Letters to the Editor
April 23rd, 2009

To the Editor:
To: Mr. Martin Farrell:
I can't stand it any longer. I have been reading your personal comments/attacks in the Fillmore Gazette and can't stand seeing this and have got to get this off my chest. You allow our own EX-Mayor and Current City Council Member Belittle his own—our own Fellow council members. You, Martin Farrell, personally call names to citizens who are genuinely interested in what happens to our city. You are allowing and encouraging offensive talk and comments. If you would care to notice your competition, they only report the facts and they leave their own opinions to themselves. A rule you might not have learned in kindergarten is: Thumper's Rule. "If you don't have something nice to say, DON'T say it at all." I know that all the citizens who have in the past or are currently on the City Council and Planning Commission, have taken these Thankless jobs because they truly care about our great little town and are trying to do their best for all citizens. Why don't YOU shut up and let them show us what they can do!!! In this economic crisis we all need to work together and not against each other.
Martin, were you encouraged or did you encourage your children to think as Leaders and not Followers? When citizens get involved with city issues and you call them names and Belittle them, this makes our concerned citizens discouraged to voice their opinions. Martin, OPEN your eyes and SHUT your mouth if you can't say anything nice.
A concerned citizen

To the Editor:
I live in the El Dorado Estates and I’m concerned about the rent control petitions currently being circulated. I believe the petitioners have the cart before the horse. No one knows if the majority of residents want rent control, but it is being pushed by a small, but vocal group. I would hope if this ever reaches the city council they would make sure a vast majority of the residents want it. I believe the council has enough problems without adding an unnecessary one.
Contradictory to a previous letter, the owner cannot make the rent anything they want. Our rent raises are controlled by a consumer price index with a 3% minimum and 8% maximum. If this poses a problem, the resident is urged to contact the park office to obtain the parks voluntary rent subsidy program. I believe this to be fair and would object to any government enforced control.
Fred Carpenter

To the Editor:
For some, the city of Fillmore is just falling apart. Too many “key” staff have resigned, including the most recent, Barbara Smith, due to the fact that 2 new council members were elected in the last election. This is for sure the end of the City.
The true fact is that this is expected. It doesn’t matter what the business is, when a new administration takes the reins of an institution, some people are going to feel uncomfortable with the new ideas or the new approach to the same old ideas that the new administration will bring, and they will have two choices: 1. Accept, adapt and move forward 2. Resign/retire. Most of the city staff has already made up their minds, even though I will not be surprised if others still announce more decisions.
I believe that the way one resigns/retires demonstrates the quality of employee that one is. For example, Mr. Ristau demonstrated, in my opinion, a huge ego and ignorance by recommending another member of his staff for his position. People in management are expected to give his/her opinions of replacement only when asked by the committee or person in charge of the search, or personnel committee.
Mrs. Smith decide to announce her retirement not just by giving a date, but also by trashing the person that was appointed as intern city manager. In my opinion, Mr. Bartels hasn’t done anything wrong. He was the assistant city manager and he knows that as soon as the new person comes in he is back to his old position, so why trash him?
Besides, why didn’t Mr. Ristau promote Ms. Smith to the assistant city manager position when he had the authority to do so? If Ms. Smith is going to be upset with someone, it should be Mr. Ristau and not Mr. Bartels.
It is interesting to me, that at the time that Mr. Roy Paine resigned, no one questioned the qualifications of Mr. Ristau as a city manager. Why? Very simply, he was part of the “click”. But it is also valuable to note that, when one resigns from a position, it is normal to find an “alike” or “higher” position for replacement, which is not the case with Mr. Ristau. Would this talk about his qualifications as city manager? Perhaps.
According to media reports, Ms. Smith also went on and said “…There have been more closed-door meetings in this city in two months than there have been in 23 years.” I personally doubt that. The only difference that I see is that in the previous 23 years, she was part of the “closed doors meetings”, so she never felt that the door was ever “closed”.
Also, she “has requested that there not be any public honor or acknowledgment of her 23 years of service.” This is ridiculous, it is up to the employer to decide to make a public honor or acknowledgment of service, it is her decision to attend or not.
I believe that the city should continue with their current policy of public honor and acknowledgment and just let her decide if she will attend or not.
For the last 20 years or so, many of the city staff have accepted, adapted to each other and decided to work together, now a new generation of people are going to do the same, and perhaps, in a few years, we will have to experience a new transition again.
Eduardo Gonzalez

To the Editor:
Sadly, Fillmore’s Ship of State has been taking on water since the last Council election. As the weeks have gone by, the anticipated resignations at City Hall have taken on epidemic proportions, thanks to our new council majority of Brooks, Washburn and Mayor Patti Walker.
With the latest departure, that of City Finance Director Barbara Smith, Fillmore has lost four of its six senior management staff. These talented and committed people take with them almost a century of experience and intuitional history that is irreplaceable. Unfortunately, I doubt we have seen the last of the resignations.
Having worked with and developed friendships with these people over the years, I know none of them wanted to leave their positions. They took great pride in their work and accomplishments for the benefit the citizens of Fillmore. To the last one, they were highly dedicated to our town.
I hope Larry Pennell, the new interim City Manager, realizes that he isn’t stepping into a recovery, but a salvage operation. Fillmore’s Ship of State has sunk.
Ken Smedley
Former City Council member

To the Editor:
City politics in 250 words or less:
Roy Payne doesn’t want council’s fiduciary oversight of his contract negotiated by him while still city manager and quits after four easy years of pulling the strings from a consultant position. City saves thousands of dollars; Payne’s institutional control starts to crumble.
Payne’s appointed city manager, Tom Restau, quits after new council elected. Payne’s finance director retires. Steve McClary, all around good guy and great employee lands a great job with Ojai after stalling in Fillmore without a pay raise in three years - huge loss to the city.
Bert Rapp, with over a year left on his sweetheart contract, wants a new one; so he can leverage it in his negotiations for his contract with another city? Odds are he’s already interviewing. Kevin McSweeney wants assurances, says he wants to stay; council assured him he was valued and wanted.
Payne, Martin Farrell, Conaway, Cuevas and company have launched a smear campaign against Mayor Patti Walker and council members Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks they hope will whip up support for a recall. With Payne and Farrell leading the charge watch and see how rude, dishonest and downright dirty they are willing to go.
In the mean time, the global economic downturn will impact our city’s revenues and we will probably face some real problems meeting our responsibilities. The good news is we have a council who takes their fiduciary responsibility seriously.
Bob Stroh

To the Editor:
The field trip on May 2nd occurs in the environs of Fillmore, so I thought your readers might be interested. Thank you.
Beginners are welcome on all field trips, and rain cancels any trip. More information is available at www.VenturaAudubon.org
Saturday, May 2, 8:00 a.m. Heritage Valley Hotspots. Leader: Tom Halpin (746-4598). This trip includes areas around Fillmore & Piru. We will meet at the Fillmore Fish Hatchery to check out the herons & egrets. The hatchery is located to the right off Hwy 126 just 1.2 miles east of Fillmore. From there we will car pool to Rancho Camulos, Piru Creek and Lake Piru.
Saturday, May 9, 8:30 a.m. Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Bird Tour at the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Leaders: Jessie Grantham & Allen Bertke. This is a great chance to see first-hand how the newly created habitat for local migratory birds & wetlands species on the Meadow has attracted several previously absent birds and waterfowl. Meet at Nordoff High School.
Saturday, May 16, 8:30 a.m. Hedrick Ranch Nature Area. Leader: Sandy Hedrick (340-0478). Annual Meeting and Picnic. $10 for lunch. We will bird this lovely area with the possibility of seeing a Thick-billed Kingbird. Take Hwy 126 to Santa Paula, 10th St. Exit. Go under freeway, right on Harvard, right on 12th and cross S.C. River Bridge. Go 3.7 miles to 20395 S. Mountain Rd. On right hand side you will see a big yellow mailbox, right after the mailbox, look on left side for the #20395 which is set back a little on a green metal fence. Turn left and go toward the river approximately ½ mile on dirt road and turn right to parking area across the creek.
Susan Bee
Ventura Audubon Society


Letters to the Editor
April 16th, 2009

(Correction to April 9 Letter to Editor)
To the Editor:
I have two errors in my April 9 letter to the editor. The first is that instead of rezoning El Dorado, the owner has applied for a subdivision tract map. The second was a misinterpretation I made of the State law. The following sentence: "Those who don’t buy their lots will continue with paying their rent with the addition of their share of the park maintenance fees." is not true. Only residents who buy their lots will have to pay a monthly park maintenance fee. I am sorry for these errors, as I always try to be accurate. Call it a "Senior Moment" if you like.
Dave Roegner

To the Editor:
Roy Payne claimed that I am misleading the public by saying that the Measure I Initiative had been debated for a couple of years because it didn’t come on the scene until the summer of 2008 with very little pubic debate since it was cooked up over someone’s kitchen table – all while on my high horse.
The Initiative was the product of countless meetings of a large group of people for over six months at two different churches that all Fillmore citizens were invited to participate in. It was reviewed by a legal team and when the final version was completed it was presented to the city council in October of 2006. Hundreds of Fillmore voters reviewed and signed the petition. Proponents and opponents to the Initiative made their arguments in public. The petition was rejected by the City because of an oversight in the requirement of noticing it in the legal section of the newspaper. It was presented to the city council again in September 2007 and hundreds of voters again reviewed and signed the petition with more debate. After hearing all the arguments, for and against, in November 2008 (a couple of years later) the voters overwhelmingly passed the Initiative known as Measure I. I’ll let the readers decide who is misleading the public.
Good for council member Conaway for supporting the implementation of the Initiative but it should be made clear that the two council members he referred to didn’t oppose the implementation just the large expenditure to redo the EIR which they feel is unnecessary and their desire to have the public involved from the get go which the motion did not include.
We can look forward to more fabricated political attack pieces from Conaway, Payne, Farrell, Cuevas and friends.
Bob Stroh

To the Editor:
With all the Presidents Stimulus money going around, I was wondering why the city of Fillmore hasn’t tried to hall some of this money in. I believe that we are just as entitled to some of this cash as some of the larger cities in the county. Ventura and Simi Valley are sure getting their share, so why aren’t we?
I got some interesting information from my Simi Valley source regarding what was available out there. She is the same source that used to live in Fillmore until she moved closer to her work in Simi Valley. For those in the city that have forgotten, she is the one that told the city where to apply for funding for the bike and walkway along the railroad tracks. Of course she was never given the credit for finding the money for those funds but that is typical Fillmore—the big important (in their own minds) take all the credit.
To make a long story short, she pointed me to: www.stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state/CA that lists all the city stimulus money handed out in the state. It is an eye-opener and it makes me wonder why Fillmore is sitting on their hind ends when this cash is available. Using Simi as an example, a lot of money was being used for road improvement. (God only knows that many streets in Fillmore could use some improvement.) But the main thing that one notices is that Simi drew stimulus funds for their sewer and water treatment system.
So why is Fillmore paying through the nose when this money is available for projects like ours? Why are the citizens paying from $75 - $90 per month for building this system when these funds are available from the Feds and can cut our costs? Why has the city not applied for these funds that can save the citizens and businesses money on sewer and water along with other city projects? Being the poorer of the communities in the county the Democrats would have a field day taking credit for saving the common folks on such projects in the “Last Best Small Town.”
Perhaps it is time for those that think they are in authority to take their thumbs out of places where the sun don’t shine and start trying to get some of this money and save the overtaxed taxpayer some money. Another thing to think about is that this stimulus money is in fact taxpayer money so why shouldn’t we demand our just share of what we have already paid in taxes?
See it by clicking here
Terry Timmons

