Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor

October 13, 2000
Thanks To the Editor:I’d like to say Thank-You to all the people and businesses of Santa Paula who have sent me donations. I have received half of the cost of my trip and I am very grateful to you all.A special Thanks to Pat Untiedt for all your help. Also to: Jim and Barbara Brewer, Jeff Del Rio, Debbie Barker, Anita Pulido, Cathy Metelak, Paul Thomas, Doris Murphy, Sunshine Carpets, Richard and Vera Ruiz, Rudy and Diane Alamillo, Lindsey Excavating, and Bill and Laura Phillips.Look for me at the Heritage Valley Festival on October 14th and 15th. My parents and I are trying to get a booth so all of you can try my Dad’s Hawaiian Style Teriyaki Sticks. Thanks again and God Bless.Savanna GleasonSanta PaulaToo much trafficTo the Editor:I have read the traffic analysis in the Santa Paula General Plan Environmental Impact Report (which I understand is the most current document available in which impact studies are compiled). The Principal Engineer of the Ventura County Transportation Department, after a review of Santa Paula’s General Plan Land Use Update, says,“This project [Santa Paula’s General Plan] has the potential to create a significant cumulative adverse traffic impact on the County Regional Road Network. To place the impact of the General Plan update in context, the full build out of the General Plan will generate (based on the traffic study within the DEIR) 98,167 ADT or vehicle trips per day. The entire Newhall Ranch project will generate only 7,740 additional vehicle trips per day on Ventura County Roadways. The Santa Paula General Plan Update generates over 12 times [underline included in paragraph] the volume of traffic on Ventura County roadways that is anticipated to be generated by the Newhall Ranch project.”In another section of the EIR, there are maps that show existing and proposed daily vehicle trips. An easy calculation reveals that the General Plan would put twice as many cars on Santa Paula Street, twice as many cars on 126 Freeway, and over 15 times as many cars on Foothill Road!The noise, the pollution, and the unbearable gridlock this would cause would lower the standard of life for every citizen in Santa Paula. I hope Santa Paulans will vote Yes on Measure I so that they can decide on Adams Canyon-type developments and the traffic such developments will generate.Clara D. WhiteSanta PaulaHats off!To the Editor:Hats off to Congressman Elton Gallegly! Thanks to his efforts, the Santa Clara Valley Boys & Girls Club has been the recipient of a recent grant of $200,000 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Within the past year he managed to secure another $100,000 for the Club.We who live within the Fillmore/Santa Paula/Piru area of Ventura County have the unique status of a low economic base and there is an inordinate percentage of underprivileged children here. These funds will be of great assistance to the three local clubs in providing programs and services to our youth. We serve hundreds of children by providing a positive place for kids to spend their time.I commend Congressman Gallegly in allotting these funds to an area where there was the greatest need rather than the most populous, or wealthiest that might be more politically beneficial to him. As a Board member, I am very grateful for his support of the youth in this area. After all, the future of our country depends on the children for where would we be without them?Carol D. SchaeferSanta PaulaMeasure “O” and CMHTo the Editor:In the past few months I have received, in the mail, a number of very well produced, professionally written, shiny paper brochures telling me how CMH would like my support on this measure. I still have four of these in hand and have discarded several others. It would be interesting to see the cost of all these mailers and the campaign. I believe most people would be shocked to see that figure. Could this money have been used more wisely? I think it could have been.I have read all of the pamphlets and one thing sticks out in my mind and that is, who will oversee the spending of the tobacco money and where is the accountability for these funds to the taxpayer if the measure should pass? I don’t see any and I do not believe CMH will provide any.In my opinion this is very simply a greedy money grabbing tactic by CMH who has been in a battle with the County of Ventura for control of health care services in this area for years. They know the County cannot spend any funds to fight this measure and are taking advantage of the situation. Where was CMH when this was in the courts?CMH wants to control the money and in the way they have written the measure have eliminated four hospitals in the county. They are St. John’s in Oxnard, Pleasant Valley in Camarillo, Santa Paula in Santa Paula, and Ojai in Ojai. Now tell me they want what is best for the people when they cut out four hospitals in the county from getting any funds at all. Once again, no accountability.Another thing the public should be aware of. What is going to happen to those people that show up at the County Hospital and have to be treated and cannot pay? Where is the money to pay for this treatment coming from? In my opinion out of the taxpayers pocket. CMH will control the tobacco money if the measure passes.In my opinion the voters in Ventura County should wake up, look past the fancy mailers and see what is really happening. It’s very easy to challenge someone when that someone (in this case the county) cannot fight back. This is the case here and CMH knows it and is taking advantage of the