Letters to the Editor
October 6, 2011

To the Editor:
Months ago Mayor Washburn was addressed about transparency and open government and her inability to produce Council Minutes. We heard half-baked excuses from the City Manager and Mayor of why minutes haven’t been produced since June which included “we laid off 28% of our employees”. Not producing minutes is not open government, Ms. Washburn; it’s bad government and bad leadership. You should not accept weak excuses from the City Manager for not taking care of business.
It’s now October and you haven’t produced minutes from June, July, August or September. Let me correct one untruth that you said, not everyone was laid off. Some employees walked away rather than continue to work in the environment you’ve built. Please stop making excuses and fix the problem.
The City Clerk spends a lot of time in City Hall. He’s even there on weekends and has been seen going through files with Council Member Brooks on weekends. Given his dedication, time doesn’t seem to be an issue, so why can’t minutes be completed? The City Manager, and you Mayor Washburn, do not seem to support the City Clerk or the work he said he’d do. If you did support him, you’d hire a temporary secretary. You seem well versed in outsourcing, so transcribing meetings to minutes by a temporary employee shouldn’t be an issue. How about getting city records up to date and keeping them up to date?
Any further delay in rectifying this complaint is a clear indication of the arrogance and insensitivity your management style offers Fillmore. Chop chop, Mayor…
Vance Johnson


To the Editor:
Mayor Washburn, you reap what you sow. What was written about the city council was in the "Opinion" section, not as a news article. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. You should not have ran for city council if you didn't know what you were doing or you didn't have thick enough skin. Politics is not an easy task to dip your toe in if you don't know how to swim when the tide rises. Think about resigning if you can't tough it out. Maybe your buddies aren't blunt enough to tell you the truth, wouldn't want to hurt your feelings and all that. By the way, if you do decide to resign, take Sipes with you.
Submitted to the Gazette Forums & Comments by Libertys Pen


To the Editor:
What's truly amazing about Washburn's crying is that it wasn't long ago that she and her minions were doing the VERY SAME THING that she and Brooks are crying about now!!! And if there's anything at all that is the hallmark of this administration, it's that...hypocrisy...'Oh, it's ok for us to go out and do thus and so, but now that we have the power, it's not ok for others to do what we did'! This is an example of their arrogance and lack of perception overall...and Sipes is the master of talking outta both sides of his mouth...
Submitted to the Gazette Forum & Comments by Pancone


To the Editor:
Folks have a short memory. Most people have forgotten or were not around when the hate speech started in the spring of 2000 in Fillmore. Here is a short history lesson; Spring of 2000 the present group,( in charge at City Hall), lead by Patti Walker put “For Sale” signs on city hall, in the cover of darkness. “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others.” (Mayor Washburn’s letter) started and continued up to the election in Nov. 2000. Secret meetings planning a SOAR initiative that intended to shrink Fillmore to below its city boundaries. It lost, but that did not stop “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others.” As another SOAR initiative was planned, again in secret and with no public input, just more of “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others.” The council at the time decided to try to smooth things out and after some negotiations agreed to adopt a modified SOAR, that Patti and her group agreed to, however the smoothing did not work the hate speech kept on coming. In the beginning of 2002 “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others” continued. They,(Walkers group), lost the election in Nov. 2002, 2004 and they got Patti back in office in 2006 but still did not have control. So, “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others” it just got worse. More Lies and half truths. “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others” reached a peak in 2008. Nov. 2008 they got control of City Hall so now everyone should just be nice and not criticize them because…well Mayor Washburn says.
Of course Fillmore had a large saving account (reserves) almost no contract employees and was open 5 days a week up to that election. Now, three short years later, almost no money in reserve, the largest number of contract employees Fillmore has ever seen and a city government that operates with no vision, no transparency and a City Hall only opened 4 days a week with the highest paid City Manager in Fillmore’s history. I wonder what happened to Washburn and Brooks promise to stop over paying employees and start hiring locals to work for the City of Fillmore. So far it seems all they are doing is firing locals and replacing them with out of town contractors.
Oops! Was that last paragraph “The bullying, smear campaign against council members, staff and others.” that Washburn spoke of in her letter?
Submitted to Gazette Forums & Comments by “Johnny Walker”


To the Editor:
No Old Glory?
What is going on here?! The last few week’s going to and coming home from work I drive by City Hall on Santa Clara St. I have noticed that the Clifornia. State flag is up. But where is the American Flag?!
Let me please make this clear. I am not Pro-Gazette, Anti-City Council. I am and always will be for my family, my country, and my town. First my family. My father, Marion C. Woods, was in the Navy at the time of the Korean War. My step-father Robert W. Spitler was a P-38 fighter Pilot in WWII. My mother, Shriley Spitler, STILL has Old Glory wave in front of her house 24/7, 365 days a year. My kids will always stand and place their hand over their hearts when the American flag is to be honored.
Second comes my country. I am proud to be an American. This is the greatest country of all time. Our own friends and family are still fighting this very minute to keep this a great country for us.
Now for our town. All you need to do is go to the Veterans Memorial Building to see all of our people who are from Fillmore who have served under our great flag since the Civil War until now. Go down the street on Central Ave. and see the names of the young men and women, OUR Fillmore people serving our country today.
It is a shame that we do not have the great American flag in front of our own City Hall! Are the budget cuts so bad we cannot do this anymore? I ask you Fillmore, do we always need to make the cuts from the bottom/up? Or should we start from the top/down? The City Manger makes more than any worker for the City of Fillmore. The City Council hired her. Maybe they could pitch in for a flag! We owe this to our family and friends of this great country and town of Fillmore, Ca. U.S.A. God Bless America and Fillmore.
Joe Woods


Letters to the Editor
September 28, 2011

To the Editor,
The Gazette editor needs to stop the bullying smear campaign against council members, staff and others. The hatred is absurd as well as demoralizing to the community. While Mr. Farrell is entitled to express his partisan political viewpoints, professional journalists would never abide this breach of ethics. Gazette readers cannot trust his objectivity. I invite Farrell to visit the Society of Professional Journalists Website at spj.org and read its code of ethics. Potshots, name calling, outright lies and gossip are bad journalism and against common decency. It's just not good for Fillmore. Here are a few lines of ethics code for journalists.
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.
Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.
Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
Gayle Washburn
[See a responce to Gayle Washburn's letter here: http://www.fillmoregazette.com/editorial/realities-151 ]


To the Editor:
I’d like to publicly thank Mark Austin, Tom Fennell, Vance Johnson and Douglas Tucker for their service to the city and citizens of Fillmore. Collectively we served on the Planning Commission for 24 years. It was a pleasure to serve on a commission that functioned professionally, was chaired with purpose, and where business was conducted openly and fairly for all parties.
My intent is not to dwell in the past, but to look forward, with hope that other citizens will have the positive and rewarding experiences I was fortunate enough to participate in. Institutional knowledge is valuable and the loss of that knowledge base will be missed. Council Member Brian Sipes said that some cities do not have separate Planning Commissions and that the City Council fills that role. From my recent observations and for the good of the City of Fillmore, I sincerely hope we do not go down that path.
Diane McCall


Letters to the Editor
September 8, 2011

To the Editor:
Re: Pole Creek Graffiti Problem 8/25/11 Letter to Editor
This note is to let Mr. Richardson and other concerned citizens of Fillmore know that the Boy Scouts of Troop 406 have volunteered to adopt the concrete walls of Pole Creek for a graffiti removal program as an ongoing community service project.
Many of the Scouts and their leaders have already received safety training from Ventura County Flood Control/Public Works officials so that the work can be done safely. The Scouts plan to begin working on the removal of graffiti from the lining of Pole Creek this fall, once all of the official paperwork and permits have been processed.
It is a big project and we are not sure how long it will take to complete. Please be patient as we work to cover the current marks on the walls and to stay ahead of new Tagging, which may be added during the process.
The Scouts of troop 406 be will be doing their best to improve the appearance of Fillmore and give back to the community which has supported them so well for many years.
Brett Chandler
Committee Chairman, Troop 406

