Letters to the Editor
September 14, 2023

Student Hopes to Start Bible Club at FHS

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

Thank you,
Brandy Hollis,
Fillmore, Ca

 


 
Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous

 


 
Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
August 31, 2023

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
August 17, 2023

Dear Esteemed FUSD Board of Trustees,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Letters to the Editor
August 10, 2023

To the Editor:

Well, Martin, you really got your Old Testament Prophet on in last week’s Editorial. Your reporting on the Gay Pride event was flawless, and I commend you. Your editorial opinion was as anathema-cursing, bush-burning, and sinner-smoting an event as any in the Hebraic Scriptures. It didn’t sound much like Christ in the New Testament, but it can be hard to get all wound up about Love and Acceptance.

Some people struggle with the fact that not all of God’s creatures think as they do or share all their beliefs or life experiences. Not all Catholics are “Inquisition Catholics,” miserable unless somebody somewhere is being persecuted for a belief they don’t share. Not all Christians consider “Judaeo-Christian” origins to conjure up the relentlessly demanding and avenging God of which you are so enamored.

You skewed the true meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion to accommodate your biases. You accused the LGBTQ community of “aggression among the young, and closely tied to pornography, determined to infect public libraries and schools.” That’s the phony dog whistle that the far-right uses to devalue and degrade members of that community, who were also created by God, and impose their own supposedly “Christian” reality.

My theological training taught that Christ came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, to bring the “good news” of his message of Love over Law. God created all kinds of people and, if some of them offend you or make you feel “uncomfortable,” you can avoid extended time among them or their performances. But a true Christian is obliged, at the very least, to “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” Luke 6:31, etc., and trust that the Almighty is competent to judge his creation at the appropriate time, and without your assistance.

The Gay Pride event was held in the afternoon at the Community Center, and not sponsored by the District or the City. No one, including students, was forced to attend. If your child did attend, he or she chose to, and you might ask what he or she thought of it. One or two council members should attend every significant community event.
In addition to his screed against anyone who doesn’t think as he does, Martin observed that parents are the “primary authority over their children!” So, parents, do your job and let the other parents do theirs.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
August 10, 2023

To the Editor & Fillmore Community:

Please join your neighbors at Fillmore City Hall, next Tuesday, August 15 at 6 pm, to present our concerns to local officials and Supervisor Kelly Long, about the parking of 100 heavily graffitied railcars in the Agricultural Zone, along Old Telegraph Road. The cars have now been there for over 6 months, and were not present when the Sespe Rail bridge collapsed last winter. They were brought in, afterwards.

Many in Fillmore might think this issue is not of their concern. That is not true. An agreement between the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC)and Sierra Northern Railroad was signed in November, 2022, which allows 3rd party railroad storage on all the Santa Paula Branch Line, running from Montalvo to East of Piru, FOR THE NEXT 35 YEARS. While the railway cannot store railcars within city limits, they believe they have been given the right to use the rest of the tracks for Industrial Storage all across the Santa Clara Valley to Piru and all through the green farmlands on the way to Ventura, where one lone railcar already stands, west of Briggs Road.

All of us will be affected if more railcars from Ventura and neighboring counties are allowed to be stored on the railroad tracks. Who will want to start a business or buy a home in Fillmore if it is surrounded by miles of old and heavily graffitied railcars, which are known to draw vandals? Although Sierra Northern Railways is earning hundreds PER DAY by storing these railcars, and the VCTC is set to profit by many thousands this year, the Fillmore community seems to be paying the price. Many believe such an agreement would never even be suggested close to cities like Camarillo and Ventura.
Another troubling part of the Sierra Northern/VCTC Agreement is the inauguration of the Sunburst Railbikes, small pedal “bikes” which rent for $250 a trip, and run on the railroad tracks from Santa Paula to 7th Avenue in Fillmore, before they turn around retrace their route back. These railbikes criss cross Highway 126 sometimes eight times daily, meaning the rail arms come down and close our busy highway in both directions, EIGHT TIMES on some days, not only to regular traffic, but to Emergency Responders: Police, Fire and Ambulance Traffic. While the railbikes are promoted as “scenic experiences” for tourists, the reality is that the graffitied railcars stored by the same company, and parked just a few more feet to the east, have robbed commuters, residents, farmers, and taxpayers of any scenic views for them.

