Letters to the Editor
November 30, 2023

To the Editor:

You say, “truth is singular, solid, and exclusive.” It is proven that two people can witness the same event and recall and characterize it very differently. What you mean is that truth is whatever you believe it to be, and your predispositions are immutable. Thousands who disagree with you or have lived a different experience are just…wrong, and likely “woke communists.” One example of your way of thinking is the horrifying situation in Israel/Palestine where insistence on binary choices of the Israeli Jews and Muslims have resulted in a potentially world-wide religious and political war.

Your argument that the Jews have a superior claim to the land because they inhabited Israel for four thousand years before the Diasporas, and the Palestinians for only the last thousand years, suggests that the US should hand over our entire country to Native Americans who were here first, at least 25,000 years ago.

When competing human interests are involved, binary choices often lead to disaster. That’s why negotiation and diplomacy are essential. The western allies should have foreseen this conflict when, in 1947, it surrendered a country inhabited by Arab Muslims to Zionists, without negotiation or compensation, and then let Israel “righteously” gobble up the land until all that is left to Muslims is Gaza and an increasingly diminished West Bank. This does not justify anti-Semitism. But restricting solutions to binary choices, as in “one or the other of you must cease to exist” is a reptilian conclusion of a supposedly intelligent species.

When you quote “Church Militant,” I smirk. Turgid, objectivity-free opinion is at hand. While 99.9% of scientists believe that human activity is responsible for rapid and irreversible climate reactions, atheist and Nobel Laureate Dr. John Clauser believes that "as much as it may upset many people, my message is the planet is not in peril…I believe there is no climate crisis." Goody for him. He has also called for the “termination of carbon-limiting measures which threaten…a terrible and dangerous waste of scarce money." A true binary choice: you can pay now, or you can really pay later.
As an aside, Michael Voris, who founded the radical far-right organization “Church Militant” to speak out against reforms in the Catholic Church and play an active role in right-wing politics, recently resigned for unidentified “very, very ugly truths from my past that I have avoided facing...there are things that I have to …address and work on. They are horrible, ugly things.” May he find the peace he seeks but, given his attacks on the LBGTQ community, the climate crisis, and other issues he deems as "woke," his election denial and determination that all Democrats are communists and “not real Americans,” these lurid admissions pique interest.

You, Dr. Clauser, and Michael Voris, are entitled to your exotic point of view in defiance of "overwhelming scientific consensus.” But when freshwater is gold, humankind will not get a do-over.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca


Letters to the Editor
November 16, 2023

To the Editor:

Sometimes a binary choice, one or the other, is not possible. Sometimes the truth resides in more than one point of view. Sometimes the solution requires painful admissions, confronting a friend, or defending an enemy.
I understand that the Israel/Palestine tragedy can engender a visceral response from Jews and Muslims the world over because it involves family and friends, ancestral horrors, and historical pain and suffering on both sides. The idea that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is fanatical, as is assuming that Palestinians have no legitimate right to defend their lands against an ever-encroaching Israel.

Conflicts exist between generations. Many Jewish parents believe that “without Israel, there would be no Jews in the world,” but their children may see Israel as a west-supported super-power imposing military control over a vulnerable population. There is some truth in both points of view.

After WWII, the western allies awarded Palestine, a Jewish homeland 2000 years prior, to the Israelis as compensation for ignoring “The Final Solution” extinction effort by the Nazis during WWII.

The Palestinians assert that the West and the Jews, in 1947, had no right to disestablish what had been their homeland for the last 1000 years to salve a collective guilt, without negotiation or compensation.
Tragically, efforts to obtain a “two-nation resolution” have been repeatedly rejected by both parties, and each side has vowed obliteration of the other. The political leaders of both sides consider themselves “righteous” belligerents. And both are drawing the rest of the world into their mutual intolerance.

Without denying the savagery of the October 7 attack in Israel, one which assured some level of atonement, those of us who have been generally supportive of Israel are horrified at the lack of proportionality in the retribution and “message to terrorists.” While I support Israel’s insistence that the hostages first be returned, killing every Gazan is an offense to humanity.
Parenthetically, one of the enduring mysteries of this tragedy is why Israel ignored the warnings of Egypt, Jordan, and the US, that “chatter” indicated that something highly consequential was planned by Hamas near the date they attacked. Israel did not alert the military or warn the public. Israel wasn’t even monitoring Gaza communications but focused entirely on Hezbollah to the north. Why? Netanyahu disingenuously dismisses the issue.

The October 7 Hamas attack was grotesque and horrendous, and what is happening in Gaza in response is likewise inhumane. If anyone should be revolted at the killing of humans in a barrel, you’d think it would be the Jews, who have suffered extermination efforts themselves. One side, or the other, is not solely entitled to survival.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca


Letters to the Editor
November 16, 2023

To the Editor:


As I’m sure you all know, based on the things I’ve said, eMailed and submitted as Letters to the Editor of the Gazette, I feel that the current attack on the City of Fillmore is the worst we’ve seen yet. It stands to have the most devastating effect on the community if it goes through and, even if it doesn’t, could destroy the town.

I just had a chance to watch the council meeting from October 24th, where a presentation was made by the National Demographics Corporation, whom the city has contracted to help with the districting. I’ve added a link to that presentation with the comments of citizens and the council members at the end of this letter. It is long but please watch it.

After seeing the presentation and then hearing the comments of the community and council. I am both excited and encouraged! First, I want to thank all those who yielded their time to Rhonda. Today, Rhonda is my hero! The points and the comments you made were extremely effective.

Remember, at this point we have one objective; to get three of the five council members to show the courage to stand up against this. At the first meeting, your mayor was the only one who voted against it. But at this meeting, after the comments from the community, two more council members are expressing the same sentiments and it will only take a little more encouragement for them to join with Mark in putting a stop to this.

Now, don’t think I don’t recognize what it may mean to the city if the council decides to fight. Losing a lawsuit in this matter could bankrupt Fillmore. But, I assure you that adopting district elections will destroy Fillmore just as surely. So, I reiterate what I’d said in an earlier message; sometimes you have to stand up and fight because something is right…regardless of what that might mean.