Letters to the Editor
September 1, 2011

To the Editor, City Council, and Fillmore Residents:
My wife and I are new to the area, me "retired" from 30 years Teaching and Counseling in Northern California. We are enjoying our new community of Fillmore, finding most people friendly, welcoming, gracious, and helpful.
However, traffic can be maddening, with the speeds of cars/trucks quite disconcerting, even downright scary. But more puzzling and irritating is seeing the number of trucks/trailers parked on the highway and side streets (residential), sometimes for many days. Apparently, local ordinances are not enforced or just ignored altogether.
For me, this has created a visual blight on this lovely town. Can someone explain why Fillmore tolerates this? Perhaps truckers buy enough "Quarter Pounders" from McDonalds to keep this small community afloat? Have city officials considered having a truckers' park somewhere locally, charging a small fee for overnight parking?
Fillmore doesn't have to look like an industrial park. Neighboring Ventura has certainly taken a firm stance against this unsightly (scofflaw?) behavior. Any thoughts or comments?
Christopher Hoy

Letters to the Editor
August 25, 2011

To the Editor:
Congratulations to the Fillmore Gazette for 22 years of successful operation. To survive as a small-town newspaper in this day and age, especially considering the poor economy and so many competing sources for news, is truly a remarkable achievement.
I cannot help but reflect on a particular hot, dry August day some 20 years ago when a 21-year-old kid shuffled into the Gazette offices in the lower floor of the Masonic Lodge building at 400 Central Avenue, seeking his first job out of college. I knew almost nothing about Fillmore, other than the fact my grandfather had served as Chief of Police in the town in the late 1960s, before I was born. I did not think I would be able to get a job at a daily newspaper, so I tried first with the weeklies. I lacked confidence and experience but knew that I wanted to be a writer, a journalist, so I walked in the door and announced my intentions.
The man and woman behind the counter – publisher Martin Farrell and editor Julianne Smith – did not disappoint when I asked if they had a job available. I could start right away, I was told, and I did, at first primarily covering city council meetings. It seemed like fate then and still does –they needed me and I needed them. I will never forget the excitement of that day – it was the start of an adventure that would keep me in Fillmore for 17 years, six with the Gazette and 11 serving the City of Fillmore. It seems like yesterday when I first walked into that office, but how much the world has changed. And how much Fillmore has changed too. It seems now like an innocent age, but I guess at 21 years of age one’s naiveté shines through. Sometimes the more we know, the less we want to know.
Those early days in the Gazette were amazing. Martin and Julianne gave me the freedom to pursue stories I saw as compelling, and the discussion and conversations we had with each other and with members of the community were fascinating and thought-provoking. It was exciting for a young man to cover such events as the release of the Condors back into Sespe wilds, the fight over SP Milling (remember SMIRF, Stop Mining in Rural Fillmore?), Fillmore’s annual series of fires and/or floods, and far too many gory traffic accidents on Hwy 126, when it was still a real “blood alley.” Then came the Northridge earthquake in January 1994, less than a month into my tenure as Editor. The earthquake, which dominated the news in Fillmore until the city got “Back on Track” in 1996, resulted in the loss of the Gazette’s office in the historic Masonic Lodge building, which had to be demolished after the quake. The Gazette first worked out of a residence until we were provided space at the old Hurst concrete plant in north Fillmore at the end of “B” Street. (The plant was torn down to build homes in north Fillmore a few years later.) Through it all, Martin kept the paper going, despite desperate competition from the “other” weekly newspaper in town.
Fillmore had it pretty good in those days, even despite the setbacks of the earthquake, which caused the good people of Fillmore to rally together and make the best of the situation. The people of Fillmore were not about to let their town down, and the residents, businesses, city staff and council members all worked together on a common vision to advance the town. Sure, there were disagreements, but with a solid vision and solid leadership it got done. Fillmore rebounded less than two years after the quake, stunning experienced State and Federal disaster relief officials. Fillmore earned its motto as the “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California”. When I came to work for the City in 1997, this positive energy was translated into Vision 2020, Fillmore’s 20-year plan for the future. We don’t hear much about Vision 2020 nowadays, but it may be time to revisit the document and well as the positive energy behind it. I will never forget the first town hall meeting we held to gather community input on the Vision 2020 plan – we had so many incredible suggestions and goals for Fillmore – prompting one member of the audience to declare: “If we can only accomplish 25 percent of these goals, Fillmore will be great place to be in 2020.” And that’s what Vision 2020 is all about: inspiration, motivation and encouragement.
But I digress, so let’s get back to Gazette. Congratulations on 22 years in the business. Martin, don’t retire just yet. You never know what, or who, might next walk through your front door. Keep the faith.
Steve McClary
Editor of the Fillmore Gazette (1994-1997)

* * *

To the Editor:
Mr. Farrell, and speaking of Graffiti as your 8/18/11 articles pointed out, allow me to expound on that subject and the lack of interest it seems, not to arouse in our community by our "civic leaders".
For months now, I pointed out to the county, city and ownership of Fillmore and Western, about the graffiti on the railroad span over Pole Creek. Also, the graffiti on the fence of the salvage yard adjacent to Pole Creek and the fact that the entire concrete structure lining Pole Creek has an enormous amount of graffiti lining its walls. All to no avail!
Supervisor Kathy Long says there is no money to remove the graffiti. I was told to send her a list of the various volunteer organizations in town and they'd be contacted. Still nothing happened.
I was told that the county would supply the materials but the "volunteers" would have to do the work. When I asked who'd pay the law suits, if say, a member of the Cub or Boy Scouts, or Boys and Girls Club fell in the channel while doing the work of removal? No response and that question was asked months ago.
I guess being way out here in Fillmore and being such a small town "we don't get any respect"! At least as far as graffiti is concerned. But they still want our votes!
Charles Richardson

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To the Editor:
Businesses with accounts at the Fillmore branch of Wells Fargo.
Does the Fillmore branch of Wells Fargo Bank value our business accounts?
Besides a personal account, A Street Storage has a business account at Wells Fargo. One significant reason was the Fillmore branch had a “Merchant's Window”. This obviously expedited making daily deposits by not having to wait in long lines of people doing personal banking often taking excessive amounts of time because of account issues.
Recently, the Wells Fargo Fillmore branch has arbitrarily eliminated the “Merchant Window”. This capricious act could easily be considered an indication that the Fillmore branch of Wells Fargo values personal account customers more than business accounts.
Perhaps a chorus of discontentment voiced by businesses with merchant accounts at the Wells Fargo Fillmore branch might change the status quo and bring back the 'Merchant Window'. If not, well, I'll have no problem taking my business elsewhere.
A Street Storage
Fillmore, CA

Letters to the Editor
August 18, 2011

To [the] Editor and Vance Johnson,
When I became aware of the pending cell tower item, around April, I contacted staff members. Cell towers can be quite controversial due to citizen concerns and I wanted to make sure the public would have an opportunity to express their concerns.
I personally agreed with the Community Development Director that a 65' structure in the middle of town, next to the bike path and property likely to be rezoned residential in the future, deserved some scrutiny.
I have to admit that I did not know the intricacies of the zoning ordinance that FORBIDS the cell tower from being presented to the City Council! So, thinking that after Planning Commission approval it would come to the Council, as do most projects, I waited for a staff report and more information.
As far as meeting with the property owner who sent out emails soliciting opinions from Council members, Mr. Johnson needs to understand that some council members make it a policy not to meet with developers or project proponents so that when the item comes up for a vote, there is no bias due to lobbying. Also, the Council wants to make sure that all discussion and deliberation occurs at the dais in full view of the public. That is the intent of the Brown Act and we follow it to the "T".
At the Council meeting of June 21st, I asked to make sure that the Council got to have a public hearing on the Cell Tower. I was told that the ONLY WAY IT COULD BE HEARD BY THE PUBLIC AT A COUNCIL MEETING WAS BY THE PROCESS OF APPEAL. My statement was, okay, if you are telling me that's what we need to do, let's do it. Then, I was told no, we can't appeal it because a decision hasn't been made yet. So, the bottom line is neither I, nor the Council, expressed opposition or support for the Cell Tower, but the Council did want to learn more about it and have the public learn more about it.
My concerns about public hearings were based on the fact that on June 16th, the EPA held a public hearing regarding the Texaco PCPL cleanup site. I made announcements for two months prior to ensure attendance. But, there were still complaints that people were unaware of the meeting. For that reason, I felt it important to have more notice of the cell tower. And, while there was a noticed hearing at the Planning Commission, I would venture to guess that most citizens would also expect Council review.
So, it is strange that Vance Johnson and others choose to attack the City Council simply for seeking more information and public review of the cell tower for the benefit of citizens.
And, yes, I stand by my statement of "theatrics", which is defined as "staging performances". When the Gazette is summoned in advance to film the resignation, that is indeed theatrics.
Gayle Washburn

