It’s been a busy week. It always is during graduation time.
I have to say that, both Fillmore High School and Sierra High School graduation ceremonies were orchestrated and performed flawlessly. Student decorum was excellent. No time was lost nor aggravation created, as sometimes in the past, by unscheduled stunts or misbehavior. The ceremonies were completed in a joyful atmosphere, with the dignity and decorum appropriate for the occasion. For this our graduates are due double congratulations, as are school district teachers and staff.

* * *

Our Fillmore Historical Museum received a large, heavy present today (June 16) from Bud Lowe. From Mr. Lowe’s property in Hopper Canyon a caboose has been delivered and installed on the tracks adjacent to the Museum.
I am always amazed at the ability crane companies have for moving just about anything. My hat is off to T & T Crane Company for their professional skill. Now, after the caboose is cleaned-up and possibly restored, we have another reason for visiting our own town museum.

* * *

I was going to comment on President Obama’s first Oval Office address to the nation, but as I listened to part of it I slipped into a state of catatonic depression from which I probably won’t recover until the next edition. This column is being transcribed by Pebbles the office dog.



In case you haven’t noticed, the world is falling apart. America is technically, if not legally, bankrupt, dependent entirely upon borrowed money to continue its operations. Our country is at the mercy of a wildly spendthrift Congress led by radically liberal Democrats and gutless Republicans.

Europe finds itself in the same condition. In the Far East, only our most deadly enemy, China, has reserves exceeding a trillion US (trade) dollars in safe keeping. Mexico and all of Middle and South America is financially broken.

We are fighting two wars on the other side of the world, which actively involve hundreds of millions of bloodthirsty Muslim Jihadists determined to destroy the Great Satan through their own satanic methods.

The liberal Left has been on a roll for decades, corrupting our churches, schools, our government, and the Constitution which was created to strictly limit governmental power and assure the blessings of liberty to us and our posterity. Liberals have, for more than 50 years, diminished our Constitution through the courts and law schools, by characterizing it as a “living” or “growing” document, the meaning of which changes with the whims and fashions of our dizzy society. This liberal attitude, utterly novel to the Founding Fathers, would not work with other legal documents, such as leases, mortgages, or deeds. But liberals prefer flexibility to certainty, feelings, rather than facts. Rigid Constitutions or Commandments, make them uncomfortable. If comfort were the highest priority, our country could rest in peace under liberal leadership. Unfortunately, prolonged liberal leadership can lead to a condition of massive discomfort, even destruction.

Take the current dispute over so-called gays in the military. Since Revolutionary times, up to the infamous presidency of Bill Clinton and the definition of “is”, homosexuality in the American military has been strictly prohibited. The other strict prohibition related to women in combat. The prohibition of women in combat has been significantly eroded by the liberal Left for the past 30 years (see The Kinder, Gentler Military by Stephanie Gutmann, and Weak Link by Brian Mitchell). Both prohibitions relate directly to the combat readiness of our armed forces. Both have a huge effect on the morale of the troops, and both protect the fundamental moral and psychological wellness of our armed forces.

Bill Clinton’s first important act following his election victory was to attempt to eliminate the prohibition on gays in the military. Over the heated opposition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the emotional warnings of then General Colin Powell against eliminating the prohibition, Clinton managed to get a new policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Today, our new president, our Secretary of Defense Gates, and our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, are pushing for an openly gay military. This is a betrayal of monumental proportions; it is a betrayal of our troops engaged in two wars, and a betrayal of this nation’s traditional understanding of moral integrity.

The obvious objections to this new policy have been made ad nauseam, i.e. serious impact upon unit readiness, troop cohesiveness, etc. And, this is being rushed into law before even consulting the troops, or the nation.

However important these issues may be, and they are indeed huge, no one is addressing the most important issue: the question of morality! Homosexuality has been anathema in Judeo-Christian civilization for 5,000 years.

I have to ask how two to three percent of the American population has garnered so much power from the other 97 percent. Why has this issue been given such a high priority in Congress? Why haven’t our troops been asked whether they wish to serve with openly gay brothers and sisters?

The military is a unique organization of dedicated citizens who have elected to place their lives on the line in the defense of their nation. It is an organization steeped in traditional Judeo-Christian tradition and mores. Put to a vote, unlikely in the military, there is no question that the vast majority would choose not to serve with homosexuals.

This is not to condemn individuals. Nor is it to seek to deprive them of rights. Service in American military forces is not a right – it is a privilege, a remarkable honor. Only politically correct liberals would force this sort of integration upon our troops.

It would be interesting to launch an in-depth survey of our troops to determine whether they want to serve with openly gay brothers and sisters. Let’s do a national survey, a very large survey, to determine what Americans expect from their military.

If that survey says that anything close to 50 percent want an openly gay military, I’m in the wrong country.

