Letters to the Editor
October 24, 2013

To the Editor:
It is a great feeling to know that good Samaritans and friends will respond in time of need, such as.... Last Tuesday while returning from my morning walk I had reached Shiells Park, when my legs lost all feeling. I went down on my left side, my head hitting solid ground. I was in a daze for a minute when I heard voices and arms trying to help me up. I am not sure if I knew these good Samaritans or not. Tissues were applied to help stop the bleeding on my head. Someone asked who to call and momentarily I forgot Judy's cell number, she was on out finishing up her walk. I did remember our friends Bob and Mikki's number. It only seemed like seconds before Bob was there. I was then lifted into his truck. He got me into our house and Mikki then took over and attended to my bleeding and applied an ice pack to my head. Meantime Bob went to find Judy. I was checked out by my doctor and other than being battered and bruised, I checked out okay. I'm on the mend. This letter is an attempt to thank those "Good Sams" who came to my rescue, during and after my fall. Thank you, thank you.
Ray Dressler
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
October 17, 2013

To the Editor:
Algebra II requirement to graduate
ANOTHER SAD CHAPTER
The refusal of the Board of Education to acknowledge the concerns of Karen Ashim, the recently retired head counselor at Fillmore High School, shows both ignorance and arrogance. For several months, Ms Ashim has begged the Board in person and in writing to reconsider their decision to require Algebra II to graduate from Fillmore High School effective for seniors hoping to graduate after completion of studies this year. It is completely unreasonable to mandate this requirement without adequate warning. At the last Board of Education meeting, Board Member Prado dismissed concerns with a remark about challenging the students to strive for a higher standard. He further stated that just because other schools are not requiring Algebra II does not mean that FUSD should not do it. The Board should strive for a higher standard and consider the opinion of the best person to access this requirement. Ms. Ashim has an MS in Counseling and Guidance, an MA in School Administration and for many years was the head counselor at Fillmore High School. She will never know how many lives she has positively influenced. Some she has truly saved. No one on the FUSD Board of Education has such credentials. Does it not occur to the Board that there are very good reasons other schools do not have this requirement?
Ms Ashim has formally requested, in person and in writing, for the topic of math policies and course offerings to be included in the Board of Education agenda. This plea was ignored. It is illegal for the Board not to honor such a request. Was their refusal simple ignorance of the law or another example of their arrogance? Can we expect the math topic to be on the next Board agenda or will the Board continue to defy the law and the people of Fillmore?
Yes, another sad chapter.
Mary Ford

***

To the Editor:
Thank you Mr. Mesfun
I received from you a voicemail last night thanking me for my generous deed in returning a lost wallet to one of the school's students.
I appreciate you taking the time to contact me so now I thank and commend you for that and for your service to the school.
As a Fillmore High Class of 2003 alumnus, I esteem your role as principal of my alma mater and wish you be best in your career as supervisor of the home of the Flashes.
I've left my mark in that school (literally) during my four-year tenure by painting murals and leaving an impression with the staff that, to this day, still remember me.
Small town Fillmore may not be like a fast-paced Northern California city, but the experience you carry with you, Mr. Mesfun, I know will benefit these students. In turn they too will promote health, integrity, citizenship, and a state of well-being to our little community thanks to your contribution in their young lives.
So I honor and am proud of you, Mr. Mesfun
Omar Becerra

 


 
Letters to the Editor
October 10, 2013

To the Editor:
At the Fillmore Unified School District's Board Meeting on September 24, 2013, I formally requested, in person and in writing, for an item to be placed on the school board agenda. That request is for the district to examine the success of their math policies and discuss the math course offerings. That request was not honored and the item was not placed on the October 8, 2013, FUSD Board Meeting agenda.
This is a violation of the California Education Code. California Education Code Section 35145.5 states “that members of the public be able to place matters directly related to school district business on the agenda of the school district governing board meetings.”
I certainly believe that the success of the policies and curriculum of the study of mathematics is certainly directly related to the district's business. I agree with the FHS alumna and recent UC Davis graduate who observed that the math education in the Fillmore School system is broken. When most students arrive at the high school poorly prepared for Algebra 1, the system needs a careful analysis. The public, and especially parents with children headed for FHS, deserves a full report detailing the problems and a carefully considered plan for correcting the problems. The solution is not to spring new requirements on high school students in their final year as was done by the FUSD this year.
Karen Ashim
Retired Head Counselor, Fillmore High School
MS Counseling & Guidance
MA School Administration

 

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Letters to the Editor
October 3, 2013

To the Editor:
Why no academic support for FHS students?
At the most recent school board meeting on September 24th, Mr. Mesfun, principal of Fillmore High School said that there is special math support. He said, “We are also availing 7 to 8 math. We are availing 3 to 4 math to support you.” Availing means that support was happening at that time.
Sadly for the students this statement is not true. As of today, October 1st, there are still no programs in place to support the FHS students who are struggling in their math or English courses.
FHS has not had such a program since August 2012. Mesfun eliminated the Tutorial program, the effective support system FHS had in place.
Mesfun said this about his approach at his last school. “Teachers met to collaborate and share strategies, . . . Systems were designed to identify students who were not thriving, and those needing help were identified sooner and better served. The process created a sense of purpose and soon paid off”. http://www.eritreancommunity.org/in-the-community
Mesfun has had 14 months to lead FHS to such a system; to collaborate, and share strategies. However, with his lack of leadership nothing like this has happened. Collaboration time for teachers and staff has simply been eliminated.
There is no leadership from the principal at the high school. Mesfun's favorite saying is “I've got your back.” But a real leader is up front, not in the back.
Karen Ashim
Retired Head Counselor Fillmore High School

***

To the Editor:
I would like to thank Mr. Sanford for his great letter about the Chevron problem we are having currently on Island View Street. The noise I can deal with, after 4 kids I have a high pain thresh hold on this. It is the smell that bothers me. What does it smell like, well petroleum and an old gym shoe is how I describe it. I have now been able to smell it as far as FHS, but it has gotten better the past weeks on and off. Yay.
I wanted it to go on the record that I also DO NOT want to have a walking or driving bridge going across to the new industrial park off of Second Street and Island View. This may affect the area of Mountain View and Second Streets as well. In my discussions with the Chevron representative I was informed that the bridge was not on the original project plans. I was told that the City is requiring the bridge at Second Street and that if there is enough public opposition they may reconsider this requirement. I am not sure why the City wants this bridge however, some reasons I don’t want it are there will be more traffic on what is currently a quiet street, possible problems to neighbors back and front yards, unknown persons coming and going at all hours of the day and night and possibly more graffiti than we already have in the area due to more accessibility.
I feel that I have been and will continue to be as patient as possible with this project that I have no control over since it is not my land. But the street is ours, the citizens and I will once again say please don’t do this to us. Have we not suffered enough with noise, smell, dust, vibrating houses, and lowered value on our homes? I urge others to contact the paper (www.fillmoregazzette.com) and or the Chevron Leslie Klinchuch (leslieklinchuch@chevron.com) or the City Council with your concerns.
Thank you
Kathy Pace

***

To the Editor:
As a life long Republican I have to give credit and a huge thank you to State Senator Hanna-Beth Jackson and State Assemblyman Das Williams, both Democrats. They have my future vote!
They both did more for me, as an owner of a modular home in my El Dorado MHP, which rents me a space here in Fillmore than any Republican has in the 70+ years I have been voting.
The carrying of SB 510 which passed the Senate by one vote (Ms. Jackson's) will put a stop to unscrupulous Park Owners like we have here at El Dorado. These nasty people have subjected the City to an excess of $100,000 in lawsuits trying to get their wishes for this Park to be converted from "rental to condominium" type living. Four times they sued the City and four times they lost in Ventura Courts and the State Appellate Court. The only winners have been their scheming and lecherous attorneys.
The owners of El Dorado said they did not have to abide by the 92% vote of the residents saying "we did not want to convert our Park to condo-style living". Now this new law says the residents vote must be submitted to the City Council (who has already said "NO") and can be used by the City Council in determining if the City wants to deny the owners a future petition. Doesn't that seem fair?
We owners have a lot of money invested in our homes and we here promised that the space we rented would remain just that "rental space". Some houses here can't be moved. Some house here cost in excess of $100,000. Can you imagine adding another $50,000 or more for the cost of the land to the total purchase of what we already have invested? The owner's don't care. They have shown that by changing this Park from a "Senior only Park" now to a "Family Park".
Thank you City of Fillmore and Senator Jackson and Assembly Williams for "standing up for the little guy"!
Charles D. Richardson
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 26, 2013