To The Editor:
This is in regards to the comments by Mayor Washburn, Councilmen Brook in the Ventura County Star and Vance Johnson’s recent guest editorial in the Fillmore Gazette and the Sespe Sun.
Ms. Washburn, while I understand your desire for the city council to be treated with respect, decorum and professionalism, you need to understand that this is a two way street. First off, respect is earned not given, second decorum comes when respect is given by all involved, and lastly Professionalism is the desire of the entities involved to respect each other through decorum. In my opinion you have shown none of these traits or the desire to ascribe to these traits.
Let me be perfectly clear, the one and only reason that I resigned from the Planning Commission was because of what in, my opinion was, considered a complete and utter lack of respect for me and my fellow commissioners. Based on your actions and statements at the city council meeting prior to our planning commission meeting, after our meeting and continuing to this day, you appear to only expect respect to flow in one direction, towards you.
This is a very selfish act on your part, when in my opinion you should be selfless and acting in the public interest. As you alluded to in a previous statement you are an elected official, elected to act in the public’s interest and with the public trust. You make statements and decisions that potentially violate the Brown Act, violates due process, and potentially cause the city to spend money that it can not afford in order to defend your actions from litigation. You are violating the public trust. This would include offending individuals that take their own time, without compensation, to perform a job with due diligence to serve this community with pride only to have the city council lambaste them publically.
You speak of decorum, but again you missed a perfect opportunity to show decorum. In my opinion, proper decorum would have been to contact each commissioner and apologize for your actions and the action of the council, followed by a very public apology for the same.
My hope is that you make yourself accountable for your actions and that of the city council as Mayor and do the right thing by apologizing to the commission and public for disrespecting your constituents trust, interest and good faith.
Remember, beneficence can begin with one simple apology and holding yourself accountable for your actions.
One last question, what is the city council’s vision for Fillmore???? I do not believe that we have ever had this question answered.
Douglas Tucker

Letters to the Editor
August 11, 2011

To the Editor:
Seriously, Mayor?
Regarding the Fillmore City Council-Planning Commission interplay, I was struck by how the Ventura County Star article of July 30th entitled ‘Fillmore Seeking Planning Commissioners After Three Resign’ supports my opinion, and the opinion of others. It’s time for the Council to stop putting their collective feet in their mouths, and concentrate on pulling the city out of the hole they dug and pushed it into.
Mayor Washburn is correct; certain comments at the June 22nd Planning Commission’s meeting were disrespectful. Obviously, several former members of the Planning Commission no longer have respect for some individuals on the Council and their nonsensical actions. I respectfully addressed the city council for ten minutes to explain that to the Mayor during the July 12th Council meeting. Mayor, did you hear and understand what was being said? I doubt it, since following my comments you said “I don’t understand where all this animosity is coming from?” You seriously don’t believe it’s wrong to state that you want to appeal a decision which hasn’t been made? On June 22 the Planning Commission followed the law and the Zoning Ordinances of Fillmore. You however failed to understand the law, you put the city on the path for more litigation and you didn’t care one bit. You insulted business leaders, citizens and volunteers who serve on the Planning Commission from the very beginning of this latest fiasco.
And I am truly flabbergasted at Mayor Washburn’s comments that the “departed commissioners were appointed by the previous, old guard council”! Seriously, Mayor? I was appointed to my current term by your current Mayor Pro-Tem and fellow council member Jamie Brooks! That was just two short years ago. And therein lies the crux of the problem, you along with Jamie Brooks and new kid on the block Brian Sipes, AKA “the majority of the Council”, simply cannot remember what you have done, what you have said, and you have no idea what you are going to say or do because you just don’t know what you’re doing.
Mayor Washburn alludes to previous councils which she claims did not “work together in a professional manner with decorum and respect”. That statement is flatly false and self-serving, but we’re used to that. I’m certain that you can’t even see or recognize the chaos in Fillmore’s government which you and your buddies have instigated. The City Manager seems all too willing to take your lead and do your bidding but then again you control her pay and fellow council member Sipes owns the house she lives in. Mayor Washburn, was it proper decorum to show a bias on the cell tower project? Was it proper decorum to almost get three votes to appeal a decision which wasn’t on the agenda? Was it proper decorum to verbally state that you wanted to appeal a decision from a meeting which hadn’t even taken place? Is it proper decorum to call into the meeting and disrupt it from the comfort of your home? Is it proper decorum to ignore emails sent by Business Leaders who seek your input and questions?
This is the last thing I must comment on, because it’s really amusing, is your reference to our resignations at the Council meeting as “theatrics”. Seriously? I calmly read two letters to you, that was it. When Brooks addressed the council in June of 2008, crying that he brought his sword with him to divide and create chaos, now THAT was theatrics! When you and Brooks opined on the resignation of three Planning Commissioners, that was theatrics.
Clearly, the comments made by Washburn and Brooks simply support the opinions expressed by Mark Austin, Douglas Tucker, and myself, which are, that they, Mayor Washburn and Mayor Pro-Tem Brooks, don’t understand the relationship between the Council, staff, commissions. I’m sorry Mayor Pro-Tem Brooks, you’re not the boss of everybody, and no, we don’t report back to you or the council. It is high time the Fillmore City Council majority understands that it is merely one spoke in the wheel, and not the wheel itself. Based on the way you’ve conducted business as Mayor the game of politics clearly belong with the City Council.
Vance Johnson


To the Editor:
I have hesitated for many years writing about this subject and don’t expect to make too many friends by doing so. Just keep an open mind and give this letter some thought.
In the early 1700’s hot air balloons were discovered. By the late 1700’s the first flight across the English Channel was made. Hot air ballooning became more common as the years went by. In 1793 George Washington witnessed the first flight by a balloon in North America. Helium filled balloons were also being experimented with. Over the years and to the present many records have been made and broken crossing our oceans and continents by both types of balloons. Ballooning is a primitive invention now using the latest materials and equipment that has made it into a great sport that is fascinating to watch and to some to participate by taking rides. The young and old watch in awe as they take from the ground and float gently away.
I remember watching, in person, my first balloons lifting off the ground and moving ever so slowly with the air currents. I witnessed several events that took place from the Fillmore High school property. I can’t recall which one it was when my wife and I followed them in our car. Some balloons stayed quite low and the wind carried them easterly along the mountains by Pole Creek and then the path gently curved and took them more or less toward Highway 126. As we watched from our car we could see that one balloon was heading straight toward a high voltage line that runs through there. They were on the same level or maybe a little lower. Soon the pilot of the craft saw the danger and it sounded like he opened the propane valve wide open to gain some altitude; the roar was loud even though we were not so very close. In the car we were yelling and screaming our encouragement and thought it was too little too late; when every so slightly the balloon raised just enough to clear the lines, my guess by four feet. We followed them no further as they cleared the hill and went on to who knows where to land. I think there were four people in the basket. That picture and the thought of what could have happened is still in my mind. I swore then and told my family it would be over my dead body if any of them ever got in one of “those.”
I have other stories to tell: We have some friends, husband and wife, that took a ride; the pilot-light went out and they got bumped and dragged along San Cayetano Mountain. After a time they came to a stop and managed to get the fire lit. They said it was a chilling experience.
Another episode happened just outside the bedroom where my daughter was sleeping at a friend’s house. She heard excited voices and looked out the window. Here again they had lost their flame somehow and the basket was balanced precariously in the top of a tree. They got it going after a time and lifted off into the blue once again.
I’m sure these stories are an exception as it isn’t often one hears of someone getting hurt or killed. I figure that people can risk their lives for a little excitement if they like. The next story is why I am writing this letter. You can agree, disagree or say you don’t give a darn…..I just want people to have some more facts and something for you to think about the next time you see those beautiful balloons take to the sky.
The most spectacular balloon ascension took place one of those times from the High School and consisted of maybe twenty balloons taking of near the same time. I got out my trusty Canon camera and followed them, this time in a westerly direction. Near the Sespe River I took a picture with about fourteen balloons in one shot. I followed for a while longer, across the river and watched as about three of them opted to come down in a young citrus orchard. I watched as some dragged over trees; bending and breaking them as they went along. I was so mad I had to leave. I was afraid I would get in a big hassle with them and I would lose control. I have no idea if they made restitution to the farmer or not. Now I get to the reason I wrote this letter. This is a fact……… Before these “balloonists” ever get in the air they know they have very limited control over where they are going to land. They know they will have to land on private property somewhere and probably will not have time to ask for permission to land there. I don’t know of any property that is not owned by someone be it private or public. How dare they think they have the right to trespass?!
Recently I asked one of the “balloonists,” at the Santa Paula event, where they landed if they had mostly just up and down for control. With a grin on her face she replied, “We trespass a lot. We land in school yards or wherever.”
So, what do you think? Do they have the right to land anywhere? Remember that wherever they land their ground crew has to drive a truck or trailer or both to retrieve the balloon and all its hardware. If you would like to learn more about ballooning try asking Google on-line and you will read the good and the bad: crops torn up, animals frightened and more. There are videos of some really bad accidents on YouTube if you are not squeamish. Like I said, this is the exception not the rule, but it does happen.
John Heilman (76 year Fillmore native)

