Letters to the Editor
March 12th, 2009

To the Editor:
It's very difficult for me to sit by and not comment on what's going on in the City of Fillmore even though it has been many years since I lived there. I have religiously kept track of what is going on there since my move in 1973. Many of the relationships I formed there during the 25 years of my residence continue even today. I have observed the many changes that have occurred in the population and to the physical demographics of the City, some for the good and others not so good. I have watched as the City has grown, sometimes struggling to find its way, solving the many problems brought about by mother nature, new State and Federal mandates and outside pressures. Most of the time the "powers that be" have faced these problems head on and have been able to find solutions that were supported by the majority of the people.
It was my good fortune to have been elected to the City Council twice. I served from 1962 to 1970, went though a recall election in 1967 or 1968, the council prevailed, and lost my bid for a third term to a magnificent lady who became an outstanding council lady and Mayor, Delores Day.
When I was elected it was the first time the "good old boys" network had been broken since the City's incorporation in 1918. I was an outsider with no axe to grind. My intention was to learn from the experienced members of the council, gain some respect from them and over time get a historical perspective and with some luck move the City in a more progressive direction. Many of my constituents felt the City was in a rut and needed a shove to be out of it. In order to accomplish this I knew I had to do my homework.
From my experience I had learned there is a fine, gray line between being a policy maker and an administrator, I was a public school administrator in Santa Paula at the time. I set as one of my goals to find that line and to do my best not to cross it. The City council is a policy making body not an administrative organization.
At any rate my goal was to sit back and learn as much as I could from the likes of men like Dewey Thompson, Frank Munoz, Ray Lindenfeld, Bob Linville, Leon Harthorn and Fred Bryce, all of whom were good teachers and men who had the best interest of the city at heart. I was in good company and I knew it.
As time went on we became a team, not there weren't debates, some public, but we bent over backward not to air our dirty laundry in public, without violating the Brown Act.
My reason for reciting all the above is to say to the two new council persons, "I think you have gotten off on the wrong foot." The resignations of three of your administrators is proof of that. You both came aboard with axes to grind and without knowledge of what might be different from the one sided information you brought with you and weren't, or don't seem to have been satisfied to really sit back and learn what was really going on before letting the axes fall.
Now why put in my two cents worth when I am sitting in the Mountains of North Carolina rather than where I lived on Central Avenue? It is mainly because it pains me so to see and read about the divisiveness in the town that I care enough about to still, after all these years, call Home. Please put your axes away and help bring back the harmony to our beautiful City.
Bill Shaffer
Former City Councilmember

To the Editor:
I would like to again thank the Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful evening at the Awards Ceremony and dinner. I felt very special after all the accolades that were bestowed on me - as I'm sure all the recipients of the other awards did also. Chuy Ortiz did a delicious dinner - as always - all in all a night to remember. Thank you to everyone that helped to make it so special.
Judy Dressler

To the Editor:
It is with sadness for our city that I inform you that City Manager Tom Ristau submitted a Letter of Resignation this morning to the council. If you are unaware this is the third long standing employee to exit City Hall in three weeks. Roy Payne, retired CM and Special Project Manager, resigned. He served Fillmore for over 23 years. Next was Steve McClary who was outstanding and highly professional in fulfilling his duties left after 12 years with Fillmore. Now Tom Ristau resigns after working for the city and serving the City Council with approximately 17 years experience. That, my friends, is a lot of institutional knowledge to leave the building. I fear more highly qualified employees will not be far behind.
One only has to look as far as the last election and the campaign promises and statements made which point to the individuals and their associates which might be the cause of the turmoil. Walker ran for election in 2004 and lost. Walker and Washburn ran in 2006 and Walker was elected to office. Washburn lost that election attempt. Washburn then ran with Brooks in 2008. We all saw their names on the same signage, so don't tell me they didn't run together. Walker submitted a letter to the paper clearly stating she fully supports Washburn and Brooks. Two meetings ago Council Member Brooks asked Mayor Walker, "You want me to change my vote?" Without going into detail he changed it.
This, on top of the news of Mr. Roegner's filing of notice to circulate a petition for referendum purposes to enact Rent Control at El Dorado. Evidently Mr. Roegner's writing has improved greatly as his efforts are much more formal than past writings he has emailed to me. Anyone want to guess where he's seeking legal help?
Soon the council will address the costs of following the will of the people regarding Measures H & I. After all, that is what the voters wanted. Will these same voters support the city spending literally over $250,000 dollars to comply with the short sighted measures, which I opposed on a number of grounds? Once the city completes a new Specific Plan, EIR and CEQA, General Plan and Housing Element, will the current council members even approve any development in the area? One new council member went so far as to say "We (speaking on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Fillmore) don't want anything to change in North Fillmore". Pretty telling statement. That person was elected to office and at his first meeting sought a performance review of the City Manager. I'm not sure what basis or experience he was going to draw from to perform that review, but that doesn't matter evidently, not at least to him. Sadly the other newly elected councilmember supported his motion as did our new Mayor. I almost forgot to mention that Washburn and Walker were drafters of botched efforts to limit development in North Fillmore. Do you think a property owner in North Fillmore has any chance with these three individuals?
It's my belief that citizens need to know what is happening in our town.
Steve Conaway,

