(l-r) City Council candidates Carrie Broggie, Tim Holmgren and Diane McCall
(l-r) City Council candidates Carrie Broggie, Tim Holmgren and Diane McCall
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Question #4: What is the greatest ONE issue facing the city in the next few years?

Carrie Broggie
The single greatest issue facing the City in the next few years is the broadening of our tax base through economic development. In order for Fillmore to be a healthier, more sustainable community, we must have an increase in tax revenue to improve our infrastructure, provide additional services to our citizens, and to enhance the quality of life of our residents.
The first step toward achieving this goal is through the carefully measured expansion of our business community. This includes not only the development of the126 industrial park by attracting the right businesses, but also by planning and implementing the revitalization of our downtown area. The City Council has taken an effective step toward this goal by creating the Fillmore Development Council. The purpose of this council is to seek out businesses that are a right fit for the industrial park. This council is also evaluating ways to enhance the downtown area and assisting merchants in the success of their businesses.
As new businesses move to Fillmore, we can anticipate an increase in housing demand. The Heritage Valley Parks housing development will undoubtedly see more home sales. Property taxes from these new home sales will contribute to the broadening of our tax base.
Critical to the success in achieving an expansion of the business community are two other factors: public safety and quality public schools. In order for business owners to make the decision to start up a business or move an existing business to Fillmore, they will evaluate these two important quality of life issues. Will their children receive a quality education attending schools in this community, and will their families and employees feel safe living here? As we work toward increasing business development, we must work equally as hard to support our law enforcement agency, fire department/paramedics, and our school district.

Tim Holmgren
Just a few short years ago, the city was facing some tremendous challenges. Over the past two years, many of these challenges have been taken on and dealt with. Fillmore is in much better shape now and our future looks bright.
However, there are still a few challenges to overcome and many of them fall into one category; Fillmore’s economic future. When the country’s economy fell apart in 2008, it hit Fillmore hard. Development that was poised to bring jobs to the area came to a halt. Several other factors, like the RDA being dissolved and the sales tax lawsuits, combined to affect the city and the citizens.
Today, the economy is showing signs of improvement. But it’s local jobs that will be the catalyst to launch us toward economic prosperity. Bringing jobs to Fillmore will put more of our neighbors to work and give options to those who are currently forced to commute. As jobs begin to come to Fillmore, the positive cycle will start. We’ll see more prosperity for the people of Fillmore and the downtown area will begin to revitalize.
Another issue that will have to be dealt with to ensure the economic prosperity of Fillmore is the train. The downtown merchants depend on the revenue generated by tourism. We need to focus on keeping the train running. But at the same time, we need to explore other options to make sure we keep tourism alive and well in Fillmore.
As I’ve said before, this is an exciting time for Fillmore. There are some challenges still facing us and Fillmore’s economic future is the biggest one we have. That being said, I am optimistic about our future and I am confident we are on the right track.

Diane McCall
Aside from the obvious need to secure revenues and maintain a balanced budget, the ONE greatest issue facing Fillmore in the next several years is our aging infrastructure. The lack of funding over the past number of years has left us with deferred maintenance items which are reaching critical levels. As a city council body we have addressed and resolved numerous immediate issues affecting our community and set the pendulum in motion for others. However, this particular growing concern will take a healthy general fund, some serious planning and possibly the location of some matching grants which may assist us in reaching our goals. Our current water and sewer infrastructure are in excess of 40 years old and we are beginning to see the effects of serious deterioration. Over the past year we have experienced at least 4 major breaks and numerous other emergency “band aid” repairs. Additionally, we need to begin accessing the condition of our streets and identify a plan for those repairs in order of priority. We need to look closely at our Transportation Development Act funds and identify funding for needed street repairs, but it will take dedication and time. Lastly, as we are our own water provider, and our city wells must be properly serviced, maintained and upgraded for the highest possible efficiency. We cannot afford to have wells down due to maintenance issues that could have been prevented due to age and funding. This is why we, as a council body are working to set a 40% general fund reserve going forward as we know these issues are looming and cannot wait indefinitely. As your city council member, I will work hard to ensure infrastructure remains on the top of our city goals and we are making all efforts to plan for the inevitable.

 

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(l-r) Mike Saviers, Scott Beylik, Sean Morris, Lucy Rangel, Dave Wilde, Tony Prado
(l-r) Mike Saviers, Scott Beylik, Sean Morris, Lucy Rangel, Dave Wilde, Tony Prado
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Question #3: Our library is hurting badly and lacks a librarian. School board members serve without compensation, except for medical coverage. According to District records, the Board is provided approximately $55,000 per year, or $10,934.10 per member, in health benefits. Question: Would you be willing to forego this insurance in order to donate the proceeds to the Fillmore Library?

Mike Saviers
I will be foregoing my medical benefits if elected. I have family insurance through a private provider. If every other board member has their own family insurance and does not use that benefit that money should stay in FUSD. If in fact board members have their own insurance what is happening with that money set aside for that medical benefit if it is not being used for that purpose? The monies not used for medical benefits should be returned to the FUSD. It should be used for the District's business, like funding the school libraries needs. While I appreciate the predicament of the Fillmore Library it is part of the Ventura County Library system and should be funded through them, not with badly needed FUSD monies.

