Letters to the Editor
November 20th, 2008

To the Editor:
A number of misconceptions have arisen recently that need to be corrected.
First, there's the misconception that refusing to recognize homosexual marriage is akin to refusing to allow interracial marriage. In the eyes of the world, the two may be related, but not in the eyes of God. Nowhere in the Bible do we find that it is a sin for people of different races to marry. People who opposed interracial marriage did so simply out of prejudice, not because God says that it's wrong. However, God does condemn homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Secondly, there's the misconception that homosexual marriage is simply a matter of rights. Actually, it's a matter of morality. Some actions are immoral, and some are not. Murder is immoral; stealing is immoral; lying is immoral; adultery is immoral; sex outside of marriage is immoral; and homosexual activity is immoral. On what basis are they immoral? On the basis of the foundation of our traditional moral standards, the law of God.
Thirdly, there's the misconception that while Jesus was tolerant (i.e. Jesus would OK homosexual marriage), the apostle Paul was not (because in his letters Paul condemns homosexuality), therefore we can listen to Jesus but ignore the writings of Paul. Actually, Jesus said, "Don't think that I came to destroy the law, but to fulfill it." (Matthew 5:17) Jesus did not do away with the moral law (the 10 Commandments and their applications), and Jesus never condoned sin. For to condone sin is sin itself, and Jesus never sinned. Jesus also said to those He sent out (which includes Paul). "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me." (Luke 10:16) What Paul writes is the word of Jesus, and whoever rejects Paul's writings rejects Jesus who sent him.
Finally, there are misconceptions of where president-elect Obama stands on the issues of abortion and homosexual marriage.
There's the misconception that Obama opposes partial-birth abortion. He gave that impression in the third presidential debate when he stated that he does not support partial-birth or late-term abortion. The reality is that he not only doesn't oppose partial-birth abortion, but that he supports resumption of the practice in our country. Obama has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which was drawn up in opposition to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The Freedom of Choice Act would allow partial-birth abortions to resume where the "health" of the mother is involved. Of course, the "health" of the mother can mean any mental or physical discomfort that she suffers, so the "health of the mother" exception clause in effect nullifies the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and makes it only so much worthless paper. For those who are not aware of what partial-birth abortion actually is, it's a procedure used late in a pregnancy where the child is delivered except for its head. Its skull is then cut open and its brains are sucked out so that it can be delivered dead.
By the way, on the issue of abortion there's a video that I would direct your attention to. It can be seen at www.obamamustsee.com.
There's also the misconception that Obama opposes homosexual marriage. The reality is that he favors repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. DOMA, as it's called, states that the Federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, nor are the states required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Since the Defense of Marriage Act deals exclusively with denying the validity of homosexual marriage, there's no reason to favor repealing it if one actually opposes homosexual marriage.
Lastly, a word on tolerance. I know several people here in Fillmore who had "Yes on 8" signs stolen from their property. One lady had her sign stolen twice. My wife and I had a different experience. We had roofing nails placed under the tires of our vehicles. A $30 tire repair bill was the price we paid.
Rev. Leslie R. Lanier
Wayfarer's Chapel Lutheran Church

To the Editor:
I know this is a very trivial point but it has been driving me crazy for years so I need to speak out! Can we please let people know that we DON'T have a Shields Park or Shields Drive. We have Shiells Park and Shiells Drive. There is NO "D" just two ll's pleas people pronounce and spell it correctly!!!!
Thank you,
Amy Berger

 


 
Letters to the Editor
November 13th, 2008

To the Editor:
I would like to say thanks to the hardest working campaign team ever and thanks to all of the supporters and volunteers who worked so hard – I could not do it without you. Thanks to all of the voters who cast their vote for me. For those who did not vote for me I hope to earn your support as we work together to face challenges ahead of us.
I also want to thank all of the candidates who participated in this election. It’s not easy being out in the public realm. But anyone who is willing to make the sacrifice in time and energy to try to make their community better deserves a lot of credit.
I am looking forward to fulfilling my duties on the Fillmore City Council and promise to do my best to represent all of the people in Fillmore to the best of my ability.
Gayle Washburn,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Dear friends and Fillmore voters,
I want to extend my thanks to all of you for your help and confidence during this recent election. We all worked very hard to win the election for myself, Jamie, Gayle plus Measures H&I.
As I have probably told you, I feel that portions of this city’s recent problems are because of the improper implementation of the California Government Code regarding the Office of City Clerk. I campaigned on the platform of establishing this office in Fillmore as an independent governing entity as defined in the code. And I want to again promise you that I will faithfully fulfill that promise.
Thank you again
Clay Westling,
Fillmore City Clerk - Elect

To the Editor:
Gallegly thanks the voters
It is an honor to serve the people of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in Washington, DC, and I want to thank the voters for your support again this week.
As a nation, we face challenges today unlike any we’ve faced in many decades. But the United States has faced great challenges before and we have always prevailed. There is much work ahead. I have no doubt that if we keep our eyes on the goal of peace and prosperity we will reach that goal.
Rebuilding our economy and winning the war against terrorism are not partisan issues, they are American issues. There is new leadership in the nation’s capital and they will find, as past leaders have, that leading is not easy. I have a record, as both a part of the majority and minority, of working in a bipartisan effort with my colleagues. I will continue to do so as we tackle the tasks ahead.
I have never taken your support lightly over the past 22 years and I never will. I pledge to continue to serve with commitment and dedication. Should you have any questions or concerns about any federal issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office in Thousand Oaks, Solvang, or Washington, DC.
Sincerely,
ELTON GALLEGLY
Member of Congress

To the Editor:
As Mr. Martin Farrell took his last opportunity to endorse particular Measures before Election Day, he truly hit a home run! For the faithful supporters of Propositions 8 and 4 it was a breath of fresh air in the sea of media bashing of our cause. While all was not won in the election, you won our hearts by speaking up against the tide of media opinion against traditional values and candidates. While we are grateful that Proposition 8 passed successfully, we fully recognize that a large percentage of our population misunderstands our cause and the issue, which has nothing to do with rights or tolerance. A key issue that is missed by those who loudly proclaim that this is an issue of civil rights and that separation of church and state means that moral issues are not applicable miss the true meaning behind the founding of this great nation, "One Nation Under God". Separation of Church and State does not mean abandonment of God or those principals that underpin our constitution and nation. Tolerance that undermines basic and core values is not tolerance, but weakness! We must all recognize the task ahead to share with others those core issues of such importance so that we never again face such a challenge as we did with the passing of Proposition 8. We will move forward from the results of this election thankful that we all have the opportunity to express our vote in the governance of this Nation. Thanks again for speaking up for what is right!
David Starr,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Thankfully the election is finally over. I think that the outcome of the City election was the result of many things but most importantly it was the candidates and the issues. We were fortunate to have had so many who were willing to participate at that level.
We cannot overlook the good reporting of the Gazette and Martin Farrell who brought to our attention the problems that would be created by the North Fillmore Plan; Martin, credit to you for being the spark that ignited the movement behind Measures H and I.
It seems one of our citizens was cited for removing some Proposition 8 signs; I would have been proud to have had my picture along side his if his story is true. I saw a “Yes on Prop 8” sign illegally placed in the middle of Central Ave. near City Hall. I should have removed it from our property but I didn’t take the time, shame on me.
One last thought, Mr. Farrell, the previous two presidential elections you told us that we should vote for G.W. Bush – big mistake. This time we decided to try something different and vote for the candidate you didn’t support. Of course, Obama’s presidency will be judged by whether or not he can fix everything that G.W. broke. A daunting task but we can hope.
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Re: Cindy Blatt's November 6th. letter
A plethora of "Yes on 8" signs in and around Fillmore is based on an Article in the United States Constitution, known as The First Amendment, which guarantees the right of free speech, Fillmore included . Unfortunately, some in Fillmore believe free speech does not apply to ideas that they disagree with. Around 100 "Yes on 8" signs were stolen from front yards of Fillmore residences, mine included. According to newspaper accounts two individual Fillmore residents, including a former Mayor of Fillmore, were arrested or cited by Fillmore police for stealing "Yes on 8" signs. I don't know on any "No on 8" signs that were stolen but I do know that "No on 8" supporters were protesting in front of a polling place, (very illegal) and police were called and responded. Could that form of free speech be more acceptable to Ms. Blatt's standards of expression?
Tom Montali,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
The youth organizations of Fillmore have teamed together to find a solution with the school board regarding the use of the school fields for practicing. There are four youth sports that play throughout the year that require fields to practice on. If you think about how much public space is out there in our town, you know that it is not very much. Currently we all pay fees to the school district for the use of school fields to help keep them maintained. Since fees will increase for 2009 all youth organizations have been forced to raise registration fees to cover field use cost. Until the new 22 acre park is built we are going to continue to have this problem. We are asking parents and residents of Fillmore to help us go to speak to the school board and ask them not to raise field fees, so we do not have to raise registration fees. All around Ventura County, Fillmore is the least expensive for youth sports and we would like to keep in that way. The success of our youth sports continues to grown. Our mission is to keep our youth occupied and keep them off the streets. If we are forced to raise our registration fee, then some families may not be able to afford it, and that defeats our purpose. It is not our intention to be at war with anyone or point fingers at whom or how the challenge started. We are trying to come to an agreement that is best for everyone. We would like to form a youth organization board of directors and if you would like to be involved and want to be heard, please join us November 12th at 6:30pm at the Boys and Girls Club on First Street.
Angelica Richardson,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
1) Rent control is only for residents who want it. Those who don't like it can have their long term lease and the only effect rent control would have on you is you home will be worth more. You continually want to tell us what to do. You have no right to tell us we can't have rent control because you represent a minority group and rent control will not harm you.
2) If you did a little research, you would know other California cities have successfully used a moratorium to halt "condoizing".
3) The new City Council will save the city more than enough money to make up for administering a rent control board.
4) People have a right to have a choice, rather than being dictated to by your minority group.
5) Your group's interference is what has caused "the disruptive mess" and "divided the park". You would not accept the fact that rent control would not effect you and proceeded to side with management. Steve Conaway and Cecelia Cuevas also sided with management from the start. Funny how the guy with the big bucks gets your group's and 2 council persons support immediately when rent control first began. I think the key word in the last sentence is "bucks", because if you cared about people, you would want them to have what they want.
6) Yes, the Santa Paula park did get a $129 increase, but that was from an average rent of $370 in that park. The space across from me is facing a $250 increase from our wonderful owner. So what's better?
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
November 6th, 2008

To the Editor:
Who has the heart to tell 639 AYSO kids that their playing time is over? Why is one sport allowed to play at certain fields and another not given that same opportunity? For those answers one must approach city hall and ask. But for our AYSO children’s sake our town needs to know what is going on. Shields Park has always been the practice ground for our soccer kids. Every year the AYSO president submits our reservation from August through October. In doing so this year he was told that it was too early. After re-submitting according to deadline he was told that Fillmore Raiders requested the field from October 16th on. Apparently the football players needed the lights at night. Prior to needing these last two weeks the football players were practicing at Sespe School and the Little League field. When questioning where our 639 kids were supposed to practice the question of utilizing these fields was brought up only to be quickly turned down as they are off limits to soccer. At mid-season we were asked to cut our practices from two a week to one due to the adult softball games. Now we are told to not have any practice. We understand that somehow the football league requested the time before AYSO even though someone at city hall was well aware of the time we needed as our president requested ahead of time. But this unfairness has to stop. If one sport is allowed to play at certain fields then all sports should be allowed. Discrimination may be a heavy word but the right word in this case. 639 kids are depending on the leaders of this town to provide them with the same equality they have provided for the Football and baseball teams.
Alyssa Calder,
Concerned Parent

To the Editor:
In response to flyer sent to El Dorado Residents Nov -03- 2008
Paid for by (Washburn and Brooks).
You state that (1) each of you are both concerned about the quality of life at El Dorado (thanks for that). Since the rent control movement, our life has been a most disruptive mess & divided the park. Thanks to the anointed Gang.(2) Why your moratorium for us residents. Please cite for us your examples of cities that have stopped owners from converting their parks.(3) If elected and when you are informed, the cost to the City of FILLMORE, If you are both smart you just might do what the old council did and Vote-- NO. Then wait for the words to start. As to who paid you off.???? (4) On your flyer that was sent to us, both of you must think that we here in El Dorado are real naive old folks, if not senile. Just to get our Vote!! To some of us in El Dorado its looks like you're trying to sell us snake oil by the cup. And to think some will buy it by the drum. The photo you used of the mobile home is not at El Dorado. You did not even give us that COURTESY and you want what from us.
Are you both aware what happen in Santa Paula, Their rents are being raised $129.00. And they're on Rent Control.
Raul Torres of El Dorado

To the Editor:
Shame on the supporters of Proposition 8 for placing a plethora of “Yes on 8” campaign signs on public property throughout Fillmore – which, by the way, is illegal. What kind of lessons are you teaching your children?
Cindy Blatt,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
October 30th, 2008

To the Editor:
A vote for Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks is a vote for strong, sensible leadership. Gayle and Jamey have made a commitment to stop wasteful spending. They will work to form a city government structure that will live within its means.
Join me and vote for Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks – Fillmore City Council.
Sarah Hansen,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
ArtHarvest 2008 is over - and along with the inevitable back glancing to scrutinize our successes and failures comes the enjoyable task of doling out thanks to the many whose efforts congealed into a bona fide event! So here we go:
First and foremost thanks must go to Andrew Whaley of Coffeeboy, Wendy Hellstrom of Colors, Roberta Andrino, artist and teacher, Scott Duckett of the Fillmore Gazette, Penny Henschel of Ever After Designs, Kathy Vargas of Fillmore Mail Stop, Alex Mollkoy of AmPet, Bill Bartels of the City of Fillmore and our sponsor, Fillmore Ebell Club. These folks provided the go-juice that jumpstarted the whole event. Special thanks to Andrew for providing us with a meeting space and drinks and snacks to make those long evening meetings easier on our bellies. Blake Allred, Kathleen McCreary, Lynn Edmonds, Brian Hightower, Molly McGuire and Alex Mollkoy also played important roles in facilitating a flow of ideas from which to harvest the shape of the event.
Chalk Art sponsors were: Ludlum Landscaping, KSSP Photoraphic Studios, Edison’s Up in Arms, Curves, The Scented Path Apothecary, Fillmore Tattoo & Piercing, Giessinger Winery, Johanna’s Ice Cream & Candy, The Skateboard Shop, Gloria Cardona, Treasure Station, Tia’s House of Sweets, Lizette’s Jewelry/Telcel, Sandi Ward’s Crafts n Things, Terri’s Salon & Boutique, Central Station Bar & Grill, Central Music, and Aim Glass & Mirror as well as Cofeeboy, AmPet, and Colors. We applaud the imagination it took for you to participate in a vision. And what a beautiful reality occurred as a result.
Next, a hearty handshake to the volunteers who ran the chalk art festival and kids’s art project pavilion. You were great - and what a wonderful event you provided for the artists and children of Fillmore. Also, to Al Huerta, Bill Herrera and their volunteer fireman crew: your support and presence made everything work on Central Avenue. Plus you’re just such nice guys!
To the artists and musicians, more than fifty-seven individuals in all, you provided the sparkle and color to our street and sidewalks that we seldom get to see here. What a pleasure to host you right in downtown Fillmore. We hope you consider playing and displaying for us again
And finally to the merchants and businesses who opened their doors to the Fillmore citizenry and guests in order to provide them with a special occasion - we are most grateful for your hospitality. Just goes to show what we can do when we put our heads together!
Sincerely,
Janine Rees and the ArtHarvest Committee
Fillmore, CA

