Letters to the Editor
August 14, 2019

To the Editor:
I have some questions I'd like answered or at least pondered. In today's political climate we are supposed to believe some very extreme ideas. One being, that there are White Supremacist lurking on every corner and preventing people labeled "People of color" from succeeding in life. It's been said so many times, over and over and over again; like the saying goes, you hear something enough times you begin to believe it. The constant buzz words: racist, bigot, xenophobic, homophobic, White Supremacist, blood on their hands, etc. are pounded into our ears. My question is "Is our failing education system caused by White Supremacist?" Is it because of White Supremacist that 75% of Black intercity boys can't read or do math at their grade level? Is it White Supremacists who are pushing Blacks to kill other Blacks or Browns? Is it White Supremacist who are causing millions of people to flood our border or overstay their visas? Is it White Supremacist who are creating the homeless in major cities throughout the country? Is it the White Supremacist who are attacking the police or shutting down free speech?
We have had some horrible mass shootings in recent days, one who proclaimed to be right leaning and the other leaning left. But, compare those to all the other killings here in California this month that didn't get the day after day media coverage and the later are practically forgotten. Those killings were practically ignored because the media couldn't put a political spin on it.
The fact is there's a huge amount of money to be made cashing in on failure; nonprofits through grants, politicians from both State and federal and schools. Public education from grammar schools to universities is a huge beneficiary of failure. Teachers unions protect the teachers, but not the students and it doesn't matter how badly students fail, the teachers still get paid and an increase every year that's often in their contract. A business would have a hard time succeeding with that model. Have you ever heard of a Mission Statement that read, "We fail, but will try harder." Those students that want to succeed should and could; but schools are not preparing them for success. It's profitable to have failure and labeling them victims; taking away any personal responsibility for success. Why does a certain political party wants you to think it's RACISM, WHITE SUPREMACISTS, BIGOTS, that are the cause?
Today even the poorest among us can afford to buy a completely cooked meal just about any time of day. They don't have to grow it, harvest it, cook it. No, they just have to buy it. Today we have a more prosperous life style than at any time in history; even the poor have it so much better. So why are politicians trying to divide us? Divide and conquer, it still works today. But they need an enemy. So why not the invisible White Supremacist? I'm still looking for them; they must be around the next corner.
Jean McLeod


To the Editor,
I was offered a teaching position at FHS in 2015. Although the salary offer was $10,000 less than my previous district, there I had to pay $800/month extra to cover healthcare costs for my wife and myself. Fillmore’s great health benefits, despite the lower salary offer, made working in Fillmore possible. I’m glad it did, because I love teaching in Fillmore!
In 2018, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. He was 7 weeks early and spent a week in the NICU, costing over $100,000. Thankfully, most of this was covered by my insurance.
However, in 2019, the District went from paying $1500/month towards my insurance to $1100/month, effectively cutting my salary by $4400/year. No reimbursement was offered for this pay decrease. Because of this, I reluctantly switched to a cheaper plan with inferior coverage. My wife and I are expecting another child in March 2020, but instead of worrying about baby names and nursery decorations, I’m worrying about my second child’s birth possibly costing me more than I pay for my mortgage in an entire year!
Should FUSD implement a hard cap on health benefits, I would again be stuck paying out of pocket for any further premium increases. Teacher salaries in Fillmore are the lowest in Ventura County, but great benefits helped to make up the difference. Changing that would be a pay cut for teachers that Fillmore can’t afford.
Michael Jennings
FHS teacher, FUTA member


To the Editor:
I am a teacher and two-time cancer survivor who has benefited greatly from our existing insurance coverage. In 2012, I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, requiring 62 radiation treatments and 6 chemotherapy sessions simultaneously over a 31-day period. In 2017, I had a foot of my large intestine removed due to colon cancer. The cancer has been destroyed and removed, but the lingering effects of the treatments have badly damaged many other functions of my body, requiring multiple scans and tests every month. Last month, I spent three days in the hospital due to pneumonia caused by neuropathy from these treatments.
I share this to illustrate the importance of insurance for everyone. Imagine if an insurance cap was suggested for members of the school board. Would they still be as interested in the position? This is what is on the table for all teachers – not district administrators, not principals… just teachers, the professionals who are directly responsible for the education of our community’s youth. If the district is so intent on saving money, why isn’t this cap applying to everyone?
John Wilber, our amazing principal at the high school, is very fond of the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in this world.” So, are district administrators and board members willing to be this change? Are they willing to cap their benefits? If not, why not? Their answer will be the same as ours.
Josh Overton, proud Fillmore High School teacher.


Letters to the Editor
August 7, 2019

To the Editor:
Fillmore Unified needs to show its teachers that it values, appreciates, and respects their dedicated commitment to our district. Our community should know that FUSD teachers’ compensation ranks LAST of fifteen school districts in the County while administrators rank highest. Teachers are leaving for other districts and careers.
Students’ lives are positively shaped by the dedication of hard-working, engaging teachers in our community. Our own daughter began her K-12 FUSD school career at Piru Elementary. Our family became multi-cultural by hosting AFS international students who each spent one special year at Fillmore High School. I have the unique perspective of seeing our community teachers through the eyes of exchange students. They were impressed by the caring attitude of our teachers. Contrasting what they are used to in their home countries, Fillmore teachers are genuinely interested in their students personally and academically. These interactions positively impact future decisions.
Mr. Sebek’s lunchtime math assistance helped our student who pursued further studies in business. Ms. Huxtable had engaging science lessons. Mr. Anderson encouraged our German daughter’s writing while inspiring her with history. She changed her career interest from law to teaching. Mock Trial, drama, swim, soccer, volleyball, track, and softball coaches made the American high school experience extraordinarily memorable.
Teachers make the difference! Our School Board and Superintendent must acknowledge and support the positive impact Fillmore’s dedicated teachers have on the lives of our diverse student population. Show you value your teaching staff! Provide what they deserve: salary and benefits without a cap that are balanced equally or greater with the median of districts in Ventura County.
Sandra Butts
19 years Fillmore Teacher and
FUTA member