Today, I see our president, our Secretary of Defense, and our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as traitors to the Judeo-Christian tradition of our nation. As for Colin Powell, remembering his impassioned arguments against Clinton’s plan to eliminate the long-standing prohibition, and his current support for an openly gay military, I am left with a sense of profound disgust. It is a lie to base this new proposal on the idea that “Times have changed.” Styles change. Emotions change. Fads change. The Judeo-Christian Word of God is immutable – it can never change; it says love the sinner, but hate the sin. Our troops are about to be stabbed in the back by their leaders. If this proposed new policy is approved it will lead first to disorder, then disaster.



Our long awaited B Street access to north Fillmore, across the railroad tracks, is finally a reality! This eases the traffic burden somewhat and provides convenience and additional safety to the residents.


The May Festival parade was a great success. The Festival itself seems to have gone well, though Saturday’s crowd was light when I was there. Maybe next year our Festival could be scheduled for a weekend when Oxnard’s Strawberry Festival is not competing for attendance.


I’ve been challenged by resident Bob Stroh to prove the accuracy of my assertion that the three new majority members of Fillmore’s City Council, together with their Katzenjammer minions, have caused the loss of $1 million to the city because of their activities. As Mr. Stroh has been informed, I am working to document this claim at the present time and anticipate the final sum will exceed that million dollars. Searching the historical record, going back several years, ending in 2010, is a time-consuming effort I hope to complete in a couple of weeks.


Don’t forget to attend the Grand Opening of our new water treatment plant, this Saturday, from 2:00 to 4:00. I promise you will be impressed with the quality of this state-of-the-art plant. You can participate in a tour of the plant and get an explanation of how everything works. It’s my hope to see our City Council there in force; it is, after all, a multiple-award-winning project.


Our Commander in Chief, the President of the United States, has just informed Mexico’s President Calderon that “We [the U.S. and Mexico] are not defined by our borders”. If that’s the case, America is at the mercy of a radical fool incapable of recognizing the nation he has sworn to defend. I hated Clinton for his lack of character; I fault Bush II for several major failings, but I fear Obama because he is determined to bring America down, with the energetic assistance of his iniquitous disciples. Barack Obama is a clear and present danger to the freedom of this endangered nation, as is, for that matter, 90 percent of our present Congress.



Don’t miss the Grand Opening of our new multiple award-winning, state-of-the-art water treatment plant, Saturday, May 22. It is a thing of beauty. A fish pond has been constructed on site to serve as an early warning pollution indicator, similar to the canary in the coal mine. This is truly a beautiful plant, and has become the envy of many California cities and towns. It will forever eliminate the outrageous mandatory penalties assessed against the by the Los Angeles Regional office of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. At present the city is attempting to get approval for an $80,000 per year payment plan “to satisfy the $240,000 mandatory minimum payment assessed for violations associated with the City’s abandoned WWTPL.” The plant is a triumph over six years of ignorant and emotional opposition and obstruction by the Katzenjammers.


Speaking of the Katzenjammers, they have lately launched an orchestrated strategy of complaint against the Gazette and me because of critical remarks I have made in this editorial. I could take them more seriously if they were able to demonstrate an understanding of the difference between news and opinion. But, I don’t expect this will happen since the issue has been raised many times during the past 21 years. Therefore, I can’t take their comments seriously.

During the past several weeks one Katzenjammer has told me to “watch my back.” I guess it’s time to play some spooky mood music. Several pointed suggestions have been made from the podium to the city council in an effort to damage the paper. They will fail. Other bolder tactics are afoot as well; they spice-up my life. All of this controversy because many of my editorials have been critical of the new majority on city council.

If this is evidence of how the American citizenry is devolving, we are in deep trouble. Just imagine what would happen to this country if every publisher refused to criticize public authority because they feared retaliation from the objects of their criticism. I guess we don’t have to imagine this; the American media is already in that state. It has been largely co-opted by and/or intimidated by government.

This little newspaper will never avoid controversy to appease its critics. We will continue to publish the news, and, as long as I am publisher, independent opinion as well. The Gazette remains open to all sides of different issues. We accept even harsh letters to the editor which criticize my opinions, but my editorial statements are my opinions alone and they will continue to be expressed freely.

Those of you who do not understand what I have said pose a direct threat to Constitutional freedom in this country.



You are all invited to visit our new award-winning, state-of-the-art Water Recycling Plant. I hope everyone shows up for the open house set for Saturday, May 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m. This is the time for us to learn just how sewage is treated and the water recycled throughout Fillmore. Our new plant has become the envy of many cities throughout the state.


Congratulations to the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce for putting on a great dinner ceremony for Fillmore’s distinguished citizens of the year. The citizen, police officer, fireman, student, and business of the year were all celebrated at the El Pescador Restaurant. Look for more photos on our website,


I have been asked why Realities did not run last week. The column was written but pulled at the last moment after staff members objected to what they characterized as an overly combative tone. Now, I’m not afraid of the staff, and I thought the column was the soul of reasonableness, with the milk of human kindness flowing by the quart in every paragraph. However, I was convinced to ignore the slings and arrows I received the previous week, and cool down, which I have done.

However (where would we be without “howevers”?) prior to the next election I hope publish a detailed history of city politics as they have unfolded from the time of the Northridge quake to the present. I would like to contrast the huge accomplishments of previous city councils to those of the present council majority, and explain the difference.

