Mayor Rick Neal will be delivering a State of the City presentation Thursday, February 21, 6pm, at Wm L Morris Chevrolet showroom. It will be sponsored by the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce. Everyone is invited.

There are a lot of hopeful, positive things in the works since the new city council took over, and it was a pleasure discussing some of them with our interim City Manager/Fire Chief, Rigo Landero and Management Consultant Mike Sedell at lunch Tuesday. Mike is a very distinguished former City Manager of the City of Simi Valley and was Chief-of-Staff to Congressman Elton Gallegly in Washington, D.C., with many other credits to his service. He has generously volunteered to help Fillmore with its financial and budgetary challenges. You can learn a great deal by listening to Mike’s advice.

Fillmore’s future seems bright as we slowly climb out of the financial doldrums we’ve experienced these past several years. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close. We discussed ideas for funding our swimming pool/tennis complex, alternatives for the Towne Theatre and much more. Our Film Commission is having great success this year, approaching the $100,000 mark in revenue. Maybe some of that money could be spent on reactivating our graffiti removal service. Fillmore is being seriously damaged by graffiti again. Solutions for these issues are being actively pursued and I’m sure the mayor will have encouraging reports for us tomorrow evening. Hope to see you all there.

* * *

I was going to say a few words about what our federal government is doing to us these days, but it’s too depressing and alarming. The insane debt, deficit, attacks on our Second Amendment, hollowing-out of our defenses, bleeding us with new taxes, attacks on our churches, in general, an all-out attack on our freedoms deserves more space than I have this week. Fifty two percent of the electorate has voted into office a president intent on destroying the freedom and dynamics which created this great nation. Obama is a clear and present threat to our republic’s constitutional government. And, the people he has appointed to our highest offices are sycophants, thugs, incompetents, and fellow socialists. I expect a complete financial, military, and moral breakdown before the end of his last term.

I almost began another rant, so I’ll sign off now while I recall my reasons for believing in Fillmore’s bright future.



Our prayers go out for the families of those police officers who were slain in the line of duty recently by a rogue ex-officer. The pain that the perpetrator of these horrendous murders may have suffered perishing as he did in a burning cabin are nothing compared to the eternal flames he chose for himself.

May all of the officers and other innocent victims of this evil man rest in peace.


My thanks to School Superintendent Alan Nishino for providing a rebuttal statement to (last week’s) former Assistant Superintendent Michael Bush’s criticism of Dr. Nishino’s contract. It’s important to hear both sides of the issue before coming to conclusions.


Just when I thought I could relax and enjoy the quiet, orderly, and productive city council meetings being conducted by our new council, under the mayorship of Rick Neal, a perplexing gadfly has landed in the ointment. Former Mayor Gayle Washburn has begun to haunt the proceedings, offering advice and urging the council to pursue her old agenda. It’s rather pitiful.

Gayle, you lost the election, by a substantial margin, together with all your minions. You’re still in command as the Home Owner’s Association President. Can’t you be content with that?

As the song goes, it’s Time To Say Goodbye – please.


The Gazette has posted two informative videos on, concerning the Second Amendment threat launched by firearms phobic gun grabbers. They are well worth viewing.

The fact that always seems to go unmentioned in the numerous media anti-gun campaigns is this: In America the vast majority of firearms deaths are due to criminal conduct. Of the 11,000 annual deaths, almost all are due to gang activity, especially concerning drugs.

The most accurate professional studies (by professors John Lott, David Kopel, and Gary Kleck) show beyond question that approximately 3 MILLION Americans, every year, are saved from criminal violence by the use of their personal firearms. The vast majority of incidents do not involve firing a gun – merely showing the gun is often sufficient to halt the intended attack.

Again – 3 MILLION saved from violent criminal attack by the defensive use of firearms. Compare this to deaths by criminal firearms activity and remember that the great majority of those criminal actions are caused by gang activity. Rather than have the media continue to show only the victims of criminal firearm attack, it’s time to start interviewing some of the millions who have successfully defended against such attacks by the use of their private firearms.

Statistics tell us that gun bans, magazine restrictions, ammunition restrictions HAVE NEVER succeeded in reducing violent crime. Why? Because criminals, by definition, always ignore the law. That’s why they are called OUTLAWS. The effort to remove firearms from the hands of criminals must continue, but no final, complete success is possible, without getting rid of all the world’s firearms – which is completely impossible.

So, the government move to restrict and remove firearms from the 99 percent of law-abiding citizens can have no effect on the one percent of violent criminals. But such bans and severe restrictions do seriously diminish the ability of law-abiding citicens to protect themselves. Firearms bans are promoted by ignorant, paranoid legislators who are largely firearms phobic, and who have no understanding of American Constitutional rights. We are talking about RIGHTS, not privileges. In a constitutional republic like America, where the Constitution is the highest law, attempting to take away enumerated rights is itself unlawful, and should be resisted with all rational means.

One of the videos I mentioned above shows how two nations (Australia and England) can be quickly and completely deprived of civilian firearms and that violent crime rose dramatically as a reslult. They lost their rights because they were too slow to recognize what was happening. Make no mistake; the ultimate goal of anti-gun politicians is to deprive us of all firearms, regardless of what they say to the contrary. The Second Amendment has never had anything to do with hunting or sports. Its primary purpose has always been to provide a means to defend ourselves and our property against a tyrannical government and lawless civilians.

The other video is from a brilliant, articulate woman (Judge Jeanine). I would like to see her run for president. Judge Jeanine: "Owning a Gun, is my God-Given Right!" Opening Statement - 2-2-13.

Fight against those who seek to take our Second Amendment rights from us!



I picked the wrong time to withdraw video coverage of Tuesday’s school board meeting. Two issues of great importance were addressed, one involving the health and safety of students and teachers (badly leaking classroom roofs and resulting mold); the other pertaining to salary and pension compensation for Dr. Alan Nishino, as “interim superintendent” on a full three-year contract.

I regret I left the meeting before former Fillmore Assistant Superintendent (Business) Mike Bush addressed the Board. The complete text of his statement can be found on page one of this week’s paper. Mr. Bush had sharp criticism for the Board’s handling of Dr. Nishino’s 2012-2013 contract. I met with Interim Superintendent (Business) Earl Davis Monday. He explained some of the confusion in the contract’s form, but we have not yet received the letter of explanation that was promised for this week. The Gazette has received several letters of concern regarding these issues and I hope this matter can be cleared-up as soon as possible.

Five speakers addressed the issue of serious structural problems with many classrooms and the middle school gym. Photos of water damage and buckets needed to catch the leakage in many rooms and in the gym were displayed. Ceiling tiles in all affected areas have been falling and a mold problem has developed. These problems require immediate correction. Repairs, because of the extent of structural damage (admittedly due to shoddy design) is expected to be very expensive. The board has stated that a survey of the damage and estimates of repair costs have begun. The Gazette will follow-up with this story as details develop.

* * *

We have had two serious structure fires in the past two days. One involved a backyard trailer attached to a shed-like structure on Olive Street; the other was near the Senior Center. The fire near the Center was apparently ignited by someone walking on the path near the railroad tracks. It appeared someone tossed a cigarette or other burning material onto a leafy area beneath a palm tree. The tree ignited and spread to a storage shed. Sparks then spread westward igniting a boat on a trailer, which nearly burned down a small adjacent travel trailer.
Rest assured, Fillmore has the best volunteer fire department in the state! Our guys act quickly and they really know what they are doing.

Thanks to Rigo, Bill, Al and the whole crew.

Luke visiting the Gazette office with his eggs
Luke visiting the Gazette office with his eggs
Enlarge Photo

Three-year-old Luke Kraft, his mother Spring, and his dad Brian paid a visit to the Gazette this week. Luke has an unusual pet, a banty hen he has named “Girl”. They are inseparable friends and Luke carries Girl around with him, in and out of the house.

Luke’s most recent visit to the Gazette was occasioned by a special event; Girl had laid a tiny egg on Luke’s lap as a token of her affection. Luke showed up with a small wicker basket containing three normal sized eggs and one very small, special egg about the size of a wren’s egg – Girl’s gift.

Photos of Luke, his banty hen, Girl, and the special small egg can be seen on page 9 of the Gazette and on the Community page of We appreciate Luke sharing his pet with us and hope he visits again soon.
It’s great to have a warm, fuzzy story once in a while.


Due to illness, our loyal city hall reporter was unable to cover Tuesday’s Town Hall Meeting. Though the agenda stated that the event was to be a council meeting, it was in fact a town hall meeting, and well run at that.

Four members of the old régime attended, and three of them even provided comment. But it pains me to even mention their names. I’m gradually acclimating myself to the new, peaceful, respectful, businesslike, and highly productive meetings produced by our new city council, and don’t want to remember the bad old days. Our new staff, council members, clerk, and interim city manager are doing a terrific job.