To the Editor:
I guess if I need dissension at City Hall, I can Google Washburn. If I'm looking for divisiveness, I can Google Washburn. If I need lengthy City Council meetings, I can Google Washburn. If I'm looking for any kind of trouble at City Hall (like someone else to fire), I can Google Washburn (maybe Brooks and Walker too).
On the other hand, If I want cooperativeness, a sense of fair play, a straight shooter, a serious minded Councilperson and of course, someone who is doing their best to "get-a-long" and make good things happen for all the voters in Fillmore, than I won't "GOOGLE WASHBURN" (nor Brooks or Walker either for that matter). She (and they) are the epitome of the phrase, "be careful what you wish (in this case, vote) for".
Oh, by the way, who's next to leave City Hall? Pretty soon those 3 will have the City in real turmoil and adrift on the shining sea! Yep, "voters" always get what they vote for. UGH!
Charles Richardson

To the Editor:
The content of this editorial could have been entitled ‘Self Indulgence, A Path to Tyranny’. In the event that many of the readers missed Paul Harvey’s program, “The Rest of the Story “ broadcast on the Seventh of July 2008, he included a prayer for our Nation by Billy Graham that received an immediate and overwhelmingly positive response. The content of that prayer I believe to be an appropriate way to introduce the subject of this commentary. For your benefit, please do not assume that because I mention Billy Graham and prayer that this is a religious article. Those readers who may not believe in God and would give up your seat for this ride, hang in there. I will only take his opportunity to remind you that even the devil believes in God, and trembles.
Mr. Graham, even in his late years, has a way of cutting to the chase and addressing clearly and concisely the root of the problem facing our country. He petitions God’s forgiveness for America as a Nation, for reversing our values, for calling evil good, for exploiting the poor and calling it a lottery, for rewarding laziness and calling it welfare. He asks God’s forgiveness for our nation allowing the killing of our unborn and calling it choice. He asks forgiveness for our neglecting our children’s discipline and calling it building self esteem, for our coveting our neighbor’s possessions, and calling it ambition, for polluting our airways with pornography and profanity, calling it self-expression. He also ask God to forgive us for having forsaken the time honored values of our forefathers, and calling it enlightenment, and ignoring the abuse of power in our Government , calling it politics. Although each and every one of the issues above could be written about at length, it is the last two which I choose to elaborate on.
The desire for immediate self gratification, brings lawlessness.
We as a nation, are going to extraordinary lengths to hide our immorality from our collective conscience. For the purpose of this article, it is of little consequence whether you believe in the God Mr. Graham addresses or in GOD’s ability to offer forgiveness. We (the people) have forsaken the time tested values of our forefathers. If we combined the issues Mr. Graham has addressed in his prayer, including I might add, our reluctance to speak the truth calling it instead political correctness, it is evident that it is generally the attitude of most of the people that needs adjusting. Our very freedom is threatened by each person who allows his or her values to be distorted by their need to put themselves above the common good.
The media reports evidence of this on a daily basis. On our streets, there individuals who run through stop signs and red lights, speed through school zones, speed on the highways and pass on the shoulder of the road. They put their own itinerary above the safety of others. The branches of the vine of lawlessness are too long and varied to continue to elaborate on further. Most people know lawlessness instinctively. It is unfortunate that so many choose to excuse, ignore, or capitulate to its effect on others. We are being led astray when educators, politicians, the media and special interest groups tell us that changing what something is called changes the substance of the object in question. What they hope to change is the public perception of their morality. The ACLU would have us believe that the term illegal has been removed from our vocabulary, that un-naturalized residents have the same right to public assistance as citizens. THEY DON’T, THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS! The so called ‘legal’ minds of the ACLU say it is unfair to round up and deport those who have begun their residency in our country with no regard for our law from the beginning. I would agree that we should ‘let’ them continue residency had the terminology not been reversed to mean ‘allow’ rather than the original meaning which meant ‘to restrain’. I would not be surprised to learn that these same individuals were responsible for changing the word ‘gay’, which once meant joyful or happy, to now be the accepted term for ‘perverted’. Calling a horse a goat does not make it any less a horse.