The Gazette will continue to respond to any false or misleading statements made by or to the Fillmore City Council. That’s our job.


Enjoy this incredibly beautiful weather!



I stopped in to see what was going on with a scoping meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at city hall, Tuesday evening. Unfortunately no one else showed up. The meeting was held to receive input from local citizens regarding our National Hopper Mountain Wildlife Refuge.
Project Leader Marc Weitzel and Michael Woodbridge, Public Affairs officer for Fish and Game were very informative and provided me with printed information about the important wildlife system around Fillmore. I hope another meeting will be scheduled in the near future, which will receive more publicity.

* * *

I also attended Tuesday’s regular school board meeting. It was a little off-putting to hear board member Prado sarcastically respond to recent criticisms about physical conditions at Piru School. He had surveyed the school grounds the previous Friday and found things to be in good shape, at least as good as conditions in any of the district’s other schools. Prado stated that, in his opinion, each of the district’s schools needs about $1,500,000 for maintenance and challenged Adrianne Thiesing, the parent making the complaint, to go out into the community and seek sufficient bond money to fix the problems.

Mr. Prado, it’s unreasonable and unprofessional to launch such a personal response. Perhaps an apology is due.

* * *

An apology is also due from me. To Trinka Reynolds: If my criticism of your son Brian Sipes, for monopolizing city council time, was taken personally, I apologize. Your generosity in donating money to the Senior Center should not be confused with my opposition to Brian and his political activist friends. Your generosity should be commended by all.

* * *

On a more upbeat note, I hope everyone is supporting the Grad Nite Live Fundraiser. We can be assured that this graduation night program has saved many lives. Be sure to pick up the Attractions Spa coupon. The goal is to sell 300 certificates. Call 805-317-9002.

* * *

My thanks to Sebastian Ramirez for the use of his photo of the recent accident in Santa Paula where Fillmore’s Sheriff’s deputy, Beau Rodriguez and Gang Officer William Meixner, were seriously injured together with 22-year-old Mayra Tellez. Sebastian has always been very generous with his outstanding work.

* * *

I would also like to request prayers for the swift recovery of our policemen and Ms. Tellez, all of whom have received extremely serious injuries.



I’ve just calculated that during the past 21 years I have attended about 546 city council meetings. This does not include the many special meetings and workshops. Some of these meetings have been memorable for the issues they resolved, others have been banal, and still others were just deadly boring.

Most council meetings since the last election have been vexatious and wholly and politically disingenuous by design. The Katzenjammer influence has resulted in a continuous state of wasteful, costly confusion.

If fun is where you find it, the show is not yet over. The next election in November promises to be truly interesting, with charter Katzenjammers Brian Sipes and Marcoz Hernandez both expected to run for Patti Walker’s and Laurie Hernandez’ council seats. Walker, this year’s appointed Mayor, is a Katzenjammer centerpiece, and has for the past 6 or more years joined Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks, and a host of underlings, under the tutelage of former (failed) mayor, Gary Creagle, successfully replaced virtually all top management at city hall.

This group, produced and directed by Creagle, failed to halt the water treatment plant, but did manage to push through Measures H and I, killing any hope of development in north Fillmore for decades to come. This has caused all mandated new low income housing to be shoehorned into the nooks and crannies of what’s left of open space throughout the city, guaranteeing high density, forever. Katzenjammers are not needed on the council. Sipes is a Katzenjammer. Therefore, Sipes is not needed on the council.

Sipes’ embarrassing 15-minute pitch from the dais Tuesday, to present a check to the Senior Center, was purely political. For $500 dollars he has purchased a 15-minute spot on Channel 10 which will play all week. With him and Marcoz hugging the camera at every meeting, this is a great ploy for cheap campaign face time.

If I’m proven wrong in my pre-campaign assertions, I promise to apologize.


Congratulations to all of the dedicated teachers who have battled so long for a fair hearing on the issue of the Piru School Charter Plan. While the war is not yet won, yesterday’s recommendation by the California Advisory Commission on Charter Schools to convert Piru’s school to a charter school is a huge step forward. The 5-2 vote of approval makes it more probable that the charter will also be approved by the California Board of Education.
I have followed this issue closely and have absolute confidence in the talented teachers who have dared to promote the charter in the face of extraordinary School District hostility. Piru residents, particularly the residents of the Rancho Sespe farm workers housing community, have been systematically lied to in an effort to destroy the charter petition. These lies will become apparent to everyone after the new charter school is opened next year. It’s just too bad this virulent, mendacious atmosphere has led to an angry split in the community. It will take a while to heal.

One question: The District hired a bus to take approximately 60 residents and teachers to Sacramento in an overnight drive for the purpose of testifying against the charter proposal. This took a lot of organization. The question? Who paid for this, with what funds, at a time when the budget is so incredibly challenged?
I envision a new Piru Charter School with a brilliant future. I predict this new school will be the envy of most school districts in Ventura County. Piru has struck a blow for independence. What could be more American?
Again, congratulations!


