2012 Fillmore City Council Candidates (l-r) Manuel Minjaras, Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker, Gayle Washburn. Not Pictured, Sandy Pella.
2012 Fillmore City Council Candidates (l-r) Manuel Minjaras, Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker, Gayle Washburn. Not Pictured, Sandy Pella.
Enlarge Photo
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

Each election year The Fillmore Gazette sends out a number of questions for the candidates to publicly answer, giving the community a chance to make an informed decision on election day. This year we will provide them with seven questions, one a week. The answers will appear in the Gazette, placed in alphabetical order the first week and rotating each week after.

Question #1 - "What personal, business or government experiences qualify you to be a good council candidate? How would your election to a seat make this a better city council?"

MANUEL MINJARES:
From a personal stand point, I feel my neutral demeanor, communication skills and love for this town will be great assets to the City Council. Additionally, raising a young family in Fillmore also gives me a significant incentive to put my best effort forward to ensure that I do my part to make this a safe, economically sound, and thriving town with recreational opportunities for residents of all ages.
From a professional standpoint, I feel my combination of education and professional work experience have helped me develop a unique skill set that I feel qualify me as a strong City Council candidate. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning from California State University Northridge and have worked in the Planning and Policy Division of the City of Los Angeles’ Housing Department, City of El Monte and City of Fillmore Planning Departments. These positions taught me how to work effectively with the public, present well written reports at public hearings, and understand how all departments within City Hall work together to efficiently serve the community. In addition to my work at City Hall I’ve been coaching, officiating, mentoring youth sports officials, and assisting with the management of the gym for the Fillmore Youth Basketball league since 2005.
I currently supervise 28 employees and oversee the day to day operations at 24 affordable rental communities with over 1,500 units in Ventura County as a Property Supervisor for CEDC.
It is my belief that my election to a seat on the City Council will bring a sense of balance, common sense and professionalism. I understand that the challenges facing our community at this point and time are daunting however I truly believe my natural talents and acquired skills will have an immediate and positive impact on the council that will help steer our town back on track.

RICK NEAL:
I was raised in CONTINUED »

 
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

[Editorial Note: Last month, Fillmore City Clerk Clay Westling refused to accept candidate statements from Douglas Tucker and Manuel Minjares which would appear on the November ballot. Westling demanded changes to unobjectionable wording. Below are the before/after statements. The question is – was politically motivated bias shown against the candidates by the present City Clerk?]

Manuel Minjares
REFUSED STATEMENT: The City of Fillmore is and has been facing significant hurdles in all aspects of City governance. Parks and community facilities face closure, local residents have been laid off in favor of high priced out town consultants, businesses have left and commercial vacancies continue to linger. Our city attorney has been removed and replaced with more expensive legal counsel and our sewer treatment plant operator may soon be replaced which can lead to dire financial consequences in the future.
Getting the City back on solid financial ground, keeping our cherished parks and community facilities open and attracting new businesses will be the main goals of my tenure as a City Council member. I understand that this will not be an easy task. However I feel that my love for this community, previous experience as a city planner for Fillmore and present experience as a property supervisor have afforded me with the technical and communicative skills to be the City Council member our town needs. Together we can make a difference in our community. I respectfully ask for your vote.
ACCEPTED STATEMENT: The City of Fillmore is and has been facing significant hurdles in all aspects of city governance. The choices we make today will chart our path for years to come. I feel that my love for this community, previous experience as a city planner for Fillmore, present experience as a property supervisor, and manager of the Fillmore Youth Basketball League have afforded me with the technical and communicative skills to be the City Council member our town needs. Together we can make a difference in our community. I respectfully ask for your vote.
La Ciudad de Fillmore está y se ha enfrentado a obstáculos significativos en todos los aspectos del gobierno de la ciudad. Las decisiones que tomamos hoy en día trazarán nuestro camino en los próximos años. Siento que mi amor por esta comunidad, la experiencia previa como planificador de la ciudad de Fillmore, la experiencia presente como supervisor de propiedad y de gerente de la Liga Juvenil de Baloncesto de Fillmore me han proporcionado con las habilidades técnicas y comunicativas para ser el miembro del Concejo Municipal que nuestra ciudad necesita. Juntos podemos hacer una diferencia en nuestra comunidad. Respetuosamente les pido su voto.