To the Editor:
Does the FUSD School Board not know how to use Google or the Internet?
FUSD's mission is to provide the best education for Fillmore students. FUSD is required to hire administrators who can and will carry out that mission.
Leadership demands trust and integrity. When these are lacking from administrators, it is unlikely that they will be able to “maximize the efforts of others, towards achievement of a goal” Forbes Magazine.
When a new administrator is hired, out of curiosity stakeholders search on the internet for information about the new hire. In the case of 3 recent hires disturbing information is present, which has been overlooked by the FUSD school board.
Dr. Nishino –superintendent: In Morgan Hill he took a pay raise when teachers were being cut; questions were raised about Brown Act violations and intent to deceive; received $421,000 when retired with a $201,000 pension, and was employed at FUSD the next day; current controversy about his convoluted salary.
Mr. Persaud – assist. superintendent for business services: He was dismissed from his position as the assist. superintendent for business services at Upland USD due to financial irregularities.
Mr. Messfun – principal Fillmore High School: Lodi USD paid 3 teachers $250,000 each to settle harassments lawsuits.
Can these men establish trust from a system that needs leadership to meet its goals?
FHS is in desperate need for Spanish speaking staff especially in the office. Mesfun was aghast that no one spoke Spanish in the office and promised to remedy it. When presented with the opportunity to do so, he did not hire a Spanish speaking counselor or assistant principal. There were well qualified Spanish speaking applicants.
Have these men met their goals to improve the schools? The answer is NO. Test scores dropped considerably, school population is dropping as parents move their children to other schools, and staff morale has plummeted. In school year 2009-2010, FHS had 1,137 students; today there are 1,010. Where did 127 high school students go?
Students and staff at FHS have absolutely no confidence or trust in the leadership, and I believe that is a serious situation.
Karen Ashem

To the Editor:
Nishino looses big for our children. Two years ago Alan Nishino burst into town as the self-proclaimed savior of student testing results, boasting that he knew how to improve our student’s performance. Well after two years of Nishino’s leadership, our schools posted record failure on state testing as indicated by the Academic Performance Index.
Piru Elementary
2012 API: 754
2013 API: 750
LOSS: -4
Mountain Vista
2012 API: 751
2013 API: 736
LOSS: -15
Fillmore High School
2012 API: 740
2013 API: 719
LOSS: -21
Fillmore Middle School
2012 API: 735
2013 API: 711
LOSS: -24
Sespe
2012 API: 779
2013 API: 738
LOSS: -41
Never before have our students performed so poorly on standardized tests. Not only are our students not catching up to their peers, they are performing worse than they did a year ago. Their education is their future and they can’t go back and regain what they have lost. Our students deserve and need leaders who support our teachers and students – not who bully staff, hire incompetent school leaders and who only work a few days a week.
Alan Nishino and Michael Johnson were hired as interim administrators. Two years later, it is clear that our students are suffering from the lack of full-time, highly qualified leaders who are dedicated to our community. It is well past time for the Board to act and hire a permanent Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for our children.
Renee and Mike Bush
Michael Bush, Ed.D.
Vice President
Oxnard College

 
Letters to the Editor
September 19, 2013

To the Editor:
On Monday, Sept. 20th, the 17th day of school, approximately 300 students’ schedules were changed due to a lack of follow through by the principal.
On June 20th Mr. Johnson met with Mr. Mesfun, Mrs. Wyand, and me (Mrs. Ashim) to review the master schedule. The topic we discussed at length was the overstaffing at the school. This was created by the need for an additional ELD teacher. During the meeting neither Mr. Johnson nor Mr. Mesfun expressed any concerns with the staffing level. They indicated that since it was due to the changes in ELD, the position would be funded.
There was no indication from them that FHS would not be able to staff the master schedule.
Mrs. Wyand and I emphatically warned Mr. Mesfun that we were over staffed, and classes and staff would need to be cut. No one listened. The consequences of this oversight affected every student and teacher half way through the 1st quarter.
The leadership of FUSD has turned FHS into a “college prep only” school. That is an admirable goal – only if the students have been prepared for that. Sadly, many are not and are in danger of not graduating. This year, non-college prep math and English 12 classes have been eliminated. The lowest level math class for any student at FHS is Algebra 1. That includes special ed students who may never have had a Pre-Algebra course. Additionally, there are no interventions or support programs in place for these students. Our most at risk students are even more at risk under the leadership of FUSD and FHS. That is unacceptable.
Karen Ashim

***

To the Editor:
On July 9, 2013 I gave a presentation to the City Council on the lack of the displaying of our American flag (Old Glory). The following is an update to that presentation.
Monday, Sept. 2, 2013 we celebrated Labor Day. A day set aside for a special recognition of the working people who help to make what our great country is today. Did you share by celebrating & displaying our flag ? Also on September Eleventh, a day of remembrance, the twelve year anniversary of the most horrific attack on American soil where 3000 American's lost their lives, in NYC, Wa.D.C. & a field in Pennsylvania. Did you display our flag ?
It seems society has taken on a position of "me me me". This isn't about " you" it is about doing he right thing. A more proactive roll could be taken by our Scouts, schools, churches, clubs, VFW and many more organizations. Do not forget we have the most freedom, liberty, democracy, etc., than any country in the world. Let us show our pride of being an American. Display our flag.
Ray Dressler
Fillmore

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To the Editor:
Fillmore Explorer Post of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department
The Rancho Camulos Museum would like to publically acknowledge the efforts of the Fillmore Explorer Post of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department in support of our recent Ramona Days event.
Under the guidance of Deputy Leonardo Vasquez, these young men and women provided their time and skills to assist with the set up and carrying out of the event. They were particularly helpful in ensuring the safety of our visitors under extreme heat conditions.
One hears so many negative things about kids today. However, these young people were a credit to their community carrying out their duties in a professional manner, setting a good example for other youth, and making a positive contribution to the community through their service.
Hopefully this exposure to the rich history of the Heritage Valley at the only National Historic Landmark in Ventura County, Rancho Camulso, where the history, myth, and romance of old California still linger ... helped them gain a greater appreciation of the need to preserve our local history and cherish our heritage.
Congratulations to them for another community service project well done!
Maria Christopher
Ramona Days Event Coordinator

 
Letters to the Editor
September 5, 2013

To the Editor:
What has happened to Fillmore High School?
I started working at FHS 27 years ago. It was struggling to be a quality institution. Through hard work and cooperation by the teachers, staff, and management it made great progress. There was a steady growth in student test scores, multiple 6 year WASC accreditations, increased numbers of students going on to colleges, and several students went to prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and the military academies. Staff morale was high.
These achievements are being quickly eroded by missteps of the high school and district leadership. FHS API dropped 21 points. FHS school-wide interventions were eliminated. And most troubling is the sudden change is math course offerings which have put fully half of the FHS seniors in serious danger of not graduating this coming June.
Staff morale has plummeted. The principal received an 80% no confidence vote from the teachers. All but two department chairs resigned last year. Weekly teacher collaboration meetings have been abandoned, which hinders planning for the upcoming accreditation.
These issues have been brought to the school board yet corrective action has not been taken. So I ask these questions of the school board:
Why was it necessary to hire a principal with a documented record of harassment lawsuits against him?
Why did the current principal with such a poor record receive a $5000 bonus when no previous principal has received a bonus?
Why has the board turned a blind eye to the serious issues brought by dedicated, experienced teachers?
Karen Ashim, Retired Head Counselor from FHS