What follows are some random thoughts I had while watching the council meeting.

1) In response to Carrie’s question about damages, the city attorney made the point that, by virtue of the CVRA, the alleged injury is that the number of Hispanic council members is not representative of the racial makeup of the town (paraphrasing). I’d just like to point out, and I’ve been making this point for years; the number of Hispanics in Fillmore make up the overwhelming majority of her citizens. If the Hispanic community of Fillmore so desired, every council member and every mayor ever elected could be Hispanic. That shows that there has been no injury as presumed by the CVRA. If anything, it shows that Hispanics in Fillmore vote according to what they feel is in the best interest for the town…not along racial lines and I would commend their community for that.

2) In discussing this matter, perhaps the issues of the baker and the photographer who were sued for not going against their convictions when asked to participate in same-sex weddings could be mentioned. Like Fillmore, they were targeted by bullies. Even when faced with lawsuits, these courageous individuals did not back down. Why? Because their cause was right. Fillmore MUST do the same thing for the same reason.

3) Christina Villasenor keeps talking about how few Hispanics have been on the council; she keeps raising her seven fingers to illustrate how small that number is. She talks about Ernie as having been the last mayor who was Hispanic. Is she forgetting about Manny Minjarez, who was elected twice and served as mayor just a few years ago?

Here’s a link to the portion of the October 24th council meeting discussing the issue of district elections in Fillmore. I grant you, it’s long. But, if you care about Fillmore, you will watch it. Especially if you’re going to make any comments about at the next meeting.


Tim Holmgren
Former Fillmore Citizen

Letters to the Editor
November 9, 2023

The anger and fear in Mr. Shiells’ LTTE last week are not baseless. However, let’s acknowledge that, while a sitting president is considered “the most powerful man in the world,” Joe Biden could not have single-handedly masterminded the vast conspiracies, lack of humanity, deviant inequities, and dark order for which Ryan is sounding the alarm. Turning the “boob tube” off for news would help, but what are some solutions to our challenges?

Democracy is in decline in the world. The lightening-rapid massive changes in technology, Artificial Intelligence, rapid-repeat false information, the growing power of other countries, the effects of population, disease and the growing climate crisis, are overwhelming our long post-WWII complacency and expectations.

It is an historically settled fact that, when people are faced with great change, frightened of the future and a reduced chance of achieving their expectations, many find representative government too risky and difficult, and will yearn for a political “strong man” who will enforce order and “certainty,” and relieve them of the burden of decision. History has many examples, and the “strong man” never returns power willingly, as we have recently seen for ourselves.
Ryan hints at other unspecified villains in his apocalyptic future, including multi-national corporations, “a small club of globalist bankers who finance both the rebuilding and the destruction and death of other humans,” along with the “Biden regime” and US government for “turning future generations into debt slaves” and “seek[ing] to destroy and impoverish all of us.”

But when Democrats try to level the economic inequity by imposing additional taxes on the wealthy, Republicans repeatedly refuse such a “socialist” act. Instead, Republicans want to place the debt burden on the middle class and poor in cuts to Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They allowed the child tax credit to expire and sent nearly 5 million children back into poverty, voted against Medicare’s authority to negotiate for drug prices and tried to defund the IRS program to target wealthy tax cheats, oppose workers’ unions, endorse deregulation, vote to reduce food and housing assistance to poor families, and vow to extend the Trump Tax Cut which primarily benefits the very rich.

A 20-mule team of Republican Speaker-candidates and rank-and-file have decided not to negotiate a 2024 budget, but to vote on individual appropriations to grind and delay the system. What they really want is a one-Party, strong central system of government (though they hawk “small government”), erasure of the boundaries between Church and State, White straight male culture dominance, continued SCOTUS protection of the wealthiest citizens and corporations, denial of half the population’s rights to reproductive choice, persecution or denial of the LGBTQ community, and an authoritarian oligarch who has conspicuously demonstrated his lack of respect for the system of law as it applies to his interests. And apparently the Republican electorate is on board for it all.

Governance of The Free requires negotiated agreement between the political Parties for the welfare of the country. Many of the inequities Ryan lists could be quashed in just that democratic exercise. Which the Republican Congress refuses to do. I hope they are listening to you, Ryan.

Kelly Scoles

Letters to the Editor
November 2nd, 2023

To the Editor:

The selection of Joe Biden has been the biggest failed experiment in political and intelligence community history and thankfully many people are waking up from their mental slumber and seeing this installation for what it is. The one question that remains: will the mass awakening be too late to save the world from implosion?

As it stands powers that control the Biden regime and the US government are responsible for turning future generations into debt slaves, which was something JFK warned Americans about before he was assassinated by a supposed lone gunman. Around $230 million in your tax dollars PER DAY goes to enrich the Ukrainian government and weapons makers with the debt falling at the feet of generations US children, many of which have yet to be born. 10 MILLION illegal immigrants, the majority of which are military aged men, have joined the fire sale of American prosperity during the Biden regime, funded by nefarious globalist groups whose interest have NOTHING to do with what is good for America or its youth. To anyone who thinks that’s racist - take them in and pay for them yourself or shut your mouth. And take the front door off your house and your fence down while you’re at it, hypocrites. Your virtue signaling rings hollow if you don’t take them in yourselves and try to feed some of them.

While many people are beginning to recognize that we are living through a controlled demolition of American interests, there are far too many amongst us that reside in a perpetual mental slumber, devoid of any semblance of intellectual curiosity as their very consciousness has been placated by a modern version of bread and circuses. In other words, not only are we going the way of the once powerful Roman empire, these people have spent too much time in front of the elite controlled TV and have allowed the elites to greatly manipulate what they know and believe. These special citizens have yet to connect the dots between the wealth of multinational corporations and the control of information by multinational news and information conglomerates. These special people have yet to recognize the pattern whereby once sovereign nations are destroyed on purpose so they become essentially owned by a small club of globalist bankers who finance both the rebuilding and the destruction and death of other humans.

