Letters to the Editor
September 24th, 2009

To the Editor:
As a relatively new resident of Fillmore, only here since 1999, I have maintained a silent voice regarding our local government. I have voiced objection only about the constantly increasing cost of our sewer bills which are at the least exorbitant. I was promised by the city manager that they were working on a more equitable breakdown of the costs, similar to that of Ventura, by using winter water usage as a gauge for sewer usage. This promise has been either tabled or ignored.
We can all accept that change is inevitable in life. We know that seasons change, we increase in age, things become outdated and need replacement. Change that is expected is more readily accepted, however, when those we trust reverse their values and let us down it is time to call them to account for their action. At a time when our state is in economic distress, those we have elected to represent us are ignoring the mandate of the citizens and bowing down to special interest groups, and the welfare of the nation is in jeopardy both financially as well as politically, it is difficult to accept that our local politicians have voted a tremendous increase in the salary of a new City Manager. The increase in salary from $133,000 to $155,00 plus the additional benefits will bring the total expenditure to close to $200,000 per year.
It is understandable that Steve Conway would vote for this increase. He campaigned for and voted for the overpriced treatment plant. I honestly have no idea why Laurie Hernandez voted for increase and will not speculate. I do know that Mayor Patti Walker, whom many trusted to represent the best interests of Fillmore, cast the deciding vote for the increase. For this I say SHAME ON YOU PATTI WALKER. You wrote you name on the list of past bonehead mayors and council members.
CONGRATULATIONS J. Brooks and L. Washburn for showing integrity and fiscal responsibility.
Stan Mason,

To the Editor:
Once again, Mr.Smedley, a former council member and failed 2006 incumbent for re-election, has contrived to gossip over actual facts about my positions. For the record, Mr.Smedley has never once inquired my opinion on City issues. Assuming and stereotyping individuals is the route Mr.Smedley has chosen to take now and when he was a council member. Let me brief you on the facts: I'm a fiscal conservative and always been, thus, my position in regards to salary increases, not reductions, is the same as it was in 2008; they were not warranted then and to date. That's a difference of opinion I've had with Mayor Walker, Councilwoman Hernandez and Councilman Conaway on this matter.
Your mischaracterizations are unfair and disrespectful to me as well as citizens whom have a desire to be active in our City government. I make decisions based on actual facts and the overall picture. When speaking on City affairs, I do what has in past been rare; I take peoples concerns to heart and strive to bring inclusiveness instead of wedging people in select groups or "mobs" as you stated in 2006. I am not here to channel any council members opinions. I have always been a independent thinker and people who know me, will attest to that.
In regards to your comments about the City of Fillmore's financial status, I believe it took years to build up a financial shield of reserves, hence, past city councils going back to the early 90's should be acknowledged and commended. Currently, the reality in Fillmore specifically for families, small businesses and schools are in financial limbo partly due to hefty increases in our water-sewer bills. This is the worst time for non-stop utility increases when people are struggling to stay afloat during these rough economic times. A flashback in time (voting records and comments from the minutes) states that both you and Cecilia Cuevas were staunch supporters of our overpriced sewer plant. Let's give credit to where it's due.
Your admiration for Cecilia Cuevas record is respected. However, I respectfully disagree on all counts. My previous letter was factual. Yet, you failed to address Cecilia's weakness during last year's budget vote. You know, the one in which Cecilia conveniently walked out before the vote so it wouldn't conflict with her 2008 re-election efforts. Again, these are fundamental differences in leadership and authoritative decisions made by Cecilia Cuevas and yourself. Going in depth of your voting record Mr. Smedley, your record is synonymous with Cecilia's; poor decisions and aloofness towards the meaning of citizenry. Results of 2006 & 2008 elections were clearly evident.
You're correct on one account; the 2010 election will be interesting. I intend to bring forth solutions and a civil debate to help make Fillmore the best and financially secure town in Ventura County.
Brian N.Sipes,
resident and local business owner