 
Letters to the Editor
August 29, 2013

To the Editor:
FILLMORE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Thank you Fillmore Fire Department for traveling to Tuolumne City to help defend one of Fillmore’s own families from the Rim Fire. My son, Bart and family, live in Tuolumne City and are packed ready to evacuate when told. However, they feel better now having seen a “hometown” truck close by. We Fillmorites are forever in debted to the Fillmore Fire Department for your loyal and selfless work. Over thanks, thoughts and prayers are with you.
Myrna Taylor
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 8, 2013

To the Editor:
Several weeks ago we lost another "icon" in Fillmore. Simon Carrillo. He worked for the city for almost 30 years and was indispensable. He knew where every water main and valve was in the city. He could do anything. He was a wounded veteran from World War II. His family chose to have a reception in his memory at the Veteran Memorial Building. And guess what folks??? Who ever it was his widow and family were charged for the event.
Where is the compassion?
Also, I still haven't heard from the Railroad or the city about what they are going to do about the tracks at Sespe St. and Old Telegraph Road. Is it a secret?
Ernie King

***

To the Editor:
An open letter to the Fillmore Planning Commission and City Council
I live on the eastern side of Island View Street and my back yard ends at the Pole Creek channel. As I write this letter my house is rattling and my head is vibrating as if someone had strapped one of those foot massagers at the County Fair to the base of my skull. But his is nothing new. Residents of this area have been dealing with pounding noise from heavy machinery that shakes our walls and rattles our windows and nerves for months now.
Further, from our back yard on Island View Street we used to enjoy the view of the surrounding hills with the occasional sighting of rabbits and deer. Now we’ve got a view of Mars and the only “deer” we see is John. The row of pepper trees that had shielded us from this dirt landscape was bulldozed in the name of “progress” and it could be years before anything is done to improve the view. I can’t wait until the East winds kick up and cover our house, patio and vehicles with dirt and spores.
But this complaint is secondary to the point I wish to make about the future of our neighborhood.
On February 8, 2011 (then) Community Development Director Kevin McSweeney gave the City Council a written report regarding Chevron’s inquiries into the type of development it could pursue at its Superfund Cleanup site east of Fillmore along Pole Creek. In his report McSweeney wrote: “Second Street should be studied to extend over Pole creek for commuter traffic and not commercial traffic.”
In its current conceptual development proposal Chevron does not make any mention of a bridge, commuter, commercial, pedestrian or otherwise, for Second Street to cross over Pole Creek and into their planned industrial development.
I have spoken with many of my neighbors in the 100 and 200 block of Second Street and the 600 block of Island View Street, and it is clear to that no one wants any bridge or crossing over Pole Creek at Second Street.
One of the primary reasons that many of us purchased our homes in this part of the city (and paid prices consistent with this fact) was because Second Street dead ends at the Pole Creek flood control channel and there is little vehicle through traffic and, until recently, we enjoyed the peace and quiet that comes with this traffic pattern.
We do not want Second Street or Island View Street to become choked with commuters and commercial vehicles trying to access this development when and if it should ever be built. As it is, our property values are destined to slide straight into the commode when this screaming, steaming pile of industrial “progress” starts operating 50 feet from our back yards.
In conclusion, don’t add insult to injury. We have resigned ourselves to our neighborhood being forever negatively altered and disrupted by the development of this site. Please don’t add to our misery by re-routing hundreds of vehicles through Second Street.
Respectfully,
Art Sandford
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 1, 2013

To the Editor:
Thank you to our Fillmore friends for their cards and support at this difficult time with the passing of our husband and father Fred.
Thank you,
Janet Howarth
John Howarth
and Joan Swift

***

To the Editor:
The Fillmore Little League is about to end the 2013 season and wishes to congratulate the Major Division Angels and the Minor A Division Cubs for winning the District 63 Tournament of Champions. Additionally, all three divisions advanced out of pool play in the All Star Tournaments. Both the Minor A and Major divisions finished third and the Junior division in fourth. Our boys (and girls) compete against some tough teams with a much larger pool than Fillmore!
Another highlight of the 2013 Season was the initiation of the Junior Umpire program by Mucho “Dutch” Morales. He worked with thirteen and fourteen year olds teaching them the basics of umpiring, enrolling them in umpire camp and mentoring them in games during the year. Getting volunteer umpires is one of the league’s biggest challenges and Dutch has found a way to recruit from within.
The Fillmore Little League is forming its board of directors for the 2014 season and invites you to become a director. We are looking forward to continue the great work that has begun and by working with the City adding the challenge of getting Two Rivers Park baseball fields and concession stand operational. The Board of Director Positions include; President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Divisional Vice Presidents for: Coach Pitch, Minor B, Minor A, Major, and Junior Divisions; Directors for: Snack Bar, Safety, Equipment, Field Maintenance, Sponsorships and Information/Web Master; and Umpire in Charge. The Board meets on the first Tuesday of each month to conduct regular business. We invite you to attend our next regular meeting on August 6 at 7 PM at the Faith Community Church (First & Central) meeting room (downstairs- entrance off First Street) to find out more about what is involved. Elections will take place on Tuesday, September 10 at 7PM. More information can be seen on the FLL website at www.fillmorelittleleague.com. The youth of Fillmore need your leadership! Please join us to help make 2014 a great season.
Fillmore Little League
2013 Board of Directors

***

To the Editor:
One of the joys of living in a small town is walking into a business and being helped in a personal, courteous manner. That is always my experience with Walt’s Jewelry. Walt has helped me many times with small emergencies, often with no charge. Maybe that’s why he’s still in business, serving Fillmore.
I also want to thank Dr. Bartleson’s office girls. The lense popped out of my glasses recently and they were kind enough to fix it, no charge, even though I had purchased them elsewhere.
These kind of businesses are what makes Fillmore a great place to call home.
Wanda Castel de Oro
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
July 18, 2013

To the Editor:
RE: Letter to the Editor entitled “Death of America” published online July 15, 2013 http://www.fillmoregazette.com/letters/july-15-2013
Mason’s letter is part religious sermon, part political rant, part conspiracy theory laced with fear, hatred, revenge and a desire for the end of the world. Swap the Christian references with Islamic ones and this letter could have been written by a jihadist suicide bomber and published in The Iranian Times. You would only need to change the title from “Death of America” to “Death TO America.” This is one of the most morally repugnant letters I’ve ever read.
I look forward a day when religious zealots and literalists of all denominations stop cherry-picking their holy books in order to legislate superstition, fear and the hatred of others into our democracy.
I hope Mason doesn’t spot any of his neighbors working on the Sabbath.
Scott Duckett
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
FILLMORE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB
Dear Business Owner:
Believe it or not it’s that time again “FILLMORE FLASHES FOOTBALL”. This is the time of year when we start to look to our community to help us make this a successful year for the Sports Program at Fillmore High School. The Fillmore High School Athletic Boosters is an organization run completely by unpaid volunteers, which include board members, parents, coaches and many other adults who donate their time. Everyone is dedicated to the advancement of Fillmore High School Sports at all levels of play.
We are starting early this year on the Football Program and that is why we need your help. We are seeking local businesses that would be interested in placing an "AD" in this years "FILLMORE FLASHES FOOTBALL PROGRAM".
If you are interested in advertising in the program please call Jennie Andrade at 340-3601. Deadline is August 2,2013
Sincerely,
Jennie Andrade, Program Coordinator