Instead, this ever dwindling group of sheeple sits religiously in front of the boob tube with a Pavlovian drool and willingly submits their mindset and intellect to the will and canned narratives of the elite owned media in what is an obviously effective method for herding the consciousness of a certain element of humanity: the ones who can’t think for themselves. Apparently they would rather let a news anchor do the thinking for them, so long as he or she has an acceptable paint job, without ever realizing that the news people are simply there to read words written by someone else on a screen. These special Americans have been tricked into supporting wars that kill the oppressed which is perfectly exemplified with the Iraq war and the weapons of mass destruction lie. They have been fooled into taking a nefariously created Covid vaccine - which is now known to be completely ineffective - at the detriment of their own health to enrich the very people who seek to destroy and impoverish all of us. They were actually fooled into believing that BLM was not a nefarious group greatly funded by subversives such as Soros and company. They somehow believed Donald Trump was racist while at the same time overlooking the numerous documented statements by Joe Biden about his kids living in a racial jungle, or him saying “poor kids are just as smart as white kids”, or his involvement in imprisoning a generation of young black men through his mandatory minimum sentences. In other words, these people don’t have an original thought of their own and find it easier to let complete strangers tell them what to think and believe.

In conclusion and in lieu of the above, it is obvious to an increasing number of Americans that the mainstream media and those that control them are the true weapons of mass destruction in this world. They will not hesitate to use this geriatric out to lunch president as their proxy with the support of the boob tube controlled sheep to embroil this country in never ending drama, while simultaneously attacking the constitution and our individual GOD GIVEN liberties in favor of their stated desire for us to “own nothing and like it”. America is now on the precipice of societal implosion while fighting a world war that would be the end of our country as we know it. My question to you readers is: is your fake news, your football game or your Taylor Swift concert still more important to you than future generations becoming debt slaves and perpetual serfs in order to enrich merchants of death? If so, enjoy the comfort while it lasts because if you thought things were bad now you are going to be surprised with how much worse things are about to get. War is on the way, will you cheer it on as we fight for the borders of other countries as we lose our sovereignty, freedoms and economy? My guess is, if historical president is any indication, that’s exactly what will happen.

Ryan Shiells
Fillmore, Ca

Letters to the Editor
October 26, 2023

To the Editor:

I was gratified to see House Republicans reject Gym Jordan as Speaker for the third time last Friday, by the largest margin yet. I understand why anyone would reject the dude because he hasn’t the slightest interest in governing. He just wants to wrestle and throw down, and to belittle any opposition. It’s all he knows.

There are credible reports that multiple death threats were made to dissenting Republicans and even their families. It didn’t help that one of his enthusiasts anonymously threatened – on tape - the wife of one non-compliant House member with “molestation that you can’t ever imagine.”

Meanwhile, Trump has apparently abandoned Gymmy as being of no further use to him (the former president has few admirable qualities, but you have to give him consistency), while dunderhead McCarthy continues to blame the Democrats for the fiasco, as if it’s their job to traipse after the Republican elephant with a long-handled broom and dustpan to remedy its colossal evacuations.

Fox and other Republican sources, including you, Martin, denigrate the efforts of our President in personally going to Tel Aviv to stand with Israel, understanding their rage and fear over the horrific Hamas attack two weeks ago. The President expressed sympathy for the desire to retaliate but called for clear objectives in counterattack to protect the innocents held as hostages in Gaza and prevent expansion of the conflict.

Biden urged Israel to do what we had failed to do after 9-11. He emphasized how important it is to have a “Plan B” when unexpected combatant consequences occur, as they always do.

I take exception to your mislaid remarks about Pope Francis. Finally, after centuries of old European men who understood nothing about the non-clerical world (excepting John XXIII), comes a man who had a life before the priesthood, who had friendships with women, families, even non-believers, and people of all social strata. He does not long for the vengeful Old Testament Yahweh, the social and political power of the Dark Ages Church, and he is absolutely not an Inquisition Catholic, the three strikes that are likely to be the sources of your vilification.

Pope Francis accepts the frailties of mankind, the need to recognize the sacred in each other, the need to be generous, the obligation to understand the God-given nature of all individuals, the complexities of marriage in the modern world, and to welcome the sinner. To you, this man is a heretic. To many of us, he is the human image of Christ.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca

Letters to the Editor
October 19, 2023

To the Editor:

Open Letter to Fillmore Citizens,

I am strongly encouraged by the voices of community members at the Fillmore City Council meeting last Tuesday evening regarding the change in voting structure in Fillmore from At Large to District voting. Each of you made such important and vital points.

It was obvious in their comments that Mark, Carrie and Chris understood the gravity of this change. And it took incredible courage for Mark to vote against the resolution.

This action is a game-changer for Fillmore. It is the one issue that will do more damage to our town (yes, I still consider Fillmore “my” town) than any other issue. If you recall back in June, following the strip show for kids, the outrage from the community was strong and fierce (even if only short-lived).

As community members were expressing their concerns to (and being ignored by) both the school board and the city council, I was busy telling everyone that would listen that the fight had to be broader than just that one issue because the negative forces penetrating Fillmore’s charm and character would have the next attack right around the corner.

And…here it is. Apart from every other attack on our town, this will be the quietus. If we sit by and let it happen, it will literally be like Nero fiddling as Rome burned. At this point, nothing else matters because this one issue will lead to control of the council, which leads to voting in all of the negative things we’ve been standing up to and fighting against for so long.

So, please…do not be a Nero. Join those who are rising up. Protect your town. Stop letting the bullies win…because this win means all the marbles.

Tim Holmgren
Former Fillmore Resident

Letters to the Editor
October 19, 2023

A Case of Bullying and Extortion?????