Doug tucker
REFUSED STATEMENT: Vision, Compassion, CONTINUED »

 

On Wednesday, September 5th, Gregorio Aguilar, 22 of Fillmore, was sentenced to 42 years to life, along with a sentence of life without parole for the murder of Sean Odle, 30. In August 2012 he was found guilty of first degree murder committed during a robbery.

On December 26, 2008 Aguilar and an accomplice entered the Circle K in Ventura, where Odle was working. They demanded Odle open the cash register. Odle instead dialed 911 from a cell phone. Aguilar fired a shotgun at Odle, but the safety was on. He released the safety and fired again, striking Odle in the chest. In the presentence report Aguilar told a probation officer Odle would be alive if he had given him the money.

Aguilar has also been convicted of attempted robbery of Central Market in Santa Paula in December 2008, and a robbery at the Fillmore Shell station the same month.

 

When I arrived for my 4:00 PM appointment with newly appointed Fillmore High School Principal Russom Mesfun I spotted him immediately before I even parked my car. It was not only because I have seen his picture in more than a few news articles while researching him for this interview, but he is also a person that stands out because of his 6'3” athletic stature. He also stood out because he was wearing a suit and tie which, I later learned, he believes he needs to set an example for others, faculty, staff and students, in his position as principal of Fillmore High School (FHS). Because I was a few minutes early I decided to sit in my car and continue to watch Mr. Mesfun.

Mr. Mesfun was standing in front of the FHS's main entrance talking with recently retired FHS teacher Epi Torres. At the same time Principal Mesfun was talking with Epi, he was interacting with students by showing he was interested in after school student activities by watching what looked to me to be cheer leading practice on the front lawn of FHS. If that wasn't multitasking enough, he was making encouraging comments to a student playing a musical instrument just a few feet from where he stood.

I wasn't surprised to see him outside of his office and interacting with students because from my research I know this was his way of “developing a welcome atmosphere for students… being among them and encouraging them.” In another interview with Contra Costa Times reporter, Mimi Rohr, in the Bay Area, he said, “While I am playing with students, I am watching their posture, listening to their language and watching their relationships. I am not just a principal. I am the father of this village. I deal with the basics- food issues, problems at home and the breakup of friendships.” I have no doubt as I watch him there in front of the school that he was doing exactly that. As I approached Mr. Mesfun and Epi we exchanged greetings and he led me into the main building and into his office.

Since I already knew CONTINUED »

 
Last Saturday the Fillmore/Piru Relay for Life held their annual 24 hour walk for cancer. Despite the hot weather, the event was well attended. There were several booths and fun entertainment. The event started at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning and ended Sunday at 10:00 a.m. This event brings in thousands of dollars which go to all types of cancer research.
Last Saturday the Fillmore/Piru Relay for Life held their annual 24 hour walk for cancer. Despite the hot weather, the event was well attended. There were several booths and fun entertainment. The event started at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning and ended Sunday at 10:00 a.m. This event brings in thousands of dollars which go to all types of cancer research.
Enlarge Photo
Tim Gurrola
Tim Gurrola
Enlarge Photo
 

A stabbing took place on Sunday, September 16th at a home in the 800 block of Hume Drive, Fillmore. At approximately 1:50am a 19-year old man engaged in a fight with an unknown partygoer and was stabbed on the right side of his abdomen. He was taken to Ventura County Medical Center with minor injuries. The victim is not cooperating with authorities, and deputies are searching for the stabbing suspect.

