Letters to the Editor
July 6, 2017

To the Editor:
My name is Vanessa Ray’nee Avila I am going to be a Sophomore at Fillmore High School this year. At first I had no idea what Cross Country was or what the point is for high school. Someone told me I should give Cross Country a try when they saw me playing soccer. High school came and I switched schools so that I could participate in sports. I joined Cross Country a little late and had no idea what I was capable of. I ended up making the Varsity Team my Freshman year. It was such a privilege to be on the team. We’ve made a lot of memories together as a team, going to meets and giving it our all. I have met a lot of great people along the way. It’s an honor to have such AWESOME coaches to be spending their time making us better runners. I want to let everyone know that they should give Cross Country a try because you’ll never know what you can accomplish. On July 23rd the Fillmore Flashes Cross Country Team will be going to Mammoth Lake for an 8 day trip. We will be training like the professional runners and create strong bonds between teammates. It will be a fun experience and many memories will be made. I am doing a fundraiser to raise money for this once in a lifetime experience for a trip that the Cross Country Team takes every year to Mammoth. I will be selling Pork Tamales and Lumpias. If anyone is interested in placing an order it would be greatly appreciated. Tamales are $20 a dozen n Lumpias $10 for a dozen. Please call 805 620-2375 or send donations to PO Box 672 Piru Ca 93040 I will not let my hometown down. Thank you in advance
Thank you,
Vanessa R. Avila


Letters to the Editor
June 29, 2017

To the Editor,
As a member of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association bargaining team, it is prudent to offer clarification of the unresolved calendar issues that have halted progress in negotiations. Fillmore Unified School District was informed that 94% of their teachers wished to continue the tradition of the Fall break that has been a staple within Fillmore for over 25 years. A welcome respite that FUTA members feel benefits both student and teacher attendance, then directly benefits student learning. Without warning or discussion, Fillmore Unified sought to remove it. Rather, Fillmore Unified has felt the 2017-2018 calendar could best be used as a bargaining chip to obtain a collaboration model that adds 30 minutes to the school day. FUTA members have awaited a collaboration model that allows teachers to meet regularly to plan, evaluate, and fine tune instructional strategies for the benefit of students and were hopeful this could allow for an appropriate resolution. However, FUTA feels that a model that adds 30 minutes to the school day, when Fillmore students are already in excess of the Ed Code recommendation of minutes, is not what is best for students, and frankly unfair. Many of our students begin their school day long before the first bell rings with transportation in the rural community, and end their day long after due to sports and other activities.
The Chicago Tribune states there is not a single study linking academic improvement with a longer school day and increased instructional minutes simply sweep the real problem under the rug. Rather than increase instructional time, FUTA members feel it would be more beneficial to increase instructional effectiveness via collaboration to target specific areas of student need for improvement, directly impacting student achievement. It is not enough to solve the achievement difficulties of Fillmore students by simply adding more time; rather, teachers are desperately seeking to improve the quality of student time.
FUTA proceeded to propose a collaboration model that worked within existing minutes, with collaboration weekly for 90 minutes, but again was met with an increase of 15 minutes a day. The district’s position to add 60 minutes was intended to account for instructional minutes perceived lost due to the collaboration schedule, but they neglected to consider the potential instructional impact of a weekly collaboration model. The value added potential that collaboration provides student learning far exceeds 60 minutes of instructional time. As administrators, our leadership should know that this is imperative to effective instruction for students. While FUTA seeks to improve the quality of Fillmore student’s education, the district’s solution is to increase the quantity of instruction.
Ultimately, to bridge the gap towards a calendar resolution, FUTA was willing to meet half way, increasing the instructional day by seven minutes, a net loss of 32 minutes a week to existing instructional time, but the district would not budge. Over 32 minutes, under the leadership of Superintendent Palazuelos and via representation hired with district funds, Fillmore Unified left the bargaining table, left the calendar, left our teachers, and ultimately left our students. For 32 minutes, Superintendent Palazuelos was willing to further the wedge between FUTA members rather than unite to work collaboratively with teachers to solve a problem that is vital to the success of students in the Fillmore community. For students, we need to do better than this.
Kelley Hess
FUTA member
Fillmore Teacher


To the Editor,
Unbelievable! So there we were again, after we have told our City Leaders and City Manager Rowlands over and over at earlier meetings, trying to get them to hear us at the "Listening Meeting". We overwhelmingly showed in numbers and voice our opposition to bringing the pot growing industry and its ensuing effects into our community. Yet it seems we just can't get OUR voice heard.
I was talking to a council member that justifiably said the Council just wants everyone to come out to say their feelings on the subject. Well there has been at least three city meetings on this topic, and now a 'listening session' Sunday afternoon- so I ask you the Council: just how many of these gatherings do we have to stand up in before the City Leaders are satisfied with what the vast majority of our town wants for its future. It sure feels like it is a study in who can hold out the longest. The Council member said they are doing this because pro pot folks are uncomfortable talking about this- really? How about my time and discomfort? I know that I gain five pounds and a dozen white hairs every time I force myself to stand up to speak about this topic- but I do it because I love this town! Again I ask, at what point will the Council and City Manager be satisfied?
When it was my turn to speak I said that my criteria of a business that would be good for our town should be whether the kid's athletic teams could go to a business to ask it to support it with a banner at the athletic field. It was then the mostly out-of-town pro pot growers yelled 'yah!', they would love to advertise it there at the children's play areas...I was floored. Here is an industry that professes it will not involve children as it is a 'adult decision' to take pot, but yet these same people have no qualms advertising their product to our kids...(catch 'em young and get those brains fried early!) Please City Council, did you not see and hear the same thing as I did?
The two pro pot individuals that stood up, talked about it being a booming business and boost to agriculture. Seriously? The truly Medicinal pot growers (growing strains of marijuana lacking the 'high' inducing THC, but leaving the chemical components for pain control) can't find a decent market for their product and are struggling. It is the drug-high producing marijuana that is the overwhelming pot of choice, that is the 'booming business'- a "medicinal use" that is seven to twenty times stronger in THC then anything when I was growing up. A 'medicine' that has no precise dosage, no purity standards, that is absolutely known to permanently lower the IQ of young people's brains.. I can go on, but why? Can't we be honest about what is going on here? Is this a product that any true farmer will want to be involved with? And we haven't even mentioned the known cartel issues, the water issues, the transparency issues of an all-cash market, the huge amounts of fungicides and miticides poured on this indoor monoculture crop...Do you not have the same problem seeing this as the future of our agricultural industry in Fillmore?
I have tried up to now to stay respectful and open-minded about what our City is doing on this issue, but the end of last Sunday's gathering really shook me up. The designated moderator asked of us two questions that the City Leaders gave him to end the meeting with: and they were 1. How did you feel about how the session was run? and 2. What would you want the City to do with all the tax monies that would be collected through pot growing? Have you or I ever been asked in our entire lives what we want our possible tax money to be spent on?!! It's all about the almighty dollar folks! The Marijuana Santa Claus wants to enter our town and shower us with its gifts so it can grow the stuff here...and once they get their toe in the door to grow, it is a slippery slope to all the other aspects of the pot industry that destroy communities. City Leaders and City Manager Rowlands, our town is NOT for sale!
For sure there will be more meetings to come, and we will continue to ask the City to end this issue...without a doubt, I will continue to gain weight and my hair will go silver every time I stand up at these meetings - but I, and so many others, will be there to speak for the safety of our community...our voice will be heard in the end because I do believe in the basic goodness of our people.
Regina Stehly Nunez


