Letters to the Editor
September 10th, 2009

To the Editor:
City of Fillmore citizens recently received a direct mail piece entitled Measure F “The Fair Rent and Homeownership Initiative” from the El Dorado Estates park office. There is nothing in the provisions of this measure promising “fair rents”. Many homeowners in El Dorado pay some of the highest space rents in Ventura County for a senior mobile home park, because Fillmore is the only city without any type of rent stabilization.
This mail piece is most deceiving in that it targets only prospective buyers who would be required to purchase a space lot in addition to the home on that lot. To date, the costs of lots have not been made public. Prices for lots will be determined at a date unknown, and by the park owner’s discretion. HOW can anyone make a sound decision on voting without all the details?? In addition, financing space lots will be extremely difficult for individuals on fixed incomes and with minimal assets. Currently, mobile home values and equity in our homes are at an all time low, some selling as low as $10,000.
The mail piece also states that buyers would have “a say in keeping the park a senior park”. There is no language in Measure F that assures El Dorado will remain a senior park, nor has the park owner responded to any inquiries regarding this measure.
Vote NO on Measure F. Save El Dorado homes!
Voice of El Dorado Mobile Homeowner’s Association

To the Editor:
After reading Cecilia Cuevas' letter to editor last week, I must admit how sad it must be for Cecilia to have not come to grips with reality as to why her bid for re-election failed so harshly. We've heard from Cecilia that she lost because of her opponents campaign slogans and signs. The people of Fillmore did not vote for a specific candidate(s) because of a slogan or the appearance of a campaign sign. These excuses that Cecilia Cuevas has expressed shows the continuation of undermining the electorate of Fillmore. I believe with my mind and heart that the people of Fillmore vote their consequence and above all else, issues that pertain to them and their pocket books. In light of Cecilia's loss and her refusal to accept the poor decisions she has made, now she wants to portray her record as something that deserves such high praise and collaboration. I respectfully disagree. Once again without any solutions, Cecilia Cuevas is complaining about the construction of the 2009-2010 budget. Her complaints are a little premature. First, as I expressed at the last City Council meeting-08/25/09; the City of Fillmore, thanks to our progressive City Council and City staff, the budget is currently on-line so the public has ample opportunity to download a copy at their leisure. Also, a full five minute allotment of speaking time during the public comment portion of all City Council meetings is back in motion. It should be noted when Cecilia Cuevas was in office, requests by citizens for the budget to be published on-line were virtually ignored. At the same time, the public comment portion of all meetings were between 3-4 minutes per former Mayor Conaway's request.
Going into further detail, I remember not too long ago in 2008, Cecilia Cuevas whom at the time was our acting Mayor Pro-tem, walked out before the official 2008-2009 budget vote. This vote would be a consequential vote since Cecilia Cuevas was a stalwart for colossal spending increases and upper level City staff salary increases (yes on record). All this knowing that there were severe threats from Sacramento on pending state budget cuts and a potential unbalanced budget that would soon effect the entire State of California. So, Cecilia's solution would be the oldest trick from the Washington D.C play book: skip the vote with minimal consequences right before the election and pray no one notices! This is just of many poor decisions that has overwhelmed Cecilia's voting record and the ability to lead.
In the meantime, shall I delve deeper into Cecelia Cuevas' voting record as a former elected official (2000-2008)? I think I'll wait until 2010 and continue on enacting my democratic rights as a citizen; one who cares enough to help the people of Fillmore and assist the City Council in bringing forth worthwhile solutions to make the City of Fillmore the best and most financially secure town in Ventura County.
Brian N. Sipes,
A Fillmore resident and local business owner

To the Editor:
The Ralph M. Brown Act is a state law requiring that the actions of public agencies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The Brown Act states that the people of a community do not give a city council the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The Brown Act also states that the people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the city council members that they have elected.

On August 25, 2009 after conducting an illegal one-hour “emergency” closed session Mayor Patti Walker violated the people’s trust by stating that “there had been an unintentional Brown Act violation, that there were no significant consequences to the violation, and that the matter was closed”. Since Walker intentionally withheld any information about the Brown Act violation, she did not give the community the opportunity to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

Ms. Walker also failed to let the public know that she and Interim City Manager Larry Pennell were put on notice that they had violated the Brown Act and that they should not act on the ill-gotten information and they chose do otherwise. Is it too much to ask of an experienced city council member (Walker) and an experienced city manager (Pennell) to conduct business fairly, openly and with the highest ethics? Apparently so. Did Walker and Pennell’s acting on the ill-gotten information result in the expenditure of public funds? I suspect that it did and Walker should be required to disclose what the ill-gotten information was, and as a result of that information what action did she and Pennell take and why. All public funds expended by Walker and Pennell as a result of the illegal action should be paid back to the city.

In Walker’s first term of office on the City Council (2000 – 2004) she was censured by her fellow council members for unethical conduct, and adamantly refused to sign the city council’s Code of Ethics. Then in November 2007 during her second term of office (2006-2010), Ms. Walker demanded that the city’s Code of Ethics be changed, contending that it trampled on her and others’ freedom of speech. In support of Walkers’ opposition to the Code of Ethics, Jamey Brooks said “what you need is people to be ethical …you don't need a system to punish them”. Based upon Ms. Walker’s track record, I strongly disagree with Brooks and strongly believe that you do need a system to punish them.

Walker claims that the Brown Act violation was “unintentional”, but she fails to let the public know that once she was put on notice of the “unintentional” violation, that she and Pennell intentionally compounded the violation and chose to act on the ill-gotten information. You just can’t trust Walker to say and do the right thing even when she’s admitting fault….if proper ethics would have followed she would have fully disclosed her actions, provided detailed information on the incident, and what is being done to correct it”.

There are other recent Brown Act violations that Walker has been involved in that have been bro
ught to the City Council’s attention by a state wide watch dog group called Californians Aware. And these are just the ones they know about. Could there be others? A public records request to the City requesting copies of all e-mail communications between Pennell, Walker and other members of the City Council would be appropriate. Additionally, someone should contact the Ventura County District Attorney’s office and have them investigate the Brown Act conduct of Walker and Pennell over the last 4 months.

Roy Payne

To the Editor:
Enough is enough!! The Roy Payne Letter published in your September 3rd edition was Annoying to say the least. For the record, a man’s greatness is judged by his actions, not by his words. The costly new Fillmore Sewer Plant, will define Mr. Payne’s actions and words in a very negative way, for many years.
Mr. Payne resides in Thousand Oaks, and his constant critical letters to the Gazette, criticizing Mayor Walker, along with Council members Brooks and Washburn serve no useful purpose. Regarding his comments about the salary discussions for the new City Manager, you would think that Mr. Payne was present when the City council was making the decision.
If Mr. Payne is so interested in what happens in Fillmore, why doesn’t he reside here?? He has never lived in Fillmore, and yet, he thinks that he is a member of our Community. I wish Mr. Payne, Good Health and Happiness in his retirement, but it is time for him to find something else to do, in the Community where he resides. Enough is Enough!!!
Sincerely yours,
Kenneth Creason