 
FHS football players (l-r) Tyler Esquivel, a junior at FHS, Joseph De La Mora and Collin Farrar, both seniors at FHS, spoke of how their injuries were attended by the athletic trainer and how it helped them recove.
FHS football players (l-r) Tyler Esquivel, a junior at FHS, Joseph De La Mora and Collin Farrar, both seniors at FHS, spoke of how their injuries were attended by the athletic trainer and how it helped them recove.
Enlarge Photo
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

This fall semester a number of Fillmore Unified School District students have a better understanding of algebra and geometry due to the success of the Math Bridge Academy (MBA) offered this summer. The eight classes, held at Fillmore High School (FHS) June 13th thru July 11th, were designed to prepare grade 6-12 students with the math skills needed to succeed academically and be better prepared for the work place.

Jennifer Weir, Summer School Principal, presented the accomplishments the participating 199 students achieved. Mary-Allyn Garcia, one of the participating teachers who teaches 5th grade at San Cayetano, addressed the Fillmore Unified School Board with what she felt was achieved commenting the summer session “….gave me an opportunity to see where the student were going….by the end we saw everything come together.” Jeremiah MacMahon, a FHS geometry teacher who also taught at MBA, added that the students who participated are doing very well and MBA was a huge help for those student that had repeated the math classes. There was a total of eight teacher and three student tutors who made up the MBA program. Raquel Aguilar, one of the student tutors, said everything was well prepared and she received all the supplies needed. Marlene Carbajal, also a student tutor, said she felt like a role model to the students and that tutoring helped her keep her own math skills sharp.

Some of the students who CONTINUED »

 

A 39-year old Oxnard man died Monday in a fall while painting wind machines in an orchard in Bardsdale. The accident occurred at 6:15am near the intersection of San Cayetano Street and Pasadena Ave. Jose Romero was pronounced dead at the scene due to blunt force trauma

 
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting the city recognized Public Works Supervisor David Smallwood (left) and Mark Avila (right) for their Aquatics Center maintenance efforts. Also pictured Mayor Gayle Washburn.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting the city recognized Public Works Supervisor David Smallwood (left) and Mark Avila (right) for their Aquatics Center maintenance efforts. Also pictured Mayor Gayle Washburn.
Enlarge Photo

The September 11, 2012 Fillmore City Council open meeting began with recognition of those who put the extra effort needed to keep the Aquatics Center in proper order, a recap of Public Safety’s Annual September 11th Observance and Drug Enforcement Agency Take Back Day. Other agenda items included a report from the Police Chief, a proposed winter closure of the Aquatics Center and announcement of the new City Attorney. But what was of greatest concern to many of Fillmore residents was the abrupt announcement by the Council that City Manager Yvonne Quiring has resigned and the Finance Director will also be leaving in a few weeks. Council Member Steve Conaway was not in attendance.

Two important staff positions are being vacated in the coming weeks with the timing less than two months before the November 6th election. Three City Council seats are up for election and those elected will need to get up to speed quickly, making this a bad time for a departure of these two vital positions.

Quiring, who served as Fillmore’s City Manager for three years, will be leaving to take a job as Financial Director and Assistant City Manager in the City of Davis. Quiring gave three weeks notice of which two weeks are paid vacation and will be starting in Davis on October 1st. Financial Director Glenda Jay has chosen to retire and will be leaving on November 3rd. Jay explained her departure is due to concerns that she secure her retirement which could be effected by the November 6th election. She believes the tax initiatives on the ballot will fail and as a result it would have a negative impact on her retirement.

Another item of concern CONTINUED »

 

September 11, 2012 – Today Magellan Strategies, a national public opinion research firm, released results of a survey of 240 likely general election voters in the City of Fillmore, California. The survey tested a variety of community-based questions, including what voters consider to be priorities the Fillmore City Council should be addressing. The survey was commissioned by Communities Building Together, Inc.

“The survey shows that Fillmore voters believe their community and their City Council can do better,” said David Flaherty, CEO of Magellan Strategies. "Fillmore voters desire change in government leadership and how city services are prioritized and provided.” The survey finds that a majority of respondents – across all demographics – are dissatisfied with the City of Fillmore Council. Among all respondents, only 31 percent approve of the job they are doing and 52 percent disapprove. Top issues for voters include the budget, the cost of water, growing the economy, attracting businesses, and creating jobs.