To the Editor:
I have been a strong supporter of Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks for many years. The City of Fillmore needs elected officials that will listen to and represent the community. You will find that Gayle and Jamey will do just that. I know they will remain accountable to you as your representative on the Fillmore City Council.
Please cast your vote on November 4 for Fillmore City Council candidates Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks.
Jack Stethem,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
On November 4, the citizens of Fillmore have an opportunity to vote for change - a change for accountability, financial responsibility and integrity. A vote for Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks will bring the City of Fillmore back to the citizens of Fillmore.
Maryellen and Charley Alvarez,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Mark Austin has served the city of Fillmore on the Planning Commission and has proven his ability to serve his community faithfully. In my opinion Mark listens to all sides of an issue, weighs the facts and can reach a decision on the matter. Mark is fair minded and is not afraid to roll up his sleeves to get work done. As past Chair of the Planning Commission he ran very efficient meetings and arrived prepared to conduct business. It’s my belief that he can bring solutions to the table and bridge the roles of policy maker and advocate. Mark is seeking office as a Fillmore School Board Member and for these reason I can recommend Mark Austin for the job.
Steve Conaway,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
M. Cecelia Cuevas has a grass roots campaign going. I think her grass roots are amazing. I assume she is talking about her hair. It can't be grass roots of voters. She has a whopping 2 voters who have contributed $25.00 or more. Now, if the population of Fillmore was 3 she would have a grass roots campaign. I'm gonna have to get up close and personal with her and see if I can find some green hair.
The Harrison garbage company had 4 people (Harrison family) donate $1,000 to Cecelia's campaign. Apparently, they think she's interested in their company because of all the garbage she puts out at City Council meetings and with her campaign.
Two builders who want to build in North Fillmore gave her the maximum law allows, $250. In return, Cecelia wants to give them the maximum number of homes to build. Cecelia is really fair like that. She gives back!
American Water has given Cecelia the maximum twice. I suppose it's because they know how to handle all of the sewerage at City Hall. Since American Water's bid was twice as high as PERC's, twice the maximum. Perc, obviously underestimated how much sewerage comes out of City Hall.
Some out of town lawyer gave her money. I thought it worked the other way around, you pay them a retainer.
California Rock gave her the maximum as well. We all can see why that happened, you know, the thing on her shoulders. I'm not saying she's stubborn, but have you heard her rants at council meetings?
So, we can see Cecelia's interests by looking at who gave her money. She likes 2 citizens, garbage, home builders, sewerage, rocks and a lawyer. Oh, Dr. Phil, I think we need your help.
Also, the debate that I attended had only 3 either against or withholding judgment about revisiting rent control.
Raul, you've heard us say many times that rent control is not mandatory if a law comes into place. You may choose a long term lease that is not bound by rent control. So why do you want to tell the rest of us what to do? We want lower rents and it will not come close to bankrupting the owner or management if we get it. It would be nothing like the hurt they put on many of us. There are ways to avoid becoming a family park and condoizing, so that is not in the picture. You have no legitimate argument to be against rent control. You just like being bossy. Did your HOA have an emergency disaster plan (other than running like heck)? This HOA has many C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) graduates, taught by the Fire Department, in a block captain program to assist even you if disaster strikes El Dorado again. We have emergency equipment and are seeking to buy all the supplies the Fire Dept. has recommended we should have on hand. What better use could a HOA have than possibly saving the lives of our neighbors? Yes, this is being done by rent control people. I think this plainly shows the difference between you and me. 'Nuff said!
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
November 4th, 2008 election is fast approaching and we as voters must decide who shall fill the city council seats. The candidate shall have these following qualities.
Have served on one or more elected or appointed positions. Have served on one or more committees within the City. Have been active in various activities within the City. Have demonstrated their leadership in various positions, and have demonstrated their ability in resolving issues and concerns for the city and the public.
Steve Conaway has exhibited all of these qualities with integrity and honesty. These are the reasons we support Steve for City Council.
Ray and Judy Dressler,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
So now we are about to get into the voting booth to pick a leader. We have listened to all of the Song and Dance tunes and now we must decide which one's we liked the best. We have four great musicians.
Sen. Obama is a well educated and articulate man that has a team of fine advisors and money raisers. He chose Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, who has years of political experience.
Sen. Obama has also some friends that don't really like the American way of life--but that's his privilege. He would like all of us to share our income, pay more tax and live happily ever after.
Then we have Sen. John McCain, well educated with experience and served in the United States Navy. He chose Sarah Palin as his running mate who is the Governor (direction and control) of the State of Alaska. She was also a mayor or chief magistrate of a city.
Sen. McCain also had some friends that did not really like the American way of life--he fought them with us in mind, and how he paid for it!
He would like all of us to be secure, have health insurance and pay less tax. We could live happily ever after.
I know what it cost John McCain to be a fighter. I cannot charge him more by not voting for him.
Robert Hansen
WWII Veteran
Fillmore

To the Editor:
At the October 21st City Council candidate forum, Gayle Washburn indicated that she would have increased City staff rather than hire consultants to design and build the water recycling project. Since Washburn is the only Council candidate advocating this method of doing business, let's consider the wisdom of this idea.
to staff this 6 year project the city would need to hire, provide office space, computers, printers and other office equipment, phone system etc for at least 35 specialists such as Environmental Planner, Waste Water Treatment process Engineer, Pipeline Engineer, Design Engineers, Project Engineers, Architect, Surveyors, Hydrogeolic Engineer and others.
Each of the professions would be utilized for from a few months to about four man years on this six year project. Their work load often starts and stops with many months of inactivity in between.
The city would have to offer very high rates of pay to attract quality personnel away from their employers to take a temporary job with Fillmore.
Not to mention the paid benefits and retirement.
Public agencies do not staff up to do short duration projects such as Fillmore's water recycling program but instead select qualified professional consultants to do the work with City staff and the City Council providing Policy and general oversight of the project.
We don't need to set up a constant Professional Staff vs Washburn on any future Projects by electing Her to the Council.
Ray Johnson

To The Editor:
As we approach the upcoming election, I would like to address one of the critical issues facing us here in Fillmore, which I have lived in for twenty years. I moved to the beauty and serenity of Fillmore to escape the oppressive congestion and pollution of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. To my great dismay, however, there has been a concerted effort for several years now to jeopardize the small-town character of Fillmore by excessive development, lately by planning to build 700 units in North Fillmore. Among other things, this would force the construction of a new street from North Fillmore to the north end of Central Avenue. As a result of this overcrowded development, there would be adverse impacts on air quality, infrastructure costs, and traffic (with significantly more congestion on Central Ave., A, B, C and D Streets down to Hwy 126).
Two candidates for city council, Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks, with whom I have spoken at length, are committed to mitigating this destructive plan. They are also determined to foster a more responsive, accountable and transparent city government to ensure the best interests of the people of Fillmore. Joining them in these goals are Clay Westling (for City Clerk) and Grace Donahue (for City Treasurer). Please vote YES for them and YES on Measures H and I. Our vote will have enormous consequences with respect to the character of our town for generations to come.
George Krestyn,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Concerning Measures H & I:
Some reasons why the Citizens for Responsible Growth have put Measures H & I on next Tuesday’s ballot:
First, in order to help fulfill some of the goals set-forth in our Vision 2020 plan which states the North Fillmore area will be patterned after the traditional East part of town which has a density of 5-6 houses per acre. There are approximately 65 buildable acres in the 101 total acreage. If you multiply those 65 acres by 5 houses per acre you get 325 houses. Out of the goodness of our hearts we gave them 25 extra houses and that’s how we arrived at the 350 houses in North Fillmore.
Second, the Vision 2020 plan also states in the Vision Statement: “Preserve our small-town atmosphere and quality of life through slow, well planned growth in order to protect open space, allow agriculture to thrive and strengthen our local economy”. That’s where we differ with city staff on “small town atmosphere and quality of life”. We don’t believe our present quality of life will be enhanced by building 700 homes on those 65 buildable acres. At two cars per house minimum the 700 homes will generate nearly 2800 trips to and from work daily plus extra trips taking kids to and from school, for shopping, Little League and all the other miscellaneous trips we all must make daily. This all adds up to horrendous traffic, congestion, noise and air pollution on just A, B & C Streets through West Fillmore and all the added traffic on our freeways.
Third, looking at the Hillside Drive project it works like this: Assume the city is allowed to build the 700 houses. Once 480 houses are built no more can be built until after Hillside Drive is constructed. The owner of the orange orchard at the north end of Central Avenue where Hillside Drive must pass through to connect Goodenough and Central Avenues has no desire to sell his orchard. The city would have to take the land by Eminent Domain. If the 350 houses Measure I allows - there will be no need for a Hillside Drive project.
Finally, concerning Mr. Rieder’s proposed project just east of the Ameron plant, the city is going to allow him to build 51 dwellings on three acres; that’s a density of 17 houses per acre. Some of those lots will be just 37 feet wide and over half of the dwellings will be three stories high. If that isn’t the making of a drug saturated ghetto in a few years I’ll be greatly surprised.
The main thing most developers are interested in is making as much money as possible by building as many houses as possible as close together as possible and as high as possible. They leave town with the homeowners’ millions of dollars and the town gets all the resulting traffic and impacts on roads, schools, police, fire and city services.
One parting thought to chew on: If bigger were better – Los Angeles would be heaven!
Ralph Rees,
55 Year Resident of Fillmore

To the Editor:
I have a real problem understanding this party of four running for office especially Clay Westling who is saying he can do a better job than I have done. I always thought 2 + 2 was 4 but his figures come out different 2 + 2 is 3. Here is how I came to this conclusion. I worked for the City of Fillmore for over 8 years as Economic Development and retired. I was elected 2 times to be City Clerk and won, making me 8 years as City Clerk. Now Mr. Westling has never worked for the government, never been City Clerk and yet he can do a better job. He has these big ideas that he has thrown at you that make absolutely no sense if he actually knew anything about government and especially City Clerk. So if you add the same way I do you will vote for me, Shirley Spitler for City Clerk for the third time. And I might add I have lived here 48 years and he has lived here 7 and proclaims to know Fillmore better than I. Of those 48 years all but 3 of them I have been working, owned a business, volunteering for many organizations and all of this was done in Fillmore. What has Clay Westling done for this community? Let me see! He gets up at every council meeting and complains about something. Oh I forgot he is going to work at city hall 5 days a week from 8 - 5 and will be paid the same salary I am now getting, which is $25.00 per MONTH. Again I have a problem with his 2 + 2 = 3. I hope all of the citizens of Fillmore read this before you vote so you will know the real truth.
Thank you and please vote.
Shirley Spitler,
City Clerk

To the Editor:
Cecilia Cuevas and Steve Conaway think that in the last two years the one negative occurring on the council was the elimination of the Code of Ethics. Not our huge monthly sewer bills?
Cuevas and Conaway approved the expenditure of $80 million to fund the new plant. The primary contactor, American Water, paid Conaway’s way to Washington D.C. to sell their company to other mayors around the country. The New York law firm doing the project legal work said they could do it for $175 thousand. After Cuevas voted to approve their final add-on request for $60,000, bringing the total up to $475,000, she said they were doing a good job for us. Us? Hundreds of us asked council to put the project back out to bid, Gayle Washburn, in an effort to ease the burden on the rate-payers, had found at least three other companies that were interested and estimated they could do it for much less. Cuevas and Conaway said no.
By contrast, Santa Paula’s bids were too high; they started over. Their plant handles twice the sewage ours will and cost only $56 million; the builder is a company that said they could help Fillmore.
I trust Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks to look deep before rendering decisions that impact the community. They haven’t been funded by outside interests or developers and are not supported by ex-mayor-turned lobbyist, Roger Campbell. They are supported by Fillmore folks who just want our elected officials to look out for our best interests.
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Response to letter of 10-16-08 from David Roegner
David gets everything mixed up when he writes a letter to the editor. He said “everyone said yes” about revisiting rent control. In fact the only ones that said yes were Washburn and Brooks. Pennington “Maybe”-- Martinez“ Not Sure”, Conaway and Cuevas both “No” That means only “TWO” said yes. David said “Cecilia’s excuse was that it created divisiveness in El Dorado” David, it did more than that in El Dorado. It was the most disruptive mess to ever hit our park, thanks old buddy. It turned neighbor against neighbor. With phony accusations, outright lies and name calling. Why David? Mr. Roegner states “We wanted a Real HOA”. Typically, HOA is formed to oversee the maintenance of common areas (Common Ground), such as roads, parks, recreation facilities, landscaping, Painting, insurance, regular maintenance etc, are Included in the HOA dues. HOA dues are calculated by dividing the cost of improvement by the number of years until the improvements are made. (David, Ask Paul or Joyce Schifanelli, where are our common areas. I wonder how much their DUES were at their last HOA residence), Bet, not a DOLLAR a month) One of the hidden responsibilities of a Real True HOA is to negotiate a lease with park Management and Ownership. (Kenneth Creason’s March 31-2004)Since there are no COMMON AREAS in our case, and at best this is a TENANT Association.--WE ALL PAY RENT (To a Landlord).
Raul Torres of El Dorado

To the Editor:
MARK AUSTIN FOR FILLMORE SCHOOL BOARD
I have known Mark Austin for over 10 years and had the opportunity to work with him while on the Planning Commission.
I find Mark to be a problem solver with a strong capability to work to unite both sides. Mark believes in local control at the school district level and will stand strong to fight for our children.
I know Mark will be an effective advocate to assure our children get the type of public schools we can be proud of. Mark is committed to raising standards and expectations so our children get the quality education we strive for.
Mark Austin is a well respected member and supporter of our community. I hope you will join me and vote for Mark Austin, Fillmore School Board on November 4.
Patti Walker,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
I have been a resident of Fillmore for over 2 years know and have enjoyed living in this community. My daughter is 5 years old and is in her 2nd year of AYSO. We usually have practices at Shields park and when I got there last week the whole Raiders Football Team(s) were taking up the whole park! I was told that they are taking over Shields Park starting today. My daughter will no longer have her usually ( 1 ) practice a week. They only have 2 weeks left and they allow the Football team to take over the field. Not only that they had the lights on for them. My daughters team has been practicing in the dark for the last couple of weeks. It seems the City rather have the football team take over the field then have the AYSO finish off there last 2 weeks of the season. I payed money to have my daughter play AYSO and know all she has to look forward to is 2 last games! I pay property taxes. It is just simply not fair. I am not even sure if I will sign my daughter up again for next year. I am really disappointed with the City for allowing this. This whole soccer season I have not seen 1 picture of a child playing soccer in the newspaper. Oh but you always see Football pictures! I am considering signing up my daughter in the Ventura league. They seem to be fair to all kids in sports!
Yolanda Santa Rosa,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Re: Fillmore Senior Center
Years ago we had an active and interesting senior center, which unfortunately due to lack of tender loving care faded almost into nonexistence.
Good news! Like the legendary Phoenix rising from the ashes I see new life burgeoning. We have a new Board of Directors with new ideas, we have volunteers conducting great programs, and I sense new enthusiasm by the community at large.
There is a lot of activity going on now and I am sampling some of the activities offered just to see what “fits” with me. I live in the rural area of Fillmore, but have been made more than welcome on the Monday “Nature” walks conducted by Sarah Hansen. (These are not really just nature walks, but local history, landmarks, etc. and very enjoyable). I was then convinced to try out the Yoga Stretch class on Tuesdays at 9:00…Janine from The Scented Path conducts the class; I couldn’t believe you could do Yoga in a chair. This class is wonderful if you need to get the “kinks” out. Wednesday and Friday you can participate in Yvette Chavez’ Stretch Band and Cardio sessions…a good “low impact” tailor made class. I have joined in a couple of craft classes on Friday, and now the center offers Wana Klassen’s watercolor classes that has sparked a lot of interest. The Book Club, under the direction of Sarah Hansen, meets on the third Wednesday of the month with a lively discussion, as well as great camaraderie. Computer Classes are going great guns, they are so popular there is even a waiting list and they are hoping to expand the computer lab.
There are a lot of changes going on in the senior center itself, Lori Nunez greets everyone with a smile and explains the activities that are available, she has made the various areas attractive and welcoming. Some of the improvements are new furniture in the TV area, the thrift store area is undergoing renovation as a reading/game room, a salad bar to supplement the standard lunch once a week is in progress, and many other activities.
I am impressed and applaud all who are giving of their time and talents to restore our Senior Center. You have got to drop by and see it for yourself.
Donna Voelker,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Concerning Prop. 8
There have been many arguments stating various reasons for voting yes or no on the Protect Marriage Amendment to the State Constitution, also known as Proposition 8. All arguments and opinions offered so far have stated human views on whether marriage should only be legal between a man and a woman, or between any combination of persons. No on, I have observed, has stated what God has said about marriage.
I'm not a prophet, priest, pastor or phony, just an average guy who believes what God said in his love letter to mankind, the Bible, concerning marriage. In Matthew, Chapter 19 verses 4 & 5 the Bible states "it is written that at the beginning God created man and woman and that a man should leave his father & mother and be forever united to his wife." And in Luke 10:6 Jesus again says "For from the very first He made man and woman to be joined together permanently in marriage." In Romans 7:2 it states "when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive." Lastly Hebrews 13:4 God says "Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure, for I will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery."
This whole controversy centers on who should marry whom and on nothing else. Romans 1:26 puts it very plainly when it says "That is why God let them go and let them do all these evil things, so that even their women turned against God's natural plan for them and indulged in sex with each other. And the man, instead of having normal sex relationship with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and as a result, getting paid within their own souls with the penalty they so richly deserve. Finally in 1 Timothy 1:10 it says "Those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals will have no share in his Kingdom."
Consider this musing. Haven’t you heard it said that all sorts of natural disasters are termed "Acts of God"? Isn't it coincidental that 800 + bolts of lightning came showering down over central California starting hundreds of fires, exactly two days after four Supreme Court justices declared a new "right" to same-sex marriage this past June. In my opinion I hate to contemplate what kind of "Acts of God" will happen if millions of voters turn down Prop. 8 this November 4.
It seems abundantly clear from what the Bible says that God intends for marriage to be for one man and one woman. If we mess with that, eventually we will pay a high price one way or another.
Ralph Page,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
The hallmark of the Brooks/Washburn City Council Campaign is City Mismanagement.
Is it mismanagement for Mayor Conaway and Mayor Pro tem Cuevas to go to Washington and convince FEMA that their model of the railroad penetration of the Sespe Levy Was wrong? Is it mismanagement For City staff to work With FEMA to challenge the Models being used for the 126 Sespe bridge Flow? It is Financially imperative for the west Fillmore residents to continue The momentum on this challenge of FEMA flood zone maps.
Is it mismanagement to build an Industry standard MBR Waste Water Treatment Plant with an expected 50 year life expectation And probably of membrane development to meet future regulations and extend lifetime?
Is it mismanagement to include recyled water usage in the project? State water management has already announced a not too far away "Requirement" to use treated water for irrigation. We are already there due to the Staff and Council foresight to Conserve the water rather than discharge water to the river.Is that mismanagement?
Is having a swim and tennis facility under construction mismanagement?
Is having a new 22 acre park with play fields and a skateboard park
under construction mismagement?
Is it mismanagement to work with property owners and developers to develop the southwest business park, bringing jobs and income to Fillmore.
Ray Johnson
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
October 23rd, 2008

