Letters to the Editor

March 12, 2004
Re: “Santa Paula-Fillmore Wastewater Joint Treatment Plant Off the Table” in the Santa Paula Times To the Editor:In the article referenced, Mary Ann Krause was quoted as saying that the United Water Conservation District informed the cities of Santa Paula and Fillmore that they needed to leave a certain amount of water in the river to protect against seawater intrusion. I must clarify that, while United Water did work with the staff and consultants of Fillmore and Santa Paula to determine the impacts to groundwater resources of the joint treatment plant, it was a representative of the County of Ventura Water Resources Department who commented that reducing the amount of water in the river would be an adverse impact for any CEQA-related project.United Water is responsible for maintaining the health of the aquifers in the Santa Clara River Valley and the Oxnard Plain and is concerned about new or modified uses of water as it affects the aquifers. It does not, however, have the authority to dictate use of water. In other words, United Water can help determine the impacts of water use, but cannot dictate or limit water use.Dana L. WisehartGeneral ManagerUnited WaterConservation DistrictRe: CDBG, March 10 ArticleTo the Editor:It is unfortunate that the writer missed the opportunity to highlight the City Council approval of the entire CDBG Advisory committee recommendation without a single change. This attests to the high quality of preparation and deliberations by the committee. Committee Members were Bill Glenn, Ray Balderras, Doug Green, Tommy Frutos, and Laura Flores Espinosa.The CDBG Advisory Committee, a volunteer AD Hoc Committee appointed by the City Council, met on February 11, 2004 in public hearing to review and take testimony on twenty-three applications.The Community Development Block Grant funds are federal monies administered through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to benefit low and moderate income persons, to prevent or eliminate slums or blight and meeting other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community and other financial sources are not available to meet such needs.Total requests amounted to $968,241 and available funds for allocation, only $520,156. Only 15% of the entire amount may be used for Service Projects, putting the squeeze on local non-profits such as Food Share, CASP, Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross and other worthy organizations. Project and Economic Development applications compete for the remaining funds.The article of Wednesday, March 10, 2004 was incorrect to state that I objected to a specific application. My report, as chairperson, was on behalf of the entire committee and contained a brief but accurate summary of the discussion and deliberations in the open, public hearing of the Advisory Committee. It presented for each application, explanation as to how the Committee arrived at its’ recommendations. This was important because the staff report presented to the Council contained only the actual dollar recommendation without the rationale for those recommendations.The Committee worked by consensus and voted unanimously on the recommendations. There were two abstentions from two members who declared conflicts.The one application, for which the entire article focused, Possibilidades, also received unanimous support from the Committee, including the chairperson for $5,000.00.I want to clarify that I did not tell the Council as the article states, “that it should forego awarding a $5,000.00 grant to Possibilidades/Youth Build”. Nowhere in the written report provided to the writer does it state that.Any questions regarding the applications were referred to as committee questions or concerns not from any individual committee member as portrayed in the article.The article also mentioned the applicant’s issue with the use of ADA funds. At the February 11th hearing, the applicant stated “they” would benefit from ADA funds. However, at the City Council Hearing, the representative stated the “youth do not qualify for access to local schools” and have “absolutely no impact whatsoever” on local ADA funding. She also stated the “ADA funding would come from Nevada County.”The Committee raised the issue about local support as founders often do gage the level of community support and the extent of positive collaborations, indicators of successful applicants who have a track record of sustainable support. Noted was the possibility that this particular applicant could bring additional outside resources to the community.Observations referred to “key” Latino support. No statement was made that the applicant lacked Latino support.Another question was whether there was a “written contractual agreement” with the Building Trades-important for this type of job training project. The representative was quoted in the same article “ We do have a collaboration with Southwest Regional Carpenter’s union”. A check with the President of the Carpenter’s Union verified that no authorization had been given for such collaboration and in fact, no written agreement.Too bad so much attention in the article was given to inflammatory finger pointing rather than the services provided and the needs that will be met by the many fine local organizations and projects. Several comments were made at the hearing complimenting the Committee Members and Council about the outstanding job they did in this year’s allocation process.The public may view the replay of the Council meeting on the Public Access Channel, including the “eruption” by a city council member, which was not reported in the article. Damage done again. Why the slant?Hopefully this very positive community process can be highlighted in future articles. The organizations, including those who were not funded or only partially funded each deserve tremendous gratitude for the work they do with limited resources. It was a pleasure working with the Advisory Committee. Each member brought great insight and a sense of fairness to the process.Yours truly,
Laura Flores EspinosaChairperson, CDBG Advisory CommitteeSupport the Senior CenterTo the Editor:The Santa Paula Commission on Aging will sponsor their Annual Spaghetti Dinner on March 21, 2004 at the Santa Paula Senior Center for the benefit of Santa Paula senior citizens. All proceeds will go to the Santa Paula Senior Center portion of the local Community Center where services are provided at no cost to the seniors.The Santa Paula Oddfellows Lodge has prepared the food for this event since its inception. This will be the ninth year. The Commission members sell tickets, do the advertising and serve the dinners. It’s a family-style get-together and a time to get acquainted with fellow Santa Paula citizens. All servers and helpers are volunteers, as are the members of the Oddfellows Lodge. In the past, a number of organizations and individuals have contributed to the success of this event through ticket purchases or monetary donations and sharing of tickets with employees and friends.The services that are provided to our Santa Paula senior population include, but are not limited to, Renter and Homeowner Assistance form preparations, Income Tax preparation assistance, senior nutrition programs and meals-on-wheels. The Senior Center Coordinator is available to answer questions and recommend appropriate agencies to apply to for other types of assistance available to seniors. The Santa Paula Commission on Aging serves as an advocate for the benefit of our senior citizens and meets monthly at the Senior Center.Any support that could be provided in this very worthwhile endeavor would be greatly appreciated. For information and tickets, please contact the Santa Paula Senior Center at 933-4247.Paul E. SmithSanta Paula Commission on AgingThanks for your support,Santa PaulaTo the Editor:For all of you who supported the Santa Paula Vons picketers in your own way by giving us food, drinks, toys, gift certificates, money, smiles, waves, honks, picketing with us, stopping by to say hi or by not shopping in the store, we wanted to welcome you and thank you in a big way by putting up large banners on both doorway entrances that said “Welcome Back” and “Thank You Santa Paula for your support.” We also had a special banner that said “Thanks” that most of the picketers signed personally to show our deep appreciation. But Vons corporate office denied our request to put the banners up. We were very disappointed and upset over their decision.So please, spread the word to your friends and family that the former Santa Paula Vons picketers truly appreciated your support and welcome you back to Vons in a HUGE way instead of this small print.Very sincerely,Your former Santa Paula Vons picketersHonesty appreciatedTo the Editor:I recently lost my credit card at Rite Aid. As soon as I discovered it I went back to see if anyone had turned it in. The manager said no, but less than an hour later he called to say someone had turned it in.I have no idea who the honest person was, but I hope they see this and know how very much I appreciated it. It’s so great that there are still honest people. Thank you.June WelshSanta Paula

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