“Clearly voters would like to see Fillmore go in a new direction,” added Flaherty. “A majority, 53 percent, believe the City Council has been self-serving, taking advantage of their positions in power, and acting without any regard for the taxpayers and citizens of Fillmore. In addition, a whopping 78 percent disagree with the City Council laying off and replacing city staff with consultants, thereby increasing the size of the City budget rather than reducing it. More evidence of voter dissatisfaction is that 62 percent of voters believe the City Council has engaged in reckless spending and has done a poor job of managing the city budget. This is going to be a tough year for incumbent members of the City Council.”

The full topline results of the survey are included in this document.

Interviews for this survey were completed using both English and Spanish interviewers. The landline and cell phone sample for the survey was randomly drawn from a Fillmore, California voter file. The survey response data was weighted based upon voting demographics from past Fillmore general election cycles. Interviews were conducted between August 28th and September 3rd, 2012. Three attempts were made to interview each household in the sample. This survey has a margin of error of 6.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval. Any questions regarding the methodology of this survey should be directed to David Flaherty. He can be reached at (303) 861-8585 or dflaherty@magellanstrategies.com. For information on Communities Building Together, Inc. contact Roger Campbell at (805) 857-2785 or rognfillmore@aol.com.

About Magellan Strategies
Magellan Strategies offers a wide array of political data products and services to political candidates and organizations. Services include live, automated and online survey research, modeling, microtargeting and predictive analytics, enhanced voter registration databases, voter data analysis, demographic analysis, mapping, and redistricting data and technology consulting. Visit www.MagellanStrategies.com for more information about the firm.

 
On September 11th, Sonshine Preschool held “Hero Day”. Firefighters, Fish & Game, Police Officers, Military Personnel, Forestry Service, and many more shared the day with the children.
On September 11th, Sonshine Preschool held “Hero Day”. Firefighters, Fish & Game, Police Officers, Military Personnel, Forestry Service, and many more shared the day with the children.
Enlarge Photo
 

Although it is still a few weeks away the Fillmore Lions Club is gearing up for their “85 Anniversary Celebration” by hosting a recognition of this event on Saturday September 29, 2012 at the Fillmore Historical Society, 340 Main Street. The celebration will be assisted by the Pleasant Valley Lions and Santa Paula Lions Clubs starting with a 5:00-6:30 PM reception and followed by a 6:30 PM dinner. Past District 4-A3 Governor, Chuck Cassy, Ventura Downtown Lions Club, will be the guest speaker. The Fillmore Lions Club was founded on September 29, 1927 and began what would be their eighty-five years of good service to the community of Fillmore.

Members of the Fillmore Lions Club are very visible in the community of Fillmore. For many of us they are most visible with probably five of their most “hands-on” projects; Highway 126 Cleanup, Annual November Enchilada Dinner, Christmas Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks Booth and the May Festival Bingo Booth! Long-time Lions Member, the late Henry “Hank” Carrillo, liked to tell the story of the Highway Cleanup crew meeting up with a customer of a local business along the Highway while the Lions were collecting trash from the Highway. The exchange, as Hank told it was, “It is about time they had you guys payback society!” The customer, as they say, was obviously not from around here, and was assuming the cleanup crew were court ordered miscreants collecting trash from the Highway as a way to payback their debt to society!