Things are really looking up. The agenda set up four issues for discussion: the treatment of businesses at city hall, economic development, attracting new business and support for current businesses, the sewer treatment plant and new ways to generate revenues and reduce rates, and the swimming pool complex cash flow.

The filming commission reported that we have taken in more than $90,000 in the past five months. Shirley Spitler has volunteered to assist in seeking new businesses for the downtown area. Rigo Landeros praised Patrick Maynard for his great assistance with filming contracts and permits. Mayor Rick Neal kept the discussions on topic and the meeting ended promptly at 9:00 p.m.

* * *

After viewing Hillary Clinton’s performance during the Benghazi committee inquiry into the attack on our embassy I became so nauseated I thought I would skip this column. What a piece of work this first lady leftover is. For someone directly responsible for the death of four heroic Americans, including our ambassador, I would expect a little humility and contrition. Instead we get the usual Clinton lies, stonewalling, and arrogance. When I look at the sorry feminist stable at the state department these days I have to abandon hope for the security of our nation. One question posed to Hillary today: “Why weren’t you the one to go on the Sunday shows after the Benghazi attack, in place of UN Ambassador Susan Rice?” Answer, Hillary: “I have to confess here in public, going on the Sunday shows is not my favorite thing to do. There are other things I prefer to do on Sunday mornings, and I haven’t been on a Sunday show in over a year.” Any president with a normal sense of moral values would have booted her out of that office for such a casual attitude towards such a grave matter.


President Obama has not only panicked some 150 million American citizens who own, use, and value their firearms, his expressed intent to personally dictate weapons restrictions by executive order has caused a massive stampede. With the federal government announcing its determination to reinstate another “assault weapons ban” gun stores, shooting ranges, suppliers and manufactures of guns and munitions have been swamped by equally determined gun owners.

What is almost completely lacking in this point blank confrontation between gun haters and gun lovers, are facts and logic. The media has for the most part been utterly dishonest, with a blatant anti-gun bias.

Everyone wants to protect the citizenry from evil criminal attack. We especially want to protect the most innocent and vulnerable (our children) from deadly assault. However, none of the restrictions and regulations demanded by various government institutions will do anything to prevent the horror of mass shootings. Government studies show clearly that the last, ten year, ban did absolutely nothing to diminish the threat. I have cited professors John Lott and Gary Kleck on this issue before. David Kopel is another expert on the issue of firearms and violence. The facts and statistics are there for any honest person to access. Some of the undisputed facts are:

“American culture is a gun culture – not merely in the sense that in 2009 about 124 million people lived in households that owned a total of about 270 million guns, but in the broader sense that guns pervade our debates on crime and are constantly present in movies and the news.” (John Lott, More Guns Less Crime, Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, 3rd edition).

“The more-guns-less-crime thesis will be examined by looking at what happens to crime rates when cities or counties ban guns. The evidence should make gun-control advocates pause, as all the gun bans that I have studied show that murder rates increase after the ban is enacted.” (Ibid). “Despite many studies of bans on so-called assault weapons, economists and criminologists have yet to find any benefit from either state or federal bans” (Ibid).

Again, these are conclusions drawn from 30-plus years of research by world-class scholars. Read this book alone to become educated on the issue of guns, gun violence, and why this rush to ban and further restrict guns and gun ownership is foolish and counter-productive. The anti-gun attack is purely emotion-based, not factual.


This week’s school board meeting exposed a sensitive issue concerning three $100,000 payments to “Interim superintendent PerContract.” This was explained as a “PI” or purchase item. It was removed from this week’s agenda. More on this after the next meeting.


Congratulations are due to Richard Gonzalez (former owner of Richard’s Meat Market in Fillmore) for subduing a violent man in Taco Bell this week. The man was under the influence of drugs and acting in a threatening way.
I recall, about 20 years ago, Richard also helped catch another felon near his market.
I haven’t seen Richard in a long time but it’s good to know he is still around taking care of business.
Thanks, Richard.

* * *

On a less salubrious event, DRUDGE reports that:
Barack Obama just made another 150 million enemies, which shouldn’t be surprising since 47 percent of voting Americans didn’t want him to be president.
This attack on the Second Amendment to the American Constitution is the most serious in our nation’s history. I will let Stanislav Mishin express my opinion.
“Americans, never give up your guns
By Stanislav Mishin
These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one's self and possessions.
This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington's clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.
Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.
Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.
To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere....but criminals are still armed and still murdering and too often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.
While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.
For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or "talking to them", it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.
The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?
No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.
So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.”
Stanislav Mishin
The hysteria being fanned by the media, and funded by the far Left, advocates senseless, illogical, false “solutions” to violent crime. Americans must educate themselves on this issue by consulting the most thorough and trustworthy studies by scholars such as John Lott, David Kopel, and Gary Kleck. Before throwing away our Second Amendment rights in a media-induced panic, we should all understand the problem – which is not gun ownership by sane, law-abiding, citizens demanding their right and ability to defend themselves, family, friends, and others from criminals and the criminally insane.


I’ve been under the weather these past several days, so I’m not going to say much today.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and will enjoy a Happy New Year.

With all of America’s most important moral, fiscal, military, and social issues in jeopardy of being wrongfully decided by the Obama administration, a happy new year is doubtful. So I have a few modest proposals for fixing some problems.

Obama is attempting to force the Catholic Church to pay for drugs designed to kill newly fertilized human eggs, embryos, (abortifacients) which is contrary to fundamental church teaching. The church cannot comply.

The government has become an active enemy of Christianity. The Catholic Church should close all hospitals, orphanages, and its numerous other charitable outreach facilities, sell the infrastructure, and use the resulting billions to construct thousands of new parochial schools, kindergarten through high school.

Reestablishing normal funding for essential defense programs may have to wait for the next catastrophe, which we may not survive.

The inability of our spendthrift congress to stop spending more than it takes in, may, again, need an economic collapse to make the point.


As I hope all of our readers enjoyed a happy and peaceful Christmas, I can’t forget the nightmare of grief the families of the little children slaughtered in Newtown, Connecticut must experience for the rest of their lives.
This most horrific event is preceded by several other mass killings by evil, mentally disturbed people. Sadly, they have been followed by other mass killings, most recently by an ex-convict in Webster, New York. This chain of murders has split America once again along the lines of the last presidential election. The burning issue is guns and gun control; how to at least curtail these mass murders. Evil itself will exist for all time; our only hope is to control and limit it.

Opinion here can be seen as liberals against conservatives, liberals demanding more gun control legislation, conservatives demanding better enforcement and mental health augmentation. Our Second Amendment rights loom large here. One of the few big mistakes that my hero Ronald Reagan made during his presidency was to listen to liberals such as the ACLU telling him to stop hospitalizing the mentally ill. As governor of California he directed the deconstruction of our once great mental health system. Every president since that time has contributed to this disaster, setting mentally troubled citizens on the streets to fend for themselves, often endangering others.

Returning to some of the classic studies of guns and violence in America, by authors such as John Lott, David Kopel, and Gary Kleck, the answer to the question of how to deter these terrible crimes emphatically does not lie in more gun control legislation. As these experts tell us after 20-plus years of examination, guns themselves are not the problem; evil criminals and insane people who use them to deliberately inflict mayhem are the problem. Even dyed-in-the-wool liberals are beginning to admit the truth of this fact. Reviewing David Kopel’s book “Guns, Who Should Have Them” ACLU stalwart Gene Guerrero has concluded “Regardless of your views on the issue, this book forces you to think about how much of a difference gun control will make in reducing crime in America. Kopel offers a number of common-sense alternatives which may offer far greater promise of reducing crime and violence.”

These authors are world-renowned experts on the issue of guns and crime and the history of so-called gun controls. They, as do most other experts on the problem, agree that, in John Lott’s words, “More Guns [mean] Less Crime.” This conclusion is now incontrovertible. Only emotionally obtuse liberals such as Senators Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and New York Mayor Bloomberg continue to believe in this so-called assault weapons ban clap trap.

Threats by President Obama to push for more gun-control legislation have alarmed the hundreds of millions of firearms-owning Americans. Obama’s threat has stirred a panic in firearms and ammunition markets throughout the nation. The president is now deemed to be the greatest gun salesman in American history, with literally millions of “extra” firearms being sold to avoid another threatened “assault rifle ban.”

I hope to provide more factual information on this issue in coming weeks. America, through the liberal-left media, is being grossly misinformed.


I could only look at the first of the photos of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. It was just too much. Only prayer for strength can begin to heal the hearts of family members who lost their beautiful children in that maniacal slaughter. Every effort will continue to help comfort and protect the parents, children, families, and friends of those who were killed by this evil young man.