Scott Beylik
Yes, I would vote to discontinue my health insurance benefits, if I'm elected as a board member. I think the knowledge that each current board member receives heath insurance valued at $10,934.10 annually, will come as a surprise to many, including myself. This is due to the lack of transparency our district has struggled with over the past several years. I pledge to be open and completely transparent in all my decisions and actions.
With regards to opening the four elementary libraries, last board meeting the board voted to reclassify the library clerk’s job description. The district stated they would fund 2 hours per site for the rest of the school year, this would be at a cost of $6,000, which was very disappointing to hear. Yes, I think it is important to open the library, but two hours a day is barely enough time to boot up the computers, let alone actually do some benefit for the children that desperately need the resources. The cost per elementary school to fund a seven hour clerk for the rest of the school year is approximately $21,000. With our four elementary schools, we could fully fund our libraries for $84,000, compared to the districts $30 million annual budget. This is a necessary expense that should not have been cut out. As a point of comparison, a current city council member receives a stipend of $900 annually, and this will possibly increase to $3,600 annually, if voters approve. That is a huge discrepancy in compensation as compared to the time commitment of the city councils members versus the school board members. Even if the current school board members don't vote to change their current $55,000 compensation, we need to find the funds to maintain the libraries for all students. When making decisions my first thought will be to ensure that the students educational needs come first and foremost, and if that means I'm not compensated $10,934.10 annually, then it is a good day for Fillmore students.

Sean Morris
Yes, I am fortunate enough to have health coverage and will forgo the Insurance. There are two issues brought up by the questions, the first is funding for library and the second is School Board Trustee Compensation. I will answer them in that order.
It is important to understand the budget and what is being allocated for all programs including libraries. A school district is a service type of business so the majority of the outlays are for personnel including librarians. In order to compete with other schools, we must allocate funds for librarians and for the libraries as media resource centers. My vision for our libraries, especially the high school library, is to act as center for after school study, film discussion, lectures and guest speakers.
Our libraries need librarians. We also need the help of the community and the support of the school to bring in volunteers without impedance to help in all manners necessary for us to compete with other schools. Together we can make the libraries great with the necessary complement of school personnel and community volunteers.
As far as school board trustees are compensated, I do not have any issue with that. Many districts in our county provided a stipend and medical benefits to their board members. Being a board member is a lot of work and a small compensation is not out of order. That being said, I do not expect nor will I seek to receive compensation other than out of pocket expenses incurred for my duties as a board member from our district.
Sean Morris for School Board.

Lucy Rangel
It is unfortunate that with our current economy, funding for our schools and community is always lacking. At the same time, insurance rates and medical cost are rising to the extent that everyone needs health benefits. With this in mind, I would have to say that I would not be able to forego my health insurance in order to donate the proceeds to our community library. I understand the importance of libraries; however, if I were to donate the proceeds of my compensation to anyone, it would go back to the students I serve.

Dave Wilde
I think every community should have a community library. They can be used for so much more than checking out books. The library in Camarillo is always having different events that the community members can attend. If someone wanted to form a group to look at making our library used more by the public I would love to do that. Would I give up my insurance money to fund it? No, I think If my colleagues were to agree to a move like that, that the money should be spent on our students. That money could go to the music program, or school site libraries, etc.
I didn't run to be given health insurance. I wanted to serve our students. I asked that question at the VCOE four years ago. Their response helped me look at it a different way. They told me that I probably made about $36 an hour when I retired and you'll probably spend at least two hours a day with board related activities and it would amount to more than the cost of insurance each year. I easily spend more than two hours per day corresponding with other districts around the state and country discussing such things as; collaboration, RTI programs, instructional assessment plans, ESL instructional programs, peer coaching, etc. From most of those districts I get 50+ page program description plans, which I read at least twice. I just got two describing RTI programs that I need to read. That will take me at least three hours. It is what I like to do. I feel I should know as much as I can about programs and what other districts are doing. The county office said I should look at the compensation as a way the district says thanks. Since that discussion with VCOE officials, I just continue doing what I like to do. Visit schools, help with extra curricular programs, and research data from other districts.

Tony Prado
Yes , I would gladly donate $10,934.10, in health benefits if the Gazette, every farmer, business and city council person would match the donation! Remember, Vote for Tony Prado School Board.

[Editor's Note: The use of an outdated email for Tony Prado prevented him from receiving the first 2 questions. Please see them below]

Question #1: Who decides the direction of the District - the school board or the superintendent? What kind of relationship do you envision between them if you are elected?