Membership of the CONTINUED »

 
Fillmore Fire Department responded to a fallen tree onto a structure on the 400 Block of 2nd St. Upon arrival Fillmore Fire Captain Patrick Maynard reported a very large Oak tree (at least a few hundred years old) that had fallen onto the structure. Maynard’s crew then executed a primary search of the residence and made sure no one was trapped in the structure. Once they confirmed there was no one in the structure Maynard’s crew evaluated the rest of the properties and found a total of 3 homes with damage from the fallen tree and one out building that was a total loss. Two of the 3 homes still remain yellow tagged. One minor injury, patient was treated at the scene and refused transport by ambulance.
Fillmore Fire Department responded to a fallen tree onto a structure on the 400 Block of 2nd St. Upon arrival Fillmore Fire Captain Patrick Maynard reported a very large Oak tree (at least a few hundred years old) that had fallen onto the structure. Maynard’s crew then executed a primary search of the residence and made sure no one was trapped in the structure. Once they confirmed there was no one in the structure Maynard’s crew evaluated the rest of the properties and found a total of 3 homes with damage from the fallen tree and one out building that was a total loss. Two of the 3 homes still remain yellow tagged. One minor injury, patient was treated at the scene and refused transport by ambulance.
Enlarge Photo
 

Fillmore’s city manager Yvonne Quiring has resigned her office effective Oct. 1, after three years of service. Her last day of work will be Thursday, Sept. 13.

She is quoted as saying she gave notice to city council members during “the past few weeks” notifying her staff Thursday. Councilman Steve Conaway received notice less than a week ago.

Quiring’s 3-year tenure as city manager has been highly controversial. A year after being hired Quiring faced two open letters of no confidence signed by 32 of 37 city employees.

Quiring is reported to have been hired by the City of Davis to assist Davis City Manager Steve Pinkerton as Assistant City Manager/Administrative Services Director (Human Resources), effective October 1, 2012.

Mr. Pinkerton is reported to have said, “I am thrilled that she was willing to relocate to Davis.”
According to the Davis Vanguard (davisvanguard.com), "The city's press release indicates that she also served as the Deputy Director of the Housing and Redevelopment Department for the City of Stockton. This would seem to be her point of contact with Steve Pinkerton but also a potential connection to that city's bankruptcy."

 
Pictured is this year’s Fillmore High School’s 2012 Homecoming Court: Back row (l-r) Sophomore Prince – Michael Luna, Junior Prince – Alex Banales, Senior 1st Prince – Collin Farrar, King – Adrian Rangel, Senior 2nd Prince – Mario Hernandez, and Freshman Prince – Cristian Aguilar. Front row (l-r) Sophomore Princess - Santana Carrera, Junior Princess – Deanna Lomeli, Senior 1st Princess – Karinna Carrillo, Queen – Lili Becerra, Senior 2nd Princess - Tiffany Luna, and Freshman Princess – Teresa Cardenas. Photo courtesy of KSSP Photographic Studio.
Pictured is this year’s Fillmore High School’s 2012 Homecoming Court: Back row (l-r) Sophomore Prince – Michael Luna, Junior Prince – Alex Banales, Senior 1st Prince – Collin Farrar, King – Adrian Rangel, Senior 2nd Prince – Mario Hernandez, and Freshman Prince – Cristian Aguilar. Front row (l-r) Sophomore Princess - Santana Carrera, Junior Princess – Deanna Lomeli, Senior 1st Princess – Karinna Carrillo, Queen – Lili Becerra, Senior 2nd Princess - Tiffany Luna, and Freshman Princess – Teresa Cardenas. Photo courtesy of KSSP Photographic Studio.
Enlarge Photo
 
 
Andy Lally 1st, Christian Conaway 2nd, Mike McIntyre 3rd.
Andy Lally 1st, Christian Conaway 2nd, Mike McIntyre 3rd.
Enlarge Photo
Conaway and Dean coming into the finish line during a practice run. (Conaway in blue/white leathers).
Conaway and Dean coming into the finish line during a practice run. (Conaway in blue/white leathers).
Enlarge Photo
Close up of how close the racing is. Conaway leading Dean by inches after 1 mile of racing.
Close up of how close the racing is. Conaway leading Dean by inches after 1 mile of racing.
Enlarge Photo

Christian Conaway traveled to Calgary Canada this past week to compete in the International Gravity Sports Association 2012 Winsport Canada Cup World Championship event. The race was held at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Conaway races Street Luge and Classic Luge.

The course was 1 mile long and contained 2 sweeping corners and 4 hairpin turns. The course had two speed bumps which also added a level of complexity for the racers. Race speeds exceeded 58 mph.

