Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor

April 20, 2007
The first step To the Editor:The absentee ballots have arrived. Please vote YES for A7 and mail your ballot right away - or take it to the county Government Center. There is a blue form in the envelope that explains the steps for completing the absentee ballot.As I voted absentee this evening, I watched a re-run of the April 2 city council meeting. A young lady who had worked as an auditor for the Ojai Valley Inn urged everyone to vote YES for A7 and said she had firsthand knowledge of the millions of dollars that have flowed into the City of Ojai from its hotel and resort. She said the resort is also Ojai’s number one employer with 750 jobs and allows the city to prosper while still preserving its small town atmosphere. She said a manager there called their resort a “revenue ecosystem.”We need a revenue ecosystem to help us pay for the multi-million dollar sewer system we have to build. Without new revenue, existing Santa Paula residents will pay for the sewer plant with even higher fees. How high do you want your sewer rates to go?Don’t let the SOAR social club keep Santa Paula from considering a project that can do so much good here. None of their objections makes any sense - not “sprawl,” not “mistake,” and not “A resort here won’t make any money.” Serious thinkers know those comments are laughable.Take the first step by moving the planning CURB line. That’s all A7 will do.Rita GrahamSanta PaulaTo the Voters of Santa PaulaTo the Editor:According to so many of your letters, you still think you are voting on building homes in Adams Canyon if you vote “yes” on A7. This is not true. The only thing you are voting on is to bring the CURB LINE into Santa Paula, which would give US the decision to decide what will happen to this property in the future. This vote DOES NOT give any builder the right to build in Adams Canyon at this point, but what it does do, if we get the CURB LINE voted into Santa Paula, gives the City CONTROL over the property, rather than the County. Should this vote not pass, then it will go to the county and we would have absolutely no control what they decide to do with it. Is this what we really want? I don’t think so! Santa Paula really needs this control and we can only get it by voting YES on A7.Santa Paula is a dying community and we need all the help we can get to stay alive and keep up with the times. I have lived here for 58 years and watched a lovely little town slowly die and it is very heartbreaking, so come on Santa Paula, let’s get behind MEASURE A7 AND VOTE YES. It’s a start in the right direction and we must all pull together to build our town up to standard once again.Just remember, you are only voting on getting the CURB LINE MOVED INTO SANTA PAULA, it has nothing to do with anything else. You are NOT voting on contractors, housing, parks, hotels or anything else, just the CURB LINE. So please go out and cast your vote, YES ON MEASURE A7.“Bud” and Darlene GoodingSanta PaulaWhat’s the point of A-7?To the Editor:In looking at the propaganda being spread around town by SOAR and a group called Citizens for SMART Growth (a misnomer), it’s easy to be confused by all of the misrepresentations and distortions of the truth. If you’ve seen the yard signs, you can see that the opposition to measure A-7 has reduced their arguments to two points: “SPRAWL” and “BIG COSTLY MISTAKE”. Let’s examine these points:“SPRAWL”: Which is the greater “SPRAWL”? A plan for 495 homes in Adams Canyon, which is allowed if A-7 passes, or a lesser plan of 39 homes in the canyon, if built under county control, if A-7 fails?“BIG COSTLY MISTAKE”: The most costly thing that we could do is vote against A-7 and let the county have both the money and the control of the canyon that can be ours. Simply put, we need the money and with a YES vote we will get it.Yes, it’s that simple. If we vote YES on A-7, Santa Paula gets control of the canyon and significant money for schools, parks, sewer plants and all the rest. If we vote “no”, we get absolutely nothing, but Adams Canyon will be developed anyway. Yes means money and control for Santa Paula. No means giving control to the county and receiving nothing in Santa Paula.Keep in mind that most of the people who now oppose A-7 voted yes on the Fagan debacle, which would have given us gridlock traffic, and would have increased the number of homes designated in the Genera Plan from 450 to 2,500, many of which would have been low-end. Now THAT would have been a big costly mistake! On the other hand, A-7 reduces the number of homes from 2,500 to 495. What the opposition is trying to do with all their smoke and mirrors is to pave the way for high density, low-cost housing that we cannot afford.Let’s just use a little common sense, folks, ignore the hyper rhetoric and VOTE YES on A-7.Larry SagelySanta PaulaWhy not Santa Paula?To the Editor:Are the people in Thousand Oaks unhappy that North Ranch got built? Westlake Village? Camarillo unhappy