Letters to the Editor
February 12th, 2009

To the Editor:
Re: Roy Payne letter.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Payne chose not to renegotiate his contract. My comments have been severely mischaracterized by Payne and the Gazette (where’s the editorial board?).
The 7 tasks outlined in the contract addendum have been completed. It is not necessary at this point to provide the $2,000 per month retainer – which partially comes out of the sewer fund and water fund – plus a free cell phone, computer workstation and office. The Business Park needed to be added to the contract and the other items removed. This is not a personal issue, it is a business decision.
I appreciate the past work that Mr. Payne has done. I love the City Hall building. The “last, best small town in Southern California” was a great slogan. And I thought that Vision 2020’s “slow, controlled growth” was a reason to be in Fillmore. I believe Mr. Payne was responsible for these items.
With that said however, I disagree with other decisions. While I have disagreed with Mr. Payne and others about some issues, I have not been disrespectful or abusive. Disagreements are normal but an inappropriate and unprofessional response from Mr. Payne and the Gazette are uncalled for.
By the way, if you Google “intellectual pygmy”, you get hits on George Bush, Al Gore, David Horowitz, John Roberts and Sarah Palin, all of whom are probably smarter than you and me.
Gayle Washburn

To the Editor:
On February 3, 2009 Mr. Roy Payne resigned as a Special Projects Manger to the City of Fillmore. He was working on the Business Park and to continue the effort to lower sewer rates. Mr. Payne states his reason is the attack on his personal integrity from the newly elected Council members. This is a tragedy for Fillmore because we are losing one of the most capable persons of the highest integrity who has a passionate love for Fillmore. I am writing this letter because we all need to remember the good things Roy brought to Fillmore and the wonderful person that he is.
Mr. Payne served as City Manager for 17 years under 8 different City Councils. Working with those City Councils he brought about significant positive change for Fillmore. One of his first actions was to attack weed infested City properties and have them landscaped and maintained. This effort was encouraged by Roy’s wife Donna who has an eye for beauty. Roy believed that if the City would take pride in its properties more residents would also begin to take pride in their properties.
Roy led the effort to rejuvenate Down Town with the store front rehab program and installation of decorative sidewalks, landscaping and crosswalks. He also spearheaded the Down Town Specific Plan that would enhance and preserve the historic nature of Down Town and enable businesses to add residential above the businesses. This adds economic strength to Down Town businesses and brings life and customers to Down Town.
When Southern Pacific Railroad was going bankrupt and selling land, Mr. Payne took advantage of the opportunity and Fillmore purchased the Station parcel from Central to east of Mountain View. On this parcel now sits the Fillmore Historical Society, Railroad turn table and their future museum, Gissinger Winery, City Hall and the Fillmore and Western Railroad. Some day there will be a two story railroad station hotel on the vacant lot north of City Hall. These amenities will enrich lives in Fillmore for many generations.
Fillmore’s beautiful landmark City Hall building and Central Park are to a large part the result of Donna and Roy Payne’s vision of a beautiful historic Fillmore. If it wasn’t for Roy’s vision and effort we wouldn’t have received the $1.3 Million dollar grant to build City Hall and it might have been a plain modern style building.
Roy Payne was instrumental in bringing the Fillmore and Western Railroad to town along with the Film Industry. These industries add another boost to the local economy to help make all businesses stronger.
You can see the impact of Mr. Payne’s leadership in the U.S. Census Bureau median household income data. Fillmore’s median income rose significantly from 1990 to 2007 while in Santa Paula and Port Hueneme they stayed fairly even with inflation. Fillmore is commonly compared to these two similar sized, lower income communities.
Thanks to Mr. Payne’s efforts the City has had a balanced budget and growing reserves for 20 years. The old Girls gym was renovated for the Boys and Girls club, the new municipal pool will be open this month and the 22 acre River Park is under construction with a skate board park, soccer and football fields and tennis and basket ball courts.
Working with former School Superintendent Mario Contini, Roy Payne helped to create a cooperative working relationship between the City Council and School Board which continues today. They also worked together to help the community to prepare the Vision 2020 plan.
On the residential side Mr. Payne recognized that Fillmore needed improved economic diversity and helped bring in new quality housing like Hometown, Riverwalk, Heritage Valley Parks, etc. When Fillmore would try to attract new businesses or restaurants they would always say we didn’t have the quality of housing or schools their employees want nor would we have higher income residents that could support their businesses. Once the economy improves the Heritage project will be occupied helping provide much needed upscale housing to help solve this problem.
We now have some new high quality restaurants like El Pescador and Central Station where you often have to wait in line to get seated. These restaurants and others need the Business Park to go forward to bring in more of the lunch crowd to help them prosper.
The last piece of Roy Payne’s vision for an economically strong Fillmore with a good housing/jobs balance is the Business Park. Since his retirement Mr. Payne has continued to work with the City to bring these 1,500 to 3,000 jobs to reality. As a Special Project’s Manager his hourly rate is $125 per hour which seems high until you consider that other professionals of the same caliber charge $160 to $200 per hour and Mr. Payne works significantly more hours than he charges the City. Also the City collects at least 40% of Mr. Payne’s cost from the builders of the Business Park.
Part of the controversy over Mr. Payne was in regard to the 700 housing units in north Fillmore Specific Plan verses 350 units approved by the voters in Measures H and I. If Mr. Payne were still City Manager he would be working to help the newly elected City Council adjust to the new 350 number. Mr. Payne is the kind of person who doesn’t hold grudges, respects the decisions of the voters and would fully implement the decisions of the City Council even if they don’t heed his professional advice.
The new sewer plant and resulting sewer bills have been a difficult burden for everyone. As City Manager Mr. Payne worked to keep the cost as low as possible and as Special Projects Manager continued to work to lower sewer rates. Last year he put in an extraordinary effort along with Dave Burkart and Barbara Smith to lower sewer rates from the projected rate of $85 per month to $72 per month saving the rate payers $814,000 in only one year.
Mr. Payne also led the City in using the Design Build Operate process to build the new Water Recycling Plant and saved the rate payers 15% or about $5,000,000. Mr. Payne took a lot of heat at the time from those opposed to the new plant until the City of Santa Paula threw away about $3,000,000 worth of plans and copied the Fillmore process and then the County of Ventura threw away about $1,000,000 worth of plans for the Piru plant and copied Fillmore.
Time and time again Mr. Payne has been proven to be a man of great integrity, clear vision and a great leader for Fillmore. It is a tragedy that he has to resign. The Business Park will surely be slowed down and hopefully not stopped because of it.
This short letter overlooks many other great accomplishments by Mr. Payne on behalf of Fillmore. He should be applauded and honored for all he has done and will be greatly missed.
I am proud to say I served on the Fillmore City Council during most of Roy’s service to our city.
Very truly yours,
Roger Campbell
Retired Councilmember and Mayor
City of Fillmore