Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor

March 14, 2003
Comparison of Police Service spending To the Editor:A recent letter to the editor asserted that Santa Paula spends the lowest percentage of its General Fund on Police services of any city in Ventura County. I was unaware of this fact and had no documentation to confirm or refute the statement. Therefore, City staff polled all Ventura County cities and developed the attached spreadsheet which details Police spending for all Ventura County cities.From this survey, Santa Paula spends 46.8% of its General Fund budget on Police services. This ranks Santa Paula as third highest in the County in General Fund budget spending on Police services after Fillmore and Camarillo. The spreadsheet also lists per capita spending on Police. The City of Santa Paula is committed to providing our residents quality Police services. We are also committed to ensuring that our community has accurate information about these services.By Wally Bobkiewicz, City Manager, City of Santa PaulaGet the factsTo the Editor:After reading the letter from Ms. Joyce Rounds, I am wondering why it was allowed to be printed in the newspaper since it is so full of incorrect statements! After a call to the personnel who handle insurance claims at Ventura County Medical Center, I was not surprised to find out that they accept ALL insurances. That’s right - ALL INSURANCES. To say that the people of Santa Paula would be unable to use Santa Paula Memorial Hospital if it became affiliated with Ventura County Medical Center is untrue.Furthermore, one theory as to why Community Memorial would only agree to keep SPMH open for five years: they are planning a massive expansion that will be finished in, let’s see - could it be five years? I wonder if they would find it necessary to have a full-service hospital after the expansion is complete? They have clinics in Santa Paula and Fillmore in order for the patients to utilize the Ventura hospital now. Would anything change in five years?I do not think that the 500 people who signed the petition were misguided at all. They were just better informed than Ms. Rounds.As an RN myself, I would be so proud if Santa Paula Memorial Hospital affiliated with the County hospital. Many so-called “middle-class” people choose to be cared for and receive excellent care at VCMC.Cheryl Wilson, RN, BSNObstetrics ManagerSanta PaulaMemorial Hospital“2002 Year End Crime Statistics,” for the City of Santa PaulaTo the Editor:On March 10, 2003 at the Santa Paula City Council Meeting I presented the “2002 Year End Crime Statistics,” for the City of Santa Paula.I was very pleased to report to the City Council and the community the reduction of violent crime by over 21% during the one-year period compared to 2001. The city also experienced a reduction of crime in the area of robberies and aggravated assaults. The only area in violent crimes to increase was rape and the total number went from one in 2001 to four in 2002. In each of these cases the suspect had previously had a relationship with the victim or the suspect was known to the victim. Crimes related to property increased by 6% from the previous year, a total of 82 more crimes than in 2001, of which 77 were petty theft. The 6% increase is for the most part the average increase experienced statewide.One statistic that went up dramatically was homicides. This past year the city experienced a record six homicides, the most our city has ever experienced in one year. In one case a young 16 year old has been arrested for the murder of two innocent local residents and the other cases are still under investigation with arrests pending. So, is Santa Paula a safe place to live and raise a family? If you look objectively at the crime statistics I reported for 2002, the answer is an overwhelming and unquestionable YES. If you ask ten people on the streets of Santa Paula the same question today, I fear you might get a different response.Why is there a discrepancy between the statistics and the perception of safety in Santa Paula? I believe there are several factors at work. First, Ventura County contains some of the safest communities located in an urban county anywhere in the United States. These cities are not just safe; they are statistically safer than thousands of other communities in America. Does this make these Ventura County cities the only safe cities in Southern California or the United States? Of course not, but it does create a statistical standard that is difficult for a community as diverse and with limited resources like Santa Paula to compare ourselves.Second, there are factors that contribute to what I call the “perception of safety.” These factors include tagging or graffiti in the community, regular interaction with police officers and the sensationalized publicity that surround certain crimes.The Santa Paula Police Department takes both the perception and reality of crime seriously. Last Monday, I reported on the following plans to more aggressively combat these issues:Response to Gang Violence: The department personnel will establish a two-person gang unit by reassigning personnel from the Patrol Unit. The Officers will focus on gang issues, gang problems and gang crimes.The department currently challenges parolees being released early into the community, and if an individual scheduled to be released has no connection to Santa Paula, if he was not originally from Santa Paula, an objection is made in an attempt to keep him from being released to Santa Paula.Community Policing: The Department has established a program where the Officer assigned to the downtown area will park his police vehicle and get back to “walking the beat.” The officer will need to respond to calls from his foot beat assignment when necessary, but nonetheless the officer will target different part of the downtown area for the added dedicated patrol.The Department also continues to build on the Community Policing Building (Storefront) led by volunteer Calla Dominguez and her volunteer staff. They work in helping individuals of all walks of like. We have established programs that are designed to provide a variety of services, from helping children in completing their homework to working with representatives from Veterans Affairs Administration. From helping the young, to the not so young anymore. Partnerships and alliances have been established with local, county and federal organization.Graffiti Abatement: The Department now has it’s own