To the Editor:
A few years ago, a Fillmore grandmother actually wired “bail” money to a complete stranger who posed as a friend if her grandson .I remembered her when I received a phone call this week.
The caller said ‘This is your grandson’ I answered which one and all he repeated is ‘your favorite, of course’ At this point, since I didn’t recognize his voice, I said ‘ are you Annette’s Michael?’ He said “YES!’ I need help, I’m in Canada and got arrested and need bail money. At this point, I remembered the other grandmother and hung up. I have no grandson named Michael. The phone company said they could not trace the call.
I suggest if this happens to you, get his information – where to send the money, etc. Maybe we can stop this scam before any other grandmother is hurt.
This is also being used in the Bakersfield area!
Marjorie R. Aguirre,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Thank you for the invitation to be part of the City Council Candidate Forum on October 21. I highly respect the League of Women Voters and appreciate the great work they do in every election. Also, I have enjoyed and respected the Fillmore Gazette since its beginnings. Therefore, I was looking forward to the possibility of this forum. However, I am not able to attend the candidate forum. My wife Lynne has been entitled to a free trip to Hawaii for over a year and half. The trip was of course scheduled long before we heard of the forum. I have never been to Hawaii, so Aloha. I am sure the Gazette and the League of Women Voters will host a fine educational forum. Thanks again for your efforts in bringing this event to our community.
Jamey Brooks,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
WHOSE MONEY!!!
I really like the way our current city public works manager keeps reminding people that the Central drain will curb flooding woes for everybody, it will really help out for the propose Foothill build out also, do you think! Oh Joy MORE TRAFFIC AND SCHOOL CROWDING. I am glad that over in North Fillmore, 3rd and A st area we won’t be flooded out, but then again that was fixed 8 years or so ago so what up City Hall? More half truths on what’s really taking place in our future. I am also so glad that we have put in a school/public pool as WE THE PEOPLE have been paying for it for 3 years, as for the MULTI MILLIONS of dollars spent on this town in last several years WE THE PEOPLE will be paying for that FOR YEARS to come also, and how nice we gave our city managers raises, one got $12,000.00 a year, remember WE THE PEOPLE are paying that raise along with ALL of the great new developments (multi millions) our local leader have put in the past several years.
If North Fillmore builds out like OUR current city leaders want WE THE PEOPLE need come up with lots more money to support roads, fire department, police, storm water, sewer, water and just every day maintenance, OH did I mention a NEW SCHOOL also! The Middle School cost WE THE PEOPLE $18,000,000.000 and it is over crowded so WE THE PEOPLE will need to fund a new one when WE BUILD OUT North Fillmore and Foothill drive areas along with the homes in the river bottom.
WE THE PEOPLE need to GET OUT AND VOTE, NEW LEADERSHIP IS NEEDED, SUPPORT MEASURES H and I STOP THE BUILD OUT!! We need leaders who listen to LOCAL PEOPLE and not the pipe dreams OUTSIDERS sell! We need to FIX what we have now, people will say it will cost us money to stop it, but it won’t cost as much as ALL OF THE ABOVE put together.
Tom Dawson,
20 years North Fillmore

To the Editor:
The most serious issue relating to development in North Fillmore is the truth! This area has been studied and planned for a maximum of 700 homes over the course of development, however long that takes, 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. The North Fillmore Specific Plan (NFSP) is a plan that provides orderly development of a variety of housing types and an opportunity for neighborhood retail. It is NOT, a project of affordable housing! Fifteen percent (15%) of the total built is required to be affordable. As I walk the community, I am constantly asked, “Is the City building high density low income housing in North Fillmore?” The City doesn’t build anything! The City is responsible for the planning of orderly development that pays its own way. Under the current NFSP, all 14 property owners are held to an orderly planned community, not hodge podge, dependent on the developer’s whim or budget. Each is held to the financing of infrastructure and open space. If the plan is abandoned, there will be no funding mechanism in place to ensure all mitigation is completed and all open park space is purchased. Vote NO on Measures H & I!
Cecilia Cuevas,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
There has been much talk, rumor and innuendo going around town concerning city staff and the desire of future or current council member’s ability to fire various employees. This topic has been discussed from the dais. It is time to set the record straight in print.
I, Jamey Brooks nor Gayle Washburn have [n]ever indicated that there is a desire to “get rid of several city staff so they can put in their own people.” Every city employee knows full well that the city council has control over only two employees - the city manager and city attorney. The only way to remove either is when their individual contracts expire or for just cause. Only the city manager can hire or fire an employee. Even then the city manager’s actions are governed by the City Employee Handbook.
I am a supporter of Jamey Brooks and Gayle Washburn for City Council, Clay Westling for City Clerk and Grace Donahue for City Treasurer. I hope the majority of the people of Fillmore will join me on November 4.
Patti Walker,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
A Response to Shirley Spitler's Letter:
Elections should be a time when idea's and solutions are brought to the table so a city can fully acknowledge what democracy sincerely means; the will of the people. I find this election season more malicious and lacking much substance compared to the 2006 and 2004 election. We the people should be demanding that all candidates bring forth their idea's so that the voter will have a clear distinction on whom will represent them fairly and most importantly respectively. The incumbents, Steve Conaway and M. Cecilia Cuevas have the most to answer for since they are requesting to be re-elected for another four years. Their past votes and ethical conduct are what matters in this election, not personalities or who ranks high in popularity.
After reading Shirley Spitler's letter, I can honestly say I wasn't too surprised by tone and the content that she without any reservation evoked to the public. Thereby, I am befuddled by some of Shirley's remarks:
"If Mr. Brooks and Ms. Washburn win they along with Ms. Walker will have majority vote. Their goal is to “Bring Back Our Town”, which was fine until they decided to create so much friction and time for city staff. And by the way they want to get rid of several city staff so they can put in their own people. It will be a horrific scene when they run the council and city staff."
Shirley, the words you use such as "friction" and "Demeaning" with respect to candidates Washburn and Brooks are in itself hypocritical.
I remember not too long ago in the 2006 city council election you wrote a vile and untrue letter about Patti Walker seizing the opportunity to be a "Dictator" and how "Polarizing" Patti Walker was in her first term in office. Who is causing the friction at this moment in time? By the tone of your letter, I see the friction that you are causing just as you did in 2006 and 2004.
I would like the opportunity to let the people of Fillmore know just how dedicated Gayle Washburn has been on making the City of Fillmore a more fiscally responsible government when decisions were made on the infamous sewer plant. Gayle Washburn spent countless hours and days bringing forth viable solutions and ideas to the city council and city staff with the remote possibility that the ratepayers would not be responsible for such a monstrosity in sewer rates. That has been Gayle's sole purpose here, no masked agendas as some incumbents have alluded to. It would be appropriately wise to mention that the research that was done by Gayle Washburn was completed on her own time and without being compensated for such tedious research. That should in itself speak in volumes on what kind of city council member Gayle Washburn would be and the forward thinking she would bring to the city council. Gayle Washburn is a problem solver.
On a personal level, Gayle Washburn has not once ever demeaned a city council member as well as the city staff. The probity of Gayle Washburn is a valued trait that Fillmore hungers for at this moment in time. I trust that clears one of Shirley's squeamish, nonsensical assertions with respect to Gayle Washburn's ethical character.
As for Jamey Brooks, the same could be said of why Jamey is pursuing elected office. Jamey Brooks wants to bring forth fiscal responsibility and the idea that citizens have every right to remain active in the decision making process in our local government without being disenfranchised and denigrated. A good example would be of the North Fillmore growth measures that are on your ballot this year. Jamey Brooks among others have diligently worked hard to bring these local measures to the voters hands. That is democracy pure and simple. I can honestly say that if Jamey Brooks or Gayle Washburn were on the city council today, Jamey nor Gayle would never promote or float the idea that the City of Fillmore and potential developers should originate lawsuits against the citizens of Fillmore who authored or who supports these local measure's. Steve Conaway along with Cecilia Cuevas both tag teamed this destructive notion.
As for Patti Walker and Gary Creagle, well, you won't find them on the ballot. There are so many critical issue's Fillmore is up against and the constant diversions made by the same few individuals just deter possible solutions. This will only enhance failure.
In closing, Trinka Reynolds and I are most proud and honored to endorse the following for Fillmore City Council - Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks.
Fillmore City Clerk - Clay Westling
Fillmore City Treasurer- Incumbent-Grace Donahue.
It's my hope that all registered voters of Fillmore will join us in supporting these fine slate of candidates because they will be on YOUR side of the isle.
Thank you,
Trinka Reynolds and Brian N. Sipes,
Small business owners of Fillmore since 1978

To the Editor:
RE: Shirley Spitler letter
Are we dealing with times of desperation or times for a change?
Desperation in my opinion means High Sewer Rates. Do I pay my Sewer Bill, Groceries or my Medication? High Density in North Fillmore, Crime, Traffic and a City Council who does not listen to their Constituents.
As for you Shirley Spitler, it seems your running scared. You’re scared of "CHANGE" and scared the Public is tired of not being heard. Scared of you losing your seat, a seat you earned during the past Election, yet you don't do your Elected Duties. The City Management has replaced you with 2 Deputies who are City employees. Never did your Constituents elect them. The Public did not know that, they do now. These Deputy City Clerks do not live in the City of Fillmore and there is no accountability if they act in error.
OOPS has been the response over and over.
No More!
Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency are what we want. We want those Elected to do their part to balance hired City Employees with Elected Officials, to all participate in the Balance of Government.
Checks and Balance, sounds good to me, why does that scare you?
What is wrong with that Shirley Spitler?
Oh by the way, the 1994 Earthquake was 14 years ago, that is the past. We are dealing with the present and our future.
Yes! Washburn, Brooks, Westling and myself Grace Donahue, "We Want Our Town Back". We want back Responsibility, Transparency, Empathetic small town Democracy. Nothing wrong with that!
We want balance in Government.
Checks and Balance!
Next time you use my name, "Grace Donahue", please use it with respect. Because my agenda is for the people and my home Town, Fillmore California.
Not yours and not City Management. But for my constituents, who are residents of Fillmore California.
Grace Donahue,
Treasurer of the City of Fillmore

To the Editor:
Right now I’m looking at a letter from the City to a North Fillmore developer dated June 6, 2008 asking for money so the City can pay Roy Payne for billed time on his project. That’s for the guy wanting to be shown the money.
But what’s important is that we don’t fall for the “sky is falling” tactics when we consider how we vote on city measures H and I and council candidates. Ask yourself, do you want traffic to more than double all over town and a road going from North Fillmore to the north end of Central Ave? Or would you prefer North Fillmore property owners to be able to develop at a lower density that will eliminate the need for a new road to Central and create a more tolerable traffic level? We are faced with a decision that will forever change our city so it needs to be right.
Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks have worked on these measures because they feel it’s right for Fillmore; that’s why I’m supporting them and I hope you will consider casting your vote for both of them on Nov. 4.
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Looking at Jamey Brooks website for the city council election which also promotes Gale Washburn among others. This website lists a number of reasons he believes that Fillmore is being mismanaged.
One reason alleges that the bus stop shelter, which in fact was built the wrong height, cost $800,000. Reverend Brooks and self described project analyst Washburn know that money includes completely rebuilding the senior center parking lot which eliminated entry flooding among other things.Continuing to represent the $800,000 as being only for the shelter is at best ,misleading, disingenuos and wrong.
A theme running through the website concerns "out of town top managers", and "high pay". For at least two years I have heard Reverend Brooks compare other cities top managers salary to Fillmore top managers total compensation package. the last time he addressed the City Council on this issue he was careful to state "total compensation" but didn't compare to other cities total compensation. Why the deceptive data?
The out of town managers not caring about the town is ludicrous. How many of you have alwayslived where you worked? Not many Iwould presume! For the most part, I have observed that people do their utmost to support their employers best interest. To suggest otherwise is self serving.
Does anyonewant to apply this kind of judgement to our school teachers, volunteer fire and emts and police, many of whom do not live in Fillmore? Thimk about it!
Ray Johnson,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Before the citizens of Fillmore vote on Nov. 4th I hope they all consider what will happen if a slate of people get elected. I don't want to get into how divisive this group has been for the last two to four years. Or how much miss information they have spead through out our town. Or how they have not had any constructive ideas. Right now we have 5 very different people on the city council and that is good for our town. I would ask the voters of Fillmore to really look at all the positive leadership that this City Council has shown and reelect Steve Conaway and Cecelia Cuevas. Lets keep moving in a positive direction.
There is one race in Fillmore that may go largely unnoticed. The position of City Treasurer . It is very important to have the City Treasurer available during normal business hours. Our present Treasurer was appointed a short time ago (not elected) and was available at that time. However now Grace Donuhue works out of town and is not able to carry out her duties as Treasurer. For that reason and that reason alone I hope the voters of Fillmore will elect Norma Gutierrez ( she works in the city's finiance department). It just makes common sense, she is there every day.
Regards,
Roger Campbell retired Mayor of Fillmore

To the Editor: VOTE NO ON MEASURE H AND I
The supporters of Measure H and I have been misleading the public about Measure H and I. For example, campaign signs and posters in support of Measure H and I say “stop eminent domain to stop Hillside Drive”. Read Measure H and Measure I, there is not one word in either measure about eminent domain. So if eminent domain is not mentioned in Measure H and Measure I, how can those measures stop eminent domain? The answer is they cannot and do not.
In the voter pamphlet, the rebuttal to the argument against Measure I (signed by Gayle Washburn, Paul Tholl, Dorsey Smith, Jamey Brooks and Clay Westling) states “The North Fillmore Plan requires the taking of a citizen's property through Eminent Domain.” This is also false. There is not one word in the North Fillmore Plan or the North Fillmore environmental impact report (EIR) that mentions eminent domain or the taking of property. So why do the supporters of Measure I make these misleading statements? There are, I believe, a couple of reasons. First, Page 4-13.6 of the North Fillmore EIR states “The Hillside Drive extension is part of the planned future circulation system. In the 2003 Fillmore General Plan Circulation Element Update and the Citywide Traffic and Circulation Impact Study, Hillside Drive is shown connecting “A” Street and Central Avenue in north Fillmore. The Hillside Drive extension will provide a new roadway linking the northwest and northeast portions of the City of Fillmore. New traffic would be introduced along Central Avenue”. Second, mitigation measure T-1(b) of the EIR states “No more than 480 residences shall be built within the North Fillmore Specific Plan area prior to completion of the planned Hillside Drive extension”. Based upon these two statements, I think the supporters of Measures H and I have erroneously and deceitfully jumped to their own conclusions for their own political purposes in an attempt to discredit the current city council and staff and to evoke fear in the minds of the voters.
Let’s talk about eminent domain. The State and all local governments are authorized and entitled to exercise the power of eminent domain for public purposes pursuant to Article I, Section 19 of the California Constitution. The State and local governments may only exercise the power of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring private property for a public work or improvement. Is the City required to use eminent domain to move forward with the legally adopted North Fillmore Plan? The answer is no. First, the North Fillmore Plan says 480 units can be built in north Fillmore without Hillside Drive, and second once 480 units are built, the City can say no to any developer who wants to build additional units unless that developer secures the property for Hillside Drive through the normal real estate negotiation process of a willing buyer and a willing seller. Can the City of Fillmore use eminent domain even if Measure I is approved? The answer is yes. As stated above, nothing in Measure H or I prevent the use of eminent domain, and if in the future the City decides that Hillside Drive is needed as a public improvement for the health and safety of the community, then in accordance with the State Constitution the City could acquire the property through eminent domain even if Measure H and I are approved. Measure H and I have nothing to do with eminent domain and it is misleading for Gayle Washburn, Paul Tholl, Dorsey Smith, Jamey Brooks and Clay Westling to say otherwise.
Here are some other misleading statements made by the supporters of Measures H and I. At the September 23, 2008 City Council meeting the Fillmore Gazette reports "Gloria Hansen spoke in favor of Measure I. She said that North Fillmore residents have been telling the Council for three years that they do not want 700 units on 60 acres". 700 units on 60 acres equal 11.67 units per acre. The fact is that the City's North Fillmore plan calls for 700 units on 100 acres which equals 7 units per acre. Not quite the high-density that Gloria Hansen and the supporters of Measure I would like you to believe. The overall density of the North Fillmore plan is well under the maximum density of the 2003 General Plan and is in full compliance with the City’s adopted General Plan. Gayle Washburn, in the Fillmore Gazette blog of 10/13/08 stated “The project was never feasible at 700 homes anyway due to the high cost of the infrastructure”. However, Section 7.3 of the North Fillmore plan states “The financing and maintenance plan for the Specific Plan Area is intended to ensure the timely completion of public facilities, streets, utilities, and other necessary capital improvements, as well as the proper maintenance of these facilities. A Master Infrastructure Report prepared by Jensen Design & Survey, Inc., dated May 2005 and a Fiscal Impact Study prepared by Economics Research Associates, dated February
7, 2006 have been prepared for the North Fillmore plan. No EIR, infrastructure plan or financial plan has been prepared for either Measure H or Measure I and it will be very expensive for the City to prepare these plans if Measures H and I are approved by the voters.
Both Gayle Washburn and Clay Westling want to put 52 affordable housing units that are planned for North Fillmore in somebody else’s neighborhood and if Measures H and I are passed that is what they will try to do. Gayle Washburn, in her letter to the Editor on 10/2/08 stated “The issues are the number of affordable homes not built in North Fillmore. That could be resolved by planning 52 more affordable homes elsewhere in Fillmore”. Clay Westling, in his letter to the Editor on 10/2/08 stated “According to the city’s report, on the initiative, passing the Initiative will require the planning for 52 affordable homes in areas other than North Fillmore. Big Deal. I can drive around town this morning and find locations to plan for 52 low-income homes”. Gayle and Clay, it is a big deal. First, it will cost the City time and money to find the locations for those 52 affordable homes that you do not want in north Fillmore and second it requires an EIR, a public hearing, an opportunity for the neighbors who may not want an affordable housing unit next to their home to speak and be heard and the preparation and approval by the State of a revised Housing Element. Without Measures H and I this expensive work does not need to be done.
In the voter pamphlet, the rebuttal to the argument against Measure I (signed by Gayle Washburn, Paul Tholl, Dorsey Smith, Jamey Brooks and Clay Westling) states “Measure I will allow for a 10-acre park and for Ameron to expand their operations if desired”. Read the words carefully. “Will allow for a 10-acre park” means somebody else will pay for it but we do not know who because Measure I has no EIR or financial plan and we don’t know where the park will go or whose private property we are going to take to build the park. On the other hand the existing North Fillmore plan provides for 15 acres of park land, has an approved EIR and a financial plan to pay for the park. Regarding allowing “Ameron to expand their operations if desired”, read Measure I and read the North Fillmore plan, they both state “Existing industrial uses will be allowed to continue in their present state, expand or be modified subject to section 7.5 of the North Fillmore Specific Plan”. So Measure I offers no new protections for Ameron. The protections are already in place and Measure I supporters are trying to mislead the voters by suggesting that Measure I is needed to protect Ameron. Ameron is already protected by the legally adopted North Fillmore plan.
If the supporters of Measures H and I are using this many misleading, non-factual statements (there are many others) to convince voters to vote for these ill-conceived measures, then I can only imagine that this same misinformation was used to convince the people to sign the petition for these two initiatives in the first place. As Martin Farrell stated in his editorial of October 16, 2008 “Though I supported Measure H and I in the beginning, I now see they were (as previous Measures) carelessly drafted and, if passed, will cost Fillmore many millions of dollars in lawsuit damages. Vote NO on Measure H and I”.
Roy Payne
Fillmore City Manager (1989-2005)

