Letters to the Editor
March 22, 2012

To the Editor:
Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers are pleased to announce that the necessary funds for the much awaited access gate to the High School track have been raised thanks to many members of our community.
Grateful thanks go to the following individuals. Service Clubs and corporate members of our community who made this possible: Joan Anne Archer, Cindy Blatt, Tim Hagel, Mary Joanne Arnold, Marge LeBard, Shirley Spitler Don and Ruth Gunderson, Steve Conaway, John Scoles, Eduardo Gonzales, Fillmore Soroptimist Club, Fillmore Lions Club, Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers, Cops Running for Charity, Fillmore Riverview, LLC, and Ladera Fruit Co.
The combined contributions of this group match the latest invoice price of the gate, $7810.
These funds will be presented to the City Council in the very near future.
Sincerely,
Don Gunderson, Treasurer
Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers

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To the Editor:
Spring is almost here and we are getting our fundraisers ready for the Class of 2012 . We are asking for your help to meet our $21,500 for 270 of the eligible students of the Class of 2012 These students are all asked to help us with our fundraising and they will get points toward their $100 ticket. If they don't participate they will be expected to pay $100 for their ticket.. This is a controlled environment on the bus and on the boat, no drugs, no alcohol or cigarettes, but they still have fun and a memorable celebration..
Our first fundraiser was Marie Callender's Thanksgiving Pie Sale, which netted Grad Nite Live $6,000 . The class sold 1373 pies this year Super A Market wants to help by offering an 8 inch Tri-Tip sandwich, chips and a soda for $10.00 Saturday and Sunday's only starting in March. The Yard Sale Event will be April 21st in front of Fillmore District Office.. We have our Storage Containers for our Yard Sale Stuff at the Orange Grove Ave . Bella's Sunday Tea Tasting Event will be May 6th the Sunday before Mother's Day. The May Festival event is in the planning stages with the Chamber of Commerce. So the students and the Grad Nite Live Committees will be busy getting our necessary funds together.
We will embark at 12 Midnight on the "Endless Dreams" at Long Beach Rainbow Harbor for the 4 hour 'no alcohol, no drugs, no cigarettes' Harbor Cruise party. As always they will dine at the buffet of Italian Cuisine, dance to a DJ and be entertained by the Roving Magician and 4 Blackjack Tables. There will be a "Senior Gift" drawing just before we dock at 4am, June 8th. The students will board the buses to return to Fillmore at 6AM. A Continental Breakfast will be ready when they arrive home and then they go on to enjoy the rest of their lives, safe and sound.
We want you to know how much we appreciate your help in the past years and because of the efforts of so many we are all winners. We are grateful for whatever you can give. Many thanks
Sincerely,
Grad Nite Live ID#77-0387405
Raelene Chaney, President
April Hastings, Vice President
Sean Hastings, 2nd Vice President
Terry Metzler, Secretary
Scott Lee, Treasure

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To the Editor:
After a very successful Casino Night fundraiser held on St. Patrick’s Day, Fillmore Athletic Booster Club would like to acknowledge our appreciation to the people and businesses that helped make this event a success. One hundred percent of our profit, estimated to be around $9,000.00, will be donated to the Athletic Department at Fillmore High School in an effort to offset some of the financial strain they are currently experiencing. Our casino table sponsors for the evening were as follows:
Wise Ranch, McLain Construction, David and Susan Dollar, Citrus Harvesting, Tlaquepaque Restaurant, Rock-It Transport, Weatherford, Doby Hagar, M.G. Taylor Equipment, Dr. Mike Tushla, Cielo Meza, A & L Educational Services, Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Super Seal & Stripe and Memory of Hank Carrillo (Mary Lou Carrillo).
The donations we received, either in raffle prizes or volunteering time, helped ensure the success that we had hoped to achieve for our athletes at Fillmore High School. A very sincere thank you to the following people and businesses:
El Pescador, Elkins Ranch, Soule Park, Dale Crockett, Limoneira, Ay Chihuahua, Ojai Spa, Edison’s Up In Arms, Attractions Spa, Gloria Cardona, Laurie Hernandez, Camilla Conaway, Julie Medina, Rhonda Brockus, Super A, Vons, Bailey and Sherrie Glenn, Matt & Megan Van Why, KSSP Photographic Studio, Bella’s Teas & Treats, Dominos Pizza, La Michoacana Bakery, David Coert, R Promotions, Ari Larson, Saticoy Lemon, Gold Sales West, Frito Lay, Andy Aguirre, That’s Cherry, Louie and Nettie Farrar, FHS Athletic Department, John Wilber, Matt Suttle, Steve McKeown and crew, Central Station, Somers Ranches and Santa Clara Valley Bank.
A special thank you to our dealers who graciously volunteered their time: Keith Gurrola, RJ Stump, Bob Gradias, Amy Rangel, Maria Rangel, Mike Pagan, Charlie Hawk, Eric Vigil, Joe Aguirre, Anthony Gurrola, and Ari Lenett. Thank you to Joey Ortiz who, for the second year, donated his DJ talent.
We would also like to thank Wm. L. Morris Chevrolet for their donation of a 5 day Chevy Volt rental, Joe Ricards and Fillmore FFA for their assistance. A huge thank you to Piru Petroleum Club for making this event possible and to the FHS coaches who worked hard selling tickets!
Our organization works to raise money so that we can financially assist every sport offered at Fillmore High School. We meet the first Monday of every month in the student store at Fillmore High School at 6:30 p.m. We would love to have you join us with your energy and ideas!
Thank you again for your participation! It is great to see our community come together for such a worthy cause! Congratulations to Lucy Rangel who won the 5 day Chevy Volt rental and Curt Farrar who won the 42” T.V.!
Fillmore Athletic Booster Club Board Members

 


 
Letters to the Editor
March 15, 2012

To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in regards to last week’s letter.
I am sure I ruffled a few feathers but I felt that if I did not stand up for something so dear to my heart that it would mean that I did not care. Many of us in the community have passions that we want our kids to have the opportunity to experience. It could be music/ the arts (my personal favorite), athletics, farming, science, what ever it is we would like these to be part of our individual famlies lives. I have been told that the J.V athletics has already received notification that they may be next on the chopping block. Wow, you know if athletics really is up for cuts then things are bad.
I think that instead of just complaining, I think that we the city of Fillmore should do some thing about it. First let your voice be heard for your individual cause, and then be ready and willing to help. How can we do this? Volunteer often and not just the same people who do it all the time. Every one. If we all work together we can get thru this hard time. I would ask the district to help all who want to help by making it easer to do so. How? May be make it easer to voleenteer, find a way to help with the cost of finger printing so families can help teachers in the classrooms and on campus. Be open to new, unusual and difficult ideas that could help our schools. Many people in our community have been on one side or the other of the job cutting table and may be their ideas of what worked or didn’t work could help us (you). May be having a suggestion box for such ideas and feed back. In the past I worked retail and as hard as it is, feed back is necessary if you want support. I think getting feed back from not only adults but the students them selves. They are the one being directly affected on such matters. One suggestion that was suggested to me was how about the district takes half day Fridays off. Now I believe that this would cause a bit of hardship on the sites that remained open, but what if…all the school sites took half day off as well as the district. Many schools have late start or early release one day of the week; we could have them on the same day. This could possibly help parents who need day care by having older siblings take care of younger siblings. It would also mean….extra hours in the weekend. I think it is a possible win, win for every one. Citizens we need to help all these efforts, support the cause of your heart by buying just one of what ever they are selling, donated goods, support by volunteering. To those of you who already do this, Thank You!! If we lose valuable activities it will affect our town. People will move their kids to other schools, they may move the entire family, business will lose business, and houses will sit empty.
Working together and being willing to sacrifice together will make us stronger.
Sincerely
Kathy Pace