Letters to the Editor
June 22, 2017

To the Editor:
Fillmore was voted “America’s last best small town” several years ago. Since that time, we have had many outside investors try to turn us into many other things: urban sprawl, which resulted in Fillmore buying a sewer plant that almost bankrupted our city, and would have resulted in Fillmore losing its name, and becoming just a part of the Heritage Valley sprawl. We all hope and pray we can survive that one.
The latest attempt to change Fillmore is commercial marijuana conglomerates who want to set up in our area (not their own neighborhood). If you remember, many months ago, one of these set up without even asking permission, in the surrounding county area off Grand Ave right next to homes. When they were busted, 89,000 plants were confiscated, and we found out that they were stealing water and power from members of our community.
Once again, the people of our community are being asked to consider commercial marijuana at the “City of Fillmore Medical Marijuana Listening Session”. This meeting is scheduled for Sunday June 25 at 3:30 at the Fillmore Memorial Building.
Last year, hundreds of us turned out to express our opposition to any form of commercial marijuana business in Fillmore. We also turned in petitions with over 1000 signatures, expressing the same sentiments to the city council. All of our community was welcomed to the meeting, yet only a small number of our residents expressed support for Marijuana business.
Furthermore, this small but mighty town was the only city in Ventura County to vote no on Proposition 64 (legalizing recreational pot). Marijuana is still a federally illegal section 1 drug, along with heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy.
To our city officials, I ask, are you listening to the people you promised to serve and protect? What part of “NO” do you not understand? We do appreciate your hard work and commitment, but we ask that you please support us in our efforts to stay America’s last best small town. Please create stronger ordinances and zoning laws to keep Fillmore growing conservatively, along with what we value here. I’ve coined my own motto for us “if it’s good for the family it’s good for Fillmore”.
Of particular concern to us is the property on the west end of the 126, which is adjacent to our newest park, across from a mostly residential area, in short our children and homes. We in Fillmore grumble about our once a year traffic problems due to our fireworks sales, but are happy to do it because it supports local service clubs, faith communities, service leagues, etc., in short our families and lifestyle. A cultivation facility permanently installed on the 126 would ruin our lovely light traffic, one of the many reasons I made Fillmore my home 30 plus years ago.
Even as I write this, daily reports flood in from other states and communities who have taken on this industry: reports of criminal activity, deaths, broken monetary promises, destruction to youths, etc.
Finally, the ‘Safeguard our Fillmore Community Citizen Group” (founded last year) and I ask you to show up on Sunday June 25 in the Fillmore Memorial Building from 3:30-6:00 pm. We need to make clear to all that we love our town, and will not stand idly by while it is destroyed by outsiders who don’t appreciated her beauty and worth.
Annette M Sula
Spokesperson of the Safeguard the Fillmore Citizen Group and its members


To the Editor:
The City of Fillmore invites Fillmore residents pro, against or neutral on this topic to a “City of Fillmore Medical Marijuana Listening Session.” At this facilitated, bilingual session, the City Council seeks to share information with Fillmore residents on its deliberation of requests for permission to cultivate medical (NOT recreational) marijuana within the city limits. City council is not considering or entertaining dispensaries, advertising or deliveries in Fillmore. There will be no speakers advocating positive or negative views regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana.
Residents will be engaged in a structured and respectful sharing of personal views to inform the City Council of the breadth of views on this important topic. Your City Council is committed to assuring that Fillmore remains a secure, safe and livable city, and your input on this important topic is invited. Please come prepared to listen and share your views with fellow residents and your City Council. The listening session will be held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 511 Second Street, Sunday, June 25, from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Spanish language translation will be provided throughout the meeting.
David W. Rowlands
City Manager
City of Fillmore


To the Editor:
I am a concerned parent and member of our community. Last night I spoke at city hall to make the public aware of what has been going on within our community. First let me re iterate since there seemed to be some confusion, Fillmore has 2 competition cheer teams in our community. The two competition teams are the So Cal Fillmore Bears Cheer and Voltage Extreme Cheer. There is also Raiders cheer but they do not currently have a competition team. I am speaking solely on the side of the competition teams. My daughter is currently on the Bears team.
Parks and Rec has a long standing tradition & policy to make sure to split facilities evenly with all teams in our community. For the last three years our team has been practicing in the memorial building. We have split days evenly with the other team as it should be done. We had a verbal contract with the city for Tuesdays and Thursdays 4pm-8pm on the books for 2017/2018 season which is September through March. An email was received from the city stating that payment would needed to be made in full from here on out. Then they decided they would change the policy again to work with teams in the city and they would take a deposit. When the cheer director went in to put a deposit down as requested she was told sorry the Voltage cheer had already booked Monday, Wednesday and Thursday through the end of the year. When she tried to explain we had already had a verbal contract for Tuesdays and Thursdays she was met with a finger in her face and told to shut up. She of course made an immediate complaint as she walked away from city hall. So it was decided lets try to go ahead and book the old boys n girls club with the mats since the mats where not mentioned in the original contract with Voltage. The old boys n girls club is literally like 3 steps down the back door. Its not like its across town at an entirely different facility. Of course we where met with a response of mats are included in the Memorial building rental and are not able to be moved to other facilities, even though this is just out the back door. I was under the impression that the mats where moved to the senior center for self defense class. Last year a certain city council members daughter had tumbling class in the old boys n girls club which the mats where moved for. When the Memorial building has very large events the mats are moved. Also, last year we used that building with the mats. Which sets a precedence.
I happen to know the Memorial board is not happy with current turn of events as far as this is concerned. As I understand they do not even really want the mats in the Memorial building. The Memorial board asked the both teams to work it out. Voltage is refusing. The Bears don't want to lock out another team from practicing we just want to split the facility evenly like has been done traditionally.
I think this is an equality issue. All teams in the city should be able to use facilities equally. The Voltage team has been boisterous in their claim of a private facility in the vicinity they are able to practice at. Even if they do, we are still happy to split the Memorial facility with them. Our teams only other option to drive to Camarillo to a private gym which is another huge expense for the team, which brings me to my next point.
Fillmore is a small town. It is a historically poor town. Gathering the funds to rent any facilities is difficult to say the least. The city was supposed to work with us on a deposit and payments for Tuesday and Thursday rental but once again they refuse to do so, only for Tuesdays.
I very truly believe this is a small town politics issue which city council denies. But how convenient is it that a member of city councils daughter is a coach for the Voltage team. This small town plays a lot of games of who knows who and whos friends with who when it comes to how they juggle things. You would think that Diane McCall would push for the city to operate fairly so it didn't look like their was obvious favoritism going on and who she is friends with. While she doesn't over see these issues she has a huge influence within the city hall. The city manager Dave Rowlands said last night that he hopes the cheer teams can come to a resolution but how can we do that if the city absolutely refuses to intervene and the other team is adamant about making any sort of resolution. Diane McCall was flabbergasted that I said her name last night in the middle of my small speech, but I only speak of what I truly know to be true. This has gone far enough. These back door politics need to end. I'm not even going to get into the nasty messages sent from the other team. This is all a calculated, mean spirited bullying going on. The city is aware and not handling it properly.
Finally the only ones who are suffering are the kids. Who in city council is concerned that the Bears competition team gets treated fairly??? Our kids are missing out and no one is doing anything about it.
Brandy Hollis
Mother of a So Cal Bears cheerleader


