see what’s left in our city coffers by the next election.
The only way this town will be delivered from the Katzenjammer grip is to create a political counter organization that can get out the vote. In the last two years we have lost our city manager, our financial director, city clerk, and other long-time staff members. Most have been replaced with temporary, interim, part time people. We have a city staff so concerned with affairs at city hall that they have submitted two letters of no confidence. The interim managers, hired to finish the budget, left us with no budget and hundreds of thousands of dollars of expense for their employment. City government is in a mess with no clear, near term plan to fix anything.

One bright spot – our school board. Congratulations to Kim, Lucy, and Dave. I regret that Mark did not make it, but we have three great new members just the same.

More next week after I recover from my general political depression.

 


 

Well, this is the last edition of the Gazette before Election Day. I’ve already expressed my despair at having to choose two more Fillmore City Council members. But last night’s city council meeting has concentrated my mind. I urge everyone to view this kabuki theater gone wild (Channel 10, 6:30) to get a better understanding of just how far off the tracks our city government has come since the last election which established the Katzenjammer majority of Patti Walker, Jamey Brooks, and Gayle Washburn. Patti is again running. Since being appointed mayor by her political cronies on the council, her affinity for secrecy and micromanagement has been energized, to the alarm and distress of city staff. As I’ve said before, Patti is now sufficiently tutored in public corruption to qualify for higher office. She is the only council member in city history to be censured, the only one to refuse to sign the traditional ethics pledge, a serial violator of the Brown Act, and a habitual, self-serving liar. Patti’s recent attacks against Councilwoman Laurie Hernandez in the Ventura Star, and from her seat on the dais, are contemptible. You can tell when Patti is lying by that habitual smarmy expression; I emphasize the word “habitual”. I’m told that I left that meeting a little too soon. Council Member Hernandez engaged Walker in a “discussion” about Walker’s accusations to the Star. High fives to Laurie!
I have attended more than 500 council meetings during the past 21 years. None have been as memorable as this Tuesday night’s spectacular.

The Katzenjammer coalition lined up to speak against the Gazette, its publisher, and to make longwinded campaign speeches. Mayor Patti lost control of time and order, permitting unprecedented leeway for her political supporters, highlighted by that old charmer, Gary Creagle.

This was another Creagle spectacular. After bellying up to the mike he began to harangue, in a foghorn tone, the council, the Gazette, the Gazette’s publisher, a couple of candidates for the council, and warned that he would take any action necessary to protect our city manager, right after he confessed he had never met her. He also cautioned (as he has done several times before) that he was a man of means who could and would take action in any case he saw fit. This cowardly blowhard has not even been a resident of Fillmore for years.

Creagle berated council members in a threatening voice, pointing to particular members. Mayor Walker sat with an air of disinterest while her political bedfellows attacked her critics. Creagle also criticized council candidate Alex Mollkoy for daring to enter the race as a write-in candidate, emphasizing that Mollkoy wouldn’t have to release a financial donor list until after the election. Creagle is such a Bozo that he doesn’t know it is a right of any California voter to become a write-in candidate. His criticism actually implied that Mollkoy may have taken money from donors Creagle doesn’t approve of. Incredible.

My disgust with Patti Walker and her minions has reached a stage where I, in conscience, have to change my previous endorsement.

I was impressed with Mr. Mollkoy’s defence of his record in the city. He has been unfairly maligned by both Creagle and Sipes. Therefore, my council endorsements must go to Alex Mollkoy and David Lugo. In my opinion they both place the interests of the City of Fillmore first. The tag team of Brian Sipes and his Mom is too bizarre. Both have placed the interests of their business ahead of the interests of the city. What other candidate have we ever seen promote his business over his candidacy in his campaign mailings?

FOR CITY COUNCIL: David Lugo and Alex Mollkoy.
FOR SCHOOL BOARD: Kimberly Rivers, Lucy Rangel, and Mark Austin.
Please VOTE!

 

I have to confess that I’m not in a good frame of mind to write a last minute editorial today. Although I am elated at the prospect of a sweeping conservative triumph on November 2, other issues of primary importance to the health and safety of our nation are about to destroy us.

The American judiciary, that part of our government’s checks and balances which the Founding Fathers believed to be least powerful, has proven to be all powerful, thwarting the will of the people and trashing the soul of the nation.

Since the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade which opened abortion on demand Americans have killed 50 million of its most innocent and vulnerable children, those waiting to be born. Only communist China has surpassed this bloody effort. But for illegal immigration, and its birth rate, America would lack a birth rate sufficient to maintain our present population.