To the Editor:
It is a shame the Gazette editor failed to appear at the 3-6 council meeting. He would have received the hand-out which counters some of his comments in his 3-7 editorial.
For instance, he states, “That contract remains valid and enforceable, and was determined to be so when the city’s demur was upheld in court.” According to City Attorney, Ted Schneider, the City won on its demur, but Livermore & Industry appealed and the appellate court overturned the ruling and has sent the matter back to the trial court. Mr. did indicated he felt the complaint was moot on various issues; it is not a done deal by no means.
The editor is correct that “An agreement has been reached between the Board of Equalization staff and attorneys have agreed that from 2009 forward, sales tax generated by O&M belongs to Fillmore,” this matter has been appealed and is to be presented to the Board of the BOE who will make the final decision. It is not anticipated to be heard until sometime in 2013.
The Board denied Fillmore’s allocation of Burbank’s sales tax and the City was able to enter into an agreement with the BOE to repay the $645,000 we received in equal payments over a two-year period.
The City is not receiving sales tax dollars from the BOE. The BOE determined they “overpaid” us sometime back. They let our finance department know how much sales tax is earned every quarter from those businesses that are not in dispute - Rite Aid, Vons, etc. and we deduct that amount from the overpayment. Currently, that is about $680,000 a year or $170,000 quarter. I do not know the balance in that account. If it gets to zero, it is possible the City won’t receive any sales tax from the BOE until these 7 cases are completed.
At the meeting it was announced the City’s legal fees are approximately $550,000. Yes, if the City prevails in the Owens & Minor issue there could be an annual increase of the sales tax revenue of $700,000. This would continue until the agreements expire, are terminated, or Owens & Minor determine they no longer desire a sales office in Fillmore.
Time will only tell, and financially, Fillmore has very little of that.
Patti Walker

 


 
Letters to the Editor
March 8, 2012

To the Editor:
How Sad, How Truly Sad
Re: FUSD Board Meeting March 1, 2012
How sad. How truly sad. The Fillmore Unified School District should be ashamed and embarrassed at the way business is being conducted. An “emergency meeting” to adopt new graduation requirements and eliminate the health class was originally hastily scheduled for the week of spring break. The meeting had to be rescheduled after the Ventura County District Attorney, concerned about violations to the Brown Act, demanded proper notification. The meeting took place on March 1 after having been rescheduled again from February 28. Due to a prior commitment, I was only able to attend the first hour of the meeting. I had hoped to speak before the Board but the contrived rescheduling of the agenda made that impossible for me and for many others who were not able to stay.
It was obvious that the administrators and Board members did not want to hear the opinions of the FUSD staff or community members. What was the motivation to cancel such a vital class that is blessed at Fillmore High School with an excellent teacher? To me, the eliminating of the health class was a thinly veiled attempt to eliminate the teacher who had the audacity to disagree with the District while serving as the teacher union president and who had the courage to express what she thought. When did courage become a punishable offense at Fillmore Unified? It wasn’t always this way.
I hope the courage of the young teacher who spoke at the start of the meeting won’t be severely punished. With a small child clinging to her, she politely requested the Board to examine the full-page lesson template that teachers are required to complete for each lesson. She said that the time it takes to do these, complete with the code for the California State Standard addressed, is excessive and detracted from her classroom effectiveness. As a retired teacher, I know her statement to be accurate. Writing copious lesson plans does not make one a better teacher, just a stressed and very tired one. And, who reads these? Principals have an enormous workload. Does the District expect them to read all of them? It would be an impossible task. It is my understanding that later in the meeting, the Superintendent admonished this brave teacher and called her a “whiner”. Yes, courage is a punishable offense. How unprofessional, how rude of the superintendent to punish her so publicly. How sad. How truly sad.
While still in attendance, I watched a group of middle school students reading prepared statements. I taught middle school for many years. Nothing would convince me that these students were not prompted. While teaching at Fillmore Middle School, I wrote a reading grant that was accepted and renewed by the State for three years. With an excellent teacher-coach, who is still in the District, our program was changed and our API scores increased over 100 points in two years. Our success prompted the State Department of Education to visit and inquire what we were doing to achieve such amazing results. Teachers and principals from other schools visited and observed classes. In 2000, Fillmore Middle School was a California Model Middle School. What happened? A Fillmore District assistant superintendent (who thankfully is no longer here) demanded a program change, and dismantled the program that had given our students this success. Scores began to go down. At the beginning of this year with the middle school in Program Improvement, teachers were told by the District administrators that they had failed. NO! Teachers did not fail! District administrators failed! Now, they are the ones telling teachers what and how to teach. As if they knew. How sad.
The teachers and staff have given up a great deal. Ten furlough days were added this year. Health insurance has become very costly. A friend who retired from FUSD many years ago and who has retained health insurance through the District told me that prior to this year her co-pay for medications was $75 per quarter. It is now over $3,000. The video of a November Board meeting featured a concerned community member addressing the health insurance issue and possible indiscretions. I don’t think they listened. The District should not be surprised if the State Insurance Commissioner sees the necessity to address it. How sad.
The Board and District administrators speak often of how all stakeholders –parents, staff, students, and the community- must always be involved in all school changes. Where is their involvement with our current situation? The District administrators often tell us how much they care about the students. Do they? We hear the phrase that something must be done about the Program Improvement problem. The best thing that can be done for our students is for the District administrators to listen to the stakeholders. Really listen. Sadly, the contrived repositioning of agenda items on March 1 is proof that this is not what they intend to do. All involve suffer as a result. As a resident of Fillmore, I see many teachers and staff members at various meetings and shopping around town. I hear the same lament over and over. They do not dare speak up about anything for fear of punishment or being fired. They are the ones who know how to improve the education of our young people. They don’t dare speak up. How sad. How truly sad.
In the end, it is the students who will suffer the most. How sad. How truly sad.
Mary Ford, retired FUSD teacher

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To the Editor:
Dear FUSD Board Members,
I feel that I needed to let you know how disappointed I was at your decision to eliminating the Elementary band program. You all have heard of the benefits that music education has on our students and that MOST of them are you Gate, Honors and AP students at all your schools. Many of the H.S. students that are your top students were once enrolled in elementary school band. There is a reason they are excelling, MUSIC. I personally have four students in the District schools and all have had music/band instruction. They all do well in their academic classes and find joy and excitement in their music classes. In doing cuts to music you will have students that don’t enjoy coming to school for ANY reason, and you will have taken away their opportunity to be a better student. I understand that you need to cut spending to have money for the schools, but I have noticed that the cuts have come to the certificated and no-certificated staff but I have not seen any come form the District office itself on this last go around. I feel that if you are going to have to do cuts then you need to do them all around, District office included. I understand that you may need to make more cuts and if you do, DO NOT cut the Band Program again as Mrs. De La Pedra mentioned you would do to the middle school next. I believe you should next make cuts to athletics since it is such a big expense on our District, as one of you stated at last Thursday’s meeting. As a band booster member I can say that we have tried to make the band program a minimal cost to the District and will continue to do so. I am in hopes that you will reconsider this cut as it will hurt MANY students(250 elementary ,200 M.S and 60 H.S. more but scheduling won’t allow. 510 total), I understand that you have until May to make things final and I would love to help you in any way keep this program alive. I fear that once it is gone we will never get it back.
Kathy Pace

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To the Editor:
At the end of the day on Monday, March 5, $4,080 had been raised for the FHS Stadium Track access gate.
Fillmore Sun Risers Rotary has committed $2,000 and will match the $1,040 contributed by local individuals and a business which gets us two-thirds of the way to our goal of $6,000.
Thank you and well done to those contributors.
Don Gunderson
Treasurer
Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers

 