To the Editor,
Under LCAP, FUSD’s goal is to attract, hire, support, and retain high performing staff. Over the last four years, FUSD has hired and trained 91 educators from classroom teachers to school counselors, psychologists and other employees who work directly with students. During the same period, 73 FUSD educators have resigned both tenured and non-tenured positions. These include professionals who were newly hired, or chose to leave after working in Fillmore for years. This past school year alone 18 educators were hired in FUSD, yet 23 have resigned before this current school year has even started.
Retaining high quality professionals means students learn in classrooms with teachers who stay and grow careers here in Fillmore. This benefits students with consistency in classrooms and educators veteran enough to have a refined craft. It is alarming, as both a parent of FUSD students, and as a 20-year employee of FUSD, to see so many educators leave our schools.
While we don’t know the reasons why so many professionals have left FUSD, it’s possible to speculate that many moved on to districts with more competitive salaries given Fillmore’s rank of 15th out of 15 districts in the county. Some may have chosen to leave for districts that offer more quality, less restrictive benefits for the needs of their families, and still others in search of more supportive and collaborative leadership. Fillmore students deserve educators who will stay and it’s time our school board and leadership took notice and work harder to keep quality teachers in Fillmore.
Tammy Ferguson
Fillmore Unified teacher, FUTA president


Letters to the Editor
July 31, 2019

To the Editor:
Not long ago I was a student of Fillmore Unified. Growing up in Fillmore was a wonderful experience and being a student in FUSD, even better. What made school so great was my love for learning, but mostly the teachers I had in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Teachers that remained here for multiple years and stayed until retirement. They inspired me to become a teacher here in Fillmore. I took their advice, collaborated with them, and gave back to my community in a positive way. I wanted nothing more than to share with our students what was given to me.
Unfortunately, Fillmore has changed for teachers. Retaining quality educators has become increasingly difficult. While I am still a teacher in FUSD, I am saddened by the high turnover of quality teachers leaving the district for higher pay and benefits. These teachers aren’t being selfish or ungrateful. They are leaving so they can provide a better life for their families. Fillmore teachers use the same standards as all California teachers, attend staff development opportunities to better their craft, and spend hours above and beyond the school day, yet they are 15th out of 15 districts in salary for Ventura County. Fillmore teachers are not asking for the moon; rather, a fair increase in pay and equal benefits. My hope is that the community of Fillmore understands and supports great teachers staying here. Our mission has always been to give students of Fillmore the best education so they can thrive in the future.
Karen Lippert,
Fillmore Middle School Teacher

Letters to the Editor
July 24, 2019

To the Editor:
Surprisingly, there are two landmark places in Fillmore that are in jeopardy! -- within a month's time!
Declared Historic Landmark #156 - Arts and Science Buildings' defacements, and the second Historic Place is the Presbyterian Church, aka Fillmore Bible Church, which has been sold and they are turning the Church into a NON CHURCH! That is where the Apartments will be in the former Sonshine Christian School=26 apartments. The developer is named but there is no mention of the actual owner, who could eventually become an absentee owner! I only heard 24 hours before the Planning Commission re the Church and had little time to prepare some historical review comments and support the Cultural Heritage Board review status. This was the discussion at the Planning Committee. The Church is not a declared landmark, but is named in the 1983 Cultural Heritage Survey and as listed must be reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Board. However, Planning is not following all the steps, so the Cultural Heritage Board is not notified in order to review proposed historical projects.
If you want to see the entire 1983 Cultural Heritage Survey, you can visit the Fillmore Historical Museum and review it. The City should be using their copy for historic places in Fillmore. There is other documentation there at Museum you can review also.
In my presentation before the Planning Commission re Church, I told Chair in advance my comments, not part of the citizens' 5 min. complaint section, may extend a bit past 5 min. My presentation was a policy issue to include cultural heritage/historical viewpoint. Well, as you saw on TV or in person, they tried to squelch me in my presentation, but I did finish my speech and hope all of it was heard, despite the interruptions by the City Attorney, I believe.!
Kathie Briggs, Architecture Historian and, Former President of Fillmore Historical Society/Museum


To the Editor:
I have been a teacher in Fillmore for 29 years. I was welcomed by a warm, supportive staff when I was hired in July of 1990. I knew very few people, and I had just lost many of my family members. So Fillmore and the school became my family and my life. Over the years, I have taught hundreds of children to read, to learn foundational math skills, to be creative writers and thinkers, to be self-confident, to use a computer, to write in cursive, to work as a team on stage and on the playing field ( just to name a few things). I have worked hard to learn Spanish so that I can communicate better with my students’ families. I have given Fillmore my heart and soul. I have worked countless unpaid hours directing holiday productions, talent shows, tutoring children after school, rehearsing with them at lunch, creating curriculum with colleagues etc. Now, as I near retirement, it saddens and frightens me that I am getting a pay cut for my long years of service. Now, when we really need the health insurance, we have had to use most of our life savings paying out of pocket fees as I work even harder to keep up with the changes in the school system. I am being paid less, and asked to work more. Teachers are the backbone of our children’s future. We should be honored and paid fairly to keep up with the costs of living.
Lisa Gosselin
Third grade teacher
San Cayetano School

Letters to the Editor
July 17, 2019

To the Editor:
Re: Respecting and Protecting Fillmore's Locally Declared Historic Landmarks
When a building is officially declared a Historic Landmark by the Cultural Heritage Board, it encompasses all the guidelines and amenities that go with this declaration. This includes the Historic Preservation Guidelines as set forth by the Federal Department of the Interior/Parks. This information is sent down to the State, which in turn, sends the guidelines to local knowledgeable governmental agencies=historians. This process serves to preserve and protect the architectural integrity of the building.
When a landmark is declared especially to represent a particular time period as well as history, the exterior and facade appointments/decoration of the building are to remain untouched/intact. So the exterior is not modernized.
The Fillmore Union High School identical Arts and Science buildings, built in 1937-1938, were designated Declared Historic Landmark No. 156 in September, 1994. They are probably the most ornate Mediterranean architectural example buildings in Fillmore and represent the 1930's era. The School was in favor of the Buildings' designation. These buildings were named in the extensive 1983 Fillmore Cultural Heritage Survey of Historic Structures. E. H. Palmer even wrote his master thesis on the high school historical buildings!
So what happened? In about June, 2019, all the windows were seen boarded up in the Arts and later the Science Building. This is what occurred and is very drastic. It was observed the very many architecturally decorated raised iron bar grates at the many windows were torn out--with difficulty! Plans are to install modern windows (tinted? so that adds a different color--brown?-- to buildings!). Tinted windows did not occur in the 1930's. The brown tinted windows look is very pronounced and detracts from other decorations. The close window line-up will look like a permanent brown window stripe more than 1/2 the space of the sides of the wall around exterior of buildings. The iron grates need to be reinstalled. Windows being flush to the walls with no grates make the buildings' decorated entrances look overbalanced. All this work irreparably damaged the architectural integrity of the landmark. Returning alumnae will recognize the buildings do not look the same!
Since Declared Historical Landmarks have very specific Cultural Heritage guidelines, making parts of Arts and Science Buildings inexcusably modern diminishes its importance and the pristine architectural features example. It could affect the designated landmark status.
Overall, not showing care and concern, not following local guidelines' review, or not giving courtesy notice to Cultural Heritage Board of pending, planned work for Still Standing Landmarks representing Fillmore's History, is very sorrowful.
Kathie Briggs, Architectural Historian, Former President of Fillmore Historical Society/Museum