But the usual frantic effort immediately launched by anti-firearms zealots to solve the alarming repetition of incidents of mass murder will be in vain. The problem lies not with mechanical devices but with evil, violent people who use them to kill and maim others.

All of the previous efforts to deprive the 99 percent of law-abiding American citizens of firearms for self defense against the evil one percent have been miserable failures which have aggravated the danger instead of abating it.

Many of the most recent acts of mass murder have been perpetrated by insane individuals. This is a problem of identifying and treating mentally defective persons, not attempting to remove weapons from the hands of normal, law-abiding citizens, which are necessary for self defense.

“Insanity” played no part in Adam Lanza’s, cold blooded murder of 20 children and six adults. Experts tell us that violence has no part in Asperger’s syndrome, which is the condition he suffered from. He learned that, despite years of caring for him, his mother was planning to commit him to a mental institution because she could no longer handle his behavior.

It is now alleged that Adam had an “online devil worshiping page”, according to a former classmate, which stated that “I am the devil”. He was apparently fearful of being committed to a hospital,and furious over the thought that his mother might care more for the children at the school than he himself. This was a conscious evil act despite his obvious mental problems. Adam should have been given clinical help years before this atrocious crime was perpetrated, and the firearms secured.

As for firearms and crime, anyone truly interested in understanding the problems should consult the scholarly works of John R. Lott, Jr. (More Guns, Less Crime, U. of Chicago Press, and Gary Kleck (Point Blank: Guns and violence in America”). They are both world renowned scholars, true experts on these subjects.

These works are absolutely necessary for anyone truly interested in taking effective measures to curb this sort of violence. As John Lott concludes: “The horror with which people react to guns is inversely related to how accessible they are. It would appear that, at the very least, gun-control advocates face something of a dilemma. If guns are the problem, why was it that when guns were really accessible, even inside schools by students, we didn't have the problems that plague us now including the mass school shootings?”

“Rules that are passed to solve a problem can make the problem worse, which in turn generates calls for yet more regulations. The biggest problem with gun-control laws is that those who are intent on harming others, and especially those who plan to commit suicide, are least likely to obey them. The issue is often disparagingly phrased as whether hunters are willing to be “inconvenienced,” but this misses the real question: Will well-intended laws disarm potential victims and thus make it easier for criminals?”

The media are largely uninformed on the true issues here. CNN, with panicked ideologues like CNN's Piers Morgan ranting, things will no doubt grow much more dangerous as alarmed, Constitution-believing citizens will refuse to give up their means of self defense to government. I believe such a scenario could usher in something approaching civil war. Responsible people will defend their families, friends, and possessions with deadly force when necessary, as has always been a primary American constitutional right.

God bless those suffering from the horrendous slaughter in Connecticut, a state with some of the most stringent gun regulations in the nation.

God help America to maintain all necessary and traditional means for self defense when an uninformed, emotional majority seeks to give up fundamental constitutional rights.

"Those who will give up some of their freedom for security soon will have neither freedom nor security."
Benjamin Franklin


For the first time in four years I enjoyed attending a city council meeting.

Our newly elected council members, Rick Neal, Doug Tucker, and Manny Minjares, were sworn-in to their new offices, as well as our new City Clerk, Nancy Blendermann-Meyer, and new City Treasurer Shannon Godfrey. The atmosphere was festive and filled with fresh hope for the city’s future.

The only remnant of ill will came from Councilman Sipes, a close political friend of the two defeated incumbent council members. Sipes chose a “No” vote when asked to participate in choosing a new mayor (Rick Neal) and mayor pro-tem (Manny Minjares). Sour grapes to the last.

Congratulations to all of our new office holders. We wish you success in guiding the future affairs of the City of Fillmore.


I am slowly recovering from the outcome of the November 6 federal election. I have to conclude that America is now a different place, headed rapidly to a radically different place, morally, economically, militarily, socially, and religiously. The political divide is about 52 percent (liberal-left) and 48 percent traditional-conservative. Absent a national catastrophe which would humble Americans, I don’t see this changing for generations to come.

Religion, Christianity in particular, and all of its commands, are under heavy attack. Innocent human life, to the liberal half, is no longer sacred, therefore no longer cherished and protected. The unborn child is seen is nothing more than human waste to be destroyed and discarded. This pro-death attitude is also seen in efforts to eliminate the “inconvenience” of the elderly and sickly.

Militarily, Obama is well on his way to destroying America’s preeminence in defensive capability. Our enemies grow ever stronger as we grow weaker. Obama is betraying our friends (Israel) while arming our enemies. Our numerous enemies no longer fear or respect us, which invites their aggression.

As I’ve said before, I no longer recognize America.

Pray for our nation and restore good people to our government.


Composer Dave Brubeck has died at age 91. His “Take Five” will live on as one of the greatest Jazz tunes ever.
Rest in peace, Dave.


For the first time in 8 years I’m looking forward to attending the next Fillmore city council meeting. With all three incumbents defeated in the last election I expect things will return to the civil, businesslike atmosphere the city enjoyed for most of the past 100 years. The new council has a very tough job ahead. I trust that with fresh vision, common sense, and positive support from the rest of us they will succeed.
Good luck to all of you.


If I ever needed more reason to despise unions I found it in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach strike. As they were, even during WWII, most unions are enemies of this nation, especially government unions. They blackmail our country with threats of killing-off commerce and putting many more non-union workers and businesses out of business.

In this case the strike was costing the US economy $1 billion per day. This port handles 44 percent of all cargo arriving in the US by sea.

“Tens of thousands of truckers, railroad, warehouse and other support workers were also temporarily out of work because the strike has stopped the flow of goods they normally handle.” (see: Michelle Malkin). The strike is being brought by port clerks - not longshoremen. I understand they make about $190,000 per year and can retire at 55 (will verify this statement heard on radio news). I see little difference between this union activity and that of the Mafia – except for the fact that the Mafia is a formally criminal organization.


I attended a press conference Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Office in the county government Center.

Sheriff Geoff Dean and District Attorney Greg Totten both explained the purpose of the meeting, which was the arrests by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, and the indictment by the District Attorney, of 27 members of Ventura County gangs and members of the “Mexican Mafia” gang. According to Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis, “We have incapacitated the organization from the top through its geographic managers.” Charges range from conspiring to commit assault likely to cause serious bodily injury, and extortion, to home invasion robbery and narcotics trafficking.

“All of the suspects are documented members of several local gangs in Ventura County. The unusual aspect of this case was that they were working in conjunction with and for the benefit of a highly organized prison gang hierarchy controlled by the Mexican Mafia or “La Eme.” Every one of Ventura County’s ten cities were in some way involved in this conspiracy.

“All of the criminal activity was organized and coordinated by one high ranking member of the Mexican Mafia from a prison outside California.” What is unusual here is that the Mexican Mafia, through intimidation and threats, has forced all rival Ventura County criminal gangs to comply with the taxing of criminal income from narcotics trading, through threats and violence. While gang activity in Ventura County is common, as elsewhere, cooperation among rival gangs is unprecedented.

Being a highly complex investigation, it required the cooperation of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Oxnard Police Department, Ventura County Probation Agency, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, for a period of seven months.

This case involved the activities of organized crime, purely and simply, not the more typical neighborhood gang. The Mexican Mafia has spread throughout the nation, based largely in prisons.

I see this case as a reminder that criminal gangs are as threatening to American freedom as Islamic terrorism, and should be treated as such. Over the last couple of decades criminal gangs have grown exponentially. Los Angeles County alone has more than 150,000 gang members, of virtually every ethnic composition. These people will become an immediate threat to all law-abiding citizens in the event of a major terrorist event. It will take a strong, sophisticated, multi-capable police force to cope with that threat when it happens, as it does now with the current threat.

It does not help the cause of freedom and security to have Barack Obama for another four years!


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Stay safe in your comings and goings.


Congratulations to our Sheriff’s Department for their recent success in arresting three car theft suspects and the recovery of the two vehicles.

I was privileged to witness the pursuit and arrest of one of the suspects in this case. The entire event went down like clockwork with the coordination of our Sheriff’s Office Air Unit, two K9 Units, with the assistance of several other mobile units. It was a very impressive undertaking.

Good job! It really doesn’t pay to commit crimes in Fillmore, especially when you have to spend Thanksgiving in jail.

Photos of this event will be posted on on the Front Page.


My condolences go out to the friends and family of the young man who was killed in a tragic paraglider accident Tuesday. The accident occurred in the Santa Clara Riverbed off the end of Powell Road.

May he rest in peace.

My prayers are with the Israeli people and the state of Israel as open warfare seems inevitable.

Israel is not only our loyal friend in the Middle East; it is our only friend, and the only democracy in the entire area. America will fail to vigorously support her at our own peril.