Concerned neighbors have attended a series of VCTC meetings, asking to limit railbike closure times on Highway 126, and asking that the current graffitied rail cars, probably under contract, at least be moved to a less public site, one mile to the west, shortening the railbike ride from 17 to 15 miles, but making the cars much less of an attractive nuisance to tagging crews and teens wanting to jump from car to car. This repositioning would also make them less of a public nuisance in terms of what many feel is offensive and obscene graffiti. County Municipal Code 10 and a section in the agreement between Sierra Northern and the VCTC both address graffiti, but have not been enforced. So far letters, emails, and visits to VCTC meetings have been largely ignored. Many believe that if the agreements in the VCTC/Sierra Northern Contract are not going to be followed, it is time to take steps to terminate this contract and find an alternative partner for the line. Moving the railcars to a less public place, limiting the highway closures, and renegotiating this contract regarding “stored railcars” must happen immediately.

Our Supervisor Kelly Long will be at the meeting. As the head of the VCTC Board in November, she not only voted for this agreement which affects our district, and the area she represents, but she was also the signer for the VCTC. We need to understand why such an agreement was ever negotiated by the VCTC, which is a Ventura County Agency, but which seems to violate Ventura County Zoning Ordinances, the Ventura County General Plan, and the SOAR initiative, which voters approved twice.

Please attend this meeting, which will affect 35 years of all of our futures. You needn’t speak, if that is uncomfortable for you, as a large presence will speak for all of us. A partnership with Sierra Northern could certainly benefit our Fillmore, and we would like to welcome them, but only if their business with us is based on mutual respect and cooperation.

A Concerned Citizen

 
Letters to the Editor
August 10, 2023

To the Editor:

The graffiti on the rail cars west of town is not the railroads fault. It is due to the low lifes that see themselves as extremely inferior. Somehow they can become famous if they spread visual sewage also known as graffiti on any surface that they can reach. The problem is with the graffiti vandals, not the railroad. Blaming the railroad is like blaming all the residents of the Meadowlark Dr neighborhood for the gang violence there.

Concerned Citizen

 
Letters to the Editor
August 10, 2023

To the Editor:

Bardsdale Cemetery Grave Desecrated:

My family member’s gravesite has been vandalized at Bardsdale Cemetery. I believe it may be a felony in the State of California, and the family of the deceased person is ready to take legal action against the known perpetrator if this continues.

Anonymous,

Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
August 3, 2023

To the Editor:

A meeting will be held at 6:30 pm on August 15 at Fillmore City Hall for residents to voice their concerns to Supervisor Kelly Long and local officials about the 100 heavily graffitied railcars currently parked on Old Telegraph to the west of Fillmore.

In November, 2022, The Ventura Country Transportation Commission, represented by Supervisor Long, signed an agreement with Sierra Northern Railways that allows rail storage, not in cities, but in all other incorporated areas on the rail line currently running between Montalvo and Piru. The agreement also includes use of the railway for the Sunburst Railbikes, which currently cross and interrupt Highway 126 traffic up to 8 times day.

The railcars were brought in after the bridge closure to provide storage revenue for Sierra Northern Railways, and amounts to hundreds of dollars a day.

Despite the request of the Fillmore Gazette, residents, local officials and law enforcement, Sierra Northern Railways, which maintains an office at 351 Santa Clara Street in Fillmore, has refused to move the trains approximately one mile west and out of view, lessening their impact as a public and attractive nuisance.

Although moving the railcars west would shorten the 17 mile round trip Sunburst Railbike ride to around 15 miles, many residents feel is that is a reasonable compromise, and are asking for immediate action.
Sierra Northern Railways insists the railcars will remain in place until the railway bridge is fixed sometime in early 2024, at which time these railcars, and probable others, will be stored outside of Fillmore to the east and in the Santa Clara Valley on the way to Piru.

Although this move in 2024 will provide relief to neighbors whose views of the mountains have been reduced to railcar graffiti they find offensive, many feel using our railways as inexpensive industrial storage sites seems adverse to the local agricultural zoning and Ventura County General Plan, and is disrespectful to both the towns of Fillmore and Piru.
Members of the community are highly encouraged to attend the meeting or send in letters to City Manager Dave Rowland to be shared. This Ventura County Transportation Commission and Sierra Northern Agreement is set to last for the next 35 years.

Concerned Fillmore Citizen

 
Letters to the Editor
August, 4, 2023

To the Editor:

Martin, in your July 21st Editorial you called special counsel Jack Smith a “punk” because he is bringing indictments against Trump for serious crimes. You attacked Smith solely because you won’t consider the substantial indictment evidence that Trump committed successive lawless, dangerous, and corrupt acts against our country and its citizens, many by his own admission.

