Letters to the Editor
October 9th, 2008

To the Editor:
Re: Gayle Washburn, Dorsey Smith, Gary Creagle and Larry Jennings letters 10/2/2008
Regarding Measure I, Gayle Washburn states “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”. This maybe true, but by her own statement, it seems that Ms. Washburn is acknowledging the fact that Measure I will result in a loss of City and Redevelopment Agency revenues and in these difficult economic times why is she in support of the City losing revenues?
Regarding Ms. Washburn’s statement that “lawsuits against and by the City are a common event” it appears her potential track record will not be much better than the City’s. One, she is supporting Measure I which the Fillmore City Attorney has clearly stated may expose the City to protracted litigation and two, she has argued very forcibly that the Fillmore City Council should have followed Santa Paula’s lead and contracted with PERC to build the City’s new sewer plant. Well guess what, according to an article in the October 1, 2008 Ventura County Star “A lawsuit alleging labor law violations was filed Tuesday in Ventura County Superior Court against the company (PERC) building Santa Paula's water treatment plant”. So, it is not unreasonable to assume that if the City Council had taken Ms. Washburn advice and selected PERC, that there would also be lawsuits brought in Fillmore against PERC. Again, in these economic times, why do the supporters of Measure I want to expose the City to lawsuits by encouraging the passage of this ill-conceived Measure?
Ms. Washburn asked why there was no lawsuit brought against the approved North Fillmore Specific Plan which she alleges is in conflict with the City’s adopted Housing Element. Ms. Washburn is wrong, she and her Measure I supporters continue to misinterpret the Housing Element. She states that the Housing Element calls for 626 low and very low income homes. Ask Councilmember Patti Walker or Mayor Pro Tem Cuevas, if that is what was agreed to with the State and if that is what the Housing Element requires. They were both a party to the negotiations (as was I) with the State and the California Rural Legal Assistance group regarding the Housing Element. Ms. Washburn is taking one section of the Housing Element and taking it out of context. She needs to read Tables 3Q, 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D of the Housing Element along with all of the text and she will see that the City’s outstanding affordable housing need, according to the State, was for 101 very-low and 38 low income housing units. And Section 4-7 of the Housing Element simply confirms that the North Fillmore Specific Plan will yield sufficient homes to allow for 15% of those homes to be affordable to very-low and low income families. It has been five years since the Housing Element was adopted and two years since the North Fillmore Specific Plan was adopted and no lawsuits filed against either document. I think that speaks for itself that the City Council did not act carelessly and did not expose the City to lawsuits, but the same cannot be said for Measure I, or its supporters. Ms. Washburn’s argument is nothing more than a scare tactic used by the supporters of Measure I to try and imply that the City is planning to build nothing but low-income housing in North Fillmore.
Ms. Washburn and the supporters of Measure I also allege that the already approved North Fillmore Specific Plan will “impinge on Ameron’s operations”. This is another scare tactic that the supporters of Measure I like to use, but read Section 7.5 of the already approved North Fillmore Specific Plan which clearly states that existing industrial uses like Ameron will be allowed to continue in their present state, or to expand.

Regarding FEMA and the Sespe floodway, while the naysayer’s of the City were condemning the City for supposedly putting the City at risk, the City Council led by Mayor Conaway and Mayor Pro Tem Cuevas were quietly doing their job and working diligently to correct the FEMA maps and according to the October 3, Ventura County Star, FEMA agreed to a change that could keep the owners of thousands of parcels of land in Oxnard and Fillmore from having to buy flood insurance. This effort by the City Council will save each and every homeowner in Fillmore an estimated $1,200 per year and nullifies Ms. Washburn’s argument that the North Fillmore area is potentially underwater in North Fillmore. Another unfounded scare tactic by the Measure I folks.
With regard to Dorsey Smith’s letter of 10/2/08 he alleges “crime” and “potential loss of jobs (Ameron)” if Measure I is not passed. But he has no facts to support those allegations. To the contrary, as stated above, the existing North Fillmore Specific Plan provides protections to allow Ameron to remain in North Fillmore for as long as they choose to do so. Regarding crime, this is an unsubstantiated argument that is always used by those who are opposed to affordable housing. Some argue that Fillmore already has its share of affordable housing. If that is the case, then why does Fillmore (9.2 Part I Crimes/1000) have a lower crime rate than Ojai (11.89 Part I Crimes/1000) and almost as lows as Camarillo’s (9.0 Part I Crimes/1000)? I guess affordable housing doesn’t necessarily lead to crime. Maybe just another Measure I supporter scare tactic?
Mr. Dorsey also does not have any facts to support his allegations that I will profit if Measure I is defeated. I have categorically denied this allegation on several occasions have stated that I have no financial interest in the North Fillmore Specific Plan, I have no plans to work on any development project in North Fillmore and I am not being paid by anyone to present my thoughts on the issue. I am a retired Fillmore City Manager who spent almost twenty years trying to balance the Fillmore budget and to improve the revenues received by the City and it bothers me to see an ill-conceived measure such as Measure I placed on the ballot without a full discussion of the facts that put the City at risk legally and financially if Measure I passes.

Regarding Gary Creagle’s letter of 10/2/08, I guess Mr. Creagle did not read or hear the City Attorney recently state that the Sales Tax Agreements are legal. Mr. Creagle, they were legal when they were passed and I certainly would not have represented to the City Council otherwise when the Sales Tax Agreements were presented to the City Council in 2003. Mr. Creagle and others who demand public records should know that not all communications that the city staff has with the City Attorney’s office are in writing. Sometimes just a telephone call or a face to face communication is used to exchange information. What communications did Mr. Creagle have with the City Attorney before he made the motion and led the City Council in adopted the “English Only” resolution in the 1980’s when he was on the City Council? Can he produce any public record documents? Does he think he made a mistake by taking this controversial action that had to be corrected by a later City Council?
Regarding Mr. Jennings letter of 10/2/08, I would hope that my responses above address his questioning of my motivations. All I have suggested Mr. Jennings is that the voters in Fillmore read the information provided by the City regarding the financial and legal risks associated with the passage of Measure I. What is the harm in that?
I apologize for the length of my letter, but since four different writers addressed me, I thought it appropriate to respond to all.
Roy Payne
Fillmore City Manager (1989-2005)