Our president cannot bring himself to declare Jihadist Islam the terrorist enemy of all non-Islamic peoples and America’s most deadly and implacable enemy. This terror issue has been with us since the seventh century. If America fails to show strength (the only thing Jihadists respect) a quasi-world war is imminent. Since Egypt and Turkey are no longer our friends, our declared enemies (Iran and Syria) will join in the attack on Israel, with the financial aid of Russia and China.

I think this will precipitate an enormous war in which America will be attacked in several ways.

Now is a great time to take our Judeo-Christian faith seriously.


I guess, like many American citizens, it’s going to take a long time for me to recover from the results of the November 6 national election disaster. While we could have recovered from Obama’s first four years, we are, in my opinion, unlikely to survive intact from his second. However proud America may be of its present superpower status, only God is omnipotent. We tend to forget that fact. We ignore that absolute difference at our absolute peril. But, as they say, God is not mocked.

I see nothing a traditional, conservative Judeo-Christian can look forward to from now until 2016. And there don’t seem to be many of us left. I see nothing but more massive deficit spending, a hollowed-out military, hyperinflation (much like Argentina), fiscal collapse, a persecuted Christian church under the boot of a powerful secular-humanist-socialist dictatorship.

I see a flood of new presidential executive orders designed to evade the constitutional duty for presidential enforcement of congressionally instituted laws.

I see the most corrupt government in this nation’s history, in every branch, especially the judicial and executive (in particular in the office of Attorney General).

I see the virtual end to our Constitution as the highest law of the land, as it is decomposed by a corrupt, activist judiciary determined to revise it, and control Americans as never before. This means control by government unions as well, and the evisceration of our Bill of Rights, particularly the First, Second and Fourth Amendments.

This corruption has already overrun our government mandated public schools at every level which teach our children contempt for traditional Judeo-Christian moral values.

Worst of all, the utter abandonment of respect for innocent human life; we will continue counting abortions from the present 52 million since 1973.

A note to those 52 percent of Catholics who voted for the most partial-birth and infanticide-loving pro-abortion president in our history: Nothing can be more scientifically true than that human life begins at conception – that’s when Almighty God infuses His beautiful human soul into that child waiting to be born. Your vote for Obama was an incredibly evil thing.

On that score, it’s not just my opinion.


Congratulations to each of Fillmore’s new council members, Rick Neal, Manuel Minjares, and Douglas Tucker. Kudos also goes to our new City Clerk, Nancy Blendermann-Meyer, and our new Treasurer, Shannon Godfrey. What a great victory; what a breath of fresh air!

Most folks watching the political scene would agree that this was the hardest fought most dynamic (and important) campaign in city history. I wish them all well as they begin their work to mend the personal and fiscal damage inflicted by the old régime. I also know they will avoid “personal, very personal” attitudes and bias. With a new cooperation on positive, creative solutions to the serious fiscal problems we face, and an open, honest relationship with all Fillmore citizens, we will thrive once again.

It will take a while for our new council to acclimate itself to the formalities, legal and technical, of running city government. I know they will do well. The new council victory will go a long way towards lifting the spirits of city staff.

Again, congratulations to our new council members, clerk, and treasurer.


As happy as I am with the council victory, Obama’s win plunges me into a sort of angry despair. This outcome confirms the validity of two best-selling books, Pat Buchanan’s “Suicide of a Superpower - Will America Survive to 2025?” and Mark Steyn’s After America, Get Ready for Armageddon”. Both books are starkly factual which drives the liberal left crazy. Buchanan’s book got him fired from CNN’s The Capital Gang. They claimed the book was racist, of course. It is anything but racist, but it is, in the words of William Houston: “... the bluntest and most cogent statement of the truth about the present course of Western civilization that has been seen in American bookstores in many years.”

“Where we once celebrated the unity, the melting pot and shared experience, that the Depression and World War gave us, our elites today proclaim, ‘Our diversity is our greatest strength’-even as racial, religious, and ethnic diversity are tearing nations to pieces.”

“Rejecting the commitment to a God-given equality of rights for all as inadequate, our government is engaged in the manic pursuit of equality of rewards, as it seeks to erect an egalitarian utopia that has never before existed. Less and less do we Americans have in common. More and more do we fight over religion, morality, politics, history, and heroes. And as our nation disintegrates, our government is failing in its fundamental duties, unable to defend our borders, balance our budgets, or win our wars.”

Both Buchanan and Steyn books (Steyn’s with sharp humor) see America falling, quickly. Obama’s re-election confirms their beliefs.

I agree completely. The nation is not just divided in half, it’s two percent heavier on the radical-liberal side causing us to fall apart. We are now in freefall and I think I can answer the question “Will America Survive to 2025?”. The answer is no. The America of 2025 will be unrecognizable to young people living today. We will be a country without a Constitution that our Founders would recognize.


Please note: The Gazette regrets the misspelling of four candidate names on the recent invitation sent out by Communities Building Together. The Gazette was not responsible for editing that text. We hope everyone turns out for Saturday's event at City Hall. Free food and drinks!

Candidate statement videos are published on the Gazette’s website here. Several candidates chose not to participate.

* * *
EDITED 10-31-12, at 11:00 p.m.

I won’t be long-winded; time and space are both short, and the most important election in our nation’s history, and in Fillmore’s history, is upon us.

As for our national election, and I mean this most sincerely, if Barack Obama is reelected for another four years it will take a couple of generations to recover our solvency, our military strength, and our traditional American character. We elected this strange man who has absolutely no experience in business, or in foreign, domestic or military affairs. He’s a complete empty suit. He bows submissively, and borrows massively from our worst enemies. He is the most radical leftist in government whose true religious sympathies can be identified by the Islamic ring he wears on his finger.

So, if you are looking for four more years of poverty, weakness, and social disorder, he’s your man.

As for me, he personifies just about everything anti-Christian, anti-democracy, and anti-American; he’s a true menace to American greatness.

Save America – vote for Mitt Romney.

* * *

Now, let’s try to save Fillmore from the Katzenjammers. I hope never to hear that word again, which can happen only if Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling are voted out of office.

I only have time to respond to the most recent flier to come flying out of Klub Katz. Here we go:

Gayle Washburn states online that in an effort to correct the $131,000 in water/sewer bill delinquencies, she presided over “a unanimous vote from the council – to hire a collection agency to collect the debt” That's a false statement. The truth is (check the video) the vote was 3-2, with Jamey Brooks and Eduardo Gonzalez voting “No”.

Washburn and Brooks claim:
1. A telephone “push” survey was biased. Wrong. No one was forced to answer the questions which were professionally proposed.

2. The sewer plant, again, was “too big and too costly” Wrong. Ample evidence of the falseness of this claim can be seen by looking at the links in last week’s Realities. We built the most economical plant that would satisfy very strict state and federal water quality standards. It was very costly but the cost was cut to the bone in planning and construction. Our plant is being copied nationally; even internationally, for its efficiency. A group from South Korea visited our plant recently. $83 million is a huge debt for this small town to pay off, but not as costly as having to pay $25,000 PER DAY for failing state and federal mandates. Again, get the FACTS from last week's Realities. Blame the liberal fascists who hike the water quality standards beyond our power to comply! 3. Open books for the city? What a joke. From the time they ran off all top management and brought in friends of friends to run things, all has been chaos. Pay for our interim managers, etc. has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gayle Washburn did in fact fire our city counsel, unlawfully. Now we have two law firms to pay. The El Dorado lawsuit fiasco could cost another $500,000, after spending $320,000 on a suit we will finally lose 4. The water bills. Fully 20 percent of delinquencies here are due to Councilman Gonzalez’ two businesses. He was appointed to the council as a long-time political friend, keeping his debt quiet. I've been told offers to purchase these businesses have been made and rejected. The big thing here is that Gayle and Jamey kept his debt ($95,000) hidden from the public before, during, and after his appointment. He should not have been appointed.

No time for more. Want honest, open, friendly government again? Vote for MANNY MINJARES, RICK NEAL, DOUG TUCKER, SHANNON GODFREY, and NANCY BLENDERMANN-MEYER.


As I expected, the Katzenjammer wing of our city council gave me both barrels at Tuesday’s meeting. Public comment sessions have degenerated to such a low point that I wonder if some of those folks who express such contempt and hatred towards me should be required to wear spit masks like some convicts are required to wear. The intensity and acrimony they spout at every council meeting these days is truly venomous.

The usual suspects are mostly responsible and they have set a bad example for others. For the third meeting in a row extra police back-up was provided at Gayle Washburn’s request. Another needless expense because she can’t control her campaign friends.