To the Editor:
On April 14, Finance Director Barbara Smith forwarded to me and City Attorney, Ted Schneider, by email her notice of retirement. Ms. Smith indicated in her notice that she has been advised by the pension representative that her remaining until July 1 would bring no additional retirement benefit to her. As a result, May 14, 2009, will be her final day with the city. Ms. Smith has also indicated that she values her privacy and has requested that there not be any public honor or acknowledgment of her 23 years of service.
As Mayor, and on behalf of the City Council, well wishes and heartfelt thanks are extended to Barbara for her work, service and support she has extended to the council and community of Fillmore.
Patti Walker
Mayor, Fillmore


Letters to the Editor
April 9th, 2009

To the Editor:
Where are the helmets?
(Reprinted from the VC Star with permission)
I am happy to see that we have places like this for our kids to skate, but I couldn’t help noticing that the photos showed some pretty amazing stunts being executed by skaters with not helmets! This not only gives kids a bad example, but, in light of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson, it shows thoughtless publicity.
In Santa Paula, they have had to close the skate park because kids refused to wear helmets. It is not only the law, it is for their own protection. The rules are only as good as the enforcement. The message we are sending our kids is that it is OK to ignore laws that you don’t agree with. This is not what I teach my daughter.
Joe Spittle,
Santa Paula

To the Editor:
Vision2020's Civic Pride does it again!
This time with a Flower Show. For the first time in 11 years, Fillmore is once again in the flower business, thanks to Civic Pride's Linda Nunes and Joanne King and their dedicated helpers. They pulled together a display of flowers that would seem to have been a challenge, until you saw the quantity and variety of flowers entered. It was terrific. Kudos to the whole Civic Pride Committee for making "Fillmore Bloom Again".
Judy Dressler

To the Editor:
Mr. Stroh if you feel obligated to take credit for Measure I go for it. All I've ever asked is that the consequences of implementing Measure I be acknowledged. While my personal opinion differs from yours on this measure, I understand that the voters will is driving the bus. I don't agree with the direction of the bus or the cost of the bus. As an elected official I have an obligation to implement the measure based on the outcome of the election. How arrogant of two new council members, of which you actively supported, voting against implementing Measure I thereby ignoring the peoples will. Somehow you're pointing the finger of fault in my direction?
The Public is always welcome to participate in land use planning. To be truthful Bob your group, “Citizens for Responsible Growth”, participated in many sessions prior to final decisions. All one has to do is look at the comments provided in the EIR and the numerous meeting minutes for your participation in the process. You haven't been locked out and your suggestion that the public is not being heard falls flat on its face. I heard the public on Nov 4th. The same can not be said for the candidates you supported.
Like you, I agree and desire more citizen input in local issues. Having a balance represented at council meeting would be a benefit to all, but as you know, it’s seems that only one side is represented at meetings.
Steve Conaway
Fillmore City Councilmember

To the Editor:
And to Tom Dawson,
If development stopped 10 years ago a new sewer plant would have been required. Rates would have been much higher than they are now. New development lowers sewer rates, not drives them up.
The "mother of sewer drains" is actually a Storm Water drain. Two different things.
The “road to nowhere”, assuming you’re referencing B St, is being completed. This will help your 30 commute from the Fire Station to your house.
As for fixing our problems we're trying right now to fix Measure I so that the people get what they thought they were actually getting. We're trying to do it so other problems are not created and get city into trouble with the State. It would have been nice if the boat load of problems were fixed in a well thought out Measure I, but they were not. We're busy fixing the slim staffing at City Hall. We’re busy trying to locate the best candidate for City Manager. We have no shortage of problems and are trying our best. Please be patient. It just really stinks when you shoot yourself in the foot with bad public planning drafted in a private dining room and have to fix problems of your own making.
Steve Conaway
Fillmore City Councilmember

To the Editor:
Why does the editor of the Gazette feel that he must continue to attack Fillmore community members with hateful & malicious writings???? Now the attack is against Brian Sipes, a good citizen and successful local businessman. Mr. Sipes is an asset to our community and to those organizations in which he participated.
Our current city council has been respectful & businesslike in all of their actions so why does Mr. Farrell feel that he must continue with these personal attacks??
These are tough financial times for everyone but must Mr. Farrell continue to create mistrust & divisiveness within our community so that he can sell more newspapers???
Thank you,
Donna Cruz

To the Editor:
The owner of El Dorado Estates has filed an application with the City for a rezoning of El Dorado so that they can sell the residents the lots their homes are on. Those who buy their lots will have to pay their share of park maintenance, which is currently the owner’s expense.
Those who don’t buy their lots will continue with paying their rent with the addition of their share of the park maintenance fees. Those who are not low income will have to sign any lease the owner desires when their current lease expires. Those who are low income will be on State Rent Control once their current lease expires. Those who are low income will have trouble affording to have to pay their rent along with the new park maintenance fee, so they may not last long enough to see State Rent Control.
Last year we had an electrical problem that effected 1/3 of the park. It took over a month of work to fix. We had 3 large generators that powered 100 homes. The expense of this was enormous. If the Rezoning is allowed the residents would have to pay for anything like this that might occur.
The Rent Control Initiative will stop this terrible situation. We will be gathering signatures from Fillmore registered voters at Vons on weekend afternoons. Please come out and sign this important Initiative. If you can’t get there please call me and I, or a friend, will come to your home so you can sign. My phone number is in the book.
Dave Roegner


Letters to the Editor
April 2nd, 2009

To the Editor:
Why did the Piru Principal get demoted?
As many of you already know, on Friday, March 6, 2009 the Piru Elementary school principal was told by the superintendent Jeff Sweeney that this will be his last year as a principal. The parents of Piru School find it very disappointing that the district would consider such a drastic change without any consultation of the parents. For the first time in many years, Piru School has a principal who cares about our children. He is determined to make Piru School succeed. He has put great emphasis on academics which is reflected in the improvement in our test scores. Additionally, he has brought an increased awareness in the areas of exercise, health and nutrition, as well as many other things that enrich our children's lives. This is due in part of Mr. Durborow and his talented ability to think outside the box.
Why did Mr. Durborow get the demotion is the question many people are wondering. "Lack of confidence" is too broad of a statement. Could it be because Mr. "D" wants to make more positive changes, or is it because the academics are getting better even though Piru has the most English learners in the district? Maybe it's the fact that Mr. "D" has spent hours applying for grants to help the school but the grants aren't all spent in Piru? Maybe it's the fact that by going charter the district would lose over $2 million. Perhaps he was demoted due to the budget crisis - we don't know. But if the district is trying to cut back why don't they start at the district. Why does Sweeney need three Assistant superintendent’s assistants? There is something very wrong with this picture. "Lack of confidence" is just not enough for me.
Now let’s not forget about the school board members. Why do we even bother to have five members, wasting our tax dollars if they're going to do whatever Sweeney wants them to do. For your information, Sweeney is not the "Boss" YOU ARE! I know one thing for sure, and that is that none of them will get my vote again.
Concerned citizen

To the Editor:
At Tuesdays council meeting Measure I was on the agenda and prior to public comment Council member Conaway spoke of his distain for the measure wanting to go on "record" with all the bad things he says it will cause. Defeated Council member "it was the signs" Cuevas also spoke on all the bad things Measure I will produce and Fillmore will pay for voting the measure I in, I was involved with the North Fillmore Project in the early stages at the Store Front on Lemon Way along with the Great late Shirley Micarrlli who was greatly involved in the North Fillmore Project. Lots of Ideas were brought forward at these meetings with council members, residents, contractors and just everyday folks in attendance. But most of the public didn't really show support or non-support for this project, due to lack of communication, hard to understand notices posted by the city ect... Of course the City said they did everything they were required to by law, it would have been better had the notices had been written so everybody could understand them and there real purpose. The North Fillmore Committee tried to play catch up with the steam rolling the city council and developers, they were pushing the North Fillmore Plan through the way THEY wanted, not the way the PEOPLE wanted. The final plan was given to the North Fillmore Committee with ONLY a week to approve before it was voted on by the city Council when it was suppose to have 30 days to look it over and provide feed back on whether the city should or should not approve the final plan. The North Fillmore Committee DID NOT like the plan nor did they approve of it, but guess what, the council members at the time did and approved it. Now to my point, better late than never THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN we do not want high density housing, we want to keep beautiful rural area, we want less congestion. There are allot more places available around town to provide low to high end housing that already have streets, sewers, water and other services that the city maintains now, not new ones that the city can't afford to maintain. If Measure is going to cost me more that's OK buy me, I chose that, the people chose that, not the Developers handing council members golden beans in exchange for citizens quality of life. Council member Conaway said Measure I will cost the citizens around 300 thousand and higher sewer rates, maybe the council should have thought about this prior to all of the development we have seen for the past 10 years. During the council meeting well #9 was discussed and will cost the city 1.2 million when all done, it was needed because of new development, just think what 350 less homes will save when another well needs to be put in, do to over extending our supply with developers demands. We are all ready paying for 100 thousand dollars of new development, a street that goes nowhere, breaking water mains, the mother of all sewer drains, sewer plant, this list could go on forever, Let's learn live within our means, I know the new council will stand back and take a breath and look at what's best for OUR (not the developers/state) TOWN. Not all things please everyone but when THE PEOPLE speak then it is time to take notice and help fix the problem that has been created and learn that EVERYONE'S voice counts and not a select few. Heres a novel idea, fix all the towns problems first before creating new ones, and leave some space for our children's future to work with.
Tom Dawson
20 years North Fillmore

To the Editor:
As Measure I is being implemented, as per the will of the people, claims are being made by council member Conaway and former council member Cuevas that the voters were ignorant about what would happen if the measure passed. I disagree, Measure I and the future development of North Fillmore have been debated for a couple of years now; thoroughly discussed, openly and publicly, by the proponents and the opponents of Measure I. Public statements, both written and verbal, were made by Conaway and Cuevas and others on several occasions before the election was held. There was an opposing ballot statement for the voters to read before they made their decision. Conaway and Cuevas don’t seem to give us voters much credit.
It’s unfortunate that the public isn’t engaged in the decision making process before large sums of money are spent on plans and Environmental Impact Reports that paint a clearer picture of how a development will effect our quality of life. It’s after the plans are made and the EIR is done that the public, for all practical purposes, is brought into the picture and invited to workshops designed to sell them the project but not change it. The process needs to be changed. As council member Washburn suggests, the planning department and commissioners, council members, consultants, property owners, developers and the public, all participating from the start as I think some other cities do. It could save a lot of time, money and trouble.
Bob Stroh


