Letters to the Editor

October 22, 2004
Elect Ferial Masry To the Editor:I am a retired teacher. My wife and I have operated a business in Saugus for over 20 years. I urge support for Ferial Masry, Democratic candidate for the 37th California Assembly District. Ferial has never held public office. She is a highly competent high school government teacher and former business owner. She understands both the need to support our public schools and the need to expect responsible performance. She also recognizes the need for a vibrant business climate that will help sustain jobs.Ferial understands what it means to live in America. She is an immigrant, born in Saudi Arabia where women have no rights. I do not know how long she has been here, but her 25 year-old son was born in Thousand Oaks. He is an Army sergeant who recently returned from serving with our troops in Iraq. He expects to be sent on another tour of duty next spring.There is real choice. Ferial is an independent thinker and a voice for change. Her opponent is the wife of the current Assembly member who has been termed out. Electing his wife would undermine the intent of term limits. People are tired of feeling left out and tired of being represented by an extremist. Ferial will serve as the voice of independents, Democrats, moderate Republicans, parents, small business owners, farmers and others who have been essentially disenfranchised. Her experience, common sense, and maturity are sorely needed to heal the political polarization that is rampant in our state. She will work well with Governor Schwarzenegger.Electing Ferial would bring worldwide attention and offer real hope to Middle-eastern peoples. What would Osama bin Laden say about a Saudi-American woman elected to the California Assembly?Delton Lee JohnsonSanta PaulaYes on Measure LTo the Editor:Measure L needs your “yes” vote. It costs taxpayers NO additional money – just an okay to use what has already been granted. Because of a state mandate, the Blanchard Community Library must ask voters’ permission, every four years, to spend the money allotted to it through property tax and the special assessment tax. Santa Paulans have approved this twice before, and your approval is needed once again. Please, YES on L.Patricia A. AldersonSanta PaulaYes on J & KTo the Editor:A little known fact about our Santa Paula Fire Department is that there is only one fire station (located at 10th and Main Streets) that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to emergency fire and medical calls. The second fire station in Santa Paula (at Steckel and Main Streets) does not have firefighters ready to respond to calls. Fire Station 2 is only staffed on Saturdays during the day and is also used for training and storage of fire equipment. Many of Santa Paula’s nearly 1,800 calls for Fire Department service annually have only one engine company to respond. If a second emergency call is received for a fire or medical emergency while firefighters are already on a call, one of two things happen: either off-duty Santa Paula firefighters are paged and report for duty or the Ventura County Fire Department is called to see if they have an available engine company to respond. The length of time to respond to a second fire call varies greatly. This level of fire protection service is unacceptable and places our families at risk during emergencies.Measures J and K on the November 2nd ballot would change all that. Measures J and K would allow the Santa Paula Fire Department to fully staff Fire Station 2 around the clock to double the current level of fire and emergency medical services always available in Santa Paula. There would be two fully staffed engine companies ready to respond in emergencies. In case of a structure fire, the ability to dispatch two engine companies immediately greatly enhances the Fire Department’s ability to quickly battle the fire. Now the Fire Department sometimes must wait for a second company to arrive before they are able to effectively battle a fire.Another important reason to have a second full-time fire station is to better respond in case of a disaster. If an earthquake hits or brush fires come close to Santa Paula as they did last year, Santa Paula needs as many firefighting resources as possible immediately. We may only have the services of our on-duty police officers and firefighters to provide assistance in those critical early moments during an emergency. Santa Paula needs more than just three firefighters to respond to the needs of 30,000 residents in those perilous first moments after an earthquake.Our Santa Paula Fire Department needs our help. Santa Paula families need more firefighters to help protect us in our times of need. Join me in voting Yes on Measures J and K.Dr. Richard andConnie TushlaSanta PaulaEndorsement disappointsTo the Editor:The persons affected by Mr. Victor Salas letter to the Star should be the Salas family. The Salas family has always been respected in our community. When you have a family member that creates hate through his words and actions and tries to divide the community as