Letters to the Editor
August 4, 2011

To the Editor:
Enough is enough!
I am a 50 year old man that is proud to say I have grown up & lived most of my life in the great city of Fillmore. I went to school & worked in this town. I have lived through earthquakes, floods & death of family & friends in our place we call home.
Well I must say I have had ENOUGH of this so called city leadership called a City Council!
Ms. Washburn, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Sipes, & Ms. Walker the so called "New" guard council are killing our great town...Over & over again.
Maybe you need to look at history of our town & know that what we are the most proud of is that when the times are at there hardest or worst we all stick together! We do not point to the other person & say it is their fault. We say what can we do to help. We do not have a knife to stick it in someone’s back.
Mr. Conaway is the only City Council person left that is still the "old" guard council. He is the only one there who is still for the town of Fillmore instead of for the "New group".
The city workers, planning commissioners & the people of "Old" guard Fillmore are hurting because of the way you think & do things. Next time you might want to hear what we all are saying instead of what just you 4 are saying!
God Bless Fillmore & the U.S.A.
Joe M. Woods Sr.

To the Editor:
Some thoughts on Perception Management.
The method of creating untrue facts have been practiced throughout history. People have, for various reasons created a lie about a person, place or thing and repeated it over and over again which then others replicate said lies for others to believe. Let's now move forward to the present and the world of Perception Management (PM). Public Relations (PR's) firms offer Perception Management services at a high cost and have exceptional talent in creating lies of various magnitudes. They create facts, then publish them throughout the world. A major untruth can be created quickly and overwhelmingly, that no one digging into after the fact can trace the true source and prove otherwise, which makes it so dangerous.
These (PR) firms perpetrate these deceptions through various forms of the media i.e., radio, newspapers, magazines, newscasts, computers and hand held electronic devices. Any of these methods provide a massive and instant data release. This includes all forms of mis-information unseen by viewers. Countries, Government political groups, advertisers, businesses and yes (!) terrorists, use PM tactics to demean and lower the character status or reputation of persons, places or situations. In todays environment of massive mis-information it is nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction. We read/hear something about a person or situation and we immediately accept it as fact without positive knowledge of the facts. We then repeat and convince others of our position. These snap conclusions are based on our prejudices which we developed from childhood to our present life. We declare our true beliefs are based on the "United States Constitution", "The Bill of Rights" and religious teachings. (All men/women are created equal and have the same rights as we do). Yet we select our own selfish values over others at their expense thereby creating quick judgmental positions.
To better be prepared when deciding if the items we hear/read are factual or not, it would be wise to set them aside until it is a proven fact, if not, stay neutral until proven otherwise.
Ray Dressler

Letters to the Editor
July 28, 2011

To the Editor:
Dear City Manager,
The purpose of my correspondence is to inform you about the excellent job being done at the Fillmore Aquatic Center. Lori McDonnell and her team are amazing.
I am an avid swimmer. I started doing lap swim as soon as the pool reopened the 1st of February. I appreciate that the pool opens at 6:30 a.m. Doing my laps first thing in the morning really kick starts my day. If work or anything else prevents me from going in the morning, I have another opportunity to swim in the evening.
This weekend my four year old granddaughter was here from Oceanside and I took her to family swim. We had so much fun in the children's play area. The staff was wonderful, they never disappoint. Again, I commend Lori and her team at the Aquatic Center for doing such a great job!!
With best regards,
Kathy Meza

Dear Business Owner:
Believe it or not it’s that time again “FILLMORE FLASHES FOOTBALL AND FALL SPORTS”. 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 FALL SPORTS PROGRAM".
Here's looking to another successful year at Fillmore High School.
Susan Golson, 216-4013
Program Coordinator

Letters to the Editor
July 21, 2011

To the Editor:
I am happy to report that Fillmore is getting back to the day when we could BARTER, HORSE TRADE, SHAKE HANDS AND YOUR WORD WAS YOUR BOND. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had something to trade. Grad Nite Live was given an electric farm car with a flat bed. Just what the people at the Railway Co. needed, so we traded and Grad Nite Live got a 20ft Cargo Container that we needed so badly. No money was exchanged just a hand shake and a sincere thank you. Grad Nite Live has one container now and still awaiting the replacement of a 20ft and a 40ft container that the City Council directed the City Manager to obtain back in December, 2010. Thank you Mr. Wilkinson and Company.
Mrs. Chaney
Grad Nite Live

[Editor’s Note: An except from the February 8th, 2011 council meeting concerning the promised containers, “Also, the continuing problem between the City, City Council and the non-profit Grad-Night-Live was again addressed at Tuesday’s Council Meeting. Mayor Gayle Washburn softened the city’s commitment to provide two storage containers to GNL which was made at the December 14, 2010 meeting. At that meeting, Council Member Jamey Brooks said that the city was going to extra effort to help GNL, “Even to the point with Rigo, I guess they’re looking for containers.” Council Member Patti Walker said, “We have located two cargo containers.” And City Manager Yvonne Quiring said, “…and we’re gonna find two containers for her [Chaney] because Rigo has already taken care of that.” So the question remains, will the city honor its commitment to provide two containers for GNL?” So where are the containers?]

Letters to the Editor
July 7, 2011

To the Editor:
Unbelievable! I attended the council meeting of June 28 and left feeling utterly dejected. How can a city council have such a lack of knowledge of most of the issues on the Agenda that were not even new issues. Case in point, the landscape and lighting maintenance issue. They have had since June 4th via a list of issues that my husband, Ray Dressler gave to each member listing his concerns of the Sorrento tract, to be fully informed of the problems. However it wasn't apparent they knew anything about the concerns of the homeowners - like it was a brand new subject. They had been given this list of concerns to use as reference - if you will - which would give them a heads up enabling them to be fully prepared to answer any and all questions. It didn't appear they had even bothered to read said list. I also noted the constant discussions off- mike amongst themselves, another No No. If the entire council had been present, would there have been 2 council members kicked off with a flip of the coin instead of one (still leaving the minimum 3 for a quorum)? Why? The entire meeting was run in a slip-shod manner, letting the public speak with no thought to the 3 minute time allowed. I'm very disappointed in our council, not even able to run a proper council meeting much less satisfy the general public with answers. Where is Donald Trump when you need him - "You're fired!!!"
Judy Dressler

Upset resident of Fillmore!
To the Editor:
Just as the City of Bell was investigated for corruption in upper management, the City of Fillmore needs to be investigated. They have the audacity to say Fillmore is 1.9 million dollars in debt, and yet they are keeping all the management positions with their extremely excessive salaries in this little town of Fillmore. The position they say they cut in upper management was not filled anyway, so that made no difference. How hypocritical! Even getting rid of one person in upper management could have saved the jobs of 5 full time men. Also getting a car allowance for someone who walks to work every day is ridiculous! Why can’t management cut their salaries, or some of their positions instead of adding more and writing in their raises and other perks into the budget? Instead they lay off all the hard-working full time workers, all of whom have families and homes which they will now loose. I wonder who is in charge? What was the use of spending THOUSANDS on a classification study if the employees that were laid off were the most classified for their positions!!It’s just another waste of money. Furthermore it is very upsetting to watch the city council meetings and see how the city council and management have joined forces together against the city employees, what ever happened to that letter of no confidence in the city manager? it seems like it was just swept under the rug and forgotten. Shouldn’t the city council be unbiased?? The cuts should have been in upper management were they are getting paid excessively for such a little town. They should have kept the public work employees who are the ones that keep our city running and beautiful. This City has really been going downhill!
Raquel Higgins