Click here for Attractions Spa website


 
Letters to the Editor
February 29, 2012

To the Editor:
At last the pieces are coming together on an action plan for the installation of a gate to control access to the Fillmore High Stadium track for community members to again use the track for leisure runs.
Oh, there’s just one catch – MONEY! The quote for a gate installed acceptable to the Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) is currently $7,810. Our local government bodies do not have thee discretionary funds to pay this. Knowing that there are always unexpected things that occur during installation, let’s plan on needing a few dollars more. Let’s make the estimate $8,000. The City of Fillmore (City) has indicated a willingness to pay 25% or about $2,000.
Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers will do the following to get this project completed without further delay. Sun Risers Rotary (Rotary) will donate $2,000 for this project. In addition Rotary challenges local service clubs, businesses and individuals to contribute to this project. Rotary will provide another $2,000 in the form of a challenge to the community. Rotary will contribute another dollar for every dollar contributed by the community. Rotary will pay up to $4,000 if the community will join together and contribute $2,000.
As this is being written, two individuals have already each promised a $100 donation. Before we’ve even started we have $2,400 promised.
Contributions may be mailed to Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers, P.O. Box 882, Fillmore, CA 93016. Each will be acknowledged.
Weekly progress reports will be published in this newspaper.
Don Gunderson
Treasurer, Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers

 
Letters to the Editor
02/23/12

To the Editor:
At last the pieces are coming together on an action plan for the installation of a gate to control access to the Fillmore High Stadium track for community members to again use the track for leisure runs.
Oh, there’s just one catch – MONEY! The quote for a gate installed acceptable to the Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) is currently $7,810. Our local government bodies do not have thee discretionary funds to pay this. Knowing that there are always unexpected things that occur during installation, let’s plan on needing a few dollars more. Let’s make the estimate $8,000. The City of Fillmore (City) has indicated a willingness to pay 25% or about $2,000.
Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers will do the following to get this project completed without further delay. Sun Risers Rotary (Rotary) will donate $2,000 for this project. In addition Rotary challenges local service clubs, businesses and individuals to contribute to this project. Rotary will provide another $2,000 in the form of a challenge to the community. Rotary will contribute another dollar for every dollar contributed by the community. Rotary will pay up to $4,000 if the community will join together and contribute $2,000.
As this is being written, two individuals have already each promised a $100 donation. Before we’ve even started we have $2,400 promised.
Contributions may be mailed to Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers, P.O. Box 882, Fillmore, CA 93016. Each will be acknowledged.
Weekly progress reports will be published in this newspaper.
Don Gunderson
Treasurer, Fillmore Rotary Sun Risers

 
Letters to the Editor
February 23, 2012

To the Editor:
Re: VC Star article/column dated 2-15-2012 - Fillmore council approves paying.....by Anne Kallas
In paragraph 9 of the referenced column, where Anne Kallas quoted Mayor Washburn about the funding of the Senior Center doors, the Mayor was wrong again. The Ebell Club became aware of the lack of funding for automatic doors at the Senior Center in April. After many attempts by Annette Cardona, City facilities supervisor, to obtain grants, a final grant, which was finally created, was cancelled by Governor Brown who also cancelled many other pending grants. Many of the Ebell members are also involved in the Senior Center and were upset with this news. Ebell member Marlene Schreffler contacted Ms Cardona of the city to find out the particulars. Marlene then took the matter of the doors to the board and membership of the Ebell Club about possibly having the Club donate the $9000.00 (a significant sum both to the Club and supposedly to the City) required to buy and install the doors. The City and Senior Center were both notified that the money would be available at the Club's May Luncheon meeting. The doors were bought immediately and installed in July. Mayor Washburn presented a proclamation of thanks to the Club at the September 13 council meeting. This is documented in the Fillmore Gazette paper dated September 15, 2011 and the picture of Mayor Washburn, Donna Volker, president of Senior Center, and Fay Swanson president of Ebell Club is in The Sespe Sun dated September 13th, 2011. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and plaque acknowledgement on November 14th. The Sespe Sun ran a picture of the ceremony with many of the Senior Center people and Ebell Club people in attendance. Contrary to the information supposedly supplied by the Mayor, the only cookies or bake sale involved in the accomplishment of obtaining and installing of these door was a short party after the ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored by the Senior Center.
Transmittal of misinformation such as in this case has extremely upset many of the hardworking and benevolent ladies of both the Ebell Club (donor) and the Senior Center (recipient). It is too bad the Mayor
cannot remember what she says and does and very sad that NO ONE on the City Council or the City Manager realized her mistake and took the initiative to correct this Mayor. The Mayor and Council need to publicly apologize to the Ebell Club for their mistake(s).
Thank you
Marlene Schreffler
2nd VP Ebell Club

To the Editor:
At their meeting on February 14, the City Council voted 4-1 to fund the public access gate at the Fillmore High School track and to seek reimbursement for the approximately $8,000 in construction costs. Those of us who will utilize the track, and those who have had to live with us without it, are very appreciative of this action. I would particularly like to commend councilmember Eduardo Gonzalez, whose recent presence on the city council made a significant difference to this decision and councilmember Steve Conaway who has been in the trenches on the issue for years. Thanks, too, to councilmembers Sipes and Brooks for their support. We are also grateful to the Parks and Rec Commission for keeping the issue alive. We appreciate the cooperation of the Fillmore Unified School District Board. We recognize that funding is tight and that there are many worthy causes. You have done something good for the health of this community and, indeed, have restored the faith of many that the concept of “community” is alive and well in Fillmore.
Initially, there will be a $25 per person per year charge for this use, payable to the City of Fillmore, to be adjusted to actual costs based upon the number of subscribers. This is because gate maintenance and insurance are required and the City feels it cannot commit to covering these charges under present financial constraints. Please see the City of Fillmore website (www.fillmoreca.com) for participation details or contact Annette Cardona at the City (524-3701) if you are interested in participation or contributing to the costs of the gate. Several community groups have offered to participate in the funding of the gate construction, and we are so grateful for their generosity and community spirit. Thanks to all of you who supported this effort through the years, those who lately joined the cause, and those who were there when a demonstration of community interest was needed.
No excuses, now. Get out that running and aerobic walking gear and start your stretching program. See you soon, on the track.
John Scoles
Joan Archer

To the Editor:
Re: Donation from Fillmore Women’s Service Club for Pride In America
The Fillmore Women’s Service Club has made a donation of $250 to the Science/Pride In America Club at Fillmore Middle School to support their Pride In America celebration that is held every year just before Memorial Day weekend. Pride In America Day is entirely devoted to celebrating America with the whole school participating. The day begins with students focusing on important aspects of America’s history and traditions in their classrooms. The students then attend an assembly that is opened with a formal posting of colors by a military honor guard and includes a tribute to veterans. It is followed by an American style picnic. Fillmore Middle School is proud to have inspired thousands of students to be patriotic Americans because of this special program. Mrs. Merrill, the advisor for the Science/Pride in America Club, was very excited to learn of the donation from the Women’s Service Club and intends to use some of the money for decorations that can be used for several years. Pride In America Day is planned by Mrs. Merrill and her students who learn valuable leadership skills in doing so. The public is always welcome to join the Fillmore Middle School students for this special day.
Mary Ford
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
February 9, 2012