A local website has announced that former Fillmore Fire Chief Pete Egedi has filed lawsuits against the City of Fillmore and several other entities and individuals. However, the Gazette has not been able to corroborate this information and no one to our knowledge has as yet received any notice. Egedi will stand trial on four felony counts for embezzlement of city funds among other things. The case has dragged on for nearly two years. He is, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty. If found guilty Egedi could serve more than four years in state prison.


I have wanted to express my opinion on President Obama’s health care law and other disasters he is ready to spring on the citizens of America. Just haven’t had the time. When I consider this man’s agenda the hair stands up on the back of my neck (as there is little left on top).

Obama is a European style socialist determined to destroy our traditional way of life. I don’t believe we will ever be able to pay-off our debts (without being victorious in war with China). Obama’s plan to cut our nuclear forces by one-third is tantamount to national suicide in the face of Communist China’s huge military build-up, Russia’s military build-up, North Korea’s insane nuclear build-up, Iran’s nuclear build-up, and the greatest increase in fanatical, anti-American terrorist groups in world history.

Barac Obama attacks the only true friend America has in the Middle East, Israel, and gives aid and comfort to all of our deadliest enemies. He is rightly recognized as a weakling by all of our experienced enemies, who connive to put America at ease with worthless paper treaties while planning to checkmate our national defense.
At every level our country’s traditional ethics, values, and Christian character is undermined by this presidential charlatan. By supporting Obama we are attempting to achieve security at the price of freedom. It has never worked. It will never work. I have to wonder what has become of the true, God-fearing, self-reliant America as we transition from a Judeo-Christian civilization to post-Christian and into neo-Pagan.
And, I’m just trying to tell you why I haven’t had time to discuss national issues. In a word, bad news is overwhelming!


A response to Councilwoman Gayle Washburn’s letter:

It bothers me to have to take the time to respond to this completely disingenuous letter. But these self-serving falsehoods and factual dodges should be recognized for what they are.

I’m accused of politicizing the “unfortunate realities of the current economy.” These realities weren’t on the horizon when the disastrous Measures H and I were being promoted by Washburn, Walker, and Brooks, and their merry band of Katzenjammers. What a ridiculous way to attempt to avoid responsibility for the death of so many promising business opportunities in north Fillmore due to Measures H and I.

The fact is H and I wiped-out any value these properties had. An orderly plan had been in place for the development of north Fillmore, including all financing. Even an atomic attack on America would not have changed the fact that these measures made it impossible to develop north Fillmore. Five or ten years from now this will not change. These 350 homes will have to be built here and there in the rest of the city, necessitating very high density housing, the very thing everyone sought to avoid. Someone at city hall must perform a financial feasibility study to determine if 350 units can realistically be built in north Fillmore under the constraints of Measures H and I. That would settle this dispute. The landowners already know the answer.

There will always be defaults in the regular course of business, but very few will be caused by such foolish, short-sightedness as seen in Measures H and I.

Bank Call Reports? Washburn (and Brooks) tried the same stupid, unfair, irrational argument to justify their abandonment of the Business Park. The supporters of H and I were repeatedly told that passage would result in the killing-off of north Fillmore development. It has happened as foretold.

I’m going to ask the Kellers to comment on how H and I affected their once thriving business, in next week’s Gazette. They have already testified at council in person.

Regarding Measure H and I preventing additional infrastructure debt of $18 million: That $18 million was going to be spread over 700 homes at approximately $16,750 per dwelling unit. Measure H and I reduced the number of dwelling units to 350 thus doubling the debt to $33,500 per dwelling unit. The need for the $18 million in additional infrastructure did not magically go away as a result of Measure H and I. It doubled per dwelling unit, guaranteeing that North Fillmore will remain undeveloped. More defaults are to be expected and it is doubtful anyone will be willing to now purchase the foreclosed CFD properties because there is no realistic way to develop in North Fillmore because of Measure H and I.

Again, I regret having to waste time explaining the obvious to Washburn, Walker, and Brooks, since they apparently don’t understand the reality of their gross mistake in promoting H and I.

Gayle Washburn is here attempting to avoid responsibility for the foreclosures in north Fillmore by attributing the whole thing to the poor economy, when this debacle is directly related to her (and Patti Walker’s) sponsorship of Measures H and I.

As they say, we should all remember in November.


I want to welcome our new writer, Naomi Klimaszewska. Naomi will be covering city council meetings, as she did this week. She is an excellent writer and we are fortunate to have her on staff. I also want to thank Wanda Castel de Oro for temporarily filling in the writers-gap after Mariandrea Mueller moved onto bigger and better things in Century City.
Thank you Wanda and welcome, Naomi!

* * *

For those of you who do not watch the Channel 10 coverage of the Fillmore City Council proceedings, you’re really missing some good theater.

This Tuesday saw the Katzenjammers on the floor in strength. Gary Creagle (failed former Mayor) played a bit part this time. Where would we be without his loud, colorful antics? Considering that Gary hasn’t been a resident of Fillmore for years, he certainly has a lot to say. This week he offered his opinion on KDF Communities’ request for the city to explore options for funding development of Business Park infrastructure. The new council majority wouldn’t even look at it.