Today, it is reported that a single federal judge (a feminist appointed to the court by President Clinton) has dictated that our entire military must accept homosexuals who practice their homosexuality openly. A short while ago a single male judge in California (who happens to be homosexual) threw out Proposition 8, (passed by millions of Californians) which sought to define “marriage” as a union of one man and one woman. This definition has been in place among all societies and civilizations from pre-history. But this judge was burning to “marry” his boyfriend and wanted to legitimate his own desire. Anyone spot a conflict of interest here? Across the board today our judicial system, federal, state, and local has been, with few important exceptions, utterly corrupted. America is becoming a pagan nation, and its government is spitting in the face of God. What on earth has caused the empowerment of three percent of our population to such an extent that it results in the heart of our Judeo-Christian society being wiped-out?

But its not just the judicial and legislative branches that are infected with this pagan virus; our chief executive, President Obama, is orchestrating the financial destruction of what has been the most vibrant and successful nation in world history. No one in this nation is more pro-abortion, anti-military, pro-socialist, and pro-gay “rights” than Mr. Obama. Thanks to these forces we are witnessing the collapse of America as we have known her for more than two centuries. This is not an hysterical overstatement. This is an ongoing fact.
So, contemplating these things, and witnessing their effects on our civil, military, and spiritual society, I don’t feel like commenting on our local election, but I think I should.

The results of Fillmore’s last election, and the events leading up to it, have seriously altered the way our city government works. Recalling the great council members, mayors and managers we’ve had during the past 20 years, we seem to have run out of qualified candidates. We are in serious need of people like Don Gunderson, Scott Lee, Evaristo Barajas, Cecilia Cuevas, Linda Brewster, Roger Campbell, Roy Payne, and many more. Today we have accumulated an assortment of agenda driven pipsqueaks and micromanaging political wanabes. The Katzenjammer plan has succeeded in driving away the gifted, competent, honest leaders and staff of the recent past – as was its intent. I see the current council majority as utterly political, devious, self-serving and incompetent. There’s also a nagging question of intellectual capacity.

For an example, let’s take last week’s letter from Mr. Roegner, a charter member of the Katzenjammers, like all of the current council majority.

Roegner is a complainer, but his complaints are always wrong-headed. He never seems to get his facts straight, even when he is repeatedly corrected. This is a characteristic of the Katzenjammers.

In his letter, which was sent to all council members for comment (except the evasive Mr. Brooks) Roegner blames Councilman Conaway for “getting our sales tax revenue frozen.” Wrong, again, Dave. Conaway wasn’t on the council when that highly beneficial contract was entered into.

He defends candidate Brian Sipes for getting his facts straight. Wrong, Dave. Brian hasn’t had his facts straight for years. He continues to tell people that citizen opinion on the water treatment plant was ignored, when more opinion was taken, and questions about the plant answered than for any other project in Fillmore’s history. At the largest workshop (Memorial Building) six nationally recognized experts and city staff appeared to answer questions from a huge audience. This is one of Sipes’ favorite lies.

But the misrepresentations continue. Council member Washburn, responding to Roegner’s letter (which responded to Councilman Conaway’s letter) referring to the financing of the treatment plant:
“The City Council made a resolution in February 2004 to obtain the SRF Loans. But at some point someone chose to use municipal bonds and RDA bonds. A public records act request was submitted to determine how and when the decision was made to forego the loans. There were no records of any public discussion or decision so it is not clear who is responsible” is false.

Washburn continues to say the decision to finance the plant was done in secret and that a public records request did not turn up anything. All she needs to do is read the 4/10/07 city council package item 8A. It was all clearly presented in the public meeting. The SRF Loan was discussed, along with other options. Council member Walker was the person who seconded the motion to use municipal bonds. The vote was unanimous to use muni bonds.
Can then citizen Washburn provide proof that a Public Records Request was made “to determine how and when the decision was made”? The Approved City Council Minutes of 4/10/07 and 4/24/07 is where she should have looked. Her statement “there were no records of any public discussion or decision so it is not clear who is responsible” is false.

Council Member Walker seconded the motion to select the current financings. The vote was unanimous. It was conducted in the 4/10/07 meeting. At the 4/24/10 meeting Patti Walker abstained from the vote to issue the bonds. She supported the 40 year bonds. Curiously, at the next meeting she abstained from voting on selling the bonds. Katzenjammers always seem to be confused by facts.

[See excerpts from minutes below]

In the 4/24/10 Approved City Council Minutes Patti Walker says it was not an easy decision to finance the plant. I disagree, since she abstained to vote at all.

Washburn was also present at the meeting, see her comments on the Gazette’s website.

Brian Sipes remarked that he would have to raise his rent. Lucky that he was able to provide a residence for our new city manager.

I’ve gone too long. I don’t know what Fillmore residents can do to improve the council with the cast of characters provided this year. Patti Walker’s recent attack on Council member Laurie Hernandez (in the Ventura Star) makes her candidacy even more repugnant to me, but the alternatives are even more unpalatable. Patti is obviously corrupt enough now to seek higher office.

Excerpts from 4/10/07 Approved City Council Minutes below.

"CALL BACK TO Mayor Conaway called the City Council back to order at ORDER 9:30 p.m. He said there was nothing to report from Executive Session.