Letters to the Editor
March 26th, 2009

To the Editor:
Brooks, Walker, Sipes and Washburn strategically chose not to provide the cost burden to the citizens when “selling” and advocating for Measure I.
As Fillmore taxpayers we now learn:
• Our tax dollars, at an estimated conservative minimum of $200,000+, will have to pay to correct Measure I.
• Measure I short changed our kids. It reduced planned and financed park land from 16 acres to 10 acres, now without a way to fund the 10 acres.
• Measure I claimed it would reduce sprawl. We now know that the State of CA requires that affordable homes will have to be built somewhere else in town, or outside the CURB boundary. How does this reduce density or sprawl?
Brooks, Washburn and Walker wouldn’t even second a motion to follow the people’s will on Measure I.
• They asked the citizens of Fillmore to sign their petition and weren’t even willing to step up and do what is required from the Measure, which is to re-do the city’s formerly compliant and approved, specific and general plans.
• When a motion was finally approved and called for a vote, both Brooks and Washburn voted no to begin the work that Measure calls for. Go figure!
Measure I seriously devalued property values in North Fillmore.
• It reduces the number of homes which can be built, except for one property owner, who had provided them financial support during their campaign. He was formerly limited to 82 homes and under their Measure can now possibly build up to 100 homes. Is it any wonder that this particular property owner who contributed the maximum dollar amount to Washburn/Brooks and Walker campaigns benefits?
Washburn and Brooks campaign signs said “Stop Eminent Domain” and “Stop Hillside Drive”
• What we heard last night is that Measure I did not address either of those issues. Washburn complains about reducing traffic but she wouldn’t even support Measure I last night which reduces daily traffic trips in North Fillmore.
Can we continue to watch our City be destroyed by people with a private agenda? I hope not!
Cecilia Cuevas,
Former Fillmore Councilmember

To the Editor:
Piru-Fillmore community is upset and coming together of the demotion of principle Richard Durborow. He came to Piru School with open arms and took a strong look and observed the needs of the children’s education; listening to the pleads of parents and the community that wants to grow and change. We will now be a K - 6th grade school that is what we have been hoping for. Embracing everyone’s desires, needs and ideas to improve and be successful; Durborow monitoring achievement motivation, safety and learning engagement, children’s behaviors and the importance of responsible behavior, caring school climate, community values. For these kids are still very young but will move on to a middle school and a high school. With Mr. D's building blocks they will be leaders to have the healthy and happy education they deserve and the respect others must have. It makes a team to educate a child. With time and patience Piru is very successful, healthy and happy. Test scores have also gone up and recognized by an official audit team of educators that were very impressed. Student and parents are realizing the educational gain. We were also recognized for its school program improvement in educational leadership, nations premier program for school administrators; nations premier journal for school administrator. We have wonderful volunteers that give the best gift themselves. Yes we have had wonderful hard working principles that had our support. We all have comments and opinions but we need to reflect on the importance here. Richard Durborow is a great man, our hero and the best advocate for Piru School. We have been blessed by his commitment to our students and the community. With him, Piru School is succeeding and achieving in all areas. Our hearts have been ripped out and we are furious of the decision making of the Fillmore unified school district to demote him. Mr. Sweeny said the topic involves a personnel matter. We are to just accept that and go on. Perhaps is it that we are strong and succeeding and the will to change and be better. We all have worked so hard together to just sweep it under a door mat. We will continue to reach higher to put children first and to continue in the support of our principle.
K. Warring- Ponce


Letters to the Editor
March 19th, 2009

To the Editor:
I want to congratulate the City of Fillmore for having constructed an outstanding skateboard park. It looks great. For such a small town this along with the new swimming facility are such great achievements and makes me proud to be a resident and taxpayer.
I stopped at the skateboard park this evening and saw about fifteen youths having a great time. I stopped to read the three large signs posted to tell the rules and regulations of the park. What caught my eye was the sign stating...
Another thing that caught my eye was that not one skateboarder had a helmet; and of course no elbow or knee pads. There is no way the city is not aware of the violations of these kids. How long are they going to ignore it? Just because you post signs, saying the city is not responsible for them if they choose to use the park, does not relieve them of liability. Just as the city has turned their head on the State laws requiring helmets for skateboarder, bicycle riders, scooters and roller skates in the city, they are now closing their eyes to what is happening at the park. I know it is not possible to have someone handing out citations all day but why even put up the signs if you are not going to enforce them. Just as there are signs at the sidewalks at Sespe and Main saying no skateboards, scooters, or roller-skates. Take them down if you are not going to enforce these. It is going to take a tragic accident to call notice to this lack of enforcement and then it will be too late. The swimming pool will soon be opening. It would not surprise me to see that facility without any supervision and lifeguards. Put up a few signs and let the swimmer beware. No difference that I can see. I wonder if the city's liability insurance is aware of what is going on in our fair city?
John Heilman,
74 year native.

To the Editor:
In response to Charles Richardson letter to the editor, regarding dissension and divisiveness at City Hall, I would like to remind Mr. Richardson that the recent loss of two City employees and special projects Manager, Roy Payne, was voluntary. The City Council can only hire and fire the City Attorney and the City Manager.
If the City Manager resigned to take another job and asked the City Council to accept his resignation, without the notice as required in his contract, how can the City Council be at fault? The newly elected City Council asked to review the contracts of the City Manager and the contract of Special Projects Manager Roy Payne, which is well within their right to review. If this caused them to resign, so be it. It was their choice. Regarding Steve McClary, who accepted a better position as Assistant to the City Manager, of the City of Ojai, is simply a good man improving his professional opportunities.
I resent Mr. Richardson’s criticism of Council members Washburn, Brooks and Walker. If the City of Fillmore is in real turmoil, and if it is adrift on anything, it is due to the new $80 million dollar sewer plant, which cost $30 million dollars more than the new Santa Paula sewer plant, which has twice the capacity of the Fillmore sewer plant. Regarding cooperativeness and a sense of fair play, Mr. Richardson has turned his back on the Voice of El Dorado’s Homeowners Association and has been very critical of our Homeowners Association’s president who has done an outstanding job to represent the homeowners in the El Dorado Mobilehome Park. UGH!! Right back to you Mr. Richardson.
Kenneth Creason

The Fillmore City Council has accepted the resignations of independent contractor Roy Payne, Assistant Services Manager Steve McClary and most recently, City Manager Tom Ristau. We wish them the best of luck in all endeavors they have chosen to follow.
The largest impact on the city is that of our City Manager who submitted his resignation on Tuesday, March 3, with a request it becomes effective March 28, 2009. The Council has honored his request.
In response to the changes that have occurred, the City Council held an emergency meeting on March 4, and announced that the current Deputy City Manager, Bill Bartels, would be appointed as interim upon Tom’s departure.
Just as quickly, the City Council obtained the services of the California League of Cities who provide free services to all member cities in the event of the retirement or resignation of such an important employee as is a City Manager. At our disposal is a local member of the Rough Riders who provide guidance to councils’ and staff when there is a need.
On Monday, March 9, a Special Council Meeting was held and the following chain of events was determined:
1. Bill Bartels will step in as interim City Manager. It is anticipated, this role will continue for approximately four to six weeks. 2. The City Council has narrowed the search for a transitional City Manager down to a handful of names who act in this temporary capacity. 3. The Council will then locate an outside agency to conduct the search for a permanent city manager. We have been advised that this process could take between nine and 12 months.
The entire Council has made a commitment to work diligently to interview the candidates for this transitional manager role as well as the permanent manager position. We have unanimously made a promise and concerted effort to move the process forward in a swift and decisive manner.
It is the entire councils’ desire that the current staff remain, as all are appreciated and valued. We are thankful for staff’s sincere and steadfast engagement with the community and, just as important, the communities support as we go forward to build a strong and prosperous Fillmore.
In your service,
Patti Walker, Mayor

To the Editor:
In response to Patti Walker’s letter to the editor of March 5, 2009, I too have had the opportunity to speak to Steve McClary regarding his reasons for leaving the City of Fillmore. First, let me say that I worked with Steve at Fillmore City Hall for approximately ten years and I have great respect for his abilities and his integrity and I was proud to be used as a reference by Steve when he applied for the Ojai position.
Ms. Walker stated in her letter that “at the January 27, 2009, City Council Meeting the City Manager told the public that he was looking to re-write the job description for Mr. McClary and the Administrative Assistant, Angela Mumme” implying that was one of the reasons for Steve’s departure. I spoke with Steve and he was surprised to read that statement and said he was not aware that the City Manager had made that statement.
Ms. Walker was correct in stating that Steve applied for the position in October, 2008, prior to the election. Steve indicated to me that all of the political rhetoric prior to the election and the election results were absolutely a contributing factor to his decision to accept the Ojai position.
As for Ms. Walker’s attempt to gloss over the fact that Steve and City Manager Ristau entered the job search process prior to the last election, any right-minded individual would have done the same thing given the rhetoric from Washburn, Brooks and Westling during their campaign. In addition, the fact that Walker endorsed them showed that if elected they would have a majority. So it should not come as a shock to anyone that out of town staff would begin searching for new employment. The fact that both Steve and Tom Ristau were successful in obtaining new employment in this down economy and in a very competitive job market speaks highly of their qualifications and job experience, which Fillmore has now chased away. By the way I do not believe that either Ojai or San Fernando regard out of town residency as a negative factor when hiring and retaining highly qualified employees.
The new Fillmore Council members do not have any understanding of what municipal staffing is about…and they don’t realize that when they go out to the job market for replacements, that they will have to offer a competitive compensation package. Otherwise, the only employees they will be able to attract are those with little or no experience or those whom no other government entity wanted.
Ms. Walker’s recent proclamation that “It is the entire councils’ desire that the current staff remain, as all are appreciated and valued. We are thankful for staff’s sincere and steadfast engagement with the community…” just doesn’t ring true. First, how can she speak for the entire Council when the matter of staffing has not been on the City Council agenda? Has she had a secret meeting with the City Council to discuss this? Second has she forgotten about Brooks’ pompous comment regarding staffing and salaries “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”? The Fillmore City Council needs to stand up and take responsibility for the consequences of their election campaign rhetoric and be straight up with the public about their political and staff agendas.
Roy Payne
Fillmore City Manager (1989-2005)

To the Editor:
This is a response to Steve Conaway's letter of 3/12.
Why is Steve undermining the duly elected City Council in public? Does he think the citizens don't know what they are doing by casting their vote for someone he disagrees with? Asking for a review of a contract or City Manager is not a firing. Were Roy and Tom intimidated by their boss wanting to review their job? A good worker wants to be reviewed by their boss, not resign.
Dave Roegner