***

To the Editor:
Regarding my presentation at the July 9th City Council meeting.
Here are some facts and observations on the display (mostly non existent) of our American Flag.
A few moments ago we stood and said the "Pledge of Allegiance" to our flag. Our flag stands for what we hold dear; freedom, democracy, government of the people by the people and for the people.
We as Americans have a great opportunity to display our flag - to show the respect it deserves on any given holiday. on July 4th we just celebrated our Independence Day in commemoration of adoption of the Declaration of Independence of 1776. There were many celebrations throughout Fillmore with gatherings at various locations. Parks and downtown displayed numerous flags. But the local neighborhoods were mostly void of flag displays except for those who display throughout the year. Even neighborhood parties did not display the flag. Did you and your neighbor display the Flag?
The Fourth of July is but one (1) day out of 26 holidays designated as days to display our flag. We also had June 14, as Flag Day without any additional displays. I have heard many excuses as to not displaying the flag. There is nothing complex about receiving/and or buying a flag. when your birthday comes around, ask for a flag - its not costly and will last for years. If you need help in mounting the flag, neighbors & organizations will help. We have many electronic gadgets that would remind us which day to display the flag.
There have been times in my sleep I have dreamed of going out to get the morning paper and to my surprise find all my fellow neighbors putting up their flags. What a glorious sight! Then I waken to no such activity - so sad.
From time to time we see or hear of persons who take down our flag and stomp on it, deface it, or worse, burn it. If these individuals who 'have a beef' with our City, State or Federal Government, they have many other ways to protest - but leave our flag alone! I wish I had the means to buy one way tickets to other countries, such as Iran, North Korea and others, who would welcome them with open arms.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our men & women who have served our country in time of conflict. Those who have died and those who have returned with life long injuries - physical and mental - and those in need of jobs/education as they have preserved this country as the "Greatest on Earth" KEEP OLD GLORY FLYING.
Thank you
Ray Dressler
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
July 15, 2013

The Death of America
“We will all now be subservient to the will of the judgments, I might say prejudicial decisions of a small minority.”
After suffering a debilitating illness for close to forty-five years it was announced today that America, once called beautiful, had been pronounced terminally deceased by the United States Supreme Court. She had been warned many times by her Founding Father that unless she changed her diet and began exercising the privileges she had been blessed with at her birth she would suffer the same fate as had many other world powers who became extinct at a lesser age. A multitude of relatives and close friends pleaded with her to change and many remained in prayer until the very end but those who had been given oversight as to her health failed miserably, many believe intentionally, to provide the proper antidote at the time of her last crisis.
America had been given three primary care providers to oversee her welfare, however, each one in devastating decisions contributed to her final demise. These entities are called the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of guardianship. As long ago as 1974 the Judicial Branch made an insidious decision that killed millions of young Americans who might well have provided sustenance for her failing economy. Then for a time of eight years during the nineteen-eighties it appeared that she might pull through as the Executive Branch along with some help from the Legislative Branch brought hope for a recovery. Then during the nineties up until the present the Legislative Branch began once again to feed her with a glutinous diet of raucous spending, unsustainable debt, and even came up with a new medication called ‘political correctness’ used to silence her cry of agony from the pain she was experiencing. Those assigned as guardians of America’s health, welfare and abundant provision had no desire to apply the original prescription for extending her life as a strong and powerful nation that brought blessing and freedom to all of the other nations of the world. The right prescription which is called the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights adhered to would have eventually brought her healing.
As America’s Father, her Creator and guardian was not ignorant of her plight and saw that the guardians HE had put in place to guide her path had become captive to worshiping the creation rather than responding to the Creator, HE sent many warning signals that the people should have been able to recognize. HE allowed the financial center to become a pile of debris and brought about the greatest fall in the history of the stock market. Our response came from the mouth of Tom Daschle in front of Congress, basically shaking his fist at God and stating that we would rebuild stronger than ever. Amazingly the words he spoke were remarkably similar to those prophesied by Isaiah, even though he had no idea what he was proclaiming. (Chap. 9:11)
The land of the free and the home of the brave is experiencing more devastation from unremitting and unaccustomed storm fury than in recorded history and those who are supposed to lead have been exposed as both incompetent and deceitful representatives of the welfare of our land.
While America was writhing in the turmoil of her poverty stricken the Executive Branch has given away millions, even billions of dollars to nations who have no greater desire than to see the demise of what they call their greatest enemy. Both this branch of our representatives and the Legislative Branch have reveled in what they assume to be executive privilege, filling their coffers with huge taxes levied on the American people they were elected to serve. As they are not unaware that sooner or later there will come a backlash from the people, they are attempting to remove any ability for the population to defend themselves against being ruled by a dictator.
Now today, the Judicial Branch has made the decision to drive a stake into the heart of a disabled America and kill any hope for a recovery by transgressing the Word of God regarding homosexual union while at the same time announcing to all who can hear that a change has been made in our rule of law. They have proclaimed an end to being servants of the people and have declared that America will no longer be governed by the vote of the people. We will all now be subservient to the will of the judgments, I might say prejudicial decisions of a small minority. The submission to judicial law rather than the removal of those defying the Constitution will very soon give way to martial law and everyone will be at risk of being singled out as an enemy of the Un-united States of a dissolved America.
With America’s last gasp of breath she was heard to whisper, ‘Dismantle the voting booths and kindle your fires with the ballot boxes. I provided for you freedom of choice to live as a prosperous sovereign people but your choice is to live under tyranny for the temporary pleasures promised you by thieves and liars, undeserved benefits bought and paid for dearly with sacrifice and blood by others’.
At long last when I declare “Long live America” and offer my prayer of “GOD BLESS AMERICA”, I can also add, ‘by bringing a just and long awaited righteous judgment on those who contributed to her death’.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…”
COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS
S. Mason

 
Letters to the Editor
July 4, 2013

To the Editor:
I wish to send out a THANK YOU to all of my friends for the wonderful support you have given to me the last six weeks. I appreciate your sympathy cards, offers to help and kindness in every way. No wonder I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else! Now I can understand how people rally around others after a terrible disaster to help their friends, because you have done the same things for my family.
Sincerely
Marie Wren
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
June 27, 2013

To the Editor:
A few letters and some out spoken folks have voiced their opinions about Fillmore High English Teacher Jennifer Fitzpatrick's total disrespect she showed in stomping on the American Flag during one of her classes a couple of months ago.
Besides Reverend Lanier (his great letter last week) and me, no one else seems to want to get involved. Heck, I even wrote to VFW Commander in chief John Hamilton on June 3rd and he didn't want to get involved either. Makes me wonder what our million service personnel are fighting for? I always thought it was for God and Country (which our great American Flag represents).
But back to the main point and that is the despicable way Fitzpatrick disrespected our symbol of freedom and democracy.
And she won't even apologize to those she offended! Unbelievable that she just waltzes away with only a few people calling her to task for this outrageous display and lack of patriotism.
Charles Richardson
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
June 20, 2013

To the Editor:
Dear Ventura County,
The Girl Scout troops of Santa Paula and Fillmore are looking for ladies who were once Girl Scouts. To earn our silver badges we need to interact with the media. We have decided to make a book. In order to make it we must have stories. If you have a Girl Scout story and possibly a picture we could keep we would appreciate it if you would let us use your story/picture. We will try to place this book in the train depot and/or museum.
Sincerely, the Santa Paula and Fillmore troops
Please reply to kewkreeder@aol.com By Aug 1, 2013.