Many Republicans have a desperate need to deny the well-documented accusations or admit being deceived by Trump. So, they ignore the evidence and blame everyone else. Blame Smith. Blame Biden. Blame Hunter’s laptop. Blame anybody but the guy with his fingerprints all over it.

Trump does not understand the political truism that it’s not just the crime that traps the perp, it’s the cover up. This week, Smith filed a “superseding indictment” of Trump” for trying to delete incriminating video footage taken at Mar-a-Lago to cover up his intentional retention of vital national security documents. To you, Martin, just another “petty tidbit.”
Your dismissal of rising post-Industrial Revolution CO2 as “required for life” is confounding. We need water to live, too, but if it comes in such volume that it knocks us off our feet and enters our lungs, it’s too much of a good thing, and deadly.

I chuckled at your claim that God created “all those fossils” just so man could dig them up and use the product to such a degree that it is about to radically reduce the quality of life worldwide, and at a rate never seen. I suspect that God assumed his human creation would demonstrate adequate intelligence and discipline to follow the science rather than blindly disregard the threat.

You have said in the past that Democrats and RINOs have persecuted Trump from the day he came down the escalator. Even then, many of us knew his history and who he really is. He has lived up to nearly all those fears and now wants a second whack at it.

There is some silliness in “woke,” but it doesn’t approach your feverish froth of hyperbole in declaring that woke is a “cesspool of anti-Judaeo-Christian deceit.” To me, it means diversity, equity, and inclusion. Treating others as we wish to be treated. You know, the “Golden Rule.” In the Bible.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 27, 2023

Letter to the Editor:

This is directed to the Fillmore Unified School Board and mainly to the club One Step A la Vez. I was at the school board meeting and would like to thank those who spoke on behalf of our kids. I don’t understand what the reasoning behind this drag queen strip dance presentation was all about and for what purpose. I was going to speak to you that night but there were too many signed up. I do want to express my feelings now. I don’t know a whole lot about your after-school program other than what was said that night but what you did on that day for and with those youth was ridiculous, and disrespectful to them and especially to the parents for not communicating your plans for this occasion. It was perverse, abusive, and pedophilic. I am very surprised and shocked to see that 2 Christian ministers were in support of this club for this presentation that took place. Christian ministers should represent Christ and His teachings. Today the youth are already being overwhelmed with pornography and immoral decisions and do not need this in their club. I was also shocked to hear that 2 council members were present on their own time, in support of this event and censored write-ups on public media that were against this. I think that’s grounds for a recall or ask to be stepped down from office. Censorship is against freedom of speech. They won’t get my vote. Folks said this is hate; it’s not. It’s expressing our love and protection for our kids and outrage against their rights to grow up in a peaceful clean world. We don’t want this to go on anymore in front of them and if one wants to strip and expose themselves, please do it elsewhere within your own group. Before I end, why did you have to bring in outsiders for this meeting, this is a town concern; and what was the purpose of the drag queen there? I thought guys who want to be ladies would like to be pretty and not dressed up in Halloween get-up. Women and girls are very pretty, (inside and out), and are special individuals and should be shown dignity and respect. I especially hope that the school board will look at and listen to what was said about the parents’ children and not support this club and try to find a better cause or solution.

Thank you,

A Concerned Citizen of Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 27, 2023

To the Editor:

The quest of the Republican Party for ideological purity has produced the likes of Gym Jordan, the Ham-and-Cheesy twins (Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert), Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, George Santos, and Paul Gosar. All of them emulating the chaos-master, Donald Trump.

Pin-the-tail on the Speaker remains a favorite pastime of the Republican House Freedom Caucus, to punish his debt-ceiling negotiations in May, and revel in their non-governing, retaliatory disfunction.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is using a “senatorial hold” on the issue of abortion travel reimbursements for military personnel stationed in non-choice states, halting all military promotions and nominations including General Eric Smith’s to lead the Marine Corps. Tuberville refused a phone call from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to discuss the matter, explaining that he “has no time to speak to the Secretary today, and will not have time over the weekend.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) admitted that he doesn’t care if the “Biden crime family” information is true or not. He just wants a public spectacle. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) basically admitted that the Biden investigations are payback for Trump’s impeachments, and House Repos proposed “expunging” the record. As is often done for flaky child offenders.
The Freedom Caucus declared that anyone fact-checking them and calling out their mendacities infringe their First Amendment Right (to lie). However, they are entitled under the same Rights to spout the latest Q-phantasms about Democrats. Apparently, only Republicans have First Amendment Rights.