CITY COUNCIL BUSINESS ITEMS CONTINUED
WATER Special Projects Manager Roy Payne said there are RECYCLING representatives from Bear Stearns that would like to PROJECT - provide a financing scenario overview. The FINANCING recommendation is direction on the financing structure STRUCTURE for the water recycling project. A public hearing will be held. We have a $79 million dollar project. We are drawing on the Development Impact Fee funds and Redevelopment funds to minimize the sewer rates. The pro-forma for Scenario 4 was distributed. Six scenarios were presented. Callable bonds have a schedule and you pay a premium and at certain points may refinance. Not knowing what interest rates will be in the future, it gives the best option. With non-callable you are unable to refinance. He reviewed the various scenarios. Councilmember Lee asked about the growth rate. Mr. Payne said we have assumed 46 new units per year. Discussion ensued on callable vs. non callable. Mr. Payne said with the GE Commercial Scenario they came late in the game and we are concerned with the accuracy of their proposal. The State Revolving Fund Scenario has a maximum of 20-year secured financing. We believe that if that option were selected we would not meet the time schedule order. There is a significant risk with this option. Mr. Payne said he has listed certainties with regard to the SRF. We cannot start construction and we would need to take the time for the State to review the Design- Build-Operate process. It could take between 1.38-3.5 years. Our estimate is 2 years. Public Works Director Bert Rapp said Boyle went through this with us. Applications cannot be made to the Regional Board until environmental work is done and we have 100% funds. We knew we would never meet the deadline. It increases the cost to the rate payers. We would be eligible to start construction in March or April of 2009 and complete in November 2010. Councilmember Cuevas said there have been comments that we can ignore the fines. Mr. Payne said the discretionary powers changed in 2002. These fines are mandatory and shall be paid. Mayor Conaway asked if we were currently paying fines. Mr. Payne said yes. We can take the risk but have to be willing to lose that risk. Councilmember Cuevas asked what would happen if we chose not to pay the fines. Mr. Rapp said there is a provision on the resolution and there is a clause with not paying. They multiply the costs. If we incur delay, we will pay more. The fines are real. Mr. Payne said with regard to the SRF, the total debt service cost over the life of the loan will decrease, the monthly sewer rate will increase, future rate payers will get the benefit of using the water recycling without paying for the debt required to build it, it will take 1.4 years to 3.4 years to secure an SRF loan, and the City and its rate payers will be exposed to mandatory fines of up to $9.3 million per year. Mr. Rapp said our fines are limited because we have our time schedule order. It will expire September 10, 2009. Our penalties will then go way up. Staff is recommending moving forward with Bear Stearns.

Steve Dworken, Bear Stearns, said they have been working with the City since 2005. He said this project is important to the City. Given all the work by staff and consultants, they have attempted to put together a program that will qualify for investment ratings and bond insurance. They have updated the numbers on the debt service to reflect changes in the last week and a half. They will develop a program to match council’s overall requirements. He said the way they have structured the particular financing is to structure bonds that have callability. It allows for flexibility which is worth more than the potential savings. Anything through 10 years would be non-callable. They have the ability to call bonds for refinancing or refunding. Councilmember Walker asked if there is a penalty for refinancing before 10 years. Mr. Dworken said no, you are allowed one opportunity.

Mr. Chris Roberts, Bear Stearns, said long term interest rates have remained low relative to historical levels. Based on the current market and Bear Stearns’ efficient frontier analysis, it is appropriate for the City to utilize fixed rate debt for its wastewater financing. Updated rates were provided to council. The City is proposing to fund approximately $79.7 million of CIP for the wastewater enterprise. The project fund was net funded. Structure 1 is a 10-year callable bond. This is the basic structure. It is straight forward financing. Structure 2 is a combination of 10 year callable bonds and non-callable bonds. Structure 3 is non-callable bonds. Structure 4 is 10-year callable bonds. Structure 5 is a combination of 10-year callable bonds and non-callable bonds. Structure 6 is non-callable bonds.