Tony Prado
The school board decides the direction of the District, it does this by setting the vision of the District. The Board then collaborates with the Superintendent who carries out the vision. The Superintendent is accountable to the Board who sit on the Board of Trustees as representatives of the community. My role as a board member is to create a strong communicative relationship with the Superintendent and should the Board feel the Superintendent is off course, then the Board should seek information, provide feedback and support, to bring the efforts more in line with the intention of the Vision.
It is important that the Board have a strong sense of oversight and hold the Superintendent responsible for all the duties and responsibilities assigned to him including the quality of education, responding to issues and concerns raised by the community, administrators, teachers and staff. The Board needs to challenge and empower the Superintendent to utilize his management skills to improve and innovate to meet the needs of the District.
Ultimately the Board and the Superintendent are responsible for teacher effectiveness and student success in the classroom!

Question #2: What do you perceive as the most important issues for the school board and the District? What policies would you work to change, add or subtract?

Tony Prado
The most important issue for the school board and the District is our students receiving a first class education. The implementation of Common Core complemented with staff development will give the teachers and administration an opportunity to provide student success in the classroom. Reducing class size to 20 students or less in grades K-3 is vital to student achievement. I believe it is time to enhance technology in our District by eliminating textbooks and by issuing "tablets" to K-3 students, and laptops to students in grades 4-12. In order to achieve this idea it is necessary to initiate and pass a school bond. This school bond would include not only technology but monies for school improvements and repairs.
Another important issue that needs to be addressed is why so many parents are sending their children to other school districts. Our District loses thousands of dollars for every student that leaves our District, we cannot afford this flight of students. Every school district in Ventura County has one school that has achieved "California Distinguish School" status except Fillmore. The Principals in our District need to set a goal at working towards this achievement. An achievement of this kind would serve notice to all parents of this District that there is no reason to leave our District!

 


 
On Sunday, October 19, at approximately 4:08pm, Fillmore Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire on the 800 block of Blaine Street. Upon arrival Fillmore Chief 1 reported that he was on scene of a detached garage heavily involved in flames with exposures to two adjacent structures. Due to the quick work by Fillmore fire, County fire and Santa Paula fire Departments, fire personnel were able to save the two adjacent structures that only sustained minimal damage. The detached garage was a total loss and the cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries to report. Photos by Sebastian Ramirez.
On Sunday, October 19, at approximately 4:08pm, Fillmore Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire on the 800 block of Blaine Street. Upon arrival Fillmore Chief 1 reported that he was on scene of a detached garage heavily involved in flames with exposures to two adjacent structures. Due to the quick work by Fillmore fire, County fire and Santa Paula fire Departments, fire personnel were able to save the two adjacent structures that only sustained minimal damage. The detached garage was a total loss and the cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries to report. Photos by Sebastian Ramirez.
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An accident occurred Sunday at about 8:50 p.m. An older Ford pickup impacted a late model Chevrolet Cruze from the rear. The truck continued up the embankment on A Street near the high school stadium and through a chain link fence. No injuries were reported and the cause of the accident was not determined by press time.
An accident occurred Sunday at about 8:50 p.m. An older Ford pickup impacted a late model Chevrolet Cruze from the rear. The truck continued up the embankment on A Street near the high school stadium and through a chain link fence. No injuries were reported and the cause of the accident was not determined by press time.
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Part 1
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

On Thursday, October 9th, a joint forum was presented by the Fillmore City Council candidates, and the Fillmore United School Board candidates. Following is coverage of Part One of the School Board portion of the forum. Part Two will be printed in next week’s edition of the Gazette.

Candidates: Michael Saviors, Sean Morris, Scott Beylik
Incumbent Candidates: Lucy Rangel, Dave Wilde, Tony Prado.
Moderator: Bill Herrera. Timekeeper: Douglas Tucker.

Opening Statements
Sean Morris; I think there is so much potential at Fillmore Schools. I will set some great goals.

Scott Beylik; My goal is to make Fillmore schools a place where all local families are proud to be a part of...create an environment of open communication, transparency and accountability with a long term vision for policy, course curriculum that will meet the needs of all students and prepare them for the future.

Lucy Rangel; I lived here in Piru and Fillmore and have taught both 4th and 6th grades. I have a knowledge of teaching.

Tony Prado; I am not trying to buy a seat, I didn't expect it would take $3,000 to $4,000 to get a seat on FUSD. I've served on the School Site Council and coached.

Dave Wilde; I taught and served in five different districts and as a peer teacher. I enjoy working with children.

Michael Saviors; I've lived in Fillmore 14 years and I have a son in Fillmore Middle School and a daughter in Fillmore High School. I was appointed to the FUSD School Board for a short time and worked as a substitute bus driver. I want my children to have the best education offered to them.

(1) What professional skills, experience and other unique qualities do you possess that make you the best candidate for the seat on the School Board?
Sean Morris; For many years I've worked as a broker and have seen that some do well and some don't. Those that do well have pride in what they do. They are accountable. I want to see the best for every child.

Scott Beylik; I have the ability to listen...I've sat on many non-profits, ran businesses, met payroll, we have 13 employees. I understand you need to stay on top of things. That's what I plan for if I'm elected to the school board.