about Spanish Hills? Ventura unhappy about Ondulando? Is Oxnard unhappy with River Ridge?Are the residents of Ojai unhappy with Rancho Matilija? These are all high-end developments that the various communities seem to have embraced. Probably because it gives them a much higher tax base to work with. Also these new residents spend disposable income in those communities.Why not Santa Paula? Why not Adams Canyon? Why not now? Why don’t you join me in voting “YES” on bringing Adams into the Sphere of Influence so we control what happens. Why not mark that absentee ballot that came in the mail “YES” and return it today.Jim GarfieldSanta PaulaCircumspection time!To the Editor:If Plan A7 was, say a plan for under $100,000 prefab homes in a well-planned community – whatever problems it would bring (same ones!) – I would support it in a heartbeat.The rich, who are getting richer – be damned. The poor, who are getting poorer – need to be helped!Not only ‘farm workers’, but, also our young people, our teachers, our firefighters, our police, our social workers, etc., those who work here in Ventura County – they should all have the same chance that we had, when we were young, to own their own homes! What do we really want after all, for these hardworking fellow citizens supporting all our very best endeavors (schools, etc.) in our community, so that they can continue to fully live their lives here!Turn down all those offers of ‘lavish stupidity’ that promise trickle down crumbs, while we here in Santa Paula – fight over the ‘particulars’ of the latest crumb.I am 72 years old – so, quite obviously I have a limited need for “housing” – but I have gained enough life experience to know that things don’t have to go the “easy” way. Rather let us plan for ourselves something with more moral substance and then let the “chips” fall where they may.Nina RemenspergerSanta PaulaRoy Wilson Jr., a man for all seasonsTo the Editor:For years it was my good fortune to play tennis with Roy Wilson Sr. and Roy Wilson Jr. On and off the court, they were consummate gentlemen. To them integrity and civility weren’t just words, but ways of behaving – in all customs, and in all circumstances. “If it’s in doubt, it’s out (about one of their own tennis shots). If it’s in doubt, it’s in (about their opponent’s shots).”Roy Sr., however, was less forgiving than Roy Jr. about missing tennis on Saturdays at Milton Teague’s. Roy Sr.’s oft-repeated caveat: “There are two reasons for missing tennis on Saturday: one is that you’re getting married and you’re all married, and the other is that you died. But you have to bring a death certificate.” Riding with him in his old Chevrolet on Saturdays, I thought a few times that I might need such a certificate. Not that he was about to run over anyone (he drove very cautiously), but that someone was going to run over us. On these slow trips, Roy Sr. was fond of quoting Epictetus: “What harms a person are not the things that happen to him, but his opinion of the things that happen.”Roy Jr. had told his father about me being a tennis player. So, I owe Roy Jr. for my invitation to tennis at Teagues’. Although we rarely saw them, Mr. and Mrs. Teague were hospitable: they’d have a maid bring two containers of cold water or orange juice to the court for us. After Roy Jr. built a tennis court on his ranch, I played tennis there for years with him, Dr. Lockwood, Dr. Smith, Harlow Atmore, and Roy’s frequent guests from out of state.My grandchildren and great grandchildren love the Wilson Ranch. A few years back, Roy Jr. and his gracious wife created a nature walk (destroyed by the Corps of Engineers when widening the creek). Mr. and Mrs. Wilson labeled the flora and fauna and fossils in this area near the Wilson pond. My grandchildren were particularly mesmerized by a display of rocks with seashells embedded in them. Roy passed his love of nature to his progeny; he was proud of a daughter who had purchased land in South America to preserve it.The Wilson Ranch is three-tenths of a mile from our house. Two or three times a day my wife and I walk to the ranch, pat Hazel (the ranch’s unofficial greeter) and the other three Labs, saunter past the pond (with its ducks, geese, egrets, and herons), and down to the creek. In a time when No Trespassing signs are omnipresent, the sign the Wilsons posted at the entry to their ranch is evidence of their hospitality and openness: WILSON RANCH: Our friends and neighbors are welcome to walk throughGraciousness seems to seep out of the Wilson Ranch soil. Bill Barringer, caretaker extraordinaire, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Wilson and their wonderful children – Ian and Juliet – all make my wife and I feel like honored guests each time we’re fortunate enough to see them.We sometimes hear people described as National Treasures. That is an appellation that comes to mind when I think of Roy Wilson Jr. One of my lasting images of him was on a sun bright day; he was sitting in his electric cart reaching