Attorneys for the ACLU, many public officials, and unfortunately some Judges on the bench of the California Supreme Court, argue that it is unfair for a vote by the majority to take away the right of a specific minority. There is no truth in this argument, regardless of what you would be led to believe. Every responsible person with the ability to reason recognizes that Law is written for the common good of the Majority. There are numerous ‘minorities’ in our nation. Hunters, fishermen, and nudists are only a few that first come to mind. Should the general law be changed to accommodate each such group’s chosen life style? Their right to pursue and enjoy their chosen life style is not threatened by the law of the majority. They are given the privilege of being able to pursue their lifestyle under specific guidelines that outline the limitations of how, where, and when their lifestyle can be pursued without having an adverse affect on the majority. We would be led to believe that the use of the word minority should be coupled with the term ‘ethnic’, as with the Hispanic, Black, Jewish, Armenian, Asian, Islamic or native Indian minorities. These are people born into specific groups and should not be discriminated against because of their family’s origin. Our Constitution states that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. None of these rights are threatened by marriage continuing to be the union of a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony. The homosexual group’s agenda would require the majority of families to accept their lifestyle and allow them to promote it to the children of mothers and fathers who can have children of their own. Like it or not, the right to have children is given only to heterosexual couples. They, and they alone should be joined in matrimony.
I find it particularly grievous and indeed unfortunate that these people the so called gay community) have been singled out and led astray in their hope, due to their persistence. They are being used as pawns by those with a much greater agenda, to arrest the government of the people, by the people, and take firm control of government for themselves. All that is required is for the people to capitulate and accept that they will be controlled by the few.
Those who have continued to read this far may be questioning what the foregoing has to do with the possibility of our loss of the freedom to which we have become accustomed.
Lawlessness in politics leads to Tyranny
The spirit of Self Indulgence has not been confined to those who appear to have very little. How many of the readers have lost their jobs because those in charge at their place of employment drained the profits to fill their own pockets with even more? Why is the news filled with reports of people losing most of their savings to unscrupulous financial advisers? People are losing their homes because of an economy devastated by those who gave them loans they couldn’t afford, or because ruthless speculators drove up real estate above it’s true value? The greed of a few has caused the prosperity of many to suffer. The Crime Syndicate, which many would have believed had become less dangerous or disappeared, has reappeared. We now know that it only moved from the mansions on the shore of Lake Michigan to the State House and further up in government. Those elected to serve the people are serving themselves. It is reported that many have been elected by voters who have long been in the grave, or by falsified voter registrations. The political arena is full of self serving attorneys, lawyers, judges and politicians who, rather than acting as employees of the people and serving to promote the betterment of those who provide their jobs, promote their own agendas and believe their own bias is more important than the will of the people. Scandalous behavior by these public officials is usually reported by the media, only when it has grown beyond damage control, and even then reported with a spin to provide the person the possibility of getting out of the dilemma. This has occurred in our local, state and federal government. When will we as a people, and as citizens, demand their jobs be remanded?
WAKE UP AMERICA, and especially at this time, those in California. On March 5th 2009, the California Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the vote of the people on Prop 8, would be upheld. I find it highly ironic and despicable that four individuals appointed as servants of the people to perform as Judges, and who have stated publicly that the minority should not be subject to the majority vote, have overruled the vote of 4,618,673 citizens by a 4 to 3 Majority. It is clear that they only want to accept the majority vote when they are part of the majority. These four people, by their unwitting ideological bias, on May 15th 2008 overturned Prop 22, setting in motion unmeasured devastation, disappointment, rioting, and expense for the citizens of California. Should the Judges on this momentous decision decide against the vote for Prop 8, we must immediately disappoint them and point them in the direction of new employment. Precedence for such an action has been established. Our very liberty and independence in America and California is at stake.
Stan Mason
A Watchman on the Wall