Lucy Rangel; I'm a team player, you have to get along with people. I excel at leadership, I've had a lot of leadership rolls. I know the program.

Tony Prado; I'm a team leader. I have been on school site boards, I've been a coach and have lead coaches.

Dave Wilde; I've taught at schools for 37 years. I was an athletic director for 9 years. I have been in leadership rolls. I feel pretty confident I can lead.

Michael Saviors; I have experience in the classrooms, it's a challenge. All my years in the Police Department have made me a good listener. I've been a board member and I know the challenges.

(2) Given Fillmore's demographic, average household income levels and standardized test results, where do you envision our students higher education potential to be?
Scott Beylik; Simple answer is 'unlimited'. It's where they see themselves and want to be. Those students that aren't motivated toward college, we need to back up vocational training.

Lucy Rangel; We have 80.6% reduced lunches. We need parent involvement. We need to provide services for them no mater their economic status.

Tony Prado; I agree, parents need to be involved. We provided a program at Moorpark to bring the parents in.

Dave Wilde; The parents come to us with a disadvantage, we need to address their needs. The new Superintendent is working with Kathy Long on a tutoring program.

Michael Saviors; If the student has the drive we should give them every opportunity to succeed.

Sean Morris; We have to have benchmarks for our ESL students. We have great students, the problem is we're not advancing students.

(3) In your opinion is the School District offering instruction appropriate to the diverse educational backgrounds of all the students? Why or why not?
Lucy Rangel; I think we're moving in the right direction with Common Core State Standards. The standards are moving in the right direction for high archiving students and low achieving.

Tony Prado; With Common Core State Standards it's going to take shape. When students are successful it shows in their test scores. We need to get the parents into the classroom to work with their kids.

Dave Wilde; We need to make sure we give the support to our teachers. I think we have an Assistant Superintendent that is doing a great job, she has the experience.

Michael Saviors; Every school district has problems. We spend a lot of time with ESL, they need the help. Maybe those that don't need the help are being ignored a bit.

Sean Morris; We need to focus, see how Common Core fits with each student. Kids are sponges, they absorb.

Scott Beylik; Based on our academic benchmarks there's a disconnect. We need to make sure we make those connections.

(4) What is your vision for the district over the next four years? How will you hold yourself accountable to achieve this vision?
Tony Prado; My vision is simple, Distinguished School Status. To tell the Superintendent our goal is to move to a higher status and a competitive school.

Dave Wilde; We need to support parents and teachers. Have effective teachers.

Michael Saviors; We need pride. Common Core is going to bring us up to where everyone else is regarding technology usage. Fillmore High School is going to have wifi.

Sean Morris; We need to articulate with our superintendent, teachers and parents to develop a trust again. Close the gap between boys and girls. Be innovative. We need a cash reserve, a rainy-day fund.

Scott Beylik; We need a safe campus, which is a good learning environment. We need occupational classes for those not going to college.

Lucy Rangel; We need to provide more choice for families. I'd like to see one of our schools become a magnet school. More variety of classes with technology at the high school.

(5) Describe your view of the roles of the School Board and the Superintendent. What is the ideal relationship between these two offices?
Dave Wilde; The Board should set the goals...the Superintendent should work to achieve them. The Board has to decide if we're moving in that direction. Our roll is to address the towns concerns.

Michael Saviors; The School Board is the policy maker. I plan to better our schools with a good relationship with the Superintendent.

Sean Morris; Fight for ideas and get in alignment with decisions...our job is to make sure the Superintendent is meeting those goals.

Scott Beylik; The biggest thing is to set the vision for the Superintendent. What ever policy we decide on we must be transparent. The Board (in the past) forgot their responsibility to keep a check on the Superintendent.

Lucy Rangel; We need to be open and make the best decisions and vision for our Superintendent....it all comes with good mutual respect.

Tony Prado; The goal a Board Member is raising student achievement. You have to involve the parents...have an open dialog. The Board has to set the standards.

(6) Common Core State Standards for grades K-12 have been adopted and are being implemented within the Fillmore Unified School Distinct. What do you think your responsibility and role is as a school board member to inform parents and students of the change to these new standards and curricula? How do you plan to address the Common Core implementation if you are elected?
Michael Saviors; The Board is the governing body. We should have open communication when implementing the Common Core State Standards. As a Board we could hold community meetings for everyone to be informed on how we plan to achieve Common Core.

Sean Morris; We will work with Common Core to meet the needs of the students. I'd like to give notice to of all the changes to the community.

Scott Beylik; Common Core, we're stuck with it. We need to provide all the teachers what they will need to teach it...be it training or technology.

Lucy Rangel; We really don't have a choice in the matter. It's mandated, but they (the State or Government) aren't providing the money or resources needed to implement it. There are some good things with Common Core.

Tony Prado; Our students are going to be competitive with the world. It's a global society. Common Core provides rigor that makes a student think critically.

Dave Wilde; Our Superintendent is really concerned about parent participation. Students are required to think critical and we must provide teachers and students with the technology needed.

