Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor

April 27, 2012

SPHS students adventure through Costa Rica’s wildlife

To the Editor:

SPHS students did not think twice to sign up for our Costa Rica trip when they found out that they could adventure through its wildlife. Since day one, they immersed themselves in adventurous activities that included whitewater rafting, hiking and canopy tours, horseback riding, and kayaking. Most importantly, they explored the jungles by boat and visited Costa Rica’s most amazing national parks that astonished them with its wildlife and ecological habitats. 

Our students visited Volcan Arenal in which its lava heats the waters to make nature’s swimming pools. Students spent a few hours at La Fortuna, where its swimming pools are naturally heated from its lava. Even thought this volcano has been inactive since 2010, it is still a stunning place to contemplate from high above the rainforests. 

The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde is another impressive national park in which students strolled through its trails learning about its remarkable natural features and spotting exotic animals. Its thick foliage and its misty rainforest make Monteverde a must-see area for eco tourism. The different trails allowed students to search for a variety of birds and mammals; they took amazing pictures of the diversity of plants and learned valuable information from our tour guide about this bio-diverse paradise that surrounded them with lush cloud forest.

Another attractive place in Costa Rica is Tortuguero, a tropical rainforest that is surrounded by a network of canals. Even though this is a small village, students were able to buy souvenirs at gift shops, walk through its narrow streets, and attend to a museum to learn about the breeding grounds of the Green Sea Turtle. The Tortuguero National Park is replete with diverse wildlife attractions, and since one can only navigate by boat, its wide canals are perfect for crocodile and monkey spotting, fish and bird watching. The boat trip on the canal to Tortuguero was an unforgettable experience to our students for they continuously kept exploring the canals and spotting creatures such as caimans, birds and crocodiles.

In addition to exploring the canals by boat, students visited the Monteverde Conservation League that oversees the planting of trees in the deforested land. They also contemplated an impressive Butterfly Garden, visited a banana plantation, and stopped at a local farm to plant a tree.

Students truly developed an understanding of Costa Rica’s culture and learned similarities and differences between this country and the U.S. Their exposure to its culture has altered the way in which they view the world and changes that they wish to see in their own culture. In closing, traveling to Costa Rica has expanded their perspective on the world and has opened their eyes to opportunities they never knew existed. No classroom lesson can teach them as much as experiencing the world firsthand. They have gained a multicultural understanding to positively interact inter-culturally. This is an educational tool accessible and affordable to every dedicated student in our community. Some are already looking forward to explore the Greek Islands on a cruise and the rest of Greece next Spring Break.

Mr. Ramirez

SPHS Foreign Language Teacher

Applauded appointment

To the Editor:

The other factors involved in the case of Steve MacKinnon not withstanding, it is with great pleasure that I greet the appointment of Ismael Cordero as Acting Chief of Police of Santa Paula.

Holding the position of President of the Santa Paula Police Officers Association tells us that Ismael is held in high esteem by his peers. He is also an alumnus of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Paula. In that setting he was selected as the Boy of the Year in 1975, an honor acknowledging his leadership skills. Ish was the finest young man I encountered in eleven years at the  Boys and Girls Club.

Vince Burns

Santa Paula

Who pays? YOU WILL

To the Editor:

Cabrillo (CEDC) is at it again. In part because of recent events related to the de-funding of City Redevelopment Agencies, Cabrillo is working at ways to keep those lucrative “golden eggs”. What that means is, more cost to you, the taxpayer, and likely more staff reductions for our schools as an indirect consequence. It will also result in fewer jobs. More specifically, Cabrillo is promoting the passage in Sacramento of the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization “(HomeS bill” - SB 1220), which, if passed, will cost between $4oo million and $1 billion per year, and all of that coming from you, the taxpayer. Can we really afford this? Can you really afford such a new huge program going on forever in this state, a state that is admittedly basically broke? This money will have to come from somewhere, and will, however indirectly, take away from other important program funding, such as school funding. Don’t be fooled. This is about Cabrillo making money; you have seen them in action before, and they are at it again. Currently, they are soliciting support from those that are beholden to them, and others, and are circulating emails to solicit support. It is important that you contact your state representatives and let them know your views. The “tax and spend” insanity that has bankrupted this state has got to stop, now.

Larry Sagely

Santa Paula

Lot of changes 

To the Editor: 

Santa Paula has gone through a lot of changes over the years. None bigger than 125 years ago when the Santa Paula Depot was built which ushered in the beginning of regularly scheduled train service to the Santa Clara River Valley.

Well, yesterday, April 20th, International Paper announced that they are closing the Santa Paula Box Plant in June of this year. That plant has  been the only customer to receive regularly scheduled train service in the Santa Clara River Valley for decades.

It is a sad day to know the countdown has begun on the ending of an era of regularly scheduled train service which began in Santa Paula exactly 125 years ago this year.

Luckily we still have the Fillmore & Western Railway Company which provides train rides from Fillmore throughout the year. And we still have the Santa Paula Team Tracks which are available for anyone to receive freight cars across the street from the depot which Union Pacific has delivered on an as needed basis over the years. Mainly delivering building materials, lumber and plywood.

Hopefully with the coming of new development in Santa Paula in the near future, we can still take advantage of the service that helped Santa Paula grow and prosper over the last 125 years. But no longer can we depend on the sounds of the trains bringing commerce from all over the country on a regular basis here as they have been.

Now we can only hope for the day when the long planned for passenger shuttle will begin. Will it be 5 or 10 years? Will some of us still be here when and if it starts? I know at least for me it will be something that dreams are made of.

