Santa Paula Times

Letters to the Editor

May 28, 2004
Mayor appreciation To the Editor:Kudos to Mayor Aguirre for speaking out against nuclear weapons at the United Nations Summit. Santa Paula should be proud of him.R. VanderlasSanta PaulaShakespeare in Santa Paula!To the Editor:I would like to encourage everyone to attend the Santa Paula High School’s “Shakespeare in Center Courts” running one last weekend, May 28th and 29th at 7 p.m. Imagine…..You will have a wonderful time! Mr. Augustine and his young actors have done a splendid job putting together love and death scenes pulled from “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Othello,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” You will sit in the high school’s open-air court facing a beautiful stage as the sun sets and the stars come out. You will hear the language of Shakespeare spoken by charming young adults dressed in beautiful costumes. You will laugh loudly with your neighbors as Trino Nava and Effie Soto act out the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. Your hearts will rend as you hear Kathryn Ashby as Desdemona declare her love for Othello played by Daunte Friends.I hope you take advantage of this magical event in this special setting and that Mr. Augustine will be encouraged to produce more Shakespearean gems!Donna NelsonSanta PaulaBardic delightTo the Editor:Shakespeare in Center Courts! What a wonderful delight! The SPHS Drama Team under the direction of Mr. Basil Augustine performed their outdoor play this past weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed this great performance!Santa Paula is blessed to have such talent in our high school! These students took the stage and mesmerized the audience. My children enjoyed themselves, not even realizing seeing Shakespeare at their young age will help them when they get to high school English!I’d like to encourage the community to go see the final two performances this coming Friday and Saturday, May 28 and 29. You’re in for a treat! Please come and support our students, school and performing arts!Thank you!Anne McInerney-SolisSanta PaulaLocal fire serviceTo the Editor:This letter is in regard to comments made at the recent council meeting of the City of Santa Paula on May 24, 2004. I find it suspicious that a member of the Ventura County Professional Firefighters Union would provide as a fact that the Santa Paula Citizens would reap monetary benefit in the form of lower home insurance rates should the City Council move to have fire service taken over by the Ventura County Fire Department. Although it may be true that the city’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating would be reduced, it would be at the expense of abandoning the residents, school districts and agricultural workers who live in the unincorporated area between Saticoy and Santa Paula. The reason this would be the case is well known by the Ventura County Fire Union because of the report given by Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper, which clearly states that he would shut down Ventura County Fire Station 26 located at Telegraph Road and Olive Road, which is the heart of the unincorporated area mentioned above, and move the firefighters and fire engine into Santa Paula City limits.I believe the citizens of Santa Paula have no interest in seeking enhanced fire service if it means taking service away from others. I am sure many Santa Paulans have friends and family who live between Santa Paula and Saticoy who rely on Fire Station 26 to provide for their safety as well as keeping their homeowners insurance cost down.
Santa Paula City Council, let our current Santa Paula Fire Department received enhanced funds from economic development as well as a citizen-supported tax measure. Do not fall for false cost estimates of fire service delivery by Ventura County Fire Department. Robbing Paul to provide service for Peter is no solution!Basilico YzaguirreSanta PaulaA plea to the Cityof Santa PaulaTo the Editor:Eight years ago, I married a Santa Paula Police officer with the understanding of the risks involved in protecting and serving the streets. However, after eight years of seeing my husband and his fellow officers patrol Santa Paula, I am concerned not only for the financial outlook of the entire city, but the one thing that I believe has been grossly overlooked and that is the safety of the officers. I understand that the City Manager must do what is fiscally sound for the city; however, if the city does not contract with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and the tax does not pass this November, then what? Currently, the department is unable to provide comparable salaries to other agencies in the area, unable to provide updated equipment to their officers, and are facing serious cuts within the department. It seems as though the community is so concerned with keeping local control of the police department that they are willing to sacrifice the safety of the officers. They have tried this tax in the past and it has failed. So what happens if it fails again? Do the officers continue to work with sub-par equipment, sub-par pay and settle for understaffing?It is very discouraging to know that a Santa Paula Police officer, starting,out makes less than a replacement worker would at Albertsons during a strike. I understand Mr. Bobkiewicz’s desire to accommodate the community; however is the community willing to accommodate the Police Department and the city by passing the proposed tax?I am honestly bothered that one of the main focuses of this issue is that Santa Paula wants their own identity and the ability to exercise