situation to try and grab the money. Maybe if they had not spent so much on mailers and the campaign they would not need so much more money.Supervisor Kathy Long, chairperson, and the Board of Supervisors have made a commitment to use the tobacco money for health care purposes and nothing else. I very strongly support Kathy Long for reelection to the Board of Supervisors. I fully support the Board of Supervisors in the matter of the tobacco funds and against Measure “O.”Franklin E. TinsleySanta PaulaCrafty seniorsTo the Editor:We just wanted to let our many friends in Santa Paula know that the Seniors Craft Shoppe in Ventura will be participating in the parking lot sale at Twin Pines Healthcare, Saturday, October 21st, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We hope to see you all there. Many lovely crafts will be available.Barbara DerbyshireSanta PaulaWe need MikeTo the Editor:In the last 12 years or so I have been watching closely what is happening here in Ventura County, especially our Mental Health System. I have also been regularly attending the Tuesday Board of Supervisors meetings in the last four years, often speaking of my concerns during the public comment. I am completely flabbergasted in how our leaders, especially Mrs. Kathy Long and Mrs. Susan Lacey, conduct business in running our county.Immediately after Kathy Long took her oath of office, she spent thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money in refurbishing the office that she inherited from her predecessor. She did not bother finding out first the needs of the citizens before splurging the taxpayers’ money in decorating her office. She voted for the ill-conceived merger of the Mental Health and the Social Welfare against the advice of the world known consulting firm, The Deloitte and Touch, and the then CAO Mr. Lin Koester. Above all, she ignored the pleadings of the advocates of the mentally ill that the merger was being done to cover the anomalies of corrupt county officials in the last 10 years. She voted for her salary increase in 1998 despite the fact that she made a huge wrong decision or should I say deliberately wrong decision in the merger which cost our county including a hefty penalty so far on Medicare billing only (Medical is not included yet) of more than $25 million and still escalating at this time. This financial impact to our county did not include the number of mentally ills dead in 1998 making our county having the most number of mentally ills dead in California by either suicide or killed by cops. How can she quantify the lives of these people? The results of the FBI investigation on our county and its officials regarding the ill-fated merger until now are being kept secret.This year Kathy Long voted against her salary increase, bragging that she would not accept even a single penny of that increase. Why, because she is courting the citizen’s vote for her reelection, if not why did she vote for the increase in 1998, despite the fact that her vote for the ill-fated merger caused the financial crises we are in now. Under her leadership, the Board of Supervisors recently, once more made the domestic partners benefits decisions without letting the public know as they have done in the past.the County Board of Supervisors spent $3.1 million of the Tobacco Settlement Fund which Mrs. Long claimed as bad debts of Health Care. No wonder why Measure O is in the ballot because its proponents do not trust her.Before coming to California, Kathy Long worked with the Mayor’s office in Detroit when it was virtually bankrupt and racked with police scandals resulting in thousands of citizens fleeing the city. Is this what we want in our county?We have enough of all these wrong decisions, hypocrisies, lies, and lack of leadership. We need an experienced and successful fiscally responsible person, not the experiences of Kathy Long in Detroit or here in our county during her first four years that led our county into borrowing money in order to survive. We need someone we can trust and will not lead us into bankruptcy. We need someone that will boost our morale and above all, we need someone who has that integrity we can respect. We need Mike Morgan, who is a true Venturan, has grown with us since childhood, and familiar with the County’s problem. We need Mike who had never enriched himself, intellectually compassionate, has proven that he is trustworthy and impeccably honest as a public official for many, many years. Third district citizens of Ventura County, don’t be deceived by false statements. Vote for Mike Morgan.Lita Z. BiejoMoorparkNo on OTo the Editor:The Bakst-Community Memorial money mill for their Measure O is operating at full tilt, probably headed for the $2 million mark before the election. In June they estimated that victory would cost them $15 per vote. Now $20 is just around the corner. They’ve hired a top-dollar vote getting machine. As Bakst himself said, “I’ve never worried about overdoing anything.”Certainly the loot is worth it. Under the Bakst formula, only the private hospitals of the county would have a shot at the quarter of a billion dollars due from the state’s tobacco settlement funds, which they would administer themselves principally to reduce their bad debts. Also under Bakst’s formula, only his hospital and a couple of others would qualify. The County Medical Center, by name, would be cut out entirely even though it serves about 90% of the county’s uninsured. Once Measure O is passed, public remedies for misuse of the funds are lost. All of this is outrageous.It’s a pity that no public body is authorized to