To the Editor:
The Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of updating outdated policies and procedures. Earlier this year all groups using public facilities in Fillmore were notified of the new facility rental policy change. The policy change applies to everyone. The So Cal Bears Cheer Director was provided the following notification May 4:
Any reservations that are currently “penciled in” (meaning reservations that don’t have an agreement and are unpaid), and are scheduled to take place before July 15, 2017, will be honored. However, any “penciled in” reservations after July 15, 2017 will be removed from the City’s calendar as of the end of the day on May 15, 2017. Paid and contracted reservations will not be deleted.
Organizations who wish to make their reservations for any dates past July 15, 2017 may do so beginning Monday, May 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM. At that time, you will be allowed to pay and contract for dates beyond July 15, 2017.
New policies:
1. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis.
2. Deposit or full payment and signed agreement are required to reserve.
3. Reimbursement policy:
(refunds will only be processed for the following non-usage or cancellation):
a. Rain or other weather restrictions
b. Facilities staff cancels due to emergency repairs or a safety hazard
c. Booked anticipating playoffs but do not make the playoffs
d. Cancellation 6 or more months in advance
When city staff was unable to accommodate the requested So Cal Bears schedule at the Memorial Building, a call was placed to the new Boys and Girls Club where mats are currently located. Although the City was advised that there are limited hours available, So Cal Bears Cheer declined those times as they would result in irregular practice times. With a limited staff, the City is unable to move very heavy mats between buildings.
City staff provided adequate and equal notification to all groups to ensure a fair and impartial process in reserving facilities and remains hopeful that the two groups can find a way to work together to meet the needs of the children in both groups.
David W. Rowlands
City Manager
City of Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
June 15, 2017

To the Editor:
Commercial marijuana is banned in Fillmore, partly due to public participation in the meeting at City Hall last July, however, the Fillmore City Council is considering removing the bans to allow industrial marijuana operations such as cultivation farms, dispensaries, advertising, processing or deliveries in Fillmore. The Fillmore City Council has planned an event to host leading advocates from the marijuana industry to convince Fillmore that commercial marijuana will be good for our city. Public attendance at the event will help show the City Council that we need the bans to be remain in place. The event is supposed to include some time for questions and comments from anybody who is willing to speak against commercialization of marijuana in Fillmore.
TIME: 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
André Le Comte


To the Editor:
Thank you for your interest in teachers’ concerns. I would like to clarify some things that you heard at the board meeting. You said in your editorial that the disagreements expressed by teachers were centered on money, but there really are many issues that led to this no-confidence vote. Respect is the common expectation and it’s missing under Dr. Palazuelos’s leadership despite how congenial he appears. The fact that there were so many issues that passionate teachers had to speak about gave you the impression that we were beating-down on Dr. Palazuelos. In the midst of what he has been pressuring us with, we needed him and the school board members hear us clearly.
Instead of teamwork, he has:
• Stalled contract negotiations until May when the school year is nearly over despite announcing last year that they wanted to tackle this task early. FUTA announced they were ready in September, and monthly inquiries to the district received no response. January 30, District administration said they were very close to announcing their bargaining openers by the end of February. Tammy read the timeline of this to the board members on June 6.
• Proposed severe elimination of teachers’ Seniority rights
• Proposed elimination of contract language protecting Class Size at all grade levels – teachers voiced concerns about the ramifications of oversized classes. It is not good for students.
• Without discussion, he sprung the dramatically changed calendar. Adrien wants teachers to agree to add 15 minutes to the teaching day in order to achieve his model of Collaboration, and hoped October Break would be a deal maker for that. Two hours additional teaching time without increased compensation is not necessary at elementary school level, but Adrien refused to modify his plan. This information is contained on page 2 of this week’s Gazette.
• The district’s excessive spending for attorney fees. July 2016-Feb 2017 $79,091 spent to resolve bargaining issues, grievances, member discipline, layoffs, unfair labor practices and complaints. This is our tax dollars being spent on lawyer fees that could be used for students. They continue to add up.
• He has continually added Administrative layers to our District leadership so that the District offices now bulges firmly onto the old Sespe campus. I believe we have 10 Directors and 3 Assistant Superintendents. I need to locate Mary Ford’s letter to the Gazette where she researched and compared the number of Fillmore’s administrators to those in Ventura Unified. This money would be much better spent in the classroom in ways that benefit students.
• The district sent a negotiations update to its staff explaining that they proposed to meet for again for bargaining 6 days in June after school was let out. Conveniently, this is when Administrators are still working at their desks but teachers are on Break. Several are out of town as I type this email to you.
These issues led to our members insisting on implementing a vote to determine confidence in our leadership. A vast majority of our members voted, and 90% of those had no-confidence. This is a huge statement. That is why you heard such discontent. Dr. Palazuelos’s leadership is unprofessional towards teachers despite the hopefulness we felt when he took over after Nishino’s reign three years ago. We expect Adrien to treat us the way he would like to be treated and keep the valued teachers that Fillmore Unified employs. We are still hopeful that he will make a turnaround and do this.
I hope that I kept this overview simple although it is not brief. If you have questions I recommend that you click REPLY TO ALL to include Tammy Ferguson (our Bargaining Chair for Fillmore teachers FUTA) who is currently not away on vacation. Meanwhile, you may receive emails from teachers who want to share the details of their concerns as Letters to the Editor. This may spark more questions from you for the articles you plan to write.
Sandy Butts
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
--Eleanor Roosevelt


To the Editor:
Fillmore Superintendent Continues Disruptive Leadership
Fillmore Unified Teachers Association is both dismayed and disappointed by the behavior of Superintendent Adrian Palazuelos as he recommended a “tentative” work year calendar for teachers without getting their agreement. This come become a huge obstacle to an agreement on the current negotiations for 2016-2017. According to the Association of California School Administrators, a Superintendent should lead in a manner that models personal ethics, develops leadership capacity in those with whom he leads, and respects the rights of both students and staff. Having seen leadership come and go within Fillmore Unified, it is perplexing to identify these qualities under current leadership.
This year alone, under the administration of the Superintendent of Fillmore Unified School District, there has been:
1. 17 grievances filed by FUTA and members for alleged violations of the collective bargaining agreement,
2. 5 mediations,
3. 3 complaints,
4. 4 (2016-17) arbitrations and a possibility of 3 more in 2017. This is at a cost of roughly $35,000 to have substitutes for FUTA members away from students, for court transcribers, for the arbitrator, and other clerical fees,
5. A potential Unfair Labor Practice due to School Board’s June 6th adoption of a calendar
FUTA is an affiliate of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and
is also affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education
that includes teacher work days and staff development days without agreement from the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association,
6. At least $110,000 of Fillmore Unified School District funds spent on legal fees beginning in the 2013-2014 fiscal year through February of this current fiscal year with yet unknown current totals to address contract negotiation sessions, labor issues, mediations, complaints, and consultations regarding calendar adoption.
Imagine the magnitude of time and still to be tabulated resources robbed from Fillmore students and their educational rights in an effort to address the issues from this school year alone? This excess spending is unnecessary and a direct reflection of the low ethical standards Superintendent Palazuelos possesses towards the staff he is responsible for developing. Rather than invest in students, Fillmore Unified School District consistently seeks to dismantle the rights of their teachers who facilitate such a crucial role in the education of students. Fillmore Unified teachers are dedicated, and tireless in their endeavors to serve students and meet the often very difficult needs within the Fillmore community. It is shameful that they continue to be broken down and devalued by Superintendent Palazuelos and his continual efforts to challenge and usurp the tenets of the contract, compounding an already arduous task significantly more than is necessary.
Fillmore Unified School district teachers and students deserve a leader that promotes respect and mutual understanding in the face of such monumental challenges.
Brian Ricards,
Vice President,
Fillmore Unified Teachers Association

Letters to the Editor
June 1, 2017

To the Editor:
The Memorial Services at the Bardsdale Cemetery were well deserved, however some irresponsible individual sent a noisy drone over the services! A disrespectable and rude act!! Placing the drone east – over – west of the memorial services. The owner should be penalized and drone taken away from him/her for attempting an act for profit or notoriety. As a veteran, I’ve never witnessed a more despicable act to the honor of those we were paying homage.
Bruce Dempsey