* * *

Then we had the sad, and for councilmembers Washburn, Brooks, and Walker, embarrassing, agenda item concerning five property foreclosures from north Fillmore. A statement from a Gazette reader says it all: “The properties to be foreclosed upon are SunCal (3 parcels totaling 29.03 acres); Roger Keller parcel (Keller Classics) totaling 6.09 acres; and Michael Belloumini parcel of 2.34 acres. These 5 properties represent 37% of the 100 acres of the North Fillmore Specific Plan. These properties have been paying taxes for CFD No. 1 since 1992 and now after 18 years they have stopped paying taxes. I recall your Editorial of July 22, 2009 where you stated in part, ‘Then there was the war over development in north Fillmore. Six years of expense and intense planning went down the drain as Measures H and I were finally voted in. Again, the public was fooled. Business development, such as Keller Classics, has been killed-off in north Fillmore, thanks to the foolish Measures that Washburn, Walker, Brooks, and company urged on to passage’.”

Long time Katzenjammers, Brian Sipes and Marcoz Hernandez were also present and uncharacteristically quiet when the foreclosures were discussed.

Before people sign their names on petitions at local stores, they should read the petition carefully. In this case people were led to believe that Measure I was good for the city. In fact, its results have been devastating. Measure I has assured that what remains of vacant land in north Fillmore will stay in weeds for the foreseeable future. What a shame. What a waste. And this is exactly what the Katzenjammers intended.


I wish I had time to comment on the unmitigated disaster the new health care law has created. Hold on to your hats; it’s just beginning.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


The most ironic city council meeting in Fillmore’s history took place this past Tuesday. It was almost comical.
The Ventura County American Public Works Association (APWA) represented by Chris Hook, presented Mayor Walker with two beautiful plaques, one from the APWA for our new wastewater treatment plant construction, and another for the same plant, named Project of the Year at the National Engineers Week Banquet at the Reagan Library, February 18.

The irony begins with the fact that Walker was chosen to receive the awards, though she, with Councilwoman Washburn and Councilman Jamey Brooks were the three most vigorous voices against the plant design.

For six years these three, with the usual Katzenjammers (including failed former Mayor Gary Creagle) fought tooth and nail to stop this project. Their endless challenges against the project, in the face of a mountain of scientific information, and a huge amount of expert opinion recommending the project, cost the city more than a $1 million in delays. None of these people has any expertise at all in plant design or construction. They insisted the experts were wrong.

The plant was completed, below budget and ahead of schedule. This ended the huge mandatory fines which were accumulating each time the old plant failed to meet the new, stricter state and county clean water requirements.

So, Mayor Walker, no doubt, squirmed as she received the awards, especially because the man responsible for the successful completion of the plant sat behind her, unrecognized. That man was Director of Public Works, Bert Rapp.

Adding to the irony was Councilman Brooks, who took the happy occasion as an opportunity to slam the project with a dramatic verbal squeezing of bitter grapes. Brooks has no class, no sense of propriety, no common sense. He may be accurately characterized as a party pooper. Lucky for us that we now have the proper facility to handle it.


Transitional Finance Director, Anita Lawrence, was gracious in her presentation of the Mid-year Budget Review. She was acknowledged, by Councilman Steve Conaway, as haven worked especially hard to fix the train wreck of a budget cobbled together by interim finance director John Wooner and interim city manager Larry Pennell after former Finance Director Barbara Smith was “forced” into retirement by outrageous mistreatment. Their “budget” was nearly $9 million off. Let’s see, how much did the city pay these two fix-it men? And, why in the world was Ms. Smith’s offer to finish the budget she had started, free of charge, rejected?

Walker, Washburn, and Brooks were supposed to provide the ingenious solutions for cutting the budget and opening-up city government.

It seems like only yesterday when everyone watched Brian Sipes wave his copy of the Pennell-Wooner “budget”, proclaiming proudly, “We finally have a budget to be proud of.”

What a farce the new majority in city council has become. Jamey had his sword to cut the budget. Gayle had her engineering expertise. And, Walker was going to run the best, most open government in city history – except for a series of Brown Act violations.

Remember in November!


Launch time for our newest version of the website is growing near. The site will be significantly more powerful and provide users with many more communications options.

One feature I am continually tempted to change is the anonymity now provided to bloggers. Frankly, the blog has been a thorn in my side much of the time since we first launched it. It is a remarkable thing to see how bold (read savagely disrespectful) some bloggers can be when they can post without giving their true names.

Sometimes, when a credible threat of retaliation exists and important information should be divulged, anonymity is justified. But, when it is used as a shield to hide behind in order to spew malicious detraction and false or unfounded charges, it’s clearly wrong. Because this happens regularly by a few bloggers I think the Gazette will have to demand that bloggers use their true names. Several already do, like Roy Payne and Steve Conaway.

I believe only one blogger has been banned (another on the edge) from the site after a series of angry, false, and outrageous statements; Not bad after 3 years.