Mr. Gary Creagle asked what the ramifications are if the City fails to pay. Mr. Steve Dworken said they would present a package to secure an investment rating. Bond insurance would have a claim against the City and would process the claim. The City would ultimately be sued if they failed to pay and it would affect all funds. Mr. Payne said the question creates the circumstance of double jeopardy. Staff would like to receive direction from council on the financing structure. Councilmember Lee said this is the biggest bond that Fillmore has ever issued. With interest rates the way they are today, being the lowest historically, he favors the bond at this point in time. He would like to do the 30% non-callable bond. He said we are at historic loans. Mr. Dworken said if it was non-callable there is no savings by refinancing. Councilmember Lee is in favor of Scenario #5. Councilmember Cuevas said when the table was presented she was looking to address the issues in the majority of the callable scenarios vs. the SRF. The rate payers of the first 20 years are going to finance the majority of a 50 year old asset. She prefers Scenario #4. She likes the callable feature. The flexibility provides optimum value. The difference between #4 and #5 is miniscule in terms of rates. The flexibility is warranted. She is not in favor of the SRF option. Councilmember Hernandez is in favor of Scenario #4. We do not know what the future entails. We could lower costs down the road. Councilmember Walker said it may be a benefit to have the $.25 savings overall. She is more in favor of Scenario #5. Mayor Conaway said we have heard from the public that the monthly bill is the issue. We have promised to work to lower rates. We have 2 scenarios between #4 and #5. Scenario #5 has a $.25 premium. He supports Scenario #5.
ACTION Motion: Cuevas; Second: Hernandez; UNANIMOUS by voice PREPARATION OF vote to direct staff to proceed with preparation of DOCUMENTS FOR documents for the issuance of Revenue Bonds utilizing ISSUANCE OF Scenario #5 for City Council review and approval at the REVENUE BONDS earliest possible date.
Councilmember Lee said he would like the Finance Committee to review all possible ways of saving.
ACTION Motion: Cuevas; Second: Walker; UNANIMOUS by voice vote UTILIZE BEAR to utilize Bear Stearns as the financial underwriter STEARNS AS for the issuance of Revenue Bonds.FINANCIAL UNDERWRITER
ACTION Motion: Cuevas; Second; Lee; MOTION PASSES by the ADOPT PUBLIC following vote that the Public Financing Authority FINANCING adopt Resolution No. 07-22: Resolution Authorizing the AUTHORITY Issuance and Sale of Revenue Bonds to Finance RESOLUTION Wastewater System Improvements for the City of NO. 07-22 Fillmore, Approving Related Documents and Official Actions and Retaining Consultants”.

AYE: Conaway, Cuevas, Hernandez, Lee; NO: None; ABSTAIN: Walker; ABSENT: None.

ACTION Motion: Cuevas; Second: Lee; MOTION PASSES by the ADOPT CITY
following voice vote to adopt City Council Resolution COUNCIL RESO. No. 07-3013: Approving Proceedings to Finance
NO. 07-3013 Improvements to the City’s Wastewater System, Approving Issuance of Revenue bonds by the Fillmore Public Financing Authority for such Purposes, Approving Related Documents and Official Actions and Retaining Consultants.

AYE: Conaway, Cuevas, Hernandez, Lee; NO: None; ABSTAIN: Walker; ABSENT: None.

Councilmember Walker said this has not been an easy decision. In conversations she hears that there was not a political will to change the direction we are going. She is not sure this is good for the community. She recognizes we have to meet the new permit. It is so expensive. She does not know how to lower this."

 

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.

 

This week the Gazette attempted to gather comments from all council members and Fillmore’s city manager about the no confidence letter issued by city employees. It should be noted that Councilman Jamey Brooks was the only council member who refused to cooperate. As is his habit, Jamey dislikes having to communicate with the residents of Fillmore. So much for all that talk about open government we heard prior to the last election. This attitude bodes poorly for Fillmore’s future, especially in view of the fact that, with the exception of Mr. Lugo, this year’s candidates are the most unqualified in this city’s history. Any experience incumbent Patti Walker may have is in my opinion totally outweighed by her insatiable desire to call the shots, whether or not she knows what she is doing.

The confusion, deceit, and incompetence exhibited by the council majority these past two years has created such a poisonous atmosphere that the most qualified potential candidates are repelled; they want nothing to do with public service in Fillmore. In my opinion, adding Brian Sipes to the council, with Jamey Brooks and Gayle Washburn, would create an intellectual catastrophe great enough to stop what progress may be possible. Adrian Grimaldo just hasn’t shown much interest after entering the contest. There is another candidate, but he is too much of a coward to face the people.

The residents of Fillmore had better do their homework before November 2. If you think city government is in turmoil now, just wait. Get involved. Learn something about the candidates, their backgrounds, attitudes, and character.

 

The most unusual city council procedure I have ever witnessed took place Tuesday, about 4:45 p.m.

The chambers had filled when Mayor Walker stood stiffly before the inquiring crowd and told everyone except city employees to leave the chambers. I asked why we had to leave. In her most authoritative tone, without explanation, the Mayor repeated her command. Four council members were among the ejected mass which then waited for about an hour in the flourier after the door was closed and a meeting between two lawyers, many city employees, and the Mayor took place. When the doors opened we all filed in.

At this point, former Mayor Scott Lee took to the podium and announced that he would read a statement which was sealed and which he had not previously read. Just prior this, sealed press releases were handed to newspaper reporters. Lee then read the letter which appears verbatim on page two of this edition [“Vote of No Confidence”].
The letter, consisting of a list of serious accusations against the management style of our present City Manager, Yvonne Quiring, demands the council’s attention. Nothing further was said concerning the issue.