To the Editor:
Fillmore Unified must show teachers are valued employees whose dedication and talents are respected. To attract and retain qualified teachers is a motto of FUSD – make it a reality! Increase benefits from being the lowest in the County.
Fillmore teachers work tirelessly for student success; time reveals outcomes. I saw a former student a few years ago and he grinned and hugged me. Teachers impact students’ lives beyond our classroom year. Marcos was my student in the first 5th grade class I taught, and he’s become a computer technician!
Since kindergarten, his teachers nurtured and encouraged him for success, but he resisted. He explained to me that in high school he decided that he should be the first in his family to graduate. He worked with his counselor and teachers, improved his attendance, and completed assignments. He proudly stated that after graduating he began working with computers, and that he would like to advance to the next level. He was concerned that it would be challenging. I cheered him on assuring that he would do well taking college classes. I’d like to meet Marco again to learn what he is doing today.
I hope that our School Board and Superintendent recognize the positive impact Fillmore’s dedicated teachers have on the lives of our diverse student population. Show that you value your teaching staff and provide the benefits they deserve. Provide the salary and benefits without a cap that are balanced with the median of districts in Ventura County.
Sandra Butts
19 years Fillmore Teacher


To the Editor:
My roots are in Fillmore. I was born here, graduated from Fillmore High, and now am proud to teach here. I love my job and the wonderful students, staff, and the families I serve. However, the increases in health insurance costs and a lack of equitable salary have made me wonder whether I can afford to stay in Fillmore.
This past year, my health insurance increased by around $400 per month. Since I couldn’t afford this, I had to downgrade to a cheaper healthcare option. This leaves me and my family financially vulnerable whenever we need to see a doctor. And I have a child who has special needs who requires specialists.
Why has FUSD’s leadership continued to try to cut back teachers’ benefits and offer us the lowest salaries in the county? This strategy defies reason. They say they are dedicated to hiring quality teachers, but still act like we are not worth paying fairly. In contrast, Fillmore’s administration has the highest pay in the county and their benefits have increased.
I care deeply for Fillmore and its people. It pains me to write this letter because I want to assume the district cares about the lives of its teachers. My hope is that the leaders of FUSD will change course and offer us equitable benefits and salaries. If not, Fillmore will continue to lose quality teachers and hurt students.
Yours sincerely,
Erika Henderson, Rio Vista Elementary Teacher and FUTA member

Letters to the Editor
July 10, 2018

To the Editor,
In first grade the concept of fairness is difficult for students to understand. They can’t see it directly. It’s best taught using sharing or turn-taking activities to show students that being treated fairly and treating others fairly are essential skills to show others they are valued and respected.
The same is true for adults, and in this case, the members of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association. This year, FUTA members saw a 24% reduction in their health benefits that established an on-going savings for Fillmore Unified of $900,000, while premiums for management and classified staff increased 8.5%. Simultaneously, FUSD proposed a hard cap on future medical benefits for teachers, but failed to make that same proposal to classified staff and ultimately management who share the same medical coverage. For 2020, FUTA will not see a significant increase in medical benefits, while premiums for management and classified staff will increase by 14%.
The concept of fairness often means a shared responsibility, but it appears this is lost on district leadership. FUSD’s proposal to place a cap on FUTA health benefits, knowing that we had already taken a substantial hit to our coverage without making that same proposal to classified, and by default management staff, is unfair and inequitable. We don’t teach students about fairness by taking things away or asking one group of students to do all the work, but rather, to share the responsibility with relative equality. FUSD leadership seems to have more to learn about fairness than my students.
Kassie Chambers
Rio Vista Elementary School

Letters to the Editor
July 3, 2019

To the Editor:
This year will be the 13th Annual Mammoth Lakes Cross Country High Altitude Running Camp. The Fillmore High School Cross Country team takes a trip every year to Mammoth for an 8 day high altitude training course. Each member of the team that is invited must pay $400 to attend. As a team we try to raise as much money as possible by selling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and having car washes. It would help if we could get a little extra money in donations from our community to help pay for the trip. I am on the Fillmore High School Girls Cross Country Team and have attended the last 2 years, as a team we ran some difficult trails. This challenges the runner physically and mentally so we can become better runner’s that makes a better team. It is a very fun experience to be able to spend time with each other as a team and do different activities. Both the girls and boys team are very determined to do what it takes to become champions this upcoming season. This year we want to train hard in the summer to see better results. We want to go out, race and represent Fillmore.
If you would like to make a donation, please do so by making it out to Fillmore High School Cross Country Team and mail to P.O Box 672 Piru ca 93040.
Thank you in advance,
Vanessa Avila


To the Editor:
Good teachers are not staying in Fillmore. At the middle school alone this year, 8 out of 39 certificated staff have left for other districts. That’s 20% of our middle school staff. The FUSD school board and superintendent need to change this because it only serves to hurt our students.
Teachers who have dedicated their careers to the kids of Fillmore are not staying anymore. A board member previously stated in open session that Fillmore has “high tier and low tier teachers.” Granted, they retracted that statement afterwards, it still makes me think that if that is the feeling, then what is being done to attract better teachers? FUSD’s current salary and health benefits proposal does not do this.
FUSD must have competitive teacher salaries to keep quality teachers here. It’s just common sense. FUSD teacher pay compared to the other 15 districts in Ventura County is 15th. That’s right, our teachers are at the bottom for pay in Ventura County, while FUSD administrators are first in the county for pay. However, who is in the classroom with your kids’ day in and day out? The teachers. So why do Fillmore teachers have the least value?
To attract more hard working, excellent teachers who devote their careers to your kids it’s just common sense to pay a competitive wage or they just get a job in another district. Our students don’t deserve less than the best, help us be treated fair and equal, for Fillmore’s future.
One proud teacher of Fillmore’s kids,
Jennifer Beal, Fillmore Middle School Teacher, 2018 FUSD Certificated Teacher of the Year.