This handful of hysterics share many things in common, but what they share most of all is fear of the Truth, sometimes unwittingly. Most of them are like Sandra Pella, only “knowing” what they’ve been told by their political friends and neighbors. Others think that newspapers should not criticize those in public office, and should remain silent in the face of repeated, outrageous slurs and verifiable falsehoods methodically delivered in a public forum – by them. Unfortunately, this infantile attitude is inflamed by uncontrolled emotion which sometimes makes them appear unstable at the podium.

But behind all this gushing malevolence is that group that formed about 8 years ago for the purpose of halting development in north Fillmore, and to halt the construction of our new wastewater treatment plant. They succeeded in destroying the North Fillmore Specific Plan, some 6 years in production, by supporting Measures H and I. These measures would never have passed had the citizens of Fillmore understood what they would do to the city housing plan and to our long-term financial health. As explained before, it will take much more than $300,000 to repair the damage H and I caused, and any reasonable development in north Fillmore (jobs and businesses) can be forgotten. Fillmore’s last large development space will continue for decades as a weed lot. Now we must scramble to find what small lots remain for development around the city to fulfill the state low income housing mandate. This means three and four-story apartment buildings instead of smaller, friendlier, cleaner, safer homes, condos, and apartments. This council has done nothing to solve this problem they created.

Thank God they couldn’t stop the water treatment plant. The Katzenjammers and company go wild when this subject is brought up. The entire present city council majority (Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, Brian Sipes, and recently appointed councilman Gonzalez) delayed the plant’s completion for more than 18 months. It is a miracle the plant was completed slightly ahead of schedule and under budget. With only a couple of months left to meet the state and federal MANDATED deadline for completion, the city narrowly avoided fines of up to $25,000 PER DAY.

Was this, as these bitter critics forever claim, an “overpriced, over-engineered, "customized" “Cadillac”- type of plant that we have built?” That was how Gayle Washburn described it back in 2007 when she, and the Katzenjammer groups: (Gayle Washburn, Citizens for Responsible Growth; Bob Stroh, Citizens United for Fillmore; Clay Westling, Concerned Citizens Committee of Fillmore; Richard Schuck (RIP), El Dorado Citizens for Affordable Sewage; Eduardo Gonzalez, Orange Blossom Village and Fillmore Convalescent Center) went on the attack. Gary Creagle provided his support at workshops and public meetings (LA Regional Water Quality Control Board, June and April of 2007)

Here is the Truth. After an exhaustive study of all available technologies compatible with Fillmore’s geographic and geologic area, three companies bid on the project. Rather than go over this process again, I refer readers to last week’s "Realitied Revealed". You might start with LINK 8 PART 1 and LINK 8 PART 2, which explains the plant and answers a “Letter of Concerns About the Water Recycling Program”, sent to our city engineer in 2007. This letter of response from City Engineer Bert Rapp answers all of the main questions presented, including type of technology, cost, function, financing (why bonds over state funds) and much more. Read all the pertinent communications, data, and charts. After you understand this information, I CHALLENGE ANYONE (especially Bob Stroh, Gary Creagle, Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Brian Sipes) to refute these facts. For 8 years you have harangued the council that authorized the new plant and insulted, ridiculed, and impugned the reputation of City Engineer Bert Rapp who, with City Manager Roy Payne, gave us our award-winning new water treatment plant.

The extraordinarily high cost of water to the citizens and businesses of Fillmore was not the fault of these two city employees, or of American Water and the contributing engineering firms. We built the best plant, with the best technology, for the lowest cost which would satisfy all strict state and federal mandated water quality standards, on time. This was a plant that the city was forced to build; patching-up the old plant would not work. And, failing to complete construction on deadline subjected us to $25,000 fines – per day! Read the official explanations in LINK 8 PART 1 and LINK 8 PART 2.

Again, I challenge these high volume liars to show what plant they would have built instead. This horse pucky about a technology that would have saved us “$20 million” is just that. Gayle Washburn, the most technology-challenged of the entire council majority, constantly demanded a different construction company, technology, location, etc. She didn’t (doesn’t) know what she was talking about, and the rest of them followed Gayle like sheep.

Tell us what you would have built, Gayle – after reading the voluminous answers Bert Rapp provided your groups back in 2007, which explain why we couldn’t adopt your loony ideas. You can’t. Yet you continue to blame American Water, Bert Rapp, and Roy Payne for Fillmore’s financial situation in order to get re-elected and cover your own pathetic incompetence. Gayle’s favorite company, PERC, chose not to bid on the job. That company built Santa Paula’s plant. Ask how that plant is doing today. I hear hey had to replace their filters after the first year, and their water bills have also skyrocketed.

Fillmore should ask itself: Do we really want Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling to continue to destroy our city with hair-brained policies, personal agendas and vendettas? It’s time to break the grip this cabal of Katzenjammers has on city government! Four years ago they wanted to “Take Our City Back.” They did it – and broke it. Just ask all those who had to work under them.


On another matter. Patti Walker and her groupies canonized Eduardo Gonzalez last night. All of us understand the importance of his convalescent hospital and senior living unit, for our senior residents. Most of us, however, should understand the importance of informing citizens of Fillmore that 20 percent of the city’s $500,000 delinquent water bills is due to Mr. Gonzalez’ businesses.

Gonzalez was appointed to the council by his long-time cronies in the council majority. He actually created the slogan Sewercide in his effort to stop the treatment plant. His delinquencies were kept quiet by Mayor Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Brian Sipes, because they have worked together for many years, back to 2007.

Patti Walker, in her lengthy diatribe, falsely alleged the Gazette refused to publish Gonzalez’ letter to the editor. This is completely false. His letter last week arrived after we had gone to press, but we immediately posted it here on our website, with our clarifications. His letter is published in this week’s print edition of The Gazette, and remains online.

However, if Mr. Gonzalez really wishes to expound upon his business practices, as he himself, Patti Walker and the council majority seem to desire, maybe that should be included in this discussion. Should we ask his employees? Would his halo slip a little? The last man to speak to this issue during public comment spoke briefly, but poignantly. His question was, “Mr. Gonzalez, are you a respectful man?”

Clearly, the Katzenjammers are panicking. They will do or say anything to hang on to the city council majority.

If the citizens of Fillmore want a sane, honest, and open government again, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling must be removed from office.


THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE AN EDITORIAL, though I do editorialize. What is usually about 500 words has been stretched to 6,500. This will provide source material covering important election issues.

This material is not in any particular order. Some goes back to 2007 when the city’s biggest issues were being fought out. I have gathered a representative number of false charges, statements and information from members of that small group I call Katzenjamers, which includes former mayor Patti Walker, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, Clay Westling, Brian Sipes, Bob Stroh, (non resident Gary Creagle), and a few of their minions.

No one will ever understand what has happened to the City of Fillmore during the past 8 years without realizing that every aspect of city government has been overtaken through the efforts of these few people. This is something entirely new to Fillmore. This group methodically succeeded in replacing the city manager, staff and employees while implementing their destructive agenda to halt all construction in north Fillmore and the water treatment plant by deceiving the public. This happened in the election of 2008. I pray it doesn’t happen again in this year’s election. For the good of this city, Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling have to go. They continue to blame everyone and everything but themselves for the sorry condition they have left our town after the past 4 years.

For the past four years the city council has existed with a four-to-one majority. Only the presence of Councilman Steve Conaway has enabled the truth to come out, and he has been reviled for his efforts to let the light shine in. The following statements are intended to demonstrate to Fillmore voters just why Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling should be replaced in this November 6 election.

This is also a generalized rebuttal to a host of false and misleading allegations by Bob Stroh and Gary Creagle concerning city government. This job proved to be larger than anticipated because of the number of these allegations, going back years, some more than 8 years. Also, the picture is much darker than I realized. I’ve been naïve, and I hate naïveté. After reviewing the video tape of the last meeting it has become clear to me that something new and very serious is being created. This article is much too long for an editorial, so it will be placed on It is a roughly focused collection cobbled together from among thousands of communications, going back to about 2007. It should answer many questions about the choice of water treatment technologies, the high cost of water, the cost of various public facilities, election behavior, the competence of past council members and city managers, etc. It is, of course, nowhere near complete, and more is to come. This should, among other things, give every fair-minded person an idea of just what an extraordinary amount of thoughtful effort went into deciding on what sort of treatment plant and what technology was best for Fillmore. EVERY city and town that has more than a slit trench for waste disposal is battling horrendous increases in the cost of water. Blame liberal government representatives who forced us to comply with their outrageously unreasonable (and ever increasing) water quality standards, not our former city councils, city managers, and (especially) not our former City Engineer, Bert Rapp. This was not some extravagant “Cadillac” plant. It was such a good deal for Fillmore (being under the state and federal gun) that our plant is being copied across the country – where they are also screaming about the high cost of water. [See LINK 1]

While Creagle’s blather is easily countered [See LINK 2] Stroh’s attack is more personal and pointedly malicious. But they work as a team, supporting the council majority. Stroh’s intent is to cause damage. I think of him as the Katzenjammers’ malevolent Minister of Propaganda.