In a House Oversight Committee hearing, trying to prove that Hunter Biden got a “sweetheart” deal with the FBI/DOJ (it was in line with others with the same accusations), Margie Greene triumphantly announced that the DOJ had failed to prosecute Hunter for criminal violation of the Mann Act as a sex trafficker.

She solemnly warned the audience to exercise “parental control,” and proceeded to show naked pictures of a man, who is not and never was a public servant, and listed some of his dubious choices. Because he had bought a plane ticket for a partner for a DC rendezvous, Margie insisted he thereby created a prostitute and crossed state lines for the purposes of sex.
However, the Mann Act, originally passed in 1910, was amended in the 1970’s-2000’s, in part to distinguish forced sex travel across state lines from consensual adult assignations. She claimed the “biased” DOJ failed to prosecute under a 1910 criminal statute that had been amended, consequently nullifying her argument.

Such are the deep concerns that Republicans prioritize over the interests of American families.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 20, 2023

To the Editor:

In a reversal of his customary strategy to prolong legal processes against him, last week Trump’s lawyers filed a motion with the Georgia Supreme Court to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from pursuing indictments for alleged interference with GA’s 2020 election results, to suppress the sealed report of the special purpose grand jury, and dismiss any evidence contained in that report. “Leapfrogging” over the lower court and petitioning the GA Supreme Court is a disfavored Hail Mary legal maneuver. It is also an indication of how desperate Trump is to avoid a GA grand jury indictment. For once, he wants the court to move swiftly.

Currently, DA Wallis is in the process of two grand jury selections, one of which is expected to be asked to hand down indictments for alleged criminal interference in GA’s 2020 presidential election. With all the charges pending in federal court as a result of special prosecutor Jack Smith’s intrepid investigations, why is this state case so worrisome to Trump?
If Trump is indicted in GA, it is potentially damaging to him in the general election. Also, federal charges can be subject to a presidential pardon. A presidential pardon will have no effect on state charges. DA Wallis is expected to bring indictments sometime in August 2023.

While many court observers note that federal prosecutors, such as special counsel Jack Smith, often prefer to go first, as in the Mar-a-Lago document indictment, in this case it may be important to allow the GA election interference case to precede the federal case.

In startling Republican news, Margie Greene basically endorsed President Biden last weekend at the Talking Point Act conference. Performing her trademark rant to the far-right group, she warned that “Joe Biden is trying to finish what FDR started” by legislating programs to assist Americans, such as “education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.”
“How will Dark Brandon ever recover from this?” mocked “Did Nothing Wrong” podcaster Jay McKenzie. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) ridiculed her for saying Democrats and Biden want to “finish what FDR started.” “Yes,” he agreed. “Guilty as charged.”
“Did not have Marjorie Taylor Greene doing campaign ads for Biden on my election bingo card but here we are,” scoffed influencer Shauna W.

The WH reaction was to tweet her comments, and admit, *You caught us! President Biden is working to better the life of Americans.”

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 20, 2023

To the Editor:

I am a concerned resident of Fillmore. I’m writing this letter to state my opposition to the drag queen performance on Friday June 16, 2023 at One Step A La Vez. I denounce FUSD’s and any council member support for this behavior in front of our youth. These are the children of Fillmore and I am committed to protecting them from sexualized and harmful behavior and teachings. I am also writing to say that I have a voice and a vote and I will use both to shield our kids and keep them safe.
It’s appalling to me that my little town and school district that I grew up in would have people and a district that would support something so ugly and disturbing for our children. I have heard some say that there is hate regarding this opposition but let me be clear I don’t hate the people I hate what those people are trying to do to our children and I won’t stand for it!!

I hope and pray that these protests will not go on deaf ears and that we can work together to keep our children safe and give parents the rights they have to keep their children safe and free from this kind of ugliness. Our children are worth fighting for!!

Thank You,
A concerned citizen and Aunt of Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 13, 2023

To the City of Fillmore:

Every day, I run into people who haven’t heard yet about the drag show for kids that took place last month. When I run into someone who’s hearing about it for the first time, the two words I hear every time are, “WHAT!?” and “Livid.”
This scandalous “Pride” Month event which took place at One Step a La Vez seems to have been a flash point that has enraged many people in Fillmore. Everyone wants to DO something about it.

A lot of people have asked me what they should do. Some concerned parents met recently to talk about it and decided there’s a lot that needs to happen but, right now, there are three things you can do.