As reported in last week's edition of the Fillmore Gazette, your City Council approved a Resolution of Intent to transition from AtLarge to District Based Elections in response to a lawsuit which was filed against the city of Fillmore by Attorney Jason Dominguez of Druven PC, representing a “Resident of Fillmore.” This lawsuit claims this “Resident” is a member of a protected class and that the “AtLarge Election” system presently in place violates the California Voting Rights Act. This lawsuit will initially cost Fillmore $42,000 to hire a professional demographer service to draw the district lines but will also incur an initial cost of approximately $34,000 for Mr. Jason Dominguez’s services representing the “Resident of Fillmore.” Question: How much of that initial cost will be paid to the “Resident of Fillmore? Just something to think about. Which protected class could the “Resident of Fillmore” represent? Examples of protected traits include but are not limited to: Race and National Origin, Sex, Religious Beliefs, Age, Marital Status including same sex marriages, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities, and Disabilities. A few facts to know: During the 2020 Census, Fillmore is reported to be greater than 70% Hispanic. Our current Fillmore Council is 60% Hispanic. Our Council, 5 members total, is represented by 3 males and 2 females. Religious Beliefs are now being trampled upon with unrelenting bigotry but not sure this is the protected class at issue here. Age is usually discriminated when it is a person 40 or more years old. So, that is not the issue. An important fact to know is that almost all of the cities in our immediate area have been pulled into this type of lawsuit. Some cities have spent money in the “Millions of dollars” trying to defend their AtLarge voting system. Our city is small in comparison to many. What could be the possible benefits of this type of change? How will we measure the outcome of this change? If we changed to “district” representation how will that improve upon our current governmental Council? Our Fillmore Unified School District changed to “district” voting not long ago. How many of you know that was changed? How has that benefited our children and/or your representation? Do you know who represents your district? What is his or her name? With our current City Council representation, you have 5 elected officials you can speak with about any issue you have in Fillmore. When you live in a “district” you will have one voice for your issue or ideas. Why, “Resident of Fillmore”, did you agree to this lawsuit involving our beautiful Fillmore? Without fighting this we are spending at least $76,000 on this foolishness when it is not needed. We, in our town, are fully and fairly represented by our current Council. What a waste of funding and tax dollars to spend this to go into the pockets of lawyers and law firms. This is surely a form of Bullying and Extortion. What does the law firm care about our beautiful City of Fillmore? But you, oh “Resident of Fillmore”, should have cared about your city.

Concerned Citizens who love Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
October 19, 2023

To the Editor:

Money is being extorted from the City of Fillmore by one of its own citizens forcing the city to pay $72,000; $42,000 for the initial set up of Fillmore into geographic districts; plus another $30,000 to go to the plaintiff for their self-proclaimed suffering from being unrepresented in city council (tongue in cheek). That sounds extreme, but it is true. One citizen labeling themselves as “a member of a protected class and registered voter” (Really? Who isn’t in a protected class?) feels they have been unrepresented in our votes for City Council and to correct this system, they are threatening the city with a very large lawsuit if Fillmore refuses to comply with districting as opposed to an “at-large voting method as we currently have.

For the citizens who do not know what this means, in a nutshell, instead of voting for 5 individual candidates for City Council from anywhere within the city, you have only 1 vote from the area that has been designated to you by this “Districting”. If a candidate wins in your district, but does not share your same ideals or priorities for the City, there are no other options.

As with our current “at large” system, our voters have 5 opportunities from a selection of candidates at election time. If you have concerns for the city, a citizen can take that concern to one of the 5 likeminded council members.
What becomes problematic, is the outlining of the districts themselves where potential “gerrymandering” can occur. This is where either party can manipulate boundaries to affect the outcome of the election.
So the question is, why would one citizen feel justified to strong arm Fillmore that already has a 71% Hispanic population and 66% representation on the City Council? The only other “protected class” that has been pushing the envelope of acceptance in our schools and parades are the gay and transgender. Might this person feel unrepresented? It has been told, they have also been on our council. Is this just a payday for ambulance chasing lawyers asking for a citizen to be a surrogate citizen on their behalf?

This is happening all over the state of California. It is called the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) where cities are losing to the tyranny of another states mandated manipulation to control our citizenry. We ask that you attend the next Fillmore City Council meeting discussing this subject on October 24, October 26, November 24 and November 28 to voice your opinion. Concerns also need to be directed to our state representative. In our district, it is Congresswoman Julie Brownley.

- Concerned Citizen for Fair Voting in Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
October 19, 2023

Letter From Safegaurd Fillmore

As members of Safeguard Fillmore, we are appalled that a resident of Fillmore is involved in a serious disregard for our small town by filing a lawsuit against our town concerning At Large voting. Yes, that is the thought we have. What??? This resident of Fillmore must have been “hoodwinked” or taken off guard by a payoff as to involve themselves with “ambulance chasing” attorneys and law firms. At the Fillmore City Council meeting on Oct. 10 our Council voted to transition from At-Large to District-Based elections. Why? Because Jason Dominguez, Attorney representing a “Fillmore Resident,” filed a suit against Fillmore due to the unnamed “Fillmore Resident” claiming to be underrepresented in the City Council. The claim cites the California Voting Rights Act gives this person the right to sue our city because “they” claim to be a member of a protected class and registered voter. Hmmm. Which protected class is the “Fillmore Resident” referring to? For more information about this atrocity please come to the Public Hearings being held at Fillmore City Hall on Oct. 24, Oct. 26, Nov. 14, and Nov. 28. Come to one or all of these meetings to find out how much money is being sucked out of our hard earned tax dollars and funding for our city. It is more than you think for no benefits for anyone in our small town. Oops, the only benefit is for that law firm, and possibly the “Fillmore Resident” claiming to be in a protected class and misrepresented on our Council.

Just a last question - Who is this unnamed “Fillmore Resident?” Let’s find out. Stand up “Fillmore Resident,” tell us all why you are participating in this “money grab.” If you are truly misrepresented we need to hear about it so we all can possibly solve any problems which may plague our city.

Safeguard Fillmore Member

Letters to the Editor
October 19, 2023

To the Editor:

It’s unfathomable even for Democrats to witness the chaos of the Republican House. The Freedom Caucus (“FC”) is disemboweling that august body at a time when the world is in the greatest danger since the Berlin Wall fell. No legislation has passed, not the remotest concern for Americans and their need for Congress to act has been shown, and no progress has been attempted by the GOP on the 2024 Budget because it will accept no compromise. On anything.
The appalling nomination of Gym Jordan as Speaker, second in line to the presidency, is a grim statement of what many House Republicans think is the best they can do. The late Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian, lifelong Republican, and onetime chief speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, described Jordan as the “truly Trumpian Man, guided by bigotry, seized by conspiracy theories, dismissive of facts and truth, indifferent to ethics, contemptuous of institutional norms and ruthlessly dedicated to the success of a demagogue.” And that’s just his life as a “legislator.”

