Letters to the Editor
October 16th, 2008

To the Editor:
Today I read the paper online, and to my very surprise, there was an article "Personal Courage". Before I put my thoughts into this article, allow me to first convey my sincere gratitude to the Gazette for printing this.
I am the mother of SPC Juanita (Jenny) Altamirano. This deployment has not been easy for me, and I know that the parents and loved one of our other community members who are also in the military share my sentiments. We as a strong community are very proud of our sons, daughters, etc who have chosen to join the military. As a parent, I am very proud of the choice that my daughter made. Not only did she choose to serve her country, she chose to leave her family and friends to go to Iraq without hesitation. She was told that medically she did not have to go, but after talking it over with myself and her physician at Bautista Medical Group here in Fillmore (thank you Jorge), she made her decision to join her unit for deployment. Thus began the worry and countless sleepless nights.
The love of our family and friends, combined with the continuous support of many citizens of Fillmore/Piru have kept me strong for the little brother and sister my daughter misses very much. Be it a hug, a thank you, or a handshake, this community has made me very proud to live here.
My heartfelt thank you's go out to Fillmore Gazette for making it their weekly goal of honoring our military, Ventura County Library staff members who know my daughter (especially Cathy Krushell at Fillmore), Sgt. O'Sullivan of Fillmore PD who was very influential in my daughter's career choice, Nena at $6 Cuts for keeping Jenny's hair beautiful when she was home (and manageable for the "sock bun" that she now has to wear). A special thank you to Angel and Sista Soul at KHSU.ORG for all you have done.
But most importantly my prayers go out to the families here that have loved ones in the military who are either here in the U.S. or in another country. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice of letting your child make the decision to serve our country.
Lorraine Perez,

To the Editor:
On Saturday October 11 I was fortunate enough to share a meal with the Lions Club of Fillmore. This was their yearly "Taste of Italy" dinner. Wow! What a meal it was. The food was terrific. Paul and Joyce Schifanelli hosted the meal and entertainment. Joyce could be a master chef anywhere! Delicious! Paul arranged to have Delaney Gibson Sing and play keyboard and guitar for us. Delaney has the voice of an angel and composes her own songs that are so beautiful. I want to express my appreciation for being invited and to all the hard work that went into this wonderful event. The Lions do so much to help people, please support them if you can.
Thank you!

To the Editor:
Seems change is in the air for Fillmore. People want change. Ten years ago people wanted change too. They wanted more parks and recreational opportunities. Better school facilities. They wanted a functioning community pool.
Yes, change can be awfully slow. Progress, it seems, takes patience and perseverance. What we want today may and often does take some time to achieve. Let’s look at what we have going for us today in Fillmore.
The NEW POOL: The closure of the high school pool in 2000 was a shame. The old pool could not be salvaged, so City leaders came up with a plan to finance the construction of the new facility as long as voters were willing to foot the bill for the annual maintenance. After three tries on the ballot, voters got behind the plan. The City and School District partnered to develop plans for the new aquatic facility. Thanks to voters who saw the value of this to the community, and thanks to city and school leaders, we will be enjoying the new pool and tennis facility in early 2009! This benefit is on top of also having a new all-weather, state-of-the-art track and field at Fillmore High School – another improvement long in the making. Change takes time!
The C STREET PARK: City leaders negotiated with the developer of the Heritage Valley Park plan to provide an annual funding source to help pay for maintaining the new park. This new park, now under construction, will provide the additional playing fields our youth and adult sports leagues desperately need. The new park will have triple the amount of playing fields compared to what we now have at Shiells Park. In addition, our kids will finally get the long-awaited skateboard park. The new park, with the added playing field capacity and the skateboard park, are goals that long been stated and are now finally coming to fruition.
Change takes patience and perseverance. Positive change takes leadership and vision. It also requires sticking to your standards and your goals through the ups and downs.
Fillmore needs positive leaders like Steve Conaway who understands the right way to change and the right way to move ahead. Vote to re-elect Steve Conaway for Fillmore City Council on November 4th.
Cindy Blatt,