To the Editor:
As I see it...!"
As the man with a hundred eyes what else can I do, but tell it as I see it!
I am, however, faced with a bit of a dilemma. What will I have to do in order to also be allowed to exceed the 250 word limitation. You know, like that guy a few weeks ago that sputtered and rambled on for what seemed like forever. You know who I'm talking about. You know, "whats-iz-name."
Oh well, it'll come to me, just give it some time. Anyway, this guy, he's a real work of art. He spends well over a thousand words; first attacking what this guy said... and then that other guy....and without even coming up for air – he plunges head first after his next victim. I mean this guy is a real Rocky Balboa. He's either the underdog he claims to be, or he's a rattlesnake plunging his venom when and where he can.
As I see it...
From venom to roses – from bitter lemon to sweeet molasses, he pats himself on the back (puts me in mind of the Cheshire Cat) as he proclaims of his own exalted importance, how he's so selflessly given to this poor little - oh so needful town. How he's invested so many years, or was it decades...[Reading it--felt more like centuries.) All for the town he loves so much. The town he's sacrificed so much for. His very own "Beloved" town of Fillmore.
Oh, come on people, you know who it is I'm talking about. What's his name? It's right on the tip of my tongue, but I can't spit it out. Speaking of which, that's another thing this guy always does; he ALWAYS leaves a real bad taste in my mouth. Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time remembering his name – selective memory!
I know you know-- who I'm talking about. You know!..that guy who used to be the City Manager. That guy who loves this town so much he moved to another town. That guy who's retired on the city's coffers, invented a new (city and developer funded) position for himself and is always spouting off all the many reasons why Fillmore residents have to do this, or pay for that, or cannot do this thing or that thing. That guy who lives in another town and (just like an unwanted house-guest) just..will..Not..GO AWAY!!!
As I see it, (in my most humble opinion) HE IS A ROYAL PAIN IN THE *** !
Oh, now I remember his name...it's Roy AL. Payne
Sly-er than the sly-est fox — Busier than the busiest bee
Never to leave, forever to stay — won't he...oh, won't he; just please go away
He flutters about and loudly he brays — puffs out his chest as he most brazenly says;
"That is not caviar on my chin that you see --- and all that silver?... can't trace it to me!"
Be alert, all you people, and you just might see...
A sly, busy beaver, peeking from behind your own tree.
In my opinion, this is quite simply "As I See It".
Todd Vandemheen,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
October 16th, 2008

To the Editor:
Today I read the paper online, and to my very surprise, there was an article "Personal Courage". Before I put my thoughts into this article, allow me to first convey my sincere gratitude to the Gazette for printing this.
I am the mother of SPC Juanita (Jenny) Altamirano. This deployment has not been easy for me, and I know that the parents and loved one of our other community members who are also in the military share my sentiments. We as a strong community are very proud of our sons, daughters, etc who have chosen to join the military. As a parent, I am very proud of the choice that my daughter made. Not only did she choose to serve her country, she chose to leave her family and friends to go to Iraq without hesitation. She was told that medically she did not have to go, but after talking it over with myself and her physician at Bautista Medical Group here in Fillmore (thank you Jorge), she made her decision to join her unit for deployment. Thus began the worry and countless sleepless nights.
The love of our family and friends, combined with the continuous support of many citizens of Fillmore/Piru have kept me strong for the little brother and sister my daughter misses very much. Be it a hug, a thank you, or a handshake, this community has made me very proud to live here.
My heartfelt thank you's go out to Fillmore Gazette for making it their weekly goal of honoring our military, Ventura County Library staff members who know my daughter (especially Cathy Krushell at Fillmore), Sgt. O'Sullivan of Fillmore PD who was very influential in my daughter's career choice, Nena at $6 Cuts for keeping Jenny's hair beautiful when she was home (and manageable for the "sock bun" that she now has to wear). A special thank you to Angel and Sista Soul at KHSU.ORG for all you have done.
But most importantly my prayers go out to the families here that have loved ones in the military who are either here in the U.S. or in another country. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice of letting your child make the decision to serve our country.
Lorraine Perez,
A Very Proud ARMY STRONG MOMMY!

To the Editor:
On Saturday October 11 I was fortunate enough to share a meal with the Lions Club of Fillmore. This was their yearly "Taste of Italy" dinner. Wow! What a meal it was. The food was terrific. Paul and Joyce Schifanelli hosted the meal and entertainment. Joyce could be a master chef anywhere! Delicious! Paul arranged to have Delaney Gibson Sing and play keyboard and guitar for us. Delaney has the voice of an angel and composes her own songs that are so beautiful. I want to express my appreciation for being invited and to all the hard work that went into this wonderful event. The Lions do so much to help people, please support them if you can.
Thank you!

To the Editor:
Seems change is in the air for Fillmore. People want change. Ten years ago people wanted change too. They wanted more parks and recreational opportunities. Better school facilities. They wanted a functioning community pool.
Yes, change can be awfully slow. Progress, it seems, takes patience and perseverance. What we want today may and often does take some time to achieve. Let’s look at what we have going for us today in Fillmore.
The NEW POOL: The closure of the high school pool in 2000 was a shame. The old pool could not be salvaged, so City leaders came up with a plan to finance the construction of the new facility as long as voters were willing to foot the bill for the annual maintenance. After three tries on the ballot, voters got behind the plan. The City and School District partnered to develop plans for the new aquatic facility. Thanks to voters who saw the value of this to the community, and thanks to city and school leaders, we will be enjoying the new pool and tennis facility in early 2009! This benefit is on top of also having a new all-weather, state-of-the-art track and field at Fillmore High School – another improvement long in the making. Change takes time!
The C STREET PARK: City leaders negotiated with the developer of the Heritage Valley Park plan to provide an annual funding source to help pay for maintaining the new park. This new park, now under construction, will provide the additional playing fields our youth and adult sports leagues desperately need. The new park will have triple the amount of playing fields compared to what we now have at Shiells Park. In addition, our kids will finally get the long-awaited skateboard park. The new park, with the added playing field capacity and the skateboard park, are goals that long been stated and are now finally coming to fruition.
Change takes patience and perseverance. Positive change takes leadership and vision. It also requires sticking to your standards and your goals through the ups and downs.
Fillmore needs positive leaders like Steve Conaway who understands the right way to change and the right way to move ahead. Vote to re-elect Steve Conaway for Fillmore City Council on November 4th.
Cindy Blatt,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
I am sure many residents have watched the tragic fires on today’s TV programs (10/13/08).
Comments made by firemen were—how it was extremely difficult to contain these fires due to the homes being built in areas surrounded by hills and mountains, ”homes were built too close to each other,”—high density.
Seeing these homes burning to the ground in Little Tujunga, Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, brought the issue of north Fillmore Specific Plan to the forefront. These are some of the reasons why no more than 350 or less homes should be built in that geographic environment.
What the city is planning would have the same dangerous and tragic outcome, as the people are now suffering today, as they see their homes lost.
The proposed Hillside Drive would not be a safe evacuation solution for north Fillmore. The “Day Fire” and the “October 2003 Fire” proved that. The area proposed was under evacuation order. I the “Day Fire” the fire department closed off Central Avenue and residents were asked to evacuate. A very special friend was able to leave her home by notifying the fire department that someone was coming to pick her up, so they let that person go through.
We need to vote for Measures H & I to prevent the same thing happening here; that is happening to these people now.
Sincerely,
Mary Ellen Alvarez,
71 year Fillmore Resident

To the Editor:
A campaign poster to vote for measures H & I says that will stop eminent domain.
Eminent domain is a government taking of private property for a public purpose, with fair payment. Measures H & I restrict owners use of their private property, as they want to, without any payment. In either case private property rights are lost.
As the proponents of measures H & I are vocal about, "Thousands of voters have signed petitions."
I propose the thousands of voters form a partnership, buy up the North Fillmore properties and then develop or not develop "your" private property as you see fit.
Ray Johnson,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
To Roy Payne:
Perhaps you weren’t listening the last three years, the citizens of Fillmore do not want 700 housing units in the North Fillmore Specific Plan area. It isn’t because of low income housing (there is a requirement that all development provide at least at least 10% of the housing at low and very low numbers – not just North Fillmore). It is because the project is too big for the 60 buildable projected acres. Too many homes, too much traffic, no new school, Ameron has stated they will leave, etc. etc. etc. If you really want to help, ask our Community Development Director where we can build the project and/or spread the required housing out over other areas of the City.
Measures H & I became necessary because you weren’t listening. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it won’t be the first time that the City has been sued over the Housing Element, General Plan and a boatload of other perceived injustices. If a lawsuit does occur, it will be because you didn’t listen. By the way, I know it isn’t much money that you have received for “helping” with certain potential development in the North Fillmore lately, but any money should make you wary of possible conflicts.
Gloria Hansen,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Re: October 9th Roy Payne Letter
The lawsuit scare tactics are hypocritical. I have a document showing that the City has been involved in 46 lawsuits while Mr. Payne was City Manager. Six are eminent domain actions. (www.fillmoreca.org/downloads/lawsuits.pdf)
The issues are the number of affordable homes not built in North Fillmore. That could be resolved by planning 52 more affordable homes elsewhere in Fillmore. The other issue would be inconsistency with the General Plan and Housing Element. Those documents could be amended. The City amends the General Plan with almost every development approval.
Developers with current entitlements: To prove a "takings", there has to be proof that another plan that is in compliance with the Initiative would not work.
I am concerned that there have been many anonymous postings on my blog (http://www.fillmoreblog.com) using this exact wording about how Patti Walker’s actions “lead to lawsuits”. Is Mr. Payne the anonymous blogger behind all the hate mail? Has he been politicking behind the scenes against an elected official? It is illegal for City staff to engage in that behavior. Payne is still on the payroll via retainer and I hope he is not using that retainer time for campaign purposes.
If you want to fear a lawsuit, fear the Sales Tax Agreements. The complaint reads...
..."In August, 2008 the BOE determined that several of these sham offices were improper, reallocating almost $6.5 million in 4th Quarter 2007 sales taxes from Fillmore to the proper cities."
As far as PERC in a lawsuit, Mr. Payne was never concerned about the many lawsuits that American Water is involved in. If you Google “American Water” and “lawsuits” you get about 58,000 hits.
Gayle Washburn,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
October 7 Candidate Debate
The candidates were asked if they would revisit Rent Control. Everyone said yes except Steve Conaway and M. Cecelia Cuevas with Norris withholding comment. Cecelia's excuse was that it created divisiveness in El Dorado. The park was divided long before the Rent Control issue of 2007. The anti-rent control group has been running things since 1994. Things stirred up because the HOA did nothing but declare themselves the boss. We wanted a real HOA and that rumbling turned into the Rent Control movement. On Oct. 17, 2007, over 100 El Doradoans came to City Hall Chambers, even with the fires all around town, to tell the City Council that we want Rent Control NOW! So Steve put himself on the sub committee to investigate RC. He then proceeded to delay things for months until Mike Cirillo (Park Management) could come up with a plan to defeat RC. The threats followed and our supporters stayed home. The opposition was able to muster about 50 people to be at the City Council meeting to end RC (temporarily). Now, 100 wanting RC and 50 not seems like a pretty healthy majority to me, but with Steve and Cecelia people don't matter. Somebody with big bucks wanted their help and they did as told! This is how they are with all of their decisions. All of the other Senior Mobile Home Parks in the county have Rent Control, because Seniors are on fixed incomes and need affordable housing and they have honest, caring governments which we lack.
Our park owner is worth about $400 million and Mike Cirillo is worth a ridiculous amount of money as well. Yet they have raised rents to obscene levels. It's hard to give away homes in El Dorado now, because the cost of living here is no longer affordable. It's all GREED and not based on business needs. We need to BOOT Steve and Cecelia out of power NOW! Greed must leave our town.
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
We are so sick and tired of hearing about freedom of speech when it is just one sided! People have different opinions, which is fine, but to destroy the rights of others is just simply wrong.
Over 200 signs were placed in the yards of Fillmore residents supporting Proposition 8 and most of them were stolen from their properties. Whoever is doing this must be very small minded people who are afraid of the opposition and have no moral issues of breaking the law by stealing from others.
We do not want our children/grandchildren being taught in their school that gay marriage is okay. Nor do we want mandatory sex education taught under a gay marriage agenda. This is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. Gays have the right to their private lives, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us! What gays do in their private lives is already protected by law, but we do not want children exposed to it. A first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner. The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5 and 6, taking them away from their studies for the same-sex wedding. The wedding was officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who arrogantly welcomed the arrival of same-sex marriage by saying "the door's wide open now. It's gonna happen, whether you like it or not." We saw the video of this wedding and the small children watching. In our opinion, this school sponsored trip was wrong and unacceptable. This only makes us more aware of the urgent need to support and protect the people and families in California.
Same-sex marriage should not be imposed by the courts, but only through a vote of the people, which it was in 2000. It was wrong for the court to ignore the will of 61% of California voters.
We should vote to "restore" the definition of marriage in our constitution so that activist judges cannot again overturn the will of the people.
Proposition 8 is only to "protect the sanctity of marriage". Tolerance should be on both sides! We tolerate and respect the gays way of life and do not ask them to change, they should also respect those who believe in marriage between a man and woman and not ask us to change! We certainly do not want our children and future children to be forced to learn that gay marriage is okay and natural!
We hope you will consider all the facts and join us in voting "yes" for proposition 8. Gerry and Sharon Mathews,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Response to Roy Payne:
Have you ever seen the size of Roy Payne’s head? It’s enormous! It has to be to store all those brains. He knows that Gayle’s point that home values are down and figures are now inaccurate, doesn’t mean a thing as he can recalculate the numbers in an instant, and then keep them to himself for his use only. He also knows that no homes are going to sell up there for a long time anyway and selling even 350 is a stretch of the imagination. But with Roy’s brains, he can imagine twice as much as we can.
Now, Roy’s laundry list of 50 or so lawsuits as City Manager don’t matter now as they are in the past, but Gary’s 25 year old request to make English the official language in Fillmore is like it happened today. This is called selective thinking for all you with normal sized brains.
As I recall from a City Council meeting, the City Attorney stated that anything the City does can be sued just like Measure “I”. Roy’s huge brain has sifted through all that and determined that Measure “I” is this giant target for lawsuits in spite of the fact that the people of Fillmore want it and will legally make it law. More selective thinking for you mortals.
Roy also has the power to turn a lawsuit against a company (PERC) into a lawsuit against a city! Amazing!
Roy’s powerful brain must have foreseen that FEMA was going to put everyone in town in the flood plain despite their map showing only half the town in it. So we all get to save $1,200 thanks to Steve and Cecil. I can’t wait to get my check!!!
Roy’s consulting only costs the City $150 per hour, that is nothing to a large brain that thinks in $millions$, so he’s not making anything on all the construction plans for this beleaguered town.
Let’s face it, Roy delivers Payne. Quit pickin’ on him.
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 9th, 2008

To the Editor:
RESPONSE TO WASHBURN, SMITH, CREAGLE AND JENNINGS
Re: Gayle Washburn, Dorsey Smith, Gary Creagle and Larry Jennings letters 10/2/2008
Regarding Measure I, Gayle Washburn states “Any City and Redevelopment Agency losses are overstated due to the fact that projections were based on property taxes from homes selling at an average of $576,000”. This maybe true, but by her own statement, it seems that Ms. Washburn is acknowledging the fact that Measure I will result in a loss of City and Redevelopment Agency revenues and in these difficult economic times why is she in support of the City losing revenues?
Regarding Ms. Washburn’s statement that “lawsuits against and by the City are a common event” it appears her potential track record will not be much better than the City’s. One, she is supporting Measure I which the Fillmore City Attorney has clearly stated may expose the City to protracted litigation and two, she has argued very forcibly that the Fillmore City Council should have followed Santa Paula’s lead and contracted with PERC to build the City’s new sewer plant. Well guess what, according to an article in the October 1, 2008 Ventura County Star “A lawsuit alleging labor law violations was filed Tuesday in Ventura County Superior Court against the company (PERC) building Santa Paula's water treatment plant”. So, it is not unreasonable to assume that if the City Council had taken Ms. Washburn advice and selected PERC, that there would also be lawsuits brought in Fillmore against PERC. Again, in these economic times, why do the supporters of Measure I want to expose the City to lawsuits by encouraging the passage of this ill-conceived Measure?
Ms. Washburn asked why there was no lawsuit brought against the approved North Fillmore Specific Plan which she alleges is in conflict with the City’s adopted Housing Element. Ms. Washburn is wrong, she and her Measure I supporters continue to misinterpret the Housing Element. She states that the Housing Element calls for 626 low and very low income homes. Ask Councilmember Patti Walker or Mayor Pro Tem Cuevas, if that is what was agreed to with the State and if that is what the Housing Element requires. They were both a party to the negotiations (as was I) with the State and the California Rural Legal Assistance group regarding the Housing Element. Ms. Washburn is taking one section of the Housing Element and taking it out of context. She needs to read Tables 3Q, 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D of the Housing Element along with all of the text and she will see that the City’s outstanding affordable housing need, according to the State, was for 101 very-low and 38 low income housing units. And Section 4-7 of the Housing Element simply confirms that the North Fillmore Specific Plan will yield sufficient homes to allow for 15% of those homes to be affordable to very-low and low income families. It has been five years since the Housing Element was adopted and two years since the North Fillmore Specific Plan was adopted and no lawsuits filed against either document. I think that speaks for itself that the City Council did not act carelessly and did not expose the City to lawsuits, but the same cannot be said for Measure I, or its supporters. Ms. Washburn’s argument is nothing more than a scare tactic used by the supporters of Measure I to try and imply that the City is planning to build nothing but low-income housing in North Fillmore.
Ms. Washburn and the supporters of Measure I also allege that the already approved North Fillmore Specific Plan will “impinge on Ameron’s operations”. This is another scare tactic that the supporters of Measure I like to use, but read Section 7.5 of the already approved North Fillmore Specific Plan which clearly states that existing industrial uses like Ameron will be allowed to continue in their present state, or to expand.