The letter was read. No announcement was forthcoming. This was a very spooky proceeding.

The council then adjourned to the Fillmore High School cafeteria for a joint meeting with the Fillmore-Piru School District, catered by the Fillmore-Piru Future Farmers of America. As usual, a delicious dinner was served by the FFA members, which was followed by a lengthy meeting.

I spoke briefly with Ms. Quiring during the dinner. She expressed surprise with the letter, and stated that she is always ready to hear complaints.

Following the dinner, council members returned to city hall for an executive session.

I am greatly surprised that no contemplated action was announced to address this issue. It seems that this letter is not being taken seriously by the Mayor. And, why were the other four council members excluded?
Why the closed session excluding four council members? This is all highly unusual. Is this what is meant by “open government?”

I’m still trying to understand why Mayor Walker demanded that she alone of five council members could attend the executive session. Is she steering this complaint into obscurity? She should know that the employees have the right to strike is they are completely ignored.

Something is very wrong here. Is this the sort of thing that prompted Mayor Walker to refuse signing that ethics pledge? She is the only one to refuse, making further attempts to pass an ethics pledge futile. She is also the only council member in Fillmore history to be censured for unethical conduct (Fillmore Gazette, August 12, 2004).
I regret there is too little time this week to mention many other important issues.

 

Last night’s council meeting was unnecessarily long and needlessly provocative. With the November election close at hand, I guess we’re in for some candidate grandstanding.

It was also showtime for the Gazette’s struggle to prove its status as the only official newspaper of record for the City of Fillmore.

Since May, when the city was provided a memorandum on the legal status (adjudication) of the Gazette, until last night, the council majority (Mayor Patti Walker, Mayor pro-tem Gayle Washburn, and Councilman Jamey Brooks) has striven to hand this official status to the Ventura Star, a local daily newspaper. The law on this matter couldn’t be more clear, that is, the Gazette is the only properly adjudicated newspaper in the world for the City of Fillmore; the Gazette, alone, is entitled to publish the city’s legal notices, as it has done for many years.

For political and personal reasons alone, these three council members have delayed the inescapable decision to approve the Gazette’s status for fiscal year 2010-2011. Since May these three, with the cooperation of City Manager Yvonne Quiring, have solicited the Ventura Star to bid on this issue and become newspaper of record. The so-called bidding process was all but fraudulent in its disregard for established protocol, especially with regard to mandated bid specifications. The relevant law, as presented to the city, was deliberately disregarded, and the futile delay has cost the city in the no-contract interim.

This entire scenario deserves an in-depth story of its own. It is a textbook case of three unethical council members seeking to thwart the law for their own personal and political purposes.

The Gazette was faced with a hostile audience last night. The usual Gazette haters, Ken Creason, Bob Stroh, and Gloria Hansen, all card-carrying Katzenjammers, expressed their unhappiness, not with the Gazette, but with my editorials. Their complaints were pathetically petty. Stroh’s complaints began with “...eighteen years ago...” and claimed that we were withholding his subscription. Then he complained about not receiving fair space for his letters. Please refer to http://www.fillmoregazette.com/letters?page=7. Also, Realities, August 3, 2009. Creason hated my editorials as well, falsely stating that the paper failed to report the $500 donation from Brian Sipes and his mom to the salad bar at the Senior Center. Please refer to the April 15, 2010 edition. We would never ignore a story of this magnitude; we’re talking 500 heads of lettuce! And Hansen thought my editorials were too mean-spirited. Therefore, they all concluded, take away the Gazette’s status as newspaper of record and give it to the Star. Besides, the council majority added, a daily has a much larger circulation. To which I say, of course, but the Gazette is 100 percent dedicated to Fillmore news, where the Star’s coverage is insignificant. We’re here all day, every day, through earthquake, fire, and flood – for the past 21 years.

Had the award gone to the Star (temporarily) it would have been the first time in 100 years that any paper outside city limits had that honor. The bidding process (which should not have taken place) was completely corrupted. The Star’s cover letter is filled with serious false and misleading statements, and numbers. This hub-bub was all political.

During the past year or so the Star has attempted to lure me into their list of customers. I’ve toured the plant and received two teams of Star executives here in Fillmore. Their offer was more than generous from every angle. Two things kept me from going with them. First, I have been printed by an excellent company for several years. Secondly, I felt, bottom line, that I couldn’t trust the Star – which suspicion was proven by their attempt to steal the newspaper of record distinction from me in Fillmore, a legal impossibility.

A fuller revelation of this bizarre story is merited – a bag of salt to rub in the wound is due to the Star for its sorry machinations.

 

It’s disappointing to report that three of five candidates for city council failed to return answers to this week’s questions. Voters expect to learn what candidates think about city government, the issues and answers. I hope we hear from all candidates next week. There are two new candidates who, if elected, in my opinion, would cripple effective government in Fillmore. These two are easily manipulated by outsiders.