To the Editor:
Last Tuesday, June 28th, the City Council approved the 2011-12 budget. The City held four budget workshops for discussion and citizen input. The draft was placed on the City website for review and the final budget will soon be available online. Here are some of the budget highlights for your information.
• Combined revenues will be $23 million dollars.
• Expenses will be $24 million dollars
• General Fund revenues will be $3,900,000
• Sewer fund revenues will be $6,000,000
• Water fund revenues will be $2,700,000
At mid-year, (January) staff determined that we would have a $1,900,000 deficit due to State take-aways, a decline in property tax assessments, increased employee healthcare and pension costs and continuing sales tax litigation. To close the gap and to compensate for future increases, 11 positions have been eliminated. Employees will also be seeing a reduction in some benefits and additional furlough days. The Public Works, Planning and Community Services Departments will be consolidated into one new Municipal Services Department. Also, city hall will now be closed every Friday.
In November, you will be able to cast a vote in support or opposition of a .75% increase in sales tax. The increase is for five years and will automatically terminate if there is a favorable resolution of the sales tax litigation.
Unfortunately, the sewer and water rates will be increased by $2.46 for sewer and 10% for water. As you can imagine, having to increase the sewer rates is very frustrating for the Council members who previously objected to the location, design, effluent disposal plan and financing of the plant that unnecessarily increased costs to ratepayers.
We ask for your support and patience during this transition. We hope to emerge a stronger and more efficient organization with a sustainable and fiscally sound budget. For more information please contact City Manager, Yvonne Quiring or Finance Director, Glenda Jay at 524-1500.
Gayle Washburn

Letters to the Editor
June 30, 2011

To the Editor:
Madame Mayor,
I could not believe my eyes or ears while watching the council meeting on June 21, 2011. Mayor Washburn you stated that all city employees were not going to have a cut in salary. It made me realize that you must not know what’s really going on. Last year the employees had to take a cut that involved furlough days, I think that means a cut in pay! This year the city is taking more furlough days, cafeteria plan, PERS and I don't know what else from the employees -- that equals a great SALARY REDUCTION! The city has laid off employees with families, homes and they are bewildered at the future. I understand tough times but for you to sit at the meeting and try to tell the public about wage and job loss and make it sound trifle at the expense of these employees is NOT what I would expect from a Mayor. Now is the time to huddle together, offer support and make these employees realize they have the council support. To all employees that have been burdened with the fact that you have no job, insurance for your families, mental support, please know this, I am praying for all of you everyday and I appreciate the sacrifice that you have had to make. Please citizens of Fillmore pray for these families and know that tough times are ahead for all of them. Thank you.
Donneta Smallwood

To the Editor:
Summer is here. The weather is warm, the days are long and our local citizens and visitors are about the city enjoying the small town ambiance and good feeling. What could be a problem?
Has anyone from the city administration noticed the continued presence of about a half dozen individuals in varied states of drunkenness moving up and down the promenade? Has anyone needed the public bathroom and found it locked because these individuals have so consistently wrecked the inside and made it unsafe for the public? Does City Hall care? Do you care?
I spend many days at the museum very aware of the local surroundings. I hear the comments of the tourists who wonder why we allow the presence of these individuals. I see little children who have to walk past these individuals to go home or to downtown and know that I would not allow my grandchildren to travel alone down the promenade at any time. I spend some of my time cleaning up the mess they leave behind on museum property.
I do want to give my appreciation to the local sheriff’s deputies who come when called and patrol frequently to keep us all safe. But we need to make this blight on our community disappear. Report individuals with open bottles of alcohol who are drinking in public. Think twice about reducing the number of deputies on payroll. If you see a problem report it.
Let’s all help make Fillmore the safe community it should be.
Martha Gentry, Director Fillmore Historical Museum

To the Editor:
Team Gilbert’s Legacy Enchilada Dinner a Huge Success
Gilbert’s Legacy Relay for Life team had an enchilada dinner on Sunday, June 26, that was a huge success! All proceeds go the American Cancer Society. Gilbert’s Legacy relay team would like to Thank Albert and Christina Villasenor for donating and cooking all the delicious food. Also a big thank you to our Fire Chief Rigo Landeros, for his help and allowing us to use the fire station to distribute the dinners. To the community who came out to support this worthy cause, Thank You!
Just a reminder, the Fillmore/Piru Relay for Life is Saturday, September 17-18, 2011, at Shiells Park, starting at 10am. The community is invited to participate. For more information, please contact the American Cancer Society, 805-644-4237.
Pam Garcia

Letters to the Editor
June 2, 2011

To the Editor:
Sunday the 29th of May we had Grad Nite Live's last fundraiser for class of 2011. We didn't have a lot of time to sell tickets so we had just a small group but a fun group. Must say the paring of the food with the tea was done very well. It was such a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Only in Fillmore can you sit down and enjoy the people that sit down at your table. Here in Fillmore we're truly family. We will be having a summer Tea Tasting at Bella's for the Class of 2012. Watch for the date in The Gazette.
Mrs. Chaney
Grad Nite Live

Letters to the Editor
May 19, 2011

To the Editor:
Fillmore-Western Railway.
What a asset for Fillmore, a treasure for all. Recently we went on the Mystery Ride, I think we were the only ones from Fillmore but we met people from all over southern and central California. This is not our first ride and for many on the train it wasn't theirs either. We gathered at 6pm and loaded at 6:15 by 6:30pm we were on our way to our big adventure. The tables were set and as we took our assigned places we were entertained.
The food was plentiful and delicious. The waiters kept busy making sure everyone was happy and had enough. All during the meal the entertainers entertained and it was fun and delightful. At times it was corny and that was half the fun. There were many people celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Everyone we talked to were impressed with our town, the train ride and remarked on how friendly everyone is in town. I suggest the next time you are looking for a fun place to celebrate a special occasion you try our own train.
City Budget Woes.
After reading that 52% of 250+/- replies to the Survey want to fire all the facilities personnel and hire contract janitors - That's almost as dumb as contracting with Santa Paula Police and continuing to keep on the payroll the assistant City Manager. If any of those people who answered the survey really know what the facilities personnel do they would be ashamed to have answered. I will try to enlighten some of you -Although I am not completely sure of all of their work and experience I do know some - So here goes: They are responsible for the cleanliness of all restrooms in all parks, pool area and all city owned buildings including city hall. They have to do all the set-ups and take-downs for events in all buildings and areas of the city. They must know how to do simple maintenance of all equipment. They are the ones who open and close all facilities, parks and the pool area.
They are the ones who maintain the chemical levels at the pool. Its the same personnel. If the city contracts for janitorial then just think what else they will have to contract for on a daily basis to do all these jobs. Annette Cardona who is in charge of all these persons does a remarkable job. Including reservations for all special events where ever in the city. Now you tell me where you can get all these for the price we currently pay.
Marlene Schreffler


To the Editor:
I find many problems with Kimberly River’s hostile article about Patricia Godfrey on the front page of your publication. It would appear that Ms. Rivers made no attempt to interview Mrs. Godfrey, nor did she interview teachers or parents, nor did she visit Piru School. Furthermore, Ms. Rivers begins her article with one headline, then adds another, then proceeds to write about the second headline...then follows up with links to a website where one parent posted a complaint. Meanwhile, she makes a loose connection between Mr. Sweeney retiring and Piru school by using the word "amid." His retirement comes "amid" many things happening in our schools. Are you also connecting those events? What is the connection? Aren’t these two different articles, or did you need something more to make this fit “headline news?” Ms. Rivers then attempts to fool her readers into believing that she interviewed the Principal by quoting her, which she did not. She fails to mention that this statement is from a letter that the Principal herself made public. If Ms. Rivers would have done her research she might have found these facts: 1. More funds were available than previously thought. Mrs. Godfrey took full responsibility for the oversight. 2. Once this was discovered, by the Principal, she made it known to everyone including teachers and parents. 3. Next, teachers got to choose how to spend their money. Funds were not neglected or unspent, as stated in the article. 4. The only mistake is that these funds could have been spent earlier in the school year. This is hardly headline news.
I would assume that Piru teachers were not upset that they were then given the choice of how to spend the money...although it would be hearsay for me to publish that without talking with them. I would actually need to interview someone and do some research to gather that information. Were all teachers happy? Were some upset? How many? How many parents are upset? How many are satisfied with the school? These are questions that a journalist asks. If your sources are anonymous, then quote them in that manner. I appreciate the Gazette and the efforts at hometown news, but Ms. River’s journalistic style makes her article seem like one big heavily-biased blog.
Perhaps Ms. Rivers has negative feelings toward anyone who shared an opposite opinion during the Piru Charter School Proposal, such as Mrs. Godfrey. But this is only conjecture on my part, I am not a reporter, not did I research this topic. One could only guess why such information would be presented with such poor journalistic skill and without any apparent research.
Greg Godfrey, band teacher. 16 yrs. FHS/FMS