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

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

 
Letters to the Editor
October 2nd, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Letters to the Editor
September 25th, 2008

To the Editor:
Letter to Editor – WHY RISK LAWSUITS AND FINANCIAL LOSSES?

In these difficult economic times, why do the backers of Measure I want to put the city at risk legally and financially?

• From 1991 to the present, the City has already lost over $2.7 million in state revenues and the City cannot afford any additional losses in revenues.
• Measure I will reduce revenue to the Redevelopment Agency by 50% from over $2.1 million per year to approximately $1million.
• Measure I will be a negative impact on the City due to estimated ANNUAL revenue loss from $106,000 to $146,000 per year.
• The City Attorney has stated that the City should be prepared to incur attorneys’ fees if a legal action is commenced challenging the validity of the Measure I.

On September 4, 2008 I wrote a letter to the editor summarizing a list of facts that can be found on the City of Fillmore website regarding the impacts of Measure I on the City of Fillmore if the measure were to pass. In response to my listing the facts and suggesting that the voters familiarize themselves with these facts before voting on Measure I, the supporters of Measure I have responded by hurling false and misleading allegations about my motivations. I guess by assailing me, they believe they can distract voters away from the legal and financial risks that Measure I presents.

Dorsey Smith in his letter of September 11, 2008 implies I have no creditability since I am an “ex-city manager, a well-paid consultant and chose not to live in Fillmore” and that I am only saying what the City Council wanted me to say. Mr. Dorsey, I have not been asked, or directed, or PAID by anyone to comment on Measure I. I have simply chosen to exercise my right to free speech and to point out the facts. If you choose to interpret those facts as scare tactics, then I would suggest that the reason you see them as scare tactics is because the facts point out the flaws in Measure I.

Bob Stroh in his letter of September 18, 2008 states “Roy Payne, in his opposition piece to Measure I chose not to disclose that he will profit if Measure I fails”. Mr. Stroh has no proof of this and I emphatically deny Mr. Stroh’s bold-faced canard. , I have no financial interest in the North Fillmore Specific Plan and I have no intention whatsoever to be involved in any future development projects in North Fillmore. My interest is clear and simple, I have asked that the voters of Fillmore read the facts about the financial and legal risks that are inherent if Measure I passes, so that they are fully informed before they vote.

Roy Payne
Fillmore City Manager (1989 -2005)

To the Editor:
We would really appreciate it very much, if you would print this letter in The Fillmore Gazette.
My husband Gerd is fighting cancer for the last year and a half. The first time around it was throat cancer, which has been treated and is gone. Now he was diagnosed with cancer again on his lungs.
We have been banking at the Santa Clara Valley Bank, since we moved to Fillmore 6 years ago. The staff of the SCV Bank has been so wonderful to us all these years. Since I have been very upset these last 2 weeks about my husband having cancer again, the entire staff of the SCV-bank were absolutely wonderful to me. They even went one step further, each person took the time to write something sweet in a card and send it to us. How wonderful is that.
We really like to express our gratitude to every one at Santa Clara Valley Bank, Fillmore, Sespe Ave. for their support and making us feel to be part of their family.
Gerd and Ilona Kalbreyer,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
With the closing of the Chrysler Jeep agency, that leaves Fillmore with one auto dealership.
When my family moved to Fillmore in August 1939, Fillmore was about 3,300 people. My Dad bought a rundown variety store at 330 Central Ave., and built it into a thriving little business. Back to auto dealership; Fillmore had six of them. Strathern Motors Ford, later Fillmore Ford, William L. Morris Chevrolet and Oldsmobile (still here?), Rudkin Motor Service, Desoto Plymouth, later Dodge, Ted Baker Buick, Jones Brothers Pontiac GMC, and Gazzaway Hudson.
It just makes you wonder what happens when populations increase.
Bill Stocker,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 18th, 2008

To The Editor:
Where will the children practice? I am outraged that once again children are being pushed aside! The children that are playing AYSO have been limited in their practices because the adult softball leagues are given preferential treatment. The City of Fillmore and council members have allowed this to happen. AYSO is not a new organization and the season has always been within the same timeframe. Why can’t the softball team practice after hours since they are adults, and will end their evening games and practices by drinking alcohol? (Not a positive image to portray to our children of the future.) Also why can’t the softball league begin their season when AYSO has ended, since there is only 1 park in Fillmore where there are fields? To top it off, the school district does not allow the use of their fields to these organizations!
I feel bad for the children of the community. They are being told that they need to exercise and be active; however, they are treated as second class citizens when it comes to having a place to conduct their practices. This is a grave problem as these children can end up participating in gangs or becoming overweight. I urge the City of Fillmore to re-consider and take appropriate action!
Sincerely,
Jennie G. Erazo,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
I am writing this letter as a concerned parent of three children who are currently playing soccer in the AYSO program and the lack of playing fields for an organization that has over 500 kids in it. Currently, AYSO is only allowed to practice and play on one field, Shields Park, which is also shared with the Adult Softball League. The Adult Softball League has preferential use of Shields Park and now AYSO is limited to very restricted use for practice and it puts a heavy burden on parents who work because we are unable to make it to practice any earlier. Board Members have talked to the City Park Recreation department and have not helped or made any attempt to work with the Organizations. There has to be a way to get this scheduling conflict resolved.
Part of the problem is that there is only one Community Park in our City. If AYSO were allowed to use local school districts for practice, this would greatly help the current scheduling conflict with the Adult Softball League. The kids in our city need these sport programs that helps build character and keep them occupied. We all know that besides sports there is little for the youth to do in the City of Fillmore and if we start pushing them off the fields what can they possibly have left to do to stay busy?
Javier Alcarez,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
In the interest of full disclosure, I signed the petition to put Measure I on the ballot. My work to help get this measure passed will not profit me financially. It will only help keep my quality of life from being diminished by the negative impact caused by the overcrowding in North Fillmore planned and approved by the prior City Council. Measure I will fix that mistake.
Roy Payne, in his opposition piece to Measure I chose not to disclose that he will profit if Measure I fails. We’ve been sold a bill of goods by outside profiteers; Payne and other enablers have had their way at our expense far too long. Enough!
After being ignored by the city council when we voiced our concerns about the North Fillmore project and the $80 million sewer plant we the people were forced to put Measure I on the ballot. Measure I: Of, for and by the people, finally gives every Fillmore voter a voice in how we want our city to look.
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
The Fillmore Community
The members of Soroptimist International of Fillmore would like to invite you to participate with them in the Day of Peace on September 21st. at 1:30 p.m. in front of Fillmore City Hall.
The International Day of Peace began in 1982 through a United Nations proclamation “devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations”. It was expanded in 2001 to a call for a day of global cease fire and nonviolence.
We invite you to participate in this day with us by: Talking with your friends and family about the need for global, community and family peace; Participating in the September 21st International Day of Peace; Ring your church’s bells at 12:00 noon; Come to the Celebration at the City Hall at 1:30 pm in front of City Hall; Participate in the installation of the temporary Peace Pole, helping to install a permanent Peace Pole for next year.
At a time when people around the world are being needlessly killed and wars are decimating entire populations, this call to peace is even more urgently needed. We hope that you will join with us in this worthy event! If you have any questions, please call me at 524-0132 or President Oralia Herrera at 524-6936.
Sincerely,
Sarah Hansen,
International Day of Peace Chairperson

 
Letters to the Editor
September 11th, 2008

To the Editor:
We do not normally get involved in sharing our views about politics or religion unless asked. But, this time we are so concerned in the way our State is heading morally, especially for our children and grandchildren.
First of all we want to make it clear that we respect the rights of everyone to live as they choose to. We have no problem with that! No one is asking them to change their life style. What others do is their business but when something is going to affect our family and loved ones it becomes our business.
We are asking our families and friends to log on to protectmarriage.com for information on prop 8. In the year 2000 over 61% of the people in California voted for the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman. Recently 4 judges, from San Francisco, over ruled it, a 4-3 vote. We don’t feel that it is right that these few judges can over rule the will of the people! It is not their role to define American values. Prop 8 is the same prop that passed in 2000 but this time we want it in the California Constitution so it cannot be over ruled again.
Prop 8 will not change anything for the gays or lesbians. They will still have all the same legal rights as domestic partners just as we have who believe in marriage between a man and woman. They are “domestic partners” we are “married partners”. That is the only difference! Prop 8 is not designed against the homosexuals, it is designed to protect and sanctify marriage between a man and woman.
For people that believe in God there are several scriptures in the Bible that testify of marriage only between a man and woman. For people that are not active, or do not believe in a religion, the importance of the sanctity of marriage is still the same.
The will of the people should not be overturned by 4 lawyers/judges.
Please consider these six consequences if Proposition 8 fails: Children in public schools will be taught that both traditional marriage and same-sex marriage are okay. The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage, (51890). Therefore, if the definition of marriage is changed, children will be taught that marriage is a relation between any two adults. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.
Churches will be sued if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings that are open to the public. Ask whether your pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi is ready to perform such marriages in your chapels and sanctuaries.
Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston has already closed its doors because of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Religions that sponsor private schools and which provide housing for married students will be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if it runs counter to church doctrine, or lose tax exemptions and benefits.
Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages will be sued for hate speech and could be fined by the government. It has already happened in Canada, one of six countries that have legalized gay marriage.
It will cost you money. A change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits. Even if courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbable given today’s activist judges), think of the money – your money, your church contributions – that will have to be spent on legal fees. And think of all the unintended consequences that we cannot even foresee at this time. Where will it end?
It is our children, our grandchildren, our money and our liberties.
Let’s work together to protect them.
Again, go to protectmariage.com for further information.
We hope you will join with us in voting YES on Proposition 8 in November!
Name Withheld By Request

To the Editor:
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I tried to do it right. I have a home located in a well kept housing tract in Fillmore on Meadowlark Drive. We have a small problem with the city owned property in this development. We are taxed for the care of these city owned spaces. The city contracts out the care of these small strips of vegetation that collect weeds, trash and animal waste. The city supplies the water for irrigation.
I have been watching a strip of city owned vegetation next to my home. There are two sprinkler heads missing, causing flowing water to flow mud and water onto the side walk and gutter. There is also trash, weeds and over grown ivy that is strangling other planted vegetation.
After a month of waiting for the contractors schedule to take care of problem, I went to the city hall Tuesday, August 26, 2008, to gain some satisfaction and bring this to the attention of the people in charge.
At the front desk I was directed up stairs to the public works office. I made contact with a lady at the public works front desk. I asked to talk to some one that could help with my problem. She said that the public works engineer is available. He walked from his office, and placed his attention towards me. I don't know his name, because he did not introduce himself and I didn't ask. I explained my concern with the lack of attention in my neighborhood, by the contract gardeners and the monitoring by public work officials. After a lengthy conversation about contracts and how the city works, he said the problem would be addressed.
Labor Day is over and in the past. The problem is still here and the labor hasn't been done. As of today. Sept 8, 2008, the problem has not been taken care of. What more can I say?
Tom Robertson,
Unsatisfied Fillmore Resident

To the Editor:
I rise in support of Initiative (I) that will limit the number of homes to be built in North Fillmore to 350. I realize that by doing so can make me the target of all the forces within City Hall. However, I have good company-about 1000 of the 5000 registered Fillmore voters who signed the petition for (I), mostly in front of Vons in just over a two-day period.
Recently, you may have read much about why this initiative should be defeated. First, on our town website, fillmoreca.com wherein the City Attorney, using his lawyer language, states that if we do not build the State Required amount of affordable housing the State will put Fillmore “at risk” of all sorts of bad things. Moreover, on the same website, is the $10,000 report made by a City-hired planning Consultant that basically says the same thing-“we will be at risk………”.
And finally, you may have read the most recent issue of the Gazette where our retired ex-City Manager, now a very well paid Consultant to Fillmore who, like most of the City Managers, choose not live in Fillmore, wrote an article for the Gazette citing a long list of reasons why the initiative should be defeated.
The City Attorney, the Planning Consultant and the ex City Manager-what do they all have in common? Answer: They all answer to the City Council! And what did most of the City Council want them to say? Exactly what they said!
So the argument against the initiative can be summarized in one word-FEAR! FEAR that some terrible thing will happen to us if the people, by popular mandate, dare violate the apparent stranglehold the State has over us. FEAR that the State will come destroy our town, take all our homes and kill all our babies( paraphrasing)—in other words-- let democracy be damned!!
But let’s be fair. Maybe our State is not all that terribly bad. Maybe it’s only our City leaders interpretation of the State’s statues that offend us so. After all, do not the same statues and regulations apply to our more affluent neighbors? Say, Thousand Oaks? Camarillo? Simi Valley? Yes, even Beverly Hills? I have never heard of them struggling as to how many affordable houses they MUST build or cringing about what the State will do to them if they don’t.
That begs the question of why would our City leaders want to misrepresent to us what the State law requires? However, this article is already too long to tackle that. I’ll soon write another letter on this to follow up.
Dorsey B. Smith,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 4th, 2008

To the Editor:
Michael T. Mecca responded to my August 14th letter in which I ask Fillmore residents to help in the effort to decrease chloride discharges into the Santa Clara River. Everyone please note the following:
A) The approximately 450 brine (salt) discharging water softeners in use in Fillmore are in fact the number one cause of Fillmore's chloride pollution problem.
B) Removing all or most of the 450 brine (salt) discharging water softeners in Fillmore will in fact bring Fillmore into compliance with the state's chloride limits.
C) We are not seeking any "draconian measures" to deal with our chloride problem. Asking residents to turn in their out dated, polluting brine (salt) dischargers, and receive a rebate for a machine which is out dated is certainly not "draconian."
D) California state prisons may contribute huge amounts of salt into fresh water rivers and streams because of their use of the brine (salt) discharging water softeners; this has nothing to do with Fillmore. He states the case and agrees that these brine (salt) discharging water softeners DO pollute!
E) The "Pacific Water Quality Association" of which Michael Mecca is past-president, is a sham organization of businesses who sell these brine (salt) discharging water softeners. They are not at all interested in water quality; they are interested in their own profits.
Residents of Fillmore cannot afford any more increases to their water or sewer bills. If you have, or know of someone who has a brine (salt) discharging water softener (these are the ones you add salt to each month), call the City for a rebate: 524-1500x234.
Mary Farkas,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
On November 18, 2007 El Dorado's old HOA gave all it's money to the El Dorado Social Club and claimed they dissolved the Corporation they were in charge of.
These are the facts. The old HOA- Fillmore El Dorado Homeowners Association, IS still a corporation and has been in suspension for years. Being in suspension, they have no right to move or spend money. They needed to comply with the law and file financial reports with the state, which they did not do, to get out of suspension. Charles Richardson says the money was "gifted" to the social club. It was illegal, under corporate law, for them to give the $9,100+ of the El Dorado residents’ money to anyone. Therefore, this money does not belong to the Social Club. The Social Club is not incorporated and has no legal standing with the state. The Old HOA spent $1,500+ on a lawyer when they had no right to spend any money. Being suspended, anything they did with the money was on a personal basis only as they could not act on a corporate level. The residents of El Dorado deserve their money back! There are residents in the park who will sue and return the money to the rightful owners, the residents of El Dorado. The perpetrators of this act are within a hair of suffering the consequences. They have been given every chance to "right their wrong".
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
NORTH FILLMORE INITIATIVE “MEASURE I” PUTS CITY AT RISK LEGALLY AND FINANCIALLY
The impacts of Measure I on the City of Fillmore are significant and could result in serious legal and financial issues for the City.
Below are several facts that Fillmore voters should consider when they vote on Measure I:
1. Measure I violates the housing element requirements of state law.
2. Adoption of Measure I will put the City at risk of being held in violation of state statutes which require internal consistency among General Plan elements. This could mean the loss of revenues paid by the State to the City for the running of the City.
3. From 1991 to the present, the City has already lost over $2.7 million in state revenues and the City cannot afford any additional losses in revenues.
4. Measure I will reduce revenue to the Redevelopment Agency by 50% from over $2.1 million per year to approximately $1million.
5. The City should be prepared to incur attorneys’ fees if a legal action is commenced challenging the validity of the Measure I.
6. Measure I may expose the City to protracted litigation.
7. There is a high probability that Measure I would be subject to legal challenge(s), with a potential ruling that the Measure I was invalid when passed.
8. If Measure I passes, it will negatively impact the City’s ability to meet its share of regional housing needs, and an inordinate amount of City funds and resources will be required to amend the General Plan, the housing element, specific plans and existing zoning ordinances, requiring extensive review by environmental and other consultants.
9. Measure I does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and no environmental document has been prepared to study the environmental impacts of the plan.
10. Measure I reduces planned park and open space in the North Fillmore area by approximately 36%. The City needs more park space, not less park space.
11. The reduction of 50% of the housing units will double the cost per dwelling unit for the utilities for the North Fillmore development project; thus, Measure I will increase the cost of the project meaning no development will occur and North Fillmore will remain blighted.
12. Measure I has no financial plan to pay for the necessary public improvements that will be required to develop the plan.
13. Because Measure I does not allow enough development to trigger the traffic improvements identified in the North Fillmore Specific Plan, the impacts associated with whatever development does occur in the North Fillmore Area would not be mitigated as called for in the City’s General Plan.
14. If Measure I is approved by the voters, monthly water and sewer fees to all Fillmore residents will have to be higher without new development in the NFSP area.
15. Measure I will be a negative impact on the City due to estimated ANNUAL revenue loss from $106,000 to $146,000 per year.
Roy Payne
Fillmore City Manager (1989 -2005)