To the Editor:
A pattern is forming, it appears that Martin Farrell, council member Steve Conaway and their friends have launched a smear campaign against Patti Walker to be used against her in her reelection bid in 2010, and they don’t even know if she‘ll run again. Never too soon, right boys?
In last weeks Gazette:
Conaway tried to make a big deal out of council members Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks running together with Walker’s support. It’s true and it’s common. In 2002 it was Ernie Villegas and Ken Smedley; in 2004 it was Conaway, Ray Dressler and John Parsons; in 2006 it was Smedley and Laurie Hernandez all supported by a Political Action Committee that cumulatively reported over $100,000 in campaign contributions from outside developer interests to get these candidates elected. Harding and Dalton also ran together in 2002. For candidates who think alike and are supported only by local contributors it makes sense to run on a slate – they don’t have much money so they can get more for their campaign dollar. Does that mean Washburn, Brooks and Walker can not be independent representatives? Not at all. And you can bet that they will not accept an all expense paid trip to anywhere from a contractor being paid by Fillmore people. Conaway can’t say the same.
Farrell said, “There was a great deal of anticipation leading up to Tuesday’s council meeting… on the agenda was…Measure I.” Really, how’d I miss that earth shattering news? Lest anyone forget, Measure I was one of two measures the Fillmore voters approved limiting growth in North Fillmore, a position Farrell has flip-flopped on. That’s right Martin, the people of Fillmore didn’t want that mess yesterday and we don’t want it today, tomorrow or for our grandchildren’s tomorrow. Unfortunately the past city council refused to listen to the people so now we have to trust this council to figure out how to fix their mistake, and they can. Martin, you told me some of your low density ideas for that area, they were good, please, tell the public.
I’d like to comment on some of the other nonsensical issues they brought up, like losing a very talented employee who was in a dead-end job and hadn’t been given a pay raise in three years; losing a temporary employee who had completed his agreed-upon tasks and refused to renegotiate his contract and instead chose to quit; and the resignation of the city manager. But I’m way over Martin’s word limit, maybe next week.
Bob Stroh

To the Editor:
Thank you to the Santa Paula Hospital Staff!
The birth of our young son, Charlie, was truly a miraculous event in our lives. A mix of emotions, apprehension, joy, and pride that is hard to describe. My wife Erin and I are so grateful to the Santa Paula Hospital Staff for their expert care and the professional, yet warm and caring manner in which we were treated. They helped make our delivery a wonderful experience.
We chose Santa Paula Hospital (SPH) to have our delivery because of the quiet and beautiful setting, and its warm and comforting atmosphere. Sometimes I think there is a misperception that, as a small rural hospital, SPH might not have quite the same high quality of care as a larger hospital in a larger city. I can tell you first hand, that is not the case. The care at SPH is outstanding. As the Director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, I am fortunate to be in a unique position to know that the quality of care at both SPH and the Ventura County Medical Center is outstanding and second to none as both are county-run facilities.
Santa Paula Hospital provides the best of both worlds: top quality care that you would typically find at larger hospitals, with the comforting setting of a smaller hospital.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to entrust the care of my wife and new baby to people who I know and respect. It made this already joyous occasion all the more so because we shared it with these incredibly dedicated people, whom I will name at the end of this letter.
My wife and I are private people and so at first I was a little uncomfortable writing this letter. But we could not let the opportunity go by without publicly thanking the Santa Paula Hospital Staff and sharing with the community, from our first hand perspective, just how special the staff and physicians are who work there.
Erin ended up needing to have a C-Section. The procedure went very smoothly. Dr. Brecht-Doscher was a true pro - calm and focused and put us at ease. She knew exactly what to do and explained everything to us thoroughly. It was also comforting to see that, Dr. Mark Sussman, a well-respected and experienced anesthesiologist would be taking care of Erin. Dr. Carolyn Morris assisted. The OR nurses, Chris, Kathy, and Frank, couldn't have been more professional or kind.
During our entire four day stay, the nurses, under the leadership of Bea Frias, the Nursing Manager at SPH, could not have been more kind, knowledgeable, supportive and attentive to Erin. Lisa, Alicia, KJ, and Marissa were terrific. Lisa helped me clean Charlie up and helped me change his first diaper. She said this was an important initiation for me as a new father (or was it a Hazing?).
The postpartum care, was great. Erin received tremendous support in breast feeding counseling, and dietary issues all of which was supported by a visit each day from Dr. Heather Nichols, the wonderful pediatrician who supports the hospital.
The dietary staff could not have been more attentive. We, as well as our visitors, were impressed with the choices of meals offered and the nice services as well as the special celebratory dinner offered to all new parents.
We so appreciated the volunteers as well, their warmth, generosity and enthusiasm and just how much they care about the hospital, the staff and the patients. One of them, Mrs. Carolyn Lasky, even knit Charlie a hat. Now you might think this was special treatment, but she does this for all of the new babies.
And I think that is really the point. As special as they made us feel, this is how SPH staff treats all of their patients. From the delivery through our departure, our stay at SPH was exceptional and one that my family and I will always cherish. As Erin, Charlie and I drove down from the “Hospital on the Hill,” I could see my beautiful family in the backseat and the beautiful Santa Clara Valley in front of me and I truly felt I
wouldn't want to be anywhere else. So, to SPH, we say thank you for the great care and the great memories. And to the community of the Santa Clara Valley, I would just say, if you ever need it, SPH is a very special place.
We would also like to thank the OB Department's Bonnie Bouley, Lisa McPheeters, KJ Obregon, Michelle Lagunas, Marissa Montgomery, Sharon Hauser, Mary Gonzalez, Alicia Rojas; Operating Room, Chris Niehus, Gigi Barajas, Kathy Martinez, Frank Morelli, Nadine Madina; Dietary, Sally Osuna; Housekeeping, Debbie Garcia; and all of
the SPH Auxiliary volunteers!
Mike and Erin Powers (and Charlie)

Letters to the Editor
March 12th, 2009

To the Editor:
It's very difficult for me to sit by and not comment on what's going on in the City of Fillmore even though it has been many years since I lived there. I have religiously kept track of what is going on there since my move in 1973. Many of the relationships I formed there during the 25 years of my residence continue even today. I have observed the many changes that have occurred in the population and to the physical demographics of the City, some for the good and others not so good. I have watched as the City has grown, sometimes struggling to find its way, solving the many problems brought about by mother nature, new State and Federal mandates and outside pressures. Most of the time the "powers that be" have faced these problems head on and have been able to find solutions that were supported by the majority of the people.
It was my good fortune to have been elected to the City Council twice. I served from 1962 to 1970, went though a recall election in 1967 or 1968, the council prevailed, and lost my bid for a third term to a magnificent lady who became an outstanding council lady and Mayor, Delores Day.
When I was elected it was the first time the "good old boys" network had been broken since the City's incorporation in 1918. I was an outsider with no axe to grind. My intention was to learn from the experienced members of the council, gain some respect from them and over time get a historical perspective and with some luck move the City in a more progressive direction. Many of my constituents felt the City was in a rut and needed a shove to be out of it. In order to accomplish this I knew I had to do my homework.
From my experience I had learned there is a fine, gray line between being a policy maker and an administrator, I was a public school administrator in Santa Paula at the time. I set as one of my goals to find that line and to do my best not to cross it. The City council is a policy making body not an administrative organization.
At any rate my goal was to sit back and learn as much as I could from the likes of men like Dewey Thompson, Frank Munoz, Ray Lindenfeld, Bob Linville, Leon Harthorn and Fred Bryce, all of whom were good teachers and men who had the best interest of the city at heart. I was in good company and I knew it.
As time went on we became a team, not there weren't debates, some public, but we bent over backward not to air our dirty laundry in public, without violating the Brown Act.
My reason for reciting all the above is to say to the two new council persons, "I think you have gotten off on the wrong foot." The resignations of three of your administrators is proof of that. You both came aboard with axes to grind and without knowledge of what might be different from the one sided information you brought with you and weren't, or don't seem to have been satisfied to really sit back and learn what was really going on before letting the axes fall.
Now why put in my two cents worth when I am sitting in the Mountains of North Carolina rather than where I lived on Central Avenue? It is mainly because it pains me so to see and read about the divisiveness in the town that I care enough about to still, after all these years, call Home. Please put your axes away and help bring back the harmony to our beautiful City.
Bill Shaffer
Former City Councilmember

To the Editor:
I would like to again thank the Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful evening at the Awards Ceremony and dinner. I felt very special after all the accolades that were bestowed on me - as I'm sure all the recipients of the other awards did also. Chuy Ortiz did a delicious dinner - as always - all in all a night to remember. Thank you to everyone that helped to make it so special.
Judy Dressler

To the Editor:
It is with sadness for our city that I inform you that City Manager Tom Ristau submitted a Letter of Resignation this morning to the council. If you are unaware this is the third long standing employee to exit City Hall in three weeks. Roy Payne, retired CM and Special Project Manager, resigned. He served Fillmore for over 23 years. Next was Steve McClary who was outstanding and highly professional in fulfilling his duties left after 12 years with Fillmore. Now Tom Ristau resigns after working for the city and serving the City Council with approximately 17 years experience. That, my friends, is a lot of institutional knowledge to leave the building. I fear more highly qualified employees will not be far behind.
One only has to look as far as the last election and the campaign promises and statements made which point to the individuals and their associates which might be the cause of the turmoil. Walker ran for election in 2004 and lost. Walker and Washburn ran in 2006 and Walker was elected to office. Washburn lost that election attempt. Washburn then ran with Brooks in 2008. We all saw their names on the same signage, so don't tell me they didn't run together. Walker submitted a letter to the paper clearly stating she fully supports Washburn and Brooks. Two meetings ago Council Member Brooks asked Mayor Walker, "You want me to change my vote?" Without going into detail he changed it.
This, on top of the news of Mr. Roegner's filing of notice to circulate a petition for referendum purposes to enact Rent Control at El Dorado. Evidently Mr. Roegner's writing has improved greatly as his efforts are much more formal than past writings he has emailed to me. Anyone want to guess where he's seeking legal help?
Soon the council will address the costs of following the will of the people regarding Measures H & I. After all, that is what the voters wanted. Will these same voters support the city spending literally over $250,000 dollars to comply with the short sighted measures, which I opposed on a number of grounds? Once the city completes a new Specific Plan, EIR and CEQA, General Plan and Housing Element, will the current council members even approve any development in the area? One new council member went so far as to say "We (speaking on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Fillmore) don't want anything to change in North Fillmore". Pretty telling statement. That person was elected to office and at his first meeting sought a performance review of the City Manager. I'm not sure what basis or experience he was going to draw from to perform that review, but that doesn't matter evidently, not at least to him. Sadly the other newly elected councilmember supported his motion as did our new Mayor. I almost forgot to mention that Washburn and Walker were drafters of botched efforts to limit development in North Fillmore. Do you think a property owner in North Fillmore has any chance with these three individuals?
It's my belief that citizens need to know what is happening in our town.
Steve Conaway,