Gym’s increasing notoriety has resurfaced allegations that, when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State, he knew and didn’t report the epic sexual abuses of team doctor Richard Strauss, “to include 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes of student patients during Strauss’ time at the school (1978 to 1998) prior to his suicide in 2005.” Jordan has denied the accusations, but five people, four former wrestlers and one longtime friend, have said that Jordan “had to have known,” and was “directly informed” by at least one athlete.

The final report of the January 6 House Select Committee concluded that, “Jim Jordan was more involved than any congressman in the January 6 conspiracy with Donald Trump as he attempted to overturn the election.”

In 2021, former House Speaker John Boehner was asked to name one of the “political terrorists,” legislators who get lots of attention despite having no significant accomplishments. “Jim Jordan especially,” replied Boehner. ”I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart ― never building anything, never putting anything together.”
Jordan is reportedly threatening Republicans who refuse to vote for him, and as of this writing, it appears to be expected. If he attains the Speakership, this is who the Republican House holds as the best they have to offer, and will be their leader toward their vision for America’s immediate future.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
October 12, 2023

To the Editor:

“Israel:” one land, many peoples and names. “Canaan,” later two kingdoms of “Israel” and “Judah” (origin of “Jew”) and “Palestina.” Ironically, it is also the source of a common ancestor significant to three of the four Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). By more than 1,000 years, “Israel” predates “Palestine.” After the Diaspora of Jews to the East by choice or force, the land then became home to an Arab population, again for more than a millennium. Here, the history is necessarily summary.

After the Islamic conquest of the Middle East in the seventh century, Arab peoples began to settle in “Palestina,” which included a small Jewish population. Excepting a century of Crusader domination, the land fell under Muslim control for nearly 1,200 years. Although Jewish habitation never ceased entirely, the population was overwhelmingly Arab, and the land was their ancestral homeland.

In the second half of the 1800’s, the deep-rooted yearning of Jews of the Diaspora to return to the territory of their ancestors, and their recognition of rising hatred toward Jews in Europe and the Middle East, cultivated the nationalistic movement, “Zionism.”

Zionism eventually succeeded because the Western Allies ¬forcibly restored the Jews surviving the Holocaust to their ancient homeland, and that of the Palestinian Arabs. It seemed “just and compassionate.”
In November 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, partitioning the land into “Independent Arab and Jewish States.” The resolution met immediate violent Arab rejection of the “invaders.” On May 14, 1948, the Zionist leadership declared the founding of the state of Israel.

In the Jewish “War of Independence,” for Palestinians, it was “al-Nakba,” “The Catastrophe.” The new Jewish state was immediately invaded by the armies of several Arab countries, alongside Palestinian militants. Vanquished, seven hundred thousand Arabs were driven from their homes, with no right of return, to the present. As 20% of the Israeli population, Arab Israelis and are considered as “second-class citizens” in what they consider to be “their country.”

In the Six-Day War of June 1967, Israel repelled a heavy Arab military force massed at its borders. Israel seized East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza (considered illegal under the UN declaration by much of the world), claiming much of the West Bank and leaving Palestinians under painful Israeli occupation in Gaza, one of the most poverty-ridden, densely populated and isolated places in the world. Since the 1990s, there have been several failed attempts to negotiate the two-state solution, as promised by the UN.

Under Israel’s prime minister, “Bibi” Netanyahu, Jewish settlement expanded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and violence against the Arab Israelis has accelerated. The UN declaration of a two-state nation has been discarded by both populations.

As I write this, Israel has promised a retaliatory “complete siege” of Gaza, “No electricity, no food, no water” even for innocents. Hamas is threatening to kill all the hostages taken last weekend if Israel does not provide needed items to Gaza or attacks them in retaliation.

The well-meaning gift of Israel to the Jewish people by the West was not ours to give, and both Jews and Arabs have a legitimate claim to the land. The UN is clearly reluctant to resolve the conflict against Jewish interests, and the memory of the Holocaust revives passions in the Zionists. The rest of the world is at a nexus of millennia of regional conflict. It appears that no act of vengeance, however vile or extreme, can satisfy the sons of Abraham. What are the rest of “Abraham’s sons and daughters” to do?

It is as tragic as it was inevitable.

History of Israeli and Palestinian conflict and the latest conflict in Gaza in maps (usatoday.com)

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca

Letters to the Editor
October 5, 2023

To the Editor:

Three hours before the Congressional Budget deadline, a Continuing Resolution (CR) was adopted by the House, shortly thereafter by the Senate, and signed by President Biden one hour before the cutoff date, thereby averting a drastic government shutdown which had appeared imminent. It will fund the government at 2023 levels for 45 days without drastic spending cuts, but without Republican commitment to Ukraine funding as the Democrats wanted.
It’s not that the Freedom Caucus (HRFC) came to its senses and, holding their noses, did what was good for the country and her citizens. The CR passed only because 209 Democrats performed olfactory defense and, with 126 Republicans, voted to not make the country suffer because far-right Republicans want chaos.

The House was called to order with just over an hour to review the CR and, given Democratic inability to trust McCarthy because he has already reneged on his agreement with President Biden on the debt ceiling figure, did what they could to give themselves time to consider the implications of the CR language.

Speaker McCarthy appeared on CBS News Sunday and blamed Democrats for the delay in voting on the CR, whining that they engaged in some political opposition maneuvering before they voted for the CR. The interviewer laughed out loud. The Speaker conceded that, though Democrats were the ones who voted for the CR to save it, they were responsible for making it difficult for him to look in command. That’s the way to get Democrats to support you for Speaker, dunderhead, just keep bonkin’ yourself on the noggin. Though, imagine if the Republicans cannot get rid of McCarthy because the Democrats won’t let them.
“Even when we’ve had [previous] shutdowns, the issue has never [before] been trust,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO. With good reason, the Democrats do not trust the HRFC or McCarthy. But then, the House Republicans don’t trust each other, either.