Mrs. Espinosa and Victor Salas are doing, look out. Here we go again for another battle of the hate. A cultural division exists when Mrs. Espinosa is involved in our city’s politics because she always brings up the race card.Mr. Salas is correct, things don’t happen overnight; what does happen is over a period of two years while Mrs. Espinosa has been off the council the council is working to get things done. We don’t have a person who continues to attack other council members.I have attended the council meetings and at one time voted for Mrs. Espinosa but things have changed and Cabrillo now has control over her. I will not support Mrs. Espinosa and when she recently put a lawn sign on my property without my permission I tore it down.Mr. Salas further states that the council had no part in the planning, implementation, and funding of the projects that are brought into Santa Paula. This statement is totally wrong and I’m embarrassed that as a taxpayer we paid Mr. Salas good money to learn nothing. As for rubber stamping, thank you council for now televising the council meetings because the residents now know how 3-2 or 4-1 votes are generated and I’ve seen many of those since the meetings are now televised. Another lie by Mr. Salas!He’s correct that the city manager is a very well rounded speaker. Again Mr. Salas isn’t happy with what the council and our city manager are doing. He, like Mrs. Espinosa, would rather have the bickering, DOJ, districting, shoddy rentals, people living in garages, and every store selling Mexican goods.We need a council that represents all and is fair when it comes to casting a vote. The Star endorsed Luna, Procter for good reason. Just the thought of us going back to where we were scares me and others who want us to continue moving forward.Mr. Victor Salas continues in his letter with his attendance record at the council meetings and further endorses Josie Herrera. If Mr. Salas felt it was important for him to be at all the council meetings then his son needs to resign and we should all vote for Josie Herrera.Steve Salas does not represent the community well and does not attend the meetings that he’s supposed to attend. Staying home and picking up a check does not make for a good city clerk.Let’s stop this hate before it begins, vote Josie Herrera, Ray Luna and John Procter and show them that they do a very good job by patting them on the back.Robert SalazarSanta PaulaDon’t go backTo the Editor:The past couple of years have been nice. Progress has been made for both citizens and merchants in Santa Paula. Council meetings have been non-confrontational. Let’s not go back to the time when it was all such a struggle, every meeting a confrontation. For the future of Santa Paula, for a better tomorrow. Let’s keep Laura Flores Espinosa off our City Council.Cheryl BaudizzonSanta PaulaMeasure LTo the Editor:Voters, on November 2 please vote “Yes” on Measure L. Measure L is for the Blanchard Community Library. It is not asking for more money. It is asking for approval that the spending limit remain as approved by voters originally in 1994 so the Library may spend the funds allotted. Every four years the Library must ask voters for this approval. A “yes” vote will NOT raise taxes or authorize the raising of taxes. Adults, children, teens, students, and families of Santa Paula benefit from the valuable services provided by the Blanchard Community Library. Please vote “Yes” on Measure L for the Library.Brenda deJamaerSanta PaulaJ & K: for emergency equipmentTo the Editor:Many writers this election season have discussed the importance of Measures J and K for Santa Paula. These initiatives would help keep our families safe by providing the Santa Paula Police Department funding for five additional police officers to fight gangs and drugs in our community as well as provide money for the Santa Paula Fire Department to keep Fire Station 2 (at Steckel and Main Streets) open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.However, one key component of these measures has not been widely discussed. Measures J and K would also provide needed funding for vehicles and equipment for the Police and Fire Departments. The City of Santa Paula has no regular budget for police and fire vehicles or other emergency equipment. The Police Department most years receives funds to replace two patrol cars (which many times have over 100,000 miles on them upon replacement after four or five years of service). With Measures J and K, the Police Department should be able to double the number of patrol cars replaced each year.The Fire Department has no budget for the replacement of fire engines. The fire engine currently used every day by our Fire Department was purchased through a special grant from the Federal Government thanks to Congressman Elton Gallegly. Measures J and K will help create a replacement fund for our fire engines so that the Fire Department is able to purchase a new fire engine every five to seven years.Santa Paulans are fortunate to have some of the most dedicated police officers and firefighters in California working every day to protect our families. But, they need our help to be able to continue to provide these quality services. Measures J and K will not only enable the City to hire more police officers and firefighters, but will help make sure they have the equipment and vehicles they need in the future to do their jobs.Measures J and K are important to the future of Santa Paula. Please join me in voting Yes on Measures J and K on November 2nd.Crystal Campos