 
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

The October 21, 2014 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board Meeting contained a presentation on the District's Program Improvement status along with a debrief by the Superintendent on campus projects and an enrollment report.

Assistant Superintendent Martha Hernandez gave a presentation on where FUSD stands with its Program Improvement Corrective Actions. Program Improvement is what the California Department of Education designates schools or districts that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress is educating their students. Program Improvement (PI) began at FUSD with three schools: Piru Elementary, San Cayetano and Fillmore Middle School (FMS). In 2011 an Alternative Governance Board (AGB), a subcommittee of the Board, was created with the purpose of working with school sites that are in their third year of PI. AGB is one of the interventions under No Child Left Behind and is responsible for monitoring and planning of corrective actions and restructuring plans. AGB visit classrooms, review student work and teacher lesson plans, interview staff, review agendas and minutes of meetings along with other duties.

In January of this year FUSD was notified the whole District had been identified as PI. In March of this year FUSD was assigned a State Board of Education Corrective Action and told that it must continue to set aside 10% of its Title I allocation to provide professional development for teachers and administrators to strengthen academic achievement. This also includes the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). There are quite a few changes in both testing and curriculum that CCSS requires. One of those is a new assessment called Smarter Balance. Last spring semester there was pilot testing of Smarter Balance to make sure the technology used would work properly. This is the first year Smarter Balance test scores will be counted at FUSD and will give a clearer idea of where the District stands.

On October 29th all FHS sophomores and juniors will be taking the PSAT and on November 4th the CAHSEE will be given.

FUSD Superintendent Dr. Palazuelos informed the Board that he had just been informed that very day of new changes being made regarding the influence of the PSAT and its impact on college entry to the University California system. Palazuelos seemed quite pleased with this change and feels it is a good move for students.

Palazuelos updated the Board on the improvements made during October to some of FUSD's school campuses. For safety reasons dead trees were removed from both the Junior Varsity Field and Sespe Elementary along with removal of exposed fence footings at San Cayetano. Trees were removed and replaced due to their improper growth at Mountain Vista and FMS and FMS's pavement received a good pressure wash to remove the years of students’ gum along with the gym floor being in the process of resurfacing. Fillmore High School had debris and pine needles cleared that had collected on its roof. But what Palazuelos spoke of with great pride was that Sierra High School is in progress of a pilot project to install wireless internet. Sierra was chosen to be first with wifi because of its size.

Palazuelos ended his debriefing with stating, "In the future we need to develop a Facility Master Plan for the District which provides a priority list."

Gary Hobelman, Assistant Superintendent Business Services, gave a presentation on the District's enrollment and average daily attendance. The elementary schools have not had a great change in enrollment in the past four years going from 1,808 students in 2010 to 1,831 in 2014. FMS had 840 students in 2010 and now has 867 students. Fillmore High School did see a drop from 1,159 students in 2011 to 1,075 students today. The good news Hobelman reported is FUSD has a higher daily attendance rate than the State average.

Student Representative Irma Torres reported on a great deal of student activities; girls' soccer tryouts and boys' JV soccer will be held throughout the week, there's a Blood Drive next Monday, next Thursday is College and Career Day held in the gym. Also; Future Farmers of America is having a dance at the School Farm, Red Ribbon Week will be held October 27-31. FHS football team won 27-0 against Rio Hondo Prep bring the winning streak to 6-1 and the last football game of the year will be on November 7th followed by a dance. The FHS Marching Band will have their first competition this Saturday at Simi Valley High School and on November 22nd seniors will have their Annual Senior Ball.

 
09/16/14 to 09/22/14
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

09/16/14
Accident – Non injury
100 Blk. Lora Ln
A St./Ventura St.
Accident – Injury
N C St./El Paseo St.
Theft
800 Blk. Ventura St.
09/07/14
Theft
900 Blk. Meadowlark Dr.
Vandalism
300 Blk. Main St.
Search Warrant
200 Blk. Sierra Vista Ave.
Keep the Peace
100 Blk. Oakdale Ln.
Stolen Vehicle
4th St./Mountain View St.
Battery
200 Blk. Main St.
Barking Dog
300 Blk. 4th St.
09/18/14
Brandishing CONTINUED »

 
(l-r) City Council candidates Carrie Broggie, Tim Holmgren and Diane McCall
(l-r) City Council candidates Carrie Broggie, Tim Holmgren and Diane McCall
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Question #3: Fillmore and Western Railway is in danger of closure. What, if anything, should/can the City Council do to assist the Railway?

