Letters to the Editor

July 28, 2000
Where have all the good roads gone? To the Editor:Councilman Garfield, in his editorial of 7. July, suggests that Santa Paula’s poorly paved streets and financial problems are the result of Prop 13 and Sacramento’s control of our municipal funds. It is interesting that Garfield’s change comes amid the City’s misuse of funds, and a million dollar shortfall. This just after the City authorized a private attorney to continue the fight against the United States Department of Justice, a case we cannot afford, nor be expected to win. Maybe Mr. Garfield should be more careful about accusing others of misusing our precious resources.I believe what we really need is a local government that places, as its highest priority, the needs and interests of the community - first. That is, making good use of state and local funds for paving streets, redevelopment of blighted areas, funding safety organizations, libraries, and after-school programs.... Regrettably, our current administration has failed in this regard.The City has pursued two primary policy directions: the funding of the tourist sector, and its ambitious “General Plan” for expansion. First, we need to be realistic about the economic value of the tourist sector here in Santa Paula. Yes, the Oil Museum (and murals) are well suited for the “passive-tourism” that we enjoy here in Santa Paula. But the allocation of significant resources toward The Depot, the train, and The Mill is simply a waste of precious money.As for the “General Plan,” too much time (by staff) and fiscal resources are directed toward expanding the city at the expense of real community needs. The emphasis toward outward expansion ignores the studies and hard lessons that have been learned by cities across the nation. That is, outward suburban expansion diverts civic funds to the new areas at the expense of the city center. It eliminates open space, and increases an auto reliant economy that steers city revenue to the latest new housing and shopping centers at the expense of more orderly development, not to mention how it has divided and polarized our community. We can do better.Today, old towns around the nation have recognized the potential to revive historic civic centers by supporting innovative mixed use housing-businesses to enable and attract a broad range of incomes, ages, and family types to an urban area. Emphasis is placed on encouraging a pedestrian based economy so urban residents can do basic errands downstairs and around the corner rather than across the county. These mixed-use developments often include classic architectural styling to augment the historic towns, with modern interiors to appeal to today’s tastes. Some call this return to classic city models “new urbanism,” “neo-traditionals,” and “smart growth” but basically it’s just a win-win for Santa Paula. It provides for a habitable city and a growing economy at the same time, and it’s where Santa Paula’s real opportunities lie.It’s time to let go of the current failed model that has over valued the potential for tourism in Santa Paula, and has promoted the fallacy that building high end housing in the canyons will somehow save our community. This program will only continue to siphon civic resources away from the historic center, waste precious resources, and divide our community. Instead we can build on Santa Paula’s small town character with exciting new housing-business projects to create a functioning dynamic new economy in our historic town.We don’t need to blame Sacramento. We just need enlightened representative city government that sees the opportunity, and makes it happen.For more on where Santa Paula’s opportunities lie, point your browser to key word “New Urbanism.”Michael W. MillerSanta PaulaNo on SOAR means yes for kidsTo the Editor:Where will your children and grandchildren live - in ghettos or in family housing like we have today? Senior citizens, so you want an overcrowded, deteriorating city? We understand that Santa Paula already has houses behind houses and apartment buildings behind houses. Is that all you want for your children’s future? If not, vote NO ON SOAR!The SOAR measure on your November ballot is an assault on local government disguised as “peoples’ government.” The “people,” of course, are a self-appointed group, led by people from outside your community, who are “no growthers.”You people who were fooled into signing their petition should know that the SOAR people are using you to circumvent your elected representatives to promote THEIR agenda, at your expense, your children’s expense, and at the expense of property owners and our system of representative democracy.How many of you voters have the time to study land use planning in order to determine which projects should be approved and which should not? Are you aware that on average only 25% of people eligible to vote actually do? A tiny group of activists will emerge to control all the development plans, if you pass SOAR. Lack of real knowledge, personal emotion and low voter turnout will be manipulated to promote THEIR “no growth” agenda in your town. Instead, strengthen your local representative democracy don’t scrap it.The red herring of “protecting farmland and open space” is meant to trick you into promoting THEIR goal of stopping growth.THEIR real goal is to pen up all of us into high density ghettos. They are willing to create artificial housing shortages to achieve that goal because they value any and all open space more than your family’s quality of life.Have the courage to use nearby land that is not useful for farming, or that is in your canyons, to give your kids room for a normal American life. There is plenty of that land. Don’t be fooled. Only 5% of the United States is inhabited by man and only a fraction of that is productive farmland.Reject the SOAR measure! Do your part by attending Planning Commission hearings and City Council meetings. That is the American way, representative democracy set up by the Founders of this country.
Concerned Taxpayers, I.N.C.Justin M. Ruhge, PresidentGoletaThanks for grantTo the Editor:Santa Clara Valley Hospice would like to thank the Swift Memorial Health Care Foundation for the grant funding recently received.An awards reception was held at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club in the Channel Islands Marina on July 13, 2000. The Swift Memorial Health Care Foundation, in keeping with their commitment to the community, generously presented Santa Clara Valley Hospice with the grant money. This money will allow us to better serve our area with the purchase of equipment to be loaned and to hire a second on-call nurse.Hospice services are available to anyone with a life-threatening illness, we provide for the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient and family.For more information on Hospice services call 525-1333.Santa Clara Valley HospiceSanta PaulaThank You Jim McCoyTo the Editor:Mr. McCoy:On behalf of the Santa Paula Fire Department, we would like to convey our sincerest appreciation to you, for allowing us to utilize your storage yard to facilitate our extrication training on June 24, 2000. The training exercise was a great success, as well as the evaluation of the new rescue tools on the market today.Without individuals such as yourself, our drill would not have been as successful and we would have lost a valuable opportunity to increase our awareness that most undoubtedly will benefit the citizens of Santa Paula.Jerry ByrumEngineerSanta Paula Fire Department

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