Letters to the Editor
May 25, 2017

To the Editor:
Some months ago at a City Council Meeting, our Mayor was handed a petition signed by over 1,000 citizens of Fillmore stating that we do not want the marijuana industry in our town. That same night, the Council Chambers were overflowing with people opposed to the same. In spite of the petition and the crowd, we are now faced with yet another push by the City Manager and City Council to consider placing a very large marijuana operation in the Business Park, adjacent to the park and soccer fields.
The fact is, Fillmore is the only city in Ventura County that voted AGAINST legalizing marijuana. And we may be the only city in the state to have a proclamation read aloud at a council meeting by our Superintendent of Schools enumerating the many ways legalization can harm schoolchildren! Add to that the fact that marijuana is a mind-altering drug and is still illegal at the federal level.
Mark Ritchie, current president of the California Narcotic Officers Association states, "Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 62 percent since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2013. Marijuana-related ER admissions in Colorado increased from 6,305 in 2011 to 14,439 in 2014. The average ER visit costs $1233. In totality, it cost the state of Colorado $17.8 million for marijuana admissions in 2014." (Ventura County Star, November 3, 2016.) And the list could go on and on...
Sure we need to pay for the Sewer Plant, which, by the way, we borrowed $57 million for and have a $135 million pay out. That was probably the worst decision ever inflicted on us by a former City Council. But putting a 30 acre marijuana industry in our Business Park is NOT THE ANSWER. And, those individuals in real need of medical marijuana have ample locations to serve them.
So, come to another attempt by our city leaders to convince us how this industry will benefit our town. The meeting takes at the Memorial Building at 3:30 on Sunday, June 25th.
Lynne Brooks


To the Editor:
Mr. Farrell,
I hope you are doing well.
I live in Los Angeles, have hiked in the Sespe before, and have been following your articles.
Is there currently any attempt to restrict parking or public access to the lower Sespe via the easement along Grand Avenue where the fence was built?
Alex Thayer

Letters to the Editor
May 18, 2017

To the Editor:
To the parents of the students of Fillmore Unified School District.
Let's really see what Fillmore Unified School District is offering Fillmore Unified Teachers Association and your children.
1. The school calendar is set with a starting date of August 14th and end date of June 15th (rescinded) with no fall break. This is 193 day school year.
2. School will also start 15 minutes earlier and end 15 minutes later each day. Your child will need to be in class at 7:45 a.m. Educational studies show that starting before 9 a.m. is too early for adolescents. See the studies done by Rutgers and National Sleep Foundation.
3. Also on the calendar the district has proposed weekly Thursday minimum days for teacher collaboration. This means all district schools will be out by noon EVERY Thursday.
4. Class size limits will be removed at the high school meaning classes could swell to any number (current limit is 35 )
5. The superintendent's contract has been extended for four years with a guaranteed 3% raise per year yet the district is not ready to share a proposal on salaries for the 2016-17 school year for teachers.
Join us at the final school board meeting for this year on June 6.
Alisa Byrne

Letters to the Editor
April 20, 2017

To the Editor:
Neglect and Vandalism
It is sad to see when someone defaces or destroys a popular public facility: This behavior displays a severe lack of respect for property rights and a disregard of the other people who use a public space. The vandals who destroyed the bike path fencing last week in Fillmore need to be brought to justice. More importantly, they must be educated on the magnitude of the harm they have done. There is no excuse for this behavior.
There is another culprit in this incident: The City of Fillmore. Let me expand. It takes a lot of force to break a new six inch diameter pressure treated post. One would have to run into it with a vehicle. I drove by the bike path the day after it happened: It looked like it was done the previous night, the posts being snapped off by hand or by being kicked. (Perhaps a couple of kids were hopping over the rail and a post broke off, so they decided to "test" the remaining posts.) This indicates the posts were already rotten away at the base. The point is the city needs to pay more attention to the condition of the bike path. These rotten posts were an accident waiting to happen; perhaps resulting in a lawsuit on the city for neglecting to maintain a safe public facility. It took a couple of vandals to get the city to do what it should have done proactively.
Incidentally, I noted that the posts of the bike path are set in concrete. When the bottom of a wooden post is surrounded by concrete, water collects inside the concrete and the wood rots much faster. Properly installed, a 6 inch wooden post will last for decades. I leave the research for proper post setting to the public facilities people.
May God bless the staff and readers of the Fillmore Gazette,
Michael Fechtner

Letters to the Editor
April 13, 2017

To the Editor:
The church on Third Street in N. Fillmore came into being in the late 1930’s.
The Nazarene Church was started and met at 737 Central Avenue (two-story house) and all who attended agreed to help raise funds to buy property and materials to build the church and house in the rear.
Over an extended length of time the members raised the funds to build—mostly through donations at the request of members.
I can recall my mother going house to house in Bardsdale, asking for and accepting donations to build. I was five or six years old at that time, but I do remember the joyous occasion when we first had services there.
I drove by there recently and was sad to see the remains of fire—and the house behind in such poor condition.
Faye Ables
Tehachapi, CA


To the Editor:
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff at Bank of the Sierra for hosting a reception and art exhibit for Fillmore High School artists on April 5th. The students were delighted to have another opportunity to show their work to the community. Special thanks goes out to Jenny Andrade and Alyssa Ceballos who came to me with the idea and coordinated the event. Thank you to my students who helped set up the work and take it down that evening: Sara Uridel, Roman Tarango, Alyssa Ramirez, Kiana Veronica and Samuel Estrada. Thank you also to former Fillmore High School students Kiana and Alexis Ramirez and Roxy Casas who also helped. Thank you to the community of Fillmore who came out to view the work. Thank you for your support of the arts.
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Fillmore High School
Visual & Performing Arts Department


To the Editor:
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the success of Fillmore High School's nineteenth annual arts show “Roads Less Traveled”. It takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work, dedication and talent to coordinate an event such as this. Thank you to Fillmore Lions Club, Fillmore Women’s Service Club, Soroptomist International of Fillmore, and Fillmore Rotary Club for your donations which help to make this event possible. Thank you to Lucy for being a patron of this event. Thank you to the staff and teachers at FHS who supported the student’s efforts and allowed students to take part in hanging the show. To the custodial staff Baldo, Maria, and Johnny- thanks for your help. Thank you to Max and Susan Pina .Thank you to the students who stayed late to break down the show and clean up after the event. I am so appreciative of your help.
Special thanks to Greg Godfrey and the fantastic members of the Fillmore High School Concert Band, Jazz Band and the Mariachi Band who played at the event. The musical concert helped to make the evening a resounding success. Thank you to the members of the band “The Ombres” who sang and played. Thank you to the parents and the community who attended the show and helped to make this a special night for the students. Last, but not least, to all the student artists and musicians who put in numerous hours preparing for this event, hosting and cleaning up after a long day and night- especially my Art students and former students who came back to help- thank you- without you there couldn't be a show. I am very proud of all of you.
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Fillmore High School
Visual & Performing Arts Department


To the Editor:
We would like to express our gratitude to the Fillmore community for a very successful Flower Show. There were gorgeous flowers of many varieties and colors. Garden enthusiasts shared their potted plants, cut flowers, arrangements and bouquets. The young people of Fillmore, from age 3 through high school, contributed artwork, poems and essays that honored the 2017 theme, “Birds, Bugs and Beautiful Blooms.” Thank you for participating. Many positive comments were heard from the people who attended the flower show. If you missed it this year, we’ll do it again in 2018!
The flower show would not be possible without the sustained effort of many. First on the list are Joanne King and Linda Nunes, Flower Show co-chairs. Their hours of dedicated work with the Vision 2020/Civic Pride Committee create the annual show. Also, there are numerous merchants who contributed to the flower show. We want to thank the following: Ari Larson, Bennett’s Honey Farm, De La Rosa Auto Repair, Diamond Realty & Investments, El Pescador Restaurant, Genmai Sushi Restaurant, King & King Ranch, Mary and Ian’s Eggs, Otto & Sons Nursery, Rafa’s Carpet Cleaning, Ryan Lee for the website, Sani Ward’s Train Stop, The Scented Path, The Treasure Station, Vallarta Restaurant and Yanni’s Best.
Thank you Becky Morales and Barry Coo[er for the live music, Regina Nunez for the Flower Show cafe, PEO volunteers, Jim Nunes for the bee condos, Bob Crum for the photography and all the others who did so much to help.
The youth exhibits were especially spectacular this year. In addition to the abundant young individuals who created entries, there were several youth groups who contributed. We not only applaud the young people, but the adult leaders and parents who encouraged them. A big thank you to the following: Cindy Klittich and the Bardsdale 4-H, Girl Scouts, Amelia Aparicio and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, Doris Nichol’s Fillmore Middle School art students, San Cayetano students, Sonshine Preschool students, Loni Larson’s Fillmore Christian Academy students and Boy Scouts who helped set up and clean up. With such talented young people in town, Fillmore will have a great future.
Keep working in your garden and providing habitat for native bees. We’ll see you next year at the Fillmore Flower Show.
Jan Lee for the Vision 2020/Civic Pride Committee