out to touch his brainchild, the Floating Granite Ball Fountain. Each time I see the fountain, I’ll think of Roy and of his legacy – the trinity which shaped his life: empathy and civility and integrity.Yesterday, Chris Wilson stopped to talk to my wife and me about his father. “He had a list of things he wanted to accomplish; he’d checked them all off… before dying peacefully.”Not surprising. Roy Wilson Jr. was, indeed, a man for all seasons. Including the season of death.Mal KingSanta Paula A-7 OpponentsTo the Editor:I would like to address those of you who seem to be so adamantly opposed to A-7, particularly Linda Spink. How can a schoolteacher possibly think that the huge amount of school fees generated by building permits could not help the school system. God knows it certainly needs help. The fact that 40 acres is set aside for a new school can’t be all that bad! I know that it is too far away right now, and most kids would have to be bussed till they drive, but it is better than gargantuan over crowding.How about this scenario? Build a new school that would work for a Community College. Upon completion, move all the High School students into it. Raze the existing High School, rebuild it with multi-storied buildings that will suffice for the next 20 years, and move the HS students back into the existing grounds.Now, sell the A-7 school to the community college district and voila, you have a viable new HS.Next, I would like to know how anyone thinks that the owners of the expensive houses who have at least one and sometimes 2 other houses will drain the city services. No kids, no full time services at all. What is to hate about a golf course and hotel that will employ many local people and pay both bed tax and property taxes to the city, as well as the county? Also, what’s to hate about a project that will employ a lot of local contractors and laborers? The Pinnacle Group, the most likely developer, doesn’t build houses, only building sites and Golf Courses and Hotels. Many more local jobs here.Lastly, why is it that the SOAR and other opponents with their obvious personal agendas, never offer an alternative solution to Santa Paula’s problems? They can only criticize what someone else proposes. Does anyone else see a never ending problem here? Lets hear it folks.Please Vote Yes On A-7Phil RiceSanta PaulaSignsTo the Editor:“How low will they go?”The people against A7 are now stealing and destroying YES ON A7 signs. How sad!Judy RiceSanta PaulaGrass rootsTo the Editor:It is still refreshing to see and watch the citizens of Santa Paula take back their city from special interest groups and developers by our Grass Roots efforts.I have been doing my time again in front of a major store in Santa Paula informing the voters and reminding them of the importance of voting in the next election. I have been rewarded by the thoughtfulness of all that will stop and say positive things about the city and their positive options on A7.It is clear, that even with the opposing camp trying to discourage a YES VOTE, the message is there…. They, the citizens, see through the rhetoric of the SOAR group and just do not believe most of the confusion and misinformation they are passing out.I talk with 200 to 300 citizens a day and the ration has been running 30 to 1 for A7.That’s not bad at all.The school kids are really informed, they will tell their folks the meaning of Adams Canyon and the money it will bring to the schools.The disturbing part is that those against A7 just repeat a broken record and repeat the same script, but offer no new information or can explain their position.It seems they all went to the same pep rally in The Oaks a few weeks ago and the swamp gas must have clouded their ability to think on their own. They also must have had some great motivational speaker there and hyped the “faithful few” into mass mental conditioning and confusion.Parents are especially concerned that several members of the school board are on record to defeat A7. They want to know why the members are turning down millions of dollars of tax monies, building permit fees and other related fees that would go directly to the schools. The parents are upset. With math scores below acceptable levels they seem to say the same thing about the PhDs in town turning the money down: “Is this fuzzy math,” one said. Giving the money to Ventura surely will not improve the school’s financial position, but a YES VOTE on A7 will directly help our schools.