To the Editor:
I am sure many residents have watched the tragic fires on today’s TV programs (10/13/08).
Comments made by firemen were—how it was extremely difficult to contain these fires due to the homes being built in areas surrounded by hills and mountains, ”homes were built too close to each other,”—high density.
Seeing these homes burning to the ground in Little Tujunga, Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, brought the issue of north Fillmore Specific Plan to the forefront. These are some of the reasons why no more than 350 or less homes should be built in that geographic environment.
What the city is planning would have the same dangerous and tragic outcome, as the people are now suffering today, as they see their homes lost.
The proposed Hillside Drive would not be a safe evacuation solution for north Fillmore. The “Day Fire” and the “October 2003 Fire” proved that. The area proposed was under evacuation order. I the “Day Fire” the fire department closed off Central Avenue and residents were asked to evacuate. A very special friend was able to leave her home by notifying the fire department that someone was coming to pick her up, so they let that person go through.
We need to vote for Measures H & I to prevent the same thing happening here; that is happening to these people now.
Mary Ellen Alvarez,
71 year Fillmore Resident

To the Editor:
A campaign poster to vote for measures H & I says that will stop eminent domain.
Eminent domain is a government taking of private property for a public purpose, with fair payment. Measures H & I restrict owners use of their private property, as they want to, without any payment. In either case private property rights are lost.
As the proponents of measures H & I are vocal about, "Thousands of voters have signed petitions."
I propose the thousands of voters form a partnership, buy up the North Fillmore properties and then develop or not develop "your" private property as you see fit.
Ray Johnson,

To the Editor:
To Roy Payne:
Perhaps you weren’t listening the last three years, the citizens of Fillmore do not want 700 housing units in the North Fillmore Specific Plan area. It isn’t because of low income housing (there is a requirement that all development provide at least at least 10% of the housing at low and very low numbers – not just North Fillmore). It is because the project is too big for the 60 buildable projected acres. Too many homes, too much traffic, no new school, Ameron has stated they will leave, etc. etc. etc. If you really want to help, ask our Community Development Director where we can build the project and/or spread the required housing out over other areas of the City.
Measures H & I became necessary because you weren’t listening. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it won’t be the first time that the City has been sued over the Housing Element, General Plan and a boatload of other perceived injustices. If a lawsuit does occur, it will be because you didn’t listen. By the way, I know it isn’t much money that you have received for “helping” with certain potential development in the North Fillmore lately, but any money should make you wary of possible conflicts.
Gloria Hansen,

To the Editor:
Re: October 9th Roy Payne Letter
The lawsuit scare tactics are hypocritical. I have a document showing that the City has been involved in 46 lawsuits while Mr. Payne was City Manager. Six are eminent domain actions. (www.fillmoreca.org/downloads/lawsuits.pdf)
The issues are the number of affordable homes not built in North Fillmore. That could be resolved by planning 52 more affordable homes elsewhere in Fillmore. The other issue would be inconsistency with the General Plan and Housing Element. Those documents could be amended. The City amends the General Plan with almost every development approval.
Developers with current entitlements: To prove a "takings", there has to be proof that another plan that is in compliance with the Initiative would not work.
I am concerned that there have been many anonymous postings on my blog (http://www.fillmoreblog.com) using this exact wording about how Patti Walker’s actions “lead to lawsuits”. Is Mr. Payne the anonymous blogger behind all the hate mail? Has he been politicking behind the scenes against an elected official? It is illegal for City staff to engage in that behavior. Payne is still on the payroll via retainer and I hope he is not using that retainer time for campaign purposes.
If you want to fear a lawsuit, fear the Sales Tax Agreements. The complaint reads...
..."In August, 2008 the BOE determined that several of these sham offices were improper, reallocating almost $6.5 million in 4th Quarter 2007 sales taxes from Fillmore to the proper cities."
As far as PERC in a lawsuit, Mr. Payne was never concerned about the many lawsuits that American Water is involved in. If you Google “American Water” and “lawsuits” you get about 58,000 hits.
Gayle Washburn,