To the Editor:
(Re: comments made at Town Hall Meeting re: track gate/pool and Mr. Farrell’s editorial - 01/25/12)
Pitting one recreational activity against another is a poor idea, especially in a community like Fillmore where recreational opportunities are very limited for all and especially adults and young adults. Ms. Archer seems to be cutting her nose off to spite her face. She calls for the City to get rid of the Lap Swim program but at this point that is her ONLY access to the FHS track. Ms. Archer stated that only 14-16 people participate in lap swim annually. She is so far off it is laughable. Had she bothered to talk to the people who actually work at the pool she would be much better informed. She stated that she has a petition the 150 signed (Mr. Farrell writes “hundreds of potential track users signed-up.”) She never stated how many runners have actually paid the $25 to the City Runner’s Club. The City’s budget shows that only 6 runners paid in 2009 and 2010. As of March 31, 2011 only 6 runners again had paid. If Ms. Archer will look more closely at the Pool Budget she will notice that there is a line item that reads Runners Club” which is running in deficit adding to the overall pool deficit. The City pays for pool manager and lifeguards to run the lap swim programs AND to open the gates for the runners and be available in case of emergency. The runners pay $25 per year. Lap swimmers pay $4.00 every entry (or $3.50 if they buy a Splash in advance). Some lap swimmers are very consistent and purchase Splash passes over and over. Some lap swimmers are only occasion visitors, some purchase a Splash pass and some just pay cash.
I believe that our Community needs recreational opportunities for all, young and old. That is why I helped fight to get a pool back in Fillmore. That is why I will go out and raise money for the FHS runners track gate.
Yes, the pool is in deficit. I complained bitterly over and over in the fall of 2010 when the City decided the close the pool. There was and is NO oversight by City administration/staff of the expenses/revenues at the pool. The pool fund had two years of parcel tax funds in reserve before the pool was even open. That money was burned through because NOBODY was watching. Why was $8,000 spent on pool office furniture? In the fall of 2009, pool managers who had aquatic experience designed a program that cut down staff and hours for fall/winter. The Deputy City Manager at the time and the Community Services Director INSISTED that the pool be open seven (7) days per week in the fall/early winter. Really stupid!! and a big waste of money. I did not have access to any of the Revenue & Expense information until summer of 2010 when they started talking about closing the pool and I started asking to see the print outs..
Revenue was poor for several reasons - one being the fact that the pool had to be closed OFTEN because the chemicals. After pool staff/managers and patrons complained over and over and over to the Community Services Director and the City Manager, the City finally brought in an outside "pool guy". He is the one who discovered the leak. The City pooh-poohed the leak but I can show you the report from the leak detection company who called the leak "major". The report is public record. Once the chemical situation was straightened out, the pool was opened on a consistent basis and people could depend on it being open. Last summer was a very good summer for the pool. Many days the number of people coming to Rec swim was over 100. Friday night Family night and once a month Friday night Teen nights were successful and gaining in popularity. ALL of the pool programs were gaining in numbers.
The pool deficit can be fixed but unfortunately City Hall does not have the knowledge, experience or desire to accomplish this. Notice that I said City Hall. I am not talking about the pool staff who has always worked hard to provide great pool programs even with their hands tied by City Hall.
Cindy Blatt
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
February 1, 2012

To the Editor:
The students, staff, and families at Sespe School would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the Fillmore Lions Club for their generous $500 Gift Card donation to our school. In these tough times for education, we greatly appreciate when community members or organizations help us out. Thank you Fillmore Lions for your generosity!
Sincerely,
The Students, Staff, and Families at Sespe School

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To the Editor:
The current City Council has repeatedly stated that they are committed to openness and transparency in government. Do their actions square to their words?
1) 3 Planning Commissioners resigned due to the City Council’s disregard for due process and usurping their authority. Who doesn’t recall the Council zeal to appeal a Planning Commission’s decision before the decision had even been made?
2) Walker resigned from the council on Dec. 13 2011. The June 28 2011 council minutes were approved by council on Dec 13, almost 6 months late. Ever wonder why? Could there be a better way to avoid more fallout than to let Walker be the focus of the night and not the “zeal to appeal” council fiasco minutes?
3) After Walker’s resignation the council was determining how to appoint another council member. One council member suggested that the public be able to speak at the upcoming meeting on the applicants. Mr. Brooks stated that he was not in favor of letting the public have a say in the matter. So much for wanting public input?
4) When the council was discussing how Sipe’s suggested Town Hall meeting was going to be conducted, Mr. Brooks again didn’t want to give the public an opportunity to address the council. Transparency and public input does not seem to be at the forefront of his agenda.
5) The Fillmore Gazette has been scolded for taking pictures at meetings. The Gazette has performed this service at meetings for over 20 years. No other council in Fillmore’s history scolded a newspaper for doing the same job, until this council. Is it because this council doesn’t want the public to know how they conduct business?
6) Recently, one council member asked for a review of the City Manager Employment contract. If a review was not conducted the contract automatically renews for another two years. This “open and transparent” council blocked public review of the contract. They’d rather just let it automatically renew in the dark of night than to conduct a public review in the daylight.
This city council is about their agenda and seems to have little interest in real transparency and public input, but you be the judge?
Douglas Tucker

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To the Editor:
Re: Last week's comments by Martin Farrell in "Realities" and Joan Archer at the City Council meeting regarding the Lap Swim Program at the Aquatic Center:
I am sorry that the City, School Board, and the Runners Club have not been able to resolve the issue of the access gate to the track. However, somehow the Lap Swim program, and even the entire Aquatic Center, is being blamed for this. Ms. Archer states that "Over the last three years the Aquatic Program has resulted in a deficiency of about $385,000." The article doesn't state the source of her figures, but I wonder how much of that amount, if correct, is due to the leak that was going on for over a year, as reported last April by the Gazette, resulting in the loss of thousands of gallons of water and additional chemicals needed to compensate for that loss?
Mr. Farrell states, "In terms of usage, it makes no sense to favor the pool over the track." The Aquatic Center is much more than just the Lap Swim program: There are swimming lessons in the summer, teaching an invaluable skill to those who might not be able to learn otherwise; the Swim Team holds practices there; it can be rented out for parties and special events, and there are summer evening "family nights" where the whole family can cool off and have fun together.
While it is true that there has been a relatively small core group of lap swimmers, we are a dedicated bunch who consider the program essential to our health and fitness. After waiting years for the Aquatic Center to be built, it is unthinkable to say that the solution to its financial issues is to just close the whole thing down. A detailed financial analysis of the entire Aquatic Center should be made, which will undoubtedly reveal areas where expenses can be cut and revenues increased. Maybe volunteers can help with tasks currently done by paid staff. An "Open House" might help to introduce the community to the Aquatic Center and explain what it has to offer. There may be grants that can be applied for to help with operating expenses.
The pool is scheduled to open next Monday, February 6. To help save on expenses, perhaps the opening of the pool should be delayed until it is closer to summer, say May 1. And when the pool does open, I invite everyone (including walkers and runners who can't use the track) to try the Lap Swim program, and to support the beautiful Aquatic Center which was meant for the whole Fillmore community to enjoy.
Marjie Bartels

 
Letters to the Editor
January 5, 2012

To the Editor:
At our first staff meeting of the year, the middle school staff had a depressing tongue-lashing from our new managers, whose first rule of inspiring and getting people energized to do a good job is … to berate and degrade them? These teachers have only been following the administrator's orders - orders of an endless stream of administrators whose failed ideas never succeed in raising our school's state test scores.
I tried asking these administrators right then the following, but they didn't want to answer any questions. They left it to me to ask others who might know, (our governor, state superintendent, representatives, newspapers, talk shows) why we are allowing our middle school students and teachers to be judged by faulty tests which are self-disqualifying in the following ways:
The tests are written at grade level - a level our kids can’t comprehend, so they can’t even understand the questions. Therefore we can't tell what they know subject-wise; we only can tell that they can't read, (which we already knew) while administrators get promoted and teachers get demeaned.
All three years of some subjects are tested only once, at the end of eighth grade. Could administrators pass this or any test on what they read three years ago? Three months ago? If not, how useful are these tests? No protest, no rally, not a letter on behalf of parents or students whom these administrators tell us “come first.” They evidently leave that to others.
For years I have asked administration why we don't just teach math and reading until the kids get caught up, (as they aren't able to access the rest until they do anyway) but have been told for years that “Sacramento wouldn't let us.” We are now told that “we don't care what Sacramento says anymore.” Then why are we still not focusing on math and reading, following the examples of districts like Santa Paula who are being continually thrown in our teacher's faces as examples of success?
The current policy of allowing students to be both sent to and sent out of the middle school while years behind in reading and math is not wise. Such policies are the result of faulty thinking, which not surprisingly also result in middle schools being designed with flat roofs with heavy air conditioners on top, so that roofs crack and leak every time it rains, causing saturated, (mold promoting?) tiles to crash down around the kids. Faulty structures, like faulty tests and policies are the result of faulty thinking. Blaming others, who just follow your orders, is much worse. The Bible promises wisdom to those who ask for it, and my parting prayer is that we renounce our pride and ask.
Richard Hood,
Retired teacher