Ken Brookes, Manager

Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce

The right opportunity at the right time… 

To the Editor:

The prospect to unify Santa Paula schools and for new money for our schools couldn’t come at a better time. We don’t need more lay-offs and cuts to our programs.

Santa Paula voters will have the opportunity to unify the Santa Paula Elementary District and the Santa Paula High School District Unification… if the State Board of Education directs the County to put this measure on the November ballot at its May 10th meeting.

Once the State Board of Education approves the unification petition, no employees can be cut in anticipation of unification, and all classified employees will be protected until July of 2015… if the voters approve the measure to unify the schools in November.

Unification will bring about 3 million new dollars to the new Unified District every year, including new money from the State and no new taxes. And by working together, the new district can save additional money by cutting administrative expenses and sharing resources. This money can then be spent on our kids in the classroom.

Unification will make it possible to do more for our kids - to restore programs, reduce class sizes, develop a common calendar, and improve our educational system and K-12 curriculum. 

We need to grab the opportunity that Unification offers for our kids, our schools and our community. 

Unification Committee

Marcia Edwards

Santa Paula

Re: Police Chief Steve MacKinnon

To the Editor:

We have been shocked, dismayed and totally aghast at what our City Administration has done!

All communities strive for Public Safety, Economic Development, Public Confidence and I must add Community Perception.

Our chief has been an integral part of enhancing all of the above goals and desires since he was hired six years ago.

Our community admires and respects Chief MacKinnon. And, I have yet to hear of anyone that is not terribly disappointed at the City actions that have been taken.

Santa Paula had the best reduction in crime, the police department morale is up, and all available resources are considered when it comes to making our City safe and going after the bad guys. The community feels safer and all of us, who work so hard to make our community a great place to live, have been devastated by these recent actions.

Our community is upbeat and excited about the recent businesses that have been opening up in our City; the positive spirit of all our local volunteers, organizations and clubs is next to none. And, our chief is right there with us. Chief MacKinnon has worked tirelessly and with upbeat energy to put Santa Paula in the #1 spot of Public Safety, Economic Development, Tourism, and Public Perception changes. And, that all is powered by Public Safety. All that our chief has done is for the good of the total community. I feel he deserves the Eagle, not a slap in the face!

We want to be heard. All I can close with is shame, shame!

Anita Pulido

Santa Paula

Utility customers score HUGE victory!!

To the Editor:

On Friday, April 20, a historic decision was made concerning Smart Meters! Every one of us should know this critical information! Smart Meters are no longer mandatory here in Southern California! Too many customers have complained about ensuing ill health, fires (over 800) after they were installed, invasion of privacy, garage doors not working, etc.

On the meeting of April 19, SCE (Southern California Edison), PUC (the Public Utilities Commission) and CPA (Consumers Power Alliance) voted for a historic pro-consumer ruling which decided “for the first time” to initiate a permanent opt out plan for all Southern California Edison customers, allowing us the opportunity “to not have a smart meter for any reason whatsoever.” A plan was also initiated whereby you can even change our “unwanted Smart Meter” back to your old reliable non-evasive analog meter. This is huge, because Smart Meters are being installed, all over our globe in a rushed quasi-mandatory way. So imagine how the eyes of the world will be on us here in Southern California seeing “just how well we handle this unique opportunity” to wake up and clearly say “no” to blindly accepting more unchecked electromagnetic radiation (which we already have plenty of with cell towers and wifi!) while saying “no” to additional government or corporation snooping into our private lives!

There will probably be opt-out fees. I don’t relish the idea of an opt-out fee but I can also understand why Edison needs to charge one. They will obviously incur extra expenses through having two different kinds of meters to care for. But I, for one, consider any permanent opt-out fee certainly worth it, so as to protect myself from personal privacy invasion, and reduce any increased health risk (especially of cancer) by a continuous pulsed radiation bring also lots more dirty electricity.

Currently the opt-out fee for CARE customers ($31,000 or less yearly income for one person) is $10 for a setup and $5 per month, plus a fee of $75 for a setup and $10 per month for customers who make a larger income than this. To me this is not unreasonable taking into account your electricity will likely cost more with a Smart Meter. But his is not finalized.

There will be a Phase 2 meeting of the CPU, not yet scheduled, to determine what the exact and final opt-out fee will be, and this meeting will also decide whether a whole community can opt out (several communities have asked to, but, alas, not here in Santa Paula).

Wow! If a large majority of individuals in our community personally opted out of having Smart Meters installed, wouldn’t this one deed make Santa Paula a great and totally wide awake community to “live” in?

Call 1-800-810-2369 / Spanish 1-800-477-4455 to opt out or for more information. Also is an excellent site.

Nina Remensperger

Santa Paula

To the City Manager and City Council:

Re: Chief Steve MacKinnon: Put on Administrative Leave!

After reading the front page a few issues ago, I was curious as to why this kind of information was released and splashed across the paper with no explanation as to why he was put on leave. It puts a blight on our city that may not be warranted but is certainly very negative to his reputation as Chief of Police of Santa Paula.  Shouldn’t it have been handled behind closed doors and then released to the public when all the facts were known? Was it a personal problem or a professional performance problem? His leadership has been so helpful and he is so caring to be involved with the many non-profit organizations here in our city. He doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.  Please place this issue on the May 7th agenda so we can resolve this important matter quickly and with dignity for all involved.

Carol Boatner

Santa Paula