Letters to the Editor

August 20, 1999
Thanks for your help To the Editor:First of all I would like to thank each and every one of you who helped me get to the Junior National basketball competition in Columbus, Ohio. I would also like to thank my parents for helping, and always being there for me.Special thanks go out to Emily Stenzel, Craig Stevens, and Alfonso "Ponchi" Martinez for helping with all my fund-raisers and everybody who donated money and helped with food.The Junior National All-State competition was the greatest experience of my life. I got to play against other competitive athletes. We took 5th place out of 32 teams and even though we didn't get to the Championships, every penny was worth it and it was the greatest experience of my life.Carla BerumenSanta PaulaClearing up a few pointsTo the Editor:When I picked up my Wednesday's edition of the Santa Paula Times, I had to check to make sure I wasn't reading the latest edition of the National Enquirer.I would like to go over each and every one of the points that Ms.Sullivan made in her latest "Bash the SPPOA" article, but I will only touch base on a few.1. Is the dispute with the police over $34,000? Yes Ms. Sullivan it is. The Police officers did not agree to the "me too" clause. Our ELECTED officials did, just another way that the city council has mismanaged MY money.2. Has the city had difficulty with negotiations with SPPOA before? Well I can only speak from my experience as a Police officer's wife for the last two years, and my answer would be yes. The only reason I can see why they have been difficult is because the city refuses to treat the Police Officers in a just manner when it comes to negotiations, and refuses to, now should I put it...yes "cough up the dough."3. Santa Paula has the highest crime rate in the County so are the Police Officers pulling their weight? Well Ms. Sullivan, I am appalled that you would even write such a statement. Our Officers work very hard and put their lives in danger every day. The Question really should be are our Elected Officials carrying their weight? NO they are not. Your main concern should be the safety of this city and our officers. Maybe instead of just a 4% raise you should hire five more officers and then maybe our officers would have help controlling the crime rate.4. Do the Police officers know what the pay rate is in Santa Paula when they apply and accept their positions? Yes they do I will agree with you Ms. Sullivan, but some of our officers were hired when the pay was comparable to other cities, but slowly and surely Santa Paula is falling further and further behind and the council that I elected is doing nothing to avoid that. And no Ms. Sullivan our officers are not under any contract to stay in their current positions, but they love their jobs and the city they work for.5. Why has one councilmember stated publicly that the money is there to give the police and all they demand and four others are saying there is not? Good Question Councilwoman. You know that saying one bad apple spoils the barrel? Well at least we can say that one apple wasn't spoiled, and maybe that councilperson is the only one stating the truth.6. Can the city contract with the Sheriff's department for police services? Well we probably could, but it would mean the city would have to conduct a study costing it money that is not supposed to have. Would the current officers be absorbed? Maybe and maybe not. And let me pose this question. Have any of you ever lived where the sheriffs department contracts the city? Well I have, and there are more disadvantages than advantages to that.Well I only really have one more point I would like to clear up, and that is the SPPOA's recommendation of the disbandment of the SPFD. No one has ever suggested such a thing. The SPPOA supports the fire department totally. The firemen in this town are hard working and they love their jobs and the city they do their jobs for. If anything the low paid officers in this town would like to see their low paid friends at the fire department receive a large raise, and vice versa. Well it seems my short response has become a long one. In closing I would like to say Ms. Sullivan, your articles are only like Star Wars in two ways, too many sequels and full of fiction. Actually I would say they are more like The Jerry Springer show, full of B.S., but pretty entertaining.Rhonda FogataSanta PaulaThe real truthTo the Editor:The letters that Robin has been putting into the papers in the past weeks have not been true. She keeps saying that the Police supporters are wanting to shut down the activities of the young and old, NOT true, the ones who said it are not supporters of Police or Fire, yet she will not name them, I will, Rick Cook and Don Johnson told me the night of elections that they would shut all the parks down and stop all city sponsored activities, until the Police and Fire Departments got their proper pay raise. They even said they use money from the reserve account to give the raises. Yet to date what's