Graffiti Abatement Specialist. He is a full-time community college student who will work on removing graffiti throughout the community part-time. He has been outfitted with a pressure water blaster and paintbrush and rollers. He will go around town looking for graffiti to remove or cover the unsightly graffiti. The residents of Santa Paula are encouraged to purchase paint at a local hardware stores. The store owners will match any sample you might have. The graffiti specialist will then respond to your call for service and then water-blast the graffiti off, or paint over the graffiti, which matches the existing surface. The Graffiti Hotline is (805) 921-1668.One area that is more difficult to control is the publicity that crime receives in Santa Paula. Over the years I have noticed how the community of Santa Paula is the recipient of headlines and articles in some newspapers that tend to give the community a negative perspective. In some cases front page headlines for Santa Paula would not make the back page articles for other communities. Since I was appointed Chief of Police I have personally made an effort to talk to people from outside of the community about the community and on many occasions the people I speak with only know what they read about in the newspapers, which is not always correct.As a life long resident of the community, and someone who plans on living here for years to come, I wish for factual reporting of events related to the community. If the information is not good news, I expect this to be reported factually, yet fairly. By the same token, if there is good information, and there are a number of positive things happening in Santa Paula, I hope this too will be reported and in the positive light. Many times what a person reads in newspapers gives them a perspective of a community, which will stay with that person forever. Santa Paula is not one of the wealthiest communities in the county or state, but is rich in other areas. In many cases a person’s perspective is what they believe but in reality the opinion is based on the slant or angle provided by the article.My commitment to the Santa Paula City Council and the residents of our community is a more aggressive campaign to deal with the reality and perceptions of crime in Santa Paula. The Santa Paula Police Department will work tirelessly to protect our community and be pro-active in ways to prevent crimes from happening. We will regularly report our successes and be honest and straightforward in addressing issues related to law enforcement and crime. We will also work to correct any and all misperceptions about crime or law enforcement in Santa Paula. I wish to publicly thank the dedicated men and women of the Santa Paula Police Department, the sworn officers, non-sworn employees and volunteers for their efforts in making Santa Paula a safer community. I firmly believe the reason for the reduction in crime in the community is due to their dedication to the people of Santa Paula and their hard work.There are a number of positive things happening in Santa Paula. It truly is the best place to live and work in Southern California. Those of us who live here already know how special Santa Paula is. For the rest of you, I invite you to come visit Santa Paula and see for yourself.Robert S. GonzalesChief of PoliceCity of Santa PaulaA crazy situationTo the Editor:The World is in the midst of probably one of the more difficult and confusing periods of its recorded history. Are the powers to be really leveling with their people? Greed has got to be one of the key words that seems to be missing in the debates going on all over the World. Justice seems to get mentioned every one in awhile, but not often enough. Unfortunately the basis of most of the arguments is that old nasty thought, “You have what we want,” and as much as I hate to admit it, it exists on both sides of the Atlantic. Gold is such a pretty color, why, when it turns black, like oil, it becomes something ugly and causes greed? The negotiations that go on behind the scenes are wrapped around a very delicate matter. Oil is liquid gold which provides wealth and power to those who possess it, and because it’s a source of energy it is much sought after. There’s an expression that describes this messy situation. It’s a Catch-22. I hope war is not the way to resolve this matter. The following is not a solution, but just my thoughts of this crazy situation.Our Constitution allows us the precious gift of freedom of speech. It is only one of the many benefits we have for being citizens of this wonderful Country. The fact that we can wield our pens, or man the typewriters and express our opinions, and then have them published is a rarity probably not allowed in many other countries. Being able to assemble and hold public meetings happens to be another privilege we possess here in America. We can probably thank men like Thomas Paine with his writing and Patrick Henry with his skills as an orator for those freedoms, because later they were included in the Bill of Rights which was later added on to the Constitution. One thing Paine and Henry had clearly established in their minds was who the enemy was and what they were fighting for. That’s the problem I’m having these days, as I try and follow the logic of some of the demonstrations I’ve read and heard about, likewise some of the articles written in the Press. It seems the “unheard from majority” has finally surfaced and are speaking out and giving their opinion as to whether or not American forces should initiate the action and make war against Iraq. I applaud their intent, but do they have the real enemy properly identified?As a retired military officer who served in the Armed Forces during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, one might think that I’m gung-ho about the matter of War. I’m not, however I am reminded of the motto of the last organization I belonged to prior to retirement in 1965. “Peace is our Profession” was SAC’s motto and the objective of the Strategic Air Command’s goal. The mightiest striking force the World has ever known to have such a noble goal is a tribute to our military. Our offensive missiles were not designed to start wars, but rather to retaliate against an aggressive nation who throws the first punch. Our targets are the sites of the enemy’s offensive weapons, not the civilian population which unfortunately are in the vicinity of our targets. That’s the inhumanity of wars, innocent people get killed.