Santa PaulaReduce the pay gapTo the Editor:Santa Paula police officers make 35% to 40% less than the Sheriff’s deputies and officers in other cities in Ventura County. This makes it very difficult for the city to attract and keep good officers. Santa Paula often ends up being a training ground for new officers who, once they get needed experience under their belts, hire on with other departments in Ventura County. This means the city has to constantly hire and train, and then operate short-handed when officers leave and cannot be replaced right away. The problem will only get worse as our few long-term officers retire over the next few years.The solution to this problem is to reduce the pay gap between the Santa Paula Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, City revenues are not increasing enough to keep up with inflationary costs, and the State of California has raided the budgets of cities and counties to fund state responsibilities. It is up to us to close the gap, and make sure that our officers are treated with the respect they deserve.Measure J will raise the money necessary to give our officers a respectable raise, and Measure K will make sure that the money is spent the way it is intended. Please vote “YES” on Measures J and K.Adela MagdalenoSanta PaulaImportant measuresTo the Editor:The elections are nearly upon us, and there are two measures of extreme importance to the well being of Santa Paula citizens: measures J and K that would substantially improve police and fire protection to the residents of our city.The city of Santa Paula has exceptional Police and Fire Protection Departments that need the support of our community. The city council had an outside audit of the Police Department performed to look for any improvements that could enhance the department at a lower cost. The audit revealed that the department already operates with a much smaller staff than do comparable cities around the state. The study recommended that the city study the option of contracting with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for our local law enforcement services. After the study, the city concluded that contracting with the Sheriff’s Department would not result in significant savings. The city council also looked at the feasibility of the Ventura County Fire Department taking over the city’s Fire Department. The council decided against this proposal.Further, the City Council took testimony from the public that overwhelmingly favored keeping our local Police Department and there was little support for a changeover of the Fire Department. The caring individualized service we receive from fire and police protection is something very valuable to our community. Our own officers know and love our community and they are very efficient in carrying out their responsibilities. However, we the residents of Santa Paula need to make certain that they have the proper equipment; and that they be adequately compensated for their valuable and sometimes lifesaving services.I believe we will sleep better knowing that our local fire and police officers are in charge of our safety. Therefore, I strongly urge Santa Paula voters join the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall members that are in support of Measures J and K.Robert Borrego, PresidentSanta Paula Latino Town HallJ & K are good for Santa PaulaTo the Editor:Measures J and K are on the ballot in Santa Paula to improve local public safety. The two measures would provide additional police officers and firefighters to better protect Santa Paula around the clock. Measure J provides the funds, and Measure K makes sure the City spends the money the way the voters want.Even though the need for additional police officers and firefighters is well documented, some residents are concerned about the cost. The cost to residents is significant, but it isn’t forever. The City Council wrote the measure so that the tax “sunsets,” or goes away, after five years.While the need for more officers and firefighters is not likely to go away, the City may see some improvement in its revenues in five years’ time. The City is working hard and working smart to increase commercial development which generates sales tax for the city. If revenues don’t increase, the voters have the option of re-approving the tax in year four of the five-year cycle. Residents are protected by state law, which doesn’t allow the tax to be extended without another vote of the people of Santa Paula.Measures J and K are good for Santa Paula; please vote “YES!” on November 2.Antherese GrantSanta PaulaPlease vote “YES”To the Editor:Thirty years ago Santa Paula had approximately 