Carrie Broggie
The Fillmore and Western Railway has not only put Fillmore on the map as a family destination on weekends to select a Christmas tree, or to meet Thomas the Tank Engine in person, it has also made Fillmore the favored destination for Hollywood producers and independent film makers for scenes involving trains and railroads. This translates into revenue for the City’s General Fund. (In FY2012/13 and 2013/14, film permit revenues totaled $197,155, surpassing film revenues for the city in all previous years.)
And that figure does not factor in the amount of tax revenue dollars earned from those working on the films and commercials who visit our shops and restaurants while visiting our community.
As chair of the Film Commission, I know how vital the train is to the draw of filming and tourism to the community and the revenue that comes with that. It is absolutely an economic boost to our downtown Central merchants, and our economy in general.
Because the City is not a party to the lawsuit that threatens the closure of the Fillmore and Western Railway, the City Council must wait it out and hope for a resolution that is satisfactory to both parties, one that would still permit the train to operate, while also being financially viable to the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). Meanwhile, as we wait for the court proceedings to conclude, it is prudent for council members to research potential alternative options that could be proposed to the VCTC should the court rule that the Fillmore and Western Railway must cease operations permanently. Viable options should be prepared in advance to present to the VCTC immediately, so that no valuable time is wasted and the financial loss to Fillmore is kept to a minimum.

Tim Holmgren
The train is not just a draw for tourism and filming in Fillmore, it’s a major part of our history and heritage. The idea that we could lose the train is unthinkable. What should we do…what can we do, as a city, to keep our trains running?
The first thing to understand is that the disagreement is between the Ventura County Transportation Commission and Fillmore & Western Railway. Both sides have tried to come to an agreement but haven’t been able to come up with a deal they can agree on. There is now pending litigation, which means there is information to which we are not privy. Because we can’t know what’s happening behind closed doors, it’s important for us not to take sides until we know all of the information.
But whatever the outcome, Fillmore needs to do whatever’s necessary to keep the trains running. Our downtown merchants depend on them to stay in business. In a conversation I have had with one downtown merchant just the other day, I was told that their store would definitely go under if we lose the tourism from the trains.
We have to fight to keep the trains. But at the same time, we need to look for more ways to bring tourism to the city. We can’t be dependent on one source for our fiscal health. What events or activities can we add to what we’re already doing to bring in more tourism? We need something going on in Fillmore that will draw people to visit regularly. I’ve heard a number of ideas proposed and they’re all worth investigating. But while we consider additional sources of tourism, we must do what we can to make sure that Fillmore’s trains stay on schedule.

Diane McCall
The railway is an integral part of Fillmore’s current identity part of the fabric of our community. Myself and the current city council have been dedicated to assisting Fillmore and Western see it’s way through their current dispute with the County. At one point Fillmore brought in a consultant, at no cost to the railway, in an effort to assist in furthering the discussions between the two entities. However, the end result of those negotiations were unsuccessful. The city has also discussed taking over the Master Lease with the county and having the railway sublet in order to lift some of the burdens being placed on the operator.
At this time, Fillmore and Western has been granted a stay in their legal proceedings and will continue to operate as normal until such time a final ruling is made on their case against the County. The City will continue to patiently wait until that determination is made and continues to pledge its support in being a partner with the railway. In the event the ultimate decisions are not in favor of Fillmore and Western the city will need to take swift action in locating and securing another railway operator to assume a lease on the recreational lines and continue recreational rail service within Fillmore. As a current council member I was responsible for the drafting of a resolution from the City of Fillmore to the County requesting that regardless of the final outcome with Fillmore and Western, it is Fillmore’s ongoing desire to be allowed use of the rails for any current or future operators and retain this important tourist attraction within our community. At this time we patiently await the courts ruling and again as a council body are committed to keeping a piece of our towns identity in tact.

 
(l-r) Mike Saviers, Scott Beylik, Sean Morris, Lucy Rangel, Dave Wilde
(l-r) Mike Saviers, Scott Beylik, Sean Morris, Lucy Rangel, Dave Wilde
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Question #2: What do you perceive as the most important issues for the School Board, and the District? What policies would you work to change, add or subtract?
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

Mike Saviers
The most needed attention at this time is the implementation of "Common Core". As a District and a Board we need to be ready to assist the schools, personnel and students in whatever way we can, be it technology, curriculum development and/or any other infrastructure needed. Secondly, I feel the Board needs to seriously address the reasons that parents and children feel it necessary to leave our district for others. We need to start asking "Why" rather than just allowing it to happen and not pursuing the reasons. We as a Board and District need to address these issues immediately. I have yet to hear from parents I have spoken to that academics is the reason for leaving.
I would like to see a more structured evaluation policy for all personnel within our District. Every year ALL staff working for this District need to be evaluated on their performance. Those excelling need to be recognized and those needing improvement need to be assisted in developing their skills. If they are never told their performance is substandard then how can they be monitored, performance improved and held accountable.

Scott Beylik
First and foremost, the safety and security of our students and faculty on all FUSD campuses needs to be reviewed now and on an ongoing basis to ensure a happy learning environment exists for our kids. In addition to safety and security, a critical review of faculty training and teaching methodology needs to be performed in an effort to boost academic performance and accountability. Fillmore Unified School District has been identified as a district needing improvement by the California Department of Education therefore it is clear that enhancements to our existing process are needed. Lastly, the district’s budget needs to be closely evaluated and adjusted to accommodate the much needed repairs of blighted school facilities, the funding of vital school positions & the creation of a reserve fund capable of filling the void during a deficit.
The process required to accomplish all of the above mentioned goals will not move forward without the regular input & solutions offered up by parents and faculty. Transparency and accessibility will be key factors included in my community-based approach to problem solving. I am confident in the teaching talent our district possesses and I am convinced we will collectively find solutions to our problems.