Letters to the Editor
July 26, 2019

To the Editor:
I want to write a short letter complimenting Ms. Cindy Jackson from Ocean Gold CBD for providing us with a CBD infusion for our dog McDuff. He is almost 13, and suffers from arthritis in his rear leg, which has slowed him down on walks and causes him to be depressed around the house. I spoke to our groomer, Andrea, and she suggested writing to Cindy, who carries a line of CBD infusions, the infusions have apparently helped with other dogs and horses, and I thought a low dose mixed with McDuff’s dinner might be worthwhile trying to see if it helps with arthritic pain. I checked with our Vet and she also thought it was worth a try and might be better than prescription medications with side effects.
After just a week, McDuff is again playing with his toys, and is walking more normally without the pronounced limp from the pain. He still has a limp when running, but his attitude is more curious, alert and positive. We see a definite improvement and feel happy to find a product that improves McDuff’s day.
Dave Levy,


To the Editor:
My name is Kelley Hess and I am a 14 year veteran in education and have been privileged to serve Fillmore’s students as a special education teacher for the last 6 years. Next to raising my own 3 children, advocating and facilitating learning for students with disabilities is the honor of my life. Similarly, I also serve as a member of the Fillmore Unified Teacher’s Association bargaining team.
My work as a special educator offers a unique parallel to the current impasse situation between FUTA and FUSD. It goes without saying that all educators work in collaboration and coordination with grade and subject matter colleagues for the benefit of students; but as a special educator, this is imperative. It is my responsibility to provide students with access to the general education curriculum in a manner that works for their varied individualized needs. Collaboration with general education teachers to modify and adjust content for student learning needs, consultation and coordination of services and learning goals with occupational therapists, behaviorists, speech pathologists, parents, and students all serve to benefit growth and progress over the long term and not something I am able to do with success in isolation. These collaborative processes are proof positive that when the cogs of collaboration work in sync across all areas, the results are remarkable and something I truly take pride in being a part of. Collaboration works well in my corner of education, but I am not convinced it is working in our current bargaining situation.
Let’s explore what it looks like to collaborate a little more closely. By definition, according to Merriam Webster, collaborate means “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.” Collectively, as a school board, as administrators, as educators, and as a community our goal must be to work jointly for the intellectual endeavor that is the success of the students of Fillmore Unified. Part of that intellectual endeavor means that in order to accomplish our goals, the mission that is Fillmore Unified, we must respect our professionals enough to keep and retain their talents here.
FUTA was prepared to collaborate and bargain as early as November of this recent school year when we sunshined our openers on October 2, but Fillmore Unified’s team failed to do so until late January, despite our requests to get started before then. Through the course of 8 negotiation sessions this year, rather than work jointly with FUTA to reach a middle ground that respects and values the efforts of all its professionals, our trustees and our district administration, on four separate occasions, offered FUTA the same 2.5% salary increase and hard cap on health benefits. FUSD possessed full knowledge that an unforeseen reduction in benefits beyond the district’s control resulted in a near $1 million dollars of on-going savings for the district and failed return that savings to FUTA members.
FUTA’s proposal for a 5% on schedule increase and status quo on health benefits pending the recommendations of the benefits committee is not unreasonable. It serves to fill the gap that FUTA members experienced with the dramatic change in costs and is respectful of the process of the current committee. Our trustees and our administration failed to provide another way for FUTA members to recoup what was lost because they have not been willing to collaborate with us to reach an agreement and jointly solve this problem. The FUTA bargaining team spent 8 instructional days away from students who need our talents only to be offered the same thing over and over again. Einstein had a name for that particular behavior, but still the FUTA team came to the table to address the district’s and school boards continued requests for collaboration for the benefit of students with good faith and our own well being at stake.
FUTA members are forever invested in the success of students, but we cannot continue to be committed to trustees and administration that fail to work with us. As employees of Fillmore Unified, we are directly connected to our trustees, administration, and community and we maintain a desire to cooperate for the direct benefit of Fillmore students. But that cooperation, and that collaboration must work both ways. Collaboration is not a one sided endeavor. Fillmore educators demand what is fair and equal for the benefit Fillmore’s future, our students, and we stand ready to work with both our trustees and the district’s team. When will they decide to collaborate and work with us too?
Kelley Hess,
Fillmore Middle School Teacher, FUTA member.

Letters to the Editor
June 19, 2019

Supervisor Kelly Long Statement on Santa Clara Wastewater Restitution
To the Editor:
“I was appalled to learn that full restitution has not yet been paid to the victims of the Santa Clara Waste Water (SCWW) facility explosion and subsequent fire that occurred at Mission Rock Road in November of 2014. This incident resulted in serious injuries to a number of employees and first responders. The SCWW agreement was released by the District Attorney and Attorney General’s offices on June 7, 2019. In reading through the agreement, I was extremely disappointed to learn the restitution amount of $2,647,621 is tied to the issuance of permits to reopen the site. Those that were injured have waited long enough and should receive their payments now without stipulation or constraints. If the site is to reopen, it should be considered on its own merits and with a full environmental review to ensure safety and transparency to our community.”
Kelly Long
Ventura County Supervisor, Third District