 
Letters to the Editor
December 19, 2011

To the Editor
I was so outraged when I read the email below, forwarded to me by a friend, that I wanted the citizens of VC to be able to read it also. The citizens of VC should understand how their tax dollars are being "used" by the Camarillo Animal Shelter, (Ventura County Animal Services) in their treatment of homeless impounded dogs.
For additional information contact Linda Nelson directly at the email address at the very bottom of this article.
Joan Farber
Ventura (since 1993), CA.
(805) 659-5145

Email:
On November 4th, Tiny Loving Canines pulled a small demodex Chihuahua pup out of VCAS. I myself had not seen the dog in person, but I approved the pull sight unseen. The dog was transported from Camarillo by one of our volunteers and when I first saw the dog in person, I was beyond shocked --- the dog looked nothing like the impound photo and was now severely emaciated.
According to the medical records (attached), this dog weighed 3 pounds at impound on 10/24/11 - twelve days later when we got him, he weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce. If you review the attached medical records, you will note that the respiratory distress was not notated until 11/4/11 - the day we pulled the dog out of VCAS. As serious as an URI or 'kennel cough', a bigger battle this dog had to overcome was severe malnutrition and loss of weight - not notated on the medical records.
Twelve days later, Rooney still could not stand up under his own power well, nor could he walk - please see the photos on a blog posting from November 16th here - http://tlc-doghouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-for-faint-of-heart.html
On November 22nd, Rooney stood up and walked on his own for the first time since we pulled him out of Camarillo - prior to that time he slept curled up in a ball in between the feedings every 3 hours, nebulizer treatments, skin treatments, etc. And on November 23rd, he walked to the kibble dish on his own for the first time and ate. Note the severe loss of muscle weight and tone in this dog still, despite all of the high quality nutrition and care given (he had gained 1/2 pound during the 19 days with TLC):
Unfortunately, in my opinion too much had happened to this pup's body - between being low in body weight and losing 1/3 of his body weight at VCAS during his 12 day stay there, the demodex, advanced upper respiratory illnesses - he passed away on Saturday, 11/26/11.
Why am I bringing Rooney's story to the Board of Supervisors?
Because I have LONG protested the low quality care that animals receive at VCAS. I could write a laundry's list of dogs we have pulled from there that receive minimal attention, no attention or attention detrimental to the health of the dog. This includes a dog we pulled about a month ago that was prescribed eye treatment by Dr. Koehner that was causing the dog's eye even more harm (and our vet described to us as a 'classic case of malpractice if the vet were in private practice!'). Our vet immediately switched medications - she may or may not lose her sight... we have yet to know if she will recover her sight from the misdiagnosis of Dr. Koehner.
On Friday we were called to take two dogs or they would be euthanized. We were told one dog had 'kennel cough' and we still agreed to take the dog. Looking at her records, she was given the DAPPL2 vaccine on 10/18, 11/1 and 11/17 (when she was spayed)... but NO vaccination for kennel cough.
Refusal to vaccinate for kennel cough at VCAS has LONG been a problem, especially in a facility that states it is always over its limit and is euthanizing for space. It has long been a misguided position of VCAS that they are limiting the amount of diseases by not allowing communal living.
Although many of us have complained about this policy of not vaccinating for kennel cough, we have also advocated for communal housing to lower the number of dogs being euthanzied. Now I understand the policy of pairing dogs died when Denise Callaway did, and so the numbers will once again continue to rise in euthanasia at VCAS.
In summary:
Rooney caught an URI in the VCAS medical ward - a place where there is no communal housing but should have extreme sterile conditions
Rooney also lost 1/3 of his weight in 12 days in the medical ward
Gracie, a dog in general population, is diagnosed with kennel cough, but has no signs of kennel cough after 3 days' observation
Gracie was going to be euthanized because of lack of space in a facility that once again is refusing to do communal housing because of a perceived kennel cough treat
Gracie received three vaccinations of DAPPL2 in less than a month, but NO bordetella vaccine at all - even the AVMA does not recommend re-vaccinating this close together
Someone, some where needs to address what goes on at VCAS and stop brushing this stuff under the carpet. If the county is going to pay for a full time veterinarian to be on staff, there needs to be one that abides by the code of "first do no harm".
When does the Ventura County Board of Supervisors step up and clean house at VCAS to stop this needless suffering and carnage, gross poor mismanagement and institute modern medical practices, efficient space management and improvement of the overall quality of this taxpayer funded facility????
Linda Nelson
Director -TLC
http://www.tinylovingcanines2.org

 
Letters to the Editor
December 15, 2011

To the Editor:
Dear Parents
I am retiring as Principal of San Cayetano at the end of December. It has been a pleasure working with the San Cayetano Staff, parents, students and community for the past six and a half years. Together we have achieved great success with our NASA Explorer School Program, The Reduced Gravity Project, Robotics Champions and our well received monthly Peacebuilder Assemblies using local role models to inspire our students to become good citizens. San Cayetano will always be very special to me. I have accepted a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the new CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Santa Clara Valley, which are the clubhouses in Santa Paula and Fillmore. I have appreciated the support for San Cayetano from the local service organizations and the community. While I will miss going to San Cayetano each day, I am excited to embrace this new opportunity that will benefit our local youth.
Thank you Fillmore and I look forward to working with you in this new capacity.
Sincerely,
Jan Marholin, Principal
San Cayetano Elementary School

***

To the Editor:
Dear Parents and Supporters of FHS Athletics:
I am writing to you to inform you of a very serious funding challenge that we are facing at Fillmore High School. As you may be aware, we are no longer able to require our athletes to pay fees for participation in sports. As a result we have had to rely on donations to fund our athletic programs. We calculated that if each athlete donated $75.00 per sport we would be able to maintain our current athletic program as it has been in the past. Unfortunately, as the fall athletic season comes to a close, we are behind in our anticipated donations by approximately $10,000.00. Our biggest concern is that if we don’t do something immediately to generate funding, we may run out of funds in the middle of the year, forcing us to cancel away games and the possible elimination of lower level (Frosh/JV) teams. This is something we do not want to have to do.
In order to avoid eliminating athletic programs and travel, we have taken immediate action by freezing all athletic supply budgets, and we have asked the Athletic Booster Club to assist us with organizing three major athletics-wide fundraisers. Our goal is to provide our athletes with an opportunity to raise money each season if they are unable to make a donation. We will be asking for your full support to make each fundraiser a success.
Parents and community members wishing to make a donation may do so by mailing a check to Fillmore High School Athletics- Donation, P.O. Box 697, Fillmore, CA 93016. Your donation is 100% tax deductable. Any amount will be accepted. Please include the student name if you are making the donation to support a specific athlete.
With your help, we can raise the funds necessary to provide our students with a quality athletic program. Thank you in advance for your support.
Sincerely,
John Wilber
Principal, Fillmore High School

***

To the Editor:
One of our greatest generation just passed away. No, not a World War II Veteran, but one of the compassionate, caring, and competent hospital nurses of the 1980's and l 990's. Bertha Romano was one of those exemplary caregivers at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital. Attending a memorial service included some members of that superb staff, including Jeanette Foy, Marlene Moniot, Donna Wills, Muriel Marks, and Chris Ortiz. I'll bet Marlene Bailey, Noreen Aberlee, and Irene Reardon were there in spirit.
It was a wonderful moment to remember those who were trained to provide nursing care and were able to excel in performing that skill. Alas, today's nurses may be just as motivated to provide care, but so many are chained to the computer screen. They must be jealous of that greatest generation.
Sincerely yours,
Richard J. Tushla, M.D.