[Editor's Note: Ms. Rivers received an email from Superintendent Sweeney in response to an inquiry she sent him. He sent her his statement (stating the district was investigating, etc.) and included a statement from Mrs. Godfrey, which Ms. Rivers assumed was meant specifically for her. Mr. Godfrey has corrected that assumption. The headline and subhead placement were the decision of the Gazette and not Ms. Rivers. Ms. Rivers responded to similar statements from Mr. Godfrey on the Gazette's website. Below is that response in full]

Submitted by Kimberly Rivers on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 8:46am.
Thank you for your comments.
I stand by all facts as stated. All information was provided by the person indicated. The Superintendent provided his own statement in addition to a statement from Mrs. Godfrey in response to my inquiries. Where a name is not included it is due to my agreement to hold that persons identity in confidence (this does include staff members and parents at Piru School) as they are uncomfortable attaching their name to comments which may be critical of the District and/or administrators or how they perform their duties. That is a normal part of reporting and protecting sources of information.
In rereading the article I realized that I did not name (as I had intended) Mr. John Garnica as the School Board member who responded to my request for a comment. He submitted this comment that is in the article above “Superintendent Sweeney is resolving the issue to minimize the impact to students and ensuring that the principal, Mrs. Godfrey, fully understands the SSC budget process and her obligations regarding Categorical Funds (meaning funds which must be spent in a particular way), as well as ensuring that she communicates effectively to the parents and staff about the School Site Council budget process.” Not including his name was an editing error on my part.
Keep in mind the person who has the byline does not always write the headlines.
Again, thanks for reading and commenting.
Kimberly Rivers


To the Editor:
Why I Am Not a Member of the Teacher’s Union
Those who ran the death camps of WWII were eugenicists and racists. We all know the evil those fascists did, and we have all asked our parents what they did in the war to try and stop it. Some of us know that before the fascists tried to exterminate the Jews, they got a good start on the mentally handicapped of their country. People were forced to make a choice between joining the resistance against the evil, or becoming a collaborator with it. Someday we will be asked of our children the same question about similar issues.
Margaret Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood, a eugenicist and a racist. Sanger felt there were too many poor, disadvantaged minority children being born. Before the war, the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Today, Planned Parenthood is still going strong, and the National Educator’s Association is in bed with them. If they had their way, my son would be dead today, as 90% of people with his condition are, thanks to fascist, totalitarian ideology and lack of human decency.
Many of you have met my happy, healthy, mentally challenged son. Well, your union dues go right to an organization that would have loved to have gotten their hands on him and those like him. I often wonder how some teachers serving a town of 17 churches can give to their churches on Sunday and then to the NEA on Monday, supporting by free choice, their finances going to organizations like this. I can’t tell you how disturbing it feels to have school district personnel tell me how much they love my kids and appreciate my family, and then allow their dues to be used to war against the very values that make my family the way they are, and which allowed them life.
Allied commanders forced the locals to tour the death camps to break them of their denial and to make them see the results of this totalitarian ideology. I pray that other teachers here and across this country will have their eyes opened, and their consciences quickened, so they can love and serve God rather than Mammon, and fear God rather than fear man. I stand and proclaim that day will come. Come soon!
Richard Hood

Letters to the Editor
May 12, 2011

To the Editor:
[In response to May 5, 2011 Letter to the Editor Re: Target Sacramento Rally for Education Committee]
The local teacher’s union and Fillmore School District administration are working together to “target Sacramento” with a “protest march” and “Rally for Education.” This, they feel, will help express our “outrage and frustration” as educators. Instead of focusing on ourselves, it might be novel to consider the parents we serve –parents who pay the salaries we constantly whine about, who are our bosses, who struggle with the same dread of layoffs – but don’t have time or energy to protest while continuing to support their families… and ours. Instead of yelling at Sacramento, why don’t we hold protest rallies outside some local parent’s house? We could demand they pay even more in taxes so we don’t have to worry about our own finances. That would be more honest, and no less ridiculous.
While the poster for the rally is characterized by a “target” symbolizing Sacramento as ground zero, it might strike some as ironic that the same mindset that runs teacher unions, which are bent on indoctrinating students to their far-left ideology, has fits when conservative Americans use the same graphics. Did someone say hypocritical? Maybe we should change the target graphic now that the hypocrisy has been pointed out, and so appear less radical.
The organizers of this “rally-to-embarrass-us-in-front-of-our-bosses-the-parents” are blaming the California Legislature – they are the current “boogey man.” Evidently we have to blame someone other than ourselves for our choices. But guess what? – the legislature is a wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers unions. California Teachers Association campaigns for the law makers who will support union salaries and state worker’s pensions. The unions got the budgets and pensions they wanted, but because members have been so mis-educated by the totalitarian left, the inevitable realities of hating our own American capitalist system, and therefore being ignorant of profit and loss, are coming home to roost. Now that we have helped bankrupt the state, we evidently feel it is ethical to shakedown the taxpayers, as the world evidently owes us a living. But should we hold our breath and stomp our feet if we don’t get a raise in our allowance?
Despite all the tax dollars poured into education, test scores continue to drop. Our solution? : More money for salaries, and higher taxes. After WWII, natives in the south pacific would make runways in the hope that American cargo planes would continue landing. We are a “cargo cult”, going through the motions of protest, although those goody-carrying cargo planes will no longer be landing. There’s no more money, okay? It’s over. We helped cause it. We should deal with it like adults. Or, apparently there are those who feel we should threaten or blackmail the public as is happening elsewhere with self-serving unions.
Question: How much money would be enough for teachers? Answer: Just a little more...always just a little more. Has a district ever seen a bond measure it didn’t like? The ridiculous belief that continuing and increasing the very spending and subsequent debt that has caused our financial crisis will be the solution to it is so mind-boggling juvenile, that it should disqualify those who hold it from the responsibility of being in charge of any budget except their own. That way, their own personal bankruptcy can serve as a warning to others.
Strangely, I still have not heard from either the teacher’s union or the administration regarding my multiple offers to save the district money and the union jobs by teaching an extra period for free. Not one word of support from any other teacher, or any administrator. No response. Other teachers could make the same offer, but instead we have decided to hold a “Rally for Increased Taxes.” Wouldn’t a better “target” for our “frustration and outrage” be in making sure the dropout rate is decreased by preventing students from leaving the eighth grade with third grade reading and math levels? What we hear is “kids come first” but what kids see from us is “we get ours first.”
I was taught monopolies were wrong, America-harming, self-protection devices used to discourage competition and would therefore thwart progress. If we want our students to succeed, why then do we fight every attempt by parents to break our educational monopoly, and allow parents some choice instead? Well, you know what they say… that it’s hard to make a person see the truth when their paycheck is dependent on their not seeing it.
Richard Hood


To the Editor:
The Seniors that did not participate in our fund raisers will have to pay $100 for their Harbor Boat Cruise and Bus ticket this year. The seniors knew at the beginning of the school year and again it was noted in the Senior Packet that the seniors were expected to help in the fund raisers by selling pies, sandwich meals, See’s candy, suckers, spa (massage/facials) and working the yard sale (parents also) for Grad Nite Live or pay $100. We have a record of the names of students that did work, so we know who is going to pay if they want to go on the Cruise. The money/check is to be stapled to the permission slip signed by the senior and their parent even if the student is 18. Part of it is a medical release so a parent has to give consent. They are to give the permission slip to Jaci in the attendance office and receive a receipt for their money or check. Even though Grad Nite Live had many fund raisers this year and many of the seniors and their families helped, we find ourselves a bit short of the mark of $21,500.
At this time we are $600 short of the boat balance due 5/13/11, $600 for the Magician (has not raised his fee in 20 years), $400 for breakfast, buses (are $1300 each) we need 2 buses for the 100 seniors that are eligible to go now. $2600. The students that pay $100 will be paying for the next buses. So right now we “need” $4200. Thank you to Fillmore Sunrise Rotary for your donation of $750!
Money is tight as we all are experiencing just for the necessary things, I understand that and these so called ‘extra’ things are really hard to come up with, but think of this organization as not just giving a party but a life saving .party - the graduated seniors of 2011 are not only safe from drugs, alcohol and accidents, but they have parents and extended family that are sleeping better knowing their senior is safe.
Thank you for all that you have done and will do for us.
Mrs. Chaney 407-5759 or 525-4909.