To the Editor:
Imagine a world where the letters A, B and O have gone missing. For example: _meric_n Red Cr_ss. You can’t help but notice that something is off. These aren’t just random letters. A, B and O are the letters that make up the major blood groups, and when there’s a blood shortage, types A, B, O and AB blood really can go missing from hospital shelves. This summer, the Red Cross will launch our second annual Missing Types campaign to encourage blood donations.
To help raise awareness for the need for blood donors, businesses, organizations and individuals across the country are joining the Missing Types movement by removing the A’s, B’s and O’s from signage, websites and social media. The goal of Missing Types is to get people to take notice and take action by donating blood.
The need for this campaign is real. Each year, more than 21 million blood components are transfused to U.S. patients, with the Red Cross providing about 40% of that supply. Despite blood’s lifesaving role, only 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. gives blood each year.
Blood donations help people undergoing cancer treatment, those receiving organ transplants, accident victims and other patients. As the Board Chair of the Ventura County Chapter of the Red Cross, there are so many people whose lives have been impacted, if not saved, by blood transfusions.
On behalf of the Red Cross, I’m inviting you to help fill the Missing Types by giving blood this summer.
Jayme Garone
Board Chair
American Red Cross of Ventura County


To the Editor,
I am a Fillmore resident and a graduate of Fillmore High School. I have 2 children that attend Fillmore schools: a senior and a 6th grader. I am a veteran teacher of 19 years with Fillmore Unified, a former bargaining chair, and the proud president of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association (FUTA). I am writing this letter representing many of the hats I wear: tax payer, parent, teacher and leader.
Last summer I had the distinct pleasure to go on a European tour with my son and some of his classmates from Fillmore High School. One stop we made was the Louvre in Paris. I was able to see many beautiful works of art such as the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is currently valued at $830 million. I was also fortunate enough to see Notre Dame Cathedral. A beautiful example of architecture. While the value of Notre Dame to the Roman Catholic Church and the art world is priceless, the estimated value before the fire was roughly $6.75 billion. Treasures such as these hold both financial and sentimental value to the world.
It’s easy to see the value in famous works of art and landmarks, so let’s think about the works of art our children and students create. We cherish them. We keep them on our fridge for months. How many of us have boxes or file folders full of art work that a child gave us? We keep them because they have a value to us that transcends monetary value. Bottom line, we value the greatest sculptures to the most simple macaroni covered plate. The same principle applies to people. Whether you are the President of the United States, a custodian, a CEO, instructional aide or the superintendent, you have value.
So how does one place value on dedication, work ethic and sacrifice? The school board has shown they value some employees by offering fully funded benefits and rewarding employees with salary increases. By capping insurance and not offering a raise that will offset the added expense of educator’s health benefits, they have given the message that FUTA members have less value than other employees. The school board has failed to show they value the members of FUTA. Just as all art has value, so do all who contribute to the education of our youth, our future. We dedicate countless hours to our profession. Our job is not a 9 to 5 job. We don’t just leave our classroom at the end of our contractual obligation and everything is done. We work nights; weekends and often sacrifice time with our families to prepare lessons, grade papers, fulfill district mandates, and lose sleep over students we are concerned about. How has the District leadership shown they value teachers, TOSA’s, counselors, nurses, coordinators, psychologists? Offering us a 2.5% raise and a hard cap on all our benefits does not make us feel valued. We make up approximately half of the work force for Fillmore Unified and yet we are expected to sacrifice the most. That does not show we are valued. The District reaped the benefit of the drastic decrease cost for the FUTA members health care plan for 2019. Current cost savings is a little over $900,000. Was that cost savings given back to the members who were impacted by that financial loss? No. It is an ongoing savings for the foreseeable future. Is the salary and benefits offer compensatory with what we lost? No. In actuality, what we are asking for isn’t even a raise. We are simply asking to be made whole. We are asking the District to give us the cost savings that they reaped but are now failing to honor the employees who were impacted by it. They need to show us that they value us. We need to be a priority not an afterthought.
Thank You
Tammy Ferguson
President, Fillmore Unified Teacher’s Association

Letters to the Editor
June 12, 2019

To the Editor:
The latest SCAM to hit Fillmore has been one involving Marie Wren and Dorothy Hunt who were contacted by e-mail to receive a senior grant from the Small Business Association where they could secure a large cash donation by paying a mailing and processing fee.
The original e-mail was sent to Marie by her friend Dorothy who said this was all legit and she had already gotten her cash money. The dubious Marie kept asking questions and soon decided to connect with Dorothy in person to verify “the facts” about the proposition. At that time both discovered the e-mail did not come from Dorothy, Marie never paid the fee to secure this wonderful wad of cash and no one was hurt.
Both Dorothy Hunt and Marie Wren are afraid that their names may be used by the scammers to try and involve others in Fillmore who know them. They want everyone to know they are not a part of this scam and to always be cautious because “if it is too good to be true” it probably is fake. If you have questions, call or talk directly to your friend to verify if any offer is authentic. Friends help friends stay out of trouble in scams and do not assume anything on your phone or computer is authentic. You never need to pay cash to secure a grant.
The Small Business Association is a well known reputable group but now posts over 15 illegal scams using their name, so buyer beware.
Marie Wren, Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
June 5, 2019

To the Editor:
By way of background, I grew up in Thousand Oaks. I began piano lessons when I was four, then added ballet, tap, Spanish, and cartooning. I also played soccer, participated in Girl Scouts, and so on, all in elementary school. I’m the kind of parent who knows a well-rounded education helps you in the future, because thereafter I attended La Reina, Westlake High, and graduated summa cum laude from Cal Poly. My law degree is from Lewis & Clark, and I’m a partner in the largest law firm in Ventura. I’m only telling you these details because I’m probably the kind of parent who would enroll my kids in private school or send them to Moorpark, as many of my peers have done.
But I don’t. I keep my kids in Fillmore public schools because Fillmore schools make me proud and have incredible opportunities. More important, there’s a spirit here that doesn’t exist anywhere else. The community is simply heartwarming.
Walking up to the all-elementary school band concert on Tuesday, I felt a sense of warmth for Fillmore families like the heavily-tatted man entering in front of me who held his daughter’s flute in one hand, and her hand in the other. Her hair was curled and in a sparkly ribbon. I also followed moms in scrubs, families who brought everyone from grandmas to uncles, little girls in softball gear, men in ties, and men in T-shirts. In this diversity, as families, we were all unified for our kids, and I felt this glow of appreciation for our town. I love Fillmore.
People are nice here. If your kid is in something, you have to show up early to get a seat. There is no cynicism, only participation. It’s glorious.
My fourth grader began band with Mr. Morey this year, and as someone who had to hear the loud trumpet practice, over the months, I could tell she was getting better.
But hearing all those kids at once? Wow, just wonderful. I heard the happy murmur in the crowd when the tiny Piru choir sang “Remember Me” from Coco. The way the beginning and second year bands played basics to more advanced stuff with gusto. While I watched my kid’s cheeks puff like Louis Armstrong, I saw other parents doing the same for their kids.
It was just so good. So, so good. They sounded wonderful. Kudos to all involved and thank you for providing this opportunity to our students.
Then tonight, we attended Mr. Spaulding’s musical play. More wow. How many elementary school students in the country are blessed with a teacher who writes plays and songs? Charming, challenging, winsome, and amazing. I’m so glad my daughter was part of this.
People don’t know these opportunities are here in Fillmore. People should know. Because they’d be blown away at how ten and eleven year old kids can play instruments, sing dozens of songs, memorize lines, and perform.
Please keep these things going. As a parent, I appreciate them so much. Thank you.
Leslie McAdam