***

To the Editor:
The following is a letter on the flag incident at the high school that I am submitting for your consideration:
Over the past couple of months there have been several letters in the Gazette and the Star regarding the actions of one of our Fillmore High School teachers, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, who dropped an American flag on floor of her classroom last spring, in the presence of her students, and stepped on it. Besides reading the letters, I have spoken to or corresponded with a number of people concerning the incident (including with Mrs. Fitzpatrick). Several arguments have been made in attempts to justify her actions, including the following:
1) It was her right under the First Amendment (freedom of speech) to do what she did,
2) Her contract under the teachers' union gives her academic freedom (including, evidently, the right to step on the flag, in class, if she chooses),
3) Her students chose our nation's flag as a topic for discussion, so she dropped the flag on the floor and stepped on it to teach them how the First Amendment protects that right.
4) Since she is a professional teacher, what she did was OK,
5) Since other violations of the flag code have occurred at the school (like the flag touching the ground when it is lowered), her stepping on the flag in class is no big deal.
Actually, it is a big deal. Intentionally dropping our nation's flag on the ground or floor and stepping on it is a universally recognized show of disrespect for our flag and for our country. There is no justification for a public school teacher, teaching in a public school classroom, doing this. If a classroom discussion includes First Amendment rights regarding the flag, one would think that a public school teacher would point out that desecration of our flag, while protected under the Bill of Rights, is not something that good citizens do. One would think that she would encourage her students to be good citizens and to respect our flag, because it's the symbol of our country, the greatest country on earth - not drop our flag on the floor and step on it.
The issue is not whether or not as an individual citizen Mrs. Fitzpatrick has the right to step on the flag. She also has the right under the First Amendment to use vulgar language and to view pornographic films - but not as a public school teacher, in class. Some words and actions are simply wrong, and intentionally dropping our flag on the floor and stepping on it is one of them. What kind of lesson does this teach her students? That you can show disrespect for our flag at will, because it's your right, regardless of who you offend? I would suggest a different sort of lesson. Why not hand out pictures in class of the Marines and Navy corpsman raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima? Why not explain why they raised it - to give moral support to the Marines and corpsmen fighting and dying on the island? Why not tell her students that those men risked their lives to raise that flag, and that only three of the six men who raised it made it off Iwo Jima alive? Why not have her students write a paper on that? On what may have been going through those men's minds, and on what went through the minds of the men below, as they saw their flag flying proudly in the breeze.
Many people in town are offended by Mrs. Fitzpatrick's actions, including the men at our local VFW chapter. A number of them witnessed casualties in combat - men killed and wounded fighting under our flag. Yet there has been not one word of apology from Mrs. Fitzpatrick. What's more important, her "rights" or their feelings? Her offense is only compounded by the fact that four Fillmore men, killed fighting in Viet Nam, are memorialized by plaques on the high school lawn. The school memorializes its fallen dead, while one of its teachers steps on the flag they fought and died for. What a lesson to be teaching our children.
If you find stepping on our flag unacceptable, you should let Mrs. Fitzpatrick, the high school principal, school district officials, and the school board members know. It's your school. You have a say in what's taught and done there. Hopefully, if enough people speak up, Mrs. Fitzpatrick will understand that she should apologize for what she has done.
Pastor Leslie R. Lanier
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
To our Son and Daughter,
Yes. Another letter. We are sending you off to a university that promotes the idea that "You have your truth and I have mine." Relativism seems to be what many college campuses are promoting in the classrooms, at the student center, and in the dorms. We believe it is, as they say, "the new stupid."So bare with us as we expound on the idea that, “the tree comes to me”and not the other way around.
The tree tells me what it is and how I can legitimately us it. If I am drunk and say the tree is a big green ostrich with no feet, that would be ridiculous because what I claim as truth has nothing to do with what is actually there. The rock bottom validity to anything is, “Where is your evidence?” And, once you have that evidence, be honest before the data.
You can change those words, “the tree comes to me” to almost anything. The rock comes to me: It tells me what it is and how I can legitimately use it. It has mass, weight, electrical charges, and it just sits there… inert. Caramel candy. Same thing. But it tells me I can eat one and not the other.
The Apple. The apple tells me what it is and how I can legitimately use it. All the properties of a rock but it can take in food, grow, and reproduce which is something no rock can do. Therefore it is objectively wrong to lob food around a cafeteria as if it had no more inert worth than a snowball.
A koala bear, a kitty cat, or a horse. These also tell me what they are and how they can be legitimately used. All the qualities of a rock and an apple, but they can feel, move around, sense danger. Another quantum step up. Therefore it is wrong to pour alcohol on a live koala bear, cat, or horse and set it ablaze the way you can a Creme Brule.
Mary, Susie, Peter, Joey. A human tells me what it is and how I can legitimately use it. All of the qualities of a rock, an apple, or a koala bear… but it's the only species we know which is self reflective, can anticipate the not yet real, like death. Another quantum step up. Humans are the only entities we know who suffer from conscience. No tiger goes into a village, gobbles up someone's child, mother, or neighbor, and then lumbers back into the woods moaning, “I did it again! I have got to get into counseling.” Humans do… at least good humans do. That's how you tell the difference.
We have heard it said, “Do not force your religious laws on me.” Yet, it is objectively wrong to treat or use human beings as if they had no more inherent value than a dog or a cabbage or stepping stone. That is called natural law not religious law. In the story of Cain and Able, it was wrong for Cain to kill his brother even though the Ten Commandments were thousands of years from publication. Laws have been made, and are being made for self centered people who resist the invitation to be more than mere animals. It was wrong back then to kill his brother because of the inconvenience his life caused. It is still wrong today. Truly, what is the difference between Cane (in Genesis) and a doctor (in L.A.) who performs abortions? As Mother Teresa said, “If abortion is not wrong, nothing is.”
My opinion is as good as anyone else’s. Nope. Not unless you've got the evidence and reasoning. Your opinion is not as good as Einstein’s.
Your father and I have been called “old fashioned or old school” and have been told “morality changes from age to age and culture to culture.” Not unless being human changes from age to age. If so, than Aristotle, Plato, Shakespeare, and Dickens have nothing significant to tell us about being human and libraries are a horrific waste of money.
Society decides what is moral. A student at Berkley, majoring in conflict resolution, actually insisted this. If it is true, then that Berkley student must claim that it was evil to hide Jews during Nazi Germany. Because society said so. The humanity of Jews, like the humanity of any human conceived in this world, is an objective fact and not something we get to vote on.
Carl Sagan writes: “The incompleteness of our understanding humbles us.” Not quite thoroughly enough, it seems.
So, “The tree comes to me.” Write those words up on your dorm-room wall. Carry them in your wallet. Say them aloud during your ethics class and chew on them during your philosophy class.
And please. Be honest and courageous before the data. Giving your education anything less, you will be cheating yourself and those whom you love.
Excerpts from William J. O'Malley

 
Letters to the Editor
June 6, 2013

To the Editor:
I would like to say thanks to all of the following who so graciously donated time and effort with the 2013 May Festival Parade: to Sonshine Pre-School for electricity and space for the Judges to work; Eddie and Brenda Ortiz of Super Seal and Stripe for providing, delivering and picking up the flatbed truck for the Judges Stand; to Santa Paula Pilot’s Association for the Fly-over; to William L. Morris for all of the vehicles provided for the various parade entrants; to Evelyn Hasty and the Chamber for your help fielding phone calls, emails and applications; to Nikki Scott, Trevor Scott, Hellena Replogle, Lynn Cole and Tyler Stump for your help with line up, directions, running scores and info to judges, answering a multitude of questions and keeping everything running smooth; to Darlene Holmes and Amber Holmes for manning the sign in booth, making last minute changes, corrections, additions in such an organized fashion as well as answering many questions and offering directions; to Deputy Leo Vasquez and the Explorers for all of your help with traffic control and barricades; to Ron Smith who was always such a gracious, happy helper with whatever we needed and then some. From barricades, tables and chairs, directing traffic, helping with the line up, setting up and breaking down and taking down no parking signs. To EAG and your beautiful bride for use of the GEM car, it was much appreciated more than you can ever know! To Tyler Stump for help with the set up and break down of the equipment for the judges/announcers stand. Thank you to the Citizens of Fillmore for enduring the road closures, especially those who live on Shiells Drive and surrounding streets, for putting up with all of the traffic and no parking on parade day; to all of the parade entrants for your patience and cooperation. Last but not least, to RJ for announcing of the parade and for all of your help and support leading up to parade day. Our Fun Fillmore May Festival Parade would not be possible without any of you! Thank You So Very Much!!!
Sincerely,
Joni Stump

Following is a categorical listing of the parade winners:
Floats:
1st Place Little Miss Sweetheart Petite Miss Queen Selena Olivia Torres & Baby Miss Princess Sophia Grace Torres
2nd Place Today’s Raiders / Tomorrow’s Flashes
3rd Place Perce’s Kenpo Karate
Walking Groups:
1st Place Sonshine Pre-School
2nd Place Boys & Girls Club Santa Clara Valley
3rd Place Bardsdale 4-H
Cars:
1st Place Ventura County Model A Club
2nd Place Cinco De Mayo Court Senior Queen Sandra Rojos
3rd Place Cinco De Mayo Court Jr. Princess Andria Hernandez
Equestrian:
1st Place Charros De Paloma
2nd Place Wells Fargo
3rd Place Ventura County Sheriff’s Posse