· Spread the word. There are still parents and community members who don’t know about it. Make sure everyone knows this group, that reaches out to kids between the ages of 13 – 19, hosted a drag show for kids while their parents were at work.
· Email each school board member and superintendent of the Fillmore USD. Although the school district was not directly involved, they do work with this youth organization. Tell the school board that One Step a La Vez should be nowhere near children. The district must cut all ties. (Board members can be Emailed here:

https://www.fillmoreusd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3 69855&typ e=d&pREC_ID=831736)

· Finally, show up at the next school board meeting, scheduled Tuesday, July 18th. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the district office. The address is 627 Sespe Ave. Every parent/community member should be at the school board meeting to let the board members know they need to cut all ties with One Step a La Vez.

Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 13, 2023

To the Editor:

The political Far-Right, in its efforts to secure the Christian evangelical vote, has extolled Christianity to the point where they claim that America was “founded as a Christian nation.” It wasn’t.
The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to explain and justify a rebellion to secure “God-given rights.” In each case, reference to a higher power served to validate the assertion of independence and equality with other nations of the world. Even the least religious Founders saw the political advantage to invoking divine favor on the question of independence.

However, the Constitution adopted by Congress in 1787 is secular, making no mention of divine power except references dating the document “In the year of our Lord.” The rebellion having been accomplished under the protection of the Deity, the purpose of the Constitution is a “blueprint for stable and effective republican government in a free country,” establishing basic rights of citizens which the government cannot deny. Religion was viewed as a matter of voluntary individual choice and the Constitution secured that religious neutrality.

Christian Founders, present at the birth of America, including Jefferson and Adams, denied that the new country was established as a Christian nation. John Adams wrote, “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” Thomas Jefferson was a bitter ideological rival to Adams, but agreed. He wrote, “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law,” and saying the First Amendment establishes “a wall of separation between church and state.”

The Christian Founders, educated in the philosophers of The Age of Reason, such as John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Rene Descartes found their religious beliefs generally compatible with “theistic rationalism,” a belief system for the educated elite rather than a religion, wherein a powerful, rational, and benevolent Creator established laws of the universe and can intervene in human creation.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) recently said that, “Christianity is the faith and America is the place slavery came to die,” ignoring that it cost hundreds of thousands of lives to force the end of slavery, and certain Christian sects, like the Southern Baptist Convention, were founded explicitly for the preservation of slavery, “a God-ordained institution.”
Hawley recently tweeted bogus Christian theocratic propaganda stating that the country was founded on the “Gospel of Jesus Christ.” He falsely argued that the US was founded as a Christian nation but allows other faiths to practice here.
Many Christians today have forgotten that America was sought first as a place where people could practice their chosen religion as a God-given right, not by permission of a generous Christian state. The history of joint Church/State government power has a lurid past, never to the advantage of the ordinary citizen. Our Founders wanted to ensure that it would never happen here.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
July 6, 2023

To the Editor:

In a motion for a new trial in the successful E. Jean Carroll civil defamation suit, Trump’s lawyer argued that, “the Jury’s $2 million [sexual assault] award was clearly motivated by sympathy rather than by evidence of harm, and the Court should grant a new trial as to compensatory damages for the battery claim, or grant a remittitur of such award to an amount no more than $400,000.” Mulligan!

Trump’s attorney conceded that Trump may have groped Carroll. “The purported sexual abuse found by the Jury could have only included alleged groping of Plaintiff’s intimate parts through clothing, which is clearly not rape.”
Oddly, NY law requires penile penetration to constitute rape; digital or object penetration is sexual assault. The jury’s verdict finding Trump civilly liable for a lesser criminal offense of sexual battery is not the “exoneration” of which Trump so proudly boasts. Trump believes his self-interest is the best arbiter of what the compensation for the abuse of Ms. Carroll should be, not the victim, not the jury.

Trump’s argument is that he should not have to pay premium prices when he didn’t even get to use his male member in the sexual assault. He had repeatedly said that he didn’t know her, never met her, said she “isn’t my type,” though he mistakenly identified a picture of Ms. Carroll as his ex-wife, Marla Maples. Now, “he may have groped Carroll…” He conjures whatever truth will serve his cause. How can anyone respect someone like that?

Pathetically, Trump contended that Carroll’s lawsuit was, “a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.” That’s a lot of hoaxing unless you are paranoid, a professional victim, or a malignant narcissist, though they are not mutually exclusive. When the jury had to decide who the liar was, it chose Trump.
Trump’s whole focus is Trump. Everything and everyone else are collateral. Truth is transactional, and Trump has no respect for the courts, constitution, or the non-compliant female population of the country. This is the guy that MAGA respects, will “ride or die” for, and wants re-presidented.

