It’s been a few weeks since I last scribbled some thoughts in this column. I guess it’s time for me to scratch around a little today.

City council received an “Organizational Review” from Bryce Consulting last night, for which (I believe) it paid something in the neighborhood of $30,000. Originally, this firm was asked to undertake a “classification and organizational” structure study. Had our present council majority not spent the last four years chasing away virtually all of the city’s most knowledgeable and talented employees, this study would not have been necessary, and the city would have saved $30,000.

It’s interesting to note that our new city manager is putting in for an assistant. Why is this necessary when so little is on the agenda? It seems like the Review’s recommendations load-up management while cutting-down staff. Hmm – beginning to sound like our school board.

If either former managers Roy Payne or Tom Ristau were still guiding city government, any staff reductions, necessitated by the severe city deficit, would have been handled smoothly and efficiently.

I was struck by the fact that a suggestion had to be made to have either a council member or our new city manager personally visit with individual staff members to evaluate job duties to determine what “adjustments” might be made. Both Payne and Ristau knew staff personally and the scope of their work.

These determinations were not completed before the report was released. In several cases (the deletion of Disaster Coordinator being one) any recommendation would be foolish without an understanding of the scope and efficiency of the position involved. In this case our Disaster Coordinator happens to be one of the hardest working and talented multi-tasking individuals on the city staff. His extraordinary range of technical responsibilities (and creative volunteer tasks) speak for themselves.

But, employee cuts must happen to redress our dangerous deficit. I just fail to understand how this report helps; an experienced city manager should know how to reorganize employees without the assistance of an expensive Organizational Review.

As usual, Councilman Jamey Brooks proved to be an annoying embarrassment as he snipped at Councilman Steve Conaway like a spoiled attack Yorkie. Little Caesar never seems to know how to behave himself. Following Conaway’s methodical questioning of City Manager Quiring on budget issues, Brooks quickly intervened with an unprovoked “If I can get a word in edgewise...” Or he appears incensed at the suggestion that the manager might walk through an investigation of individual employees’ job duties. She’s far too busy to do that, he complaind. Brooks needs to be collared with one of those funnel-like things used to prevent self-inflicted damage – in this case, further damage to his reputation.

Bad boy! No biscuit!

Nothing was reported concerning the status of former Fire Chief Pete Egedi or his threatened lawsuit against the city for reinstatement. Following a 3-year investigation for alleged criminal conduct, the Ventura County District Attorney dropped all charges.



The reality this week is that I am recovering from a bad cold. Will post another aggravating editorial next week. Until then, maintain your aggravation.



It may be another sign of aging, but I am dealing with a persistent and growing reluctance to engage city hall for what seems like unending and fruitless confrontation with our Katzenjammers.

But dealing with city hall doesn’t explain the depth of my lethargy. State, national, and world affairs team-up to pull me close to a state of quasi depression. I find myself in search of some good news, a little relief from screaming reality. Show me some good news, I dare you.

Am I being unreasonably negative? Let’s see.

The City of Fillmore is broke; its famous 40 percent surplus long gone. The Katzenjammers have succeeded in chasing-off most of the best and brightest employees. We have hired a manager whose one-year experience with her previous employer was so catastrophic that they paid more than $300,000 to buy-out her contract. Her performance here has been so bad that after her first year all city employees delivered two angry letters of no confidence. We have the worst city council in city history, yet the band plays on.

Our state is bankrupt. Of the recent revenue increase of $6 billion half is expected to be spent instead of paying-off part of the $12 billion debt. Taxes are strangling small business while the tax noose is expected to tighten. Our schools are mostly failures, turning out (of those who don’t drop out) ignorant, self-indulgent entitlement sponges. A huge percentage of Californians are out of work, approaching the level of the Great Depression, if accurately measured.

Our nation has been turned over to the most inexperienced, dangerous, socialistic spendthrift ideologue in presidential history. He has seeded government with the thickest cloud of equally dangerous, Constitution-hating, big government radicals in memory. Our military has been methodically degraded, humiliated, and demoralized by our Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by mandating acceptance of openly homosexual service members, and their offensive, immoral behavior. Our president welcomes this insult despite the absolute moral and practical objections of 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition, and the consistent prohibition of America’s entire history. If homosexuals compose about two percent of America’s population, it stands to reason they must never have exceeded one percent of our military population, if that. And that one percent has always been clandestine. Despite this, 99 percent of the normal rank and file are to be demoralized by the unimpeachable conduct and presence of one percent – without having had a legitimate vote in the matter. Who has done this, and why? Military cohesion, say our fifth column homophiles, sucks. God protect the moral integrity of our fighting men and military women; their lives depend upon it.

Our nation is fighting two wars, and contributing to others (Libya) while it is becoming clear that Muslim nations want no part of democracy (see Egypt, etc.) or Western ways. Some do, indeed. Most do not. What they want most of all is our money, until we have been bled and spent our way out – then China and Sharia will reap the benefits (Afghanistan is said to have trillions in mineral deposits). And, schizophrenic, back-stabbing Muslim “friends” like Pakistan will launch more Jihad during our absence. The only Arab “Spring” to be found will be found in a detonating mechanism beside the road.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but hope, as they say, is neither a strategy nor a goal.

God bless our troops, and keep them strong, physically and morally. The Lord rebuke and defeat those intent on defiling the cohesion they must depend upon for victory.

We are a nation which has lost its way. I guess that’s what I find most depressing.



The strategy launched by President Bush to capture or kill the terrorist Osama bin Laden has finally proved successful. After being hidden and protected by our Pakistani “friends” for at least 5 years, a stones-throw away from Pakistan’s “West Point”, he was introduced to US SEALS and summarily terminated with maximum prejudice. It’s not true, however, that Osama’s last words were “Oh crap!”