“Democrats felt disrespected, the far-right felt betrayed.” Rep. Matt Gaetz vowed to bring a motion to vacate the Speakership this week. CNN’s Jake Tapper warned that, to succeed in vacating McCarthy, “you will have to make a deal with the Democrats.” “Absolutely,” Gaetz agreed. “I will make no deal with Democrats and concede no terms to them. I actually think Democrats should vote against Speaker McCarthy for free.” Two dunderheads.

Such is the HRFC’s logic, political acumen, and interest in the needs of the country. Their only principles are chaos, personal gain, and owning the libs and moderate House Republicans.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
September 28, 2023

To Editor:
It looks like the House Republican Freedom Caucus (“HRFC”) will put the man in the cannon and light the fuse. The Speaker will not escape unscathed, but oh! The lovely smell of Apocalypse Now - napalm, sulfur, smoke, perhaps a fire! Who needs to govern when you can have a war?
The HRFC remains inconsolable over McCarthy’s deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling in June. They refuse any budget proposal that uses that negotiated figure. They had the entire summer to work with Democrats to frame a budget. As the House has been occupied with ranting and raving at the AG, perpetually investigating impeachment, etc., decrying Trump’s legal woes, Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) told reporters, “We allowed ourselves to basically get so distracted with all the other shiny things that we didn’t actually get ahead of our real job, which is to be appropriators.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) accused the HRFC of straying from Reagan philosophy: “take 80% and make a deal. But these folks [demand] 100% and would prefer zero versus getting 95%. Literally, some of these guys have been offered about everything. The goal post moves every day.”

The House Republicans know full well that any bill must be bipartisan since Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency. The point is, the HRFC doesn’t want a deal. What do they want?

Matt Gaetz endorsed a video of Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ), which reflected his own belief that, "the only way you're gonna get any change in this town is through force." Speaker McCarthy said of his Party, “They don’t know what they want.” Of course they know. Trump commanded (all caps) Unless You Get Everything, Shut It Down!” He and the HRFC want an actual revolution, or at least “mass dysfunction,” to alter our form of government.

To ensure dysfunction, Republicans have released their 2024 Budget Proposal which is nothing short of rapacious. In an increasingly inequitable economy, it is miserly toward those needing social services, and remarkably charitable to the appallingly wealthy who are sustaining the imbalance. The HRFC vows no compromise, and believes they will bury the Democrats in a government shutdown and achieve their one-Party system.

On the Democratic side, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted for bribery by the DOJ. "Over $480,000 in cash and gold bars - much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe – [were] discovered in the home." Menendez invoked the popular meme of “weaponization of the DOJ” because he’s Latino and was poor as a child.
One commentator accused, “There goes Biden, weaponizing the Justice Department again to prosecute senior political leaders in his own Party.”
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
September 21, 2023

To the Editor:

When I returned from a month-long hiatus from the internet, cable TV, and even newspapers, I felt as I did when, years ago, I left the Dominican Novitiate in San Rafael and rejoined the world. I found myself in a place only somewhat familiar. I felt overwhelmed, displaced for a while afterward. I felt that way when I rejoined the world this week.
Leaving aside the tragedies of natural disasters and the threats of international conflict, it is what is happening in our political system, and the fact that our “United States” is considering its own suicide, that is shocking. Having been away from it, political reality was more contentious and threatening than I recalled.

The reaction of MAGA to indictments against former president Trump and others, based upon credible evidence though not yet proven, have caused judges and district attorneys to conduct voir dire of prospective jurors whose names must be withheld for their own safety against threats of harm to those who participate in the legal process. Not content or confident enough to allow our system of justice to find him “not quilty,” our former president threatens anyone opposing him. “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” Trump warned the judiciary and prosecutors in all caps on Truth Social.
District Attorney Fani Willis in Fulton County, GA, has reported multiple racist threats before and after Trump’s indictment, and his supporters last month posted the names and addresses of investigative grand jury members who voted to charge the former president and his allies.

MAGA is threatening violence if Trump is found guilty of any charge and are willing to crush our constitutional republic if their legally and factually unsupported claims are not validated. People of both Parties are increasingly alarmed that the election of 2024 will become violent if citizens are prevented from voting, misinformation is spread to confuse and deter voters, one Party solely manages election processes, and allegations of fraud are made without evidence.

There is other dismaying news, but it is the outright threats and predictions of violence against each other that are so alarming, and the silence that emanates from other Republicans. It would be a tragic end to the American Experiment, more deadly than the Civil War because the differences are not centered within geographical boundaries. And it makes us vulnerable to other powers that will seek advantage in the self-induced failure of our “Union.”

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
September 14, 2023

Student Hopes to Start Bible Club at FHS

To the Editor:

Hello my daughter spoke at the school board meeting during public comment and I think she did amazing. Her name is Presley Simson aka Presley Hollis. She is 17 and a senior at Fillmore High School. She is normally a very shy girl with good grades who hasn’t had the easiest time in school. She regularly attends Faith Community Church at 355 D street here in Fillmore. She attends their High School Youth Group Sunday night at 6:30-8 pm at the D street campus. There is also a Jr High School youth group on Tuesday nights at the same time and place. Both are led by J. Donovan Mitchell and over seen by Pastor Dion Brooms. Presley has also served in the church by singing on the worship team as needed, helped with VBS and children’s ministry. She is an experienced Hume Lake attendee too. It has been so amazing to see her grow in her walk with the Lord that has led her to this point.

She looks forward to starting this prayer group with any of the high school kids who would like to go. Please see her speech below given on 9/5/23 at the School Board meeting at the district office:

“My name is Presley Simson and I’m a senior at Fillmore High School. Since I have been going to Fillmore since the first grade, I have always had a dream. That dream is that I can feel included too. I dream I have a safe space to go that was filled with positivity, and was uplifting, and I could praise God openly with my friends. I dream my friends could pray openly before sporting events with out being teased or reprimanded. I dreamed Fillmore High School actually had a prayer club for anybody who would want to join. I had a dream my values and beliefs mattered as much as everyone else’s. I dream you will listen to me today, and help me start a club where my friends and I can be included too. I do have outside support able and willing to help make my dreams come true. And please let me know if you are already in process of making something like this happen, and what step you are on. Thank you.”