Letters to the Editor
April 6,2017

To the Editor:
...At long last an editorial ran in your otherwise fine newspaper that I agree with you on 100%. Thanks Mr. Farrell for saying what I've been thinking regarding the routing of the proposed sand transfers. To me most of your
editorial opinions are so far to the right that they are in danger of falling off a cliff in Grimes Canyon.
Gary Chiabaudo

Letters to the Editor
March 16, 2017

To the Editor:
Please accept my sincere thank you 's for the Mountain View Signal, and crosswalk.
Today the signage showing school children crossing, and the speed limit change, have been installed.
California is a big state with many opportunities for upgrades and safety protocols. Our community is small but
Hwy 126 has major traffic issues , speed being the paramount one.
I am not aware of the extent of signage and other badly needed speed control devices you are considering .
The remaining Hwy 126 issue is the eastern bound traffic starting at the Pole creek over pass, to the City limits at the Rail road tracks. I know we have discussed this ,this is a much needed attention issue. There are 302 residences in the El Dorado mobile home park . Approximately 1200 plus residents living here. As you know I have shared pictures of the accidents we have had at the driveway onto HWY 126. The need to provide a safe transit in and out of the mobile home park has yet to be implemented. ( the excessive speed of traffic precludes safe transition on to the HWY)
Please share any planning you may be in consideration of implementing, to slow the speeding traffic down.
Again Cal Trans Thank you.
Raymond S Brown Sr.

Letters to the Editor
March 9, 2017

To the Editor:
EPA Representative M.S Holly Hadlock, City Leaders and Fillmore Citizens,
I am writing you this letter in opposition to the proposed partial del-list petition to remove pacific coast pipeline superfund site here in the town of Fillmore California. I have a home no further that 30 feet from the project and have had to deal with the mess of clean up, the worry not only for those of us who have been exposed to chemicals for years unknowingly but also for the future personnel that Chevron is eager to get on that space once it is developed. And they WILL develop it. I have been on the stakeholder committee for years and have watched them lie to my face and not be forth coming with information in many situations in regards to the neighbors and community.
I will give you an example. During the cleanup, land was graded after some contaminated soil was removed. Some is still on site in boxes they say will keep it contained, as if metal doesn’t rust under soil. Well during the grading prepossess they moved soil that was part of the lower half of the hillside away from the hill and closer to the creek and closer to our homes, no further than 30 feet. It made a huge impact on the look of the hill and an eyesore for the neighbors. I was told by Leslie that it was needed for drainage purposes that were required by the county because no water was allowed to leave the site without being treated first. My first thought was darn it, I get to look at that! Oh well. Months later when my husband looked at it and pulled information on it he told me that it was actually a building pad. Yes he is an engineer so he knows what he is taking about. When I asked Leslie about this she said that yes it was a building pad and the plans were to build buildings on the entire site. After hearing all the information that would only come out a little bit at a time over many moths/years of meetings, it was clear that the plan was to build an industrial/business park in Fillmore right behind these home where no one wants them. In some areas the buildings would be level with the homes but in my location the building pad is 30 feet above my home and the building they propose could be not only one story but two stories high above my home. Drainage my foot!
Example two continues on from the drainage issue. I was told earlier that the county would not allow water to leave the site during cleanup and flow into pole creek next to the site and then drain into the Santa Clara River that feeds into many water resources through the county and towards the ocean, well it did just that during one March rain storm. Being married to an engineer our family drives throughout Fillmore during storms and we look at drainage devices to see what works and what does not. We look at streets, walkways, gutters creeks and rivers. We happened to finish the day looking at the catch basin at the end of pole creek just south of the superfund site. I decided to look up the channel of pole creek to see how full it was and was horrified to see the water FLOWING off the site. Yes I did take a picture of it. Knowing that I would be in a superfund meeting later that next week. I asked what would happen if the water did go off site in that kind of situation and I was FIRMLY told by Bill that “It would not happen”! They were not pleased when I presented the photos of just that happening. Leslie covered with, “we did see that it did happen and they caught it first thing Monday morning”. The water was flowing since Friday.
So I hope this gives you some clarification as to why I do not trust anything that Chevron tells me. They said that they were doing solar, period. Now I can see the bait and switch I figured they would do is happening. Once they are taken off the list then it will be developed and people working there for many hours a day will be exposed to the chemicals still in the water and the soil buried there. I asked during a meeting if it was developed would they (Chevron) post signage notifying workers or people coming to the site of the superfund status and their risk from long exposures to the site and they said no, that would be up the leaser or managers of the different establishments/businesses. Chevron has NO regard for our community but only for making money off a poor piece of land that is in a junky location only to be a further burden on the close proximity of residential and elementary school neighbors. No! Do not remove them partially from the superfund list for surface soils now or ever.
The public deserves to know what has gone on at that site in the past to protect themselves and their posterity from harmful heath issues in the future and at least have the choice to say no I value my health more than to visit or work on this site. I fear that once you allow this change of superfund status to happen and they “clean up” the water then they will ask to be taken off the list completely. This would open the door for them to build not only the restricted things they currently are allowed to but it would remove their current restrictions and would allow homes, schools, hospitals, hotels all which are not allowed currently due to the fact of long exposure to the chemicals still left on site. It makes a person wonder how clean is it? Family’s would garden in these homes and eat food produced from this soil. Students would roll in the dirt and study for many hours on this site. There is a reason prop.65 was established, to let people know that they are at risk of exposure to cancer causing chemicals and have to choice as to how they will act on the information, and you are asking to have the Chevron superfund site be taken off a list that would give people some sort of warning as to what they are getting into, sorry I cannot be part of that kind of deceit.
Our committee left our last meeting with the understanding that solar was what was going to be installed on the superfund site so the least amount of personal would be exposed and the least amount of issues would impact the neighbors. I figured it was a win-win since they could get a good pat on the back for going in a green direction, nope it appears that is not the ultimate plan after all. The Fillmore works web site states that solar is the best option “for now”. In the email letter I received from Monte and from Leslie this next section is what led me to this conclusion, “waiting until the entire site is eligible for delisting can be a barrier to productive uses that benefit communities because of the “stigma” associated with superfund sites”.
Again, I do not support the partial removal from the superfund list, they need to live with the “stigma “of being a superfund site because contamination of water and soil and air IS a reality of the oil manufacturing business. Own it.
Thank you for allowing me to give my input as a committee stakeholder, homeowner and community member on this Chevron superfund site issue also known as PCPL.
Kathy Pace

Letters to the Editor
February 8, 2017

To the Editor:
We would like to thank the Lions Club, Fillmore Women’s Service Club and Soroptomist International for their continued support of the arts programs at Fillmore High School. Their generous donations to the upcoming March Arts show will allow us to continue putting on this event. On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Fillmore High School, thank you!
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Fillmore High School
Visual & Performing Arts Dept. Chair


