Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor August 1, 2014

August 01, 2014

Korean War 

Veterans Association 

To the Editor:

The Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 56 of Ventura County held their 61st Commemorative ceremony to the end of the Korean War on Saturday July 26, 2014 at the Santa Paula Veterans Park. The ceremony was a huge success thanks to a very supportive community, dedicated veterans throughout the area, and the excellent support from the City of Santa Paula Community Services Director Ed Mount and his staff of, Luis Salazar, Leo Estrada and Ed Ramos.  We sincerely appreciate all those attending and the assistance by many.

We especially wish to thank Yamaguchi Flowers for the excellent floral wreaths and to the Santa Paula Times for their outstanding coverage of our event.

The ceremony was well attended by many American and the Republic of Korea Korean War veterans from throughout the Southern California area, Mr. Steve Cho, (U.S. Army Retired CWO) Korean War Veterans Liaison Officer; President Hong Ki Park, Korean War Veterans of the Los Angeles area and members; President James Lee, Korean War Veterans Orange County and members; Martin Vasquez, First Marine Division (U.S. Marines Retired CSM); Mr. David Pressey, who also served as Chaplain for our event, 40th Infantry Division, 224 Infantry and For All Veterans Mr. Robert Rabago. The public was invited to participate in the wreath laying ceremony and 36 local families also participated.

A Veterans Military Funeral ceremony was demonstrated and the American Flag was folded with the 12 Folding Steps explained as each fold to our flag was made. 

The Rifle Squad commanded by David Garcia fired three volleys and the ceremony ended with Taps played by bugler Rudy Arellano.

Thank you,

David Lopez

Commander, KWVA Chapter 56

Fillmore & 


To the Editor:

I have the privilege of being one of Fillmore & Western’s lawyers. The Wilkinsons are treasured friends. There has to be a bit of history told with truth injected into the story.

FW signed contracts with VCTC soon after VCTC purchased the branch line. That purchase was subject to a Memorandum of Understanding between Fillmore, Santa Paula, Ventura, Ventura County, and VCTC.

VCTC took over day-to-day operations of the branch under the guidance of a branch line committee. At that point, FW was maintaining the track between Fillmore and Santa Paula, at the railroad’s expense, except for occasional funding for capital projects defined by the VCTC agreements.

Soon after FW signed a maintenance agreement with VCTC to maintain the track between Montalvo and Santa Paula, VCTC provided documentation to the Federal Railroad Administration, which is called the “FRA” to make FW the railroad of record on the branch line. The reason being that VCTC signed it and the agreement within Southern Pacific, now the Union Pacific, to maintain the track for UP to operate its freight service at no expense to the company.

VCTC took full responsibility for maintenance at no cost to UP. FW was then maintaining the track between Montalvo and Santa Paula, using the monies made available by the income of the branch line, such as pipeline agreements, adjacent landowner agreements, and so on. This maintenance agreement never exceeded the $312,000 per year, or $26,000 per month, including the annual state and federal highway crossing allowance.

In 2001 we renegotiated our contracts for a 20 year period, and soon after that the FW was urged by the FRA and VCTC to apply to the Surface Transportation Board-- the STB-for our newly acquired freight service and FW attempted to transfer freight service from UP to FW.

UP was not interested at that moment, and indicated it could be possible in the future. VCTC told FW to hold off because there were ongoing discussions between UP and VCTC regarding issues with Metrolink.

FW and VCTC worked together and renegotiated their agreements in 2004 and 2007 to adjust the ongoing maintenance rates and agreements. Those rates were adjusted into the branch line budget and passed by the full commission until 2010 when there was a new Executive Director.

The new Executive Director incorrectly pointed out to the commission he thought FW had been overpaid. Going back to 2005, he calculated a $140,000 overpayment, and called it a gift of public funds. He was profoundly wrong; the $140,000 was for maintenance work already done. FW objected to the Director and the Chairperson of the commission to no avail.

In 2012 and 2013, with the consent of the VCTC, FW went to Union Pacific to secure freight rights on the branch line and to work towards a successful formal interchange agreement. FW thought that securing freight service on the branch line would lead to more revenue to help sustain maintenance on the branch line.

FW worked on securing new customers to ensure that growth, and had worked with the new plastics company in Santa Paula, and two other trans-load contractors that wanted to locate some of their operations in Santa Paula. Soon thereafter FW was served a letter by the Executive Director that embargoed Union Pacific from interchanging with FW.

In 2013 VCTC started their campaign of “we don’t like you” by the statement that FW was a private company being subsidized by public funds. I’ve never heard that term being used for their other contractors.

The cold hard facts are that FW has never been paid more than the agreed amount for maintenance. All of those contracts were written by VCTC.

There were several years when the VCTC was over budget on the branch line. Anything over the approximate $312,000 has been for studies, special projects, and capital improvement projects that specifically approved by the VCTC. None of that “excess” money ever came to FW. In keeping with this dishonest approach, there has been vast overstatements of future costs of repairs.

In May 2013 VCTC served FW and the city of Fillmore with Termination Notices on the contracts. The FW contract termination was for a false claim of lack of maintenance, and was unproven.

VCTC then cancelled the Fillmore contract, which was cancelable without cause. Over the cancellation notice period of six months, VCTC deducted the falsely claimed over-payment of $140,000 from Fillmore and Western. Leaving FW a small monthly amount to maintain the line to service Union Pacific freight.

In January 14, 2014 VCTC stopped paying any maintenance money to FW or to any other company to maintain the branch line. FW is the Railroad of Record with the FRA, CPUC, and STB and still maintains the branch line, even though it has received no money, as required by contract, to do so.

The branch line has been regularly inspected by both the California Public Utilities Commission-CPUC-and the FRA, Those agencies certified the line to Class I standards with only minor defects having been noted (and repaired by FW at its own cost), and FW has received no funds from the VCTC for that service.

Ivan W. Halperin_

Fillmore & Western Attorney



To the Editor:

Santa Paula is very fortunate to have, at this time, six motivated candidates running for city council. John Procter, Jenny Crosswhite, Ralph Fernandez, John Demers, Fred Robinson, and Ginger Gherardi,  all of these people are concerned with our sewer and water rates.  They agree we need to make some changes. As a eighty year old senior some months my water and sewer bill is over $350.00!  $140.00 of this bill is listed as my sewer treatment cost for one person. Why? I built my house on a large lot in order that I can have fruit trees. Most of my water use is used to water my vegetation and is never treated but goes back in the aquifer below. I have a macadamia nut tree, orange trees, avocado trees, lemon trees, fig trees, persimmon trees, a lime tree, oak trees, a front lawn, a back lawn,  palm trees and a garden. The cost to deliver water is one thing, but the amount the city charges me for my sewer service is another! Extending my city of Santa Paula sewer rate to a family of five living in a Cabrillo Economic Development corporation three bedroom tax subsidized apartment with no yard, their sewer rate be $700.00 a month.  This problem needs addressing.  

Ventura addressed this problem many years ago by assuming that the three wet months of the year to be the time when vegetation watering was minimal. Ventura water and sewer rates reflect this knowledge.  This also helps to establish the amount of water that does require treatment by their sewer system at this address.  We don’t have to re-invent the wheel, Ventura did this years ago! It is logical that five people living at an address using water for their toilet, bathing, cooking, washing, doing laundry and house cleaning would require much more water treatment by a sewer system, than one eighty year old senior. Families living in an apartment building without trees or a lawn to maintain may require all of their water to be treated by our sewer system.

I hope and pray one of these candidate comes up with a solution! 

David Kaiser   

Santa Paula