To the Editor:
I bought the Book by Gregg Jarrett. Russian HOAX, as you suggested. (Martin,, "short Read"? My eyes are crossed.)
First though I want to acknowledge my understanding of your writing three weeks ago with regard to the FBI,NSA CIA etc. being criminals. Only some of the top brass seem to fit that view. Thank you for your clarification.
You may be assured that I accept and understand that President Trump is the duly elected President and that any concern I have of Russian interference is solely their having the ability to hack in to our democratic system. Two counties in Florida have acknowledged they were hacked by Russia. I am not looking at this mess to unseat President Trump.
Again the fore fathers set up our written Constitution knowing there would be difference of opinion. So you have got to get over the Democrats, the constitution did not say if it pleased us, it is what it is. I am centrist I do not like either Parties stance on the whole. I vote for issues and people based on what I see as the best for America.
"The Russian HOAX " really brought out the (Clinton) seriousness of the server in Hillary's home, and the classified data on it. It shared the many contributors of doubtful integrity, It is clear there was no collusion, by the President, Thank God.
Obstruction of justice, if not a part of the 2016 to 2018 findings, then most certainly today.
Too many daily occurrences of interfering with congressional committees rightful over sight functions and responsibilities" Too many that are obstruction, It sends the View that the President thinks he is all powerful, and he is not.
That stance concerns me because it diminishes his position with regard to integrity, and his understanding of Functions and Responsibilities derived from the Constitution.
With all the referenced Statute and Federal code's it sure shows that Hillary got by charges, That should have been brought. Details that I believe the public did not get the full clear depth of the issue. Only bits and pieces of the events. the book set this right out front.
As you shared about using the New York Times not being one of your favorites, I have a similar view of FOX News. Well before there was a candidate Donald Trump.
So Mr. Jarrett, for me, should not reference FOX News it stains his choices of source.
Thank you for your time and views
Raymond S Brown Sr.

Letters to the Editor
May 15, 2019

To the Editor:
I cannot find a way to put your name in my letter greeting..
Your latest May 10 realities is way out of line and unlike your thinking as we have come to know you.
The forefathers established our political parties and wrote the Constitution to provide for difference of thinking and values.
Liberals, Conservatives, neither by that plan hold a dominant position over the other.. Neither is more right than the other. A better way for Americans is if we unite and recognize we by plan will have differences.
It concerns me to hear you say that the "FBI,CIA,NSA,IRS, and their top employees with the Democratic party have proven themselves criminal"
Absolute nonsense! that complete group of organizations are the elite Men and Women who protect this country . Highly educated and dedicated to America. To have the view that they are all criminals, is about the same as the Patient who visits a psychiatrist and tells him "it is not me who is crazy it is the rest of the world"
With regard to Hillary Clinton although there is this issue of Russian interference in our election that may have cost her the Presidency, that is all. It is quite clear that the investigation was caused by the Russian interference and so many of the Presidents Campaign officials having had contact with the Russians. We need to know, and no it is not concluded. Read the (Republican) Robert Mueller report Volume 2.
Ten listed potential obstruction of Justice by our President. those are not resolved.
They have along with the whole report, been temporarily put under Executive Privilege .
A.G. Barr: the only portion of the whole report that Barr is restricted from giving Congress the un-redacted report, are those areas where there is Grand Jury testimony or would unduly share names of those who are innocent. of any of this..
Barr did lie, did you watch his testimony? where he answered that he had no idea what Muller's view of his four page letter, was . As we now know he did know from a March letter he had received ( and he did not tell us about it) well before the date of his appearance with Congress. He is no saint. He is well educated but tarnished himself
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings were terrible and unforgiveable, Barr deserves no apology,.
I am astounded that so many well educated people have apparently come to the view that the Executive branch is all powerful, no one should question it.
Our forefathers set the Governing Powers at three elements. Executive, Congress, and the Supreme Court. None of them dictates or runs over the others. The Supreme Court is the final arbitrator of decisions as provided by law. They all have specific functions and responsibilities
I have written Chief Justice John Roberts via email. the question is, 'with today's American tenor", where it seems anything is up for change and questioning , "Why is the Supreme Court Waiting to be invited to join the issues shredding American civility and, values". The established process of running up through a series of levels of Court, is a waste of time and money when it is absolutely the Supreme Court who will have to make the calls. Particularly as they are set by the Constitution. False pretenses of understanding better than anyone else is boloney. Establishing policies , for example,, The Justice Department has a policy to not indict a President, contrary to the Constitution "Liberty and Justice for all" What happened to "Liberty and Justice for ALL. "? It does not say when it is convenient!
Do we need to rewrite the lyrics to our Pledge of Allegiance? and remove Justice for all ?
Does the Presidential oath of office need to strike out "I will preserve and defend the Constitution so help me God??" may be it should say, but just has it applies to me the Executive Branch ?
I do not think so. We did/do not want an autocratic system, or a king.
Congress has by Article 1 the power to subpoena whoever they see is needed for hearing information..
I am concerned that the Executive Branch is over stepping it's authority as provided by the Constitution, for Congress. investigations and subpoena power therefore are implied by Article 1, Section1 of the Constitution specifically for Congress. . It does not apply or provide for the Executive Branch to interfere. Oh Well here we go.
This has to come to a conclusion
It is time for the silent third of the United States governing authorities, The Supreme Court , to get involved and not wait to be invited, before there is another civil war.
We need by distinction of the Constitution for Congressional oversight, subpoenas to be honored, we need to let this fall where it may, by thorough review and over sight, we need this for America.
Raymond S. Brown Sr.,