***

The Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of a small Florida church professing hostility towards Islam threatens to burn the Quran on September 11, the ninth anniversary of the Muslim attack on the World Trade Center towers which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Churches of every denomination world-wide have attempted to discourage the reverend’s intentions. As any perceived disrespect, real or imagined against Islam, usually sparks immediate counter-attacks, and disproportionate bloodshed, common sense militates against this idea.

Rev. Jones’ anger and frustration are, no doubt, shared by billions of non-Muslim people throughout the world, as Islam’s utter contempt for the lives and religious beliefs of 5 billion non-Muslim people are evident everywhere and everyday.

Any Muslim person claiming to be a true believer, who denies that violence and deadly action against non-Muslims (particularly Jews and Christians) are commanded by the Quran and Hadith, towards the subjugation of the world, is ignorant, a liar, or, by their own sacred books, heretics and blasphemers subject to the death penalty.

This is so because the established word of those ancient, sacred books cannot be “interpreted” or changed in any way, by anyone, for any reason. Also, all peaceful passages of Muslim sacred scripture have been abrogated, they no longer apply. Here I strongly recommend the excellent works of Robert Spencer especially The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the crusades). This book is based exclusively upon the teachings of the Quran and Hadith. But the truth can hurt. What do true believing Muslims think of Spencer: “praise for the author on RevivingIslam.com” “May Allah rip out his spine from his back and split his brains in two, and then put them both back, and then do it all over and over again. Amen.” Doesn’t sound very peaceful to me.

However, the Rev. Jones is wrong to announce the burning of the Quran. While Islam approves the murder of a non-Muslim when he perceives what he believes to be a slight insult to his religion, Christianity absolutely condemns this sort of violence. While the Christian is commanded to turn the other cheek, the Muslim believes he is entitled to cut the throats of perceived offenders. Here I’m reminded of one particularly outrageous (but not uncommon) example, that of the Indonesian man who took it upon himself to behead two young Christian girls returning from church one Sunday a year or so ago. But, again, Christians are commanded to love and forgive their enemies.

While Rev. Jones is clearly within his constitutional rights to burn the Quran, his Biblical duty is to avoid unjustified bloodshed and turmoil. Even as a practical matter, prudence dictates that he not do this. For the Christian, prayer is the best response, absent conditions where self defense is required. Rev. Jones, your intentions are neither prudent nor Christian. Think of the thousands of others your conduct will certainly effect.

 

Well, Israel did not strike Iran’s nuclear site. Either Israel has decided on a highly unconventional method of destroying this menace later, or the Middle East will now have to deal with nuclear blackmail from one of the world’s most evil and aggressively unstable Muslim nations. With Pakistan, China, North Korea, and Russia assisting other terrorist nations, the threat is imminent. The world’s top terrorist experts tell us a nuclear attack on America is a certainty; we just don’t know when.

Have any meaningful preparations been made to assist survivors of such an attack? The answer is, of course, no. “Homeland Security” is a preposterous fraud. Just look at the increasingly bloody battles on our southern border.

This may sound too 1950s, but unfortunately, the need for “civil defense” emergency food, water, and medicine, is much greater today than 60 years ago. The attack will be launched by Muslim jihadists (demanded by both Quran and Hadith) and welcomed by communists and other criminal elements. Think of the aftermath of a nuclear attack on Los Angeles. Food, water, and medical facilities are gone. Imagine what LA’s famously clogged freeways will look like, flooded with vehicles and hysterical drivers seeking to escape the fiery chaos. Maybe it would be a good idea to locate multiple centers of life-saving supplies near those areas most people would be heading towards after such an attack.

Washington might act on this problem if post-disaster preparation were deemed an idea Too Big to Fail.

 

As I write these words only two days remain in Israel’s window of opportunity to destroy Iran’s nuclear terror complex. That is, absent the military destruction of the reactor, Russia (the contractor) will further empower another evil atomic aggressor by the placement of the fuel rods, just as China helped North Korea.

That act would be consistent with Russia’s roll in the world since 1917. There is a profound evil consistency among the anti-Judeo-Christian and anti-democratic nations of the world. They seem to bear a curse almost unique to atheist societies, that of constantly stirring up hatred, wars and rumors of war. This is done in their constant pursuit of domination of the world, or, as China sees it, universal, atheistic hegemony. Central to all of these evil orders is a hatred of freedom – freedom to worship, freedom of private property, speech, association, etc. America is the only power on earth today with the ability to defend against this universal evil. Israel is the only country in the Middle East which shares America’s ethics and ethos of freedom and self-determination.

Under Obama, America has abandoned its only friend in the Middle East, Israel. It may have been determined that, without America’s traditional help, Israel could not effectively destroy the new nuclear site. The price we will pay for not assuring that the Iranian nuclear complex is destroyed will be huge for the free nations of the world.