To the Editor:
I guess if I need dissension at City Hall, I can Google Washburn. If I'm looking for divisiveness, I can Google Washburn. If I need lengthy City Council meetings, I can Google Washburn. If I'm looking for any kind of trouble at City Hall (like someone else to fire), I can Google Washburn (maybe Brooks and Walker too).
On the other hand, If I want cooperativeness, a sense of fair play, a straight shooter, a serious minded Councilperson and of course, someone who is doing their best to "get-a-long" and make good things happen for all the voters in Fillmore, than I won't "GOOGLE WASHBURN" (nor Brooks or Walker either for that matter). She (and they) are the epitome of the phrase, "be careful what you wish (in this case, vote) for".
Oh, by the way, who's next to leave City Hall? Pretty soon those 3 will have the City in real turmoil and adrift on the shining sea! Yep, "voters" always get what they vote for. UGH!
Charles Richardson

To the Editor:
The content of this editorial could have been entitled ‘Self Indulgence, A Path to Tyranny’. In the event that many of the readers missed Paul Harvey’s program, “The Rest of the Story “ broadcast on the Seventh of July 2008, he included a prayer for our Nation by Billy Graham that received an immediate and overwhelmingly positive response. The content of that prayer I believe to be an appropriate way to introduce the subject of this commentary. For your benefit, please do not assume that because I mention Billy Graham and prayer that this is a religious article. Those readers who may not believe in God and would give up your seat for this ride, hang in there. I will only take his opportunity to remind you that even the devil believes in God, and trembles.
Mr. Graham, even in his late years, has a way of cutting to the chase and addressing clearly and concisely the root of the problem facing our country. He petitions God’s forgiveness for America as a Nation, for reversing our values, for calling evil good, for exploiting the poor and calling it a lottery, for rewarding laziness and calling it welfare. He asks God’s forgiveness for our nation allowing the killing of our unborn and calling it choice. He asks forgiveness for our neglecting our children’s discipline and calling it building self esteem, for our coveting our neighbor’s possessions, and calling it ambition, for polluting our airways with pornography and profanity, calling it self-expression. He also ask God to forgive us for having forsaken the time honored values of our forefathers, and calling it enlightenment, and ignoring the abuse of power in our Government , calling it politics. Although each and every one of the issues above could be written about at length, it is the last two which I choose to elaborate on.
The desire for immediate self gratification, brings lawlessness.
We as a nation, are going to extraordinary lengths to hide our immorality from our collective conscience. For the purpose of this article, it is of little consequence whether you believe in the God Mr. Graham addresses or in GOD’s ability to offer forgiveness. We (the people) have forsaken the time tested values of our forefathers. If we combined the issues Mr. Graham has addressed in his prayer, including I might add, our reluctance to speak the truth calling it instead political correctness, it is evident that it is generally the attitude of most of the people that needs adjusting. Our very freedom is threatened by each person who allows his or her values to be distorted by their need to put themselves above the common good.
The media reports evidence of this on a daily basis. On our streets, there individuals who run through stop signs and red lights, speed through school zones, speed on the highways and pass on the shoulder of the road. They put their own itinerary above the safety of others. The branches of the vine of lawlessness are too long and varied to continue to elaborate on further. Most people know lawlessness instinctively. It is unfortunate that so many choose to excuse, ignore, or capitulate to its effect on others. We are being led astray when educators, politicians, the media and special interest groups tell us that changing what something is called changes the substance of the object in question. What they hope to change is the public perception of their morality. The ACLU would have us believe that the term illegal has been removed from our vocabulary, that un-naturalized residents have the same right to public assistance as citizens. THEY DON’T, THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS! The so called ‘legal’ minds of the ACLU say it is unfair to round up and deport those who have begun their residency in our country with no regard for our law from the beginning. I would agree that we should ‘let’ them continue residency had the terminology not been reversed to mean ‘allow’ rather than the original meaning which meant ‘to restrain’. I would not be surprised to learn that these same individuals were responsible for changing the word ‘gay’, which once meant joyful or happy, to now be the accepted term for ‘perverted’. Calling a horse a goat does not make it any less a horse.
Attorneys for the ACLU, many public officials, and unfortunately some Judges on the bench of the California Supreme Court, argue that it is unfair for a vote by the majority to take away the right of a specific minority. There is no truth in this argument, regardless of what you would be led to believe. Every responsible person with the ability to reason recognizes that Law is written for the common good of the Majority. There are numerous ‘minorities’ in our nation. Hunters, fishermen, and nudists are only a few that first come to mind. Should the general law be changed to accommodate each such group’s chosen life style? Their right to pursue and enjoy their chosen life style is not threatened by the law of the majority. They are given the privilege of being able to pursue their lifestyle under specific guidelines that outline the limitations of how, where, and when their lifestyle can be pursued without having an adverse affect on the majority. We would be led to believe that the use of the word minority should be coupled with the term ‘ethnic’, as with the Hispanic, Black, Jewish, Armenian, Asian, Islamic or native Indian minorities. These are people born into specific groups and should not be discriminated against because of their family’s origin. Our Constitution states that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. None of these rights are threatened by marriage continuing to be the union of a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony. The homosexual group’s agenda would require the majority of families to accept their lifestyle and allow them to promote it to the children of mothers and fathers who can have children of their own. Like it or not, the right to have children is given only to heterosexual couples. They, and they alone should be joined in matrimony.
I find it particularly grievous and indeed unfortunate that these people the so called gay community) have been singled out and led astray in their hope, due to their persistence. They are being used as pawns by those with a much greater agenda, to arrest the government of the people, by the people, and take firm control of government for themselves. All that is required is for the people to capitulate and accept that they will be controlled by the few.
Those who have continued to read this far may be questioning what the foregoing has to do with the possibility of our loss of the freedom to which we have become accustomed.
Lawlessness in politics leads to Tyranny
The spirit of Self Indulgence has not been confined to those who appear to have very little. How many of the readers have lost their jobs because those in charge at their place of employment drained the profits to fill their own pockets with even more? Why is the news filled with reports of people losing most of their savings to unscrupulous financial advisers? People are losing their homes because of an economy devastated by those who gave them loans they couldn’t afford, or because ruthless speculators drove up real estate above it’s true value? The greed of a few has caused the prosperity of many to suffer. The Crime Syndicate, which many would have believed had become less dangerous or disappeared, has reappeared. We now know that it only moved from the mansions on the shore of Lake Michigan to the State House and further up in government. Those elected to serve the people are serving themselves. It is reported that many have been elected by voters who have long been in the grave, or by falsified voter registrations. The political arena is full of self serving attorneys, lawyers, judges and politicians who, rather than acting as employees of the people and serving to promote the betterment of those who provide their jobs, promote their own agendas and believe their own bias is more important than the will of the people. Scandalous behavior by these public officials is usually reported by the media, only when it has grown beyond damage control, and even then reported with a spin to provide the person the possibility of getting out of the dilemma. This has occurred in our local, state and federal government. When will we as a people, and as citizens, demand their jobs be remanded?
WAKE UP AMERICA, and especially at this time, those in California. On March 5th 2009, the California Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the vote of the people on Prop 8, would be upheld. I find it highly ironic and despicable that four individuals appointed as servants of the people to perform as Judges, and who have stated publicly that the minority should not be subject to the majority vote, have overruled the vote of 4,618,673 citizens by a 4 to 3 Majority. It is clear that they only want to accept the majority vote when they are part of the majority. These four people, by their unwitting ideological bias, on May 15th 2008 overturned Prop 22, setting in motion unmeasured devastation, disappointment, rioting, and expense for the citizens of California. Should the Judges on this momentous decision decide against the vote for Prop 8, we must immediately disappoint them and point them in the direction of new employment. Precedence for such an action has been established. Our very liberty and independence in America and California is at stake.
Stan Mason
A Watchman on the Wall

Letters to the Editor
March 5th, 2009

To the Editor:
Re: Editorial Comments
I am stating for the record, that I disagree with your opinions expressed in recent editorials. We have never had a conversation about these issues and they appear to be based on gossip and assumptions.
My positions on staff and other issues have been published in the Gazette and online during the campaign. I suggest you read them. I also speak my own mind and no one else speaks for me.
The people of Fillmore wanted some change in the community. I believe one of those changes was an end to this kind of bullying and dialog that has occurred for many years. Many months ago I temporarily discontinued my blog because I didn't appreciate the disrespectful comments coming from either side and refused to post any comment demeaning staff, other Council members or members of the public. It serves no good purpose.
While elected officials and staff are always subject to criticism, there is no need to become abusive or hateful.
I suggest we put an end to a culture of divisiveness that has existed for a long time. I ask all fellow citizens not to participate in this behavior either.
We have to agree that we all want the best for Fillmore and this is not the way to achieve that. We have economic and other challenges ahead of us. It's time to move on and get to work.
Gayle Washburn
Fillmore City Councilmember

To the Editor:
In response to Martin Farrell’s Realities of February 26, 2009, I had the opportunity to speak to Steve McClary on what will be a well-earned position (and promotion) as Assistant City Manager for the City of Ojai.
First, Mr. McClary applied for the position in Ojai in October, 2008. In other words, prior to the 2008 election.
Second, the only staff which answer to the council are the City Manager and City Attorney - all other staff, which included Mr. McClary, respond to the City Manager. The council has no authority over the hiring or firing of the staff.
Third, at the January 27, 2009, City Council Meeting the City Manager told the public that he was looking to re-write the job description for both Mr. McClary and the Administrative Assistant, Angela Mumme.
Finally, Ojai’s government offices are closed every Friday, his new position will entail few if any evenings, both pluses for a young man and father.
Steve McClary was an asset to the city. Let’s not turn this opportunity for him into a means to belittle any member of the Fillmore City Council.
Patti Walker
Mayor, City of Fillmore

To the Editor:
On behalf of the Fillmore-Piru 2009 Relay for Life (RFL) Committee, a BIG Thank You is declared to Mayor Patti Walker and the Fillmore City Council for granting the fee waiver to allow the RFL committee to use the Fillmore Senior Center for its planning and strategy meetings and, also, the use of Shiells Parks for the RFL event scheduled for September 26-27, 2009.
The RFL is the American Cancer Society's unique fundraiser of local community action to raise the spirits of people touched by cancer. The donated funds will provide education, advocacy, and continuing patient services, programs and life-affirming cancer research. The support, hard work, and generosity of everyone will help make the 24-hour celebration become a success and truly an inspiration.
Faith Lugo,
Chairperson RLF Committee

To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank The City of Fillmore for their participation, In the Military Banner Program. I know there are several people / organizations responsible for the installation of these Military banners. But without the city’s participation, this program could not succeed. For an old Navy Veteran like myself, it gives me a proud feeling to see local men and women serving in the military, receiving the honor and recognition they deserve.
Raul Torres US Navy Veteran
Resident of El Dorado Estates

