Letters to the Editor

June 30, 2000
Safety concerns To the Editor:As I read the letter from Genevieve Branco (June 23, 2000), I had two thoughts about where the responsibility lies for public safety.First of all, where were all the concerned citizens when we were trying to pass Measure L so we could suitably reward the efforts of our police and firefighters? If everyone who has ever complained about the situations here in Santa Paula had voted for Measure L, it surely would have passed.Secondly, when Ms. Branco described a scenario with a drowning child and delay in getting 911 assistance, my first thought was that all parents should know some form of CPR, just as a part of responsible parenting (not to mention the responsibility of watching children when they are around any kind of water).My children, when they were younger, both came home from elementary school with plans for family evacuation of the home in case of fire or other emergency. Families were requested to drill so that all would be aware of protection methods, exits, and where to meet when everyone was out.I want our firefighters and law enforcement officials to be as well paid as the next person - that’s why I voted yes on L and will continue to support any measure that promotes this. But I also know I must take responsibility as a citizen to make my property as fire-safe as possible, to monitor young children and prevent drowning and other hazardous situations, and to know some form of First Aid/CPR (it doesn’t cost that much to take a class, and it really pays in the long run!).Suzi SkutleySanta PaulaThe Fifth of JulyTo the Editor:No, I have not made a mistake in my title. Enough has been written about the Fourth of July, enough parades have been held, enough patriotic speeches have been made. Yes, and probably the daily papers following the holiday weekend will contain more than enough tragic accidents of casualties due to careless use of fireworks, reckless driving and drownings. These things appear to be the inevitable consequence of our annual celebration of Independence Day.It is easy to be patriotic on the Fourth of July. There are those whose patriotism is entirely expressed by waving flags and shooting off of firecrackers. The Fourth is their high festival; the rest of the year they are content with occasionally growling that the country is going to the dogs. They are “Fourth of July Americans.” Just as some churchmen who are never seen on their knees at Easter are “Easter Christians.”The real significance of Independence Day is not so much what we Americans do on the 4th of July as in what we do on the 5th and 6th of July and every other day of the year. Anyone can stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” or wave a flag. But it took a great deal more than that for our forefathers to win the independence of the United States, and it is going to take a good deal more for us and our descendants to preserve the liberty that is our heritage.After the parades and speeches are all over and the last skyrocket has been set off, it might be worthwhile for us to sit down quietly and meditate earnestly on the true significance of Independence Day and the implications of American citizenship today.As American citizens we have a heritage of liberty and democracy that is severely challenged today. The very words “liberty” and “democracy” are discounted over vast areas of earth’s surface.What it all boils down to is simply the fact that one cannot be either a good American citizen or a good Christian without a world view and a love of mankind. “He serves his nation best who helps her to assume her rightful position as a leader in the cause of friendship among all nations the concepts of liberty and democracy which best reflect the dignity of man created in the image of his maker.”Thank you for taking your time to read this - have a save 4th of July and the American banner looks great - it’s about time we got them! Thanks.Lynda LloydSanta PaulaReelect Kathy LongTo the Editor:Supervisor Kathy Long has been a hard working and effective representative during her first term in office. I have personally watched her at work in small, and large meetings, and in Board of Supervisor meetings. She is always well prepared. She listens carefully and asks intelligent questions. She grasps the issues quickly and precisely. She always has a clear idea of what needs to happen next.Since her election she has worked tirelessly and effectively to see that the Toland Road Landfill is operated in compliance with its Conditional Use Permit. Because of her efforts and leadership the landfill is improving. The damage to the surrounding agriculture and the Santa Clara Valley is being reduced. This would not have happened without her hard work, her clear insight, and her leadership.During recent hearings on the Toland Road Landfill she again demonstrated her leadership. She and her staff originally discovered the landfill’s failure to comply with their fifteen ton per day limit on out-of-county trash. This forced the Ventura Regional Sanitation District to ask for a modification to their permit to remove the limit. All this, despite their promise to keep the landfill for the exclusive use of Ventura County residents. The Planning Commission voted 5 to 0 to deny the permit modification. During the Supervisor’s hearings, Supervisor Long identified significant problems with the accuracy of the daily tonnage records and the Environmental Impact Report. She also said that having made the promise of keeping the landfill for our use in the county, the Sanitation District should stick to its promise. Unfortunately, only Supervisor Flynn agreed with her in voting against the modification and the permit was modified on a 3 to 2 vote to allow 65 tons per day from Carpinteria.Throughout my contacts with Kathy Long I have been impressed with her integrity and her commitment to doing what she believes is right. She is willing to explain, defend and vote her beliefs, even if they may not please some of her constituents. I have not always agreed with her, but I have come to respect her thoughtful and honest opinions. Even more, I have come to appreciate her integrity.Kathy Long has proven herself a hard working, honest, and dedicated Supervisor. I will be voting for her reelection in November. I urge my friends and neighbors to reelect Supervisor Kathy Long.Gordon E. KimballCamarilloKorea, the forgotten warTo the Editor:Open letter to all Korean War veterans:
You know that I’m ashamed of my fellow Korean War veterans that haven’t come forward to help us out, and why is this? It’s because I believe that they’re not proud enough to be alive, and a Korean War veteran.The time is here now to stand up and to be counted, for this is our 50th anniversary of our war in Korea. Your part in the Korean War is something to be proud of, so show yourselves to our fellow countrymen, and tell them how it was there; I’m sure that they would be interested in your story. Otherwise our war will continue to be remembered as the forgotten war.If you don’t believe me, continue to hide yourselves, and change your telephone numbers. Or join the rest of Korean War veterans that still remember our war, and don’t let them continue to call our war the forgotten war any more, as it’s not forgotten in our minds; I know that I haven’t forgotten it. I have never been a leader in public, but I believe that something had to be done for our fallen comrades that never return to continue their lives like we did. I was lucky enough to return in one piece, so I believe that it’s our duty to remind the public of our war, and our fallen comrades. As I feel, and believe like our President Abe Lincoln said... so they have not died in vain.David LopezCommander, K.W.V.A.TorranceA perfect cityTo the Editor:Hello Santa Paula, California;I recently took a job with an East Coast trucking company. This job takes me to L.A. and then on to Salinas almost every week. A few weeks ago, I came through Santa Paula for the first time in my 41 years on this earth.I have never had the pleasure of seeing first hand what a PERFECT looking city to grow up in would look like. But now I have.Santa Paula IS that city. From the baseball field when you first come through on Highway 101 North, all the way through town. The beautiful shrubbery you have obviously, painstakingly, grown to perfection in the median of the highway, to the realization that there is absolutely NO trash along the roadside.Then the private citizens as well. All of them seem to take great pride in their homes and yards. Everything is so clean and planted so perfect.Now, I’m sure that Santa Paula has its share of problems like all communities do. But you sure do your best, NOT to let it show. I hope someday I can afford to bring my family across country to see Santa Paula. But for now, they just love the pictures I’ve taken of your beautiful city.Again, ALL the people of Santa Paula should be proud of the beautiful city that you have all built together. I would be proud of MY city if it were as well kept and serene as Santa Paula appears to be. But it’s NOT EVEN CLOSE! And when I sign this letter at the bottom, you will probably realize that I should be an authority on what a serene city should be!My best wishes to you all,Michael Creed (CB Handle - “ArchAngel”)BCJ Trucking, Truck 124Mount Airy, NC (better known as “Mayberry”)P.S. I live two blocks over from where Andy grew up.Up to the votersTo the Editor:In regard to Ms. Genevieve Branco’s letter of June 23 concerning the Santa Paula Fire Department, I appreciate her interest in improving the level of safety for our citizens and firefighters, and her interest in improving our firefighters’ compensation. A misconception expressed in the letter about our emergency response procedures needs to be corrected. The crewmembers of the first arriving fire engine may still enter a burning house to rescue trapped victims without waiting several minutes for the second fire truck to arrive. The new safety regulations no longer allow us to enter a burning house - where there is no reason to believe there are victims inside to be rescued - until at least two additional firefighters are present outside the house, equipped and ready to go in and rescue the first firefighters if they get into trouble.Turning to another topic, some of the Fire Department’s equipment is clearly outdated. This does not mean it is non-functional or unsafe. For example, although our five fire engines were built in 1991, 1988, 1986, 1970 and 1954, they all receive regular maintenance and safety inspections. However, only the 1991 fire engine has a fully enclosed cab for the protection of the entire crew. As funds are made available, we will replace the others with trucks that have fully enclosed cabs.Finally, I respectfully disagree with Ms. Branco’s assertion that “the people running Santa Paula have a complete disregard for our community’s safety and the well being of the firefighters.” On the contrary, the City Council has supported many significant Fire Department improvements in recent years. These included making the “volunteer” firefighters City employees, paying them an hourly wage, purchasing three fire engines, building a second fire station, hiring a full time chief, establishing a fire department 911 emergency medical response program, starting a defibrillator program, and hiring six full time firefighters to staff a fire engine around the clock. During this time annual call volume increased from about 250 to 1725 and the Fire Department annual budget increased to over $700,000. These new employees, equipment, and programs to better serve the public have been funded with existing revenues without any tax increases.I wholeheartedly agree that more money is needed to bring the level of staffing, equipment and compensation of the firefighters up to a desirable level. As I understand our system, the City Council decides how to spend available revenue, but ultimately it is up to the voters to decide whether they are willing to pay increased taxes when available revenue is insufficient to pay for desired enhancements. So far two-thirds of the voters have not been willing to do so.Paul Lockwood SkeelsFire ChiefCity of Santa Paula

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