Letters to the Editor
July 9th, 2009

To the Editor:
From the last election to last week Martin Farrell, in his Realities column, using over 300 column inches, or by my estimation, about two-and-a-half full newspaper pages, has attacked, with the exception of Steve Conaway, all of the council members, Bill Bartels and a few private citizens with slanderous and grossly fallacious claims. When confronted with the truth he deflects. Unbelievably, last week he wouldn’t apologize for besmirching Bartels’ reputation because of some fiction he created about my comments regarding Conaway’s trip to D.C. Okay, let’s go over that trip again.
But first, Martin criticized council member Washburn for insisting that a new project go out to bid instead of just giving AECOM (formally Boyle Engineering [Glen Hille]) another no-bid contract as Bert Rapp recommended; they’ve gotten 37 no-bid addendums (around $6.5 million worth) not including those not related to the sewer project (maybe $3.5 million). Glen Hille, of AECOM, made his 45 minute pitch to get the contract without having to bid it and Conaway argued for that. Now, back to Conaway’s D.C. trip:
Please recall from the trip emails released by the city:
- From American Water to Glen Hille: “happy new year partner. Just checking in to see if we know whether the Mayor or Vice Mayor will be representing the city?”
- From Glen Hille to Tom Ristau: “Have we received confirmation from Steve?”
- From Bert Rapp to Steve Conaway: “Steve, Are you able to go to Washington D.C. on January 25th to make a presentation on our DBO for the Water Recycling Plant? All expenses are paid by the conference.”
- From the City to the U.S. Mayors Conference: “Mr. Anderson, I have attached receipt reimbursements for Mayor Steve Conaway with American Water…”
- From American Water to Steve Conaway: “…you fly roundtrip between Burbank and National Airport (which is located only 15 minutes from our hotel).”
Although all very legal, the relationship between American Water, Glen Hille, Bert Rapp and Steve Conaway and new member, Martin Farrell looks and sounds a lot like the ‘good ol’ boys club’. Does anyone really believe that Conaway can be objective when it comes to deciding whether Glen Hille’s AECOM gets a no bid contract or if it’s opened up to competitive bids possibly saving us money?
It’s the people’s money Martin, thank God we have council members like Gayle Washburn, Jamey Brooks and Mayor Patti Walker who understand their responsibilities to the people. Trust me, they won’t be taking any trips paid for by companies dealing with the City of Fillmore; Steve Conaway still can’t say the same.
Bob Stroh

To the Editor:
I used to enjoy reading the editorial section until Martin Farrell embarked on some kind of campaign to personally discredit certain members of the City Council. Week after week, his poison pen has continuously dishonored these city officials. Comments have been unprofessional and down right shameful for a person who represents a community newspaper.
Our civil liberties and free speech allow us to express varying points of view regarding actions, decisions and policies made by our City Council. But, to openly disrespect and ruthlessly attack the characters of those who serve our community is unconscionable. Mr. Farrell, if you believe you’re capable of demonstrating a higher level of competency than our current Council members, you certainly have the option to run for a seat in the next election. In the meantime—GIVE IT A REST!
Sandy Pella

To the Editor:
Dear Fillmore Gazette:
I am a paid subscriber to the Fillmore Gazette, even though I could read the paper on line for free, because I feel we need to support our local paper financially. I do not live within the City limits, therefore I have not voted for or against any of the elected officials and have no axe to grind in city politics. BUT… what happens in Fillmore affects us all.
The last few months after reading the letters to the editor and the editorial columns between Martin Farrell, Bob Stroh, and others, I have been left with a slightly sick feeling. Are you all going to constantly dwell in the past? Rehash old issues? What good does that do? There are so many positive aspects to our Fillmore community that could be featured in the space you are taking up with your attacks on each other. Why not spend the time and energy expended attacking each other and rehashing past events that cannot be changed, in coming up with positive solutions to the problems currently being faced. My grandmother always said a house divided cannot stand; is this what we want for our community.
I also watched a video tape of the June 23rd City Council meeting and that was a real eye opener. Why not leave your personalities at the door and take up your responsibilities as council members to do your best for the City of Fillmore.
Thank you,
Donna McKinzie Voelker

To the Editor:
The editor of this paper has for 10 months now, engaged in a malicious negative campaign with ill intent against me, other council members, citizens and city staff members.
I feel sad for the community that this divisive individual chooses to hurt others.
Many of you have called and contacted me in dismay and shock. The love and support I receive from friends and supporters sustains me and I thank you deeply.
I guarantee that Mr. Farrell cannot point to any written or spoken word where I have abused or threatened any staff member. There are many other statements made that are outright lies.
I will never disrespect anyone for disagreeing with me. But I have no respect for libelous, slanderous liars.
The comments coming from Farrell's editorials are shocking, hateful and disruptive to the community. I am always open to ideas and criticism if there's a way to improve my efforts, but that is not what we are getting from Mr. Farrell. What a sad commentary for our City. This is not what our city is about and with a lot of hard work and forgiveness we can always work together if some would only try.
Mr. Farrell’s lies and malicious, divisive and hateful words need to stop. I am expecting an apology and a retraction. And in the future, any comments about me need to be based on facts -not gossip or lies.
Gayle Washburn