Letters to the Editor

October 08, 2004
Things I miss To the Editor:The hospital, Cauch’s Drug Store, The Santa Paula Chronicle, Moores Maple Shop & Fine Furniture, Moores General Store, Woods Jewelers, The Toggery, Irene’s, Santa Paula Savings & Loan, Hack’s, The Campus Shop, Fitzgeralds, The Dress Machine, The Strawberry Shoppe, Kaplan’s Bootery, Don’s Shoes, Norm’s Hobby Shop, Sears, Citizens State Bank, Aardapples Fabric & Appliances, Stanley’s Steak House, Casa de Flores, Helen’s Flower Shop, Shivelys Frame Shop, The Beef Ranch, The Glen Tavern Restaurant, Musselman’s Antiques, Santa Paula Super Market, Frank’s Butcher Shop, Santa Paula Hardware, Vallons, Celebs, Live Oak Gallery, Dr. Alan Peterson and now...The Mill.Sharon BroganSanta PaulaSupport 8th grade youthTo the Editor:Last spring I, Al Learn, and other adults of Santa Paula chaperoned the 8th grade students of our town in the annual history excursion to Washington, D.C. The trip is for students with a ‘B’ average, no disciplinary problems, and has, through fundraising, earned the $1200 for the trip. Our students saw the three tiny boats that landed colonists in Williamsburg, the historic battlefields of Yorktown and Gettysburg, visited many of Washington’s monuments, enjoyed 300-year-old inns and taverns, walked through Arlington Cemetery and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, all to the hum of the 17-year cicadas emerging from the ground. We viewed the Vietnam, Korean and WWII memorials and visited the National Cathedral shortly before President Reagan’s funeral there (which made the ceremony all the more impressive). It was difficult to leave the Holocaust Museum’s injustices, but one had to marvel at the mint printing sheets of replacement dollars. We toured the Capitol building and Houses of Congress, the Air and Space Museum. Fast and furiously, the different sites came and passed. For everyone, it was a life event to be savored and talked of for some time. I write to remind everyone that there is another group, this year’s 8th graders, who will again be visiting Washington with its history. You can help them by supporting their fundraising efforts. When a young man or woman knocks on your door, help them realize their goal of participating with this year’s Washington, D.C. history trip. It will be an event they will always remember.Albert LearnWashington, D.C. Chaperone, 2004Yes on J & KTo the Editor:The Santa Paula Fire Department has been protecting the residents of our community for over 100 years. The first paid professional firefighter was Robert I. “Bob” Rushing. During this time, the Fire Department has saved the lives of countless people in house fires and many times being the first responder in a medical emergency before an ambulance arrives. The Fire Department has always been there to help when we needed them. Now, the Santa Paula Fire Department needs our help to pass Measures J and K on the November 2 ballot.Today, the Fire Department only has the resources to staff one fire station full time, around the clock. If there are two calls for fire or emergency medical service at once, a second fire company is assembled through a paging system and firefighters report to the fire station (similar to a traditional volunteer fire department) and a call for assistance is made to the Ventura County Fire Department which then sends an engine if available. This is not acceptable for the safety of our families.Measures J and K will provide funds to staff Fire Station 2 near Vons with a second engine company of two full-time firefighters and a reserve firefighter around the clock. That would give the City two engine companies available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to calls for service. This second engine will ensure that the Fire Department can respond quickly to all emergency 911 calls in all parts of Santa Paula. In addition, a second staffed fire station will provide additional firefighters on duty ready to respond to earthquakes, brush fires and other sudden emergencies.Santa Paula needs a Fire Department that has two full-time fire stations to respond quickly to emergencies. Measures J and K will ensure that Santa Paula has the fire and emergency medical services necessary to protect us.Please vote Yes on Measures J and K on November 2.Landa RushingScott K. RushingSanta PaulaAnother Yes voteTo the Editor:A cup of coffee a day from a convenience store.If you knew that your family would be safer in Santa Paula if you invested 80 cents a day (less than the cost of a cup of coffee) in our Santa Paula Police and Fire Departments, would you do it? You will have a chance to do it on November 2 by voting yes on Measures J and K. Measure J is a Utility Users Tax and Measure K directs the Santa Paula City Council to spend the money raised by the tax on the Santa Paula Police and Fire Departments. Measure J’s cost to the average Santa Paula family is 80 cents a day. With this money, the Police Department will be able to hire five more police officers and the Fire Department will be able to open Fire Station 2 by the Community Center around the clock.80 cents a day will help combat gangs, drugs and graffiti on the streets of our city. 80 cents a day will make sure that we have enough firefighters on duty to respond quickly to 911 emergency fire and medical calls. 