The many demonstrations going on in America, and some abroad seem to be valid, except for one very vital point. They seem to be confused as to who the enemy is. The enemy is not President Bush and his advisors, their anger should be aimed at Iraq. We should be demonstrating to show we want Iraq to comply with the sanctions imposed upon them by the United Nations. Consider the tremendous responsibility upon our President’s shoulders. Is he necessarily “The World’s Peacemaker”? We go to the defense of Nations who are physically and financially unable to defend themselves. I don’t think I’d like a passive President during times like this, but I hope he keeps a cool head. Our Presidents are also the Commanders in Chief of our Armed Forces. I served under some mighty good ones. Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and even Johnson and Nixon who had that fiasco, Vietnam to deal with. Many of our American families were torn apart and still are because of “Nam.” None of those Presidents started wars, but thank God they were aggressive enough to assure us victory, although victory is hardly the right word for the Vietnam event. I wish the United Nations was as aggressive as our President for I think they should be the ones to push the button in this matter, if it is necessary.Our Nation has had many trying times. Consider the westward expansion of the Country and how it affected our Native Americans a few centuries ago; the Civil War, before, during, and after must have caused many a sleepless night for our Commanders in Chief. And not too many years ago one of our Presidents had to order American troops to open fire against fellow Americans during the turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. The tremendous responsibility placed upon the shoulders of that one person is certainly something I would prefer not to carry.All in all our Nation has in its short history (compared to China and Japan) become the greatest Nation in the World. And it’s been an American democracy with an American President who has put us in that position. Although we seem to be isolated from many of the other Nations, we have long since agreed that we could no longer abide by portions of the Monroe Doctrine; when in 1823 President Monroe in addressing Congress informed the European powers that the United States had no intention of interfering in European affairs (reference: pg. 606, Civilization, Past and Present, by T. Walker Wallbank, 3rd edition). Today the Nations of the World must live in harmony for we really are Citizens of the World, whether we like it or not. The future of our children and their children rests upon our shoulders. Nations must consult together and avoid if possible the necessity of choosing up sides to see who is going to punish the government that threatens the Peace of the world.Hopefully our President will make secure what God has bestowed upon us Americans. He needs our cheers, not our jeers. He is not our enemy. There is an evilness in the World and much of it is in Iraq. That is our enemy and if it can be eliminated the World will be a better place.Mark A. Eaton, Jr.Santa PaulaOur ancestors fought hard for freedomTo the Editor:The protester peace freaks should all go there to today’s Iran and Iraq, Libya, Somalia, their havens and stay a year. Try to protest their government. They would be shot. I encourage the protesters to get educated why and how we good free and hard working real Americans fought for the rights we have. With the veterans and military. God bless them (us) all. The peace crowd should get a real working job and be very productive to the “real” world people who know freedom. But they enjoy being radical and one-sided only. And gobble up the freedoms that someone else earned the hard way. How many are welfare? Smoke wacky tabacky?A protester kook is one who has a neighbor who throws all his garbage into their yard, throws rocks at their windows, shoots their dog and a kid. The protester says “Hey neighbor, peace, let’s talk.” For 12 years. What?To Huguette Johnson and Maiya Herrera, “Well written bar none.” You show good judgment and appreciate what you have. That is freedom. That is what the Middle Easterners do not know. They are taught hate and the Koran. That is it. The male smokes, drinks, dresses as they wish, drives a car, gathers with their cronies, so on. The female has none of that. It is forbidden strictly. She shops for food and raises (many) kids and is covered head to toe strictly. They are governed by a male lifetime ruler who doesn’t mind killing for minor things even.When the shah was in power in Iran he tried to get modern education to the people, more west style dress as one wanted, more religious freedom but the radical old guard fought it. The Mideast is “very primitive.” Illiteracy is rampant. The drink, wash, use of the water that is polluted so bad you would get sick just looking. The Mideast governments spend billions on tanks, guns, missiles, ammo, etc. Not on education, building, health, food or trade. That is fact.I have spent time in the Middle East. Legally, that is how I know what I said. There is no change.There are 50,000 Iraqis in New York (one area alone here) as well as many thousands in other free countries who fled Iraq to stay alive because they are Protestant and Catholic and will go back when they can be safe. They are also educated.The only full freedom country in the Mideast is Israel where women are also educated and free to do as they