Frankly, the website has been a very significant expense these past 3 years. But for the fact that it has proven to be a valuable resource for the Fillmore community, it would have disappeared long ago. In times of emergency (earthquake, fire, civil disorder, terrorist attack, etc.) the website is invaluable for sounding the alarm and providing assistance because it is ready 24/7 for instant updates. I really do want it to continue, and expect it will.

I expect the site to become more of a true online newspaper in the future, with many more sections and forum threads. We will, for example, be adding an emergency preparation page to the site, bringing in information from many local, state, national, and international specialized agencies. This will include video, text and numerous related links as well as book references and reviews answering practical questions.

Viewers will probably be able to chuck a few spears at me personally as I think I will have a blog of my own. We expect this will reduce the onslaught on other parts of the site.

On another issue, we will be more diligent in weeding-out trolls who only post to make false, irrelevant, and destructive comments for personal purposes. Making wild, unfounded condemnations, or purely personal attacks, will trigger a ban after appropriate warnings. It takes too much time to refute every intentionally false accusation, clogs the blog, and dampens the spirit of the site.

With the election cycle approaching the site will also enrich the dialogue. I expect a large number of candidates again this year. Several will be members of the Katzenjammer clique, some will run for the purpose of diluting the vote as happened last year, and at least one will be completely unqualified. I hope at least 2 qualified, non-Katzenjammers, will run for office. Then we may once again have a mature, experienced, businesslike city council, instead of the childish, petulant, inexperienced micromanagers now in the majority. Beware of those office-seekers who vie for face time on the Channel 10 camera. They are bursting with ambition, but busted in terms of experience and ability. Their desire to be seen on camera at every meeting is just embarrassing.


Those of you who haven’t watched the Channel 10 coverage of Tuesday’s council meeting are really missing out. The Katzenjammers put on a great show, starring Mayor Walker with her “inside joke” concerning Mr. Richard McKee’s name. Bit parts were played by Councilpersons Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks. Walker had difficulty containing her laughter as she explained the purpose of the mandatory closed session. Mr. McKee, we should remember, is bringing a lawsuit against the council for violations of the Brown Act – tee-hee. Isn’t that funny? By the way, Walker’s failure to indicate the vote total on the decision to fight the lawsuit was, I believe, another violation. The whole thing is just so funny – and expensive!


Those of us who enjoy listening to word flow for its own sake will certainly be enthralled with Gayle Washburn’s verbal incontinence. She even jokes about resuming her endlessly wandering dialogue at one point, with a piquant smile and short giggle. I think the art of being cute on camera has its limits. Both of these women need to work on the art of public speaking; look where it got Obama! I notice this practice of droning on and on, wading through the swamps of minutia, has become a favored technique between Walker and Washburn, especially when Councilman Conaway asks to have focused discussion. The Walker-Washburn word maze is designed to effect something like a Chinese word torture, death by a thousand dribbling distractions.

Then there is that always surprising interjection by Councilman Brooks. He serves as the Katzenjammer exclamation point, always inserting humorous evidence of his ignorance of an issue near the time for voting; his questions often indicate that he hasn’t read the agenda packet. He often pops-up with a cute one-liner such as, paraphrased “Tell the state that Councilman Brooks says back-off”. This was said in jest, but neither he, nor Washburn, nor Walker understand the serious damage their promotion of Measure I has caused. Not the time for flippant remarks. Measure I completely destroyed the north Fillmore development plan for 700 houses, and has forced high-density housing in Fillmore.

This meeting was another staged event. Katzenjammer Party heavy-lifters were in attendance. Among the faithful were Fillmore residents Gloria Hansen, Brian Sipes, and Marcoz Hernandez. In addition, Katzenjammer Grand Poobah and sometime political strategy Guru, the former (and failed) mayor Gary Creagle made his characteristically bizarre appearance. Gary is the purported leader of the pack, having been campaign manager for Brooks, Washburn, and City Clerk, Clay Westling, all of whom won election by a narrow margin. He plowed up to the dais and began haranguing some council members, then, after retiring to his seat at the back of the chambers, had to be quieted by the mayor after shouting at the council.

Ms. Hansen doesn’t understand that the issues she complains of were largely caused by the Katzenjammer’s successful promotion of the infamous Measure I, which will cost the city more than $300,000. Then, there is the always interesting Marcoz Hernandez and Brian Sipes. Both are expected to run for city council in November; this is why you will see them both seated in the middle of the council’s camera lens at most meetings. When the camera focuses on the person at the dais, it will always capture Sipes and often Hernandez as well. That’s what you call free face time. I think that’s a little tawdry, for the average office-seeker in waiting, but typical for Katzenjammers.

Maybe a better name for this group would be the Wrecking Crew. In any event they have surely wrecked Fillmore’s city government this past year.


I am enjoying the company of two of my best friends this week, 8-year-old Katrionna Furness and her little sister, Summer Grace. This, coupled with such spectacular weather, has made me a little lazy.