conduct a competing campaign and that most victims of the measure are poor. The citizens Coalition Against Measure O has raised less than 4% of what Bakst has spent so far. Maybe the coalition will be able to get the word out, but certainly not in the overpowering and professional way that Bakst is able to buy.Most initiatives are tightly drawn by special interests to get something that could not be gotten in the public scrutiny of the legislative process. They are sold to voters through expensive sales campaigns full of lovely flim-flam. If they succeed the rewards are enormous. Measure O is a classic of this. Go slow and vote NO on O.James D. Parriott Sr.OxnardThe ideal candidateTo the Editor:As a marriage & family therapist I feel our town’s greatest need in the November election is for positive leadership on the city council. My vote will be for the two people whom I feel will offer the best leadership to inspire win/win solutions for our many problems.When I read campaign material and listen to candidates speak I am paying attention to the human relationship skills each person has to offer rather than how a person may stand on a particular issue. I am also paying attention to how a candidate motivates his supporters and campaign members to stay away from personality attacks, derogatory remarks about opposing candidates, and denigrating putdowns toward certain segments of our society. This goes for letters to the editor as well as personal comments behind the scene.Issues come and go and change with time but the ability to inspire and motivate positive problem solving out of diverse opinions will never change. Research has shown that businesses and families prosper where there is an emphasis on respect and cooperation. Our youth need positive role models for developing civility and cooperative collaboration.What is best for our future and our youth is for each adult to take time to vote for candidates that will motivate all of us to live up to the highest ideals of human interaction.Elsa CampbellSanta PaulaA response to ViewpointsTo the Editor:Dear Santa Paulans,This letter is in response to the newsletter called Viewpoints sent out by the SOAR committee. What I write are facts I know as the former Planning Director of the City of Santa Paula from 1988-1998 plus April-November of 1999. This time covers the entire time of the formulation, over 30 public meetings and the writing and adoption of the General Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Also, a brief review of my background will be enlightening to those who consider themselves environmentalists or in favor of SOAR (Measure I) as an environmental law.My first credential is an Associate of Science degree from Henry Ford Community College, a school begun when Henry Ford moved from Highland Park to Dearborn, Michigan. This is a venerable institution. Next, I have a Bachelor’s degree from the School of Natural Resources (SNR) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Earth Day began at SNR). During this time I spent a year in a Masters Program in Landscape Architecture besides studies in Ecology, Dendrology, Wildlife Statistics and the full range of environmental studies. The graduates of this school have careers in the National Park and Forest Service and the states natural resource agencies, in addition to private companies. I am a professional environmentalist! I chose to continue at University of Michigan to obtain a Masters degree in Urban Planning, a two-year intensive program that included a year-long public service by the class for a planning agency. I also served a year as an intern for the Great Lakes Basin Commission which is composed of eight states, Canada, the State Department and other federal agencies.In my professional career I have always been in charge of environmental review. I was Planning Director of the City of Ojai for six years before coming to Santa Paula. I learned in my training that a planner and environmentalist has an ethical duty to find ways for people to have a good life (i.e. jobs and housing) while protecting the environment.It is amazing to me that the first part of the newsletter stresses the percentage of the increase of the General Plan area. Santa Paula is only 4.5 square miles so using their numbers, the ultimate size of the city in 20 years would be 18 square miles if it all developed, an unlikely prospect. How does that compare to the cities of Ventura or Oxnard? Santa Paula will still be small in 20 years in comparison to those cities today. The proposed growth is also within projections of the city’s Growth Management Plan and the Air Quality Plan of the county.It is interesting to compare the proposed development of the hillsides in the City of Ventura with Adams Canyon General Plan figures. The acreage and number of units are basically the same except Adams Canyon will likely include one or two golf courses, besides acres of park land, and a resort hotel. Of course, both Oxnard and Ventura have plenty of resort hotels. Santa Paula has none. I noted in the Star’s article on the Ventura hillside development that Ventura hillsides are inside their sphere and that the Ventura SOAR does not cover this open space! The Star quoted Brian Brennan (a Ventura City Council and SOAR committee member) as saying that developing Ventura hillsides is like an infill project! The article stressed that Ventura needs expensive homes. The biggest difference between developing Ventura’s hillsides and Adams Canyon is that only a few people can see Adams Canyon and the Ventura hillside development will be in everyone’s face.The City