Letters to the Editor
October 2nd, 2008

To the Editor:
The revelations about City Hall staff and elected officials are serious and are getting worse. Our leaders are apparently guilty of negligence, ineptitude, bribes, kickbacks, contract rigging, criminal activity, debauchery, fraud and animal abuse. Then there is the secret basement below city hall and the tunnel to “out of town”. These transgressions are inexcusable.
So why haven’t the outspoken concerned citizens petitioned the Grand Jury, or at least the District Attorney to investigate this bunch of scurrilous carpetbaggers? There isn’t going to be any investigation because these accusations lack any supporting evidence, in other words, they are false, red herrings.
By carefully selecting snippets of “facts” or simply creating them, these dedicated conspiracy theorists spin stories to destroy public confidence in our city’s leadership. But the record stands – our leadership is doing a good job. The recent creative campaign of destruction of our leader’s credibility has gone on too long.
Bob Stroh’s recent letter is a typical example of this campaign. One of his points claims Roy Payne stands to profit from North Fillmore development. He missed a key element, where’s the evidence? In other words Bob: “show me the money!”
Ken Smedley,

To the Editor:
Re: North Fillmore Initiative
After working hard to get the North Fillmore Initiative on the ballot I was astonished to hear from Council Member Cicilia Cuevas some entity was threatening to sue the city because the citizens were exercising their constitutional rights. Yes, we understand that there is a state law regarding the planning a quantity of low-income homes. We never objected to that law and our initiative does not preclude low-income or any income homes.
So who might want to sue Fillmore? I found out that it is an outfit called the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA). They say that they strive for economic justice and human rights for the rural poor (farm workers). They have an office in Oxnard and have had people at our city council meetings.
They are enamored with the North Fillmore Specific Plan because in their thinking the dense development in North Fillmore (the very feature that we object to) would lead to the possibility of very low cost homes for farm workers. They have admitted publicly that if the initiative passes Fillmore can meet its requirements for low-income homes in other parts of Fillmore.
According to the city’s report, on the initiative, passing the Initiative will require the planning for 52 affordable homes in areas other than North Fillmore. Big Deal. I can drive around town this morning and find locations to plan for 52 low-income homes.
Clay Westling,

To the Editor,
Re: costly flood insurance
I have seen the proposed maps that FEMA gave out at a meeting in May. Every property west of A Street was proposed to be in a floodway (river bed) or would be flooded in a 100 year storm. Mayor Conaway and Mayor Pro Tem Cuevas have done a great service to all of Fillmore by getting the FEMA representative to agree that the “stop logs” that fill the hole where the railroad tracks go through the levee meet their requirements. That alone takes a major portion of our town out of the flood areas there by saving everyone in the area from having to pay for costly flood insurance. This also allows for owners to sell or refinance their homes.
It is great that Fillmore has council members that look out for the overall good of the community and work hard to do what is best for our city. Both Mayor Conaway and Mayor Pro Tem deserve our vote on November 4th.
Roger Campbell,
Retired Mayor

To the Editor:
Re: Roy Payne letter 9/25/2008
Any City and Redevelopment Agency losses are overstated due to the fact that projections were based on property taxes from homes selling at an average of $576,000. The negative losses are speculative and not based on current market conditions.
City government is responsible for millions in attorney fees already. The Becerra eminent domain action has been in litigation for over two years – instigated by the City.
The Sales Tax Agreements have much more of a potential litigation impact than Measure I.
Lawsuits against and by the City are a common event. To fear a possible lawsuit against Measure I is hypocritical since we have been engaged in dozens of lawsuits in the last 15 years.
As I have previously pointed out to the Council, the Housing Element (Section 4-7) states that North Fillmore would yield 626 low and very low income homes. So, there has always been a conflict open to lawsuit since the North Fillmore Specific Plan was adopted in 2006. Why was there no lawsuit brought at that time when 521 low and very low homes were eliminated?
Measure I may not be perfect but it will have less of an impact than the existing plan, which is too crowded, creates too much traffic, will impinge on Ameron’s operations, and require eminent domain and additional expense for public services.
In addition, until FEMA has rendered a final opinion on the Sespe floodway, that area of North Fillmore is potentially under water in a 100 year storm putting thousands at risk – even if they could afford flood insurance.
Gayle Washburn,