To the Editor:
“Do you want to buy a bag?”
I am seventy-five years old and for my entire lifetime when I went to a store and purchased merchandise I was given a paper bag in which to carry the items home. There was never a charge for the bag. Then came along the plastic bag and one had a choice between paper or plastic and still no charge. Eventually it went to almost all plastic bags and, as always, no charge. But all of that changed recently by a law which environmentalists said was crucial to reducing litter and ocean pollution. It prohibits grocery stores, large retail stores with a pharmacy, convenience stores, food marts, liquor stores, and any other stores that choose to comply with the law from providing free single-use carryout bags. The operative word here is “free”. There is no ban on plastic bags that the customer pays for.
A paper bag takes approximately a month to decompose and it takes as much as twenty years for a plastic bag to decompose and therefore the ecology activists concluded that the solution to the problem was to ban the use of single use plastic bags. A quick look will tell that the purchased plastic bags are much thicker than the single use bags and must take significantly more time to decompose. In passing the law environmentalists were assured of no opposition from the retailers because those retailers now were able to make a profit on the items that their customers historically received free of cost. Henceforth, customers get two choices: either buy a plastic bag or a paper bag from the store or bring their own bag from home.
The culprit that apparently needs to be banned is plastic. But somehow the activists have concluded that only single use plastic bags should be banned. As I walked through our local supermarket I looked carefully at the items for sale that are made of plastic or sealed in plastic containers. The first thing I came across was a loaf of bread which was wrapped in plastic. Many of the bakery items are sold in plastic containers. The items on the meat counter, yes, contained in plastic. The milk and bottled water were also in plastic containers. The single use bags inside the breakfast cereal boxes are plastic. Butter, margarine, yogurt, cottage cheese - the list goes on and on. And the non-food items sold the like Pampers, laundry and dish washing soap, bleach, mouthwash, tooth brushes, shoe polish, vitamins and skin lotion – need I continue. If we put up with this what will those activists go after next?
And probably even a bigger “why” is why don’t the stores in question just go back to paper bags at no charge like it’s been for over a hundred years?
Tom Pedersen

Letters to the Editor
January 26, 2017

To the Editor:
I received our edition of the paper yesterday and I have been reading the letter regarding the legalization of marijuana, or rather the much protested letter to NOT legalize marijuana.
Each to his own opinion, however, I want to say that no one asked me and I highly resent someone speaking for me.
This how I see this problem. Marijuana has been around since the beginning of time. Down through the centuries many people have used this herb for medicinal purposes, it has been used in rope, sandals and clothing. If pioneers, native americans, and those who lived during the witch trials, would know that marijuana is an herb and along with this particular herb others were used in medicinal purposes and I am sure they were used for other things as well.
We have many laws and as each one is passed, they add up. To my knowledge, as a county, and for the city of Fillmore, my guess is that we do not have the man power to cover all those laws including the one for marijuana. As I said, it's medicinal properties have been proven time and again for those who suffer tremendously in pain with several types of cancer. My guess would be that those who put the letter together, when one of theirs are in such pain, that they would look into anything that would ease their loved ones suffering.
I do not appreciate anyone speaking for me, because no one asked for my opinion on this and as for a business venture involving marijuana, for those interested, GO FOR IT.
Personally, everything mentioned in the letter I do not agree with it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, legalizing marijuana is not the end of the world, and those who need it, can purchase it without fear that they will be arrested for the possession of it.
For the representatives of Safeguard Fillmore, speak only for those that agree with you. I DO NOT!!
Thank You
Toni Techau

Letters to the Editor
January 19, 2017

To the Editor:
Marijuana Alert Fact: Fillmore is the only city in the county that voted AGAINST legalizing marijuana in November. We may be the only city in the state to have a proclamation delivered by our school board and read aloud at a council meeting by our Superintendent of Schools that enumerated the ways legalization can harm schoolchildren. Keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
We’ve also had the Ventura County D.A., County Sheriff and Fillmore Police Chief warn our City Council of the dangerous consequences that go along with the legalization of marijuana. Specifically, DA. Greg Totten wrote a letter encouraging our City Council to enact regulations prohibiting both medical and commercial marijuana industries in our city.
In spite of these dire warnings, our City Council and City Manager are considering going forward with some sort of marijuana industry in the Business Park. Really?! Hasn’t it been made abundantly clear that WE DO NOT WANT THIS?
When hundreds of citizens showed up at a council meeting in the Fall to say, “Not in our town!” city officials were notified. How about when over 1,000 people signed a petition saying the same thing? A clear message is being sent that we, the people, want our city to enact strong ordinances banning every aspect of the marijuana industry in our town. Numerous cities in California have already enacted bans, moratoriums and ordinances as Prop. 64 gives each city the right to refuse involvement in the marijuana industry. We will be supplying of some of these bans to our City Council with a recommendation to model Fillmore’s ban after the city of Upland’s.
In an editorial she wrote on December 8th in the Fillmore Gazette, Regina Stehly Nunez states, “It sure looks like City Hall is diving into another sewer of filth just to pay for a boondoggle sewer plant that they (a previous council ) voted for.” We who love Fillmore cannot accept another horrific decision that would so negatively impact us.
People of Fillmore, we need to redouble our efforts with renewed vigor to ensure that our precious community is protected from the gross damages that accompany the marijuana industry. All are invited to the next Safeguard Fillmore meeting Thursday, Jan. 19th, from 6 7 p.m. at St. Francis Church. Even more importantly, please join us with your support as we again share our community’s stance and determination at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24th at 6:30 at City Hall. Thank you!
Annette Sula
Lynne Brooks
Representing Safeguard Fillmore
Jan. 16, 2017

Letters to the Editor
January 12, 2017

To the Editor:
Re: New Four-Way Stop at First and A Streets
First, I would like to commend the City Public Works Agency, Planning Commission, and all involved in this much needed Traffic Remedy. I’m quite sure it takes Time, Funding, Planning, and Studies to justify this New Traffic Device Installation. I am also confident that the Project falls within MUTCD Compliance. Anyway, I would like to shift focus on another area of MUCH NEEDED ATTENTION- Santa Clara St. This stretch of Roadway, between the Sections of A and B Streets, has become a VERY CONGESTED “Racetrack”, where dumb-ass Drivers like to haul-ass from the Sespe Saloon “Sports Bar”, Westward toward B Street. It is a daily Pain In The Ass! Many Children walk to and from School, they play outside, pedestrians walk to Local Stores, etc. Personally, on MY level, I almost lost the Life of my Best Friend- getting out of his own parked vehicle (driver-side), his body thrown 40+ feet away, car totaled- all in front of my house. It only indicates that he was racing down the Street and gunning it. To this Day, the Driver has not been located and dealt with. He left his Car running so he can run away from the scene of the accident. It might have been one of the dignified “Citizens” that venture to the “Sports Bar”. That was in latter 2007.
2017, nothing has been done to Remedy this highly traveled thoroughfare. What will it take? Will it actually take a Fatality (GOD FORBID)? A multi-vehicle pile-up? It doesn’t make sense. Is it possible to install Speed-Bumps along this corridor? All it takes is some consideration from our City Officials, Public Works Agency, etc.. Seriously, SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!
Thank You,
Bobby C.
Santa Clara St Resident

Letters to the Editor
January 05, 2017

To the Editor:
It is with a heavy heart I am selling my electric car (grad nite live). I can’t drive any more so it sits. It needs some TLC and batteries. I drove 10,000 miles since 2002 and never left Fillmore. It will be nice to see my GEM out and about in Fillmore again. Thanks for waving at me all those years.
Mrs. Chaney

Letters to the Editor
December 22, 2016

To the Editor:
The letter below was sent to me to express a resident’s appreciation for our deputies that serve our community on a daily basis. I received her permission to share it with the community. This is another example of the positive daily work our officers do to improve the quality of life in our community. With all of the confrontation that is taking place in our world; it is nice to know you can make a positive difference if you take the time to treat each other like family. During this season of sharing, I am very grateful to lead and share in their mission to protect and serve all of Fillmore and the Santa Clara Valley.
Happy Holidays,
Fillmore Police Chief, Dave Wareham