happened? NOTHING so it seems we have elected people to the council who speak with forked tongue. Everyone knows both the Police and Fire are underpaid and understaffed. The Police have between four to eight officers including the Chief and Commander during the week and maybe three or four on weekends. The Fire Department only has a Captain and an Engineer on duty, with one or both Chiefs assisting as needed, during the daytime Monday through Friday. If your house or business has a fire, it might take another 10 minutes after the Engine company get on scene, before the paid Fire Fighters arrive on scene to assist. Meanwhile the engine company can only wait until others arrive before going inside, due to the two in two out rule. That's if there are any paid call Fire Fighters in town, everyone lives in town, most work outside the area. We need our Chiefs in command, not on a hose line or doing the two in/two out. We need them to be in charge of the support, the fire operation, not fighting fires. To have our Chiefs to do otherwise is not best for them, the fire fighters, or the Citizens. So you the taxpayer please ask what the sam hell is going on. Please ask the men and women who are putting their lives on the line day in and day out, the whole TRUTH, it's your lives, homes and business that are at risk, and if the city council keeps allowing the good hard working, long time Police Officers to leave to take better paying jobs, maybe you should ask Chief Gonzales to do as Sheriff Brooks, and give out gun permits to those citizens who qualified to have one. If the city council will not or cannot pay to protect you and your loved ones, then you must be able to do so. The bottom line is we need more Police and Fire Fighters on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week. You as taxpayers and long time citizens should accept nothing less.Mike LambertSanta PaulaHelp our poor town of Santa PaulaTo the Editor:Our poor town of Santa Paula and our City Council are getting all kind of laughs from other towns. They would like to know what happened to our city and councilmembers.What is wrong with our City Council? Is their jobs going to their heads? Since they been in office they do not want to give our Police and Fire Dept. their raises. Why?? Do they want the money for their self.Robin Sullivan wrote this in the Santa Paula Times about the wages. If more money is to be shifted to the SPPOA, that money must be taken from other city employees - yes Robin Sullivan that is right thing to do - take the City Council member money each month and give it to our SPPD and Fire Dept. because the Council members are not doing any good for our city. The money has been going for lawsuit and lawyer fees for our two councilmen. What took the cake - when one councilmember wanted 1,100 people to give $40 on his lawsuit. Then they spent over $500,000 for downtown project overruns. Then City Council has just approved $250,000 for the train depot. All that money could stay in our city funds. They would have the money for SPPD and Fire Dept. raise.Would our City Council put their lives on the line in a bad situation. When you know you could be killed or beat up or get burned bad in a fire. The city and City Council take our SPPD and Fire Dept. for granted.Take a good look at what our SPPD and Fire Fighter do.SPPD: 1) Crime 2) Hold up 3) Robbery 4) Stabbing 5) Killing 6) Family fights 7) drunken driver 8) Accident 9) Drugs 10) TrafficFire Fighter: 1) Home fire 2) Forest fire 3) Auto fire 4) 911 - emergency 5) AccidentThat is why there are here for us. Maybe our City Council take over and work in your shoes, and have SPPD and Fire Dept. work at lawyer office - Santa Paula Times - Real Estate office - and two chairs at Council room. Maybe if they get their lives in danger or get beat up or shot at or get burned bad or see a person on fire and you could not help them, and that person die from the fire. Do you think that would help out. Hell no. They donŐt care if they did you would have your raise a long time ago.A person wrote this in the paper on Aug. 6, 99. I have always believed that what is right - is right. What is fair - is fair, no more - no less. What is so hard about being honorable and doing what is right. I also love this city but something is wrong here and somebody needs to look into it. Someone out there is not being honest about where this money is going. We need to demand these answers from your City Council. If they do answer would it be lies or the truth.If Robin Sullivan can have a fund raiser for a City Council member that needs money for his lawsuit and now you are having one for GAG. Why canŐt you give one for our SPPD and Fire Dept. to raise money for them. They are more important to our community than a lawsuit and GAG. I know we need help with graffiti but they have other ways to raise money. Maybe this is why you will not help the SPPD and Fire Dept. You wrote this also in the paper. There is no doubt that the SPPD is an important part of our community - but they are not Ňthe community.