It’s amazing to witness the extraordinary confusion being so quickly spun out of this triumphant mission. The bottom line here is that Democrats, including the president, the vice president and his minions, are incapable of dealing with military and security matters. They are also utterly incapable of initiating successful missions like this, or maximizing the beneficial results.

Obama takes credit for this brilliantly successful event even though he opposed all of President Bush’s tactics which finally led to this result. Waterboarding was denounced as an evil form of torture, though it provided the information which led to the killing of bin Laden, and though our Navy SEALS each undergo waterboarding as a part of their training. Everything Bush used to further the search for bin Laden was condemned by Democrats, especially candidate Obama; but success has proven those tactics were the correct way to proceed, and Bush has been given no official recognition to date.

Today, the White House announced that photos of the body of bin Laden will not be published. I predict they will eventually be leaked (WikiLeaks?) to the public. We have a right to see this evidence. Dainty Democrats argue that these photos will offend the sensitivities of hundreds of millions of evil Muslim believers (those for whom bin Laden was a hero, and now martyr). The “good” Muslim believers (those allegedly opposed to terrorism and bin Laden’s work) are silent, as usual. They are certainly not cheering in the streets of Cairo, or in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or 40 other Muslim countries (despite what some governments may say).

Muslim “sensitivities”? Really? These are the people who videotaped the beheading of Daniel Pearl and untold numbers of others, who desecrated the bodies of American workers and hung them on a bridge, who stoned to death a 14-year-old girl, after she was raped by her cousin, for daring to report the crime! I could go on for weeks about radical Jihadist “sensitivities”. More immediately relevant, recall what the expressions must have been on the faces of those forced to jump to their deaths from the twin towers on 9/11, Osama’s terrorist “masterpiece”. All, innocent human beings with families and friends. All God’s children.

Jihadists are demons doing the Devil’s murderous work. Like the Devil, they will be damned. The photos of bin Laden’s corps should be shown to the world to remind Jihadists that, however long the battle must continue, the civilized world will never falter in the fight; Jihadists will fail as bin Laden has failed. They can run and hide, in the mountains or under the bed, but they will always be found and destroyed. Dhimmitude and Sharia law will always be repugnant to free societies.

Free people throughout the world should salute President Bush today for his successful strategy and relentless pursuit of these killers. I join with President Bush in commending our outstanding military and intelligence services that are responsible for the ignominious death of Osama bin Laden, demonic butcher of the innocent.
Here is a statement from former President Bush concerning this recent victory: “Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”



First, an announcement.
Two weeks ago the Gazette reported that the swimming pool had to be drained in order to repair a serious leak. The technicians charged with taking care of the pool reported that about 10,000 gallons a day had been leaking from the new pool for up to one year. We were later told that this figure was greatly exaggerated. We have yet to learn how much water was actually lost during that time, but we did learn that the leak was caused by a piece of rebar which had accidentally been driven through a pipe under the pool during construction.

* * *

I’m truly disgusted with the budget performance of our school board and administration.

Some solutions have been proffered by Superintendent Sweeney, and Finance Director Bush, all involving job cuts. Why not have our top-heavy, pay-heavy, administration share the pain by cutting-back on those juicy salaries? Why should teachers, principals, and classified employees bear the entire brunt of severe budget cuts?

Teacher’s aids, librarians, and many other once-essential school employees are now a distant memory. Making up the difference now are many hard-working, multi-tasking (and unappreciated) individuals. Kimberly Rivers has incorporated an idea for balancing the budget without eliminating more essential jobs into her “School Matters” blog located here



Our new multi-million-dollar swimming pool lies empty. Plagued with serious problems from its inglorious opening day, it has now been revealed that our pool has been leaking about 10,000 gallons per day for approximately a year. No wonder keeping the chemical balance has been such a challenge. What would your water bill be if you were using 10,000 gallons per day?

The next question occurring to inquiring minds should be, where did all that water go? What kind of inevitable damage has this heavy release done? How much has been spent to correct pool problems since opening day?

Many more questions need to be answered about our pool, which has been operating deeply in the red since its first month of operation, which, in turn, has necessitated its closure for several months.

I believe the story of our beautiful new “aquatic complex” will prove to be the greatest scandal in Fillmore’s scandal rich history.

From the beginning, it appeared we may have built the wrong pool. This seems likely because it is not properly designed for swimming lesions. I thought something was wrong the day I witnessed instructors attempting to teach 52 children how to swim with floating devices, crowded into about 10 feet at the shallow end. The children’s water park area also had to be torn-up to correct design mistakes. For a brand new swimming complex, the list of serious, persistent, and expensive problems is long.

Our city manager needs to reveal the names of those in charge. We need to know, with specificity, what is wrong and who is responsible.

Remember all those promises of “taking back our city” and providing truly open government? Now is a good time to see if those Katzenjammers were serious.



Frankly, I’m tired today, and will just expand a few of the issues so well expressed by Robert Spencer adjacent to this column.