 
Letters to the Editor
August 28th, 2008

To the Editor:
With the dire financial situation in which the city finds itself, how can the city council even consider giving the city staff the raises that were indicated in last week's Gazette? With the loss of Federal and State grants and funds, the money used for the proposed raises could be used to help offset some of the needed expenditures to prevent the loss of the motor officer, a second gang officer the school resource officer, as well as with the funds needed for the Boys and Girls Club and the Veterans Memorial District. Scott Lee indicated that the raises were needed to retain the best people. But does the city have the best people and are they worth the money they are now receiving, which includes a cafeteria allowance? If the raises are granted, then the citizens of Fillmore need to think very seriously about who they vote for in the election for city council in November.
Dick Mosbarger,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
In response to Ms. Farkas’ August 14 Letter to the Editor:
While everyone acknowledges that Fillmore has a chloride problem Self-Regenerating Water Softeners (SRWS) are not the primary cause; we –the citizens- are the primary cause. WE dump untold amounts of fertilizers, household chemicals and more into the wastewater system. Yes, SWRS do contribute – a fraction of the whole.
Removing every Self-regenerating water softener will NOT bring this city (or any city) into compliance. In fact, at some times of the year, the water available to the citizens straight out of the tap – is out of compliance before they’ve used it for anything, including their SRWS!
The problem is not the SWRS, the problem is not the normal things we use and do in life that go down the drain. Let’s eliminate draconian measures that don’t make the problem better – beginning with the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Truth is, the state of California is arguably the single largest user of water softener salt. Because California state prisons all have huge self regenerating water softeners to protect on-site in-place assets –hot water boilers, piping, concrete and the like. Average SRWS-using citizens, likewise, want to protect their appliances, pipes and boilers.
Assembly Bill 2270 is not the answer. It is a good and noble bill concerning water reuse/recycling. The problem is, it really doesn't accomplish anything since AB2270 just shuffles the same pieces around the board. What it will do is transfer citizens’ rights from Elected Officials - and it will give those rights to Appointed Officials on the Regional Water Control Board.
Re: a ‘tip-line’ to report abusers: The thought of a citizen setting up or condoning a mechanism to do this must have been a misprint. Mistakes happen.
For more info: www.savemysoftener.com.
Michael T. Mecca
Performance Water Products Inc.
Past-President
Pacific Water Quality Association

To the Editor:
An open letter to Tabitha’s Mom Maria:
Dear Maria:
It was so special to meet you this late afternoon at Super A market. Although my small act was special to you, meeting you and hearing about your daughter, Tabitha meant so very much to me.
With Tabitha leaving today for boot camp in the US Marine Corps I completely understand your sense of sadness and fear for your child. I too have hugged two of my four children and sent them off to boot camp. I have hugged them both as they left the US to serve in a foreign country and to also serve during the war.
Maria I know that you are feeling out of sorts. As you begin receiving letters in the mail and get that 5-mintute phone call once or twice, these will serve as the small blessings that will keep both Tabitha, you and your family going.
As parents we so often take for granted that our children will be physically present in our lives day in and day out. And then they grow up and begin to make their own path. Although we miss them tremendously this is what we raise them to do.
When Tabitha returns to her home in Fillmore she will not only be a part of the Marine Corp. but she will be a hero to all of us. All of our soldiers who serve whether in the U.S. or in a foreign land are heroes. To have the courage to serve one’s country is a special calling.
So from the bottom of my heart I say THANK YOU for taking a moment to share your Tabitha’s story with me. I will add her name to my prayer list of soldiers.
Hugs,
Cindy Diaz-Telly,
Troop Real Estate, Inc.,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Just an observation: Today I drove down a small cul de sac; three different homes on the small block had American Flags displayed out front. I wonder if they are homes to young men or women serving our country now. or if a Veteran lives in one of those homes. Or maybe people that simply love this nation live in those homes. When a business keeps a light shining on an American flag through the night, for some reason it is a touching sight. Maybe they appreciate the freedom they have to create or become whatever they want. When our school district, or police or fire stations fly the flag half staff, we realize that someone who made a difference in our country or in the world, may have died. And respect for that life well lived is being given. As we sit and watch the incredible Olympics, every time they play our beautiful anthem, we are reminded of dedication to greatness...
It isn't just a rectangle of red, white and blue. The symbol has a lot of meaning in it...IF we put the meaning into it. Thank you to City Hall for putting up the new American Flag and State flag. They look beautiful!
Marie Alviz,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
RE: Hooray Fillmore Police Dept. - Shame on Fillmore Fire Dept.
My friend Lori Medrano was involved in an accident on Hwy 126 a couple weeks ago and I am appalled at what I saw. I was at the USA gas station when she was suddenly broadsided then knocked into oncoming traffic. I saw Lori's head slam up against her window and she wasn't moving. A diesel truck stopped just in time as Lori looked up and immediately moved back over to her original lane, 1 had my cousin’s baby strapped in her car seat so I couldn't run to help. It took a while before Lori got out other car but she rushed over to the woman who hit her and it was about five minutes before I saw her stumble back to sit inside her car. What came next is what shocked me.
The motorcycle officer began talking to Lori while several fire trucks and an ambulance showed up. The fire chief ran up to Lori for a few seconds then returned to the other woman. Other than that, out of all of those firemen, not one came to check on Lori the whole time she was there. 1 find it quite odd that Lori was the victim in this accident and she was hit really hard but no one came over to check her vital signs or anything so "Shame on Fillmore Fire Dept." Several minutes passed and the motorcycle officer had the cars moved into the USA parking lot so traffic could flow again.
Three patrol cars and an undercover car also pulled up to check on Lori. I applaud Fillmore's newest motorcycle officer who not only got traffic flowing in a quick manner but spent over a half hour with Lori as well as the other police officers for coming to help. I read in the paper that Lori didn't complain of any injuries but for anyone who knows her, we all know she is stubborn when it comes to herself and puts others first but it doesn't justify the situation of the fire personnel. Every fireman or tire woman should always check on each victim in an accident and just because someone may look fine or act okay, that is no excuse not to investigate their condition; I found out later that Lori suffered a concussion and a severe neck injury and I wish her a speed recovery. Maybe the Fillmore Fire Department needs a refresher course regarding concussions and caring for ALL victims and I think the Fillmore Police Department are the ones who need the raise instead!!
Jeremy Waid,
Ventura

To the Editor:
DATE : August 26 2008
Fillmore, Ca
I’m amazed at the words that people use to describe our city council of Fillmore. But one thing. I do not understand is why all this wasted energy on yammering words. You forget we all have opinions and options (Opinion: A belief stronger than impression and less\strong than positive. Option: the power or the right to choose. But options, one must work at that, think before you engage into something like (open ones mouth to insert foot).We all still have options and opinions. And thankful we all live in the USA for that…If you don’t like something you have Option. You can fire off the mouth and write a lot of damming words of how bad your life is and in Fillmore, Ca. Very Bad Karma. For those with the loud and damning words, actions and many opinions, Why didn’t any of you opinionated individuals, Not put your names in the Hat for a city council positions or any other positions of our wonderful City of Fillmore, And try to do better for all = No you won’t because you don’t have the skill to listen and negotiate. When you elected your candidates in, then you can throw stones at them also when they cannot meet your demands. All you have are demands. That may work with animals and small children and with self centered individuals and people full of themselves--- We need thinkers--- Not opinionated individuals. If this city council did so many wrongs with your monies in your eyes, so many times, and are so dishonest and self centered, why wait for new elections?? You opinionated individuals missed one very important action to try and stop your pain a long time back. Some of you must like to wallow in your own manure. That word is IMPEACHMENT. For your information. It’s an Option, but it is easier to run ones mouth and pumps up your righteousness egos. Demanding will get you where?? No rest /no sleep/ no life / Think you need more No’s. & lots of pain enjoy it, you own that…
Thanks for your time. A very happy resident of El Dorado Estates
Raul Torres

To the Editor:
Date August 26 2008
Fillmore, Ca
In reply to Allen F. Hair: Comments on Aug 21 2008
You comment to Ms. Cuevas, that he would really like to contribute to your re-election campaign, Allen, well again we all have options, one option, just think you could quit, Your tobacco habit / hobby and those monies contribute to Ms.Cuevas campaign. On the other plus side, also you save your / our lungs and keep the butts out of the water way and off the streets. And your comment about El Dorado’s fiasco,( please elaborate) try one of many options, move out. And your last comment was== You were sorry. You do not have to be sorry.
Thank you for your time.
Raul Torres
A very happy resident of El Dorado Estates

To the Editor:
Date: August 26 2008
Fillmore, Ca
Response to Karen Reeves:
(Excerpt from Karen reeves letter to the editor from Ms.Shirley Spitler letter) Karen your comments are all Opinion: (1) YOUR COMMENT and Your Opinion: You are corrected the majority did not want Rent Control at the park." what your point. Telling Ms Spiller, that you don't live in El Dorado Estates!! That a point??
(1)YOUR COMMENT and Your Opinion: No, Shirley, I was at that same meeting too, and I don't think the majority got a chance to speak, Your Opinion again. Karen your wrong again that night in question the majority they said No!!!
And as for the not getting majority got a chance to speak. We did, we that addressed the City Council filled out a speaker cards.
(2)YOUR COMMENT and Your Opinion: The meeting was monopolized by the attorney, pushing and pushing, until City Council caved in! I don't think that the majority "didn't want" rent control, I think they are afraid, just like the City Council members were!!! Karen: Wrong again, Where you at the final meeting? Try the Math. Did you not Hear and understand the Fillmore’s Attorney what he was saying??? Now I wish not to go forward with all of your responses a waste of time to the readers and myself. (Thanks Ms.Shirley Spitler for your letter to David Reeves) (3)One last question, Why didn’t David R. Reeves answer Ms.Shirley Spitler.-- Ms.Shirley Spitler letter was for David R Reeves was it not?
Thank you for your time. Thanks for your time. A very happy resident of El Dorado Estates
Raul Torres

 
Letters to the Editor
August 21st, 2008

To the Editor:
I was a witness to something so terrible that if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. I was at an occasion; about half of the people were standing and the others were sitting in folding chairs they brought with them. I was in a large crowd of people getting ready to enjoy a presentation when our National Anthem was played over the sound system. I immediately stood up and placed my hand on my chest. I had a clear view of about two hundred people around me and soon saw that things were not as they should be. I didn’t see one person that was sitting stand. I didn’t see one person sitting, or standing, place their hand on their chest. Then an airplane flew by towing a huge American flag and still not one person stood, although I think their might have been some applause; mainly because it was spectacular, not because it was our flag.
This lack of patriotism was bad enough but of all places it was at the Camarillo air show, primarily with airplanes of WWII, and was in honor or our WWII veterans that gave their lives for us. There were many veterans of this era that were present and telling of their exploits. I can only hope they didn’t have the view of the persons that I saw.
Later I thought that if they had asked all the people to stand for the Nation Anthem most would have. We should not have to be reminded of our allegiances, if it doesn’t come from our heart and thoughts it doesn’t mean anything.
I am so saddened by this. I wonder what has happened to our loyalty to our country and to those that have made it what it is. Again, as I have said in many previous articles, what are we instilling in our children? For those that are religiously inclined please pray for us all.
John Heilman,
73 year Fillmore native

To the Editor:
In reply to Ms. Cuevas letter of July 31, 2008:
Ms. Cuevas as a citizen of Fillmore I would really like to contribute to your re-election campaign, however: 1. The El Dorado fiasco. 2. The Central Ave. disaster. 3. The North Fillmore development. 4. The New Sewer Plant. These are just a few.
I can't afford it nor can the City of Fillmore afford another four years of you and Mayor Conaway's leadership. Sorry!!!
Allan F. Hair,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
To the citizens of Fillmore: There is an old saying that "the definition of insanity is to keep doing what you're doing, and expecting a different result." Well, this November is our opportunity to stop the insanity and rid ourselves of the so called Mayor, Steve Conaway, Council member Cecilia Cuevas, and recall Council member Laurie Hernandez. We need a new City Council with new and fresh ideas for our little city, ideas that are best for the citizens of this town and not in the personal best interest of the current City Council. The current Council has proven over and over again that they have no interest in assisting the low income senior citizens living in Fillmore, or helping them in any way shape or form, much less doing what is in the best interest of all our citizens. Their interests have been only in spending our city's limited funds with their pet developer's building projects that we don't need, don't want, and can't afford, and paying top dollar for every project even though many developments could have been built for far less money. Why is this poor little city paying its city officials more money than most other much larger and wealthier cities in our County are paying for their officials? Couldn't be Cronyism could it?
I just pray that the citizens of our historic little town will finally open their eyes to the truths about the current City Council members, and the city officials, and realize who is really pulling all their strings. Let's take this opportunity to kick them out of office this November, clean up our city government, and replace them all with competent, honest, responsible, and caring officials who will listen to the citizens of Fillmore. City Council members who, rather than passing notes, rolling their eyes, and showing absolute disdain for the Fillmore citizens who voice their opinions at City Council meetings, will listen carefully and with fairness and respect. If they can't show respect, they sure don't deserve it in return.
David Reeves,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Several years ago I attended several city hall and North Fillmore meetings on the proposed North Fillmore housing project and I asked several questions. I asked if the Sespe Levee was graded for homes to be built behind it. Bert Rapp answered the question with “for all that I know it is”. Now that FEMA has stated that area is a major flood zone, and I might add lots of locals stated that years ago, I would like to know where Bert get his information, is it the same place when he stated in a council meeting “that God knows when to stop raining’’? What’s going to happen when it does take out OUR tourism bridge all that money lost who’s going to pay for that, its time to plan ahead, by the way that’s more than next week.
In another recent letter to the editor on the Central storm drain project, Bert stated it was also needed due to flooding in the 3rd Street and A Street area in North Fillmore. The City did a fine job in fixing that problem 6 or so years ago and I haven’t been flooded out since; I live in North Fillmore, I should know. This wouldn’t have anything to do with the build out that ‘outsiders’ would like to do up Central along the hills? Oops!
I also attended a city council meeting about 12 years ago regarding a proposed housing project over in west Fillmore, also behind the Sespe Levee and asked this question; Is the sewer plant going to be able to handle ALL of the new proposed housing projects that the city is looking at? At that time I was informed by a city employee that worked at the sewer plant that it was already at 80 percent capacity, and the extra 20 percent is needed for rainy season. The city council answered that the sewer plant could handle all the proposed housing. I wonder if the city would have collected monies from developers for these projects that the burden on homeowners and local business would have been less, you think; it’s not rocket science.
Just who counts in town; outside developers, ones with the carrots on a string, or the towns people? I want to know. The citizens of Fillmore have been paying lots of good money for OUR city to be ruined by city management that has no vested interest in OUR town. So citizens of Fillmore at election time please ask/talk/research prior to voting and vote for people who will help pull Fillmore back to OUR town. Attend meetings, voice your opinion, they will have to listen sooner or later. Stand up and be heard! Let’s get Fillmore back on track. For the people, buy the people; remember that!
By the way Bert, would you let me know when to put pontoons on my house or maybe the lotto numbers? Thanks.
Tom Dawson,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Thanks for your coverage of the people running for office in the Fillmore election. I want to take this opportunity to inform voters of my 2008 Election website. For those who may be interested in my political website, it is as follows: brooksforcitycouncil.com.
My efforts are elementary. However, the input is solely my own. Therefore, voters can get a feel for why I am running for a seat on the city council and what I will work to gain.
Respectfully,
Jamey Brooks,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 14th, 2008

