Letters to the Editor

March 13, 2009
Mountain lions: credibility lost To the Editor:I live in Santa Paula about 1/2 mile away from 300 Dana where the shooting occurred. For two weeks prior to the incident we were getting REVERSE 911® calls advising us of Mountain Lions had been seen in the area. We were advised to now allowed children and pets to be out unattended due to their safety.The day of the actual shooting I found out about it because of the news report on Channel 9 and their helicopter circling overhead. The news report gave the now false information of the 30 to 40 pound lion and that the officers were threatened for their own safety.I have come to realize that is just not the case and that for whatever reason that the officers involved I think wanted to kill baby Mountain Lion, a 6-week-old, that weighed 15 pounds. I hope they are enjoying the press and limelight this act has given them. I do not call their act heroic. I would call it despicable, uncalled for, unnecessary and inhumane. I did some searching of the Internet and viewing video after video of 6-week-old lions that have poor coordination and no teeth besides drinking milk from large bottles with nipples. I do not believe a word that is coming out of the police here in Santa Paula and with this one act they have loss all credibility. I believe that they are trying to sweep this incident under the rug and hope that we will all go away, but I will not go away.I have made numerous calls to a variety of agencies and wildlife organizations. I had an interesting discussion with Fish and Game and was advised that my only outlet is to go to the Santa Paula police because they are the ones that did the shooting. I explained that they are not even investigating the situation or admitting possible wrongdoing. I have been told that net, cages and other methods work for containment by these agencies; besides lethal methods. I want to see our police force either trained in these other methods and have the equipment available or wait for Fish and Game; which I understand that there are people in Ventura and Santa Clarita.I have had communications with one of the Supervisor’s for the Ventura area and was told that my only avenue since this occurred in Santa Paula is to bring up to the Santa Paula City Council.I want to encourage all the wildlife, environmentalist, and nature lovers to contact Santa Paula’s City council their email is: http://www.ci.santa-paula.ca.us/. It seems that if enough citizens voice their disgust at what has occurred and demand action that they cannot continue to ignore us as they have done since the shooting of this defenseless baby lion on February 17, 2009.ThanksWendy BeamSanta PaulaTourismTo the Editor:I see Wally wants to cut out money to the Tourism Board and give it to the Chamber. Bad move. The Tourism Board does more to get tourist money into this area and supports the chambers and shopkeepers.If the Fillmore & Western stops running to Santa Paula, there is more money that will go some place else. This will hurt both the merchants but also the moviemakers that put money into the city.Roger BrowerSanta PaulaBullying won’t work with this Council!To the Editor:At the City Council meeting of March 2, our Council members were once again subjected to threats and erroneous, abusive statements, by the two out-of-town lawyers who have a pattern of such behavior. One of these lawyers always claims to represent some anonymous farm worker in Santa Paula. One must wonder why no name is ever given. Is it the same alleged farm worker year after year? The other lawyer is Cabrillo’s lead attorney on two current lawsuits against the city arising from “Plaza Amistad”. It is this attorney’s behavior and actions that I would like to bring to your attention.Her name is Barbara Macri-Ortiz, and at the March 2nd Council meeting, instead of admitting that she was representing Cabrillo, she put on quite a show, as offensive as it was, saying that she was representing herself as an Officer of the Court - Please! What was especially offensive to me, as well as a number of other residents, is that she accused Vice Mayor Tovias of not being a legitimate resident of Santa Paula and of not being a registered voter in the City of Santa Paula. She asked for him to be removed from the Council, be it voluntary, or forced by the Council. Well, Ms. Ortiz, as of a date well prior to the November 2008 election, Vice Mayor Tovias established residence in Santa Paula, as well as having changed his voter registration from Ventura to Santa Paula. It’s a matter of public record for all to see, astonishingly, you claimed to have already checked and found to the contrary?! Jim Tovias has had a business in Santa Paula for many, many years, and is doing an outstanding job of serving our City. We need Jim Tovias, but we certainly don’t need or want your offensive theatrics, and we would appreciate your getting the facts straight before you attack our elected officials. Bullying won’t work with this Council. Your shot was a dud!It is my opinion that the March 2nd meeting was a major “stage production” directed by Cabrillo, for which Ms. Ortiz was just one of a “cast of thousands.” Cabrillo had the usual cast members of those that are beholden to Cabrillo in one way or the other reading prepared scripts, some of which required an interpreter that the voters of this city are obliged to pay for. Of course, you had a few cast members that are genuinely sympathetic to the cause of building more low-end housing here, ignoring the fact that we are the poorest City in Ventura County in part because we have done far more than our share relative to accommodating the needs of those wanting new housing. No good deed shall go unpunished, apparently!What’s really going on here? This is all about money, nothing more or less. Cabrillo executives are very well compensated and they need Plaza Amistad to keep the cash flow going, some of it into their pockets. That’s the fact of the matter, pure and simple. Recently, Councilman Gonzales told of asking Rodney Fernandez (Cabrillo’s CEO, not