Letters to the Editor
April 24, 2019

To the Editor:
The reason I am writing this letter is your April 17, 2019, comment on presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa undergraduate of Harvard, first-class honors in philosophy, politics and economics from Pembroke College, Oxford (Rhodes scholar), speaks 8 languages including English (Norwegian self-taught), Afghanistan veteran, 37-year old mayor of South Bend, IN for the last eight years. Religious and married. Whom God made gay. You do know that there is significant historical evidence that Aristotle, Socrates, Shakespeare, DaVinci, Michelangelo, and thousands of other remarkable human beings, including likely Abraham Lincoln, were homosexual or bi-sexual? Does this make them any less great?
It’s no one’s right to chastise you for your objection to the fact that Mayor Pete is gay, though your reaction to it seems extreme. It is just one aspect of a life lived well so far, a life of achievement, one devoted to public service and a willingness to serve further. True, Mayor Pete is not out there paying off porn stars, or separating children from their parents, or making the rich richer, or calling the Fourth Estate "enemies of the people,"or making up juvenile names for elected officials, or threatening our small farmers with bankruptcy under tariffs. No, Mayor Pete is offering for our consideration another way of looking at our country’s future. He appears to be resurrecting the Middle-America Social Justice Movement of the early 20th century. He may not be elected president, but his voice is worthwhile.
Close your eyes when he kisses his husband, Martin, if love offends you. And if you are troubled by the fact that he sees himself as the “wife” in the relationship, perhaps he just honestly thinks he’s the stronger partner. I’m not sure why it should matter to you. I think God can probably handle the soul of his child, Mayor Pete of Indiana.
Kelly Scoles, Fillmore


To the Editor:
Wednesday, April 24th, one of the saddest days I will ever experience. Our small community lost a treasure as Fillmore Christian Academy closed the doors. It has been my personal pleasure to work alongside this institution for 19 years as the director of Sonshine Preschool. Many of the students began their education experience at the preschool making the seemingly effortless transition into Mrs. Morgan’s kindergarten class. It was a privilege to watch these students transform, mature and graduate from preschool to elementary to Jr high.
The working environment between the preschool and the academy was indeed rare. We worked together so well that most of the community believed we were one school, not independent of one another.
Sadly as Fillmore Christian Academy sought to find another home, as the church on
Central Ave has sold, it was not to be. Between finding a welcoming establishment and then fulfilling the requirements of the City of Fillmore it was more that this little institution could achieve.
Thank you Fillmore Christian Academy for 26 years serving the Lord, the community and for all the love and lessons bestowed upon the students, parents and staff both past and present.
Joanna Van Why, Fillmore

Letters to the Editor
April 17, 2019

To The Editor:
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who contributed to the success of Fillmore High School's 21st annual arts show “Wild at heART”. It takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work, dedication and talent to coordinate an event such as this. Thank you to Fillmore Lions Club for your donation which helped to make this event possible. Thank you to Mr. Wilber for your continuing support of the visual and performing arts program at Fillmore High School.
Thank you to the staff and teachers at FHS who supported the student’s efforts and allowed students to take part in hanging the show. To the custodial staff of Fillmore High school- thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to help . Thank you to the students who stayed late to break down the show and clean up after the event. I am so appreciative of your help.
Special thanks to Mr. Greg Godfrey and the fantastic members of the Fillmore High School Concert Band, Jazz Band and Los Rayos Mariachi Band who played at the event. The musical concert helped to make the evening a resounding success. Thank you to Ms. Lourdes Juarez and the Ballet Folklorico dancers. Thank you to Mr. Josh Overton and the outstanding performances of the Drama students. Thank you to Mr. Randall Kamradt for sharing your student’s videos. Thanks to Jason Corona director of Child Nutrition Services for mentoring student chef Gabriel Quezada
Thank you to the parents and the community who attended the show and helped to make this a special night for the students. Last, but not least, to all the student visual artists, musicians and dancers who put in numerous hours preparing for this event, hosting and cleaning up after a long day and night- especially my art students and former students who came back to help- thank you- without you there couldn't be a show. I am very proud of all of you.
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Fillmore High School, Visual & Performing Arts Department

Letters to the Editor
March 13, 2019

To the Editor:
Early Saturday, March 1st, an arsonist tried to set fire to the Garage display building at the Fillmore Historical Museum. It was rainy and very wet and the fire took until 9 a.m. to smolder before it really caught fire. Thanks first to volunteer, Susan Hopkins, who saw the smoke and called 911. Then our gratitude to the very quick and efficient local fire department who made quick work of putting it out. Finally, thanks to the sheriff’s deputies who, using our video feed, were able to identify and then apprehend the person who was responsible. We are lucky in Fillmore to have such great professional public servants and museum volunteers.
Martha Gentry, Executive Director, Fillmore Historical Museum

Letters to the Editor
Febraury 27, 2019

To the Editor:
Thank You, Fillmore Lions Club
Our community is blessed to have such caring, generous, and dedicated men and women who strive to do good at every opportunity.
The Fillmore High School Drama Club would like to thank the Fillmore Lions Club for their continued support. Your donation will contribute to the education of young performers here in Fillmore, as it has for many years. Using past donations, FHS Drama has purchased new lighting and sound equipment, giving our actors the opportunity to learn the technical side of the performing arts. The funds have also been used to purchase tools and raw building materials, allowing our students the opportunity to develop important, hands-on, set design and construction techniques. The Lions Club donations over the years have allowed us to focus on the creation of art rather than the distraction of scrambling to raise funds every year. This year, your generosity will help fund our next production – keep an eye out for the announcement!
Thank you, Fillmore Lions Club!
Josh Overton – FHS Drama Teacher and Director and 97 grateful drama students.