of Santa Paula’s General Plan EIR documents many environmental impacts to develop almost anything in Santa Paula. The State law, CEQA requires that every imaginable impact be described and evaluated, a worst case scenario. These impacts must be mitigated to the satisfaction of the City. The Council must face up to a Statement of Overriding Consideration before approving a project with significant unmitigated environmental impacts. The City must show in a documented, detailed statement that the benefits to the City will outweigh detrimental impacts.The General Plan also requires a fiscal impact statement showing fiscal benefits or losses to the City now and in the future and a marketing plan to show there is market demand for the properties that will make development possible. The General Plan repeats in every appropriate place that the developers must pay for all related costs, which will be included in price of the properties and the tax assessor’s valuation. If it doesn’t pencil out, it won’t be built until it does.Again, the impacts from the EIR are a worst case scenario and taken out of context in the newsletter. Measure I may not stop growth but it will have a chilling effect on developers. Developers’ biggest concern is uncertainty. Measure I will multiply the uncertainty of development and drive up costs while they pay interest during an extended process.Are the voters all going to study the proposals the way they have studied the General Plan and EIR? Are they going to envision the whole picture or just one fact at a time? The Planning Commission and City Council and City staff will spend years and many public hearings on Adams Canyon. How many voters will take the time and put in the effort to be fully informed?Adams Canyon has been featured in the General Plan as the best chance for development substantial enough to benefit Santa Paula and its residents. The owners are interested in selling, and a real developer is showing interest. The major Fagan Canyon owners are lukewarm, and there is much less developable land in Fagan to cover the infrastructure costs.On the points inside the newsletter:1. Measure I undermines our system of representative government with all its processes to control development.2. Everyone is influenced to some degree by special interests. City staff, Planning Commission and City Council are trained to be objective and are controlled by conflict of interest laws. Most voters are only interested in their own special interest which is not controlled by law or objective. If I still worked for the City, I could not speak out like this.3. SOAR may work in other cities that are already large enough to be sustainable and have been growing. A long time ago Santa Paula was comparable in size to Oxnard and Ventura. Did Santa Paula do something wrong? The other cities have spheres that are adequate for their future growth. They even added land to their spheres before their SOAR elections. There is a plan for a CURB in Santa Paula’s General Plan. Measure I is unnecessary.
4. Under the Santa Paula General Plan, the greenbelts will remain intact and be strengthened. The greenbelts east and west of Santa Paula are the first in the county and have never been developed by Santa Paula. The canyons were included in the General Plan to avoid “paving over farmland.”5. The Santa Paula/Ventura greenbelt is almost all in the Santa Paula Area of Interest which is outlined on the map of Santa Paula in the newsletter. Ventura has a very small portion of this greenbelt in its Area of Interest and its existing and proposed hillside development will fill up the land up to the greenbelt.To paraphrase the SOAR newsletter, the SOAR issue is the most important land use decision in Santa Paula history. Defeating Measure I is our last hope to pull the City of Santa Paula out of the economic malaise we suffer from.Vote NO on Measure I.Joan KusSanta PaulaA chance to be heardTo the Editor:Recently I had the opportunity to read the Environmental Impact Report that was submitted to the City of Santa Paula in regard to the development of Adams Canyon. Probably the best description of my reaction to it is “I am appalled.”I won’t bore you with statistics about noise decibels, doubling of traffic, or the very real probability of Adams Canyon flooding in “El Niño” years and inundating Santa Paula as well.The fact is, the property tax income derived from the more than 2,000 homes that the developers envision will never cover the cost of increased services to the area. Everyone will pay!This is our town. Yes, we need to grow, but we need to grow sensibly. Developers and realtors who want to build half-million dollar homes and golf courses will not benefit Santa Paula. These people are not likely to shop here or improve our standard of living. We cannot properly sustain the waste water treatment now. It will cost ten million dollars to build a new one. Also, where is the drinking water going to come from - all of Southern California is in trouble right now as far as water is concerned.It is my opinion that the old devil greed has reared its ugly head in Santa Paula. A yes vote on Measure I will at least give us a chance to make our voices heard. I also believe that Guilin and Procter will greatly improve the City Council. The present one needs new blood and some common sense ideas.Measure I will in no way affect the building of schools or parks, they are exempt from this measure.It will not stop growth, only greed.Save Santa Paulaby Carmita WoodA long time ago - I came from a placethat once was a nice little city.It had trees and parks - and a couple