For those of you who were unable to attend the awards ceremony immediately following the parade, your award may be picked up in the Chamber Office Monday thru Friday during normal business hours. Please give Evelyn a call and let her know when you will be coming by, (805) 524-0351.
Joni Stump

***

To the Editor:
The flag is and always will be a piece of cloth that many of us fought for to keep flying. To treat it like a rag and abuse it is beyond my comprehension.
This flag stomping is something I cannot believe without some reason. Why would anyone walk into a room full of 14 year olds and throw the flag to the floor and stomp it?
These students chose the flag as a project. Jennifer Fitzpatrick teaches by challenging and making the student think. It required demonstrations of how the flag was used in so many ways. Question’s of why, when, where, how, and etc. The project was a huge success and I’m sure she is very proud of her students.
This teacher is a professional.
Forgive the spiteful they know not what they do.
Robert Hansen
Fillmore

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To the Editor:
Recently we as individuals and as a nation observed Memorial Day. All across our nation millions of flags were flown. The most moving scenes were those of cemeteries where fields of flags flew over the graves of our brave service men and women, honoring those who served to protect and defend our freedoms.
One of those freedoms is the freedom of speech. The First Amendment.
It has been reported that in Fillmore High School one of the teachers exercised her freedom of speech by throwing the flag of the United Sates on the floor of her classroom and stomping on it. This happened in an English language arts class. What were they studying? Perhaps Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals?
The school board and district, along with their legal counsel, see no problem with her behavior. On the other hand, I do. I want the teacher to further exercise her freedom of speech and issue an apology and an explanation for her classroom behavior.
Marla DeSha
Camarillo

***

To the Editor:
I want to recognize and thank Mr. William L. “Chappy” Morris, at Morris Chevrolet in Fillmore for “making it right.”
A few years ago (from a different dealer) I bought a cute little Chevy Aveo that was great on mileage. The not-so-cute part was that it kept leaving me stranded everywhere. Since the factory warranty was still in place Mr. Morris’ Chevrolet repair shop repaired it, twice. After having it stall while driving in the fast lane of the 405 freeway and after being left stranded at the top of Grimes Canyon in the late afternoon, my husband and I had had enough with the little car. My beloved mother had recently passed away as well and this lemon of a car was adding to our stress.
As I walked to retrieve some personal items from the car as it waited to be repaired yet again, I bumped into Chappy. He must have seen the look on my face and asked what was going on. At the end of our conversation (and half a box of Kleenex), he told me that he was going to “make this right.”
I want you all to know that all the horrors and stress with my little car have now been erased my memory banks. Chappy had his patient, attentive salesman, Anthony Hernandez, show me the cars on the lot that same afternoon. Let me tell you, my husband Art and I got a wonderful, wonderful deal. We could not be happier with our brand new 2013 Chevy Cruze. It’s a beautiful car, rides super smooth, gets great mileage and has just been the answer to our prayers. Did I tell you it was a wonderful, wonderful deal? You would not believe it if I put it in this newspaper – but catch us on the street and you too will be headed to this Fillmore dealership immediately!
Thank you, Chappy, you restored my faith in the auto business. May you and your family always be blessed and your good heart be rewarded for your kindness and compassion to me on that terrible, terrible day.
Norma Pérez-Sandford

 
Letters to the Editor
May 30, 2013

To the Editor:
The Injustice of our Justice System
Recently the Ventura Star carried an article concerning the sentencing of a young Fillmore man, Fernando Ferrer, for vehicular manslaughter that occurred in August 2012. Fernando fell asleep while driving and caused an accident that killed a woman passenger in another car. He was sentenced to four months in jail, 5 years probation and monetary restitution to the victims. There were no traces of alcohol or other substances in his system. Fernando is an upstanding, hard working, law abiding citizen as are the other members of his family. They give more than they take from the community and anyone would be proud to have them as friends and neighbors.
Contrast this to an incident that happened in December 2011 when another young man, Michael Cedarland, suffered a seizure while driving on highway 126 and smashed into a Starbucks in Fillmore killing Sergio Mendez, a decorated Iraqi war veteran, as he sat enjoying his coffee and talking to his mother on the phone. Mr. Cedarland was not charged even though he had suffered seizures prior to the accident and thus had a known, pre-existing condition. In fact, his driver's license had been suspended but re-instated.
No doubt both incidents are heart wrenching and traumatic for the victims and their families and caused mental anguish that will never totally go away. However you be the judge; which individual is more to blame - Mr. Ferrer or Mr. Cedarland? One fell asleep while driving and the other had a seizure due to a known, pre-existing condition. One is treated as a criminal while the other goes scot free. Oh, I forgot to mention; Mr. Cedarland is a Deputy Sheriff.
Dave Anderson

***

To the Editor:
Resident Charles Richardson statement to the Fillmore Unified District Board meeting, Tuesday, May 28, 2013:
“My name is Charles Richardson and I reside at the El Dorado Mobile Home Park.
My primary reason for addressing you tonight is over the Flag stomping issue which occurred at Fillmore High School a couple of months ago.
The act was perpetrated by Sophomore English Teacher Jennifer Fitzpactrick as she was teaching her class. The act was supposedly to teach
about our U.S. Constitution, 1 Amendment, and saying how that amendment gives her the right as a freedom of expression. Hence the flag stomping to show her rights. She might be legally right as far as the Constitution is concerned but not only is she
morally wrong she is also wrong as far as the U.S. Code covering the American Flag is concerned.
Please allow me to enlighten you about the Code as it pertains to the use of the
American Flag. The Code was revised by the House of Representatives on 1/03/2012.
It reads as follows: READ CODE PENALTIES:
Now, are you going to allow Jennifer Fitzpactrick to get away with performing this
desecration of our American Flag and allow her to go unpunished for this act like she
did especially on school property which we own is this what Fillmore High
School has come to stand for?
However, as I have read to you under the U.S. Code Titles 4 & 18, Chapter 1 and
Section 700 (Crimes and Criminal Procedure) she and you School Board
Members need to read this Code and take appropriate action.
Technically, she may think she has the right to cite that what she did is allowed under the 1st amendment. However, the U.S. Code as adopted by the House of Representatives say she cannot. And her punishment is dear.
And even if there wasn’t a Code regarding the Flag, Jennifer Fitzpactrick was dead wrong to commit this act. Thank God for the Code!
What she did was to denigrate every person who has ever fought under this great banner. She has preformed a tremendous disservice and has shown a total lack of judgment and respect for what the American Flag represents. I am offended! Hence, my addressing you tonight. By the way, I spoke with and followed up that conversation with a letter to Fillmore High School Principal Russom Mesfun on March 27. No response.
Let me ask you this, what if she would have used the KORAN or Mexican flag? Do you think there would be only a few people here tonight raising their voice against that outrage? Here’s what we want you to do. Suspend Jennifer Fitzpactrick. The House of Representatives says you can and she could even go to Jail! The very least you should do is to reprimand her with a letter in her file that will follow her to wherever she tries to teach in the future.
Also, I want her to public apologize for this outrageous act and show contrition. School Board, take an action tonight. What Jennifer Fitzpactrick did in showing disrespect to our Great American Flag, the symbol of freedom around the world, was despicable!
My final comment is on the hideous color scheme that was chosen for the new Rio Elementary School. Not only is the black color bad, the fact that it looks like a prison is atrocious as well.
Thanks for your service and time I listening to me. Now take some action.”
Charles Richardson