Sean Morris
The most important issue currently is raising our scores, in particularly the English Learner and Socio Economic. The District Schools are in Program Improvement. If we remain there, there is a chance we will have the state come and dictate to the board. Further our children deserve better than being in a program that is not performing to standards.
As a board we can help perpetuate an environment that allows the professionals do their job, create model programs and reward teachers who go beyond just the job description. We all need to go beyond the job description, to give that extra effort to pursue excellent and push scores way beyond the state standards.
Communication with community, staff, teachers and administration is a very high priority. I will ask questions during meetings so people are able to see my reasoning for an action we may take. I want to start a report card to the community so we are accountable for our plans and actions.
I would also like to determine how, through budget means and the community, to come up with more class offerings in the vocational services for high school students.
Finally, we need to look at our budget and understand where we can offer more classes through state means, where and how we can start capital improvements (fund) and avoid further barrowing money when the State does not issue monies to the district timely.

Lucy Rangel
Like many school districts throughout the county and state, Fillmore Unified is facing its share of challenges. Presently, the implementation of Common Core and providing staff development and training for our teachers have been some of our current issues. Reducing class size in grades K-3 is also an important issue we need to address. While our students need to be college and career ready, we need to provide more electives for our students. We need to advance our technology instruction, replace the music classes that had been eliminated, provide vocational courses and provide an intervention program for our struggling students at our high school.
Maintaining our facilities is also a crucial issue we need to plan for. Finally, we have neglected one of the most important components a school district needs to be successful – parent involvement. Especially in Title I schools, where we have a high percentage of low socio-economic families, we need a parent outreach program. We must include our parents and work collaboratively for the success of our students.
Although we review policies throughout the year, we need to update them so they are aligned to the new LCAP and LCFF along with the implementation of the CCSS. For example, the superintendent must insure that each school site submits a SPSA (Single Plan for Student Achievement). These will reflect the changes in state testing and must reflect the goals of the districts LCAP. If we focus on the SPSA for each site, it determines the schools priority for targeting funds to raise student achievement for ALL students.

Dave Wilde
Before I discuss some issues addressing the education of our children there are two other important items that need to be dealt with right away, and in fact are. The first is the repair of the relationship between the city and the school district. In a small community such as Fillmore it is extremely important. The correct growth of the district and community depend on it. The second issue is transparency and accessibility, both of which our new superintendent is already working on. Our community deserves to feel confident that they are completely aware about what is the vision and direction of the district. They need to feel they have a voice.
In terms of education there are many things I am concerned about. Under the direction of Martha Hernandez, our new assistant superintendent of curriculum, one is already being addressed. That is the instruction of our ESL students. As we speak teachers are being prepared to satisfy the new guidelines and assessment programs handed down by the state. We need to do what ever possible to prepare our limited English speaking students to deal with the language barriers they face in the classroom. The high school is currently operating without a teacher, and data driven RTI and collaboration program. The minute any student begins to struggle in the classroom their problem needs to be identified and solved. It could take a day, week, or month. Each student has individual learning needs and it is our responsibility to recognize and correct them.
Common core is another major concern. However Adrian Palosuelos and Martha Hernandez are doing a great job of assisting our teachers to deal with the new instructional and assessments requirements. I am confident our teachers and staff will effectively deal with common core.

 
A Proclamation was presented by Mayor Manuel Minjares at Council for the effort of the Soroptomists Club recognition of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Receiving the Proclamation was (l-r) Patti Walker, Betty Carpenter, Kathy Krushell, and President Jane David.
A Proclamation was presented by Mayor Manuel Minjares at Council for the effort of the Soroptomists Club recognition of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Receiving the Proclamation was (l-r) Patti Walker, Betty Carpenter, Kathy Krushell, and President Jane David.
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City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

The October 14, 2014 Fillmore City Council meeting began with a Proclamation for the effort of the Soroptomists Club recognition of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Receiving the Proclamation was President Jane David, Kathy Krushell, Betty Carpenter and Patti Walker.

Fire Chief Rigo Landeros announced The 10th Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service being held Saturday, November 15, 2014, 10:00 a.m.. The Fallen Firefighters of Ventura County Memorial is located at the Ventura County Government Center. Landeros will be the keynote speaker. The service will include the reading of the fallen, the traditional bell ceremony, the flag ceremony, bagpipes and other musical tributes.

There were three agenda items; the Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP), the Heritage Valley Transit service provider and a City Communication Plan.

The newly comprised Fillmore Development Council (FDC) is drafting an Economic Development Strategic Plan to move the city forward in the short and long term. Members of the FDC come from a diverse group consisting of both service and business; Mayor Manuel Minjares, Council Member Rick Neal, District Director Ernie Villegas, Chris Balden-Balden Town Center, President Southern California Association of Governments and Ventura Council Member Carl Morehouse, William Morris Chevrolet Bill Morris, Fillmore School District Superintendent Dr. Adrian Palazuelos, Fillmore City Manager David Rowlands, Fillmore Planning Director Kevin McSweeney, and Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros.

