Tom Ristau
Tom Ristau

In a brief telephone interview with City Manager Tom Ristau, who has recently resigned to take a position with the City of San Fernando, he had these thoughts to relate. Mr. Ristau has been employed by the City of Fillmore for about 19 years, nearly 5 of those years as City Manager. He took over from his mentor, former City Manager Roy Payne. Ristau looks back with considerable satisfaction for his part in the completion of our new, long awaited, state-of-the-art swimming pool-tennis complex. He was responsible for organizing all planning and for overall supervision of the project. Perhaps his greatest achievement is to be seen in successfully maintaining a 40 percent reserve in the city’s general fund. The fund is expected to exceed a 40 percent surplus this year, an
enviable achievement in such difficult times, when other cities are running deficits. One reason motivating his resignation was a substantial disagreement with new positions taken by the newly elected council. Upon leaving, Tom wishes “...the best of luck to the city and its employees. I have enjoyed my tenure with the City of Fillmore
and the years I have served as its manager.”

Tom's Resignation Letter:

March 3,2009
TO:City Council
I hereby submit my resignation for the position of City Manager for the City of Fillmore. I respectfully request that the City Council waive the three (3) month notice period required under section 11 of the City Manager Employment Agreement entered into August 18,2005. CONTINUED »


Press the play button below for a Fillmore political cartoon...
Spooky Hall Episode #2

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting the school budget was discussed. The meeting was standing room only with teachers and Fillmore citizens.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting the school budget was discussed. The meeting was standing room only with teachers and Fillmore citizens.
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Retirement Incentives Saved Some Jobs

At the March 3, 2009 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting, the Board extensively discussed the budget. The Board heard a budget update, approved layoffs, and cited the budget while considering Raiders Youth Football's request to use alternative payment for use of the high school stadium. The Board also heard a report on the Gifted Program.

Assistant Superintendent Evalene Townend reported on school districts' budget-cutting trends across the county. Districts are laying off employees in all categories: administrative, certificated, and classified. According to Townend, an estimated 400 to 500 Ventura County teachers will lose their jobs. Nine districts will be increasing class size. Many districts are reducing the number of work days, not filling administrative vacancies, offering retirement incentives, postponing facilities maintenance, and concerned about meeting transportation costs.

Superintendent Jeff Sweeney said that FUSD's budget had already been reduced by $1.2 million last year, so further reductions are difficult to accommodate. Sweeney noted, "It is going to hurt one way or another." Board members expressed sorrow over cutting essentials.

Sweeney explained that the budget process involves district staff researching and recommending cuts, which must be considered and voted on by the school board. According to law, certificated employees who will be laid off must be notified by March 15th. CONTINUED »


Gregorio Aguilar
Gregorio Aguilar

Gregorio Aguilar, 19 of Fillmore, was arrested on February 27 on suspicion of killing a Ventura Circle K clerk in the commission of an apparent botched robbery on December 26, 2008. He is being held at Ventura County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

A 17-year old male was also detained in the case after authorities served a search warrant at his home in the 300 block of Rhodes Court, Fillmore. The juvenile was questioned and released pending further investigation.
The store clerk, Sean Odle, 30, was shot in the chest with a rifle about 4:25 a.m. He was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died.

A store surveillance camera shows two hooded individuals in the store, with one crouching by the front door while the other one approaches Odle with a rifle. Odle is seen holding a cordless phone, possibly calling 911, according to investigators. After the shooting, both suspects are seen running out of the store. Nothing was taken.

In 2008, Aguilar pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of second-degree residential burglary. This year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor petty theft with a prior conviction. He served a 30-day jail sentence in both cases. CONTINUED »


Anthony Robledo
Anthony Robledo

On March 1, 2009, at approximately, 9:20 p.m. Officer from the Santa Paula Police Department responded to the 700 block of West Main Street to of a report of a gun shot victim. Upon arrival officers found Jesus Ramos, 25 years old from Santa Paula, suffering from a gun shot wound. Ramos was transported to VCMC where he remains in critical condition.

During the investigation witnesses who were at the scene identified Anthony Robledo, 24 years old from Piru, as the suspect. Robledo who was still at the scene was arrested without incident and charged with attempt homicide.
The investigation is continuing at this time. Anyone with any information is asked to call Sergeant Cordero or Detective Clark at the Santa Paula Police Department at (805) 525-4474.