Spencer is one of the most articulate experts on militant (and non-militant) Islam today. A very courageous man, he is the author of several fine books on the subject of the Koran, Muslim jihad, and Islamic history. I strongly recommend Spencer’s books, especially The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). The front cover of this book highlights 5 blurbs: “Islam teaches that Muslims must wage war to impose Islamic law on non-Muslim states; American Muslim groups are engaged in a huge cover-up of Islamic doctrine and history; Today’s jihad terrorists have the same motives and goals as the Muslims who fought the Crusaders; The Crusades were defensive conflicts [a delayed response to centuries of Muslim aggression]; and, Muslim persecution of Christians has continued for 13 centuries-and still goes on.” These are historical facts. Nothing but bloody disaster will be accomplished by ignoring these facts, or by politically correct naiveté. To quote Spencer again “What is known today as the ‘Islamic world’ was created by a series of brutal conquests of non-Muslim lands”. We cannot believe all of the talk about peaceful Islam because the few peaceful parts of the Koran are abrogated by (Koran 2:106) because they were written before those demanding war on non-believers. “...the violent verses of the ninth sura, including the Verse of the Sword (9:5) abrogate the peaceful verses, because they were revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career: In fact, most Muslim authorities agree that the ninth sura was the very last section of the Koran to be revealed.”

I also believe that the Koran can be shown to be the antithesis of the Christian Bible, starting with the denial of Christ’s divinity, a faith proudly proclaiming its love of death, instead of the Christian ideal of love, forgiveness, and freedom.

Islam believes that the Koran is the pure, literal, perfect, and final word of God, and as such, can never be “interpreted” differently than that which has been received historically. The Hadith (stories of Muhammad’s life) is also believed to be the perfect, eternal word of Allah, and therefore can never be changed.

Islam provides a license to kill anyone perceived guilty of heretical thoughts, words, or deeds, and it is done throughout the world, every day. Muslim believers can, with Koranic authority, take essentially any act against any non-believer which, in their minds, will promote or defend Islam. This is a license to not only to kill, but to deceive as well. That most Western Muslim believers do not take such devious or violent action against non-believers is not to say that they cannot justify doing so in the future. Think of the many murders inflicted by Muslim believers who were in positions of trust. Those Muslim believers who deny any of the Koran’s violent parts are themselves considered heretics by hundreds of millions of Islamic fundamentalists. Actually, it is heretical to be anything less than a Muslim fundamentalist – fundamentalism is the worldwide norm, not the exception, though, as Spencer says, Islam is not monolithic. It is deadly heresy (according to the Koran) to refuse to believe the plain, “perfect” language of the Koran. Examples of this satanic, religiously-driven murder are abundant (see recent story of a couple and 3 children (including infant) murdered in their sleep by a throat-cutting Palestinian – later celebrated in Gaza).
While the recent Koran burning by that fool “reverend” Terry Jones may be morally unconscionable, it pales in comparison with the Muslim murders of many innocent non-Muslim U.N. workers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Americans should not, however, limit legitimate means of Constitutional free speech. We should make it clear that Christians condemn jihadist murder because we do not believe in the faith that promotes it. Also, that our Bible is the written word of God, not, as some uninformed Muslim advocate recently proclaimed, only a book written by man, which can be burned with less disrespect.

Mr. Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad, Stealth Jihad and The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran (all from Regnery-a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).


I’m running slower than usual today. So, just a few pieces of information and a couple of suggestions to assist anyone beginning disaster preparations.

Living in an active earthquake zone as all Californians do there are a couple of very basic issues we need to acknowledge. The first is drinking water and water for washing. All authorities agree we need at least one gallon of water per person, per day. We should assume, even if not probable, that we could be completely cut-off from city water. Many of our city water mains are very old and fragile. Many would fail in a strong quake.

Virtually every home and public building has two sources of drinkable water – the tank behind every toilet, and the water in our water heaters. But, it’s a lot easier to open a bottle of water. So, store a sufficient quantity of drinking water and replenish when necessary. We can live a long time without food, only a few days without water.

Official sources recommend 72 hours of food and water. If you plan to live only 72 hours after a major disaster (act of God or man-made) then this advice will suffice. If your plans are more ambitious, prepare for a longer period of time.

Read the history of Katrina, not the official reports, but the history as written by those who suffered through that catastrophe. This will inform you that if you are well prepared those who didn’t prepare will accuse you of “hoarding.” It never fails. And, they will, sooner or later, desire to share your preps whether you like it or not. So, it’s a good idea to facilitate a defense of your food and water. Reliable neighbors can help here. You Christians out there know that you have a duty to share with others, as long as your own family is not endangered; remember the nursery story of The Little Red Hen? How about the story of the Grasshopper and the Ant? (This lesson goes back thousands of years. Human nature doesn’t change. It’s also the issue of how many people should be let into the lifeboat. Get to know those neighbors with whom you can safely rely upon for mutual assistance. Have a plan for survival, other than relying of the incompetence of government. Let your trusted friends and relatives know about the plan.

A quick list of additional things you should have: Medications; first aid articles; at least one good flashlight; food you don’t have to cook; blankets or sleeping bags; a wrench to shut off the gas line; baby food, etc.; and the list can go on for pages. Have plans to stay in place (most likely) and for moving from the area if necessary. Have a “bug-out bag” ready.

Every emergency agency in America, public and private, has urged us to prepare for catastrophic disasters expected to occur in the near future. Fillmore learned about destruction after the Northridge quake. Less warned against is terrorism. If the country is attacked by weapons of mass destruction (biological, chemical, nuclear, dirty bomb) etc., it is a certainty that all freeways, highways, and roadways, will be clogged with traffic of every sort. Los Angeles, a very likely target of Islamic Jihadist attack, will disgorge millions of its residents. Knowing how single vehicle accidents disrupt our freeways every day, think of the mayhem which will result from the detonation of a weapon of mass destruction anywhere in Los Angeles County. Add to this the methodical mayhem expected from street and motorcycle gang predators, and the widespread panic of people desperately trying to evacuate the effected area.

Be well, and prepare for the worst. More thoughts on disaster preps later.