 
Letters to the Editor
December 8, 2011

To the Editor:
Re: Report of Incident and Request for Committee Formation
I had intended to address the scheduled joint session of the Council and Board on November 29, 2011, a meeting which was canceled.
I am a runner with 40 years of experience, so I am careful and aware at all times when I am out running, but the risks of running on the streets and trails are considerable. There are rocks and debris to contend with, other people and animals, as well as vehicular users on the roadways. On Saturday evening, November 26, around 7:30 p.m., I was struck by a vehicle in the crosswalk of the trail on “A” Street near Old Telegraph Road. I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of VCMC for the head trauma I suffered, as well as the possibility of a broken hip, and a number of contusions and abrasions from top to bottom. The hip turned out to be a massive bruise, and the plastic surgeon closed up the six-inch skull-deep gash on my head. Scans and x-rays were taken.
In the over-three years of the runner/walker community relentlessly pushing this issue, progress has been glacial. Most of the members of the elected Council and Board have repeatedly and publicly indicated support for the proposal to make the track available to the public, but this public stance has not been supported by any significant, meaningful action. Fees have been collected, waivers from liability have been signed, committees have been formed but meetings are never scheduled, serial commitments have been made but little action has occurred. At the 3.5-year mark, all we have is a City website advertising the formation of a club. Meanwhile, a track that this community paid for is not available to us, at our peril. It is a wonder that serious injury has not occurred before this. It will likely happen again if this issue is not resolved, and soon.
This is an old, old issue, and many hours have already been devoted to it. I fully understand that the City and District have other pressing issues. In these difficult times, we all have pressing issues. The unavailability of the track is clearly a danger to the runners and walkers in the community. Everyone involved is supposed to be a competent professional or devoted community member. Resolution is long overdue and continued inaction on your part is gambling with the safety of a significant portion of this community.
John F. Scoles
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
With respect to the need to decide on a replacement for the vacated City Council seat by Patty Walker, I would like to offer my views on this matter. Since there is almost a full term remaining, I feel that the citizens of Fillmore should be allowed to decide by Public Election on June 4th, 2012 who will represent them for the remainder of Ms. Walker’s term. It has been expressed at a previous council meeting by both the Mayor and the City Manager, that it is foreseen that there will be very little to place on the near future agendas. I believe this is due both to the state of the economy and the City budget deficit. I would like to see the remaining council members support this path, as it is in the best interest of everyone here in Fillmore.
We as a City need to come together in these tough times and not act hastily. I furthermore believe we need to strive for more transparency in Government, as many have professed that we do now. I would also like to know when the minutes from the City Council Meetings of June 28, 2011 and September 13, 2011 will be approved and available to the public for review. I feel that this information has been hidden for far too long. Let’s just stop all the politics and get down to business.
Respectfully,
Alexander Mollkoy
Concerned Fillmore Voting Citizen

***

To the Editor:
There seems to be much speculation and falsification of information out and about Fillmore about conspiracies and the like concerning my resignation from the Fillmore City Council. It took me back to when former Council Member Mike McMahan resigned when he moved outside the City limits. He had his home on the market but there wasn’t any word about his submitting his resignation prior to the sale of his home. Nor was there outrage by the community when, without application or community input, Linda Brewster was appointed to complete his term.
But enough of going back in time. Let me discuss the current situation.
My husband and I determined in June to put our home on the market. We were selling our home as we needed to get into a one story home. From the comments made by some in the paper it is their opinion that I should have resigned at that time. Why? I was still a resident and was fulfilling my duties as an elected official. When we put our home on the market we didn’t have an offer on another home to purchase. When escrow closed on our home at the end of July we rented a home in the City of Fillmore limits. More importantly, it’s my understanding my resignation would have had to have been submitted in June in order for an election to occur in November as to my replacement.
The Council was dark from July 12 to August 23. I was absent from the September 13 and October 11 meetings. The meetings of September 20 and October 25 were cancelled. I submitted my resignation at the first opportunity. I conveyed my intentions to the Mayor and City Manager when I received word that the purchase of our current home was going to proceed, which had been questionable for a good period of time. Other than the Mayor, I never spoke to any council member or resident of the situation so therefore there was no conspiracy.
Until November 17, 2011, I was a resident of the City of Fillmore. This was the day we vacated our rental property.
Patti Walker

 
Letters to the Editor
December 1, 2011

To the Editor:
Here here ye, let it be known.... the young adults of the City of Fillmore are AWESOME!!!
Yes, Saturday, November 19th was the annual Soroptimist International of Fillmore Fashion Show. And yes, it was plentifully attended and a success. But more importantly, YES the youth of our community that stepped up to volunteer their time on a Saturday are AMAZING!!!
The Explorers from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Santa Clara Valley Post did a wonderful job. Some greeted our guests and members with smiles and kindness at the entrance to the festivities, making sure all who entered had a ticket or were able to help in their purchasing of a ticket. Some monitored our doors to the dining room with professionalism until it was time to open the doors for dining. Others sold raffle tickets for the few items, separate of the silent auction room, to be raffled with cheerfulness.
The models for one of our sponsors were students from the Fillmore High School Drama classes (thanks Mr. Overton). The six young ladies were poised and mature, not to mention beautiful in their fashions. All of them could become professional models.
Our wonderful, responsible servers in the dining room were from the One Step a la Vez Center. All of them were respectful and prompt at our every need. They went above and beyond what was expected of them to help us with as servers.
I hope I was able to say "thank you" to each and every one of you in the course of the two days setting up and attending the fashion show. Your help did not go unnoticed. Our future in Fillmore looks bright with young adults such as yourselves. Your parents and advisors should be proud of how responsible and respectful all of you are...... I AM!
Jane David, Vice President
Soroptimist International of Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
November 24, 2011

To the Editor:
Re: Mayor Washburn’s desire to rush appointment of council vacancy
The now ill-fated ploy to hold a meeting to appoint a person to fill the remaining three years of Patti Walker’s term has been exposed. The whole tale, from the beginning to yet to be written last chapter, is playing out so clearly that Ray Charles could see it coming. The Gazette Editorial even reported that the heir-apparent was at the meeting waiting in the wings. Had Walker been intellectually and morally honest with Fillmore when the news first broke , the voters could have settled the issue earlier this month, but that isn’t the group’s plan. The plan was to pass the date which would allow citizens to vote on the matter, then spring the news of Walker’s pending exit stage left, then pick the next person, a person closely joined at the hip to current leadership. The voters should fill this appointment given the length of the term remaining. To the council you still have time to rewrite the final chapter of this tale. I suggest you do the right thing and stop playing games. Let the people speak and accept the outcome.
A Concerned and Vested Citizen,
M. Cecilia Cuevas
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Hhh
In response to Gayle Washburn’s Letter to the Editor:
For the Benefit of the Public:
Expenses increased from 2009 and 2010 totaling almost $3 million, while it is true that expenses have increased, what you represent still does not cover the total increase to the $3 million. 2010 Expense increase = $1,300,000.00 based on your numbers; $1,000,000.00 was accounted for, for 2011 Expenses increased by $1,600,00.00 compared to 2009 (all number rounded to hundred thousand) again based on your numbers $1,000,000.00 accounted for (I believe but am not sure because you did not break it down by the year). Thus, there is still $900,000.00 (total for both years) still unaccounted for. Additionally, your numbers do not account for the 18% reduction in employee salaries, the 20% reduction in labor hour expense due to Furlough days, the reduction in expenses by a 25% reduction in workforce (25% reduction seems low due to open positions at city hall that have not been filled), and finally the reduction in employee benefits.
Since, as you say Salaries are one of the city’s biggest expenses the city has, than the actual expenses are significantly higher than what you are representing with your data. I would strongly suggest that you take another look at your expenses and determine how these reductions have affected the tax payers when expenses are apparently out of control. Since, you discuss pension and benefits, how much does the city manager pay to these accounts? My understanding is that the tax payers are paying all of her benefits and retirement.
Lastly, A mid-year budget review would indicate that the city manager and council made adjustments to the budget due to declining revenues, lawsuits and other increases in expenditures. When the city manager was asked about recommendations by Patti Walker and Steve Conway I believe her response was that she preferred to wait until the end of the budget cycle to make changes. Thus, your statement of a mid-year budget review was more of a "state of the city" address, in my opinion. I firmly believe that going forward the city council should request monthly financial statements and/or analysis be conducted, a true mid-year budget review should be conducted as well as a review of the cost of out of town consultants compared to the in town laid off employee should be conducted. I feel that these few steps could help to avert any additional budgetary gaps and will allow the city council to gain knowledge and data with regards to the effectiveness of its decisions.
Regards
Douglas Tucker, Fillmore Citizen