nice lakesThe area was ever so pretty.Then - some men came to townwith money to spend.At first, we didn’t know whybut the reason was clearwhen the bulldozers cameand the buildings reached up to the sky.The streets became jammedthe pollution was thickThe air you hardly could breatheThe taxes went up and the public unrestwas just beginning to seethe.But they didn’t know - it was much, much too lateto stop what was already doneThere was nothing to do but live with regretThe developers had already won.Don’t let this happen to our townDon’t kiss Santa Paula goodbyeLet’s stop the developers in their tracksVote YES on SOAR’s “Measure I.”Carmita L. WoodSanta PaulaWhat the L is going on?To the Editor:We are blessed in Santa Paula with a wonderful library that is open five days a week and offers a variety of programs to the children and adults of the community.A few years ago Santa Paula voters approved a property tax measure for the library so that we could have the benefits we now enjoy (at a cost of about $2 a month). It was really nice, for a change, to have a say about where our tax money was being spent, and Santa Paulans came out and supported this measure wholeheartedly.Now I look at my Sample Ballot for the November 7 election and find that a Ventura resident who has NEVER even been inside our library is writing arguments against Measure L.Under the Gann Initiative, every four years we have to have voter approval for spending the property tax money we approved years ago. Without this approval the money would still be collected - and be held by the County - but the library would not be able to spend it and would have to cut hours and services.Read my lips, in Measure L THERE ARE NO NEW TAXES! So let’s keep our library vital (and open!) - VOTE YES ON MEASURE L.Suzi SkutleySanta PaulaAye on ITo the Editor:Adams Canyon is uncontrolled growth just like the uncontrolled hysteria displayed by the proponent of NO on Measure I at the Chamber of Commerce forum held last Tuesday morning. Is this also “Good for Kids”?The Vote Yes on Measure I committee put forward sound, well-researched arguments in favor of Measure I. These arguments are supported by the city’s own documents, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the White Paper.The opposition is finding it difficult to shore up their arguments in the same honest manner.If you would like a yard sign or to help with precinct walking and calling, please call 525-7690.Vote Yes on Measure I.Laura Flores EspinosaCouncil WomanSanta Paula needs to grow!To the Editor:I have been a resident of Santa Paula since 1972, when I came here to establish my medical practice. I was attracted to this city because of its “small town” atmosphere, its quaintness, and I felt that my contributions to the community would be more significant than in a large metropolitan setting.What I did not realize then was that the small town mentality was too pervasive and put Santa Paula on a slope towards extinction. Slowly the town has slipped in terms of retaining businesses and providing an adequate tax basis to support the necessary services a community needs in order to pursue “life, liberty and happiness.”Santa Paula does not have a sufficiently substantial middle class and it seems to be getting worse. Efforts to rejuvenate downtown, although in the right direction, are not enough. This city is in serious danger of losing its only hospital, precisely because there are too few patients that can pay the bill or have adequate insurance.There needs to be a balance between preservation and growth. At this point SANTA PAULA NEEDS TO GROW! and not just in the direction of dumps, jails and low income housing. Santa Paula cannot survive on the agrarian economy of the past.Exactly what is wrong with a nice hotel, a golf course, and some attractive homes? Santa Paula needs well paying jobs and decent living space that will provide an adequate tax base. If Measure I passes it will be another nail in the coffin of Santa Paula Memorial Hospital.G. W. Iwasiuk, M.D.Santa PaulaOpportunityThe supporters of Measure I have been stating that they have been presenting the facts about what Measure I will do for you. The facts from the supporters of Measure I have been a rubber band, stretched to the point of breakage.One of the most critical facts needs to be addressed... what will be the consequences to the citizens of Santa Paula over the next 20 years, YES I said the next 20 years, if Measure I passes?If you enjoy the lowest paid police and fire departments, if you enjoy the highest crime rate in Santa Paula, if you enjoy one of the lowest median incomes for families in Ventura County, if you enjoy the high density living, if you enjoy the bumpy roads, if you enjoy no land to bring new employers to the city, if you enjoy no hope that your children will be able to live in Santa Paula because no housing will be available and the list goes on and on, then you must vote for Measure I. However, remember these same conditions will continue and will get worse and the citizens will have to live with them for 20 years.If you want an OPPORTUNITY for a better quality of life for yourself, and especially your children, then you MUST VOTE NO ON MEASURE I. Measure I is a bad law and it eliminates any OPPORTUNITY that will be available to improve the conditions in Santa Paula. All anyone has asked is for an OPPORTUNITY to look at all development and decide what would be best for all citizens in the future. NO ON MEASURE I gives the citizens of Santa Paula and the children a OPPORTUNITY for a better future.Don JohnsonVice-MayorCity of Santa Paula