Ó Mrs. Sullivan what are they?? Boy Scouts!!So taxpayer - we need to get our town back to earth - so remember next election we need to vote for new Council members.Rick Cook - It would look like you would help the SPPD and Fire Dept. out. Instead putting a knife to them. Remember you were on the SPPD once. Now I'm sorry that I voted for you.It's time all the citizens of Santa Paula come together and fight for our city and help our SPPD and Fire Dept.Linda LloydSanta PaulaFront page news?To the Editor:I find it rather interesting that the Ventura Star could not find a better front page story than the story that they chose for the front page on Saturday, August 14, 1999!! I bet if they tried real hard they could have!! As usual their stories about Santa Paula are negative!! I know that it is hard to believe, but there are also positive things that happen in our community!!The positive doesn't seem to interest people, because it does not sell papers.I have been a life long resident of Santa Paula. I have mentioned before that there are many prejudices in this world and that will never change. I look back as far as I can remember and I was aware of prejudices in our everyday lives. I do not remember the animosity that has been created by a very small group of people that seem to feel that the only way to further their agenda is to create these feelings in our community.I read the article, read the quotes, which I have to say puzzled me, because they are not speaking for me and Lord knows I am a Mexican!! Henry Vela, Al Urias and Al Escoto were all "Latin Americans" serving on our City Council. I am sure they did not always agree, but I do not recall that they created animosity within the community as it is now!!!!Al Escoto's quote was really puzzling!?!? He was instrumental in very positive decisions for our community! The voters in this last election did not agree with what he chose to support!! Simple as that!!! As for the other quotes!!! PLAEEEEEEEZE!!This country used to be "by the people for the people," not "I don't like the outcome of the peoples vote so I will create animosity!!!!Maiya HerreraSanta Paula
More interested in GAGTo the Editor:This is about the letter Miss Sullivan wrote, she seems to be more interested in G.A.G. than our police officers getting a much and over due raise. For a person that is supposed to be so smart and a Councilwoman, she's going in the wrong direction. Maybe she forgets that our police officers are out there protecting her, maybe she doesn't care, as she lives in that hidden jungle. Which she thinks is one of the most beautiful homes in Santa Paula, which there are far more than hers.She may forget, since she's an attorney, she can charge people what she wants, needless to say, all attorneys overcharge. Sad, that our police officers can't get a much needed raise, they put their lives on the line every day, the minute they go on duty, also have to miss holidays with their families. Does Miss Sullivan, hell no. I urge all citizens of Santa Paula to come out and support our police officers, Sept. 7th at the City Council meeting, please.Jackie BrownSanta PaulaNew business - old businessTo the Editor:I note in the S.P. Times classifieds that several quality businesses in town are on the market - Baskin Robbins, Fabric Depot, Steak & Hoagie - being some.Should not City Hall be more interested in retaining these operations than developing new ones?How about the Chamber's Business Retention function?It will be truly a shame to see more empty facades in town - two of them on Main Street.Vince BurnsSanta PaulaOne comment...To the Editor:I am a senior citizen in Santa Paula and have just read Robin Sullivan's latest sequel and have one comment. You ought to be ashamed of yourself to blame Santa Paula's high crime rate on our officers. That's like my husband giving me $5 to buy groceries for dinner and then wondering where his filet mignon is when I could only afford macaroni and cheese. Our Officers do the best they can with what resources they have. It's the CITY COUNCIL who is derelict in its duties to properly fund the police department. If anyone is to blame just look in the mirror (you're painting a very poor picture of yourself).However, there is one true statement she did make and that was comparing her ramblings to Star Wars: THEY'RE BOTH FICTION!Joan WilkesSanta PaulaSmoke and mirrorsTo the Editor:I see that newspaper over on the coast has gleefully seized yet another opportunity to further tarnish the image of Santa Paula. No in-depth interviews or investigative reporting necessary. Just grab a presumption and run with it. They might have asked some follow-up questions to their catchy interview quotes."What goes around comes around." Does this mean an injustice has been committed, so an injustice can be expected?"I would like to see...the Hispanics in this city get treated the way they should be." And how would that be? Somewhat better than our elected officials, I should hope."I knocked on every door [in the Latino