[Letter to Fillmore Sheriff’s Department]
I would like to take a minute to thank two special Deputy's for the way they handled a situation last month. Both Deputy Graybill and Deputy Bautista were called to assist in some questioning with 2 of my children at the station. It was pretty late in the evening and words cannot express how appreciative I am that my children were able to get to know police officers on more of a personal level.
What could have been a bad memory of sitting and waiting for hours, was actually turned into some positive communicating time! My children, Heaven & Enoch Aparicio left with such a positive outlook all because these two Deputy's took the time to not only listen, but they also opened up, sharing some things that helped my kids realize even "police officers" can come from "difficult" backgrounds. This was great as it helped reiterate things I try to teach them... That OUR life is what WE make of it! WE ALL have a "story" but it is up to US to create the ending WE want!
Deputy Bautista had conducted his questioning with care and even shared with my kids how he also had a stepdad, which wasn't always easy... Something that helped them relate to each other created great comfort and it also helped my son have a different outlook on cops, as all too often they appear to be emotionally distant and rarely open up or share stories with kids. This had a tremendously positive effect and I'd like to thank him for being able to step out of the cop mentality at the right time and appear as another human, someone with whom he could relate to for the time being. Also, there were two instances before when Deputy Bautista helped my brother with a child custody/visitation situation, where he again, took the time to explain and offer great advice and did not stereotype him due to his past. This was something my brother greatly appreciated as he has never gotten to see the other side of a cop, which I feel helped him open up to a new world of respect for Officers.
Deputy Graybill went above and beyond our expectations of ANY police officer. She sat there getting to know us all and helped keep everyone's minds busy and at ease with her conversations. I can honestly say after a good 3 hours around her, I find her to be very sincere in what she does. I learned from her and my son Enoch, about a time that all the kids STILL talk about. One day she went by the skatepark and jokingly jumped on a skateboard with no wheels pretending to ride it! To this day, my son still talks about it. Something so simple went a long way because it helped the kids out here see a different side of cops, a side they like and respect more! Simple things, like kids getting to know the other side of a cop (their personality) I believe helps make a huge difference later as they grow up in this small town. Deputy Graybill also shared a very special story... A personal story about her "broken shoe" when she was young, and how embarrassed she was when her shoe broke at school because the glue did not hold it together. She shared with us, how she promised herself that one day she would be able to purchase as many shoes as she wanted, after being so embarressed. Well, little did she know, this was something we can relate too and this helped my kids see that we are not the only ones who have struggled financially. It helped them see that they too have a choice to be the change and it is up to them to make their minds up and utilize it in a positive way. Creating our path to success is up to us, and I am so thankful she also took the time to help, encourage, motivate, and get to know my children as we all appreciated her time with us. Lastly, Deputy Graybill went above and beyond by offering food to my children and I, as she knew being there for hours had given them an appetite. She was so generous to offer and pay for the food as I didn't have any money on me. That sincere gesture went a long way as she didn't have to do that, it says a lot about her. My kids were very well taken care of with her in our presence and I appreciate that.
All too often people only take the time to complain. I want to take the time to let the Fillmore Sheriffs Dept. know you have some great new additions to your force. It's people like these two, who really make a difference helping mold lives of the future.
Thank you for your time,
Naomi Qualls


To the Editor:
Merry Christmas Fillmore! The trees downtown have finally arrived, fewer and not exactly pine trees – but they arrived! Between tree mix-ups, deaths, record rains and wicked winds…it was doubtful! But the Christmas tree tradition was going to return – no matter what came at us…Thanks to all who trekked down to add their bit of joy to the trees for our blesses town!
Regina Stehly

Letters to the Editor
December 15, 2016

[extracted part of letter] To the Editor:
I wanted you to know continued activities I am working with Cal Trans. While the stop light at Mountain View is a wonderful upgrade for Fillmore, it is only the beginning of providing safety for our City, and particularly our school children and elderly. They, walk the path from the El Dorado Mobil home park to school and shopping. There are 302 homes in the park and roughly 1400 people living here. We depend on being able to safely walk or drive out of this residential area.
There are no sidewalks or other recognized safe passage routes for these people to rely on.
My quest is to get Cal Trans to provide additional traffic flow speed/controls between Pole Creek and our eastern border, the rail road tracks. What ever means they may have at their disposal is a plus from this present day situation.
I can not understand frankly why this is given silent treatment by our Fillmore residents, City government, and our local police department. May be, unless you live at this end of Fillmore it is not a priority.
I know there are some who have been residents since birth; apparently they are used to uncontrolled speed in this area. The good ole days ended when the city authorized the school and the major home development going on south of Hwy 126. Adding to the increase of our own city/contribution, there is significant traffic volume from Santa Clarita through our City. Something other than potential death of a person must be the criteria for safety protocols to be observed and implemented.
Raymond Brown Sr.


To the Editor:
I was breezing through your usually humorous editorials today for some laughs and noticed that, perhaps in your excitable state, must have overlooked that the marijuana proposition that passed in California is #64, not as you write twice 65. Maybe your age is creeping up on you...
Also, your comments on Mitt were so interesting, but his name is spelled Mitt, not as you wrote- Mit. Maybe you were just placing little teasers for us to notice??
An old adage comes to mind when I read your editorials about politics. When it comes to left wing politics in California, I say to you "Love it or leave it". If you remember a number of years ago, Republicans were powerful in California. Then it became popular to bash the immigrants of the time. The then-governor tried to change the policies, and the electorate threw out the Republicans on a grand scale. The state has been Democratic since, much to your lament.
You should hope this doesn't happen on a national or international scale, as your Pres.-elect is on a course to do.
And I suppose you fail to appreciate the tenant of the separation of church and state, an idea this country was founded on, when you rail against a legal provision designed to keep church leaders from political preaching to the congregation. You seem to forget the immigrants that came here from the old countries, many to escape religious persecution. Perhaps you should check your facts before attempting to give us your wisdom in "Realities"
[letter was submitted by un-signed email author]

Response to un-signed letter to editor.
Amazing how bold some letter writers can be, especially when they shy away from signing their names. Usually we don't print anonymous letters without special circumstances. But I can't resist this one.
I'm glad you find my editorials humorous. Humor is good. And I'm glad that you are a regular reader. We will try to keep you entertained, especially during the holiday season.
Age is indeed a factor in some of my editorial; I've been doing this for 30 years and I certainly do get weary sometimes. I addressed this factor and the incorrect Proposition number a while back. It was corrected on line.
But I make no apologies for my criticism of California's Leftist-liberal condition. Being a fourth generation, with fifth generation kids, from the state, I have a clear view of what has happened in California. "Love it or leave it"? Truly I would leave but for long-time commitments.
I have no time today to comment of the state of the Democrat Party. It has withered away, except in places like California and New York. And I must tell you I revel in learning of the nearly two BILLION dollars lost in the effort to push Hillary Clinton into the White House. All lost, together with the seven tons of fireworks placed on the dock in New York - never to go bang. As I said a week or two ago - Yippy! The State of California will soon disintegrate by spontaneously combusting in the pile of radical-liberal policies the Democrat Party has concocted.
You have no understanding of the so-called "separation of church and state" clause. The Founding Fathers were clearly rejecting the establishment of a national church - as England has to this day, which is supported by taxes from her subjects. Wish I had more time for this. Our First Amendment trumps any freakish, so-called "Johnson Amendment". Churches must speak out to abide by our Founders plan - and GOD'S.
Later - no more time.
Martin Farrell
The Fillmore Gazette