To the Editor:
October 7 Candidate Debate
The candidates were asked if they would revisit Rent Control. Everyone said yes except Steve Conaway and M. Cecelia Cuevas with Norris withholding comment. Cecelia's excuse was that it created divisiveness in El Dorado. The park was divided long before the Rent Control issue of 2007. The anti-rent control group has been running things since 1994. Things stirred up because the HOA did nothing but declare themselves the boss. We wanted a real HOA and that rumbling turned into the Rent Control movement. On Oct. 17, 2007, over 100 El Doradoans came to City Hall Chambers, even with the fires all around town, to tell the City Council that we want Rent Control NOW! So Steve put himself on the sub committee to investigate RC. He then proceeded to delay things for months until Mike Cirillo (Park Management) could come up with a plan to defeat RC. The threats followed and our supporters stayed home. The opposition was able to muster about 50 people to be at the City Council meeting to end RC (temporarily). Now, 100 wanting RC and 50 not seems like a pretty healthy majority to me, but with Steve and Cecelia people don't matter. Somebody with big bucks wanted their help and they did as told! This is how they are with all of their decisions. All of the other Senior Mobile Home Parks in the county have Rent Control, because Seniors are on fixed incomes and need affordable housing and they have honest, caring governments which we lack.
Our park owner is worth about $400 million and Mike Cirillo is worth a ridiculous amount of money as well. Yet they have raised rents to obscene levels. It's hard to give away homes in El Dorado now, because the cost of living here is no longer affordable. It's all GREED and not based on business needs. We need to BOOT Steve and Cecelia out of power NOW! Greed must leave our town.
Dave Roegner,

To the Editor:
We are so sick and tired of hearing about freedom of speech when it is just one sided! People have different opinions, which is fine, but to destroy the rights of others is just simply wrong.
Over 200 signs were placed in the yards of Fillmore residents supporting Proposition 8 and most of them were stolen from their properties. Whoever is doing this must be very small minded people who are afraid of the opposition and have no moral issues of breaking the law by stealing from others.
We do not want our children/grandchildren being taught in their school that gay marriage is okay. Nor do we want mandatory sex education taught under a gay marriage agenda. This is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. Gays have the right to their private lives, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us! What gays do in their private lives is already protected by law, but we do not want children exposed to it. A first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner. The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5 and 6, taking them away from their studies for the same-sex wedding. The wedding was officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who arrogantly welcomed the arrival of same-sex marriage by saying "the door's wide open now. It's gonna happen, whether you like it or not." We saw the video of this wedding and the small children watching. In our opinion, this school sponsored trip was wrong and unacceptable. This only makes us more aware of the urgent need to support and protect the people and families in California.
Same-sex marriage should not be imposed by the courts, but only through a vote of the people, which it was in 2000. It was wrong for the court to ignore the will of 61% of California voters.
We should vote to "restore" the definition of marriage in our constitution so that activist judges cannot again overturn the will of the people.
Proposition 8 is only to "protect the sanctity of marriage". Tolerance should be on both sides! We tolerate and respect the gays way of life and do not ask them to change, they should also respect those who believe in marriage between a man and woman and not ask us to change! We certainly do not want our children and future children to be forced to learn that gay marriage is okay and natural!
We hope you will consider all the facts and join us in voting "yes" for proposition 8. Gerry and Sharon Mathews,

To the Editor:
Response to Roy Payne:
Have you ever seen the size of Roy Payne’s head? It’s enormous! It has to be to store all those brains. He knows that Gayle’s point that home values are down and figures are now inaccurate, doesn’t mean a thing as he can recalculate the numbers in an instant, and then keep them to himself for his use only. He also knows that no homes are going to sell up there for a long time anyway and selling even 350 is a stretch of the imagination. But with Roy’s brains, he can imagine twice as much as we can.
Now, Roy’s laundry list of 50 or so lawsuits as City Manager don’t matter now as they are in the past, but Gary’s 25 year old request to make English the official language in Fillmore is like it happened today. This is called selective thinking for all you with normal sized brains.
As I recall from a City Council meeting, the City Attorney stated that anything the City does can be sued just like Measure “I”. Roy’s huge brain has sifted through all that and determined that Measure “I” is this giant target for lawsuits in spite of the fact that the people of Fillmore want it and will legally make it law. More selective thinking for you mortals.
Roy also has the power to turn a lawsuit against a company (PERC) into a lawsuit against a city! Amazing!
Roy’s powerful brain must have foreseen that FEMA was going to put everyone in town in the flood plain despite their map showing only half the town in it. So we all get to save $1,200 thanks to Steve and Cecil. I can’t wait to get my check!!!
Roy’s consulting only costs the City $150 per hour, that is nothing to a large brain that thinks in $millions$, so he’s not making anything on all the construction plans for this beleaguered town.
Let’s face it, Roy delivers Payne. Quit pickin’ on him.
Dave Roegner,