neighborhoods] and I came in fifth." Do you think perhaps a platform with more substance than ethnic camaraderie might help?"The majority of the voting public is pushed out of the process and denied a say...." By whom, the minority? Just how does that work?Under the heading, "Understanding underrepresentation," the newspaper's second volley devoted more space to photos of kids playing in the park sprinklers than to the story, leaving me to wonder at the connection. That's not all it left unanswered.When we speak of the "Latino" or "Hispanic" community, of whom do we speak? Perhaps someone who uses those terms so freely can give me a definition that approaches precision. Surely there is someone among the abundance of self-appointed "activists" (whatever that means) who can define whom the rest of us are alleged to be slighting."Latino" seems to imply "Latin." Does it include all those various peoples from countries that trace back to the Roman Empire? That is, Italy, France, Spain, Romania, etc.? Might it include elderly Roman Catholics who grew up with the Latin Mass? And "Hispanic." Is this a linguistic grouping that excludes those who don't speak Spanish or does it only exclude those who don't have Spanish surnames?Once this elusive community is identified, perhaps we could then learn - even understand - how their interests, needs, problems, views and aspirations differ from those of the rest of us and therefore we might see more clearly why they require specialized representation.With a little snooping, their reporter could learn the basic politics at play here have to do with nothing more than conflicting interests in housing development. At present one side has the more convincing argument so the other engages in smoke and mirror tactics. I suppose if your case can't stand on its own merits, you just play the race card. My, that has a familiar ring to it.Bill GlennSanta PaulaPublic safety: Santa Paula citizens' priorityTo the Editor:Council Woman Sullivan thinks that many people are confused about priorities. Apparently she thought so as far back as 1996 when the citizen committee P.S.S.T. (Public Safety Strategy Team) formed to review public safety in Santa Paula. The Council supported my suggestion to form a subcommittee of two council members to meet with former Chief Adair and City Manager Warden to discuss and make recommendations based on their report. Unfortunately, Sullivan was too busy with her reelection campaign to meet with us. Public safety was not a priority then and it is not a priority today.In the article of August 11, 1999, Sullivan selectively gives examples of general funds vs special funds. Since I do not believe the public is so easily confused, I offer the following as examples of general fund uses:General Funds $50,000 two year contract approved by council majority for Sullivan's brother-in-law, John Nichols, to curate museum exhibits. Previously he had provided this service without a contract for several years without any Council approval. Mr. Nichols' work is superb, but is it a priority today? Would private funding of the endowment fund better suit this fine endeavor?General Funds cost analysis and fee studies (consultants) approved to the tune of several thousand dollars.General Funds Legal fees for defense of two council members. The amount above the insurance maximum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) is unknown.General Funds $100,000 dollar salary paid to the city manager.The (mis)use of Federal C.D.B.G. (Community Development Block Grant) or Redevelopment Funds is a separate issue deserving of public scrutiny.Also questioned in the article, Would higher wages for police officers make a safer city? The council woman answers, "No." Using that same analogy back in February, 1998 when city manager Cosentini was hired, Would paying a new city manager $100,000 salary make Santa Paula a better city?Do the police officers know what the pay rate is in Santa Paula when they apply and accept their positions? Yes, and like each of us, police officers and other city employees have a reasonable expectation that with hard work, increased training and promotional opportunities, the salary will be a just wage and will be sufficient to sustain them and their families.Current Federal Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) guidelines state a family of four making $47,800 is considered low income. The council majority does not wish to recognize that their own city employees make considerably less than this figure. Shouldn't economic development start at home with the city's own policies for fair, sustainable wages?The Dr. Seuss-like columns serve no purpose other than to promote one councilmember's confused view. Would it not be best to allow televising of city council meetings with the city's existing equipment so that an informed public can come to their own conclusions? Public safety is a priority for the entire community.Laura Flores EspinosaCouncil WomanSanta Paula

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