to be confused with Mayor Ralph Fernandez) why Cabrillo always pushes for excessively dense projects in Santa Paula relative to other cities in Ventura County. Rodney’s alleged response was: “because we can.” We ask that Cabrillo reevaluate its strategy and start working with our Council to bring good projects to Santa Paula. Even right now, today, at Cabrillo’s website, the City of Santa Paula is listed as a valued “partner”. Now we know, partners sometimes have disagreements, but rarely do they call one another “bigots” and bring obnoxious law actions along with threats to bring in the Department of Justice. These sideshows are not working, and we have a Council that will not be bullied.Larry SagelySanta PaulaAre you a pessimist, an optimist or a realist?To the Editor: “A lot of my co-workers were laid off, and I may not be far from it. I have a family to feed, my credit cards are maxed out and I am behind on my mortgage”. “Do not worry Uncle Sam has a mighty plan. The billions of bailout dollars will surely jump start the economy soon”. “This is a global crisis and recovery may take longer than anticipated. Uncle Sam has no money so we either borrow or print more money. But, as we all know it, the former will cost us a bundle and the latter is inflationary. How are we going to pay for it? More taxes?” These are what we hear every day.With the market meltdown, the retirement savings and investments of the baby boomers and retirees have plummeted 30-50% and the value of their homes have gone down as much. Many lost their jobs and are in the brink of losing their homes too. On top of that, the cost of living has been ascending in the last 5 months. Sad to say, we don’t get bailed out of our predicaments unlike giant corporations, financial institutions and unions.However, even the world-renowned economists and prominent business people are not sure if the stimulus package will resuscitate the economy. This bailout, like the omnibus bill effectively stimulates hunger for political handouts, defined as money and jobs awarded by politicians to their supporters or constituents to win their favor, especially when awarded wastefully. How much of it is in the bill? They say it’s only 2%. But 2% is 7.7 billion dollars! I thought our president campaigned against earmarks! What I am seeing is more of the same and the only change I saw was the person who signed the bill into law.So we don’t feel too bad, effective Apr 2009, ordinary wage earners will get an additional $7.70 a week in reduced taxes from Uncle Sam. Uncle Arnold however, wants that money. Shortly, our state income, sales and other taxes will go up costing taxpayers much more than what Uncle Sam is giving. And that’s not the end of it. Watch and feel the effects of Proposition 1A, and Proposition 1B if 1A gets through.The problem with those in the higher echelon of leadership and management is they think they are very smart and everybody else is tolerant, apathetic or plain stupid – the same implication implied by the Ventura Star in its Mar 3 editorial.Rodolfo N. VelascoSanta PaulaOpen mindsTo the Editor:At the City Council meeting on March 2, one of the first speakers was a “gun for hire” lawyer from out of town, who prior to Monday, to my knowledge, had only appeared in front of the Council for specific representation of Cabrillo Development. She introduced herself as Barbara Macri-Ortiz. She then went on to proclaim that “as an officer of the court” she had “an obligation” to appear that very night at Council to protest the election, and the sitting upon the Council, of Jim Tovias (the election of November ’08) - BECAUSE he had fraudulently represented himself as a resident of Santa Paula, when, in fact, she having investigated the matter (I guess “officers of the court” run around routinely checking candidates voter cards, and where they sleep) has found that Jim Tovias did NOT change his voting registration NOR residence to a Santa Paula address, prior to some certain date. I repeat, she made this statement as “an officer of the court”, and she stated it as firm, investigated fact, and not as speculation or as a question. As a supporter of Jim Tovias, I can tell you that our group of supporters vetted Jim Tovias very thoroughly on the issue of residency when he agreed to run for office - and our support was 100% conditioned and predicated upon Jim moving to Santa Paula, where he already maintained a business for 20 years (insurance). Therefore, if he committed an “election fraud”, well then, by inference, we are all guilty – OR, alternate possibility – Ms. Macri-Ortiz was not only wrong, but as an “officer of the court”, she wrongfully and intentionally slandered Jim Tovias, and by association, all of us who supported Jim Tovias. It is true, according to a long line of legal cases, Jim Tovias is a “public figure”, but his supporters are NOT. Were we all part of a well thought-out and executed election fraud? On the other hand, even AS a public figure, Jim retains the legal right to sue for defamation WHERE THE DEFAMATION IS INTENTIONAL, and that may be the case here. Ms. Macri-Ortiz: Are you going to correct the record and retract your erroneous accusation? The accusation made was NOT in a court, nor part of any court case, so that immunity may not operate to protect you from the filing of a grievance with the California Bar.The law is that a candidate must be a resident when ELECTED (or more correctly, be a domiciliary of the city) and prior to that, a candidate need only have the honest intent to reside, or maintain domicile, within the city (his/her home could be under construction, or in escrow as an example) and have taken reasonable steps to become a local resident and to have so publicly declared, all of which Jim Tovias did. And he can keep his former home and his children of age can stay at that home and he can visit them at his former home without limitation and without Ms. Macri-Ortiz’ “permission”. Apparently someone has been stalking Mr. Tovias, having photographed his car parked at his former domicile. This really seems over the line.