Shown is an example of a small skate park design. No actual design concept has been made available.
Shown is an example of a small skate park design. No actual design concept has been made available.
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The sleepy little town of Piru may get a piece of the federal pie for a skateboard park if the Ventura County Board of Supervisors votes to appropriate part of available Community Development Block Grants totaling $1.9 million their way. Federal anti-poverty funds, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are aimed at aiding poor communities and residents.

Over $1 million of the monies is tagged towards affordable housing programs, including a farmworker complex in Piru.

The second largest allocation of $200,000 would go to build the skate park in Piru. Total cost of the park is estimated at $450,000, with a collaboration of federal and local funding, and private fundraising.

The county controls the distribution of HUD funds for unincorporated areas, like Piru, and for the cities of Fillmore, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Port Hueneme, and Ojai.

A complete list of recommended HUD grants can be accessed at


Abner Puebla

Abner Puebla named 2008 Firefighter of the Year. The Fillmore Firefighters and Fire Department have selected
Abner Puebla as our representative for Firefighter of the Year. Abner was born in Santa Paula Hospital on December 2, 1980, but is a local boy, raised in Fillmore. Abner attended school in Fillmore and graduated from
Fillmore High School in 1999.

Abner joined the department in 2001 and began taking fire technology classes. Eventually with the help of the Fillmore Fire Department, Abner was accepted to attend the Oxnard College Fire Academy. He graduated from the Fire Academy in 2001 and began to adapt the role of a Firefighter.

Abner said, “I have been with Fillmore fire for eight years, and going for more.” He has been employed at St.
John’s Regional Medical Center for six years as a clinical technician in the gastrointestinal department.

“I have my parents, my brother, and the hand of God that have given me the strength and support in everything I do; and thank them for all the blood, sweat, and tears that they have shed so that I can become a better person.”

Abner Puebla is one of Fillmore Fire’s senior firefighters. His hard work, dedication and commitment to training our new firefighters is what sets him apart in this year’s selection.

Information courtesy Bill Herrera, Fire Chief

Jillian Wilber

In Jillian Wilber you have a responsible, conscientious, diligent, hardworking and an extremely bright young lady with a great sense of humor as well. Jill has been a leader throughout her school years, as well as being very active in the community of Fillmore. She has taken Honors and A.P. classes in high school and still managed to maintain a high G. P. A. and is on her way to college after graduation. Jill will be a welcome asset to any organization or institution she is a part of.

Deputy Beau Rodriquez

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Fillmore Police Department in conjunction with the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce Deputy Beau Rodriquez as the 2008 Fillmore Officer of the Year.
Beau is a Fillmore native-son raised within a few blocks of the Fillmore Police Station. He is the son of Daniel and Wendy Rodriquez also of Fillmore.
Deputy Rodriquez is a ten-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department and has served in the City of Fillmore for the last two years.
Beau has been consistently recognized by the community as a caring, professional officer who immerses himself into keeping their neighborhoods safe. He has been recognized by his supervisors and his peers for his “genuine desire, enthusiasm, and natural instinct for police work.”
Please join the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce and our community in recognizing all of our City’s Police and Fire safety personnel for their extraordinary efforts. The Chamber is hosting a celebration on March 6, 2009, at the Fillmore Memorial Building. The doors will open at 6 PM for a social hour and followed by dinner at 7 PM. Tickets are available at the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce, 557 Ventura St. Fillmore, or at the door of the event. For additional details please call the Chamber at 524-0351.

Judy Dressler

Judy Dressler was selected as 2008 Citizen of the Year for her volunteerism, and numerous activities for the City of Fillmore. She was one of the founding member of Civic Committee, served as Chair for six years after serving as secretary for many years. Her many accomplishments include Art Walk event, Yard of the Month Committee, Business of the Month campaign, wildflowers seeding campaign, downtown building sign program Vision 2020 street fairs she is currently involved in planning a return of the Fillmore Flower Show in the spring of 2009. She was a dedicated member of Soroptimist International for many years. She always has a positive and cheerful attitude that is contagious to others.