Letters to the Editor
February 26th, 2009

To the Editor:
I would like to offer a correction to Mr. Bob Stroh’s numbers presented in the Gazette on February 19, 2009 regarding the cost of the Fillmore and Santa Paula Sewer Plants. Mr. Stroh stated that Fillmore is “paying $80 million to handle our sewage when Santa Paula can handle twice the sewage at their new plant for $56 million.”
The awarded Santa Paula bid price for their plant and appurtenances was $57,307,351 for Fillmore it was $42,852,454. Of the Fillmore cost $1,563,863 is for the levee up to Hwy 126 and is reimbursed to the City by the adjacent Business Park Developer. This makes the price to Fillmore $41,288,591 ie: $57.3M Santa Paula and $41.3M Fillmore.
I believe Mr. Stroh is getting the $80M from a 2005 estimate of $82M for the entire Fillmore project. After City Council cost reductions the estimated total cost of the project is now about $77M. The City received a $3M Proposition 50 Grant and we are currently projecting to be about $3M under budget when the project finishes this year. Also the Fillmore price includes $2M for sewer main repairs. Therefore the total Fillmore cost for the entire project for the Water Recycling Program will be about $69M from 2002 to estimated completion. This includes land cost, engineering, legal, environmental work, etc.
I have not seen the total cost of the Santa Paula program from 2002 to their completion but it will certainly exceed Fillmore’s cost when you add their total costs for land, engineering, legal, environmental work, Regional Water Quality Control Board permits, etc. Santa Paula did not have to build a water recycling system but were able to simply use percolation ponds. If Fillmore could have solely used ponds and avoided the water recycling, our project would have cost less as well. Unfortunately the geology in Fillmore does not permit this.
I hope this will help keep the numbers straight. Please feel free to call me at (805) 524-1500 ext. 231 if you have any Public Works related questions.
Very truly yours,
Bert J. Rapp, P.E.,
Public Works Director

To the Editor:
Thanks for the picture story on Mr. Bob Hammond's wind turbine. With the hundreds of wind machines in our area this is some good news for a change. In the story you mentioned permit "fees" of $10,000. Can you, or anyone else, please explain why taking one old machine down and replacing it with a new one, on the same structure, requires any fee. Could it be bureaucracy gone wild? I see Hammond's turbine almost every day and it is not an eyesore, offensive or damaging to the environment and is no threat to wildlife or any endangered species. It also presents a modern, clean, and renewal power source without any government help or bailout. Ventura County should encourage more privately owned wind turbines for every inoperative wind machine and forget "fees". I know that will go against the grain of government but so what, the farmers, ranchers and residents will all benefit.
Tom Montali

To the Editor:
Fillmore's water has a lot to be desired, it is so "hard" you almost have to wear a hardhat in the shower. Is the solution staring us right in the face? We have spent and will continue spending money on our new water treatment plant. While I might add, having to put up with our heavy salt and mineralized water. It costs us more for detergents to do their job. Scale in our pipes cause failure of our plumbing and fixtures. Many people are required to hire a plumber to address this problem because not everyone is able to do it themselves. Citizens on a fixed income's are further financially stressed.
Recycling water sounds great taking the treated water and reusing it to water lawns such as the high school etc. This will be accomplished with the same water than causes our plumbing problems now.
Maybe nature could teach us a lesson. The river that runs below our city carries water to the sea every day. It doesn't charge us to get rid of the floodwaters that would ravage us without it. Sespe Creek needed a little engineering and so would our river that flows to the ocean.
Land acquisition is very expensive in California, if we look at the riverbed we can maybe see possibilities right before our own eyes. Burry a large pipe in the riverbed to the sea Fillmore water treatment could dump it's treated water into the pipe, so could Santa Paula and parts of Ventura. Costs could be shared by each user reducing the cost to individuals.
In order to stop salt pollution of the Oxnard plain we now hire a polluting truck to exchange soft water tanks located in subscribers homes at considerable expense. In the end it is dumped into the ocean. In a sense the trucks that handle this bi-product, brine, are our pipeline. How do you think by the city considering a water purification plant would be nearly as efficient? Consider the maintenance factor alone, In my experience of over 50 years working with machinery of all types much of it on water treatment plants, I can tell you a plant to condition the water of our city would be very expensive to build and very expensive to maintain.
Going green in the latest consideration. Conservation groups probable would probably cause an uproar, what would it hurt? once the pipeline was in well below the surface of the riverbed the next rainstorm runoff effectively hides all of the evidence causing no salt pollution of our ground. It seems to me to make sense. Where does the salt come from in the first place? Recycle the salt. Let the citizens have soft water.
Burkley Neff

Letters to the Editor
February 19th, 2009

To the Editor:
Thank you Roy Payne for your 20 year commitment to the City of Fillmore and its citizens. It was a privilage to work with you for most of your 20 dedicated years. I look back on those years and smile at the positive results your leadership provided to this community. Your leadership has made this community a wonderful place to live. Your honesty and integrity will never be in question in my opinion. Your leadership during the '94 earthquake was nothing short of remarkable. The City's downtown district and the City as a whole continues to thrive due to your visions and one can only hope this can continue. I could go on forever talking about your attributes, and your contributions to the city. Roy you will be truly missed, by not only me, but many others.
Retired Fire Chief Pat Askren

To the Editor:
Re. Martin Farrell’s Realities and his response to council member Gayle Washburn: It would be helpful if Farrell revealed his sources when he makes his claims. For example, when he questioned Washburn’s knowledge about spreadsheets and databases did Farrell know Washburn’s background? His claims were made up, by whom?
Roy Payne resigned as city manager four years ago. He left behind a handpicked city staff, he put in place a handpicked city manager and he negotiated his own contract to serve as a consultant to the city and has been paid, I’ll guess, based on what he got in ’08, over $300 thousand since he resigned. Mr. Farrell, are you telling us that Payne’s handpicked staff can’t do the job, if so, why? At a recent council meeting a council member asked if Payne had completed the seven tasks he was hired to do, the finance director said that he had. The city manager tacitly agreed. Did they mislead Washburn?
Mr. Farrell, if you want to talk about the sewer plant then make it clear to the Fillmore people why it’s good for us to be paying $80 million to handle our sewage when Santa Paula can handle twice the sewage at their new plant for $56 million. Yes, that’s one of the reasons why council members Washburn and Brooks were elected; over a thousand Fillmore citizens signed letters asking the City to take another look at our sewer future and all but council member Walker ignored the people. In fact, former Mayor Conaway went to Washington D.C. on behalf of American Water.
I like it when you challenge our elected officials, but only when your arguments are fact based.
Bob Stroh

To the Editor:
Your latest online edition is yet another blow to respectful, objective journalism. The cartoon (credited only to a staff writer) is neither satire, irony or based in civic duty to impart professional information. Is the game ultimately to undermine and demean the officials the people have elected? If so, consider the banality of the detractors. And, consider that our newly elected officials had the courage to campaign and run for office --- so many of us talk big but when called to perform, can't find the guts.
After 3 months and 3 meetings it is too soon to say who will look bad and who will look good at the end of two years.
Roy Payne seems to be the hottest issue. He, by his own admission, was the "Project Manager" for only the business park - not Griffin, not Heritage Valley, not North Fillmore, not Fillmore and Western, not Suncal and not Steiger. All of his other duties were in the role of "facilitator". For a definition of this title, contact City Hall. Facilitating is a staff function.....that is why staff is paid.
Gloria Hansen

To the Editor:
I have been driving by the new skate park since it has been open at least six or seven times and I have noticed something that should be of interest to the citizens of Fillmore. Each time that I have passed by the area, I have noticed large groups of boys using the area. Now this is good in that now some of the kids in the community have someplace to go with their skates and skateboards.
The bad thing is that none of those that I have observed using the park have been wearing the protective gear that I believe is required by law. In other words if little John, Bill, Chris or Carlos is injured on City Property, guess who has the deep pockets and will be sued? It is bad enough that the schools are now required to baby-sit and the city now must take on that responsibility for doing the same at the new skate park.
If we become the magnet that the promoters of the park claim it will become, then I guess that we also take on the responsibility for any injuries that will occur at the new park. It is my understanding that safety equipment is a State required law and who will become responsible for injuries received from not obeying that law. Surely according to some of these parents, the city will because as we all know, parents are not responsible for the actions of their children and if little Chris breaks an arm, leg or fractures his little skull because he is not obeying the law then the City and citizens who supplied that park are totally at fault.
It is time for the City to take a proactive measures, making sure the law is being enforced and make sure that anyone using that skate park be wearing the proper protective gear required. If we don’t it could cost us millions of dollars in settlements because parents won’t take on the responsibility of seeing that their kids are protected.
Terry Timmons

Letters to the Editor
February 12th, 2009

To the Editor:
Re: Roy Payne letter.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Payne chose not to renegotiate his contract. My comments have been severely mischaracterized by Payne and the Gazette (where’s the editorial board?).
The 7 tasks outlined in the contract addendum have been completed. It is not necessary at this point to provide the $2,000 per month retainer – which partially comes out of the sewer fund and water fund – plus a free cell phone, computer workstation and office. The Business Park needed to be added to the contract and the other items removed. This is not a personal issue, it is a business decision.
I appreciate the past work that Mr. Payne has done. I love the City Hall building. The “last, best small town in Southern California” was a great slogan. And I thought that Vision 2020’s “slow, controlled growth” was a reason to be in Fillmore. I believe Mr. Payne was responsible for these items.
With that said however, I disagree with other decisions. While I have disagreed with Mr. Payne and others about some issues, I have not been disrespectful or abusive. Disagreements are normal but an inappropriate and unprofessional response from Mr. Payne and the Gazette are uncalled for.
By the way, if you Google “intellectual pygmy”, you get hits on George Bush, Al Gore, David Horowitz, John Roberts and Sarah Palin, all of whom are probably smarter than you and me.
Gayle Washburn