Conaway qualified with the 4th fastest time down the course in both of his disciplines. In his first heat race while leading the remaining 4 racers Conaway drifted out of a corner and made contact with the hay bales and was dismounted from his luge. He was able to recover quick enough to finish in the 3rd position to allow him to advance to the next round of racing. Interestingly when he jumped back on his luge he did so with the luge backwards and managed to finish the heat to advance to the Semi Finals in which he took 2nd place in the heat.

Advancing to the Street CONTINUED »

 
Veterans Memorial Building services may change in November.
Veterans Memorial Building services may change in November.
Enlarge Photo

With the recent layoff of roughly 50% of Fillmore City employees and the City’s diminished capacity to provide service, the Veterans Memorial Building (VMB) Board is questioning the City’s ability to deliver on the services they need.

The service contract with the City was originally entered into about twelve years ago due to VMB fluctuating employment needs. The facility sometimes needs workers to set up tables, cook in the kitchen and do various task when it is rented out; but bookings are not consistent, making it difficult to maintain employees. The City, at the time of the contract agreement, had full time employees available and could provided most of VMB’s service needs. One City employee, Annette Cardona, is knowledgeable of what a services are needed and what to charge customers. But Cardona may be leaving as an employee at the end of the year, and with only half of the City staff available it is questionable how well the VMB can be serviced.

The land where the VMB stands was donated by the Shields Family and built in 1952 to recognize our veteran’s service. It is a Special District authorized in the California Veterans Memorial Code and has the largest non-sectarian hall/ballroom in Fillmore along with a large banquet room, kitchen, lobby and basement where rifles and flags used for funerals and Memorial Day Parades are stored along with other equipment.

A majority of CONTINUED »

 
Representatives from the Future Farmers of America (FFA) were recognized for their accomplishments by the Fillmore Unified School District Board.
Representatives from the Future Farmers of America (FFA) were recognized for their accomplishments by the Fillmore Unified School District Board.
Enlarge Photo

The Fillmore Unified School (FUSD) Board met on Tuesday to a standing room only capacity. In attendance were members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to receive an award along with a representative of the local 4H Clubs and the head of the migrant program who gave a presentation on student improvement during the summer.

Last week the FFA members attended the Buyers Banquet and on Tuesday the FUSD Board presented them with an award for their outstanding achievement at the 2012 Ventura County Fair. In attendance was Salvador Lopez, Ricardo Aparicio, Hailee Smith, Chris Berrington, Brooke Aguirre, advisor Joe Ricards and receiving the award on behalf of the members was Alexus Galassi.

In all, 35 FFA Fillmore students participated this year receiving 31 awards and recognitions, winning first place in every category entered, with the exception of sheep. FFA Member Brooke Aguirre read the names of the other award winners and their categories; Novice Swine: 1st Jaylene Ortiz, 2nd Alexis Rodriquez; Advance Swine: 1st Marc Zavala, 2nd Felicity Zavala, 3rd Ryan Calderon, 4th Yasmine Luna, 5th Andrew Perez, 6th Kaileigh Carpenter, 7th Tina Wheeler, 8th Sierra Blankenship. Replacement Heifers; 1st Sam Wokal, 2nd Macie Wokal.

Steer Showmanship; 1st CONTINUED »