Another horrendous accident took place at the intersection of Bardsdale and Sespe Avenues, Sunday, about 6:00 p.m. Additional photos of the event can be viewed at One of the drivers of the two vehicles blasted through a stop sign at a high rate of speed. How often have we heard of this sort of thing? Fortunately, although four people were injured, no one was killed. If alcohol was involved (no word as we go to press) I hope any guilty persons are sent to jail for a considerable time.


Everyone should get out and enjoy this beautiful early spring weather, like I intend to do right now.


It was really good to see the rain we’ve received this past month or so. I guess the rain gauge in Fillmore shows a normal level so far for the year. Sespe Creek is flowing again and we’ve had snow on the back mountains for about two weeks. My favorite time of year.


This week we received a complaint about cyclists traveling over Grimes Canyon early in the morning, before dawn. The person mentioning the problem says cyclists often cause vehicle traffic to veer over the center line to avoid hitting the bikes. Since there is very little space for a bicycle to ride on either side of the Canyon road, and often this is a rock-strewn depression, maybe Balcom Canyon would be a little safer.


Just a few comments on last night’s (Tuesday’s) council meeting. I think the “Resolution on Small Local Business” is a good thing. It helps both the businesses and the city, assuring that the city receives a larger share in sales tax revenues. We should be glad we have a newer automobile agency (even if one of our oldest businesses) in town, both for convenience and as a significant part of our sales tax base.


With November elections in mind, everyone should view the Channel 10 video of this council meeting. It’s disheartening to watch Councilman Brooks and Councilwoman Washburn struggle over something as simple as the Small Business Resolution. If they can’t seem to grasp this idea without haggling over the details, it’s no wonder they never could understand the water treatment plant details and contracts.
Anyway, the new Resolution is good for everyone concerned. Every business in Fillmore is struggling today. This can help ease the burden.


It’s hard for me to believe Ash Wednesday is next week and that Easter is so near.
Enjoy this beautiful weather.


There he goes again. Our president bows to Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. Either that, or he is admiring her shoes.
It may be a little far-fetched, but I’m beginning to suspect that President Obama is afflicted with an out of control congenital condition which mimics a spring-loaded lumbar hinge which is mysteriously activated when greeting heads of just about anything. Or, maybe this reaction is triggered by a subconscious awareness that he is a preposterous charlatan, a pretender to the presidency who may be discovered at any moment, seeking sympathy.


I walked over the new Two Rivers Park area this week to see what happened to the grass. To my surprise I could find no evidence of grass ever haven been seeded. There were a few scattered clumps of wire grass, and numerous weeded areas, but not a blade seems to have survived from any seeding. This is very surprising because, even if the irrigation was badly irregular, something of the grass should have survived.


A well deserved CONGRATULATIONS to Fillmore’s Director of Public Works, Bert Rapp, for having his Water Recycling Project chosen by the County APWA as PROJECT OF THE YEAR in the Water/Wastewater category for Ventura County.

This award will be presented during the February 11 regular lunch meeting, together with a 10-minute power point provided by City Manager Yvonne Quiring.

Mr. Rapp is also to be commended for having endured, without complaint, years of withering criticism by ignorant Katzenjammers who sought to take him out of his job, as they did virtually all other top management. Bert knew what he was talking about all along, and stuck to his guns in the face of repeated, unjust attacks. For this reason the City of Fillmore now has a great, state-of-the-art water treatment plant and is no longer subject to those huge fines for non-compliance with unreasonable new mandated water standards.

A public apology is due to Mr. Rapp from all the Katzenjammers, especially from Councilwoman Gayle Washburn, Councilman Jamey Brooks, Mayor Patti Walker, and crypto-Katzenjammer (and failed former Mayor) Gary Creagle, whose false representations, ridiculous recommendations, incessant and uninformed criticisms and invincible ignorance regarding plant construction, cost the city more than a million dollars and one year’s delay of the project.


Sheila Tate, Interim Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls told the Fillmore City Council, at Tuesday’s regular meeting, that the First Street Club would stay open, but the North Fillmore Club would close due to financial challenges. The problem for the Club was a failure in fundraising.

Several independent fundraising activities are under way at the present time. These efforts include sponsoring by our Fire and Police departments, city employee donations, Marcoz Hernandez and “Chuy” Ortiz (owner of El Pescador Restaurant), and possibly others. I hope to receive information on these efforts in order to publicize them in the Gazette and online at

This club’s activities are a critical part of Fillmore’s youth programs. The kids love going there after school, where they complete homework and engage in a variety of activities. I urge everyone to donate to this cause which contributes greatly to the general welfare of our town.


We received a comforting amount of rain this past week or so, but the weather folks say California is still in for a dry year. San Cayetano and adjacent mountains received considerable snow, which has remained for about a week. The recent storms, though welcomed (except for the mudslides in the LA area) fell short of expectations. It is good to see our rivers and creeks flowing again. I am always in awe of Sespe Creek. It can go from a dry creek bed to a raging torrent overnight due to the force of more than 30-miles of watershed. Never try to cross fast-flowing water. The force of even a couple of feet of storm water is tremendous.