To the Editor:
On February 3, 2009 Mr. Roy Payne resigned as a Special Projects Manger to the City of Fillmore. He was working on the Business Park and to continue the effort to lower sewer rates. Mr. Payne states his reason is the attack on his personal integrity from the newly elected Council members. This is a tragedy for Fillmore because we are losing one of the most capable persons of the highest integrity who has a passionate love for Fillmore. I am writing this letter because we all need to remember the good things Roy brought to Fillmore and the wonderful person that he is.
Mr. Payne served as City Manager for 17 years under 8 different City Councils. Working with those City Councils he brought about significant positive change for Fillmore. One of his first actions was to attack weed infested City properties and have them landscaped and maintained. This effort was encouraged by Roy’s wife Donna who has an eye for beauty. Roy believed that if the City would take pride in its properties more residents would also begin to take pride in their properties.
Roy led the effort to rejuvenate Down Town with the store front rehab program and installation of decorative sidewalks, landscaping and crosswalks. He also spearheaded the Down Town Specific Plan that would enhance and preserve the historic nature of Down Town and enable businesses to add residential above the businesses. This adds economic strength to Down Town businesses and brings life and customers to Down Town.
When Southern Pacific Railroad was going bankrupt and selling land, Mr. Payne took advantage of the opportunity and Fillmore purchased the Station parcel from Central to east of Mountain View. On this parcel now sits the Fillmore Historical Society, Railroad turn table and their future museum, Gissinger Winery, City Hall and the Fillmore and Western Railroad. Some day there will be a two story railroad station hotel on the vacant lot north of City Hall. These amenities will enrich lives in Fillmore for many generations.
Fillmore’s beautiful landmark City Hall building and Central Park are to a large part the result of Donna and Roy Payne’s vision of a beautiful historic Fillmore. If it wasn’t for Roy’s vision and effort we wouldn’t have received the $1.3 Million dollar grant to build City Hall and it might have been a plain modern style building.
Roy Payne was instrumental in bringing the Fillmore and Western Railroad to town along with the Film Industry. These industries add another boost to the local economy to help make all businesses stronger.
You can see the impact of Mr. Payne’s leadership in the U.S. Census Bureau median household income data. Fillmore’s median income rose significantly from 1990 to 2007 while in Santa Paula and Port Hueneme they stayed fairly even with inflation. Fillmore is commonly compared to these two similar sized, lower income communities.
Thanks to Mr. Payne’s efforts the City has had a balanced budget and growing reserves for 20 years. The old Girls gym was renovated for the Boys and Girls club, the new municipal pool will be open this month and the 22 acre River Park is under construction with a skate board park, soccer and football fields and tennis and basket ball courts.
Working with former School Superintendent Mario Contini, Roy Payne helped to create a cooperative working relationship between the City Council and School Board which continues today. They also worked together to help the community to prepare the Vision 2020 plan.
On the residential side Mr. Payne recognized that Fillmore needed improved economic diversity and helped bring in new quality housing like Hometown, Riverwalk, Heritage Valley Parks, etc. When Fillmore would try to attract new businesses or restaurants they would always say we didn’t have the quality of housing or schools their employees want nor would we have higher income residents that could support their businesses. Once the economy improves the Heritage project will be occupied helping provide much needed upscale housing to help solve this problem.
We now have some new high quality restaurants like El Pescador and Central Station where you often have to wait in line to get seated. These restaurants and others need the Business Park to go forward to bring in more of the lunch crowd to help them prosper.
The last piece of Roy Payne’s vision for an economically strong Fillmore with a good housing/jobs balance is the Business Park. Since his retirement Mr. Payne has continued to work with the City to bring these 1,500 to 3,000 jobs to reality. As a Special Project’s Manager his hourly rate is $125 per hour which seems high until you consider that other professionals of the same caliber charge $160 to $200 per hour and Mr. Payne works significantly more hours than he charges the City. Also the City collects at least 40% of Mr. Payne’s cost from the builders of the Business Park.
Part of the controversy over Mr. Payne was in regard to the 700 housing units in north Fillmore Specific Plan verses 350 units approved by the voters in Measures H and I. If Mr. Payne were still City Manager he would be working to help the newly elected City Council adjust to the new 350 number. Mr. Payne is the kind of person who doesn’t hold grudges, respects the decisions of the voters and would fully implement the decisions of the City Council even if they don’t heed his professional advice.
The new sewer plant and resulting sewer bills have been a difficult burden for everyone. As City Manager Mr. Payne worked to keep the cost as low as possible and as Special Projects Manager continued to work to lower sewer rates. Last year he put in an extraordinary effort along with Dave Burkart and Barbara Smith to lower sewer rates from the projected rate of $85 per month to $72 per month saving the rate payers $814,000 in only one year.
Mr. Payne also led the City in using the Design Build Operate process to build the new Water Recycling Plant and saved the rate payers 15% or about $5,000,000. Mr. Payne took a lot of heat at the time from those opposed to the new plant until the City of Santa Paula threw away about $3,000,000 worth of plans and copied the Fillmore process and then the County of Ventura threw away about $1,000,000 worth of plans for the Piru plant and copied Fillmore.
Time and time again Mr. Payne has been proven to be a man of great integrity, clear vision and a great leader for Fillmore. It is a tragedy that he has to resign. The Business Park will surely be slowed down and hopefully not stopped because of it.
This short letter overlooks many other great accomplishments by Mr. Payne on behalf of Fillmore. He should be applauded and honored for all he has done and will be greatly missed.
I am proud to say I served on the Fillmore City Council during most of Roy’s service to our city.
Very truly yours,
Roger Campbell
Retired Councilmember and Mayor
City of Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
February 5th, 2009

To the Editor:
Dear Mr. Farrell,
Your editorial column is entitled “Realities”. Therefore, I am clarifying my position a bit for the newspaper readers in order to supply a sense of true reality. I suppose if we continue this process (extreme editorial and set the record straight retort) that the Fillmore Gazette readers will have some brief entertainment!
Previously, I voted “no” on the proposal to spend up to $10,000 on river bottom land appraisal and lawyer fees. In my opinion if the city is looking at purchasing land then the SELLER should pay for the appraisal. Because the amount of the purchase was open-ended, I voted no. It is my belief that a seller should come to the table with some ballpark figure in mind.
I voted “no” on parts of the bike trail grant proposed recommendations (There were five separate recommended action points). According to city staff, owning the land proposed would probably lead to the annexation of the area called “Sunken Village”. That event might cause some significant liabilities for the City. It was my position that this should be analyzed before plans were set in motion.
Jamey Brooks, councilmember
(01/29/09 Editorial may be found at www.fillmoregazette.com under Editorial)

To the Editor:
“If I speak I am condemned. If I remain silent I am damned.” Valjean to Officer Galbert. (Les Miserables)
So President Barack Obama did not like Rush Limbaugh’s comments. If the President’s agenda is challenged but passes without a political struggle, dare anyone oppose the new triumvirate of D.C., ie: Obama, Pelosi, and Reid? Our political interests have always been tenuated by the debate and seasonal unanimity of the People, not Rush Limbaugh, liberal Democrats, or the media. And what certainty should we look to from our national leaders when in concert, the president and majority party have set in motion an effort to silence a strongly held but different point of view? Republicans have been warned by the president that one man should not be listened to. And now Democrats are circulating a petition vilifying Rush Limbaugh. It’s true that Obama has socialist tendencies. So why are we surprised that his political annoyance demonstrates a foretaste of censorship?
Norbert Castel de Oro,

To the Editor:
It’s going on almost two weeks now and the city has done nothing to clean up this ditch (see photo). The stagnant water is infested with mosquitoes and diseases. The school children walk by this open ditch every day. It seems that the city has no intentions of doing anything about it. If you are concerned about your children’s health you may want to contact Public Works Director Bert J. Rapp at City Hall. 524-1500 ext. 231.
Milan Boyanich,

Letters to the Editor
January 29th, 2009

To the Editor:
Rev. Leslie R. Lanier, speaking for the Wayfarer’s Chapel Lutheran Church, last week claimed that if our nation supports homosexuality then we will receive a “curse from God.” By “supports” I assume Lanier means assuring that gay and lesbian Americans are guaranteed the same equality and right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that all of us good heterosexuals are afforded. By “curse” I assume he means all future natural disasters.
In 1963 I was stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama, a time when that state was segregated. The attitude and remarks about African Americans expressed by the whites justifying their racist behavior was of a similar self-righteous tone expressed by Lanier toward gays and lesbians.
Lanier’s claims about homosexuals are false, divisive and hurtful. The many gays and lesbians that are part of the Fillmore citizenry serve our community as educators, professionals, shoppers, business owners, artists, volunteers, taxpayers etc.; I’m embarrassed to read Lanier’s offensive public comments attempting to denigrate the citizenship of friends and neighbors.
Getting through adolescence is difficult for many youngsters but for the minority of teens who discover they have a gay sexual orientation it’s much more difficult. Imagine being told that the consequence of the sexual feelings you are experiencing could be the cause for God to bring a curse upon your country. The suicide rate is much higher for these kids than other teens, in part because of societal ignorance. Fortunately that is changing. I pray that Rev. Lanier can find it in his heart to tone down the dogma and recognize the destructive potential his unfounded and irresponsible claims can have on real people.
Bob Stroh,

Letters to the Editor
January 22nd, 2009

To the Editor:
Barak Obama faces serious challenges as he takes office as our next president, and he surely needs our prayers. There is good news in this, that our nation has shown that race should not be a hindrance in being elected to office. This is good, for God is not prejudiced, and neither should we be. It should make no difference if a man is white, black, or half white and half black, as President Obama is. Character and policies promoted by the individual should be the criteria for office, not race. However, as we also know, the news is not all good. We face very real security threats from abroad and the economy is not in good shape. People worry about terrorist threats, their jobs, and making ends meet.
We should pray for our president, that God would give him wisdom, good judgment, and, most importantly, the desire to do what is right in God's sight. For all of the motivational speeches and all of the economic policies in the world will not help us if our nation sanctions moral perversion and the murder of its children. Supporting homosexuality and abortion, as President Obama has done in the past, will not bring this nation blessings, but rather a curse from God.
In the Bible God says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." (Psalm 33:12) He also says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil." (Isaiah 5:20) We pray that God would give President Obama a repentant heart, the will and the courage to support the good rather than the evil, and that God would watch over him and his family and keep them from harm.
Rev. Leslie R. Lanier,
Wayfarer's Chapel Lutheran Church

To the Editor:
What a display of bizarre and disruptive conduct was exhibited by Councilperson Hernandez at the 1/13/09 meeting. While the new City Clerk was presenting his agenda item, Ms. Hernandez shook her head in a "No No No" side-to-side gesture while mouthing the word "No No No" repeatedly during the presentation and, for added effect, she slapped her desktop with papers and grimaced and smiled in disgust intermittently. It was obvious that she was not in accord with Mr. Westling's requests and/or recommendations. However, her uncontrolled body gestures and silent mouthings along with loud and disruptive outbursts are the last thing the public expects from an elected official. The only saving grace to this performance fiasco is that the video cameras never took a close-up of Ms. Hernandez. You had to be in the audience to see it to believe it. Sad!
Gloria Hansen,

Letters to the Editor
January 15th, 2009

To the Editor:
Mr. Sweeney:
I’m writing this letter not only as concerned parent but as a member of the community. It’s with great disbelieve that in this day of times we see the discrimination to our soccer program which is made of minority students. We had enough and feel that it’s time we speak up and let Fillmore School District know how unhappy we are with this situation. Time and time again the soccer program is put aside and our coaches have to find a place to practice or a place to play, because school administrators don’t feel that our children are important enough to accommodate and respect the soccer program schedule. Just last week the games were moved to Shields Park. This is unfair and we hope that you will take action and take care of this situation.
Maria Vaca,

To the Editor:
Mr. Sweeney:
As a proud supporter, father and previous assistant coach for over ten years at Fillmore High School, it saddens me to learn that once again, the Fillmore High Soccer Program is being discriminated. Specifically, I am appalled that the boys and girls cannot practice/play on the new turf.
Time and time again the soccer programs are pushed aside for other "more important" sports and in this case to fix the problems with the track. This is just not right and you as Superintendant should not allow for things like this to happen under your watch.
By cancelling and re-scheduling games to Shields Park you are opening up the students to the possibility of greater injury because of the poor condition of these fields.
Joel Quintero,