Video is a wonderful thing, and all meetings are videotaped by both the city and the Gazette. I invite everyone to view the tapes of past city council meetings and decide for themselves just what is going on.

Let’s begin:
Gary Creagle (campaign leader for Brooks and Westling) admonished the Gazette for reporting that he and Jamey Brooks had posted campaign signs without permission and against posted prohibitions, despite the photos. Yet, he told the council that he did have permission. However, this was a childish lie, and he was forced to remove the signs. The signs have not returned. This may seem like a small thing, but it is a blatant lie, just like the Perry Ranch story about “Shorty” Crockett. That story, designed to cast aspersions on former city attorneys and our former city managers, was totally faked. [Also See LINK 2] Stroh and Creagle lie with the ease that comes with habit.

Gary Creagle made the following comment at the March 22 WRP workshop at the Memorial Building: He stated that “When I was on the Council [1988] the City had $7million in reserves!". Another Creagle falsehood. The truth: When Creagle started as a Councilmember the City had approximately $1.5million in the general fund. When he left office in 1988 the general fund had just under $600,000. The general fund decreased by $900.000 during Mr. Creagle’s tenure as a Councilmember. He was also harried out of politics by an unsuccessful recall movement.

Council meetings today.
Some attendees, two meetings ago, may have observed a Sheriff’s deputy posted at the chamber entrance. I learned he had been called in because rumors had circulated that violence was a possibility. Those rumors were circulated by the Creagle-Stroh cabal. At the last council meeting two deputies were called in. I was briefed by the Sheriffs Department and told that statements and behavior by the crowd of Creagle and Stroh supporters (raucous cheering and clapping for the Stroh and Creagle) added fuel to Stroh’s inflammatory diatribes, causing serious concern. I also had a slightly deranged looking man in his 50s wade through the audience to stand directly behind my usual chair. He then followed me to the end of the dais and stood directly behind me. When I turned to face him he just glared at me. The man was reluctant to go to the rear of the chambers at Captain McGrath’s direction and was thereafter directed to leave the building. These are the kind of flies that are attracted to the malicious, malodorous fumes from Stroh’s podium rants at every council meeting, for years.

It was Jamey Brooks who made that triumphal announcement upon being elected to the council “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”. I was impressed - with his lack of common sense. Any threat of violence is clearly caused by Mayor Gayle Washburn’s groupies, not by the single representative of the local newspaper. I should add. Nothing will ever prevent me from reporting on city council mischief.

Stroh needs to understand that even publishers of small town community newspapers have the right to defend their reputations against statements falsely and maliciously designed. His malice intensifies with the approaching election deadline. Consequences of Washburn’s negligence in managing attendants’ conduct during city council meetings (personal, slanderous, angry comments) by her supporters Stroh and Creagle, and loud, boisterous cheering and clapping are clearly her fault. It’s her way of fending-off public scrutiny and distracting from her innate incompetence. If objections to my editorial opinions cause this poisonous behavior at meetings, and the mayor is incapable of controlling the hostile oafishness of her political partners, she should resign. This is something that has never before existed in Fillmore’s history.

Another example of the Creagle mindset: The day after the 2008 election, when three of Creagle’s candidates, Washburn, Brooks, and Clay Westling, won seats at city hall, I received a phone call from an alarmed city official. “Martin! You won’t believe what’s happening here! Creagle had just burst into the upstairs offices at city hall and demanded to know where the office space for the new city clerk, Clay Westling, was. In a loud, boisterous voice, this (non-resident) campaign manager for Westling began walking about, pointing at various staff members, saying “You’re OK, or “You’re gone”. When I arrived Creagle and Westling had departed, and there were many unhappy staffers talking about the incident. Thus began the reign of the Katzenjammers.

Before that election (2008), I believe it was Thanksgiving Day, I was walking back to the office with camera in hand, when Creagle suddenly pulled-up the curb, parking at a radical angle, jumped out of his pickup and charged toward me, leaving his driver’s door open. While Westling stood near the pickup, Creagle stomped towards me, bumped into me with fists bared, yelling “I did not get thrown out of the council!” I thought he had gone nuts; didn’t have any idea what he was shouting about. It turned out that he was responding to a half-page ad that had run in the Gazette the previous week. The ad, placed by 5 former Fillmore mayors dismissed Creagle as a former mayor who turned out to be a loser, now supporting Westling, Brooks, and Washburn. Westling stood about 10 feet away from his manager looking surprised, and saying nothing. Creagle’s shouting attracted two Gazette staff members to the front door. Creagle was later cited by a Sheriff’s deputy for his conduct. After the election I passed by Creagle on Central Avenue speaking on his cell phone. As I walked by I overheard him say, “Well, we got three out of four”. It was a big day for the Katzenjammers!

Bob Stroh has characterized me as a religious bigot because I caution against the candidacy of Ms. Pella. No doubt she is a wonderful person. But, she is also a personal friend, political ally, and fellow pastor of the same church denomination as Jamey Brooks. Her comments stir my concern that she would be merely a clone of Brooks on the council (a disaster) when we need independent council members more than ever, not members joined at the political hip. This suggestion had nothing to do with religion. But Stroh saw another opportunity to attack, alleging I said I am a “congenital Catholic” and therefore a bigot. This foolish quote was false, never uttered by me.

Bob, do your Freethinker friends hate “organized religion”? Understanding this would at least help to explain your irrational hostility.

This peculiar lie of Stroh’s is easy to refute. But it deserves particular scrutiny because it reveals his hallmark malice. What would possess him to tell such a curious lie? He had searched the Gazette website and found my (3-year-old) response to a letter from Dennis DeCuir [See LINK 3] I had used the term “congenital CONSERVATIVE in that response. Stroh, true to his MO, completely changed the statement for the purpose of misleading his audience and to ignite animosity. His malice here is clear, as is his intent to paint me as a religious bigot. I expect he will call me a racist next. I am indeed a happy Catholic, but have always been equally happy with the task of facilitating the welfare of every church in Fillmore. I would like to hear from any church member who thinks I have behaved otherwise (anonymously if they wish). They have my 24-years as publisher of the Gazette to reflect upon. Provocative political deceit is Bob Stroh‘s trademark and a major reason for the outpouring of ill will during city council meetings. I think being a Freethinker prompts this attack.

Stroh (and Creagle) are personal and political friends of the council majority, Jamey Brooks, Gayle Washburn, and city clerk Clay Westling. Former mayor Patti Walker is always there as well. I welcome criticism and differences of opinion. But there are limits to this great thing we call free speech. Stroh has crossed the line.

As I responded to Ms. Walker, I’m preparing a documentary on the Katzenjammer years (hopefully soon past). It’s fortunate that their antics have been captured on videotape, and interesting that city clerk Clay Westling, an original groupie, bragged about just how this group was formed [See LINK 4]. It makes a long-standing pattern of conduct easier to understand. This was a political effort unprecedented in our city’s history, specifically targeting a take-over of all city government positions - and it worked. Fillmore has a new documented political party – the Katzenjammers. Only one councilman, Steve Conaway, is left of the old régime: for the past four years it’s been 4-1 on council votes. That’s an unhealthy condition – a one-party government.

My opposition to this group and to its destructive activity during the past 8 years or so is due to their outrageous mistreatment of prior city employees, staff and upper level department heads: what they did after they got in. Insulting, dismissive, and demeaning activity drove away the best, and intimidated others. [See LINK 5] This deconstruction of most of the good work of previous city managers and council majorities is a tragic loss, camouflaged by denials, misrepresentations, and flights to the closed session. The “Take Back our Town” slogan and agenda was just a vengeful grab for political power for its own sake; and for the purpose of replacing former employees and officials for personal reasons, as Brooks famously put it, “It’s personal, very personal” It also allowed the group to settle old scores, as with the Meyers law firm and Ted Schneider. “Taking Back our Town” like this destabilizes city functions.

The story began with the disastrous Measures H and I, which prevented 700 (ORIGINALLY 1,100) new homes from being built, dooming north Fillmore to generations of weeds. Those homes would have spread-out the water/sewer costs to all city residents by 20 percent. Instead, all of north Fillmore was condemned to foreclosures, destroyed businesses (Keller Classics) and a disrupted housing plan. That low income housing plan is still a serious, unresolved, expensive problem. This was an early Katzenjammer catastrophe. The people were fooled by false promises. The only thing that resulted from H and I is a mandated obligation to spend up to $300,000 to re-do the housing plan, and scramble to find space for low income residents. A very serious problem still without a solution, and without council discussion.