Frankly, unless Ms. Macri-Ortiz makes a public retraction, I would (were I Jim Tovias) file a grievance with the California Bar Association, because the statement as made was framed as a noble proclamation being lodged solely as “an officer of the court”, and not as just some disgruntled citizen or lay advocate. Yes it was interesting theatre, as was the citizen who proclaimed “the game is over, the Department of Justice has been alerted to the discrimination the Council is practicing in Santa Paula”. Please remember, that last fiasco cost the City about $800,000 in legal fees – for nothing - and apparently that attack was put upon the city by the same person or organization. Oh, thanks a bunch, now we know who was responsible!Rather than getting hung up on the emotional issue of Latino or Hispanic versus non-Hispanic, think about it this way. Saxony is on the border of France and Germany. For hundreds of years, both French and German origin people have lived there. Assume the village in question is 70% French and the local council is comprised of four French descended people and one German. Assume that the “citizens” want a certain project built – or in this case, not built – and that three or four (a voting majority) of the French descended council-members vote opposite to what those French descended citizens want (tax-free housing for example) and do so for reasons of health and safety or economic sustainability. Are those French descended council-members, who vote “no”, to be justly declared and “de facto,” as ANTI-FRENCH bigots? See how stupid that argument is? Personally, the undersigned remains dumbfounded by the intellectual poverty demonstrated by this type of reversed prejudice thinking. I thought by 2009 we’d left in the dust this antiquated way of stereotyping and thinking.To all you “Frenchmen” out there, it’s about the economic future of our city, not racial or cultural prejudice. And our Council, for once, is putting the city as a whole, its economic survival, above political correctness. How refreshing! Jim Tovias and the Council as a body are to be applauded and congratulated, not subjected to stalking and character assassination.Not too long ago at a Council meeting, a lady said to me in a condescending manner: “Open your heart to those in need”. I would say this to that lady: “Open your mind to reality and facts, try to think logically and put aside emotionalism, or our city will end up in bankruptcy, and all in the city will suffer.” That is the issue. I think the great silent majority of Santa Paulans believe and know this to be true. Playing that same tired race card, over, and over, and over; folks, that got old a long time ago. Virtually all of our ancestors came here from some other place, but once settled in here, you are “American”, and it’s best to forget the hyphenated names of citizenship.Richard MainSanta PaulaCabrillo’s Limousine LiberalsTo the Editor: Several weeks ago the U.S. Attorney, Eric Holder, accused some of you of belonging to a “nation of cowards”. He accused some of you of circling the truth on race relations and racism. Fortunately for me, I do not belong to his imagined group. I do not hide from any reasonable dialogue with regards to racists of all ethnic backgrounds. On the contrary, and without hesitation I counter any claim by individuals and groups that continue to cry and beget the race card. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, shakedown artists in their right are spectacular with these tactics. Closer to home we have less spectacular but nevertheless effective surrogates cooperating with Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, some bought and paid for, some just drank the “kool-aid”. Lately, CEDC appears to throw out the bait and along come the takers; the “limousine liberals”, they come to make an appearance and show us their concern for the underprivileged and their contempt for the “well to do”, yes we have a lot of John Edwards in Santa Paula, male and female. And then there is the “Chicano Righteous”, the ones that feel validated marching for [illegal] immigration reform, and demanding farm worker housing. These folks won’t stop until they subconsciously destroy the “white establishment”. It’s like going back to the “’60’s”, only the overturned cars and burning tires are missing from sight. And let’s not forget the hopeful that follow the yellow brick road that leads to the city hall council chambers because the wizard has promised them abundant housing. They’re there to back-up the one who has promised them cheap housing and blue sky. All they have to do is appear in “dire straights, under-nourished, preferably in need of an interpreter. And don’t forget to mention the “for the children”, this is a must to mention in the “limousine liberals” world. The first two groups have one thing in common; they don’t want to be labeled a racist or a bigot. Sort of like the anti-Proposition 8 group that call the