To the Editor:
Fillmore Unified School District,
as a concerned parent and Fillmore High School Soccer Alumni, I am writing about how Soccer has been discriminated against. Since I can remember soccer isn't a sport much recognized in Fillmore. Not only in our school district but also in our community. I personally know most of the female and male soccer players in our Fillmore High School program. Our school has always had a high number of students participating in the sport. We were all excited as a community to be able to watch our team play on our new field.
In understanding that the field has yet to be completed, none to minimal work was done to our field in the Winter break. Most of the unfinished work could have easily been completed in those 2 weeks. Due to lack on your part, our students have now been forced to play at a public park that needs much field repair. UNFAIR!
Our Football season was a hit, not to mention must have been a great feeling for those who played their last year on that field. This is being taken away from those seniors who play the sport of soccer. Our student’s pay the sport fees and should have equal rights to that field. Regardless of what sports brings in the revenue. It looks horrible on your part!!
Needless to say, this year's Soccer Alumni game was held at Shields Park due to the field not being completed. Myself along with many other Fillmore High School Soccer Alumni's were enraged at the thought.
Something needs to be done differently. Soon Fillmore Unified School District will find that less and fewer students will be participating in the sport of soccer.
A concerned parent,
Erika Huerta,

To the Editor:
Mr. Sweeney,
I’m writing this letter as a concerned parent of three children who attend Fillmore School District and a tax payer who is very out raged of the situation regarding the high school boys and girls soccer program. I’m very upset to hear that the students who attend Fillmore High and play soccer are not being allowed to use their own soccer field to play the sport they enjoy! This field was built for the students use in ALL sports and that’s not what is happening!! The reason the field is closed is “work/repairs needed to be done”, why now, why during soccer season and not football season!!! Why not during winter break? The kids were off for over two weeks, that would have been a perfect time to do any work that needed to be done, but instead you have decided to take care of it during soccer season!!
By doing this, you have pushed these kids to play at the only public park in Fillmore: Shields Park, which is in a very poor condition for these students to play on. The soccer program has a lot of students participating in both boys and girls and they pay their fees as well as any other sport. Unfortuanaly for what ever reason time after time they are mistreated one way or another. This needs to stop. Equal opportunity should be for all students who attend Fillmore Unified School District, not just the sports that bring in the revenue.”
A concerned parent,
Jennie Andrade,

Letters to the Editor
January 8th, 2009

To the Editor:
Re: New Skateboard Park
I’m a little shocked and saddened by the pictures I see of our new skateboard park. I saw what may be one helmet in the first picture, but no other helmets anywhere. There are no elbow, knee or wrist pads. I also see what appear to be children on bicycles with no helmets. If I am not mistaken there is a law that states all children under 16 must wear helmets while riding a bicycle in Fillmore. I feel very sad that these children may be injured or killed because their parents do not ensure they are wearing the proper safety equipment while participating in these types of activities. I must also think that some of these parents will be the same ones that will blame the city of Fillmore should one of their children become injured. Parents, please teach your children to wear their safety gear. Maybe the city needs to make it a requirement to wear them, especially at the skateboard park.
Christina Thompson,
Concerned Fillmore Mom

Letters to the Editor
December 25th, 2008

To the Editor:
Dear Martin,
I was reading your "Realities" page on the Internet and noticed a "reality" about you. A ways down, you have an editorial blasting while at the top of the page you have an ad for a company selling "Super Obama" t-shirts. You sell out easily, don't you. Your so called "Realities" can be bought for a few bucks. That makes your opinion seem pretty cheap, huh?
Dave Roegner,

Dear Dave,
The ads that run on the side of our web page are part of an advertising topical words program based on an algorithm system, which randomly matches topical words on the website. We have no control over the contents of the ads. So, since I write about Obama, good or bad, their servers select ads which relate to Obama. To make it clearer, if it were your webpage, the ads would probably contain information on lobotomies.
Sincerely, Martin Farrell

To the Editor:
To The People of Fillmore
We, the people of the Fillmore First United Methodist Church, would like to thank you for your concern and love during our time of trouble. First of all, it was only the church sign on the corner of Sespe and Fillmore that suffered visible damage and vandalism, i.e. tagging the plastic by scratching and until the plastic fractured and broke, that became apparent because the other signs of tagging of our church walls are quickly covered by the efficient efforts of the City of Fillmore whom we also thank. We had many calls of concern that possibly we were going out of operation. No such thing! We continue to serve all who come - we have seats available every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Come and visit and be welcome.
The Congregation.

Letters to the Editor
December 18th, 2008

To the Editor
Dear Martin,
You are entitled to your opinion however over emphasized or over dramatized. When I asked for copies of contracts I did so knowing that the majority of people voting for me wanted the same fiscal accountability that "I want". This country, this state and this city need financial restructuring. I asked for information on items that are of the most cost to the city. In the past, I stated financial statements at budget workshops (the proper time and place). The place on the City Council agenda to ask for specific information is 10D (other discussion/information from Mayor, City Council and City Staff). I asked then because I wanted a consensus of the council. Then staff was directed after discussion from the whole council. That was the proper time and place to bring it forth. There is a group of people who will not like any direction of change I may propose. There is a large group of people who voted for me who are expecting a closer look at the finances of the city. You and I have two different opinions about how I should proceed as a city leader. You have dramatically said I was grinning like a three-year-old and acting like a little Caesar. I do not recall grinning at all (it might have been a grimace). I am short, but I am no little Caesar. Throughout the recent campaign, some people attacked others with name calling. I find it a pity that you would use this tactic. As "the Editor" of Fillmore's only newspaper, if you disagree with things, state your case without the name calling. We all can respect that.
Jamey Brooks,

To the Editor
Re. Martin Farrell’s Realities: After watching city council members come and go for over thirty years I have observed that, although they obviously have different personalities, styles, philosophies, experiences, backgrounds, intellect and knowledge, they all come to the office either familiar or unfamiliar with how city government operates.
The unfamiliar are those who we never knew were interested in city governance until they ran for office. We never heard them offer a public opinion on an issue either before the council or in the local press. They get elected, receive their orientation from city staff on how to be a city council member and quite often become nothing more than a “rubber stamp” for whatever staff says. At that point they cease being the people’s representative.
The familiar are those who have been engaged. They have researched issues and city documents, voiced their opinions before the City Council and/or public media outlets. We know where they stand on the issues when we go in the voting booth. Gayle Washburn and Jamey Brooks came into office familiar and engaged - for years.
Their agenda, if I’m not mistaken, is open government (transparency), provide oversight, demand accountability and fiscal responsibility. That should make it easy for the local press. Give them a call.
Personally, I want to know who was behind the scheme to cheat a couple of cities out of their share of sales tax monies so Fillmore could get some ill-gotten revenue. Would it be too much to ask our local newspaper to get to the bottom of this story? After all, we could be facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit over it.
Bob Stroh,

To the Editor
Why I support the Boys and Girls Club
#1. As you all know, the decisions kids make during their adolescence dramatically alter the rest of their lives. It’s often easier to make the wrong decisions due to several factors including peer pressure. While parents are the prime caregivers for children, work schedules and life do not allow children to be supervised all the time. So any supplemental guidance and mentoring can really make the difference.
#2. The mentoring received at the Boys and Girls Club can make a difference. Our well trained, dedicated yet underpaid staff are positive role models for so many of our valley’s children. I know in my life, one or two mentors really helped me chose the right direction just when I needed it.
#3. The Boys and Girls Club is time tested. For the past 75 years, clubs through out the country have been there for the youth of America performing their duties in a quiet humble manner.
Before I came on the Board, I thought substantial support came from the United Way and the national organization. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We need support from the communities we serve to cover our operating costs. I assure you, every dollar is spent wisely. Please send your donations to P. O. Box 152, Santa Paula or call 525-7910.
Mike Hause,

Letters to the Editor
December 11th, 2008

To the Editor:
Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent into today’s society with the access of electronic mail, chat rooms, blogging sites, virtual worlds, instant messaging, social network sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and other very common mediums like cell phones and PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) all creating a world of instant communication.
Forms of Cyberbullying consist of an individual or group willfully using information and communication to harass or threaten another individual or group by sending or posting cruel text or graphics using a technological means. Issues specific to Cyberbullying are: anonymity (no one knows who you are), no inhibition (free to act anyway you want), increased audience, limitless risk of victimization and 24/7 access.
As parents, we can talk about Cyberbullying to our children. Set clear rules regarding the use of computers and other technological devices. Monitor computer use (check website browser history). And of course install monitoring and filtering software.
Some on-line prevention resources are: i-SAFE Inc. (http://www.i-safe.org); NetSmartz (http://www.netsmartz.org); and CyberSmart (http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/home.
If you or someone you love is being bullied in cyberspace, tell someone. Report the harassment to the website, and of course if someone is threatening to do harm, report this to the police.
Think before you click! Words do hurt…
Mrs. Reyes-Deutsch,
Mom & School Counselor,

To the Editor:
Dear Friends,
Here we go again! With Christmas just around the corner, most of us are asking already. Most of us agree that this Holiday Season is fortunate for some and unfortunate for others. Amidst the times we live in, we must realize that Christmas' true roots are from the spirit of giving and rejoice. Let us reflect on what we DO have. Most of all, lets not forget the kids. The kids are the ones who remember the great Christmas'. Put the kids first!
Being a part of the Fillmore and Piru community, as a kid, I couldn't wait to see Santa on the fire truck going up and down Clay St. As President of the local Carnales Motorcycle Club I am a part of putting together a Toy Run to benefit the kids in the Piru area. Why Piru? It is a small forgotten town that my family has been rooted to for over a hundred years-a prominent family. This town is "tight-knitted" and traditional. My brotherhood "Carnales Mc" looks forward to helping make the Christmas a great one for the kids of Piru, California. This is what we're all about.
Thank You to all our Supporters, family, friends, and Jesus "Chuy" Ortiz of El Pescador. Without their support, it would've been impossible. Remember, Support your Local
Carnales Motorcycle Club. God Bless.
Bobby Castenada,
Carnales Mc.

Letters to the Editor
December 4th, 2008

To the Editor:
The California Supreme Court is preparing to hear a motion on the legality of a Vote by the People of California. This hearing is supposed to determine whether the vote on Proposition 8 will stand or fall. What will be determined is the right, given by the Constitution, for the people to govern and not the public officials. By law, those elected to office, and those appointed, are employees of the legal citizens of the State of California. Unless, We the People, are willing to give up the freedom our forefathers fought and died for, and become slaves to dictators once again, we must not wait for the outcome of their decision. We must act without hesitation to prepare a valid recall referendum of those officials and judges who stand in opposition to the will of the people. The people of the State of California allowed Judges to set aside their vote once before, and now we are faced with the possibility of a judgment which could be far worse.
We may expect immediate and possibly hostile opposition to this recall from the ACLU, the gay activists, and the Judges, all of whom wish to become a law unto themselves. Unless we are willing to become workers for dictators, and not
citizens with a voice as to our freedom and law, we can expect tyranny to follow.
Stan Mason,