A couple of weeks ago I learned that certain people sharply disagreed with the conclusions of a recent editorial. Learning of displeasure of this sort was about as surprising as a weatherman learning of a passing cloud. What was surprising, however, was that the people in question lacked the intestinal fortitude to express that disagreement to my face. There was no honor in this girlish ambush. Christians have a duty to forgive, but not to forget. You may forgive the barracks thief, but only a fool would trust him after he is caught. Any other dissenters out there should know that I will never avoid stating my opinion on a controversial issue in order to avoid condemnation.

* * *

I had intended to put up some information and suggestions on the subject of emergency preparations this week. This is something I’ve been interested in for years. Among my very few and abiding concerns is being placed in a deadly or dangerous situation without being prepared, that is a state of helplessness. This can sometimes happen when we really have no choice. More often than not we don’t have to be helpless, with a little common sense preparation. Maybe next week I will enumerate those basic preps. An abundance of emergency preparation literature is widely available, including the Red Cross, Homeland Security, etc. Just always remember that drinking water should come first.

The Japanese people were promised, during construction of their nuclear power plants, that in the event of a disaster water would be provided to everyone in need, within 3 days. As the 3-day timeline passed recently, 2 million citizens were still without water. They had relied upon government promises. Government promises are fiction.

* * *

Be alarmed about how our Secretary of Defense has sabotaged our military recently. See: “Military training material on gays kissing behavior” here: . God, family, country – in that order only.


I was saddened to learn of the death this week of Manuel “Vic” Victoria Jr. He was among the first persons I met when I arrived in Fillmore 22 years ago. He had his shoe shop in the Masonic Lodge building next to the Gazette, at the corner of Central and Sespe Avenues. The Northridge quake which destroyed that landmark building devastated his business which he later moved to his residence. Vic lost a great many treasured artifacts and things he had collected over the years when his shop was destroyed.

Vic was a very congenial and interesting man. He was also a true “mountain man”, someone who knew the terrain of Ventura County like very few others. For decades he led hikes into the back country. I was fortunate to participate in an overnight hike up Pine Creek many years ago. His knowledge of nature and its creatures was acquired during a lifetime of exploring the wilderness. I vividly recall his strength as a hiker. It was hard to keep up with the unrelenting pace he set. Vic was also a skilled mason who built the home he lived in for decades.

Vic introduced many city folks to the wonder of the outdoors.

Rest in peace Vic. You will remain a rich part of Fillmore history.


Publishing a small weekly community newspaper is like no other work. It is a strange sort of undertaking. More than 25 years in this business has impressed that fact deep into my psyche. If you’re a person in need of many friends you would be unhappy in this job. If you are thin-skinned, with an aversion to religious and political controversy, this work would quickly wear you down, especially in a small town environment. You are uniquely on your own.

You learn a lot about humanity in this job, and humility as well when you absorb the social atmosphere peculiar to the town. You learn that very few residents really contribute to community success in a meaningful, dependable way. Most just attach themselves, and go along for the ride until the carrier dies out. You learn that the town is a true microcosm of the nation, with all its good and bad, weakness and strength. You grow to deeply respect the opportunity to freely state your opinion, sometimes in the face of withering dissent, as nowhere else in the world.

Among the hard lessons I’ve learned is, what appears to be deep is often shallow, and some things, at first appearing to be bad, have merit. Trust is rare, achieved only with time and trial. Over the years I’ve learned that energetic amicability is often untrustworthy, a sort of friendly usury for political, social, or professional profit. Maybe this is a universal truth. “All that glitters is not gold.”

If it’s true that the quality of your work can be assessed by the greatness of your enemies, with the Katzenjammers in mind I feel like an abject failure. However, with the inclusion of a false friend or two, I feel like a winner, because a treacherous “friend” is the supreme enemy. These are the obsequious, glad-handing Pharisees that poison society. The residue of such an experience is pure contempt, on both sides, and a sense of relief that one didn’t get to know the other person well. But, they can enhance the feeling of professional success if added to the enemies list, after wiping away the disgust. This is another factor driving me to comment on controversial public affairs.

This business can provide a broad understanding of small societies. I think, having published weekly newspapers in three states and five counties, I would someday like to put my findings into a book. Maybe, someday. The big question is: should I identify the players? I recall the immortal words of mankind’s greatest genius: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Maybe that should not be so.


Glen Beck has become the most important news commentator in the country during this past year. Bill O’Reilly remains number one in his news business, but only because he usually softens his comments by giving any benefit of the doubt to liberals, even when little doubt exists. Beck, on the other hand, doesn’t mince his words. His message is pure and direct. He also has the courage (unique in the business) to speak the truth regardless of the hammering he takes in the rest of the media. I admire him for that – though I can’t stand his radio program. Half of his radio time is spent on ads, and most of the rest frequently spent on childish, repetitious goofing-off with (it sounds like) a half-dozen clowns who laugh sarcastically at everything, continuously. It sounds like a frat party. In the morning, when I’m getting ready to go to work, I don’t have time for all this verbal grab-ass. No wonder he was recently dropped from New York’s biggest station. His radio presentation is utterly irritating. However, he’s still the only one telling it like it is on TV.

Beck’s website “The Blaze” is a valuable news source. It always has something important that no other media site has posted. The remaining media is almost all bought and paid for liberal (and anti-FOX News) bias.