To the Editor:
The Fillmore Chloride Control Volunteers are working hard to help spread
the word that Fillmore has a chloride pollution problem. Our city
has approximately 10 to 12% of households (420 to 500 households) who
will cause everyone else in Fillmore an increase in their water bills of $21.00
to $35.00 a month.
That's right, 90% of Fillmore households will suffer because of the 10 to 12%
of households who are still using the brine (salt) discharging water softeners.
Each of the salt discharging water softeners dump a full 1 pound of salt, each
day, into Fillmore's wastewater, and thus into the Santa Clara River.
The Chloride Control Volunteers will soon be passing out flyers in our city.
The flyers state the problem of salt (chloride) pollution and what can be
done about it.
Here's what YOU can do to help:
1) Unplug your salt discharging water softener (these are the ones you add salt to)
2) Write to State Senator George Runner and State Assemblywoman Audra Strickland
and tell them you SUPPORT AB 2270. This is the bill which will make it illegal to
operate the salt discharging water softeners.
3) Go to the August 26th, 6:30PM City Council meeting. We will seek City approval
of a 'Tip Line' to be set up to report households which use these brine softeners.
4) Join our Volunteer group! Our NEXT MEETING will be: Thursday, Sept. 4th at 7PM
at the Fillmore Senior Center.
Mary Farkas,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
There are many reasons why I'm voting for Steve Conaway and Cecilia Cuevas. Here are few of them in recent chronological order, they are-
1) Our wonderful sewer plant. Where else can you live in a rather poor community and get the Cadillac of sewer plants? A Santa Paula city official described our sewer plant as being a "Cadillac" when a Chevy would do the same job. I love Cadillac’s. I like being able to brag about how "upscale" Fillmore is. What's an extra $50 bucks a month compared to "bragging rights? Thanks to Steve, Cecilia and many others in the City, we now have that right.
2) They helped get rid of those whiney seniors at El Dorado. All they wanted to do was lower the profits of the owner and management company. If it's hurting their ability to put food on the table, so what? There are shelters for poor people where they can get food and work on their tan while living outside. Once again Steve, Cecilia and their cohorts were able to stop this selfish group and remain the only city in Ventura County without "Rent Control". Another distinction we can be proud of.
3) Central Avenue! Steve and Cecilia have a vision that even I cannot comprehend. Their forward thinking on bringing us huge storm water pipes down the middle of Downtown Central Avenue is sheer genius! So what if that area has never flooded before. You've heard of the Great Flood in the Bible, right? Now is the time to test the tenaciousness of those business owners. Let's see how long they last with the greatly increased sewer rates AND the loss of sales from the closure of Central and the war zone section that is now open. Those who withstand this assault will be prepared to face any obstacle that Steve and Cecilia test them with. We will have a stronger base of downtown businesses.
Ok, that's enough praise from me for now, I could go on and on...
Dave Roegner,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
On the 29th of July the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board (yes, that one) held a meeting in Fillmore to re-consider the upper Santa Clara River Chloride Implementation Plan. Because of this board’s history of severely affecting the quality of life in Fillmore many local residents were in attendance, feeling that in our numbers we might be protected from the capricious decisions that periodically come from this board. As the meeting progressed it came as no real surprise that no one from our city staff was present. Council member Patti Walker was there, and about a dozen Fillmore residents were there, but no city staff was there on this issue that has the potential to again cost the City many millions.
During this meeting we found that the United Water Conservation District with the larger cities east of us, plus a entity known as L.A. Sanitation District have spent a lot of time and money to develop a scheme to solve the severe chloride problem in the eastern reaches of the Santa Clara river. This plan required some very sophisticated software and engineering work to bring it to this stage of development. It’s almost mind-boggling in its scope: 1) More State water into the Santa Clara River via Lake Castaic. 2) Reverse osmosis (RO) plants for two LA county sewer plants. 3) 10-well extraction field in the eastern Piru Basin to pump out the higher chloride ground water. 4) Mixing the high chloride groundwater and the good water from the RO plants and pumping it in a new pipeline to the fish hatchery in Fillmore. To say that the cities and water purveyors east of us are aggressively trying to solve their problem is almost an understatement.
Recently we found that a large group of cities had banded together to bring a successful lawsuit to stop the LA Water Board onerous plans for storm water runoff. This issue is a serious threat to Fillmore with a large cost impact if the board has their way.
My question is as follows: Other cities are taking aggressive, highly innovative actions to ward off problems and protect their citizens, why aren’t we?
Clay Westling,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Shirley Spitler's letter (July 31) regarding David Reeves and Rent Control, etc.
(Excerpt from her letter to the editor)
"For your information some of the existing council was not even on the council when this [rent control] was first discussed; it started so many years ago. If you don't know that you must not pay any attention to what goes on in Fillmore until it affects you or you are new here. My understanding when I was at the council meeting when this was finalized; the majority did not want rent control at the park."
1). Shirley, clearly, you don't live in El Dorado Estates!!
2). David and I have been residents of El Dorado Estates for 7 years, and for the last 5 years, have watched it deteriorate.
3). David Reeves began the current fight for Rent Control for the residents of El Dorado Estates last September. He worked 8 to 10 hours a day on the issue of Rent Control, trying to help the people here in our park.
4). The current City Council was the same City Council as last September.
5). We were at every City Council meeting that involved Rent Control for El Dorado Estates, obviously you were not at the City Council meeting in October 2007, when over 100 residents of El Dorado Estates showed up at the City Council meeting (that was the night of all the fires, but that didn't keep us away), and I don't know what you saw that night that our wonderful City Council members made that "snap decision" to abandon Rent Control, because they were eaten alive by Star Management's attorney, but it was humiliating, degrading, and an absolute embarrassment that our seniors have to live in this place, can't sell their homes, and our great City Council, who spends money, grants salary increases $$$ like there is no tomorrow, bowed down to this attorney that Star Management hired, and in less than 1 hour, had our City Council wrapped around his little finger, and said "No" to Rent Control.
No, Shirley, I was at that same meeting too, and I don't think the majority got a chance to speak, the meeting was monopolized by the attorney, pushing and pushing, until City Council caved in!
I don't think that the majority "didn't want" rent control, I think they are afraid, just like the City Council members were!!!
P.S. It's interesting also, if you happened to attend any of the meetings where David was allowed to speak, the Mayor always limited him to 3 or 4 minutes, the night the attorney spoke, even though the Mayor tried to limit him, he spoke for @ 45 minutes. Interesting!
Respectfully,
Karen Reeves,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
I grew up in Fillmore and it still amazes me how childish and ridiculous people can be. I've been reading the comments that people are posting about Nathan, and I have something to say as well. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no one has the right to judge Nathan, or anyone else for that matter. You may not like him, or his friends and family, but unless you have something constructive or worthwhile to say, keep it to yourself. He will pay for his crime, as will his family. That should be enough to satisfy you all. Calling him names and wishing for him to "burn in hell" is only causing harm to yourselves. I never knew Nathan to be "evil", or what certain people are describing him to be. And no, drugs aren't only to blame, but would he have done what he did if he wasn't using? I seriously doubt it. No one is claiming that Nathan is perfect or an angel, but none of you are in any kind of position to judge him. True, he got in trouble when we were all younger, but I know that a lot of what he did was provoked by others. If you all hate him so much, why spend so much time thinking about him, and talking about him? Move on with life, we're all grown-ups now and should really be above all this. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"...1 John 1:9
Erika Bruce,
Bakersfield

 
Letters to the Editor
August 7th, 2008

To the Editor:
The Fillmore Chloride Control Volunteers formed as a response to the City of Fillmore's July 7th Memorial Building meeting which alerted Fillmore residents to the major water issues facing Fillmore. One of these issues is Fillmore's chloride pollution problem. We presently discharge 140 mg of chloride/liter of water, daily, into the Santa Clara River. The State of California has put us under the gun to decrease the 140 mg chloride/liter of water down to less than 100 mg chloride/liter of water. Fillmore's main source of chloride comes from approximately 400 to 500 salt (brine) discharging water softeners. Each of these softeners dump 1 pound of salt into our sewer system each day. If we do not get our chloride out put to under 100 mg/liter, then the State will begin to fine Fillmore. Our water bills will go up from $20 to $35 a month. We are already reeling from our sewer bills increasing over 200% in the past year, and still to increase to over 300% next year. We cannot afford to pay more for water or sewer fees! And, we don't want to keep destroying the Santa Clara River. The River supports our county's agriculture which forms a stable work base for us. The River also supports a rich aquatic and riparian ecosystem which we also do not want to destroy. We can Lick The Salt Problem!
The Fillmore Chloride Control Volunteers had a successful 2nd meeting on July 31st.
20 people attended this meeting, 9 of them new. The work of the Fillmore Chloride Control
Volunteers will focus on 4 things:
a) Finding the location of the current brine (salt) discharging water softeners in Fillmore.
b) Inform the owners of these water softeners why they must be un-plugged; the up coming
city buy-back program; alternatives to using brine water softeners.
c) Support passage of Assembly Bill 2270. This bill, when passed, will make it illegal to use
brine discharging water softeners. Right now, it is illegal to install them in Fillmore, but technically still legal to use. Assembly Bill 2270 will remedy this and thus help with the reduction of our chloride pollution.
d) Informing all residents of Fillmore about the need to stop using brine discharging water softeners.
We need more volunteers. Join us! Please attend our next meeting:
When: Thursday, August 7th at 7PM
Where: Fillmore Senior Center, 533 Santa Clara Ave.
Mary Farkas,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Our Public Works Director seems to be a little defensive about the decision to spend $80 million on the new sewer plant. If I were in his shoes I guess I would be too. If he bought a new car for $80 thousand and his neighbor bought two similar cars and paid only $58 thousand for both he would probably tell his wife and kids that their car must be better because it was more expensive.
Although simplistic, the comparison gives you an idea of the difference between the costs of Fillmore’s and our neighbor Santa Paula’s new sewer plants - just change the dollar values from thousands to millions.
The initial estimates for Santa Paula’s plant were also very high but unlike Fillmore their city council refused to move forward and in an attempt to ease the burden on their citizens started the process over and ultimately saved their people tens of millions of dollars. Ventura County Supervisors also rejected bids for the Piru plant and started over. Despite receiving hundreds of letters from Fillmore citizens requesting the City look for a less expensive alternative, our city council chose to proceed with the $80 million plan.
Yes, I suppose Bert Rapp, Steve Conaway and Cecilia Cuevas are feeling a bit defensive but no amount of spin justifying their decision to ignore the concerns and needs of the people can ease the pain many are feeling from the cost of their sewer bill.
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Brian Sipes' Response to Bert Rapp's Letter
This letter is in response to Bert Rapp’s letter on 31 July 2008. I found the 2002 PERC proposal on a Fillmore website and it reveals that they did make a guaranteed proposal to meet California Title 22 water quality for $13 Million.
Also, in talking to PERC, their 2002 proposal was in response to a City of Fillmore request (Bert Rapp), which specified the location of the plant. I am also concerned about assertions that somehow the quality of some PERC plants are now suspect when up until now these plants have always been described as award winning. I wonder if Bert Rapp has shared this information with PERC?
Also, investigation into the negotiations in Santa Paula reveals that the original $35 Million PERC proposed plant was never increased, but there are Santa Paula City requested add-ons that now cause the total to be higher. Furthermore, Berts admission that the City of Fillmore is spending $60 Million to save the ratepayers $3.50 a month is as much instructive as it is unbelievable. Our town is drowning in debt from this ill-conceived, ill managed sewer plant.
Based on all of the above misinformation, I am suggesting a public investigation of costs associated with our plant. We will need PERC participation plus knowledgeable, credible experts in this technology, plus the press.
Brian N. Sipes,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
July 31st, 2008

To the Editor:
Thank you to the Osaguera family for their condolences to me and my family; also for exposing the terrible results of meth to families. Thank you to the Gazette for printing the names of the thugs that got away with this crime. Your article about Nathan Osaguera was very thorough (and better than The Star’s). Thank you to my family, friends and Bret's friends for their support during these difficult times.
Mary Ann Godfrey,
Bret's Mom

To the Editor:
Re: From the family of Nathan Oceguera
It appears the meth problem in Fillmore has been out of control for quite some time. However, I don't think we can put the blame on the police, schools, city, etc. We have to take a close look at ourselves, as parents. Many parents run their children out of their homes when they discover they are abusing drugs repeatedly. They rid themselves of the problem, leaving the addicted child homeless, to steal and do whatever unthinkable things they do while under the influence. Wouldn't we be better of if we had them arrested? My son was murdered in this town in 2003. I have been told the person suspected of murdering him had been on a meth high for three days straight, without sleep. His parents had run him out of their home because they could no longer deal with him.
I sincerely feel for the Oseguera family because I know they are good people. I never knew the kind, caring Nathan. I only knew the Nathan that came to my home approximately eight years ago to tell me that he was going to shoot my son's head off. I only knew the Nathan who passed by my home after my son's death to point and laugh at me. As for the "trash talking", that is beneficial to no one. My family has had to endure it for almost five years. The Oseguera family should know there is light at the end of the tunnel. In prison, Nathan will be paying his debt to society, but more importantly, he will have the opportunity to ask for God's forgiveness and turn his life around. His family can visit him, write to him and hear his voice over the phone. That is more than the Godfrey family can do. That is more than I can do.
There is a young man in our community that spent several years incarcerated due to his involvement with drugs and gangs. He turned his life around and he tirelessly walks the streets of Fillmore offering help to anyone that wants it. He is associated with Victory Outreach. Any one wanting help might want to contact them. In the mean time, may God Bless us all.
Sincerely,
Barbara A. Serrano
Peter Nick's mom

To the Editor:
The letter from David Reeves [07/17/08] was the most disgusting reading I have done in a long time. If you think you can pray the wrath of God on the city leadership (your quote) I would really like to know who the God you pray to is. That letter was so nasty and uncalled for.
For your information some of the existing council was not even on the council when this [rent control] was first discussed; it started so many years ago. If you don't know that you must not pay any attention to what goes on in Fillmore until it affects you or you are new here. My understanding when I was at the council meeting when this was finalized; the majority did not want rent control at the park.
And about the skate park I thought all citizens agreed we want to put our monies where our future lies. I firmly believe our future lies with our youth, therefore we need things to keep them busy so they will stay out of trouble. Idle hands promote trouble. As for your reply that we (senior citizens) didn’t have things like the children have now and we turned out alright, I hear that all the time and have even said it myself when I see a spoiled child But we live in a different world now so you need to quit being so mean-mouthed at someone you know nothing about. Being a senior myself I will admit times are hard for people on fixed incomes but they are hard on everyone so quit b----ing and be glad for the young people of this community. Some of the youth who fought for this skate park in the beginning are now adults going off to college. Tonight I will pray to Jesus and ask him to forgive you.
Shirley Spitler,
Fillmore

To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Mr. Brian Sipes letter addressing the City of Fillmore Water Recycling Plant.
Mr. Sipes makes outlandish statements and then asks questions like: “How can these things be
true?” and if they are true “this is a serious scandal for the City of Fillmore.” A good lesson in life to learn is that when a statement sounds hugely unrealistic it probably is.
For example Mr. Sipes writes: “Fillmore was given a guaranteed proposal for a more than adequate plant in 2002 for $13 Million, but the Fillmore City Council and staff chose to purchase a smaller plant for $43 Million in 2005.”
The $13 Million proposal was not “guaranteed.” The proposal did not provide Performance or Material Bonds or a written guarantee that the plant would meet the permit requirements for 20 years like American Water has provided to the City.
The proposal was not “more than adequate.” It was not complete, the plant was proposed to be between River Street and the Santa Clara River but no flood protection was included. It relied upon river discharge instead of recycling but did not remove all of the constituents as required in the NPDES permit. It did not include sewer service to the future Business Park and would commit the City to operating and maintaining a sewer lift station in perpetuity.
The proposal was for Sequential Batch Reactor technology that three Engineering firms recommended that the City not use because of reliability concerns and because the effluent is 10 times dirtier than the Membrane Bio Reactor plant the City is building.
When I spoke with the owner of one of the plants that this company has built he told me that the plant was experiencing premature corrosion, had insufficient redundancy so maintenance was difficult and a recent news paper article from that community described odors so bad local citizens said they couldn’t walk from their door to their car without being overwhelmed.
This same company made a $35 Million proposal to Santa Paula but later when they submitted an actual “guaranteed” bid the capital cost came out the same as their competitor: $56 Million.
The operating costs were the same as well. So much for the huge cost savings.
Mr. Sipes also states “Fillmore chose to not use the state revolving funds….at an increased cost to the Fillmore Sewer Rate Payers of $60 Million.” The fact is that the City Council chose to use tax exempt municipal bonds because they saved the rate payers $3.50 per month. The $60 Million savings Mr. Sipes is suggesting would be realized by future rate payers beginning 20 years from now. The City Council chose the financing that has the lowest monthly sewer rate for today’s rate payers and lowest overall present worth which is the true measure of the actual cost. The $60 Million savings is bogus.
Suffice it to say, the outlandish statements Mr. Sipes is referring to are not representative
of the real situation or a complete picture of the Fillmore Water Recycling Program.
If you have questions regarding our public infrastructure please send them to: Bert J. Rapp, P.E., Public Works Director at City Hall, 250 Central Avenue, Fillmore CA. 93015, or leave a message 24 hours a day at 524-1500 x 231 and he will address them in a future column.
Bert Rapp,
Public Works Director

To the Editor:
If you haven’t taken the time to use the various bike/walking paths located around Fillmore, you should. It is heart warming to see individuals, couples, friends and whole families enjoying the benefits of exercising and getting away from the city life. I will give you a few words of caution; stay on the right side as you would if you were in a car. Beware; there are a few bicycle riders that think this is a race track. They are completely silent coming up behind you and there is no warning they are near until they come swooshing by you at about twenty miles per hour. It is a little scary. I’m sure they would call out “Coming by” if they only knew how it unnerves a person. I am truly worried that people walking dogs or that have young children with them will wander into the ‘left lane’ at the wrong moment and be seriously injured. Recently, my dog and I were enjoying the path along the Sespe River. I wasn’t paying attention behind me and slowed down a fast rider, he cussed me out royally. I do wish they would use the streets for their speeding rather than the family paths. I never have been able to understand why people pay huge sums of money to buy a bicycle that is easy to pedal and then say they are doing it for the exercise. They could go to the second hand store, buy a junker with a rusty chain, no gears and get the same exercise in one fourth the time.
Kidding aside; I hope this article will make riders and walkers more aware of the ‘rules of the path,’ be more considerate of each other and it will be safer and more enjoyable for all.
Maybe a white line down the center would be a good idea to make us more aware. I give the City of Fillmore a double thumbs up on the bike/walking path projects. Tax payer’s money well spent to keep people exercising. My dog likes it too.
John Heilman,
73 year native and dog Cindy

 
Letters to the Editor
for July 24th, 2008

To the Editor:
Recently I was shown a document comparing sewer plant costs between Fillmore & Santa Paula. Individuals who seemed credible prepared this document.
Supposedly, Fillmore was given a guaranteed proposal for a more than adequate plant in 2002 for $13 Million, but the Fillmore City Council and staff chose to purchase a smaller plant for $43 Million in 2005. How can this make any sense?
Also, Santa Paula just recently negotiated a 2.3 times larger plant for just $3 Million more. How can this be?
In addition, Fillmore chose to not use the state revolving funds and chose to barrowed money on the commercial market at an increased cost to the Fillmore Sewer Rate Payers of $60 Million. How can these things be true?
These numbers are so damming, I am wondering when the city is going to come forward and show us that this situation is not true.
If this is true this is a serious scandal for the City of Fillmore.
Brian Sipes