To the Editor:
The Relay for Life of Fillmore-Piru Kick-Off Rally All Aboard for a Cure on April 27, 2011 gained momentum when at the end of the event 26 teams had signed up. The 70 plus guests enjoyed treats and finger foods donated by Bella’s Teas & Treats, El Pescador and Cookie Lee (Ari Larson). Everyone enjoyed listening to information about the Relay in the three train cars provided by Fillmore & Western Railway. Josie Real chairman of the Relay for Life of Fillmore-Piru reminded everyone to participate in the 1rst Annual Relay Idol! Auditions will be held at the Fillmore May Festival on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 3:00pm (V.C Trade School Stage-Central Park). Please RSVP/Sign-Up by e-mail: to fillmorepirurelay@yahoo.com or leave a message at 805.524.0149 with your name, phone number, e-mail and audition song request. The winner of the competition will perform at the Relay for Life event in September. “Relay for Life of Fillmore-Piru,” says Josie “will also have a booth at the Fillmore May Festival so if you haven’t signed up yet, please stop on by!”
Submitted by Ari Larson

Letters to the Editor
May 05, 2011

To the Editor:
What a beautiful Bardsdale Cemetery with a lovely view!
After a trip to the Bardsdale Cemetery recently, I was amazed at how well the Bardsdale Cemetery looks now.
So any improvements have been made and the grass is so trim and green.
A big pat on the back to our Cemetery crew!
Helen Lidamore


To the Editor:
Fillmore Boosters Club and Fillmore FFA held “Casino Night” back on April 9th. It was a great success! I would like to thank the following for their generous donations and volunteering to make the raffle event a huge success.
AM/PM Pet, KSSP Photographic Studio, La Cabana, Karen Torres – Vanity on Main, Sherri McGuire – Total Concept Salon, Tonya Blankenship – Southern Wine & Spirits, Ernie Quiroz, Coach Tafoya- Cross Country, Track and Girls Basketball Basket’s, Cristina Estrada, Brenda Hampton-Ortiz - Girls Softball. The volunteers who put together the baskets: Ernie and Suzi Ortiz (Girls Volleyball and Basketball), Martha Hope (Cross Country and Track), Lani Farr (Girls Softball and Boys Volleyball), Alisha Duncan, Kathleen Aguirre, and Michelle Pina (Football).
It is people like you who make the town of Fillmore a great place.
Susan Golson and Lani Farr


To the Editor:
Dear Colleagues and Community Members,
The committee charged with planning an end of the year social gathering feels that it would be inappropriate to plan a celebration at a time when so many employees of the Fillmore Unified School District are facing an uncertain future. Instead, we are working with others in our school community to organize a Rally for Education. At this rally we will target Sacramento with a letter writing campaign and demonstration in a show of support for all our colleagues who are affected by this financial crisis.
The Rally for Education will be held on May 11, beginning at 3:00. Staff, their families, and community members are all invited to gather on the lawn in front of the District Office. At that time, Save Our Schools postcards will be available for all to write messages that will be sent to Sacramento. In addition, materials will be available to make signs to be used during our brief demonstration march and then to be taken home for public display. While postcards are being written and signs are being painted, food will be served. There will be a picnic meal of hot dogs, chips and drinks. All attending should bring blankets and lawn chairs. We are trying to identify a motivating speaker (suggestions are welcome) to stir the gathered crowd into action ending the rally with a demonstration march around the block in support of staff, students, and education.
The solution to the District’s fiscal crisis is in the hands of our legislators. These are the ones we need to prod into action. We need to tell them to act now to save education for the sake of our colleagues, students, and community. Through this Rally for Education we will target Sacramento to make a difference for our colleagues and students.
Many classified staff have been notified that they may lose hours or not have a job at all. Many FUTA members have received RIF notices. As well as, some administrator’s jobs are in jeopardy. Any loss of jobs does harm to families and community. This rally presents an opportunity for all employees to show solidarity. We hope that this rally will focus us beyond the boundaries of our individual bargaining units and show, by your participation, our solidarity with all those who will suffer from the political gamesmanship of the legislature.
We need your help to get the word out and to be at the Rally for Education. It is one way we can show our support for colleagues and students. Please pass along any thoughts and ideas you have to make this event successful. If you are willing to help in other ways, your help will be appreciated.
The Target Sacramento Rally Committee
Ann Wade
Todd Schieferle

Letters to the Editor
April 21, 2011

To the Editor:
[Editor’s note: The main issue in the following letter has been resolved and Ms. Arnett asked that this statement be added on: “Mr. Sweeney has now contacted me and has talked to Mr. Wilbur about removing my son from this class. But there's still a lot of issues this School District needs to deal with.”]
This is in regards to the article on school bullying. I would like to say that what Mr. Wilbur told the parents for the most part is totally untrue. Yes if another student is doing the bullying the school jumps all over it, but when it involves a teacher they do nothing. I called Mr. Wilbur on March 4th regarding an Algebra teacher constantly harassing my son. She has ripped up his personal property and everyday she is making snotty remarks to him. When he got injured in P.E the Doctor had his knee in a brace and he couldn't bend his leg. This teacher kept yelling over and over for him to put his leg under his desk and then almost knocked him out of his chair when she attempted to pull his chair forward, all because she does not like him. And now that she handed my son his score for the High School exit exam and he passed, she has had even a bigger attitude toward him. She even made a comment when she found out that my sons Birthday is on Easter Sunday, which I don't feel is appropriate to repeat. I told Mr. Wilbur that I wanted my son removed from her class. Mr. Wilbur changed the subject to my sons grades and said he would have the Counselor call my son in and discuss everything. On March 9th the Counselor called me at work to discuss my sons grades, I asked how did this turn into a discussion about my sons grades, when the reason I called the school to begin with was about this teacher harassing my son. The Counselor started sticking up for the teacher and said that Mr. Wilbur has sat in on her class and sees nothing wrong. Well duh! of course she is going to be on her best behavior when the Principal is in there. She than said that she was going to speak to Mr. Wilbur, when she called back she said Mr. Wilbur would not remove my son from this teachers class. After loosing my temper with the Counselor, I informed her that I would be contacting Mr. Sweeny. I emailed Mr. Sweeny after getting off the phone. To this day I have not heard back from him on this matter. I feel that I as a parent have the right to ask for my child to be removed from any class that I feel someone is bullying him or her, even if that person is the teacher. This in not the first time that I have had trouble with the High School teachers and the way they talk to the kids they don't like. My son just informed me that a girl in his Algebra class who didn't get harassed by this teacher was able to transfer out last week, so why does my son have to stay in this class, because the teachers and the staff don't like him. I am so tired of hearing that they want parents to be involved more, but the truth is that they don't want to hear from us at all. Last year Mrs. G one of the vice principals got mad at me when I called her out on the way she was treating my son and she rudely hung up on me. Mr. T the other vice Principal walks around after school with Officer V. and sees my son and his friends and ask the officer if he wants to search any of them, what is this all about, kids can't meet up with each other after school without being harassed. Because if they are going to search my son after school is out, they better have a really good reason other than a bunch of friends standing around talking. I am not the only parent fed up with the schools in this town. I have three kids in three different schools in this town and I know which teachers I don't want around my children. There are a lot of really good teachers such as Mr. Olsen, Mr. Moss, Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Moore, Mr. Cummings, Ms. Merril and Ms. Shrock that my children have had. I use to be able to pick their teachers at San Cayetano, but for the past two years they haven't allowed me to do that and I haven't liked my youngest sons teachers that they gave him. I was able to transfer him last year before the school year started only because the Principal was standing right there and I told her no way did I want her to be my sons teacher, she was my daughters teacher and she doesn't like parents involved in anything so they put my son with a new teacher Mr. Raymond who I didn't know at the time and he turned out to be a very nice teacher. But this year I was unable to transfer him because he is in the Gate program. After having my other two go through the schools, I know what teachers are good with the kids and which ones I would rather not have around them. The school district really needs to do something at the way these teachers speak to the kids, I know there are a lot of unruly kids, but grabbing a kid by the arm and yelling at him and humiliating him in the lunch line is totally unacceptable, because when I saw that, I just thought to myself, that teacher is so lucky that that was not my child. One of the biggest problems is that this is such a small town and the board members, teachers and staff are to close to each other to discipline staff members because they are all friends with each other. I know people on the Board and the school staff, but when it comes to my kids I am going to speak up about what is going on in these schools and I hope that other parents start speaking up as well. I won't lie for my kids and if one of my kids ditches, doesn't do there home work and they get a detention than that is what they deserve, but they don't need to sit in a class and be yelled at and harassed from the time they walk in. I was sitting at work today thinking about how my kids are in the care of these schools everyday, all day and when I call about a concern of how my child is being treated nothing gets done, they always put the blame on the kid and cover for each other, this is just not right.
Diane Arnett