Don’t be fooled by the other camp’s director of misinformation, and questionable advertising.Vote Yes on A7Roger BrowerSanta PaulaIs it sprawl?To the Editor:IS IT SPRAWL? Or is it planned development? Sprawl seems to be the word that opponents of A7 have decided is the best word to scare everyone into voting against A7. Did Spanish Hills and the surrounding development create sprawl in Camarillo? No! It raised property values and added elegance to Camarillo. Now Spanish Hills is known to be a part of Camarillo and people want to live there. Did Saticoy Country Club create sprawl? No! It added an exclusive area to an otherwise unknown area.Do we have estate homes? No! Should we? You bet. Not for me and maybe not for you but for the tax dollar. We live in a beautiful valley with beautiful weather - weather way superior to Ventura and many other areas but do we attract those million dollar buyers? No - for we have a budget strapped city with little hope for change. We need to change the perception of a “crime ridden”, city with no services or shopping to offer. Older housing stock, struggling Main Street, poorly maintained roads.Do we have a destination golf course? No! Our local fundraisers play their tournaments in Fillmore and Camarillo where the courses are longer and can draw the bigger sponsors. Our Santa Paula Chamber plays in Fillmore. Our Boys & Girls Club plays in Camarillo. Once again, our local monies are being spent out of town.Do we have a nice upscale hotel for our out of town visitors and families to stay in? No! They go to Ventura!Investors throughout the county were excited about being a part of Santa Paula’s future when Fagan canyon was approved by the city council. Buildings on Main Street were flying off the shelves because everyone knew that Santa Paula’s time for renewal had finally come. The day Fagan went down was the day the phones and investors stopped ringing and went away. You don’t have to believe it...... but if you don’t you really are burying your heads in the sand and hoping for a miracle.Those that oppose A7 offer no solutions. We need solutions and we need to begin somewhere.Adams canyon will not solve our housing crisis here in Santa Paula. It will bring tax dollars into this town though that is in desperate need of a cash infusion to provide services and maintain our quality of life and begin to give hope again to a city that is running out of hope due to frustration and just being tired of arguing. Growth must begin somewhere and no one development is going to be our solution but continually saying no to everything being offered is certainly worse than taking a chance to begin some positive changes.Before you vote, please give some consideration to these thoughts.Stuart MonteithSanta PaulaIf it’s too good to be true…To the Editor:We all know that old maxim. If it’s too good to be true then it isn’t. That old advice is pretty accurate when you talk about Measure A-7. The supporters of A-7 have stopped just short of saying that moving the CURB line will pave the streets of Santa Paula in gold. To hear it from A-7 supporters, the proposed development in Adams Canyon will be a one-way money pipeline dumping endless heaps of cash into our city treasury. We won’t have to do anything but collect our millions. We won’t have to maintain a thing or spend a cent. We won’t have any responsibility. Or liability. Does that sound realistic????? Does that sound too good to be true? Vote NO on A-7.Michael DaloSanta PaulaYour chanceTo the Editor:It is up to you. Do you want a nicer city to enjoy or the same pothole streets to travel on playing hopscotch bouncing from hole to hole. That is, except for all the monster new apartment driveways that are nice and smooth.You have the choice to have those low, low income, low, low tax income monuments built the previous four years or a new beautiful well planned mini ranches, nice green golf course (with a lot of employees), a nice hotel (with a lot of employees), and tennis courts. All that would build up the monies needed for more police, SWAT Team equipment and more much needed fire personnel. “Remember, the life they save may be your own.”Now is your chance to say YES on A-7 ADAMS CANYON to be voted into the Santa Paula “lifeline” perimeter. Think hiking, riding your or my horse on the trails, stopping for lunch at the equestrian center or dinner at the new hotel café. Maybe a small hay and tack store we need.A malt and ice cream and sandwich shop in town sounds good. Nice new businesses won’t come here if the canyon isn’t developed. Remember, the county could propose another dumpsite there, or a prison if they stay in control. Or more multi low low income and welfare apartments and much traffic.Ken ZimmetSanta PaulaWorking with and for Santa PaulaTo the Editor:We in Santa Paula are faced again with a divisive ballot measure over development in Adams Canyon. Why are we having this played out again when we have such good partners and alternatives with Limoneira in East Area One? Compare and contrast the two plans and the two developers and the choice of how to vote on A-7 is easy. “No!”There is a lot of bad feeling in Santa Paula against Pinnacle Development, the Arizona-based developers who are behind this whole thing and want Adams Canyon developed. People still remember Pinnacle sending loads of Santa Paulans to Arizona for all-expense-paid golf weekends last year in hopes of getting their votes. People remember too all the personal attack mail they sent disparaging fine members of our community just because