The FDC presented a draft of the plan proposal to the Council. The goal of the plan is to support a fiscally healthy city with major objectives and proposed implementation actions.

The plan's major objectives are improving the City's retail base, attracting green/clean technology industry firms, agriculture, filming, healthcare and highlighting the benefits of businesses and firms relocating to Fillmore. Also included is a budget goal of having a 40% reserve against General Fund expenditures along with supporting small business expansion, a business friendly environment and a predictable permitting process. Regarding land use, while considering the social and fiscal impacts on the City the plan calls for business and commercial areas that complement residential and public use. Having a truck stop on the west end of Highway 126 and C St. is being considered.

Rowlands informed the Council there are two companies in discussions of a tax sharing agreement in moving to Fillmore.

Council Members Rick Neal and Diane McCall liked what the plan called "incubator businesses", where small startup businesses in town are given guidelines on how to grow and what resources are available.

Council Member Steve Conaway responded, "This is a large scope of work, it's ambitious and exactly what we want. I'm fully supportive of this plan. This is great stuff. I think it's possible. It could be done...it's do-able."
Mayor Pro Tem Douglas Tucker stated, "This is an outstanding plan" and remarked he liked the idea of looking at other cities and possibilities of partnering together.

Mayor Minjares ended the discussion stating, "There's a lot in this"....and stated he does not see everything going in that direction (considering the large scope of work), but agreed it is a great plan.

The second agenda item addresses the breakdown of communication between the City's elected officials, which includes the Fillmore Unified School District Board Members, and the residents of Fillmore. A City Communication Plan is being drafted and worked on; but before the plan was discussed City Manager Rowlands wanted to disclose that he wants specific wording in the plan that communication will also be in Spanish.

The plan will address the concerns of residents and enable them to become part of the City's decision making process along with improve communication to and from businesses and organizations. The plan addresses four avenues used to increase the communication of Fillmore residents with the City. The four avenues are: Communication, audiences, goals and external communication tools. Two-way communication is first on the plan; it ensures information is shared throughout the community, reinforces and reflects the goals of the City with complete, accurate and timely information.

The audience is the citizens of Fillmore with a goal of strengthening the relationship between the City government and its 15,000 residents. The audience also includes City employees and the media.

The goal is to enhance and improve community and media relations and increase awareness, interest and participation of the citizens of Fillmore in government goals and activities. This will break down the feelings of 'us vs. them" with a goal of building pride in the City and relationships between elected officials, City employees and the residents of Fillmore.

The external communication tools, both existing and potential, will be updating the Fillmore web page, providing live broadcasts of City meetings on Fillmore's Public Access Channel, brochures to explain such things as the permit process, opening a business, conservation or other topics beneficial to the public. Also included is designing a social media page for Fillmore on such sites as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc.

Neal commented that not everyone has cable and thus does not get Channel 10 programming of City Council Meetings.

Conaway responded to the plan stating, "One of the largest responsibilities we have as a Council is outreach and communication. It's difficult to get people engaged....anything we can do to get our message out....Most of us are on satellite, not cable."

McCall added, "We need to reach out to the Spanish community." To which Minjares stated, "Fillmore is 58% Spanish speaking and 77% identify as Hispanic according to the last census. I know there are costs associated with getting the information out in both English and Spanish."

The third agenda item is one very important to many Fillmore residents; transportation. On October 1, 2014 the Heritage Valley Policy Advisory Committee (HVPAC) consisting of Representative Kathy Long, Mayor Minjares, Santa Paula Councilman Ralph Fernandez and the Ventura County Transit Authority (VCTC) asked both Fillmore Area Transit Company (FATCO) and MV Transportation to submit their best and final offer to run the transportation in town. At a meeting was held on October 3rd VCTC voted 9-6 to contract with MV Transportation to be the Heritage Valley Transit service provider. There were many local residents who wanted FATCO to retain the service, but VCTC made the final decision. MV Transportation, which is based in Santa Paula, is expected to start service the first of next year.

Minjares informed everyone that an agreement was reached on a three-way split with Santa Paula, Fillmore and Ventura regarding the tax revenue from the sale of gas to run the buses. Also, FATCO employees who are willing move over to the new provider will be hired on the condition they pass the position requirements, such as the driving test.

Rowlands informed the Council of the City's communications with the businesses in town regarding abandoned shopping carts. A company retrieves the carts daily for Dollar Tree, Rite Aid, Super A and Vons. La Plaza and Goodwill do not contract with the cart retrieval service. There are three ways for residents to report the location of abandoned carts; Website reporting at www.cartretrieval.net, toll-free phone line 800-252-4613 and an iPhone and iPad app that residents can download (CartSnap) from the iTunes store. Rowlands ended with "This is a start."