* * *

Thanks in large part to Beck’s TV show and website, the hugely uninformed American public is finally learning about the murderous Islamic threat in our midst. His show is projecting America’s future by revealing government corruption and its weakening effect on our national defense. At the center of America’s vulnerability is a profoundly ignorant and inexperienced presidency which is accompanied by a swarm of political hacks, crooks, and amateurs. Few people understand, or want to understand, our most dangerous enemy today – Islam, as it is understood and practiced by most of 1.3 billion believers. It is a faith of hate; hate of the Jew, hate of the Christian, and hate of all “unbelievers”. Another recent manifestation of this bloody hatred which characterizes most of Islam is the murder (Wednesday) of the only Christian member of Pakistan’s federal Cabinet, Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Roman Catholic. See

America, indeed all of western civilization, has no true Islamic friends; we have only friends of temporary commercial convenience. Turkey is no longer a friend, if it ever was, and Saudi Arabia, while a commercial partner for decades, has persistently sought to undermine Christian America by providing billions to create a surreptitious Islamic infrastructure in our midst.

Rest in peace, Saint Shahbaz Bhatti. Your sacrifice was not in vain. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus: “Tertullian”; 160-220 a.d.).


The entire world seems to be disintegrating these days. It’s no wonder a majority of Christian churches believe the end times, or at least the tribulation is upon us. How is the terrestrial cookie crumbling? Let me count some ways.

In the City of Fillmore our new city manager pilgrim is making progress, in the wrong direction. Tuesday’s council agenda was slim, and expected to remain so because our city manager (who orders business) doesn’t do much. Among her few guiding suggestions, however, is hiring an assistant. With such low expectations it will not surprise me to see many more short agendas at many more short council meetings. But wait - Brian Sipes attended a county animal control agency meeting a few weeks ago, and informed us that a new cat house was being built, with a big screen TV – because “cats like big screen TV.”


Elsewhere, the cat is out of the bag.

Thanks to Obama’s blundering inexperience and Muslim bias, Egypt is lost to the west. Obama’s inexperienced, ignorant, arrogant, and inept political appointees in the state department, intelligence services, defense department, and homeland security, continue to believe the Muslim Brotherhood is a small, mostly innocuous secular political organization. They are learning, too late, that it is, instead, the foundation of the present Middle Eastern insurrection and the center of bloody hatred of Israel and America, and the entirety of Western civilization. Within weeks expect the entire Muslim Middle East to be in chaos, which in turn will spread chaos around the world, political, religious, economic, and military. Muslim countries around the world are lying in wait for the Christian West. Iran can’t wait to unleash the dogs of war (to bring on the “twelfth Imam”). As during the Crusades, weakness and indecisiveness in the western world is precipitating this disaster. We need another Lepanto.

I feel sorry for the many excellent men and women working in our military and security services. They do a fine if thankless job; it is the upper echelon of duplicitous incompetents in civil and military government that has dissipated our strength, integrity, and effectiveness.


The entire staff at the Fillmore Gazette wishes to extend its sympathies and condolences to Conway Spitler upon learning of the death of his beloved spouse, Tillie.

Tillie’s warmth and generosity was a frequent gift to the staff in past years. She will be fondly remembered. Married for 65 years; what a wonderful example.

Rest in peace, Tillie.


Any thinking American today must be concerned, to the point of being alarmed, by the state of our nation. The older I get the more my sense of alarm manifests itself as profound disgust. Frankly, when I continue to witness the precipitous decline of my country, brought on by its stubborn desire to renounce our once cherished Judeo-Christian heritage, I sense more than imminent danger, I see disaster.

I cannot help comparing the state of this nation today to what it was in my youth. It is fair to say that virtually everything has changed. Certainly that common fundamental American concern for ethical behavior and the primacy of Judeo-Christian standards in our daily lives is hugely diminished. It’s difficult to see what the “Christian” community believes today, even harder to understand what we believe in common.

Few remember that as late as the 1930s virtually all Christian churches condemned contraception. Certainly, up to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, virtually all Christian and non-Christian Americans recognized the evil of aborting a child waiting to be born. Even more certainly no one would tolerate aborting a child in the last trimester. But today, the American president urges that even children born healthy following an unsuccessful abortion should be killed outright or by deliberate neglect.

America has embraced a fatal culture of death which has infected every branch of its society. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the revolting statistic showing that we have aborted more than 50 million preborn infants since 1973. Despite false statistics published by murder factories such as Planned Parenthood, 90 percent of these abortions were undertaken for reasons of social convenience.

As we Americans age, senior citizens should be concerned with those who feel entitled to decide who should live and who should die. Soviet communism and Nazi socialism did not hesitate to identify and condemn the “useless eaters” to an early death. We are headed in the same direction.

I also see a perfect storm of stupidity and naïveté in the actions of our government, our financial institutions, and in the ignorance of our electorate.

Our president is fundamentally ignorant of the responsibilities of his high office. It’s not his fault; he was voted into office because he was an articulate African American, not because he had any knowledge national defense, finance, the economy, or international relations. He’s just a slick-talking “community organizer”, an ideologue with a notable affinity for political radicals and radical Islam, who espoused socialism many years ago. Sadly, for the rest of us, our president brought with him into office a cloud of like-minded socialists, communists, former terrorists, scofflaws, and crooks. We can hardly blame the president; it was the millions of ignorant, stupid, blatantly racist members of our electorate who put him into office. There is no other explanation for the 98 and 70 percent voter margins of the last presidential election.

This tragic election outcome could not have occurred at a worse time. Our Community organizer-in-chief must deal with the many imminent life-and-death issues facing America, which will take more than the best talents of the best community organizer.

How can our community organizer deal with the world-wide Islamic jihadist revolutions, which seek to destroy America and all of western civilization? Look how he has bungled the recent Egyptian revolution. What can he be expected to do about the other Islamic nations (Pakistan, Iran, Syria, even Myanmar) having or seeking to produce atomic weapons? And, those criminal nations producing and marketing weapons of mass destruction, like North Korea, China and Russia?

Even Uncle Ugo in Venezuela wants his nuclear weapons.