they opposed Pinnacle’s plans. Developing Adams Canyon will cost Santa Paula because it is such a large, far-flung project. Fires and old oil wells are potential disasters for any development there. And it trespasses on the Westside greenbelt we all cherish and enjoy so much.Limoneira on the other hand is liked here. And more importantly, Limoneira is trusted in this town. They have been here for more than a century. They helped build Santa Paula, they are still some of our best farmers and they are not going anywhere. Limoneira will not leave us with a project that harms us then get out of town. Limoneira is who we should be partnering up with if we are going to partner up with anyone for development.The East Area One project proposed by Limoneira is very sensible. It meets many of the needs and demands voiced by Santa Paulans including plenty of parks and sports fields. Unlike the proposed Adams Canyon project, East Area One will contain many homes for Santa Paulans; homes middleclass working people can afford. The East Area One project is also adjacent to Highway 126. All the traffic can flow onto a freeway instead of city streets. Because the Limoneira property is adjacent to Santa Paula, the infrastructure we will have to maintain will be concentrated over 450 acres, not spread out over thousands of acres. The cost to Santa Paula will be much less this way.Finally, I like how Limoneira held workshops and included us in their initial planning. They incorporated our ideas into their plans. They want their project to reflect us and it does. And they did all this BEFORE asking us to annex their property into the city. As they bring their project before the city later this year, I know they will continue to work closely with us. I am not saying this plan is perfect. No plan is. However, if we are going to develop a chunk of land outside Santa Paula’s boundaries, I think it should be close to Santa Paula, include Santa Paulans in a meaningful way and be with development partners who have earned our trust.Joy WaymanSanta PaulaNo more liesTo the Editor:I am writing this letter because I am disturbed at the untrue statements put forth by SOAR against Adams Canyon. Basically, I don’t like being lied to.Measure A7 is a grassroots initiative signed by over 3,000 people in Santa Paula. There are over 50 unpaid volunteers working in various capacities to bring Adams Canyon into our city limits. We are not the developer as SOAR claims.The initiative is for 495 houses, 100 acres of public parks, 200 acres of public open space, 40 acres for a school site, and much more. Adams Canyon will deliver much needed revenue to our city with very little impact on our rural atmosphere.Last week, I received a SOAR flyer stating that 2,200 houses will be built in Adams Canyon. This is the most blatant lie so far. There are two safeguards that will keep the number at 495. First, it is written in the initiative that to increase the number would require a new vote of the people. Second, Santa Paula just voted in Measure L6 which says that to increase the density once Adams is inside the city limits, the people vote – not the city council.This is the third time that Adams Canyon has gone to the voters. The first time was for 2,200 houses back in 2000. It was rejected because Santa Paulans don’t want massive dense developments in the canyons. The second time we voted was last year on a similar proposal of 495 houses. Many people in that election, that I spoke with, were confused between Fagan Canyon (a different canyon with 2,500 high density units proposed) and Adams Canyon. Even with the confusion, Adams Canyon lost by only a slim margin of about 100 votes.I believe Adams Canyon deserves another stand alone vote. I like Adams Canyon because it is downsized from 2,200 units to 495 units. This was done in good faith and the result is smart growth that will bring balance and value to the real estate of our city. “High tide floats all boats” is a saying that applies here.Although I supported SOAR in the late 1990s, I believe that they have changed into a low income advocacy group. They supported increasing the general plan density in Fagan Canyon from 450 units to 2,500 units. They now support East Area 1 which will raise the density there from 975 units to 1,500 units or more. Furthermore, East Area 1 is prime agricultural land planted in orchards, while Adams Canyon is unused open space. SOAR has never explained this inconsistency. I thought they were trying to save agriculture?I urge everyone to get the true facts. I have. The entire initiative is on the Santa Paula city web page. I urge everyone to read it for themselves. Don’t fall for SOAR’s lies. Please join me and vote in favor of Measure A7 on May 8, 2007.John WisdaSanta PaulaA step in the right directionTo the Editor:Although Adams Canyon is a beautiful part of the Santa Paula area, I can personally attest to the property’s inadequate agricultural viability. Over 30 years ago several associates and I failed in