To the Editor:
Several years ago our then City Attorney, Roger Myers, gave me $50 to buy pies for needy families that could use the help with their Thanksgiving Dinner. Since then I have had donated “Pie Money” given by more people each year. These are people that aren’t going to be home for the Holiday or not able to take a pie on their trip.
Last year we changed the plan to give the pies to the Senior Center for their Thanksgiving Lunch and for The Meals on Wheels. It has worked very well.
So thanks to all that have given in the past and the ones that donated this year:
Marge Le Bard, Martha Gentry, Bev Gage-Haase, Kristy Dunst (San Cayetano teacher), Jim Herbert, Don Downey, Chris and Ernie Villegas, Helen and Doug Shaw, Kathy and Jim Le Bard, Jennifer Fitzpatrick (FHS teacher), Pam Garcia and Trinka Reynolds (Mortgage).
Raelene Chaney
Grad Nite Live

 
Letters to the Editor
November 16, 2011

To the Editor:
There Should be No Rush to Appointment of Replacement for Patti Walker
I want to get right to the fact that I do not live within the city limits of Fillmore, but I do live in the area influenced by the decisions of the Fillmore City Council! I shop and recreate inside of the Fillmore city limits and because of, like Patti said, my zip code and mailing address is the City of Fillmore I benefit from it's successes and I suffer the embarrassment of the CC Council's actions! I would also like to point out that Gary Creagle does not live inside the city limits of Fillmore, but I would add, he has a lot to say about the City's business and the Fillmore City Council seems to be influenced by what he has to say! I would also guarantee you that Patti Walker will also have an ear of one or more councilmembers and, in fact, Councilmember Sipes said publicly that he would be calling upon her for future advice! So with that behind us...
I did watch the regular meeting of the Fillmore City Council on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 on Channel 10. I was not surprised by Patti resigning from the CC since it appears she will soon be one of my neighbors, but I am surprised she did not resign long ago when she sold her house, rented another and entered into escrow on the home she will soon move into. Of course I don't have the time-line of her home selling and her entering into the purchase of the home in my neighborhood, but the rumors had been flying around for at least two months that she was the buyer and she has been seen often going up and down the driveway to the newly purchased home which was vacated at least two weeks ago by the sellers! I would assume since she intended to move outside of the city limits at least two months ago she should have mentioned that to her fellow CC members, City Manager and the City Attorney so that her vacant position could have been placed on the ballot for November 8, 2011. She must not have said anything for I am sure if she had the City Manager and City Attorney would have given Patti and the CC some different advice on how to fill the pending vacancy!
Well as they say that is all “water under the bridge” now to the purpose of my letter! I want to commend Councilmember Conaway for his awareness of the law and his courage to call the decision of Mayor Washburn to rush a meeting to discuss the appointment to replace Patti. I agree there is no rush for a replacement on such an important issue at such a critical time in the history of the City of Fillmore. My hope is that the CC sees the need for sincere thought on this topic and that those citizens who can vote on City matters speak out at the December CC Meeting where this will be discussed.
Richard A. Diaz
Fillmore

To the Editor:
Re: Letter from Doug Tucker on November 2, 2011
The statements made about fiscal irresponsibility are unfair and incorrect
I am familiar with our budgets and financial statements and have spent several years analyzing them. I serve on the Finance Committee and have prepared budgets and financial statements for several business and nonprofit entities As a citizen and taxpayer of Fillmore, my goal is to see that services are provided in an economically efficient manner. I believe that all on the Council have the same commitment.
I have contacted Doug Tucker to request clarification of his statements for the benefit of the public but have not yet received a response.
He stated that "…the CITY SPENT MORE IN 2010 and 2011 THAN IN 2009, this increase in spending was more than 3 million for both years…"
He also incorrectly stated "it would appear that they did not realize the country was in a recession and just kept spending our money recklessly", and, "the city doesn't do a mid – year budget audit to determine adjustments to the budget based on the city’s financial status", and, "the City Manager has the power to write her own contract". Facts: 1. Nobody is spending money recklessly. 2. We do a mid-year budget review every year. 3. The City Manager has no power to write her own contract.
As far as the 2009, 2010 and 2011 financials, here are the documented numbers. (There was nothing specific in the letter, so I am assuming he is referring to the General Fund)
2009-$5,621,522; 2010-$6,939,707; 2011-$7,213,216; 2012-$5,887,559.
Yes, spending increased in 2010 and 2011, but was not irresponsible. The total increase is $1.3 million. The increase in 2010 is due to $325,000 for insurance on the sewer plant, 2 Rivers Park and swimming pool. An additional $375,000 was for sales tax agreement and other litigation fees. The City also had to shift costs from the RDA to General Fund and fund paramedic stipends. As far as spending, most of our expenses go to salaries and benefits. We have cut those expenses in the last two years with layoffs and pay cuts. We have asked employees to pay part of their pensions and health care insurance that will generate savings now and in the future.
There is a lot of information presented at the budget workshops and we ensure that all budgets and financial statements are available to the public on the city website. If you would like to see a spreadsheet with those years of expenses please email me at gaylewashburn@sbcglobal.net for a copy. The Council welcomes input and analysis from all citizens and we and staff are available to provide clarification or answer any questions. We ask that you seek the facts from the city before writing incorrect and misleading letters and false accusations.
Gayle Washburn
Mayor

 
Letters to the Editor
November 2, 2011

To the Editor:
Fiscally Irresponsible
The city council has placed on the November 8th ballot a measure to increase your sales tax by .75 cents per dollar. On its face this may seem like a necessary thing to bridge the gap in the city budget, however when one delves deeper into the situation you may be surprised to the how we ended up with the fiscal nightmare we currently face.
The city council urged voters to review the preliminary budget that was on the city’s website when they conducted the tax initiative meetings. When I review the budget I was surprised what I found. At first the information that was presented seemed to be accurate; the city was generating less revenue in both fiscal year 2010 and 2011. However, upon further investigation I found something perplexing, the CITY SPENT MORE IN 2010 and 2011 THEN IN 2009, this increase in spending was more than 3 million for both years. While Mr. Brooks has made a habit of stating that his predecessors mismanaged the city, how does he account for the spending of the money that his predecessors generated in reserve that the city has been tapping into for the past two years and will more than likely tap into this year? It would appear that the city council did not read the newspapers, listen to or watch the news. It would appear that they did not realize the country was in a recession and just kept spending our money recklessly.
The city budget for 2012 is based on projected numbers, not actual un-audited numbers; this makes it difficult to create a budget that is supposed to be based on past performance. Moreover, the city council does not request monthly un-audited actual financial analysis to help determine the state of the city. Additionally, the city council review the budget on an annual basis not, when it is very much indicated, to hold a mid – year budget audit to determine adjustments to the budget based on the city’s financial status. These simple steps could have helped to avoid our current financial situation.
Lastly, ever hear of the city of Bell fiasco? The city council placed too much power with the city manager who abused this power to the point of extreme corruption. You may ask what this has to with our current situation with Fillmore. For one Ms. Quiring has been given power to act in the interest of the city council to enter into and negotiate contracts, she has been given power to authorize check disbursements for the city’s check warrants. She was even given the power to write her own contract. To me the writing is on the wall. We are heading in the same direction as Bell. No system of checks and balances, unchecked power and authority given to the city manager, two letters of no confidence and city council that appears to be in way over their heads when it comes to understanding budgets, economics, and the like.
Please vote NO to the tax increase, please send this city council a message to end their plight to serve their own agenda and start serving the people of this town. They have been given our public [trust] and in turn we have bankruptcy, discourse and segregation. Let’s get this city moving back in the right direction. VOTE NO to the tax increase.
Douglas Tucker
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 27, 2011