***

To the Editor:
At the May 14, 2013 meeting of the Board of Education, Board members and District administration listened carefully when three community members exercised their public comment rights to criticize the act of a District teacher who stepped on an American flag during a class lesson.
It has been stated that the Fillmore USD teacher should be dismissed, alluding to a reported instance where a South Carolina teacher who stepped on a flag was terminated. If media reports of that incident are reliable, there was apparently a significant settlement paid by the school district in that matter to resolve pending litigation by the teacher. Moreover, Fillmore USD must observe the rights and obligations of its teachers under the California Education Code, not South Carolina law.
Following receipt of a parent complaint in February 2013 about this action, the Fillmore USD investigated the conduct and its context. It found that the teacher conducted a class demonstration concerning certain rights and obligations of American citizenship. The lesson addressed Constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, study of the Flag Code, and court cases concerning the treatment of the flag.
Although this act is understandably offensive to many, what some may construe as inappropriate treatment of the American flag has been addressed by the United Sates Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Justice Brennan wrote: "And, precisely because it is our flag that is involved, one's response to the flag burner may exploit the uniquely persuasive power of the flag itself. We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one's own, no better way to counter a flag burner's message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer method of protecting the dignity even of the flag that burned than by--as one witness here did--according its remains a respectful burial. We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents."
The District respects the rights of all of its students to learn about the freedoms and responsibilities that Americans enjoy, including our protected right to disagree with one another.
Earl Davis
Interim Asst. Suprintendent
Business & Admin. Services

 
Letters to the Editor
May 23, 2013

Another Sad Chapter
There have been many unfortunate changes in the Fillmore Unified School District in the past few years that have sadly impacted the staff and students to their detriment. Good principals and teachers have been harassed and degraded while incompetence and rudeness in others seem to be encouraged. Possible corruption in administrators goes unchecked. This lack of competence is further evidenced by the fact that after a teacher at Fillmore High School disrespected the American flag by throwing it on the floor and stomping on it, there has been only silence from the administration and the Board. Why are they protecting her? I think that the regular attendees at the Fillmore Unified Teachers’ Association meetings could tell you why.
The Education Code of California states that a patriotic exercise shall be conducted daily and suggests the Pledge of Allegiance. Was stomping on the flag this teacher’s idea of an appropriate patriotic activity? Was she attempting to incorporate Anarchy 101 into her Language Arts lesson? As an employee of the Fillmore Unified School District, her classroom conduct is subject to the Education Code of the State of California regardless of her political opinions or personal lack of patriotism. The fact that the 1st Amendment to the Constitution gives her the right to express repugnant views does not mean she has the right to do so in a classroom of our young people.
Perhaps the Board should request that this teacher demonstrate her lesson at a public board meeting and explain the objectives she was attempting to teach and what California Education Standards were addressed.
The administrators involved, and the Fillmore Unified School Board, have been privately and publicly requested to issue an apology. This request has thus far been arrogantly ignored. The people of Fillmore deserve more respect. This offense demands an apology. Yes, another sad chapter for the Fillmore Unified School District.
By the way, if the administration has a problem with me or my opinions, they should personally address them to me. They should not harass my friends, colleagues, associates and fellow citizens interested in good quality education in Fillmore. Vindictiveness like that is truly cowardly.
Mary Ford

***

To the Editor:
Recently it was reported and a letter to the editor was published in the Star stating that a local High School teacher had exercised her 1st amendment right to disgrace the American flag. She was teaching her students to use constructive reasoning?
This teacher should read :
United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag section 8.
She would see that it is against the code to use the flag in this manner and that no disrespect should ever be shown to the flag. Maybe our school board and superintendent should read this code also. When you show disrespect to our flag you show disrespect to hundreds of thousands of American men and women who have given their lives for if, yes we fought for our flag, our nation. A flag represents the nation and the people of that nation, it is not “just a meaningless symbol”.
Our nation is rapidly breaking down because of the attitudes of our leaders, our teachers, and our parents. If you don’t know what we have here go and talk to an immigrant and see how they lived before giving up everything they had to move here.
Michael Steel
Fillmore

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Fillmore City Councilmember Brian Sipes Letter of Resignation
May 15, 2013
Community of Fillmore
City Council
Fillmore City Hall
2S0 Central Avenue
Fillmore, CA 93015
Dear Fillmore City Council,
It is with great regret that I have decided to resign from the Fillmore City Council, effective immediately.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my service to the people of Fillmore since 12/15/2010 and I would prefer that I not resign. I sincerely apologize for not completing my term and I know I am disappointing many people.
At tills point in time, my professional career requires my full attention as well as frequent travel. Prohibiting me the proper energy and time for public service at the level I feel the community of Fillmore deserves.
I would also like to take this opportunity to voice my opinion on what I feel is a lack of Integrity and transparency and urge the new City Council majority to continue to focus on feasible solutions to ease the colossal sewer rates through the Sewer Subcommittee. I would also wish that the council reconsiders an essential need to make these committee meetings public and that a ‘Request for Proposal’ or ‘Request for Information’ is completed. I found it unfortunate that my leadership was cut short with the Sewer Subcommittee and hope that the focus continues to find cost cutting solutions to the operation and maintenance of the sewer plant in cooperation with American Water for the people of Fillmore.
I wish to thank the Community of Fillmore for their trust and confidence granted to me to be your representative. I am proud of my contributions and it’s my hope that my legacy will be one of integrity, monetary equality for the ratepayers, and I be known as a leader with a conscience.
Fillmore will always be my hometown and I am very proud to say so.
Sincerely,
Brian Sipes
[Editor’s Note: Re; “I...wish that the council reconsiders an essential need to make these committee meetings public...” At the 02/13/13 council meeting, Sipes voiced the same fancy, to which Mayor Rick Neal and City Attorney Tiffany Israel informed him that the public CANNOT be involved in contract negotiations, which is what the City is involved in. A lack of comprehension has been a hallmark of the Katzenjammers, of which Mr. Sipes is the last of the species.]

 
Letters to the Editor
May 16,2013

To the Editor:
Just a quick note to thank you for printing the articles about RailFest and Day Out With Thomas. In cooperation with the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, RailFest attracts many rail fans both locally and from the southern California region. We appreciate your coverage in the Fillmore Gazette and for publishing in the paper and many more on the fillmoregazette.com website, all the amazing photos taken by Bob Crum. He is truly an asset to the community with photographic coverage of events in Fillmore. In addition, he brings the events to life with his words. If I hadn’t been at each of these events personally, after reading about his perspective of them, it would make me want to attend.
Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing coverage of the many upcoming events during the remainder of the year.
With sincere regards,
Kathleen McCreary
Fillmore & Western Railway

***

To the Editor:
My name is Kevin Genovese and I am the Director of Operations for the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum located at 926 Railroad Avenue in Santa Paula, California. I am writing this email in regards to the possible closing of the Santa Paula Branch line that the Ventura County Transportation Commission will be deciding upon. I do not claim to know the current plans of the railroad or that of the Ventura County Transportation Commission in their decision making process. I am writing this email to let the individuals who are responsible for deciding the fate of the Santa Paula branch line and of Fillmore & Western Railway Company how the railroad and the business of Fillmore & Western Railway affect our museum. The Agriculture Museum is located right next to the historic depot in downtown Santa Paula is the stopping area for Fillmore and Western’s train that bring in large amount of tourist on Saturdays, and Sundays when they are running. We average anywhere from 500 to 1000 visitors per month many of them train passengers that decide to hop off the train during its stop to visit our museum. We also have a store (The Best of Ventura County Marketplace) located inside the museum that thrives from the tourist that want to quickly shop while the train is stopped. I am deeply concerned for our museum if the Santa Paula Branch line was closed and Fillmore & Western Railway ended train operations preventing hundreds if not thousands of tourist from visiting Santa Paula and the Santa Clara Valley. These tourist not only come for the train and small town feel, but they come to shop, eat, visit the historic sites and the museums. Many businesses in the area are greatly affected by the Santa Paula Branch line and closing that line will have a large economic affect on many of these businesses as well as local non-profits like us. In wanting to keep this message and email short, please consider all options in the decision making process in regards to closing the Santa Paula Branch line and thank you for taking the time to read this message.
Kevin Genovese
Director of Operations
Agriculture Museum