She is so looking forward to all the support that is being offered to her to get this going on campus. Unfortunately, this piece has been missing at the high school and we look forward to knowing the kids who so desire to pray will be able to, together as a club. So everyone can feel included.

Thank you,
Brandy Hollis,
Fillmore, Ca

Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

Dear Daniel Gradias, MA, AMFT#138119 (He/Him), After reading your letter in the Gazette a few weeks ago, it is clear that you probably have only recently graduated from some woke university; calling people ignorant solely because they think differently from you does not lend to me trusting in your maturity nor your degree.

As someone who has experienced sexual abuse as a child, I can tell you that often it begins with fun and games. Then it leads to taking off clothes, (like say, throwing a jacket across the room in a dance routine). And when accustomed to that, it can turn into a traumatic incident that stays with a young person for life. Not saying that putting on a “queer cultural performance” would end up in a rape or abuse of any sort. But it certainly does lend itself to a young person becoming desensitized and open to something worse in the long run. "Harm created by drag has zero clinical or empirical data." Play the data any way you want. I, too, can give data that counters your statement. Desensitization will destroy this generation. One step at a time.

You justify drag performances to teach empathy. I beg to differ. It does not take a drag queen dance or even a pro LGBTQ2+ curriculum to teach empathy and inclusiveness. Our district has prioritized empathy and inclusion for 20+ years. Do kids still get their feelings hurt today? Yes. Will they in the future? Yes. Is that part of growing up? Yes. Children don't need "safe spaces" or clubs to become empathetic or even resilient. They DO need adults and parents around them, all of them, who will call out wrong and celebrate goodness.

The question, “Do you want queer kids, or do you want dead kids?” is your basic shut them down question and it is insulting. Your colleague is perpetuating a fear that can be paralyzing for any parent. How unfortunate that he, as a “mental health colleague” would think this appropriate in any setting. I hope you will not use that sort of inflammatory rhetoric in your practice.

Daniel, according to your letter, individuals who differ in viewpoint from you are loud and ignorant. Perhaps. Many are speaking up loud and clear for the children of our community. I say, GOOD!!! Stay loud, parents and other concerned citizens!!! Please! As for ignorant. I know what I am about to ask will seem ignorant, but, why did that man want to dress in a ladies bathing suit and dance in front of children?

Let’s stop with these fake “safe spaces” and help children actually become resilient, healthy and contributing members of society.


Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

To the Editor:

If you who have not heard “Rich Men North of Richmond,” a song by Oliver Anthony, I recommend it. It is an anthem of a common man expressing his frustration and near-despair over the inattention of our political leaders to the Promise of America: equal opportunity.

My sole criticism of Anthony’s moving song is that he is blaming the wrong people. He calls out the politicians in Washington DC and, by extension, the states:

“These rich men north of Richmond
Lord knows they all just wanna have total control…
’Cause your dollar ain’t [!@#$] and it’s taxed to no end
’Cause of rich men north of Richmond.”

If only the “rich men north of Richmond” were the actual problem. Charlatans, grifters and authoritarians are in Congress only because we send them.

Some idolize an ex-president who is the subject of multiple civil and criminal, state and federal, indictments, and others who politically control what your children can read, study, learn, and whether a woman’s body belongs to her or to the state.

Anthony’s anguish mirrors the anxieties of so many in this country. President Biden proposed a “wealth tax” to assess higher taxes on the wealthy, who have made billions of dollars since 2008 and Covid, and who utilize so much of the infrastructure and other benefits of the tax dollars we all provide to help make their fortunes. Biden proposes tax incentives to reignite manufacturing jobs. Republicans in Congress are strongly opposed.

Republicans will renew Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Most opposed Biden’s plan to force Big Pharma to negotiate Medicare prices. They propose to reduce Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for those who need it to survive in a massively skewed economic system. Several Midwest red states legislatures are amending labor laws to allow 12-year-olds to work late into the night hosing down meat processing plants, or work in bars, to cure corporate labor shortages and let bosses pay lower wages. They defend it as “freedom.”

Anthony mis-characterized welfare recipients as 300-pound cookie-munching folks “milkin’ welfare.” Seventy percent of recipients are working people, men like him, and women, looking for the American Promise, struggling to stay in their homes and some failing, and trying to keep their kids alive in a country of increasing economic imbalance.
Oliver Anthony has said that his song doesn’t advocate for any particular political candidate, but against the system in Washington. His song should have been directed at us.

P.S. Martin, David Reimer’s tragic story of surgical sexual reassignment and his subsequent despair shined a light on how harmful it is to force someone, whatever their outward sex characteristics, to live as one gender when they feel they are another. The “Church Militant” article - you recommended - observed that transgender people feel the same way. It disputes your position that it’s a sinful choice or a delusion.

“Evil,” or the “absence of love,” comes in many forms. I thought I was clearly referring to choosing to protect ourselves from unwelcome facts and being willing to make others suffer to avoid our own discomfort. I was not speaking of cases where evil imposes isolation, carnage, destruction, and persecution of others as does Putin, for example. But recognize that some American red states have already adopted legislation to isolate, silence, and forbid recognition of the LBGTQ community.
If you would allow me more word count, I would happily explain every statement I make in full, but it will be repetitive. I hope you’ll allow it in this instance anyway.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
August 31, 2023

To the Editor:

Martin, I have long tried to determine why you have such a heat on for the “evil” of transgenderism. Presumably, it is not an issue with which you, and other like-minded souls, personally grapple. I’ll venture an opinion: they fear that the bedrock reality they understood in their youth is being significantly challenged, and reconsideration of their assumptions may be too distressing and consequential.

Despite the lyrical beauty of much of the Old Testament, Martin, it is not a history book. History does not include “angels rebelling against God and releasing something called evil down to earth.” The thrilling Biblical story was meant to explain how God can be “good” when his people still suffer intensely. Fear not. If God is all-powerful, he doesn’t need to worry about an upstart.

The conundrum is that the Biblical God created humans with the ability to exercise free will, but when they acted consistent with that gift, though chose unwisely, God punished them forever.Christ came to remedy that gaping problem with Love over Law. All religions hold that God can do no wrong, so why did he create LBGTQ people, or people of different races and religions? Apparently, God did not create “two perfectly distinct sexes” either, as you expected from your misunderstanding of Genesis as historical fact.