To the Editor:
Thank you for your contribution of $100 to the Fillmore High School Arts Show. Contributions like yours are what make this event possible, especially in a year of so many budget cuts.
On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Departments, I thank you once again for your support of the arts.
Sincerely,
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair
Fillmore High School

 
Letters to the Editor
October 13, 2011

To the Editor:
THANK YOU FILLMORE CITY HALL! The Flag is up! God Bless Fillmore & The U.S.A.!
Joe Woods
Fillmore

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It’s time for “Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat”
Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat” is celebrating our 15th year in Ventura County. As one of the largest 4-H countywide events of the year, this community service project donates food to the many needy and hungry Ventura County residents through our beneficiary, FOOD Share.
FOOD Share is the only regional food bank that distributes collected food through a network of 240 certified charitable agencies. These agencies serve children, families in crisis, low-income seniors, the homeless, disabled and many others living within all the cities and communities of Ventura County.
4-H clubs in the City of Fillmore will be going door to door collecting canned goods and unopened packaged foods between the dates of October 15th to November 7th. We are unable to take any glass containers but do welcome fresh fruit such as oranges and lemons.
If everyone is able to give a little, it will add up to a lot!! Thank you for supporting Fillmore's 4-H clubs with your giving to this important community service.
Sincerely,
Rachel Lucio, event chairman
Sespe 4-H

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To the Editor:
I am a local teacher at Sierra High School, looking to spread the word about an exciting project I have been working on with my students. The Sierra High School community has been working hard to plan and implement a “Schoolyard Habitat Project,” at our school, in Fillmore, California. On November 1, 2011 we will be planting our habitat on a large area surrounding our campus. At 11:00 AM we will hold an all school assembly to celebrate this event. Local leaders and politicians have been invited to join the event. As a story that bridges education and the environment, I thought that you might be interested in covering this project and our planting day celebration.
The Schoolyard Habitat project at Sierra is funded by a grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife services in collaboration with The California Department of Education, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The grant provides support for planting native species on school grounds. Benefits of the project include water savings, runoff reduction and the creation of habitat for local and migratory species. Further, research has shown that using the environmental as a focal point of teaching improves student performance and helps students build the skills and attitudes necessary to become stewards of the environment. The Schoolyard Habitat project at Sierra High School represents a model of an innovative national program that is just beginning to be spread to schools throughout California.
Sierra High school is a continuation high school in Fillmore. The school serves approximately 80 students who have not been able to succeed in traditional high schools. The majority of Sierra High School students live below the poverty line, many are first generation immigrants and quite a few are the first in their family to attend high school. They must work to overcome myriad personal and academic obstacles on their journey to high school graduation.
Sierra students have been involved in all stages of the Schoolyard Habitat project. Participation in this project has offered students an opportunity to engage with academic curriculum in a meaningful way. Further, it has given them ownership and pride in their school. At Sierra High teachers strive to build students’ intrinsic motivation to succeed. This project represents these efforts.
On planting day the Sierra High School community will all take up shovels to put plants in the ground. At 11:00 AM the school and community members will gather for a school assembly in the courtyard. Staff, students and guests will give brief speeches to celebrate the students’ hard work. We would be honored if you would be interesting in covering this story and/or attending this event.
If you are interested in covering this story, or have any questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to contact me at the email address below.
Sincerely,
Laura Todis
Laura Todis, Science Teacher
Sierra High School

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To the Editor:
Go Fillmore Flashes!
Dear Community Supporter,
2011-2012 School Year
Imagine.... you are sitting at a high school football game on a Friday night. You can hear the band playing from 3 blocks away. The stadium is packed with spectators when all of a sudden your name roars over the loud speaker in support of The Fillmore High School’s Marching Band and Color Guard!
Teamwork....is what it takes to have a successful band program. Our team consists of reliable students, committed parents, generous community sponsors and an extremely dedicated Band Director. When you were in high school do you remember that one class, sport or club that you lived for? Well, our Fillmore Elementary, Middle and High School band members have the same desire to be the best and show school pride! Beginning in Elementary school, they have the opportunity to show this through various concert events. When they reach High School, they are able to participate in Halftime Shows and Competitions!
The facts....We need you on our team! Our Band-related annual expenses are approximately $20,000 (or more). This money is used to provide instruments, music, equipment, travel expenses, uniforms, props, competition fees, and much more. We fundraise throughout the year (our Fireworks booth is our main fundraiser, but you may have also had a Krispy Kreme donut or two at the Football games this past year, or perhaps you’ve purchased some Pierpont Jam …) In addition to purchasing fundraising items, we are asking that you consider joining us in the form of a monetary or item donation (see attached Wish List). The great thing about donating money (or contributing to, or purchasing, a wish list item) is that 100% of it goes to the Band Program! And, this year, we have more students than ever – 250+ at the Elementary level, 245 in the Middle School, 50 in the High School and 20 Color Guard members!
As we all know....the funds for public school arts programs are constantly being cut. That means the students and parents must raise the additional funds required for a successful year. We want to assure you that it is not our intention to simply ask for a hand-out, but for an investment in our greatest asset ~ OUR YOUTH. We are not only preparing these students to play music. We are preparing them to become extraordinary musicians, students and citizens. We emphasize the importance of team work, problem solving and personal responsibility.
It's easy....to sponsor Fillmore Band students. Please complete the following form and indicate whether you’d like to simply make a donation, donate to a specific item (or items), or pay for an entire item, or donate to a particular level (elementary, middle or high school). It has been our experience that business leaders appreciate the opportunity to join in local activities that promote positive youth involvement.
Thank You....in advance for your support of our band program! We appreciate it!
Fillmore Flashes Regiment Booster Club Inc
PO Box 1013 Ÿ Fillmore, CA 93016
Questions? Contact Lisa Hammond, Treasurer, at (805) 524-1697 or (831) 801-2276
Thank You for supporting Fillmore Flashes Regiment Booster Club!
Lisa Hammond

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To the Editor:
Re: Martin Farrell’s last two Realities; the last first: Farrell warns us of a “storm of discontent” indicated by a couple of his regular phantom posters on his web site and a letter from Vance Johnson. Farrell then goes on to acknowledge the cutbacks that have taken place at city hall because of the economic downturn. At the need to hire a management assistant replacement he then asks a rhetorical, “Why can’t our new manager and [city] clerk handle the job?” Farrell knows everyone is working their butts off to keep the City working, from the city manager to the lowest paid employee. And the city clerk we elected, Clay Westling, as the Fillmore peoples elected City Clerk he is their for us. He goes to work every day, and we pay him $25 every month. As far as I’m concerned, Farrell and his false rhetoric can go to hell.
Secondly, Farrell wants us to believe that Mayor Gayle Washburn is “incapable of distinguishing between news and opinion” because she so succinctly exposed the unethical practices of the Fillmore Gazette. News flash, Farrell: B.S. stinks, yours is especially odorous.
Bob Stroh
Fillmore

 
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

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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

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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

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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”

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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
Fillmore

 
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 ]

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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.
Sincerely,
Diane McCall