To the Editor:
Carl’s Jr. is donating 25% of what we spend to help us, so mark your calendars!
Fillmore Middle School’s AVID program is hosting a fundraiser at Carl’s Jr. on April 29th from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. Carl’s Jr will donate 25% of the profits earned that day if presented with a flyer at the time of purchase. The Fillmore Gazette has graciously offered to run the flyer in the paper April 21st and April 28th. Please cut out the flyer and help our FMS AVID program succeed. Monies earned will benefit materials and fieldtrips for our AVID students. Thank you for your support!
Heather Atwood
FMS AVID Coordinator


To The Editor:
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the success of Fillmore High School's thirteenth annual arts show "Drawn Into the Arts". It takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work, dedication and talent to coordinate an event such as this. Thank you to Fillmore Lions Club, Fillmore Women’s Service Club, Soroptimist International of Fillmore, and Fillmore High School ASB for your donations which help to make this event possible. Thank you to Jessica Mendez and to Lucy Quezada-Romero for your donations and for being a patron of this event. Thank you to the Administration at Fillmore High School for your ongoing commitment to this event, and to Principal John Wilber who has seen to it that we get what we need to keep the show going year after year… To the staff and teachers at FHS who supported the student’s efforts and allowed students to take part in hanging the show…To the custodial staff- Baldo, and Tony -thanks for helping with breaking down the show. Special thanks to Greg Godfrey and the fantastic members of the Fillmore High School Concert Band and the Fillmore High School Jazz Band who played at the event- the musical concert helped to make the evening a resounding success… To Mary Ellen Wortham and FHS photo department and Mr. Henry Beltran and the woodshop classes for your artwork. … To Josh Overton, the drama department and the poetry club for their outstanding performances. Thank you to the parents and the community who attended the show and helped to make this a special night for the students. Last, but not least, to all the student artists, photographers, actors, poets, and musicians who put in numerous hours preparing for this event, hosting and cleaning up after a long day and night- especially my Art students and former students who came back to help- thank you- without you there couldn't be a show. I am very proud of all of you.
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Fillmore High School Art Department


To the Editor:
The Fillmore Senior Center appreciates the coverage of our senior activities and the “senior column” in each week in the Gazette.
As all of the Fillmore citizens know, funding in our City (and state) is being cut, and priorities must be considered. The majority of our Fillmore-Piru seniors are on a fixed income, and they are no longer physically capable of, or having the option of, taking the extra part-time job to earn “additional income” necessary for survival. Our Fillmore Sr. Center provides hot meals, information, social and physical activities, in a caring family-style environment. We need your support and commitment to continue providing these services to the senior community.
We are asking for your support for our senior center in any way possible: monetary donations (in care of City Hall); excess produce or non-perishable items can be dropped off at the senior center; or good condition office supplies )copy paper, pens, scratch pads, file folders, etc). All of this would be helpful and appreciated. We are a licensed non-profit organization so this would be tax a tax deduction for you. If you have comments or suggestions please e-mail them to fillmoresrcenter@sbcglobal.net and put Attn: Donna in the subject line.
We can always use smiling warm bodies to help us on our “brown bag” and “commodity” days or, if you just happen to have a little time to spare, we can use you on the “host/hostess” desk to greet our daily patrons.
And, last but not least, for all of you who have donated produce, items, time or just moral support…you have made a huge difference. Our center is like the “Little Engine That Could” and has made remarkable progress; which we couldn’t have done without all of you. Thanks so much.
Donna Voelker
President, Fillmore Senior Center Board of Directors


To the Editor:
Once again Congratulations are to be lavished on the Vision 2020's Civic Pride Group for putting on the best Flower Show ever! Lots of hard work by many volunteers led in part by Linda Nunes and Joanne King's leadership and involvement put together a thoroughly enjoyable flower show. In spite of our cold winter, the gardeners brought out beautiful displays and bouquets of many varieties of plants for all the good citizens of Fillmore to enjoy. Conspicuous by their absence were members from our city council and our local media. The local turnout was high and the entries were almost doubled from last year. Many thanks and Congratulations to the Civic Pride Committee - Well done!
Judy Dressler

Letters to the Editor
April 7, 2011

To the Editor:
On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Department I would like to thank the members of the Soroptimists International of Fillmore for their donation to the Arts Show. Your support of this event helps us maintain our vision for the show - an evening of the arts featuring Fillmore High School students. We truly appreciate your support.
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Art Department Chair
Fillmore High School

Letters to the Editor
March 31, 2011

Sean and April Hastings, Owners of Attractions Spa, Massage ~ Facials ~ Waxing, would like to thank the community and our customers for the success of our new business!
Attractions Spa will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary this April 1st, 2011! Within our first year of business we have successfully gained over 300 customers, moved to a larger location, hired a third therapist and expanded our services. We are now located at 287 Central Avenue and have welcomed Brenda Bush of Fillmore as our third therapist. Brenda comes with over 15 years experience and matches the professionalism we have here at Attractions Spa. New to our menu are the following services; Hot Stone Massage, Custom Mommie to Be Pregnancy Massage, Foot Reflexology Massage and Deep Therapeutic Massage. We still of course offer Swedish & Deep Swedish Massage, Facials and Waxing.
We have decided as a thank you to the community and to our customers, April 2011 will be our Customer Appreciation Month! Attractions Spa will be offering $15 off ANY Massage or Facial throughout the entire month.
Also, Attractions Spa will be hosting the monthly Fillmore Chamber Mixer on Wednesday April 6th from 5:30-7:30pm and all are welcome!!! Come help us celebrate our new location and Attractions Spa's 1 year anniversary! Double A Cafe will be serving Appetizers and Bella's Teas & Treats will be serving Tea, Coffee and Treats! On this night ONLY from 530-730pm, we will also offer an unbelievable special for ANY Massage, Facial or Waxing certificate to be purchase at 50% off!!! (can be used anytime starting April 7th and there is no expiration on the certificates, 2 per person limit.)
This is our way of saying thank you to our customers and future customers. We look forward to seeing you April 6th at Attractions Spa! Please call us with any questions 805-524-7722 or visit our website at AttractionsSpa.com.
Sean and April Hastings

Letters to the Editor
March 10, 2011

To the Editor:
Civic Pride arrived in the community and is working although many new to the community of Fillmore do not know what it is! Much work went into the many facets of the program which is operating as you read this article. Having been one interested in the program working with various citizens of the city we worked for civic pride in many ways.
A roster came to my attention as I was filing away papers and it was the Civic Pride Roster. So, I felt these citizens should be thanked once again with so many changes that have happened since the program was in operation.
In my opinion thanks should go to these individuals: Helen Archer, Andy Arias, Pat Couse, Bill Dewey, Judy and Ray Dressler, Sarah Hansen, Cindy Klittich, Jan Konter, Linda Nunes, Joe Zunia and Rosemary Fennel.
Conway Spitler