The David Reimer story was a tragedy where a child, a victim of a botched circumcision, was raised, unknowingly, as a girl on the advice of a questionable doctor. “As a result, he experienced gender dysphoria, which is the feeling that one’s biological sex differs from their gender identity. People who identify as transgender often experience gender dysphoria early in life as well. His tragic case to reclaim his gender identity contributed to a better understanding of the relationship between gender and biological sex.” Source, “Church Militant” (emphasis mine). It supports my position, Martin.
I did have one tiny smile at your assertion that the Biblical creation story and concept of pure evil versus good is a “foundational principle of our Republic.” You argued that “for consistency,” we should also reject transgenderism. This is erroneous on so many levels and arrives at such grotesque logic that I will step carefully over the steaming mass and move on.

Some people are afraid to consider the reality of others, and take refuge in finding it “evil” as a shield against a painful challenge to long-held beliefs. “Evil,” or the “absence of love,” is a weapon that we often brandish against each other for our own “protection,” resisting the recognition of our common humanity. It is a self-destructive act.

Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, Ca.

Letters to the Editor
August 17, 2023

Dear Esteemed FUSD Board of Trustees,

I am a proud graduate of Fillmore High School, Class of 2006, and attended FUSD schools from K-12. I also have two nieces and a nephew who attend Fillmore schools. I write to you today after listening to the multitude of public comments at your July 18th school board meeting. Although I am extremely proud of the many people who spoke up in favor of FUSD’s partnership with groups that provide safety and community for Queer youth, I was deeply disturbed by the rhetoric around a Queer cultural performance that occurred at One Step A La Vez’s pride event this past month. Of the most concerning, I heard one community member cite a violent biblical passage discussing ropes around necks and drowning while another seemed to scoff at sexual education’s HIV/AIDS literacy (which is important to EVERYONE’S health). I also heard a variety of harmful stereotypes that have historically been used to rally fear and discontent against the LGBTQ community since the beginning of our fight for civil rights. Phrases like “grooming,” “sin,” “sexual abuse,” and “evil" is rhetoric that has perpetuated hate and violence against our community for decades. I hope that these comments serve to reveal the anti-LGBTQ motives behind the group that has been stoking fear and moral panic in Fillmore.

I hold a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology, and I am a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist working with a private practice in Los Angeles. I did my pre-degree training at APLA Health which is a leading healthcare provider and researcher for those who are living with HIV/AIDS. My work with people has overwhelmingly catered to a Queer (LGBTQ) cohort, and I have a specialization in LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy. I’d like to add a clinical perspective:

I offer LGBTQ-affirmative therapy because it is needed. And no, LGBT Affirmative Therapy is not “grooming.” At its core, it's about meeting Queer clients with true empathy, understanding, and validation for their right to exist as humans. The reason this therapy is needed is that Queer people have often been deprived of a basic level of empathy and mirroring during their development by their families and communities. This deficit in empathy, and ensuing antipathy, for the Queer part of a person is often at the root of mental health problems that Queer clients present with - anxiety, depression, unhealthy relationships, substance misuse, spiritual cut-off, toxic perfectionism, self-hate, eating disorders, and more. There is an inherent trauma of growing up LGBTQ in a world that believes you are a "sin" and should not exist - this inherent developmental trauma is a shadow that looms large in the background of my sessions with Queer adults. In cases of extreme trauma, clients’ ability to process traumatic events is often complicated by the lack of empathy and sense of safety they received as children due to their queerness.

This is why organizations like One Step A La Vez are so important. This organization’s availability as a resource and its use in community-building is an outstanding early intervention for Queer people who are at high risk for the various mental health issues that were stated above.
Suggesting that our community is a pathway to sexual abuse was one of the more hurtful comments that I heard at your July 18th meeting. The sexual and physical abuse that has presented in Queer clients has often been at the hands of their own family and members of their religious communities - NOT drag queens. In fact, I have heard an overwhelmingly opposite point of view of drag performance from my Queer clients. Seeing a drag show for the first time was once described to me as “Queer Joy” - where a Queer person was able to join in community with other Queer people and enjoy performance art that is intrinsically tied to Queer liberation. Drag is a statement of defiance - couched in comedy, make-up art, and costuming - that empowers the Queer community to embrace their outsiderness and transform it into a source of pride.

I want to also point out: Seeing a person in drag will not make your straight child gay or Queer. If they do end up coming out as Queer, it will be because they were already LGBTQ long before they ever saw a person in drag... And, If the latter is the case, the Queer community WILL "come for your kids" (as one parent feared). We will come to them and offer them acceptance and empathy, we will build them up, and we help them celebrate their existence since so many in society have failed at these tasks for them.

I spoke to this board previously in regard the fearmongering that is happening in the city of Fillmore. When I came to you then, I cited several statistics that can help illuminate the dire need for supportive institutions around Queer children. I will repeat them now:

According to the CDC’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 60 percent of LGBQ youth reported being so sad or hopeless that they stopped doing some of their usual activities. (Kann et al, 2016)
LGB youth contempt suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth... They're also 5x more likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth (The Trevor Project).
LGBTQ+ youth have a 120% higher risk of becoming homeless after coming out to their families. This cohort makes up to 40% of the homeless youth population (McCann & Brown, 2019)
40% of transgender adults have reported having made a suicide attempt and of those, 92% reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. (The Trevor Project)

As a mental health colleague once put it, in a fit of frustration: "Do you want Queer kids, or do you want dead kids?"

The harm in eliminating resources for Queer youth - resources like One Step A La Vez - far outweighs any "harm" of a single drag performance (With the side note that “harm” created by drag has ZERO clinical or empirical backing).

I urge the board to resist the loudness of ignorance and to continue their endorsement of One Step and other similar groups that allow ALL students the right to empathy and community. Thank you for your time and please reach out to me with any questions you might have on queer development and mental health problems that present in queer clients - I am happy to lend articles and other research that could be helpful.

Daniel Gradias, MA, AMFT#138119 (He/Him)
Fillmore, Ca.