To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Mr. Payne’s letter of 9/25, a 550 word, and three columns wide article with bold print basically saying, “facts are facts” and “ignore them at your own risk”. Well, here are some facts I do know. I write using the first person addressing Mr. Payne who seems to be the spokesman for opposition to Measures I & H.
It’s a FACT, that you are a very well paid consultant and the added homes you want to see built in North Fillmore will, in all probability, increase your scope of being the Special Projects Manager of Fillmore. It’s called job security.
It’s a FACT, that telling the City Council Measure I and H will cause terrible things to happen to Fillmore is EXACTLY what most of them wanted to hear. It’s called ‘tell your Boss what he wants to hear.’
And it’s a FACT, by not living in Fillmore; you personally will not suffer the consequences of the increased traffic, crime, potential loss of jobs (Ameron), etc. caused by the VERY DENSE housing in North Fillmore that Measures I & H would stop. It’s called “that isn’t my problem”.
But Mr. Payne, here’s a FACT I can’t explain. Maybe you can help? It’s a FACT our more affluent neighbors (Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, etc) don’t seem to suffer from the terrible things you say will happen to us. WHY NOT?? Could it be the only reason Fillmore has a 15% affordable home quota is because our City Council CREATED that requirement without public input and are now telling us we must live to these requirements or the wolf is going to eat us? Could it be they want Fillmore to be the Affordable Housing Capital of Ventura County? And assuming you are correct, and we must build more affordable homes do they ALL have to be in North Fillmore? Can’t they be distributed thru out the City?
I respectively suggest you, the City Staff and the City Council do more homework and resolve to listen more and be more responsive to the citizens of Fillmore regarding Measures I & H.
Dorsey B. Smith,

To the Editor:
Hi fellow Fillmorons. It's time for me to sing the praises of our wise Mayor Pro-tem. My dear Cecelia has found a magic mirror, as only she deserves to possess. Looking through HER mirror reveals an amazing feat! Somehow, the 2% increase that non management employees get from the union, mirrors to become 8% for top management. Amazing! A 2 doesn't even look like an 8. Only an experienced City Council person could possess such a mirror. The rest of us can only envy the powers Cecelia has. Let's give her a hand!
$100 million in capitol improvements takes special management to spend so much of our money in such a short period of time. No wonder Cecelia is in awe of them. That's $6,666.67 for every man woman or child that lives in Fillmore! Are the numbers a coincidence? Where else can we give so much to benefit each other and many outside consultants, and contractors up the ying - yang. Imagine what it's doing for the local economy (in other cities). We should be proud to be able to share so much of our money and we should be known statewide for our generosity. What better way to put us on the map. Outsiders must think we are a very wealthy city and will flock here to take part in our generosity. Especially businesses who want tax kickbacks. We love to give other cities tax money to businesses, it grows their companies. Why should our city take more than 15% of those taxes, it isn't ours anyway. It has put $1.5 million in our coffers for doing almost nothing. We need to show management our gratitude for their amazing work. Heck, I think we should pay a limo to take them back and forth to work, there's a lot of car expense they have to pay to get to Fillmore and back home.
Dave Roegner,

To the Editor:
Regarding the Sales Tax Issue
I have been following the City of Fillmore’s attempts to gain sales tax revenue through the phony transfer of various companies’ point of sale to our city with interest.
The claim for damages by the City of Livermore & the City of Industry that is on file at the Fillmore City hall is quite damming. It states that: a) sales tax diversion by “creation” of sham sales office in Fillmore, which allowed Fillmore to fraudulently collect the sales tax, then kickback 85% of the tax to consulting companies. And b) that the California Board of Equalization has determined that this scheme is improper and has reallocated $6.5 million in 4th Quarter 2007 sales taxes from Fillmore to the proper cities.
I think that convincing companies to legitimately relocate their point of sale to Fillmore so that we could gain the sales tax revenue is great. However, according to this claim, these agreements were operated to illicitly divert sales taxes from other cities and are obviously wrong.
A review of the minutes of the City Council meeting that approved this arrangement shows that the City Manager told the City Council that these agreements would not go forward until the City Attorney had reviewed and approved them.
A public records request for the results of the attorney review was answered by the city on Friday (9/26/08) that no such City Attorney work product exists. Apparently, the City Manager entered into these agreements without fulfilling the requirements as requested by the Fillmore City Council, or again, we are not being allowed to have access to city records as required by the California Public Records Act.
Gary Creagle,

To The Editor:
Why is Mr. Payne so adamant in forcing a large number of housing units on the citizens of Fillmore? A significant number of citizens don't want Fillmore to become another ho-hum suburb of Los Angeles. We like our small town and want it to stay that way. We live here on purpose.
When I came through school a number of years ago, our social studies teachers told us about a government of the people, by the people and for the people. What we seem to have here is a government by overpaid people who don't even bother to live here and aren't subject to the policies they force on others.
When the local citizens express their displeasure -with something that is being forced on them, they are threatened with a lawsuit.
Seems like Mr. Payne isn't paying attention to, or is ignoring the people he is supposed to be working for.
Many more houses, people, cars, congestion, only decreases the quality of life here in Fillmore.
There is more to life than more money for government agencies to spend.
Larry Jennings,