Then, there is the problem of America going bankrupt and having the dollar dismissed as the world’s currency standard. And of course something close to 20 percent of Americans are out of work.

Our borders remain open and we are inundated with millions of illegal immigrants. Mexico has become essentially a failed state where even the army cannot control the $50 billion dollar drug business and where Americans are now routinely murdered by the cartels on American soil.

What’s a community organizer to do?

I wish it were possible to return to the 1950s, before everything began to fall apart in the 1960s. As much as I hate to admit it, at the present time, America for all her wondrous history is disintegrating. Amidst all of these issues, and two wars, our top military leaders have decided to permit openly homosexual persons into the ranks. How things have changed! I can’t imagine the guys I soldiered with at Ft. Bragg holding hands in ranks, or giving the First Sergeant a little peck on the cheek. I can readily understand confusion, disorder, even bloodshed, however, when this disgusting plan is implemented. Can anyone in their right mind imagine combat troops tolerating openly homosexual men in the ranks? How about SEALS?

Our military leaders, especially our Commander in Chief, have betrayed our fighting men and women, and the historical moral compass has been smashed. I would refuse to serve in such a military. I would strongly persuade any children of mine not to serve in such a military. It would be dishonorable.

This bastardly plan by military leaders of questionable character has already placed women in combat roles (soon to include submarine duty). It will be impossible to avoid drafting women in time of future wars.

America has lost its way; it is losing its soul. Only the strongest, most determined conservative majority in congress, and a new president with strong Judeo-Christian credentials, can save this nation at this late date.


Just a brief note on Tuesday’s city council meeting.

It’s hard to believe that our council majority (Patti, Gayle, Jamey, and Brian) can be so blatantly disingenuous, especially while being taped for TV. I just had to leave when these folks began to discuss the Grad Night Live location issue. It was like listening to maliciously mischievous children.

In short, this issue was created by a woman who had no standing to complain about what was then a fenced-in storage area by the bike path reserved for Grad Night Live.

The city has never owned the small property in question. The two businesses that did own the space had both permitted Grad Night to use it. There was ample room for a fire truck to access the packinghouse property in time of emergency. As a matter of fact, the closest fire hydrant to the packinghouse is located on the packinghouse property, across the tracks. The city ordered Grad Night to remove the existing containers, which was done at a financial loss. The city is now pretending to graciously replace those containers and permit Grad Night to remain in the same location. What a farce!

Instead of ignoring the complainant’s threats (and cheap race card remarks) and telling her to get out because she had no standing to complain, the council began to cower and respond. This response has taken-up hundreds of city hours, including three or four council agendas, gotten everyone angry to the point of threatening lawsuits, and engaging our city legal counsel. What has been the result? We are now back at square one, i.e. Grad Night retains the use of the property. What a waste!

To make matters worse, I had to listen to council-jammers Gayle, Brian, and Jamey prattle about how much the council has done to help Grad Night, and other non-profit organizations. Let’s get this straight you Katzenjammers. You are not the solution – you are the problem. You tried to cater to that trouble making woman who didn’t have enough common sense to know she had no standing to complain about the non-existing problem.
These three amigos (Brooks, Washburn, and Sipes) lied by denying the fact that they had promised Grad Night to replace the two containers they forced Grad Night to remove. This promise is (thankfully) caught on tape and will be posted to Here we have liars backing-up liars.

Be thinking about a recall.


Another example of devious dealings with the new council majority and its incompetent new manager, Yvonne Quiring, relates to the baseball backstop that will not be constructed for this year’s activity at our new Two Rivers Park.

Only one backstop was funded by the council majority. Quiring insisted that the state might come for the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) money, and we, therefore, couldn't afford to build the second backstop and other amenities.

The truth of the matter is that (now) former Director of Public Works, Bert Rapp, had carefully explained to the manager and council, just before resigning, that other money was available to complete this work. There is no legitimate reason for failing to fund both baseball park backstops.

There is also no reason for Jamey Brooks and Brian Sipes to push the council to replace Diane McCall on the Planning Commission. Since Diane has been a standout member of that commission for several years, this had to relate somehow to a personal issue (?). These two council members are the most inexperienced of the four Katzenjammers. The newly acquired feeling of power must have overcome these two pipsqueaks. In this case the Katzenjammers just continue with their program of sweeping away all opposition and eliminating the experienced old guard.

Again, $30,000 for a recall election is peanuts compared to the economic and personnel damage the Katzenjammers are causing the city.

Be thinking about a recall – it’s the right thing to do.


A postscript: The extension hiring of Linda Pappas Diaz was buried in the Warrant List at Tuesday’s meeting. No discussion, no open government.


Fillmore’s now former Director of Public Works (City Engineer) Bert Rapp, was covered with honors during what was his final council meeting, Tuesday evening. Rapp resigned his position last month after nearly 20 stellar years on the job. Though Bert remains silent about reasons for his departure, it is widely understood that dealing with the council majority (Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and now Brian Sipes) has been frustratingly counter-productive. Added to the continuous disrespect received from these four know-nothing, micro-managing political wanabes was the last straw, a new, obviously incompetent, city manager who has caused unprecedented disruption among the entire city staff. Two letters of no confidence in the new city manager, from city employees, have recently been read aloud to the council. Measures, if any, being taken to resolve this unprecedented situation are being kept secret from the public. In her single year at her previous city manager job, our new manager Yvonne Quiring met the same fate – no confidence, and was relieved of her job.