19,000 people and 28 full-time police officers. Today, Santa Paula has approximately 29,000 people and 31 full-time police officers. While Santa Paula’s population grew over 50% in 30 years, the police force grew only 11%. In fact, Santa Paula has the three additional officers today because the city was able to get a grant; when the grant runs out, the city will be scrambling to fund those three positions.The police department operational audit completed last year pointed out the need to hire a number of additional officers, both for patrol and special duties. Currently, Santa Paula has far fewer officers per 1,000 people than other cities. In 2003, Chief Bob Gonzales put together a Special Enforcement Team to concentrate on gangs, drugs and graffiti. The team has had remarkable success in a short period of time, but it needs to be expanded in order to build on its early momentum.Officer safety is also a great concern. When officers are ill, at training, or out on a work-related injury, some patrol shifts work short-handed. This leaves the officers on the street without enough back-up. Police officers put their lives on the line to ensure our safety; they have a reasonable right to expect back-up when they need it.The Santa Paula Police Department enjoys an 81% approval rating in the community, according to a poll taken last year. Clearly, Santa Paula police officers work very hard to meet the community’s needs; let’s show them we appreciate their work and care about their safety. Please vote “YES” on Measures J & K.Anita PulidoSanta PaulaSupport for LauraTo the Editor:The City is now considering an ordinance to cover the situation wherein a mobile home park is to be closed and converted to another use. Mobile home park residents are concerned that such an ordinance be written so as to protect the equity which mobile home owners now have in their homes.Our concern can be described in this scenario, based upon the wording of the draft ordinance of September 21st:A mobile home park owner decides to close his park. The resident homeowners then have two options: 1. to move there homes elsewhere; or 2. to leave them where they are. But option 1 is not available to them, because there is no vacant homesite in any mobile home park to which they could move their home. Therefore, only option 2 is left to them. In that option they may junk their homes, or allow the park to buy them for $5,000. A home, then, with a market value of, say, $80,000 before closure would have lost almost all of its equity.On October 12th another draft with revisions was handed out. The changes within it are welcome, for they seem to provide some protection to the resident homeowners in the scenario described above. More than one other city in California has taken this step, most notably the City of Monrovia.This question arose at the Chamber of Commerce/Latino Town Hall Candidates’ Forum of 10/13/04. One city council candidate wished to study the matter further; another was flatly against protecting homeowners; but the third, Laura Flores Espinosa, expressed her full endorsement of the concept of the paying the full, in-place, market value of residents’ homes.For that reason, and for others, I will, as a mobile home park resident, gladly vote for Laura Espinosa on November 2nd.Joseph DonohueSanta PaulaTake charge of our futureTo the Editor:Santa Paula Measures J and K are important to local public safety. J and K would increase the number of firefighters so that Station #2 can be operated 24 hours per day, seven days per week. J and K would also increase the number of police officers so that the gang, drug and graffiti team can make real progress. The source of funds would be a monthly utility tax on telephones (but not cell phones), electricity, natural gas, and cable television. Unless Santa Paula voters approve an extension, the tax would go away after five years.The State of California has been “borrowing” money from cities and counties since 1992, and has never paid any of the money back, even when there was a large surplus in the State Treasury in the late 1990s. This has made it very difficult for local governments to establish a stable source of funds for police and fire services. Now that the State is in severe financial trouble, it is “borrowing” even more from local governments. Santa Paula and the other cities and counties in California have not had any say in this matter. Proposition 1A on the November ballot (which is supported by Governor Schwarzenegger, as well as firefighters, police officers, and cities and counties throughout the state) will not raise taxes, but it will keep local governments from losing even more money to the state in the future.We can no longer wait for the state to bail us out – history has shown it will never happen. If we want more police officers and firefighters, it is up to us to take charge of our own future. Measures J and K establish a source of funding that the State of California cannot touch. Please approve Measures J and K on November 2.Mary Anne KrauseSanta Paula

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