like. It is a good tourist area. They work very hard for freedom. Very safe until the PLO militants screwed it up. If we let the Israelis help us and the Great British, Iraq will be free very quickly and soon from a tyrant. Yes, soon.I was talking with one protester named Elmo Dorf. I asked him why he was protesting and he said, “I dunno.” His wife Lulu said the same.Yes, I say war is Hell. Been there, done that. But today we have more tyrants than ever to stop. For freedom for you and I. And, er, the I dunnos.Give praise to our president, our military, our veterans and the 95% freedom loving Americans. Our president is trying tirelessly very hard to solve a very bad situation. And with help from 95% of us.The Gollywood left are overpriced actors enjoying freedom bought by others. It doesn’t mean they are smart. They just like the brutal enemies.You know our motto, “In God we trust.” And, “under God” in our flag. Freedom, love it or leave it. Trust me.Ken ZimmetSanta PaulaMakes mefeel sadTo the Editor:I first thought about writing this letter when I read Maiya Herrera’s letter in the February 28 edition. I didn’t write it then, however, because reading her letter made me feel angry; and rarely, if ever, does anything good come from angry, emotional outbursts. I can write now, because reading Ms. Herrera’s letter no longer makes me feel angry. Instead it just makes me feel sad.Her opinion that those of us who question our President’s and government’s policies should, “leave and don’t come back! We do not need you,” is a very sad commentary to say the least. Like Ms. Herrera, I too love my country and am proud to be an American. Perhaps what I am most proud of about being an American is my right to question, disagree, and yes, even protest if I should so choose. She’s right that in many countries I would not have that privilege. Having lived and taught in Europe, I have had the opportunity to visit not only Western Europe but also Hungary and Russia while they were still under Communist control, as well as in the Middle East. As a teacher in a college for the children of diplomats from around the world, I had the opportunity to work closely with and get to know students and other teachers from these countries, many of them from the Middle East, and some who may even now very likely be a part of the current government in Iraq. I understand that the freedom of dissent I enjoy is a rare privilege. My husband was born, raised, and became an adult behind the Iron Curtain. We certainly know to appreciate each day we are privileged to enjoy the many freedoms and opportunities we experience here daily.I have no problem with Ms. Herrera voicing her opinion. I want her to be able to do that. It doesn’t matter that her opinion is not the same as mine. What matters is that each of us has the right to express our opinions freely without fear of reprisal. In her letter, Ms. Herrera also mentions her friend from Vietnam. I am thankful that her friend has found a safe refuge here. Surely if we learned nothing else from the terrible price we paid in Vietnam, we should have learned that we can not blindly trust that our country’s leaders are making the right choices. Rather, as good citizens we have an obligation to question and even protest when we feel it is needed.It also saddens me when I read letters equating disagreement about our country’s current policy concerning what most of us feel will most certainly lead to war, with lack of respect or support for our military. While Ms. Herrera did not make this statement in her letter, I have read it in a number of letters recently. Disagreeing with policy, feeling that war is not the best and certainly not the only solution, is not the same as lack of support for our military. America’s military is made up of many fine, brave young men and women, and I know no one who doesn’t support them. They are being called upon to make tremendous sacrifices, and they do this willingly. Whether the coming war is truly right or wrong, only history will be able to tell. What we do know for certain now, is that these brave young men and women will be called on to give their all. Let us pray that we will never have to look back and find that they were asked to make this sacrifice in vain.As for Ms. Herrera and many others who share her views, keep expressing your beliefs. Take advantage of your opportunity to speak out. I just ask that you also respectfully allow me to do the same.Joyce VrajichSanta PaulaUnprovokedattack on theUSS StarkTo the Editor:This March 17th represents the 16th anniversary of an unprovoked attack on the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf in which 37 US Sailors were killed. It interesting to note that the Iraqi Air Force jet that attacked was a French made Mirage fighter and the 2 missles that tore into the USS Stark were Exocet air to surface missles made and provided by...thats right, the French. To this day the French are still supplying the Iraqi’s with what they need to maintain what is left of their Air Force. They defend Iraq and talk of more inspections but what they are really saying is that they have to protect their petro-euro contracts. If the possible upcoming Iraq action were all about oil all the U.S would have to do is agree to end sanctions against Iraq and we could buy all the oil we want from them. Very easy, much cheaper than war. In this case if there is any “capitalistic” motivation involved, it is France that is motivated.Wes EasleySanta Paula