control. Does Santa Paula want the identity to be that they have no decent equipment? Does Santa Paula want the identity to be that the city is unable to provide adequate benefits and pay for their officers? And worse, is Santa Paula ready to face the fact that their poor equipment may lead to an officer being killed in the line of duty?As the wife of an SPPD officer, I applaud the city for trying to do what is best for the entire community, but lets not lose sight of the welfare of the officer patrolling those streets as well as his/her family. I want my children to have a father who comes home every night; I want my children to be proud of the job that their father does and most importantly, I want the city of Santa Paula to pass this tax in November! Why? I believe the officers and their families need to know that they are appreciated by the Santa Paula Community and that the long hours they spend protecting that community is worth missing the important holidays, birthdays and special event. These officers care about Santa Paula, they have worked many years without the perks that other departments provide. They would not still be your officers if they did not feel a sense of respect for the people of Santa Paula. Now it is your turn, the citizens of Santa Paula, to show your respect to the Police Department, the one that keeps you safe! Please, Santa Paula, put your vote to good use and give the city something to work with....your tax dollars!Respectfully submitted.Carmen LuskClarify some recent information To the Editor:I am a paid call fire captain with the Santa Paula Fire Department. I want to clarify some recent information that was given to our council members during the May 20th and May 24th meeting. The implication is that the entire Santa Paula Fire Department is in favor of annexation by the Ventura County Fire Department. This is not true. All 19 of the paid call firefighters and 4 of the 8 full time firefighters are opposed to annexation. Our reasons for this are many but local control and job security are high on the list. The Ventura County Fire Department is a top notch organization. The Santa Paula Fire Department has the highest respect for the organization and its members and our firefighters have a close working relationship with its firefighters. However, we feel that given the chance and resources our existing fire department can offer as high a level of service as any other fire department.It has been implied that outside resources would only be available with consolidation with The Ventura County Fire Department. The Ventura County Fire Department has always provided assistance to the Santa Paula Fire Department when needed. Through a mutual aid agreement that exists between almost all fire agencies Santa Paula has access to Hazardous materials teams, Sheriffs helicopters, bulldozers, specialized heavy rescue teams, wild land firefighting crews and any other specialized resources that the Ventura County Fire Department and any other fire department may have. Likewise, our fire department will assist or respond to any type of incident as requested by the Ventura County Fire Department, as we do almost daily. There is an understanding among fire agencies. If a request is made for mutual aid, fire engines from all over the state (and from other states if necessary) will show up at the doorstep of the requesting fire department. We all saw this in practice during last October’s firestorms.In some cases there is a fee for service and the City of Santa Paula may have to pay for some of these services if used. This is a rare occasion and can occur, for instance, if a hazardous materials incident was to happen and the entity responsible could not be found. A more likely scenario would be similar to this incident, which occurred a few years ago outside the city limits.This incident involved an out of control oil tanker truck that was involved in a collision near Steckel Park. The Santa Paula Fire Department’s engine was first on scene. The appropriate hazardous response procedures were initiated and the incident was mitigated. The incident was handled with mutual aid resources and multiple agencies were involved. The Santa Paula Fire Department, the Ventura County Fire Department, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the State Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Paula Water Department and the US Coast Guard were some of the agencies that took part in this incident. Ultimately the trucking company responsible for the incident was liable for the cost of mitigating the incident. If this same incident were to occur in the Santa Paula City Limits the same response would be initiated, the same agencies would respond and the city would not be liable for the cost of the incident. The Company responsible for the incident and its insurance provider would foot the bill.As I said earlier, given the chance and resources our existing fire department can offer as high a level of service as any other fire department. It is up to us, the citizens of Santa Paula, to give the existing Santa Paula Fire Department the chance and resources. The city will soon survey us, the citizens of Santa Paula. The subject of the survey will be the chance of success of a ballot measure for a tax to support police and fire services in Santa Paula. The Santa Paula Firefighters Association urges all of the citizens of Santa Paula, to support this measure, keep local control, and give the Santa Paula Fire and Police Departments the resources that are needed so we can make Santa Paula the safest community in Ventura County.Glenn AronowitzPresident, Santa Paula Firefighters Association