80 cents a day will help make sure that we have the necessary equipment for the brave men and women of our Police and Fire Departments to do their jobs to protect our families.Every day we make decisions on how to spend our money; both big and small. I believe that spending 80 cents a day to make Santa Paula safer is money well spent.Join me in voting Yes on Measures J and K.Steve TurchikSanta PaulaSupport Police and FireTo the Editor:The Santa Paula City Council has placed Measures J and K on the November 2 ballot to create a Utility Users Tax and give direction that the money raised from the tax be used to support the Santa Paula Police and Fire Departments. Tax initiatives are never easy to approve because even when the cause is important (such as paying for additional police officers and firefighters to protect our families), you can’t always be sure that City Hall will spend the money properly.An important part of Measure J (which authorizes the Utility User Tax) is that it includes an independent citizen’s oversight committee to conduct hearings and issue an annual audit report to the community on how the money generated by the Tax is actually spent by the City of Santa Paula. This oversight committee will consist of seven members: a police officer from the Santa Paula Fire Department; a representative from Latino Town Hall; a representative from the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and a representative from Casa del Mexicano. Two additional community members would be selected to round out the seven-member committee. This committee will make sure that money is spent as it was intended: to support our Police and Fire Departments to help make Santa Paula safer.I support our Santa Paula police officers and firefighters and know that with the help of an independent citizen’s oversight committee, the money raised by Measures J and K will go right where it is needed.Please join me in voting Yes on Measures J and K.Anna ManzanoSanta PaulaNo on Proposition 71To the Editor:Proposition 71 is a constitutional amendment that, if approved in November, would give scientists the “right” to conduct stem cell research using human embryos. It would create a new bureaucracy, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which would be funded by the sale of $3 billion in bonds over 10 years plus an additional cost of $3 billion for interest on the bonds over 30 years. This amendment provides no legislative oversight or public scrutiny of this new institute which would have sole authority for distributing taxpayer dollars. The proposition was written by the very people who will profit from this spending.Embryonic stem cells are obtained from 5-day-old embryos who are cut open (thereby killed) so that these cells can be extracted from their tiny bodies. To date there have been no successes using embryonic stem cells. However, adult stem cells, which come from an individual and are replaced and returned to that individual, are succeeding in many cases. Recent financial reports indicate that adult stem cell research is clearly a growth industry which can generate jobs and tax dollars.This initiative must be defeated for moral reasons but also for common sense reasons. Information on the Web: www.dpter.org and Concerned Women of America FACT SHEET at www.cwfa.org.Barbara Blewett
Santa PaulaReelect our City Council teamTo the Editor:It is time to vote!!Let’s keep the team together! We have had four years of productivity! Let us as a community continue to move forward. We have had so many positives these last four years, it is a good feeling to know that our City Council is working together to make our community what it should be, a community for all the people.“OUR” community, it is important that we remember that! The Gazebo, the Railroad Corridor, Murals, our Oil Museum, our Main Street, etc., etc. The Limoneira Company and the positive role they have taken for the betterment of our community. The plan to move our city offices to Main Street. So many positive plans in the works!Let’s keep it up!!Maiya HerreraSanta PaulaOur Hospital on the HillTo the Editor:“Prospects for the reopening of Santa Paula Memorial Hospital appear good.”The Ventura County Board of Supervisors ratified the unofficial unanimous vote taken on September 14, 2004 to purchase for $2.75 million dollars the Santa Paula Memorial Hospital. The purchase will include all of the existing buildings as well as about 13.5 acres of land. The remaining approximately 16 acres will be sold to a developer to pay off sums owed to the creditors.This vote followed the presentation of a statement by Dr. Pierre Durand, Chief of the Ventura County Health Services. He and members of his staff stated that the plan to reopen the hospital would be good for both the residents of the Santa Clara Valley as well as for all the people in Ventura County. The location of a hospital in Santa Paula, they affirmed, would help to fulfill the mandate given to the County Health Services to ensure emergency and other necessary medical care to everyone in the county.Supervisor Kathy Long has been the pivotal person in these entire negotiations, and without her untiring efforts on the behalf of Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru, I’m sure this favorable decision would never have been made. She received strong support from Supervisors Flynn, Bennett, Parks and Mickels.Dr. Sam Edwards, local resident and retired Chief of Medical Services at Ventura County Medical Center, also deserves credit for his “role behind the scenes.” I am extremely pleased to read in the Ventura Star that Dr. Edwards will be asked to run the day to day operations of SPMH. Other groups and individuals that deserve thanks are the City Managers of the communities, the Mayors and members of the city councils of Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru. Also the members of the ad hoc committee that served in 2002 and 2003, as well as many individuals too numerous to list in this letter.Also, we thank members of the Santa Paula Memorial Hospital Board of Directors for their efforts during these last several difficult years.While there is still a great deal of work to be done and a certain amount of uncertainty, I am very optimistic that the hospital will reopen during 2005, and we will once again be able to use our beloved “Hospital on the Hill.”Ernest D. Carlson, MDSanta PaulaBilingual poll workers neededTo the Editor:A recent Consent Decree was entered into by the County of Ventura and the United States Department of Justice, requiring the County to comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Specifically, targeted were the County’s election practices and procedures as they affect Spanish-speaking citizens of the County.Since 1992, Ventura County has been subject to the requirements of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act as it relates to Spanish language. Based on the current census statistics, it was determined that additional procedures were necessary to comply with the law due to an increased Hispanic population.As a result of this Decree, the County must