opposition, homophobes or bigots. They want to be visible amongst the caring for fear of being pegged as the bad guy, the oppressor, the predator, etc. Yes sir, for those righteous limousine liberals taking from the “have” and giving it to the “have-nots” is justified, just like Robin Hood. The limousine liberals do not realize they’re promoting housing à la labor camps, remnants of the “bracero program” days. We need balance in Santa Paula, sustainable balance that can keep up with the demands of infrastructure and promotes commerce. Santa Paula will not survive on its own if only the few take the brunt of property taxes. If only the fair-minded would rise to the occasion and call Cabrillo’s forced housing on the rest of us exactly what it is; low income squalor! We have to stand up against these bullies. CEDC intimidation is no different than financial bailouts taking place and the fraudulent stimulus bill perpetrated by politicians not business people. We don’t have to accept it!On many city council meetings which I have attended dealing with the CEDC proposed development, I was probably observing Eric Holder reference to a “nation of cowards”, the howling and cackling crowd that was satisfying their guilty conscience by applauding for the “underdog.” The white people which I have witnessed supporting CEDC part have been largely by my account the “limousine liberals” of Santa Paula. Andrew F. CastanedaSanta PaulaShowing our true colorsTo the Editor:Since Santa Paula is removing the paint from the ex-Southern Pacific railroad station, why not restore it to its original colors.Our station is a style 17 of Southern Pacific’s inventory of pre-built stations they put in on the railroad’s system. This was built in 1887 at the cost of $6,000 in Sacramento, California and transported here as a prefab unit. The original colors were colonial yellow, with light brown trim.This document is from Southern Pacific Lines, paint colors for company buildings and fences, Nov 1937, rev July 5, 1956. I have the complete specs including how to paint the fence.Roger BrowerSanta PaulaBeware of the Polyester Pantsuit!To the Editor: This is in response to the favorite maneuvers widely seen in politics today; throw a fabrication out there, the media will pickup the fabrication and report it as if it was genuine journalism. Case in point; Cabrillo Economic Development Corp.’s representative, Barbara Marci-Ortiz representing herself as an “officer of the Court” bluntly states in front of the City Council on March 2, 2009, that Councilman Jim Tovias should be forced out of office or at least resign because he is not a legitimate resident and is therefore not a legitimate voter. This is untrue; Jim and his family have resided in Santa Paula well before the voting deadline! This misrepresentation has all the makings of a hack! This woman in her ever-present polyester pantsuit makes the other famous woman of polyester pantsuits appear less intimidating [less the cackle] of course!Andrew F. CastanedaSanta PaulaGrrr..To the Editor:The SPPD may hope this is the last they will hear about mountain lions. Also known as wildcats. But I wanted to have the last mention about this lion incident.Animals, just like humans, get hungry and when humans live on or near the animals’ own feeding area, have to expect to see these beings on occasion when the food chain and water supply gets skimpy. If you don’t panic, the animal will move on. Don’t leave the dog dish out (or your garbage). Know where your pets and kids are. Teach common sense instead of watching the soaps. More kids die in swimming pools than from wild animals.Our state is overrun with mountain lions because militant animal rights and PETA pressured the long ago legislators to pass a “ban lion hunting law.” There are thousands plus of these animals in California that make ranchers nervous.“Hunting” food animals (and lions) keeps their food chain in control so they don’t starve themselves out of existence. Use common sense. Educate yourself about the real outdoors.When an animal is aggressive (mostly of lions) and may cause harm, or even a life, would you try to explain to this animal that you yourself are harmless? Think, that is the mentality of those bleeding hearts – “Save the critter under any circumstance.”Pit bulls and even monkeys kill and maim humans more so than wildlife ever have and no word from the animal rights there. Whether I be a cop or a civilian, I will protect myself unless the animal behaves. Our Police Department is very well trained and tries hard to protect. You didn’t know that? Not until your cat or child gets chomped on? Same goes for those who move in next to a ranch or the airport or railroad then bitch about the dirt and noise. “Or”, you can stay with the thinking of the save the salmon environ-(mental)ists. Lions are cats, and like some humans, sneaky. Come onto your property uninvited.Ken ZimmetSanta Paula

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