Letters to the Editor

January 23, 2002
Experience wins the seatTo the Editor:It is now another year (2002) and with a new mayor who we think will do a good job of it for all in this city. He is Mayor Ray Luna who was chosen as the best qualified to serve for year 2002 for many reasons. Ray is well received by all his many friends and new acquaintances. He is well known in Santa Paula and has a good background in knowledge about the city’s faults and is respected by so very many. His knowledge and experience in the Fire Department give him a good all around background to know people, give talks, delve into the problems and projects about the city. Ray knows safety and the needs of all of our citizens. Ray being bilingual can talk to anyone about any subject seriously and with humor. In Carol Mailloux’s article, she was right on the money so to speak.In another article by another person it was stated that most at the Council meeting when the mayor was chosen by majority votes, that another Council member was a favorite among the audience. How many of these people were local? How many were registered voters? How many were called on the phone to be there?The article was one-sided and did not say that Ray Luna had a very large following at the Council meeting and among city citizens, and who speak good about him every day. He looks into the city matters and problems each day, and will do well. Ray was a good choice to be mayor for 2002.I am not stating that no one else was qualified. I am stating that Ray was well qualified to be chosen by 4 to 1 vote.Ken ZimmetSanta PaulaSetting the Record StraightTo the Editor:I have just finished reading the letter to the editor by Mr. Don Glynn. Unfortunately the notion of truthfulness and objectivity are not prerequisites for the right of free speech.As with most editorials, there is an underlying motive in Mr. Glynn’s attempt on “setting the record straight”. Mr. Glynn correctly portrayed himself as a retired Deputy District Attorney for the County Of Ventura. He failed to mention that he benefits from the current practice the D.A’ s Office has of hiring retired attorneys. This means in addition to Mr. Glynn receiving his retirement benefits, he is paid a staggering $98 an hour by the District Attorney’s Office as extra help. At a recent debate of both candidates hosted by the Prosecutors Association, Ron Bamieh informed Mr. Glynn the “gravy train” would come to an end when Mr. Bamieh was elected to the office. Mr. Glynn’s motivation is clear, he is not concerned about Mr. Bamieh’s record. He is concerned about his pocketbook.I was present when Mr. Bamieh was notified by his superiors that the LA Times had made a request for Mr. Bamieh’s trial record. Knowing the District Attorneys system of tracking cases has limitations and because he questioned the motives of the person assigned to compile the public records act request, Mr. Bamieh responded directly to the reporter that made the request. Mr. Bamieh provided a comprehensive record of his felony cases and summaries of each trial he was responsible for prosecuting. Mr. Bamieh provided the LA Times with a list of over ninety felony cases that required significant courtroom activity on his part. The list included dates and summaries of all his notable cases. An objective look at Mr. Bamieh’s cases shows he has never lost a felony trial.Mr. Glynn claims to have relied on a document prepared by the District Attorney’s Office to substantiate his attack on Mr. Bamieh’s credibility. Mr. Glynn did not mention the District Attorney’s Office tracks cases by number and by defendant’s name not by the assigned attorney. He also failed to mention he did not check the more accurate records of the Superior and Municipal Courts. I would hope that an educated man would exhaust all resources before attempting to “set the record straight” for us all.Mr. Bamieh is known throughout this county as a great trial attorney and his record of never losing a felony trial only tells part of the story. Mr. Bamieh led an investigation that solved an eight-year old homicide that resulted in a death penalty verdict against Justin Merriman. Mr. Bamieh obtained that verdict even though the victim’s body was never recovered and there was no physical evidence. Mr. Bamieh was able to solve the case and obtain the conviction after two other prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office failed.During Mr. Bamieh’s investigation and prosecution of Mr. Merriman he was able to convict five other gang members, and even Mr. Merriman’s mother for gang related crimes. The fact that Mr. Bamieh also assisted the Sheriff’s Department in the successful investigation and indictments of six other people in another gang related murder all while the Merriman investigation and trial were ongoing represents an incredible and unprecedented effort by a Deputy District Attorney.Mr. Bamieh’s skill has lead to some of the most innovative courtroom techniques and prosecutions in the county. Mr. Bamieh prosecuted Jose Marie Garcia for the murder of Marsha Lane. He secured that conviction even though there were no witnesses to the murder and the only physical evidence was the strangled body of the victim. Mr. Bamieh worked closely with investigators from the Ventura Police Department, and presented evidence of six other women whom Mr. Garcia had strangled over a thirty-year period. Mr. Bamieh prosecuted this case when most prosecutors would not take this challenge.In this highly contested election, accusation will be made in an attempt to discredit the candidates. Both candidates deserve to be measured and evaluated by reality not fiction distorted for personal gain. Ron Bamieh is an exceptional attorney and a man of integrity. I can not remain silent when a friend and coworker is attacked without merit.Mark VolpeiVentura(I am a investigator within the District Attorney’s Office and have worked with Mr. Bamieh)
A Very Merry ChristmasTo the Editor:I would like to take this opportunity to thank the employees of both the City of Santa Paula and Santa Paula Hospital who so graciously donated toys for the members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula. Thanks to these caring individuals and to Food Share, who through Toys for Tots provided us with additional toys, our kids had a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. Thanks again, we truly appreciate all that our community does for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula. Have a Happy New Year!Jane LaxBoys & Girls ClubThanks forBriggs supportTo the Editor:I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Briggs community for their support with the many ongoing district projects. In addition, I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on our many ongoing district projects.Olivelands School: At last we have received construction approvals from all the required state agencies. The original design was over budget so we are working with the architect on revisions to bring the project within budget. It is our goal to break ground in May or June 2002 with project completion in the spring of 2003.Briggs School:Septic/Sewer System: We have replaced the sewer lines in the main building and the Jr. High buildings. We are receiving bids on septic tank and sewer line replacement for the caretaker’s house.Irrigation & Landscaping: A little at a time we have repaired and upgraded the irrigation system on the playfield and along Briggs Road. In a joint project with the Millennium Soccer League, the playfield has been filled and reseeded in spots. A cement pad for picnic tables and student garden planters was installed between the Jr. High wings during Winter Break. The Student Council will assist with the development of the pod area between the Jr. High wings and memorial fund money will be used to purchase the plants.Electrical Upgrades: The electrical system upgrades were completed during the summer including parking lot lights.Playground Equipment: New playground fitness center equipment has arrived and will be installed once bids are received.District Planning: Quality programs and services are a priority in the Briggs School District. In an effort to continually improve, we need input for decision-making that affects overall district improvement. Every three years the district conducts a survey for planning purposes. This year written surveys will be sent to all parents of 3rd, 5th and 7th grade students. In addition, parent meetings will be held to give all parents the opportunity to share their ideas for improving the quality of education in the Briggs District. The parent meetings are scheduled at 7 p.m. at Briggs School on the following dates: January 29, grades K-2; February 7, grades 3-5; and February 20, grades 6-8.If you have any questions regarding District programs and projects, please call me at 645-0101 ext. 14.Carol L. VinesSuperintendent

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