PS: Martin, name one thing I said in last week’s LTTE about Trump that isn’t true. Rittenhouse was acquitted of legal responsibility for the two killings, not the fact that he was the killer. Too bad you weren’t acquainted with more Black kids in your youth.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
June 29, 2023

To the Editor:

I have never understood how some of our fellow citizens are convinced that a racist man who has never needed to ask anyone for forgiveness, questions the merit of dead and captured soldiers, ridicules Gold Star families and disabled persons, thinks some Neo-Nazis are “good people,” extols dictators, gropes women, incites insurrection, and never tells the truth, was sent by God to lead the nation. When he trashes law enforcement, is found liable for sexual assault, or indicted for a violation of the Espionage Act, their endorsement only strengthens.
I also never thought I would commend Fox for shining a light into the dark corners of DJT. Brett Baier’s interview last week with Trump was exceptionally informative. Baier was respectful, but challenged Trump’s many untruthful assertions. What distinguished Baier’s interview from CNN’s Kaitlin Collins’ was that Trump did not talk over and belittle him. He saves that for women.

Enamored of the sound of his own voice he ignored, again, the advice of his lawyers to exercise his right to remain silent - and zip it. He pulverized his own defenses, and embraced the criminal offenses cited in the indictment.
Hunter Biden pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to pay taxes (since remediated) and entered into a pretrial diversion agreement for lying on a gun application that he was not addicted to any drug. He won't be prosecuted on the gun charge unless he breaks the conditions of the agreement. Republicans were aghast.
The NRA, which rejects any limitation on gun ownership thought that, in just this one case, Hunter should have been jailed on gun charges. Remember that they treated Kyle Rittenhouse, a two-time killer, as a hero. The prosecutor was Trump-appointed US Attorney David Weiss. There was outrage that President and Mrs. Biden publicly expressed love for their troubled son.

Meanwhile, House Republicans: squabbled over who would lead a bogus Biden impeachment vote, culminating in Margie calling Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor, conducted a fruitless Durham hearing, proposed to expunge the House record on Trump’s impeachments, revenge-censured Adam Schiff for doing his job, and proposed no legislation. Though McCarthy did propose impeaching anyone who makes decisions with which he does not agree, including David Weiss and Merrick Garland.
PS: Cinco de Mayo, a day celebrating Mexican pride, deservedly does not offend you, Martin, but Juneteenth! FYI, Black citizens in this country also celebrate July 4.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.

 
Letters to the Editor
June 29, 2023

To the Editor:

I just became aware, this past week, of a Letter to the Editor regarding my call for a Traditional American Family proclamation. For reference, my call for the proclamation can be found here.

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/proclamation-suggested-traditi...

I appreciate that Tess Allen, the Executive Director of the “Diversity Collective Ventura County,” felt my call for a Traditional American Family proclamation required such an exigent response. After all, the community Tess represents is threatened by the concept of the traditional American family. I’m not sure why our traditional American values and the idea of a traditional family is such a threat to their beliefs and ideology but, apparently, they are.

In reading Tess’ letter, I’m reminded that some political ideologies will distract from a point they don’t like by trying to redirect and refocus the reader’s attention like some slight-of-hand magician and that’s what was attempted here. This tactic is part of the Alinsky method of engagement, which is as worn out as the arguments themselves; they used to work but Americans have become wise to the tactic and, like the bullying they use, the tactic is no longer effective.

So, reading her letter and sensing the urgency in her tone, I’m left wondering a few things. How would a proclamation regarding traditional families have any effect whatsoever of what the Diversity Collective is doing? Why does the concept of a traditional family threaten you and make the need for your response such an urgent matter? After all, you’re free to push the idea of untraditional family. The rest of the Fillmore community will continue to value the traditional family.

And, on the topic of traditional American family values, are the moms of young children here in Fillmore aware of the drag show that was hosted by One Step a La Vez for your children while you were at work? If not, check out this letter to the editor.

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/letters/june-22-2023

This group (One Step) is in your school district, working with your kids while they’re at school. Moms…are you OK with your kids’ exposure to adult entertainment or do you still hold traditional family values? I call on moms in Fillmore to join with Safeguard Fillmore to ensure your kids are taught what school is supposed to teach, leaving moms and dads to raise their own kids. Show up at Fillmore school district meetings and demand that One Step be removed from your kids’ schools.

Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore, Ca.