 
Pictured above but no in order are the Fillmore Girls Softball 10 and Under All-Star Team: Manager Mario Robledo, Head Coach Louie Garza, Assistant Coach Ryan Weeks and Jeff Fontes. Players: Navaeh Walla, Heaven Aparicio, Olivia Robledo, Isabella Ayala, Addison Weeks, Jessie Fontes, Lexi Garza, April Lizarraga, Alyssa Ibarra, Aaliyah Golson, Julissa Montes, Alexis Johnston, and Mayor Gayle Washburn, at back. The girls competed at the Western Nationals Tournament in Spokane, Washington.
Pictured above but no in order are the Fillmore Girls Softball 10 and Under All-Star Team: Manager Mario Robledo, Head Coach Louie Garza, Assistant Coach Ryan Weeks and Jeff Fontes. Players: Navaeh Walla, Heaven Aparicio, Olivia Robledo, Isabella Ayala, Addison Weeks, Jessie Fontes, Lexi Garza, April Lizarraga, Alyssa Ibarra, Aaliyah Golson, Julissa Montes, Alexis Johnston, and Mayor Gayle Washburn, at back. The girls competed at the Western Nationals Tournament in Spokane, Washington.
Enlarge Photo
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Explorers receive a donation of $1,008 from Ari Larson with Cookie Lee Jewelry and Teresa Robledo with Diamond Realty at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Explorers receive a donation of $1,008 from Ari Larson with Cookie Lee Jewelry and Teresa Robledo with Diamond Realty at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Enlarge Photo
Recognition of Fillmore Senior Center volunteer Vivian Johnson. Mayor Gayle Washburn presents Senior Center volunteer Vivian Johnson with a Proclamation at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The Proclamation recognized Johnson’s service since 2008 as Board Secretary and Field Trip Chair; 2nd Term Representative for Fillmore on the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging; serves on the Senior Nutrition Task Force; and serves as Hostess at the Center’s welcome desk.
Recognition of Fillmore Senior Center volunteer Vivian Johnson. Mayor Gayle Washburn presents Senior Center volunteer Vivian Johnson with a Proclamation at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The Proclamation recognized Johnson’s service since 2008 as Board Secretary and Field Trip Chair; 2nd Term Representative for Fillmore on the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging; serves on the Senior Nutrition Task Force; and serves as Hostess at the Center’s welcome desk.
Enlarge Photo

After having been dark for over a month, the Fillmore City Council Meeting of August 28, 2012 began with every seat in the chamber filled. Most in attendance came to receive a Proclamation and others to give presentations or their opinions. Agenda items included the water treatment plant, abandoned shopping carts and public records requests response procedures.

There are still questions as to what exactly happened and why the former City Attorney Ted Schneider left his position. The Council stated that Schneider’s firm told them they could not disclose conversations due to client-attorney confidentiality and that the decision for Schneider to leave was made by the firm members. Soon after this was disclosed Council Member Steve Conaway stepped down from the Dias and addressed the Council as a citizen and stated the comments made regarding the matter did not address conversation the that Mayor Gayle Washburn had with Schneider’s law firm just prior to his leaving.

Conaway stated, “We’ll never know with exactness what she (Gayle Washburn) said (to the senior partner at the city attorneys law firm). The City Manager nor any one council member has the power to remove the City Attorney. That is a true statement. Here is what is not talked about. We do know that Gayle Washburn called the law firm. She certainly didn’t call to chat about the weather; it’s not unreasonable to assume that she expressed her displeasure or “issues” about our City Attorney (or) one of his partners. She certainly didn’t speak to Mr. Schneider about her concerns at that time. That said I suggest you reread my statement, made as a private citizen. Let’s review--Gayle Washburn calls the law firm, who wants the city’s business, and she says something which results in the firm removing Ted Schneider from our meetings immediately while the bidding process is ongoing. Gayle Washburn sits on the council who will be deciding which law firm gets Fillmore’s business. The citizens of Fillmore can put two and two together.”

City Manager Yvonne Quiring, who could not attend the meeting due to family matters, asked Attorney Julie Scott to act as Special Council and give information on California Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act to the Council. Scott stated the public should have access to information but there are between 40-50 exceptions to the rules. These exceptions include things such as the right to privacy, trade secrets, names of children involved in a crime and others. These exceptions are called “Catch Alls or Balancing” and public agencies often have the discretion as to whether disclosure does more harm than good. These decisions are done on a case by case basis. Scott cited a 2006 Supreme Court Case where the court decision was, the interest in withholding names until the case was completed was alright if releasing information beforehand might harm the city’s flexibility and negotiations.

Scott also touched CONTINUED »

 
Syndicate content