Next came opposition to the water treatment plant. Creagle. Stroh, Walker, Washburn, and councilmen Brooks and Sipes have repeatedly misrepresented and obstructed this project, delaying its construction for 18 months. Most of their objections are clearly answered in former City Engineer Bert Rapp’s letters [See LINK 6] Washburn’s alleged alternative treatment plans were always dead ends, arguing with the experts. [See LINK 7] [See LINK 8 PART 1] and [See LINK 8 PART 2]. Stroh, in particular, badgered and insulted City Engineer Bert Rapp for years. The Katzenjammers always charged Rapp and a multitude of nationally recognized experts on water treatment with misrepresentations, bias, and sweetheart bargains; all were untrue. The plant was built the best, most economical way possible, as is recognized by virtually technical authority today. But, it was still expensive!

The water treatment plan was bid out to three companies. Nationally recognized experts recommended the technology (which is commonly recognized now) and the plant was voted Project of the Year by Ventura County. Compared to Santa Paula’s new plant, built, operated (with problems), maintained and owned by the PERC company, our plant is owned by Fillmore and virtually flawless, with its operation guaranteed for 20 years. We were forced by state and county to build a plant, and to build it beyond our existing needs (thus its size, to accommodate 20.000 residents). The old plant was costing the city huge fines (something like $240.000 remains to be paid, with interest) and these fines are mandatory and cannot be forgiven. Again, we own our plant, while Santa Paula would have to pay $90 million to purchase their new plant. Read Peggy Kelley’s front page story (Santa Paula Times, Friday. Sept. 25. 2012) then ask which project, though they are very different, is best for its community. Headline: “SP has highest sewer rate of VC’ cities, City Council to consider alternatives”. Mayor Washburn and her group of’ supporters were in love with PERC; Washburn even addressed the Santa Paula council, lauding PERC, after promoting Vertreat and others for years. Santa Paula didn’t have to build a re-circulating system (different geology - $20 million) and that city, twice Fillmore’s size, should have provided water at a lower rate (economy of scale). Our high sewer/water costs are due to three things: absence of 700 new homes in north Fillmore (Measures H and I), a killer economy, and government mandates with unreasonable deadlines, carrying draconian fines ($10,000 per day). Criticisms by Creagle, Stroh, Washburn, Brooks, Walker, and fellow Katzenjammer travelers are completely bogus and self-serving. No project in city history was so thoroughly studied AND REPEATEDLY EXPLAINED TO THE RESIDENTS OF FILLMORE and Bob Stroh [Again, See LINK 6].

Washburn and Brooks have spent a lot time blaming the city’s financial troubles on expenditures such as the swimming pool and skateboard park. Washburn neglects to mention that she pushed hard for the two tennis courts to be finished before the swimming pool. She is an avid tennis player as are several of her political supporters. Those courts cost a half- million dollars, and, relative to the skateboard park, are lightly used. Skateboarders, on the other hand, outnumber tennis players about 20 to one, and their park is heavily used seven days a week, regardless of the weather. Should we have eliminated the tennis courts altogether or maybe used that half-million to finish the ball park?

“Work Order 37 [treatment plant] is not a new project, as Mr. Stroh would have all believe. It is the final phase. Approximately 2%, of the Professional Engineering contract, with AECOM which will test and document the Treatment Plant Startup and Performance. The scope of work was planned from the beginning. The funding of the anticipated work was calculated years ago. Reasonable people would want city to verify we are getting the performance out of the plant that is in the contract. Collecting baseline data is key for State Regulators and will be critical in the years to come. Work Order 37 was passed by the council. Inflow and Infiltration work on the sewer collection system was omitted from the motion. The work needs to occur, but the council wanted to provide opportunities for other Engineering firms to perform the work.” [Steve Conaway]

“And to the root of Mr. Stroh’s letter, the Mayor’s [Steve Conaway] trip to Washington D.C. to make a presentation at the US Conference of Mayors. Bob [Stroh] believes the trip was about Water Privatization. He couldn’t be further from the truth. Fillmore owns the plant and all assets. Fillmore has been told repeatedly, by one of our own, that we did it wrong. We couldn’t use Design Build Operate, it was illegal. We should have used the Acme Blasto-matic 9000 technology. Fact: Santa Paula saw a huge benefit in a DBOF contract. So much so that they started over after expending $3,000,000.00 dollars on their previous design. The County of Ventura tossed out their previous work and also changed to a Design Build Operate Plant. [Gayle Washburn and friends fought long and hard to prevent the DBOF plan] [Steve Conaway]

[Steve Conaway] “When at the conference I spoke to Mayor Coody from Fayetteville Arkansas. He related as story from his town of his effort to use the DBO approach for a vital water project. In the end his council chose to not use the BDO approach. Mayor Coody said, “To this day the plant is not completed and the project is millions of dollars over budget”. I’m proud to have contributed to the US Conference of Mayors. As was previously stated my comments came after the lowest qualified bidder was awarded the contract and the contract signed for our Water Recycling Plant. Objectivity wasn’t and issue then, it isn’t now. I see the benefit of not throwing the baby out with the bath water for the final 2% of the original work scope. Call me crazy for supporting the completion of the plant so that meets the State deadline. For those with wide screen Fillmore vision if the council had not approved the final 2% of the original planned work we could have violated the contract, placed the city and your tax dollars at risk of unnecessary legal costs and fines due to our work stoppage. Based upon facts and all relevant information the right decision was made to allow AECOM to complete the work they started over 6 years ago.”

“The Council did remove the sewer main repair work from the Boyle work because this was new work and could reasonably be put out for new competitive cost proposals.”
Bert [Rapp]

Here is another, among many, of Gayle Washburn’s suggestions for an alternative, cheaper, treatment plant. and the results [See LINK 7].

Even today Washburn explains her suggestion that the treatment plant construction plan could economize by eliminating non-reactive concrete. “It was just a suggestion” she recently said. The point here is that she is utterly ignorant of construction requirements, but recently selected herself to negotiate a new management plan with American Water, after rejecting Steve Conaway, who volunteered and who is more knowledgeable than any other council member. Though Washburn continues to fight American Water at every turn, and thanks to her impulsive activities, has effected several breaches of the contract she seeks to terminate (seeking to brake the contract without consulting American first), she must always have the last word. Conaway should have been the logical choice, but Gayle has been appointed mayor by her council friends, and it’s really all about her.

This is the sort of hair-brained idea Washburn continuously inflicted upon City Engineer Bert Rapp. Sometimes it was Vertreat, or MicroMedia. Then, her persistent pressure to drop American Water and switch to PERC, ad nauseam.

Stroh also dredges-up Councilman Conaway’s trip to D.C., long exposed as a false accusation, again propagated by Stroh (who knows the truth). After Steve Conaway’s trip to D.C. Stroh alleged shady, unethical conflicts of interest. It was an absurd allegation:
“Steve Conaway attended the Mayors conference because he knew Fillmore saved 15% on the Water Recycling Plant using the Design Build Operate process and wanted other Mayors around the country to know about the cost saving process. The Mayor’s conference paid for Steve Conaway to attend not American Water. American Water is only one of hundreds of members of the Mayor’s Conference.
Santa Paula was so impressed with Fillmore’s Design-Build-Operate process that they threw away about $3 Million in engineering plans to copy Fillmore. Similarly, the County threw away about $1 Million in plans for Piru to copy Fillmore. Mr. Conaway was trying to help other communities learn about the Design Build Operate process and not throw away money like Santa Paula and the County did.” [Roy Payne]

“Regarding bidding for professional services: Only licensed contractors can bid work for professional services for architects, engineers, attorneys etc the work is awarded on a qualifications basis with cost. This was done for the Boyle work at the beginning of the 6 year project. If the City changed the Engineering team for the last 6 months of a 6 year project it could cost the City millions of dollars, especially when the Boyle team is bringing in the project on schedule and under budget.” [Bert Rapp]

This is just another example of how Stroh attacks with provocative falsehoods. He’s a provocateur, like a union or Occupy leader

This is right up there with his telling people I have “a favorite abortion clinic.”
(Realities, December 16th, 2009). I’ve been a staunch Pro-Lifer my entire adult life.
Another provocative Stroh lie.

Stroh’s and Creagle’s support (together with Washburn, Brooks and Sipes) for former City Manager Yvonne Quiring proved to be utterly disastrous. Quiring left the city quickly and left us in complete disarray, without a manager and without a finance director, before finishing her term of office. She was rehired by an acquaintance (city manager) in the City of Davis. Come to think of it, Quiring had her contract bought out for more than $300,000 in her former city of Lathrup, after only 15 months on the job, where she left the city with nearly $500,000 in legal damages for mistreating an employee, and after a letter of no confidence as well. Does this sound familiar? This is who the Katzenjammers hired to be Fillmore’s city manager. How did they vet Ms. Quiring? They left Conaway out of the trip for that job he was scheduled for, with Patti Walker.