an attempt to successfully develop a 600-acre avocado venture in Adams. Inclement weather and marginal hillside soil proved to our bane.Of the Canyon’s +6,000 acres, much is only suitable for open space and related activity. Some of the property appears to be residentially developable without losing the Canyon’s charm.Measure A7 is simply an effort to bring the Canyon’s future to the attention of City government rather than County.Some of the proposition’s opponents are publicly criticizing development when, in fact, a specific plan has yet to be presented.In basic terms, A7 asks that Adams Canyon fall within our City’s governmental decision making process. . . not the County’s.I sincerely believe the citizens of Santa Paula can best determine the City’s future and that a Yes vote on Measure A7 would be a step in the right direction.Alan M. TeagueSanta PaulaWonderful opportunitiesTo the Editor:The City of Santa Paula has some wonderful opportunities to enhance its prosperity on the horizon. Responsible growth will benefit all Santa Paula citizens as we grapple with the many financial issues facing our beautiful city: escalating utility costs, deteriorating roads, worsening safety records and substandard educational results. The cost/benefit relationships of each development project for our town will be well thought out with the creation of specific plans, development of comprehensive environmental impact reports and mitigation strategies for any/all environmental impacts future projects will create. This process is demanding but necessary to preserve the quality of life all of us enjoy and demand in Santa Paula.I believe that responsible growth involves complimentary development projects in Adams Canyon, Fagan Canyon, East Area 1 and Santa Paula infill. To view our community comprehensively across all development areas provides the core for responsible growth and will allow us to maximize the many benefits growth will provide while minimizing the costs on our beautiful City. Development of a specific plan in Adams Canyon will compliment our fine City as well as future projects our City will approve. Annexing Adams Canyon into our City will allow a complimentary specific plan to be created taking into consideration responsible projects in East Area 1, Fagan Canyon and specific infill opportunities. The results will be dramatically beneficial to our community as we work together to raise the prosperity of Santa Paula. As a concerned citizen of Santa Paula, I will vote yes for Measure A7 so the opportunity to create a responsible specific plan for our community can be realized.Harold S. EdwardsSanta PaulaIn responseTo the Editor:Mr. Spink,Take a breath and try for a moment to be rational in your analysis of Measure A-7.Your letter complains about encroachment into watersheds. Measure A7 doesn’t encroach into anything. It moves the City Urban Restriction Boundary (CURB), and allows the city to control and study any proposed developments that may be submitted in the future. It also amends the general plan to significantly reduce the number of homes that could be built to a maximum of 495 on 6,000+ acres. This will protect open space and dramatically reduce any impact on watersheds. But in any event, engineering studies will be prepared as part of any submittal and any restrictions deemed necessary will be put on place to provide the necessary protections. What you failed to mention is that the golf course and public parks will be designed to retain floodwaters and reduce downstream flows. This will actually solve an existing problem for the farmers downstream.You call it a “Land Grab”. Let me explain something which must have escaped you. Let’s take a look at the facts and do away with the scare tactics. First, it just so happens that the property owner, Mr. Dahlberg, has owned this property for over 35 years. The land area being proposed for inclusion into the CURB is the land that he owns and that which has been designated in the current General Plan as the Adams Canyon Expansion Area, no more, no less. I don’t see any land grab there.You claim it will start a precedent that will be dangerous for Santa Paula, and put other farmland at risk for future development. How on earth does a property owner enforcing his right to develop his property put any other property at risk? If this is confusing, let me explain. This action to include Adams Canyon in the CURB will not in any way affect any other property other than those included in the initiative, and even those properties included are in no way required to be developed. How and when any of these properties are developed will be completely up to the individual property owners.You call it a step in the wrong direction, but just like all the anti-growth opponents you offer no solution to our city’s dire financial problems.In the words of Zig Zigler, “You keep doing what you are doing, you are going to keep getting what you are getting!”Let’s move Santa Paula forward, YES on A7!Bob GonzalesSanta Paula