***

The plans for the ground zero mosque are everywhere in the news. This plan is Islam’s way of celebrating its “victory” in its sneak attack on the twin towers, which killed thousands of innocent, unsuspecting people – including many Muslims.

It is being heralded as the “Victory Mosque” and as something related to the Caliphate of Cordoba, before 1492, where Christians lived in dhimmitude under Islam. Others (the politically correct) claim it is an attempt to bring closure to the murderous outrage of 9/11.

I would approve of the new 13-story mosque at ground zero when: a church is built in Saudi Arabia, along with a 13-story monument to the battle of Lapanto (1571). Otherwise, this mosque must be seen as deliberately designed to attract Jihadists from around the world who now make pilgrimages to the sites of Islam’s bloodiest atrocities.

This mosque plan is a deliberate outrage.

 

Well, it appears that four candidates for Fillmore City Council have tossed their hats in the ring. Correction – that’s three hats and one beanie. This is a critical election for the city, and a de facto referendum on voter confidence. If you like what the Katzenjammers have brought to city government during the past two years you now have an opportunity to vote-in two of their buddies.

***

Several months ago I characterized the U.S. as bankrupt. That comment was quickly criticized as incorrect. I strongly urge everyone to read a poignant article from Bloomberg which has been posted to the "Publisher's Blog" located here. In very simple, clear language you will learn what has happened to the American economy because of the spendthrift Obama policies. Read it and weep. It’s entitled: U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don't Even Know; By Laurence Kotlikoff - Aug 10, 2010

Bloomberg Opinion. We haven’t even begun to experience the economic devastation we have brought upon ourselves by over taxing and over spending (during the past 60 years). But, while we have lived with reckless financial abandon for a long time, Obama’s fiscal policies have super-sized the problem. It’s obvious now that our government (federal, state, and local) is so profoundly corrupt that only major political surgery can save the patient. Our best hope is to unsheathe a sharp scalpel in November.

***

Welcome back Captain Hagel and the whole Sheriff’s team. They have just returned from Siberia where they ran another Marathon. We await details and photos for next week’s Gazette.

 

As some of our readers may have learned, the Gazette website has been harassed by an emotionally unstable young man who is distressed by a few of my editorials.

I am always amazed at the reaction some topics will provoke, especially since the Gazette is such a small newspaper, compared to the media monoliths of today. The only political spot in the Gazette is the editorial, which numerous letters often counterbalance. Why don’t local liberals just skip my 300 words and go directly to the news? That’s what progressives and liberals always tell conservatives to do when it comes to topics like pornography and squandering tax money.

One question arising from this unstable blogger’s attacks is whether to release the threatening telephone harangue he left at the Gazette’s office. This blogger personifies the new breed of cyber-weenies that internet anonymity has spawned. They are by far the biggest headache for those trying to maintain a credible website.
In extreme cases it is now far easier to identify and prosecute/sue a blogger who has threatened or defamed an innocent party on the internet.

I am still trying to decide whether or not to release the telephone message in question. What bothers me most in this case is the extreme blasphemy he expresses, the same he posted to the site. Do I release such a thing in order to show who this person is, or do I not? I would like your opinion. Post your opinion on the blog at www.fillmoregazette.com.

In any event, “robertolepe”, get some help.

* * *

News in Fillmore is slow when school is out. We’re anxious for classes to open on the 18th. Also, football will be back again!

* * *

To date, 7 residents have pulled papers to run for city council. They are: Laurie Hernandez; Marcoz Hernandez; Antonio Hernandez; Patti Walker; Brian Sipes; Bernardo Lugo, and Adrian Grimaldo. The deadline date for pulling and filing papers is Friday, August 6th.

 

I just heard that a federal judge has blocked much of Arizona’s illegal immigrant law. This is another outrageous attack by the federal government upon the states. Washington has no idea how angry and frustrated the loyal, law-abiding American citizen has become with government corruption, incompetence, and the new wave of socialist activity. The President, Senate, and House have abandoned their sworn duty to defend this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic - maybe because they recognize a truth in Pogo’s observation, “We have met the enemy and he is us”. The judiciary has become equally rotten. Our leadership refuses to serve and to uphold our Constitution. For the first time in my life I believe political corruption has reached a destabilizing level. The people have a duty to rid themselves of the political parasites and judicial whores who are bringing down our nation. I think this latest outrage by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has lit the fuse for a second shot heard round the world. I only regret having to wait for November.

If you are a loyal, law-abiding American, VACATION IN ARIZONA, those folks need your help!

 

Four traffic accidents have occurred during the past 30 days within a quarter-mile stretch of Highway 23, a short distance south of Bardsdale Avenue. This is extraordinary.

Most recently, this past Thursday, a man alleged to be driving under the influence of alcohol, smashed into the rear of a truck which was making a left turn from the highway.