increase the number of bilingual poll workers proportionately to the number of identified Spanish-speaking voters in each precinct, increase bilingual signage and provide Spanish language ballots in each polling place.There are other items in the Decree that were already in place to some degree but the most noticeable were the insufficient number of bilingual poll workers and the lack of a Spanish language Official Ballot. Through the cooperation of various Hispanic organizations in the County, the number of bilingual poll workers has almost doubled to an acceptable level. On Tuesday, September 14, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors adopted a new program encouraging County employees, especially those with bilingual experience, to volunteer as poll workers for upcoming elections. Similar programs are already in effect in many other Counties and this program will help us meet the requirements of the Decree.While this may seem to some citizens that the County is catering to a minority, it is viewed by my office as a way to meet the requirements of the law, and a way to help every eligible voter exercise their full rights to Vote. You may volunteer to help with the election by contacting the County Clerk and Recorder at 805 654-2785, or visit the Elections Division at the Ventura County Government Center, Lower Plaza. All inquiries are welcome, and even more so if you’re bilingual. Even if you are unable to help, make sure you get out on Election Day, November 2nd and VOTE! It’s your right and your obligation.Philip J. Schmit,County Clerk & RecorderResponsible alternativeTo the Editor:If Fagan Canyon development is approved, it will inalterably change life in Santa Paula. Before taking an irreversible action, it is essential to get it right.The recent scoping session was just another ruse by the developer. Participants were asked to discuss nine variations to their project, none of which dealt with the three real alternatives downsizing, altering the housing mix, and providing a 4-lane connection to the freeway via Peck Road on the west and Hallock Drive on the east. Several citizens mentioned these omissions but they were ignored. Half the audience realized that participation was useless and left early. We can now expect to be told that we have chosen one of the nine variations, even though there was no opportunity to discuss real alternatives.When voters approved SOAR we anticipated 450 homes in Fagan Canyon. Centex has proposed 2,132 units. This figure does not include an additional parcel that is to be developed later. We can conservatively expect the total to exceed 2,500. This represents an increase of more than 500 percent. No one even imagined such an enormous increase. The current proposal would transform this beautiful canyon into a crowed, unpleasant place. The number of units proposed is unreasonable and unacceptable.The proposed housing mix is totally out of balance. FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT OF THE UNITS ARE TO BE HIGH-DENSITY, LOW END. These consist of 1,156 units (298 apartments, 345 town houses, 383 cluster houses, and 130 alley-fed houses). Three hundred twenty of these low end units are to be subsidized housing. The next category making up 42% of the total is considered moderate to medium priced (548 units on 50x100 lots and 350 on lots 55x105). These are much smaller than existing lots in the city.Only 4% of the total (78 houses) can be considered medium to upper end with lots 70x105+. Even these largest lots are sub-standard compared to upper end housing elsewhere. THERE ARE ALMOST 15 TIMES AS MANY LOW END UNITS AS MEDIUM TO UPPER END. AND THERE ARE OVER FOUR TIMES AS MANY SUBSIDIZED UNITS AS MEDIUM TO UPPER END. This mix is nothing less than a formula for social disaster.The above would be highly questionable in a city with no low end housing. But when compared to the rest of the county, Santa Paula already has far more than its share. Every community should strive for balance. The Fagan Canyon project as proposed would move us much further out of balance. The housing mix needs drastic change.The emphasis on low end housing contributes greatly to traffic congestion. No arterial to handle the enormous increase has been proposed. If one accepts the rule of thumb mentioned by a representative of the developer that each unit generates 10 vehicle trips per day, 2500 units translates into an ADDITIONAL 25,000 vehicles per day on existing streets. This does not include trash trucks, and numerous other vehicles to service proposed commercial uses. Heavily impacted streets include Ojai Road, 10th, Glade, View, 6th, Bradley, and a new street that would enter Santa Paula Street just west of the cemetery. Most of this traffic is to be routed onto Santa Paula Street. Our town will become a sea of vehicles with frustrated drivers seeking alternate routes. If this development is to become acceptable, routing its traffic around our town is essential.We are told that development of Fagan Canyon means progress and that growth is good for Santa Paula. Most people agree that economic growth is desirable, but growth of population does not always translate into local economic growth. Concentrating low end housing in one community is a formula for crime and blight. These problems generate much higher demand for police and other services, negating any supposed advantage gained by growth. Low end residential development almost never generates enough tax to pay for needed services, and those to live in it have little surplus money to spend in local stores. After 10-20 years when the new wears off, current homeowners may find themselves paying for services needed in Fagan Canyon.What is needed is a responsible alternative. This will involve downsizing the project to less than half the 2,132 units, a true balance in the housing mix, and a 4-lane arterial routing new traffic around the existing town. With these changes we may yet find a way for this project to work. Dont worry about Centex. Home prices have drastically increased and there is plenty of money to be made. If this developer is no longer interested, others are waiting.Delton Lee JohnsonSanta Paula

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