To the Editor:
What do we know about Fillmore Middle School?
Parents take a minute to speak to your child son/daughter!
City of Fillmore only has one Fillmore Middle School.
1. Question: How many children attend Fillmore Middle School?
Answer: Too many!!
2. Question: How many staff supervisors on campus? During lunch and breaks?
Answer: Not enough supervision, low supervision/under staffed!!
3. Question: How many fights occur on campus?
Answer: Too many, majority fights aren’t reported, only few that they know about!!
4. Question: How many incidents of bullying on campus?
Answer: Too many!!
5. Question: How many incidents of peer pressure on campus?
Answer: Too many!!
Too many is too many, enough is enough!
Fillmore School District is spending thousands and thousands of dollars for laptops for our children at the Fillmore Middle School, great, very great! But what about these issues? Bullying, peer pressure, fighting? What about these issues? They won’t disappear or go away, they will continue and continue. So I say enough is enough!!
Fillmore Middle School is understaffed, low staff!!
I ask parents, we need to be aware of what goes on at the Fillmore Middle School and this is what goes on? Low staff/under staffed.
Negligent supervision at Fillmore Middle School.
Veronica Garcia

Letters to the Editor
February 20, 2019

To the Editor:
Your Editorial of February 17, 2019
I almost made it through your February 17 mini-editorial without groaning. But once I started, that pesky curiosity got the better of me.
Religion is a touchy subject as you undoubtedly found out last week after your earlier rant on the Vatican. Since you think that experience of religion is essential to bona fides in this matter, I will disclose that I too, was a Roman Catholic from birth, a graduate of Catholic grammar, high school, and Santa Clara University. I was in fact a sister in Dominican Convent, San Rafael, leaving as a novice. My disputes with the Catholic Church have to do with faith and I won’t bore anyone with the particulars.
I have read your opinions for years, so I know that you have at the very least remained silent on all manner of Church activity over the last 25 years. No calls for Cardinal Mahony to step down when he ritualistically concealed thousands of cases of sexual abuse by priests in California or tried to cheat his church gravediggers for honest pay. No condemnation of requests from the archdiocese for parishioner’s money to cover legal costs related to the abuses (let the cardinal sell off his mansion to cover those costs and live Christ’s life). No demand that Pope Benedict resign for his coverup of all manner of corruption including toleration of sexual abuse.
No, Martin, what gets your goat is that Pope Francis appears to be trying to shed a light on the failures and excesses of the Church, is trying to remove the veil from the secrecy from the Vatican, appears to be more concerned with social justice than preserving the reputation of the Holy See. And he’s got his work cut out for him with millennia of unchecked power to contend with, but he knows what the message of Christ was and is. And that involves love, forgiveness, and hope, and a people-centered, not clergy-centered, belief system. Yes, the Protestants got some things right.
Pope Francis parted the curtains on the Vatican and now, suddenly, he is responsible for all the ills of the Catholic Church of the modern era (sorry, Second Vatican is also complicit). You would, I think, far prefer he had never touched those curtains and the power of the hierarchy had never been challenged. I’ll bet they feel the same way in Vatican City ; just ask Theodore McCarrick who was not only removed from the list of cardinals, but was recently defrocked by Francis, i.e., he cannot exercise his priestly ordination for the remainder of his life as punishment for his sexual abuses.
Don’t start crying crocodile tears over the sins of the Church now. Pope Francis is not doing enough fast enough to cure its ills! He must resign! That’s not what really ticks you off, Martin. What gets to you is that this Pope is sounding like he’s not only principled, he is actually trying to exercise those principles! And, in doing that, he demonstrates suspicious tendencies. Sometimes he sounds like…..a Christian liberal. That’s why you’re grinding your teeth: that two-thousand year-old message of “love over law.” Such a betrayal.
- Kelly Scoles, Fillmore, CA

Letters to the Editor
January 30, 2019

To the editor:
What is going on at the Middle School? As any parent can tell you, administration is no where to be found, and inmates run the asylum! Does anyone ever see the Principle? He must be ghost because parents never see him. Who is this guy and where he come from? Why isn’t the staff doing anything about all the disrespectful kids? Just visit the school during lunch, you’ll see what I mean. No Principle any where. He must have alot more important things to look after than discipline at school.
S. Mubrev
Concerned Fillmore Community Member

Letters to the Editor
January 2, 2019

To the Editor:
I nearly fell off my chair reading your comments on the President pulling troops from Syria.
I know you are an avid president admirer. Thank you for your honest view!
To a degree I have my arenas of support. Foreign policy with Mr. Trump is not one of them.
His absolute lack of knowledge is so apparent that even a camp fire girl can see it.
In the beginning of his campaign and presidency he touted "MY GENERALS" and brought four to five into his administration. He said any conflicts/wars would be better understood and handled by the generals, he would not hold the reins, they would.
I felt any lack of experience with the Worlds order, and many issues of our worlds contentious/adversarial countries, would be identified and addressed, by Military educated Men and Women.
His North Korea non nuclear deal has fallen apart. Russia now has new age bombers in Venezuela; most of our allies are in distrust of the United States.
When you visualize the Commander in Chief mantel he wears, it leaves me with great concern with regard to his hip shooting uneducated, pre-dominate nature, (for World affairs and defending the Unite States of America.)
My problem is his daily contradicting of his previous pronouncements.
Now your Syria view. OMG yes, USA leaves, Turkey attacks our Kurdish allies and slaughter them.
Russia, Iran, Asad Syria consume the rest of the Syrian State. What country is right next door that they all want gone. Israel , even Iraq could get drawn into the tribe, they just told us to leave.
I think that this is a disastrous mess looking for the opening.
Would Trump go to Israels defense, our ally, he is ditching all the others?
Raymond S Brown, Sr.
Fillmore Ca.

Letters to the Editor
December 26, 2018

To the Editor:
Isn’t interesting that the resurfacing and repairs on our two state highways (126 & 23) started just before the vote on the proposition to stop the gas tax increase. Highway 23 was previously resurfaced just a few years ago and was still in good condition. Now we have new bumpy pavement from the bridge to Pasadena Avenue. Resurfacing was a big price to pay just to get a back massage while driving to Bardsdale..
Bob Morris