Long time employees like Bert and City Planner Kevin McSweeney, were denied employment contracts by the council majority. Threats to job retention was the reason given for these contract requests. The council majority deemed an employee work review necessary – though no one was competent to do the review. As the council majority had done previously with former City Manager Roy Payne (another outstanding 20-year employee) hostile and disrespectful statements and a lack of cooperation and support led to Bert’s resignation. The council majority left no doubt that they intended to replace all top employees who had served previous councils. They apparently intended to do this by making working conditions intolerable. Thanks to the organized effort of people like failed former mayor and non-resident Gary Creagle, frenetic blogger Bob Stroh, and other members of the Katzenjammer Klub, the work environment did become intolerable, hostile, and outside job offers became too inviting to resist.

The new council majority has replaced almost all of our most talented and experienced employees, those with the longest tenure, in order to find the money for less experienced, less costly employees and to provide sufficient salary money for an assistant city manager.

Bert received an unprecedented number of awards upon resignation, including rare recognition from the California State Assembly on behalf of our new Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, presented by former Fillmore Mayor Ernie Villegas.
I fear our new Katzenjammer majority on the council is not finished with its purging of the best of our city government employees. They have run city government off the rails and into the swamp. Watch closely as more and more vitally important city issues go unresolved or swept under the carpet. Watch as more government functions go into the dark room of executive sessions.

Thanks, Bert, for 20 years of superb, imaginative, and effective city engineering.

I’m wondering if a $30,000 recall is really too expensive to rid city government of this utterly incompetent, and financially irresponsible new council majority.

Fillmore has sown the wind. The whirlwind is just around the corner.


Whatever became of the moral outrage expressed by the Katzenjammer membership over the Owens&Minor tax sharing contract? I no longer hear their shrill condemnations of this agreement which will bring to Fillmore $800,000 to $1 million per year in tax sharing revenues – for the next 20 years. Where are those Katzenjammer condemnations which used to echo throughout the ranks, condemning former City Manager Roy Payne and past city councils for bringing this “immoral” agreement?

Of course these were the voices of those pious frauds (council members Gail Washburn, Jamey Brooks, Brian Sipes, and Patti Walker) who were at that time seeking public office. Their complaints were nothing more than political flatulence, but the effluvium overpowered any common sense remaining with the Fillmore electorate; these people really were elected. Katzenjammers like Bob Stroh and former, failed mayor and non-resident gadfly Gary Creagle, must be chortling over the success of their strategy to completely repopulate city government with their own luminaries. This change does not bode well for the residents of Fillmore who must abide by the results.

Briefly, here’s what the Katzenjammers have done: Those upper and middle city management members who saw the writing on the wall, and refused to work for the cabal, left early. Finance Director Barbara Smith took early retirement rather than deal with the new régime. Her position has not been filled to date. Former City Manager Roy Payne, serving as a coordinator for on-going issues such as the Business Park, resigned when the new council (utterly ignorant of his work) intended to review his work in order to decide whether to retain his services. In fact, there was no one around with sufficient knowledge of the importance of Roy’s work to be able to evaluate it. Then, City Manager Tom Ristau, who refused to have the new (Katzenjammer) City Clerk, Clay Westling, attend his staff meetings (something never done before, and a raw aggregation of power by Westling) and who was having to defend against increasing council disrespect, also resigned. Steve McClary, who had headed-up several critical, mid and upper level positions at city hall for many years, also resigned, and is now Acting City Manager for the City of Ojai. Most recently, Bert Rapp, Director of Public Works and City Engineer for nearly 20 years, resigned as well, to take a position of General Manager with a water company, giving him both a raise in salary and responsibility. Mr. Rapp had taken the brunt of Katzenjammer disrespect for at least four years, without complaint. His replacement has not been revealed, but whoever he/she may be, that person will not have Rapp’s nearly 20-year experience with the city’s infrastructure, which he largely rebuilt.

This exodus of management talent has not played out as yet. One has to wonder what the year 2011 will look like after the loss of the city’s most important and experienced employees. We have no Finance Director, no City Engineer, no coordinator for special projects, and we have two letters of no confidence in management from Fillmore’s employees.

What we have, instead, is a city council now composed of a majority of four Katzenjammers, a Katzenjammer city clerk, and a new city manager co-opted by the Katzenjammer council, and a city manager demanding to hire an assistant city manager. Perhaps it would be wise if future candidates for Fillmore public offices were asked if they are able to do the job without an assistant, or mandate that top tier positions must be filled only by candidates having the skill and experience to do that job without a highly-paid assistant. This would avoid unnecessary duplication of positions and the significant expense attendant to this duplication – especially during times of deep economic recession, when other employees fear for their jobs.

I believe this extraordinary series of city employee losses and economic challenges are directly due to the machinations of that group I tagged as Katzenjammers. After a long and energetic run, the dogs have finally caught-up with the car. Question: Now what are they going to do with it?

I have to thank God that Bert Rapp and American Water were able to finish our new award-winning water treatment plant before the Katzenjammers could stop the project, as they tried so hard to do.

The Gazette will publish a “State of the City” report soon. It’s got to be soon, before city hall completely disappears.


A happy, merry, and holy Christmas to all Gazette readers! We don’t celebrate the season, or the holiday; we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, the Prince of Peace, and the Redeemer of the human race. So, let’s all rejoice!


Are you shopkeepers located on south Central Avenue dry today? Are you experiencing any flooding during this heavy rainstorm? If not, you owe your new comfort to the man who has just resigned as Fillmore’s Director of Public Works (city engineer) Bert Rapp.

During the nearly 20 years of his employment Bert has essentially rebuilt Fillmore’s infrastructure with courage, skill, and imagination. He re-designed and rebuilt the city’s decrepit and dangerous old water system. He designed and built four city parks, our Class One bike path, re-engineered our Towne Theatre after the quake, designed our Pole Creek debris basin (which saves El Dorado Mobil Home Park from flooding), built our new city hall, and, best of all, caused to be built our great new, award-winning, water treatment plant.