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To the Editor:
Today in Fillmore there are 500 homes with Salt Water Softeners. Once installed this is the cheapest way to soften home water systems. But there is a price to pay for the perceived savings. The discharge from these softeners has high chloride content. This makes water downstream harmful to plant and animal life. All of the agricultural activity downstream receives this high chloride water, which can potentially kill whole crops. The state also has a requirement that by 2013 Fillmore’s discharge is at or below 100 milligrams (mg.) per liter. Fillmore now averages 137 mg. per liter. Of this 137 mg. per liter, 57 mg. is from salt water softener discharge. If the 500 homes do not switch to a “clean” system Fillmore will have to build a $35 million plant to pull the chloride levels down to requirements. This will cost EVERY home in Fillmore $35 a month. This is about the same cost as the 500 homes would have to pay to switch to a “clean” system like Culligan or Rayne. So, just imagine what the friends and neighbors must think of the 500 homes who don’t switch. Please switch today, the farmers and ranchers downstream will be grateful and the residents of Fillmore will be grateful.
Voice of El Dorado Mobile Homeowners Association

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To the Editor:
[The Voice of El Dorado Homeowner’s association sent the following letter to the L.A. RWQCB On July 9, 2008]
Dear Chairman of the Board,
El Dorado Mobile Home Estates is a senior community with over 300 homes, located in Fillmore (population approximately 14,000), in Ventura County. The undersigned represents this park’s Homeowner’s Association.
Your recent Draft Storm Water NPDES permit is quite a shock to all of us, and as demonstrated at our special City Council meeting on Monday, July 7th by the residents of the City of Fillmore. In spite of the fact that your appointed panel of experts studied the feasibility of this permit and reported back that the project would NOT be feasible to implement, you chose to move forward. This is unconscionable! In addition, there is no financial mechanism (State Revolving Fund programs, grants etc.), currently established in the State of California to generate the funds as in the past.
We strenuously object to this permit because we CANNOT afford to pay for it. We are a small agricultural community with more than 50% of our population in the low-income bracket. Many folks in El Dorado and in town survive on Social Security alone or other government supplementals, and the state of today’s economy is overwhelming their meager budgets. In addition, all residential water bills have recently increased by $50 per month to pay for our new sewer plant, and will increase to nearly $100 per month in the near future, and now you want to pile on more?
This city already suffers from only a 20% occupancy rate for HUD section 8 housing. People are leaving town. Our mobile home park has many vacant coaches and close to 40 coaches are for sale, mostly because of the runaway costs of living here. Many elderly residents in El Dorado cannot even afford to move out. There has to be better ways to achieve cleaner water with far less expense that low-income people can afford.
It seems to us that the little town of Fillmore, the second poorest in Ventura County, is not the proper place to implement this massive project. You must rethink your demands for we simply cannot do what you require. The future of Fillmore and its residents could be devastated if you do not reconsider.
We in El Dorado as well as the vast majority of the residents of Fillmore are strongly urging our City Council to fight against the implementation of this permit, and the financial destruction it will surely cause. The future of our town and 14,000 residents depend on it!
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Paul Schifanelli, President,
Voice if El Dorado Mobile Homeowner’s Association

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$9 Million More?
To the Editor:
“Attention Residents”
In regards to the important issue of chlorides in our water, we are at 125 mm/l; our goal is 100 mg/l. December 6th we were 150 mg/l. This subject is really boring but your wallet won’t think so if we don’t get to 100 mg/l. I can’t overstate the importance of reaching 100 mg/l in our water system.
The Fillmore City Council and staff are preparing a $9 million plus system to clean the water system of chlorides (salts). These salts are discharged from our homes and businesses.
We can’t afford another over-priced capital project that the City will demand of us.
Residents using salt/brine water conditioners please report this use and convert to currant allowable water conditioners. Just a few hundred such water conditioners exist in Fillmore so this should not be a difficult solution.
“A city program is in place fore conversion.” Public education and participation will stop a very, very expensive solution which will raise your water bills again and again in the future.
We can do this, let’s take back Fillmore
Gary Creagle,
Fillmore

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Scary Times in Fillmore
To the Editor:
Recently an old time Fillmore resident told me that if I had lived here longer I would think differently about things. I don’t think so. I believe that based upon the three items on the 7 July 2008 City Workshop all Fillmore residents (old and new) should truly be worried for their little town. The worry items as I see them are two fold as follows: 1) Will we find real solutions to the underlying problems? For example, after FEMA, Water Shed Protection, and other agencies get done with their analysis regarding the Sespe Creek, will there be a timely solution to the levee that we can afford? 2) How do we defend ourselves from the bumbling bureaucracies that have a real affect on our city? FEMA, the County Water Shed Protection, and the Los Angeles Regional Water Board conduct themselves like medieval fiefdoms rather than what you would expect in a democratic society. The off hand admission that a FEMA hired consultant made the mistake of showing the Sespe Creek running the middle of Fillmore makes you wonder how many other consultant mistakes can affect our lives.
These three problems; Sespe Creek 100 year flood, storm water runoff and the chlorides in our water are items that need to be and can be addresses reasonably and in a cost efficient way.
What we can’t do is to let the current city management practices and relationships get between our needed solutions and us. No Boyle Engineering, Hawkins-Delafield & Wood, American Water and the rest of the legion of consultants can be allowed. There must be a wholesale change from what was done during the sewer plant fiasco.
Clay Westling,
Fillmore

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Wake Up Citizens of Fillmore!
To the Editor:
WAKE UP CITIZENS OF FILLMORE!! It is time to take back our town. It has been run by outsiders for too long. The city officials have no vested interest in what goes on here. Their salaries are obscene. At several of the city council meetings I heard more than once "this is a poor town." Well, it can't be such a "poor town" if it can pay the outrageous salaries of the ones in charge. They are laughing all the way to the bank, while the citizens are paying for sub standard performance. A few examples are: 1. Rail road crossing at Central Ave. - how much to fix the problem? 2. Pole Creek debris basin - how much to enlarge after it was built? 3. B Street - how much to complete - a street to no where? 4. The bus stop on Santa Clara St. - how much to fix that? 5. Levee Drive - how much to fix that? What is the cost of all of these mistakes?
We need to ask for the resignation of all parties listed in the paper with salary increases. The city council should be recalled for allowing the salaries to be put into place. The city officials aren't paying the enormous --water/sewer bills and now they hit us with the possibility of another hundred plus dollars per month. Is it a coincidence that we find out about the additional fees right after they receive their raises? Amazing isn't it? How long have the officials known about this?
Mr. Mosbarger was right on-take out the planters. We don't have that many rain days. This isn't Seattle. This is sunny Southern California. Put that money to better use like our water bills. Oops, too late. What drainage problems are they trying to fix?
The officials didn't listen to the "old timers" when they were told of flooding from the Santa Clara River and the Sespe. The houses were still built.
The city officials say they are "business friendly." WRONG!! Just ask any one trying to open a business here. I know of a few that may be closing because of the high cost of doing business here.
We need city officials that will pay attention and listen to the citizens of Fillmore. Not outsiders with their own agenda.
We don't need big developers dangling a "carrot" in front of the officials with promises of future monies. That never seems to happen. Planned, small growth approved by the citizens of Fillmore seems to be the way to go.
It is time to clean house. Tell them we aren't going to take it anymore. We've had enough.
Tom Dawson and FRIENDS,
Fillmore

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To the Editor:
A group of Fillmore Chloride Control Volunteers met on July 22nd to begin work to vigorously publicize the need for Fillmore to rid itself of the chloride polluting Brine (Salt) Discharging Water Softeners. These brine water softeners dump 1 pound of salt each day into the Santa Clara River, thus placing Fillmore in jeopardy of having each household pay $25 to $35 monthly, State of California fines for the excess chloride (salt) dumped into the river. Our next meeting will be held: July 30th, at 7PM at the Fillmore Senior Center, 533 Santa Clara St. All Fillmore residents are invited to help Lick The Salt Problem!
Mary Farkas
Fillmore, CA

 
Letters to the Editor
July 17th, 2008

To the Editor:
I attended the city council meeting of July 8, 2008. I was appalled and embarrassed that a few of our council members and staff would demonstrate such unprofessional body language to the public. The note passing between council members and staff is not acceptable and even if unintended, it gave the impression they were making “fun” of the brave citizens that came up to voice their opinion. The rolling of the eyes and shaking of the head is again giving the wrong impression to the public. I am so grateful that our citizens want to take a stand and speak their minds to the council, staff, and the public. I remember being a planning commissioner, the city attorney took all of us new commissioners aside and gave us the code of ethics and instilled into us that body language should be minimized. I have spoken in front of the city staff and city council several times and noticed this same demeanor. But sitting there last night as a citizen in the audience, I truly feel our city council has lost focus on what citizenry means. Lastly the city council needs to stop governing by intimidation for the well being of Fillmore.
Trinka Reynolds,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
Nearly 300 Fillmore residents attended the important water & sewer issues meeting at the Memorial Building on Monday the 7th. A sign-up sheet was passed around seeking volunteers to help with Chloride Reduction in our wastewater. Approximately 20 volunteers signed up. THANK YOU. We will have our 1st: Chloride Control Volunteers Meeting - When: Tuesday, July 22nd at 7PM Where: Fillmore Senior Center, 533 Santa Clara St. I am asking for more volunteers from the public. We have a huge amount of work to do, and your help is needed. PLEASE ATTEND THE MEETING!
Mary Farkas,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
Repeatedly, over a thousand Fillmore citizens have spoken by putting their signature on a petition expressing their desire to have the right to vote on the future development in North Fillmore limiting the number of dwellings to 350 with an appropriate mix meeting housing requirements.
Developed as planned, North Fillmore will add 700 dwellings including three story multifamily units with narrow streets and alleys. A new street from North Fillmore to the north end of Central Avenue will be constructed. Traffic studies show that traffic will become more congested on Central Ave., A, B, C and D Streets all the way to Hwy 126 because of the vehicles traveling in and out of the new development.
Council member Cecilia Cuevas wants the 700 homes in North Fillmore with its added traffic. She also wants four story apartments at A Street and Sespe. She also asked the Council to spend $20 thousand to study the impact the initiative, if passed by the voters, would have on the city. Council went along. Spending money seems to come easy for them, just look at our overpriced sewer plant.
The people in Fillmore have a pretty good idea what this $20,000 City Staff supported study will reveal; because of past poor decisions we all will be paying more. So donʼt try to hold us hostage with the threat of lawsuits, higher sewer bills etc.
We got it on the November ballot folks. Thanks to everyone for your help!
Bob Stroh,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
Regarding the North Fillmore Initiative
Finally!
After last Tuesday’s City Council meeting the Citizens of Fillmore will get the chance to voice our opinion on the city’s plans for North Fillmore. After two referendums petition drives, and two initiative petition drives, we are now able to have on the November ballot a measure that will limit the dense development that the City has been planned for that area.
Again, we have no issue with low income, high-income housing or any income housing. Our only issue is to have North Fillmore developed in a manner consistent with the rest of Fillmore and one that does not contribute to over crowding, increased traffic, and does have the necessary parks and open spaces.
A City Council Member apparently is worried that the City will somehow be open to litigation. It’s a mystery to me that citizens exercising their voting rights regarding the make up of their city could cause litigation. We understand that the city has a State requirement to plan for low-income housing. So, go ahead and plan for this type of housing, but do it in a way that does not cause a deterioration of Fillmore.
Clay Westling,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
On May 28, 2008, Boy Scout Michael Watson, a member of Troop 411 in Fillmore, California, part of the Ventura County Council, will be honored at a special court of honor for achieving the Eagle Scout award, Boy Scouting’s highest honor. In your position, I know you recognize the importance of this achievement in this young man’s life.
To become an Eagle Scout, Michael earned 23 merit badges and served his troop in a variety of leadership roles. He also completed a community service project where he coordinated and helped concrete the high school’s batting cage. This project included numerous hours of coordinating schedules, obtaining volunteer skilled labor, as well as acquiring donations of concrete, rebars and sand. As a student at Fillmore High School, Michael has maintained a 4.6 GPA while competing in baseball and basketball. He is planning on continuing his education by attending a four-year university after completing high school.
Thank you so much for taking the time to help us honor this special young man.
Sincerely,
Cliff Watson,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
How do you all like the Democrat's argument that "why allow new exploration and drilling for domestic oil because it won't provide immediate relief at the pump". Of course we all know had we started 20 years ago we wouldn't be in the economic troubles we are in today!! SOUND FAMILIAR? Wasn't that Cirillo's argument that convinced you so called city council members to deny Rent Control for El Dorado? Didn't he say only 15 or so homes would be affected immediately if you passed rent control. But just like the Democrats, not one of you had the intelligence to look one, two, five years down the line to see what positive affect Rent Control would have for every singe home owner in this park. You passed millions of dollars for a ridiculous skate board park when Fillmore is hurting for money, and affects only a few kids, yet reject Rent Control that would have affected thousands of your senior citizens and cost Fillmore NOTHING!
You are an embarrassment to this city, and Fillmore is dying as I write this letter due to your total and absolute incompetence. I pray the Wrath of God on each of you sorry excuses for city leadership. Maybe this November the citizens of Fillmore will wise up and replace each of you with Council Members who will work for the people and their best interest rather than your own.
David Reeves,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
July 10th, 2008

To the Editor:
I'm writing as a member of an important community in our small burg of Fillmore: the merchant/business community. We local merchants provide a face for the downtown area our storefronts are the welcoming decor for the main artery entering and leaving town. And in our own individual ways, we constantly strive to keep ourselves well-dressed.
This is for the benefit of all residents. We want to offer something that everyone can point to with pride and say, "this is MY downtown."
One of the businesses that never ceases to impress as it offers its color, style and panache to the downtown area is Mirage and Mimstar.
I'm sure many of you have enjoyed Shirley's wide variety of beautifully assembled window treatments or gotten inspiration for that perfect personalized gift from Karen's and Jean's mind-boggling assortment of items. These ladies are dedicated to offering highest quality products in a tasteful yet comfortable environment.
Yet there are always problems with operating a small business and right now seems to be a time of particularly thorny challenges for these three businesswomen. While the rest of us merchants have enjoyed a bit of a respite from loud and dusty storm drain work, Shirley, Jean and Karen continue to be surrounded with and barraged by heavy equipment, their constant comings and goings. It looks and feels like they exist in the middle of a construction zone. I realize this work is necessary and important for Fillmore's future functioning. What I'd like to stress is just this, Mirage and Mimstar are still open for business!
Parking is a challenge but remember there is plenty of parking at the Senior Center behind the bus stop and also behind City Hall. Santa Clara is accessible from both Mountain View and A Street off Highway 126. Once you cross the street and make you way into Mirage, it will feel more like an oasis - cool, inviting, enjoyable.
My hope is that Fillmorians see the value, both economic and aesthetic, that these two businesses offer to our town. Their businesses do far more to please the eye than would an empty building.
Please consider this when making your shopping decisions.
Sincerely,
Janine Rees
Owner, The Scented Path Apothecary
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To the Editor:
It is Friday, July 4, and I have just seen Fillmore Mayor Steve Conaway interviewed inside a fireworks booth on the NBC national news. The brief clip, where the mayor acknowledged the risks of fireworks but asserted they were safe when properly used, was included in the report of the growing fire in Goleta. While the cause of that fire has not yet been determined, the implication was clear: Selling fireworks is irresponsible when the fire hazard in our county and surrounding areas is so high. It is only a matter of time before the source of a deadly and destructive fire is traced back to fireworks sold in Fillmore. I appreciate that the lost revenue from fireworks sales will be difficult for civic groups to make up from other sources. In these tough economic times, some projects that have traditionally been funded by fireworks sales may have to be scaled back or even eliminated. Individual families may have to assume responsibility for supporting local sports or educational causes instead of relying on community groups' sales of fireworks. We may be surprised at what we can learn to live without. Let this be the last year the City of Fillmore allows sale of fireworks; otherwise, the next news story we see may be about a fire victim's lawsuit.
Marjie Bartels,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
To Bill W the horseshoe man's friend who lost his cell phone on Central Ave:
Thank you for the reward money! I didn't look at it until a couple of hours later. You were very generous. I'm saving up for a CRF250X and this will help.
Thank you again!
Sincerely,
Thomas Stehly,
Fillmore
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To the Editor:
Bret Dempsey, son of Bruce & Jean Dempsey recently graduated, with honors, from the Riverside County Sheriff's Training Academy. Bret was #1 academically in his class, as well as #1 in physical fitness! The daily morning jogging, with his dogs, and sports leagues have definitely helped keep him in shape! He has attained a goal in his life of being in law enforcement. Bret graduated from Fillmore High School in 1978 and Cal Poly, Pomona, in 1983. He plans to be employed either at Riverside Community College or Cal State Riverside, where he could help coach! Bret and his wife, Tracy, resides in Riverside.
Jean Dempsey,
Fillmore

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To the Editor:
[Mr. Heilman’s letter has been edit for length. It may be viewed in its entirety at www.fillmoregazette.com]
Hybrid cars (electric/fuel) are a step in the right direction although we need to get away from fuel altogether in our lighter cars. Most people don’t know that in a hybrid the electric motor cuts out after about thirty miles per hour and there are no savings after this speed.
I have heard it said, “Wouldn’t it be great if all the cars in America were Electric? Yes, this would be great for a lot of reasons; although I have yet to hear anyone ask, “What about all the tax money that would be lost per gallon of fuel that goes to the State and Federal governments? How could the government tax a car that plugs into an outlet at your house, or elsewhere, to recharge?
When electric cars are talked about usually nothing is mentioned about the cost of charging the batteries, etc. Electricity is not for free. It is estimated that the cost of operating and maintaining an electric vehicle is about 30% of one that runs on fuel; maybe less now that the cost of fuel is so much higher.
How would this impact the electric generating plants? Charging vehicles at night would be no problem as this is the time of least demand.
We have to think about the negatives caused by the positives, plan ahead and are prepared. (One case in point…..Iraq.)
As an added note: On the down side, how about replacing about $2000 worth of batteries every three or four years? Heating the car is a problem in very cold areas without a water cooled engine. Air conditioning would be a large drain on batteries.
On the upside, they will have no oil and filter changes; although they will still need lubing.
John Heilman,
73 year Fillmore native