Later, this office received a phone call from a man who had been following this allegedly drunk driver from ‘C’ Street, all the way east, down River Street to the 23, from where he turned and headed south. The caller observed this driver narrowly escape several head-on collisions on River and the 23, after running over the turn-about on River Street. He also observed the allegedly drunk driver run into the truck at a high rate of speed (estimated to be 50-plus miles per hour).

Thank God he wasn’t able to negotiate Grimes Canyon; it would have been certain death attempting those hairpin turns and 300-foot cliff. He would have, in all probability, caused another vehicle to crash over the cliff. I’m angry just thinking about this incident.

Anyone arrested as a drunk driver belongs in jail, for a long time. Better that than having to attend a funeral for a family the drunk could have killed.

Drive carefully. Do not drive when you have been drinking.

* * *

The city suffered a murder this week. A gang member was shot point-blank during a backyard party.

I clearly recall the prevailing attitude towards street gangs in Fillmore when I arrived some 21 years ago. There was an indignant reluctance to admit we had a gang. Some long-time residents would respond to a question about gangs with “Fillmore doesn’t have gangs!” This, despite repeated warnings from our Sheriff’s department that we did indeed have the beginnings of a gang.

Any police officer will tell you that a good 95 percent of all crime in our town is directly related to gang activity. Like a plague of locusts gang members infest the towns in which they reside. They prey on the weak; they live by stealing what honest residents have worked hard to obtain. They live in the dark where they vandalize our community and threaten physical harm to innocent citizens. They drag the very young into the miserable life and early death they have chosen. For influencing the young as they do, the Bible tells us they call down upon themselves a terrible curse: “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.” Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42.

Gang members should think beyond the times in which they are living.

There is a God, and there is a Heaven and a Hell. There is no parole from Hell, and certainly not a Get Out of Hell Free card. Hell is forever, and forever, and forever; that’s called eternity.

 

Dead at 80 is Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Rush Limbaugh had it right when he observed that George knew when to die.

He bought the Yankees in the 1970s for about $10 million. Today, the club is worth $1.1 billion. Had he died after December 31, 2010 the government would have grabbed a half-billion in estate taxes, to be given to some cash-hungry bank or other “too big to fail” private institution. But he slid from time into eternity in 2010, thus his family gets to keep the money he worked for all his life. This is because the Obama tax increase doesn’t start until January 1, 2011.

I see an imperious Barack Hussein Obama fiddling as millions of small businesses spontaneously combust under the pressure of his huge new tax increases. The year 2011 will inaugurate a tax Armageddon for small business.

***

There is so much negative news these days that it’s a real treat to find a pocket of very good news. The Sheriff’s Department and the Boy Scouts sponsor our Santa Clara Valley Post of Explorers. These bright young men and women are about to attend the Sheriff’s Academy in Camarillo. I wish them well and know that all will graduate with flying colors.

***

Yipes! It’s Sipes. David Lugo and Brian Sipes have “pulled” papers, indicating they have an interest in running for the Fillmore City Council. The papers include instructions to follow in order to comply with the law in the event they wish to file to run for office.

 

I can’t remember when we’ve had so many traffic accidents in such a short period of time. During the past week I photographed four collisions (three on the same day) including a serious motorcycle accident on Highway 126 and a fatal pickup truck incident on lower Grimes Canyon. I’m told that another happened on Balcom Canyon.
Independence Day is upon us, one of the busiest holidays of the year. I hope you all drive carefully on this Fourth. Remember to look out for the other guy.

***

As I scribble these words a confident Ms. Elena Kagan is being hosted by the US Senate in an ostensible effort to determine her fitness to join the most exclusive club in the world, the United States Supreme Court. The atmosphere is genial. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an aide serving coffee and donuts (or, maybe tea and petite Madeleine) to distinguished committee members for the occasion.

What a difference 27 years can make. When Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork back in 1987 Senate tactics for approving a Republican Supreme Court nominee were quite different. For committee Democrats the demeanor was pretty much cut and slash – cut and slash the impeccable reputation of one of America’s preeminent jurists and legal scholars. Instead of asking this nominee relevant questions to determine philosophy, and scrutinize judicial temperament (expecting honest answers) the committee acquiesces as Kagan laughs, jokes, and disguises her true understanding of the Constitution, and post approval intentions. She is pure poison for strict constructionists, and for freedom in America.

This is the most powerful governmental body in our nation. It can have the last say in the most important decisions Congress can make, and in our most intimate desires and activities, in the amount of freedom we have to live our lives.

Kagan is schmoozing through a cakewalk. She will be the second radical “progressive” to have been nominated by Obama. She is anti-Second Amendment. She is weak on free speech. She is strongly pro-abortion. She is anti-military. She will also be pro-gay marriage. In short, she is another disaster in the making, in the transformation of our national culture.

This is the sort of consequence that follows when 54 percent of the American electorate vote-in a community organizer like Obama because of his race.

Brace yourselves for the sudden stop; we’re already in free-fall.