There is virtually no place in the City of Fillmore that he has not in some beneficial way changed.

With all of these major achievements, and the official accolades his work has received, he remains one of the most humble, modest men I have ever known, a true Christian gentleman.

Bert is one of the last of many upper management city employees to leave since our city council has been overrun by the Katzenjammers, a highly organized political group determined to drive-off all long-term city employees. He has been personally disrespected, and his professional expertise ignored, by the most ignorant, inexperienced bunch of micromanagers ever to sit on the council. Bert could have resigned for several more lucrative engineering positions at any time, but he loved this city and wanted to complete his ideas. Politics finally made this impossible.

Beginning with our former City Manager Roy Payne, who was deliberately insulted to the point that he also resigned, through several other upper-level employees who left to avoid having to deal with Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and now Brian Sipes, our city hall is now like a wind-swept barn. Virtually every city employee has signed a letter of no confidence in city management – only to be ignored, twice.

Good luck to Bert Rapp. He’s our loss and his new employer’s gain – much like Steve McClary and the others who have gone to greener places earlier.

A spirit of stupidity has settled upon the City of Fillmore.


Something momentous happened at Tuesday’s council meeting. It should be immortalized as the enthronement of the fourth Katzenjammer, Brian Sipes. To date, he joins Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, and Jamey Brooks, charter Katzenjammers all. One man alone remains of the old régime, Steve Conaway. He must be remembered as Horatius at the gate, holding back all those sword-swinging Katzenjammers!

Comparing this council to pre-Katz councils, I can say (with a half-dozen former mayors) to show confidence in Fillmore’s near-term future is, at best, naive.

Serious and unique issues pertaining to our new city manager and the entire staff under her control remain unresolved. Staff morale remains darkly depressed as they await layoffs, firings, and pay cuts. It is widely alleged that the new council has targeted 5 remaining, long term top and/or middle management positions for replacement. Our new city manager appears to be positioning a new employee for assistant manager by recently providing an $8 per-hour raise as others are put on furlough. The need for an assistant city manager, at another substantial salary, is at best controversial, but Ms. Quiring continues her search. Roy Payne needed no such assistance.

The unprecedented open letter of no confidence in Quiring from all city employees is being deliberately ignored.

* * *

I was stunned by the way the Grad Night Live storage issue was handled last night. This non-profit program has continued to save the lives of Fillmore High School graduates for the past 20 years. It’s entirely run by volunteers who seek to raise more than $21,000 each year to provide a cruise night immediately after graduation to avoid drinking and driving which had been killing graduates in alarming numbers before this program began.
All Raelene Cheney (president) wanted was to continue to use the very convenient location in use for several years to store donated materials and donated cars for sale. It was the city that initiated the problem, and doesn’t even own the property in question – not even a valid easement!

One trouble-making resident who has no connection to the property persists in complaining about its alleged unlawful use. She insinuates that a staff member may be racist in failing to immediately redress her complaint.
Our city manager should have treated this issue quickly, by ignoring the complainant and remedying the problem the city created by putting Grad Night Live on the same sort of agreement that the railroad museum has - $1.00 per year. Maybe false accusations of racism should be made actionable. This is an outrage. Grad Night Live should be allowed to stay where they were and the storage containers should be replaced at city expense. And, interloping troublemakers should be ignored for what they are!


I guess the next city council meeting is set for the 14th. I don’t want to miss it, especially because I expect four council members (Walker, Washburn, Brooks, and Sipes) to express their apologies to former (20-year) City Manager Roy Payne, our legal counsel, and the previous city council that approved the Owens and Minor tax revenue sharing contract 7 years ago. This unique contract has substantially benefited the City of Fillmore to the tune of about $1 million per year, and will continue to do so for the entire 20-year duration of the contract.

However, this good news has been trashed by the above Katzenjammers who have excoriated Mr. Payne, the former council, and our legal counsel, characterizing this hugely beneficial contract as something evil. They have denounced this contract as “immoral, dishonorable, and unethical.”

I expect to see the Katzenjammers line up before the dais to deliver their apologies and confess their errors. I can see it now, Gary Creagle (the non-resident leader, tutor of Jamey Brooks, and self-proclaimed man of means) remove his Foghorn-Leghorn cap before tearfully asking forgiveness. Then, Patti Walker, who once approved the contract, would say, “I was wrong, receiving $1 million each year for 20 years is a good thing, especially during this recession.” Washburn would be next. She also would repent of her excessive political ambition and fuzzy thinking. She should say something like, “How could I have been so foolish to criticize such a lawful, beneficial agreement, which has been blessed by the courts and the Board of Equalization!”

Then Jamey would step forth, glancing over his shoulder at the repentant Creagle, I can hear him say, “Creagle made me do it! He told me to swing my sword of righteousness at that contract and those responsible for creating it. I set out to cut costs but somehow ended up cutting revenue, and everything else in sight.”

Then it would be Sipes’ turn. I see him blushing with embarrassment over his many-years-worth of blustering condemnation of the contract, and the thought that his mom might not be pleased. I hear him reject his standard rebuke of the “unethical” tax contract, and see him and his mom publically demonstrate true ethics by recusing themselves from further participation in the city’s First Time Home Owners project, now a conflict of interest.

City Clerk and charter Katzenjammer, Clay Westling, would awake with a jolt in his official chair. He too would search the audience for some gesture of assistance from Creagle, siting in the back row with cap pulled over his eyes. Seeing none, Westling would plead that he was only following orders.

Ah – but these things are only in a dream.


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:, 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, 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.