It’s time for fresh, honest faces and ideas, a positive attitude, and new ideas on the council - and in the clerk’s office. We need independent thinkers, not non-productive, agenda-bound diehard incompetents like Gayle Washburn. Jamey Brooks, and Clay Westling.

Gayle Washburn’s devious, destructive activity.
The tag-team of Creagle and Stroh support Washburn’s denial that she did not act unlawfully in contacting our former city attorney’s law firm’s senior partner and facilitating Ted Schneider’s removal from all future meetings. We know Washburn called the Meyers law firm senior partner and that Schneider was gone for good the next day. There is no other explanation than to conclude Washburn ‘fired’ our city attorney, for personal reasons, and without authority. She was, as they say, the proximate cause of Ted Schneider’s removal as city attorney. Her continued reference to a letter from that firm saying they can’t disclose the discussion does not change the facts. The city needs to hear Gayle Washburn state from the dais: “I did not call the senior partner of the Meyers law firm the day before attorney Schneider was removed from his job as Fillmore’s city attorney. I did nothing to facilitate the removal of Ted Schneider from his position as city attorney for the City of Fillmore, nor prejudice his tenure, either directly or indirectly, when that firm was bidding for the job of Fillmore’s legal counsel (Under oath). Until that time, I conclude that she’s a liar, and therefore untrustworthy. Washburn is afraid of making a public denial of her unprecedented action, or providing an explanation: she hides behind her disclosures in closed session so they can’t be made public. By the way, contrary to Creagle and/or Stroh’s statements (and, I think Brooks’ (the overlap gets confusing) Mr. Schneider is no longer with that firm where he was a partner. Typical of Creagle’s reckless disregard for propriety, he mentions a lawsuit by Schneider (none of his business).

All of this is Washburn’s fault, and her friends on the council prop her up. Why did she do it? She refuses to explain or admit. However, Gayle Washburn, our appointed mayor, seriously damaged Schneider’s business affairs and disrupted his professional life. Was she doing a favor for now-former city manager Quiring, as many believe? I repeat, if I were Schneider I would have sued Washburn, if discovery difficulties could be overcome. She acted as an individual, completely without authority, on a personal whim of her own. As in so many of her activities, she scurried into closed session, the perfect cover. Promises of open, honest government’? Phooey! Our city council majority is a nest of schemers and self-serving scofflaws, propped-up by a group of friends, family, and hangers-on.

Jamey Brooks’ petty “personal” vendettas and lack of common sense.
As for Jamey Brooks: The story of Brooks being forced to resign as a teacher after punishing a talkative student by taping his mouth shut (and other similar foolish actions) has been attacked by Stroh as a lie. I’m waiting for a response from Brooks, and/or Stroh, though I would just as soon drop the matter for other’s sake. The issue here is Brooks’ famous lack of prudence, lack of common sense. Bob Stroh, was this a lie, as you allege? You made the charge, prove it.

Brooks came onto the council having made the triumphal announcement: “I’ve not come to bring peace, but a sword”. In other words, he came to divide the council and town; and has done just that. Brooks stated from the dais that his decisions were “Personal, very personal”. That’s the only reason I can find for his arbitrary, out-of-the-blue decision to remove a great and long-time member of our Planning Commission, Diane McCall from that commission. We had a very cohesive and productive Planning Commission, and Diane was a highly valued part. It was a slap in the face to Diane after many years of service. We have no explanation other than it was “Personal, very personal” and he wanted his friend on that board. What kind of fair judgment is that? Jamey seems to have a Napoleon complex. In matters concerning the scary issue of an ethics code and code of conduct, he says it’s not needed because “I’m ethical!” He was finally persuaded to let the new council vote on it.

He has never explained his reason; just as Gayle Washburn has never explained why she had Ted Schneider removed as city legal counsel. With this group it’s always personal. Brooks has been a harsh critic of Councilman Steve Conaway, often insulting and confrontational. He has virtually no business experience and takes his advice from Gary Creagle, as does Clay Westling.

Washburn and the Planning Commission resignations.
Then we have Washburn’s behavior with the Planning Commission which caused four great, long-serving commissioners to resign. Those commissioners told the council in open session that Washburn’s unethical behavior caused the break-up. Ironically, she was narrowly saved from a Brown Act violation by none other than Ted Schneider, the attorney she back-stabbed. Again she denies any wrongdoing, but read the public statements of those commissioners who resigned to find the truth. Who are we to believe’? [See LINK 9]

Washburn and the Verizon Cell Tower
As for Washburn’s opposition to the cell tower, nothing but hearsay exists about a fear of microwaves. In any event, granting this rumor was false; her objection to the tower is fact. She objected to the height (necessary) location (preferred and well integrated with the railroad theme) and appearance. Gale Washburn challenged and disrupted the approval and construction process sufficiently to cause five Verizon attorneys to sit in the front row during the council meeting, in order to stop her shenanigans, which narrowly averted yet another lawsuit at the last minute. Washburn’s actions, once again, disrupted the Planning Commission, invited another lawsuit, and embarrassed the city. Washburn’s incompetence is hurting our town.

Many important facts remain to he revealed about this council majority, our city clerk Clay Westling, and their fellow travelers. I waited months for an answer from Clay concerning a serious issue with Councilman Gonzalez. After months of repeated (FOIAs and Requests for Public Records) I finally received the information October 5. I’m told now that the information was sent in May. But, on its face, it was incomplete without further explanation.

Re-read Westling’s attempt to keep candidate requirement notices from being adequately published. This was a blatant attempt to keep the fact that his position as city clerk was open this election. Clearly, Westling wanted to run unopposed so his victory would be guaranteed. He strongly resisted my attempts to notify potential candidates that they had only a short time to file with his office to qualify for the election. It took two orders, from the interim city manager (Rigo Lindaros) and the absent city manager Yvonne Quiring, before he would provide the Gazette with the official notice. This was an outrageous breach of his fiduciary duty to the citizens of Fillmore. Clay also hindered the candidate filings of two Fillmore residents by rejecting harmless sentences on their candidate statements, like “It’s time to get Fillmore back on track

The council majority of Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and Brian Sipes, with City Clerk Westling holding up the rear, each constantly blame the Owens & Minor tax contract for the city’s financial woes. That’s far from true. [See LINK 10, LINK 11, LINK 12, and LINK 13

In short, Jamey Brooks and Gayle Washburn don’t want to reestablish the city’s Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. They claim it was abused by a former city council in censuring then Council Member Patti Walker, their friend and fellow Katzenjammer. My question to Jamey and Gayle: Why have stop signs when we know people often ignore them? This is a common way of establishing objective rules of conduct. Their objections are childish, and they didn’t have the courage to make a decision themselves, leaving it to others. Lack of leadership.

The City of Fillmore has fought for the residents of the El Dorado Mobile Home Park for years. It has cost more than $230,000 to date. After four years of litigation, and four months of arbitration they reached an agreement with the owners of the Park. For emotional reasons the council majority voted 3-2 to reject the settlement at the very last minute, guaranteeing several more years of litigation, about which our city attorney said: (paraphrase) “If you think $230,000 is a lot of money, compared to what you now face... it’s nothing.” We are told that we could easily spend another $500,000 on this case, which does nothing for the rest of Fillmore’s 14,000 residents. We simply don’t have that money, and we were advised by two of our attorneys that we will very likely lose the case at the end. I am truly sympathetic for the cause of the 300 residents of the Park, they have been treated terribly, but the council has a strong fiduciary duty to protect the city’s finances for all of the people. Rejecting the settlement, which would have ended the litigation, is a scandal of major proportions. Where is the money to come from? When will the suit ever end?

The Katzenjammer story needs the documentary treatment which I’ve promised Patti Walker I would work on. But it’s a long, dark story of the cabal’s abuse of power in the service of revenge, personal self-interest, and incredible incompetence which has destroyed so many jobs and reputations and disrupted good will at city hall.

It’s not possible to tell the entire story in such a short space. For those interested in more detail, especially on the 18-month delay, and numerous obstructions this group caused in the construction of the treatment plant, see There you will find more detailed answers City Engineer Bert Rapp supplied to all inquiries about the technology, location, cost, and bidding process relating to the water treatment plant. It clearly shows that we built the right plant, at the right location, for the best price, under the most reasonable financing plan. The opponents to the plant have never accepted (or read?) any of the expert explanations - and they never will. But it gives them a hard target to hammer. Our water sewer bill is outrageous - but don’t blame the new plant -- blame the near fascist federal, state, and county commissions and regulators, the unelected bureaucrats that forced this expensive plant upon this small community and on others as well.


[Email from Bert Rapp and attached document]