In answer to a question in this week’s Letters section, the late Clarence Freeman, an engineer (with vast hydrology, geology, and mining experience) repeatedly reminded Fillmore that it was built on an “alluvial fan” composed of ancient deposits of sand, gravel, and rock flow from Pole Creek. This makes us susceptible to liquefaction during a major earthquake. He also disputed the several engineering experts who approved the present Pole Creek debris basin, which was built at the end of the creek instead of further back, as is customary. He believed the basin would not work where located. So far, though not really challenged by a 50-year or 100-year storm, everything seems to be working well.


One city council item bothered me: the Towne Theatre financials. The most basic number to be delivered in this annual report is attendance. How many customers has the Theatre taken in during the past year? The report, delivered by Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels, did not include this figure.

How is it that Theatre management could not produce attendance records? These are directly connected to ticket sales. This is remarkable. Hasn’t anyone been keeping tabs on ticket sales? How else can any financial information be presented?

After years of running in the red, the Theatre was finally able to break into the black, if weakly. Then, for the third time, the bad idea of showing Spanish language films became popular again. This was such a bad (and predictably bad) idea that the Theatre was again plunged into the red. Employees will tell you that during that time weeks would go by with no one at all attending. The Theatre never recovered.

But the building, which cost about $1.5 million to reconstruct and up-date after the Northridge quake, has been badly neglected and is in need of expensive rework. Maintenance has been terrible. Management has been incredibly bad. Why keep the same manager after so many years of dismal incompetence?

I’m glad to report that our state-of-the-art skateboard park was back in full use the day after the most recent storm. Debris had plugged a few drains.


The ghosts of Kennedys past have been largely swept away by Massachusetts’s newly elected Senator, Scott Brown. Congratulations Massachusetts, you finally got your soul back. If it can happen in Massachusetts maybe it can happen in California which has borne the burden of the three ninnies, or, two ninnies and one meganinny: in order, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi (who is three heartbeats from the presidency). With these Three Amigas gone, maybe California could come back to life.


On a local note, we have received a Letter to the Editor alleging that a game of golf was played on the grounds of the Bardsdale Cemetery. If true, remedial action has to be taken.


The Red Cross is reported to be attempting to bring 40,000 Haitians into Florida. 2,000 are already reported in country. Why is it that every time America seeks to assist a foreign nation in the face of a disaster, natural or man-made, we have to sponsor a huge immigration program?

America is the most generous nation on earth. We have given trillions of dollars, billions in food and medicine, the lavish use of our military air, sea, and land capabilities to assist nations in need. Why is it necessary to import large parts of foreign populations as well?

Remember the Mariel boatlift between April 15 and October 31, 1980? Then President Carter permitted 125,000 Cubans to come to Florida. This presented an opportunity for Castro to empty his prisons and mental health facilities resulting in the worst and bloodiest crime wave in Florida’s history, lasting for years. Generous foreign aid is consistent with our Judeo-Christian history. But we don’t have to be foolish in order to lend a helping hand – and America’s bounty is not limitless. The Red Cross, good as it is, should keep its nose out of foreign affairs.


The best of the rain is due today, Wednesday. Please slow down and drive defensively. We have already experienced several accidents. Mudslides are a very real danger because of last summer’s fires. Sandbags can be picked up at the fire station. Drive carefully!

As I write these words, another accident has been reported on Hwy. 126 and Old Telegraph Road. Again – slow down.


Our new debris basin at the end of Pole Creek may be put to the test during this storm. I hope the engineering works. I keep remembering the warnings of the late, great, Clarence Freeman, may he rest in peace. I’m hoping his conclusions were wrong, but he was a very intelligent man with great experience. We’ll see.


Isn’t government great?!

The Gazette just received a memo from the Census Bureau “to survey nation’s spending habits.” Please refer to this notice to the right of this editorial. Note especially the second part of the survey, where “12,500 households will be asked to keep two consecutive one-week diaries of smaller, more frequent purchases that may be difficult for respondents to recall later (such as a…soda or candy bar…)”

No doubt the Bureau will find 12,500 fools who will do just that.

Where in the Constitution does the government find the power to intrude itself into the minutest parts of a citizen’s life?!

American citizens have become electoral sheep – and their shepherd is a diabolical wolf. My words are too strong? I don’t think so, if you take a stand from the traditional Christian point of view. From that point we see a fairly un-Christian president (spiritual director: Rev. Wright and his “G.. Damn America” congregation) who has invited into government some of the most loathsome, devious, and dangerous people ever to associate with an American chief of state. And the government wants to take charge of our health care!


Just a reminder that, as of February 1, subscriptions will go to $50.00 per year. Any subscription up to that time will be at the old price of $35.00. Also, single copies of the Gazette will be sold at $1.00. This was necessary to cover the present cost of producing, printing, delivering, and distributing the paper. Please note that the new prices still do not cover all costs. However, I purchase a cup of coffee every morning of the year. That cup costs me $2.15. The Gazette takes a full 7 days to produce, and unlike the cup, does not require a refill. We hope you find it worth the price.