Letters to the Editor
December 8, 2016

To the Editor:
Wow! Am I reading the Star correctly? And I quote our City Manager Mr. Rowlands: the vote "tells me the community is open to the possibility of cultivation and taxation of marijuana...the thing with Proposition 64 is it has to do with recreational use. They're saying they are comfortable with the medical side, but they do have concerns about the recreational side"
Let's be clear on this issue of 'medical use' marijuana that our Mr. Rowlands wants to tax- there are only a few strains of pot that are cultivated without the 'high' associated with it, and there are few growers out there that are making a profit. For the rest of the 'medical pot' there is currently no verifiable standard of the THC content on every portion that is sold. It is the majority of pot strains, that comes to the user at seven times the strength it was in my youth, that is the pot that is mainly sold as 'medicine' to card holders. All medical pharmaceuticals, without exceptions, are required to identify what their product contains but currently there is no verifiable standard of the THC content, let alone any other chemicals, in every portion of 'medical pot' that is sold. Ask any hospital doctor/nurse how they could justify giving something which they don't have a clue its strength or purity.
And all these financial transactions for medical pot? There are no paper trails because it is an all cash industry- that makes it an industry rife with corruption and crime....so, actually Mr. Rowlands, neither the government nor we in Fillmore are 'comfortable' as you say, with the way medical pot is handled in our communities- because it can be so easily abused.
But now after the State vote we are contending with the recreational aspect of pot (and even in the most fundamental of ways, like just how police will get high drivers off the road, since there is no standard in place for this DUI?) And that our city hall thinks it has figured out what the federal, state, county and city governmental bodies, police, medical establishment and each and every family that has been affected by marijuana has not....well, it is the ultimate hubris on our City Hall's part. Our state is now in a panic over how to implement something that will cause so many societal issues- just do a random check on the internet to what is happening in the states of Washington and Colorado when it comes to spiraling crime, overdoses and addiction rates and disfuntion in the communities there.
We can throw up our arms and give up with the reality that recreational pot is now legal in California...(heh, might as well get some tax loot out of what is now ok to have in our homes!) But we all know what this tax on pot money represents. Each community still has the right to refuse to deal in the pot industry, even after Prop 64. We can, and I pray will, join the many other communities and counties that refuse to join the gravy train in the pro-pot states, because it is simply the right thing to do...as one neighbor said the other day, 'it sure looks like City Hall is diving into a another sewer of filth just to pay for a boondoggle sewer plant that they voted for'...folks, we are so much better then this!
And let's be clear about that vote put to our town that the city manager pointed to as evidence of our wanting pot was so vaguely written that one felt like it was a 'do it or lose it' issue we were voting on...and as for the State Proposition 64, well, there was no city in the county had a higher percentage then Fillmore AGAINST bringing pot production and distribution to our backyard. I just don't get where our City Hall comes to the conclusion that the citizens are for involving our town in the pot industry, but I do see so much evidence that there is an agenda at City Hall to cash in on the almighty tax potential. Let me point out, yet again, what the citizens of Fillmore are saying and doing about the issue of marijuana.
This is the town that pulled together a 'Safeguard Fillmore Group' overnight when it found that the various people who work for our City Hall wanted to push it at a city meeting(such a huge decision and it was quietly being moved along as if it were voting on what day to pick up the trash!)
Fillmore is the town that brought out HUNDREDS of its citizens against any pot industry in our community after word got out what was up for city council vote. The city of Upland, with a population of over 75,000, had 35 people come out against it at their city meeting. That city then drew up what are considered some of the tightest regulations on marijuana to protect its citizens. We had close to 300 family and neighbors at our city meeting, yet we are still trying to get our voice heard in our City Hall.
Our town's police chief and sheriffs stood up against it repeatedly.
The School Board, Teachers and Superintendent of our schools came forward with a powerful Proclamation by the entire district in opposition of the direction our town was taking on marijuana.
Pastors from half a dozen churches and their congregations stood to say 'not in our town!'.
I don't know, but it sure seems like this is a town that is deffinity NOT pro-pot...so what is it City Manager Mr. Rowlands? Either you folks there have your own agenda, or you are listening to the citizens of Fillmore...it sure leaves me questioning what is going on in our city hall...
Like I wonder if maybe it is the boatloads of pot money that is just too enticing...but meanwhile we in Fillmore will live with the consequences that have been experienced in every community that has gone the way of pot legalization for years to come. But if you really were trying to cash in on the taxes, why only 15% tax rate?... even the city Santa Ana has set a 22% rate- unless you want to advertise Fillmore as the 'golden tax haven' for the pot industry-and just one hour above the Los Angeles market!
I also wonder how you thought that this agenda is a slam dunk in our town for you at city hall? Is it because we are considered 'easy'? At the Safeguard Meeting when you were asked why you thought Fillmore was being targeted by the pot growers, you said it was because our population was the low educated and one of the lowest socio- economic class communities...besides being amazingly condescending of our community, it was also just plain false...if you had taken the time to look at the cross section of our community at the Safeguard Fillmore meeting you would have been made aware it is real families of every stripe and color that oppose the agenda you are pushing on us. And if you would have taken the time to listen to the 'uneducated poor' of our community you will find, that of all the classes, they are MOST against recreational because they know they are precisely the class that pays the highest price of pot's destructiveness.
If this last election cycle says anything at all, it is saying that the citizens of this great democracy of ours, no matter what party you voted, are just plain tired of dealing with a government that is unresponsive to our voices. And if democracy functions best at the community level, then I say we need to clean up our own backyards first.
I realize Mr. Rowlands was just hired on for another two years as City Manager, so it is my hope that our new City Council has the wisdom to see the truth and good for our community, regardless of the information source. And I hope our Mr. Rowlands can step back from his current agenda which has all the hallmarks of using the pot tax as a panacea for our budget woes. Do the hard, but real, work of finding better ways to sustain a community then a addictive, corrosive and damning vehicle like pot.
I always told my classroom students that to carry a public servant office is a great responsibility and a noble calling. I ask you Mr. Rowlands and Council, please, as a true public servants for the citizens of this blessed community of Fillmore, listen to the voice of your constituents...And we are saying that if it is truly medical marijuana we are talking about, not THC pot, then Fillmore would be the first to stand by the needy. But please end this charade of the 'medical cards'- because we all know the vast majority of pot is used for the addictive high. Now with the recreational pot allowed in California, we ask that our city leaders do everything they can to of keep it out. Every community has the right to refuse involvement in the pot industry, even post-Proposition 64, whether it is the growing, distribution or selling. We ask our City Hall to join all the communities that have stood up and said "not in our town" ...and that includes the tax bonanza that goes along with this industry...because there is no amount of money worth yet another family losing a child to addiction and crime.
Regina Stehly Nunez


To the Editor:
Access to Sespe Creek and Fillmore hiking
I was deeply saddened to learn that they have fenced off the end of Grand Avenue near Fillmore, where I have been accessing the Sespe Creek to hike to Devil's Gate for many years.
Other cities, such as Ojai, have more hiking trails every year. But each year Fillmore has fewer places where people can walk in our natural areas. Now there are practically none.
Decades ago, people used to be able to hike up Pole Creek or to the top of San Cayetano Mountain, for which a local school is named. But now, private property blocks the access to the Los Padres National Forest from these areas.
The Tar Creek area in the Sespe Condor Sanctuary is also closed, due to the trash people were leaving in Tar Creek and the hazard it poses to the condors. This closure I understand, but it is one more area not accessible anymore.
Another area I used to hike was up Santa Paula Peak, where the owners of Diamond Ranch kindly let us walk through their property in Timber Canyon. But since the ranch was sold a couple of years ago, the new owners will not allow access anymore to this spectacular hiking trail.
The one place left to hike near Fillmore is the Dough Flat trailhead, which is closed in the winter and spring, and is a 45 minute drive from Fillmore.
We can see the mountains that surround our town, but we can't get to them.
Teresa Norris
Fillmore resident