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To the Editor:
Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC)’s mission is to provide affordable homes and implement economic development activities that serve low-income communities. CEDC is grounded in the belief that we don’t just build homes – we build communities in Ventura County. Since 1981, we have provided thousands of individuals and families throughout Ventura County with quality and affordable homes. But we go beyond just building homes, we work with our residents by creating leadership development opportunities, opening doors to social and educational resources so that our residents and community members shape their future and address self-identified needs and issues in their community.
CEDC’s Community Engagement and Property Management divisions are working with CEDC residents to establish a Youth Leadership Anti-Bullying Flash Mob and Advocacy Project to stop bullying in all Ventura County schools by 2015. Our projects objectives are: 1. To provide community engagement training to the anti-bullying committees at CEDC properties and its local schools to encourage and excite participation, specifically around bullying and cyber-bullying. 2. Begin an anti-bullying advocacy campaign that will help advance the implementation of anti-bullying programs in all Ventura County schools by creating partnerships with the school districts, parents and students to mutually assess current anti-bullying policies and/or programs. 3. Anti-bullying committees will study current policy and revise implementation strategies to develop comprehensive and feasible anti-bullying program in schools. 4. CEDC youth leaders and other Ventura County youth along with their parents will increase leadership skills through civic engagement by advocating to local city councils, county supervisors, and school districts/administrations.
We are starting to launch a county wide campaign and we have organized several events in Ventura County On May 18, 2013 we will be hosting a Citywide Anti-Bullying Flash Mob at the biggest event in our city. These will be the kick off event for our anti-bullying advocacy campaign. When statistics state that 77% of students in school are bullied and half of suicides among youth are related to bullying, its time to mobilize communities and bring awareness on this issues as much as possible. You can contact me directly at 805-218-6180 or mcampos@cabrilloedc.org.
Best regards,
Monica Campos
Community Building Organizer
Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation

 
Letters to the Editor
May 9, 2013

To the Editor:
Dear VCTC Commissioners,
As a concerned resident of Fillmore, an employee of Fillmore & Western Railway and a ten year board member of the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau, I’m asking you to commit to learn everything you can and accept suggestions made for keeping the Santa Paula Branch Line a viable, workable rail line. I understand that the key issue is having the SPBL generate revenues for VCTC, equal to the point that it costs to maintain the line.
My career expertise is in the travel and tourism marketing industry, the first 6 years in hospitality/hotel sales and the last 14 years for Ventura County’s tourist railroad and as a destination marketer for the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau. I have seen first-hand what tourism spending has done for the communities of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Simi Valley and in Fillmore and Santa Paula. I’ve been very involved as a partner with the Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Clarita tourism bureaus in various ways.
To “mothball” the Santa Paula Branch Line would obviously force Fillmore & Western Railway to close it’s doors. The Railway attracts 50,000-70,000 visitors every year for train rides, events, festivals, not only in Fillmore, but also in Santa Paula and Piru. These tourists stay in hotels, eat at our restaurants, shop in our stores, buy their gasoline at our service stations, in other words, they come, spend their money and go home. Tourism is the # 1 industry in Los Angeles. For the first time, there was over $102.3 Billion dollars in direct travel-related consumer spending in the state of California in 2011. Figures are not in yet for 2012, but the state tourism office forecasts that $107 billion total travel-related consumer spending will take place this year. The Heritage Valley depends on travel and tourism dollars, not only the railroad, but the antique and collectible stores, the restaurants, the lodging establishments, not counting the people employed in these travel-related industries. To force the largest tourism driver in this area to go out of business, is blatantly proclaiming that it isn’t of value or important to the commissioners of VCTC. If the Railroad closes its doors because of a VCTC decision, it would devastate the economy of the Heritage Valley.
The owner and consultant of Fillmore & Western have made suggestions to staff of VCTC for the last three years on ways to generate more revenue, it has fallen on deaf ears, and I believe the information was not passed on to the commissioners. How can you make informed decisions, if VCTC staff does not give you the information that will educate you on the subject?
The railroad has had opportunities to haul freight on the line, and is willing to give a portion of the revenue from that to VCTC, but was told by Union Pacific that VCTC staff told them specifically not to allow Fillmore & Western to haul freight. Were you informed of the decision, unilaterally made? When the Weyerhauser Plant was still operating in Santa Paula, Union Pacific made deliveries of supplies to and from that business, they did not contribute any monies from their profits to VCTC, nor did they pay any maintenance on the tracks that they hauled the freight on from Montalvo to Santa Paula.
The right of way along the railway, is 50 feet from the center line of the track, mostly agriculture farmland and commercial nurseries operate along the line, outside of city limits. This right of way belongs to VCTC. Fillmore & Western has recommended many times over the last several years, that leases be generated with the farm and ranch owners if they want to “use the right of way” for their employee parking and equipment movement. It has fallen on deaf ears. Has VCTC staff ever informed you of this possibility to generate revenue along the Santa Paula Branch Line?
Getting politically involved is not what I do, but I feel as if I have no choice but to speak out and put forth some of the deliberate machinations that are being levied with a bias and malicious intent by VCTC staff towards Fillmore & Western Railway. My livelihood, my job and the jobs of my fellow employees, are in jeopardy if the commissioners make the decision to abandon the branch line, or if Fillmore & Western is not allowed to haul freight on the line.
The originators of the agreement between VCTC and Fillmore & Western, generated the agreement with a long term vision, and Fillmore & Western has certainly operated in good faith with a commitment to stay in it for the long haul. We maintain the line, repair and replace crossing arms when motorists knock them down or a rancher’s hired help bends the rails with tractors, all with the expectation that VCTC shares in the responsibility to pay a fair wage to those employees that do the work.
Recently, when invoices have been sent to VCTC from Fillmore & Western, we get word back that they (VCTC) have changed their bookkeeping practices and now the invoice has to be accompanied by new information, yet delaying payment further. It often takes many invoices and many phone calls to get payment that is morally and ethically due the railroad.
I hope that this information has given you reason to pause and ponder the serious situation of honoring the original lease agreement, or willingness to renegotiate the lease in a fair and transparent manner, keeping in mind, that many jobs and the local economy depend on your informed vote.
Thank you for time and consideration.
Respectfully,
Kathleen McCreary
Fillmore

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To the Editor:
Do you remember when you graduated from high school? It all seemed like so much fun! But little did we know how much our parents were sitting home, worried sick, knowing that we were out all night at the after parties to all hours. They prayed until the door opened and you were safely in bed. The things we put our parents threw!
Now! For the big one!! You are the parent sitting at home, your child is getting ready to graduate. They have been invited to a party, which will go on all night! You have heard of the car accidents that have happened in the year since you have graduated, and you think about how lucky you where, and you start to worry about your child. Will they be as lucky as you?
The answer is YES!!! It is called Grad Nite Live! Let us take them for the night. But we need your HELP!! It takes money to rent the buses and the boat. Grad Nite Live is having its yearly Yard Sale this Saturday May 11, 2013. It starts at 8:00am & goes to 3:00pm. We need stuff, and more stuff to sale, we also need people to help! People to help set up, please be at the Fillmore District Office on Sespe Ave at 6:00am.
If your child is a senior you really should be there! If your child is not yet a senior, come help so you will learn what to do when it’s your turn. If your child has grown, then we know at some time you will be a grandparent!!!
GRAD NITE LIVE is for the SENIORS
Please call me if you can help,
Thank you,
Terrie Metzler
805-625-2935

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To the Editor:
Several years ago I made an inquiry as to the rough railroad crossings in Fillmore. The reply I got was that it was not the city or the railroads responsibility. Since then they have improved 4 of the crossings. The last one being on A street when they made the overlay. I noticed that they are going to overlay Sespe between A Street and Old Telegraph road. Surely we can find enough money to fix this crossing also. By the way, who in the h*** is responsible for fixing these crossings? It would be nice to know.
I would like to get a reply from the City and Railroad about what their plans are.
Ernie King