Sorry that Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales
To the Editor:
We are sorry that Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales were not re-elected to the city council. Over the past eight years, they have done an outstanding job. They have proven themselves as capable and intelligent leaders, making informed decisions, thinking analytically, being able to take criticism in the political arena gracefully and putting Santa Paula first.
They came into office following a city council in the mid-2000’s which wasted so much time and energy and money on a proposed development plan which voters didn’t want. As soon as they took office, Fernandez and Gonzales were confronted with water agency deadlines and pending fines. They not only met the deadlines and avoided the fines but built a world-class water treatment plant which will last the city for many decades.
Then the Great Recession hit, and they were forced to make decisions on how to keep the city running and away from bankruptcy. They succeeded, but not without having to make heartbreaking but necessary decisions to lay off some city employees.
During their time in office, a controversial personnel issue came up with the former police chief, and they took heat for not being “transparent”. They were required by law to keep personnel issues confidential, and even though it was incredibly hard not to defend themselves or their actions in the open forum of public opinion, they stood firm.
During their tenure, they supported and voters approved East Area One, a development which makes sense for our city. And let’s not forget our beloved Steckel Park Aviary which was saved from a County shutdown through the incredibly hard work of Ralph Fernandez and his volunteers.
It seems as though Ralph and Bob just got started, having been blindsided by so many issues which were either carryovers from past councils or totally out of their control as with the Recession. But theirs is a foundation upon which future councils will be able to build.
Are they perfect? No - no one is perfect. But Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales will be a very hard act to follow. Thank you to both of you for your service to our city.
Mary and Dan Doll
To the Editor:
The Mercer Prieto Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2043 of Santa Paula, the Korean War Veterans Chapter 56 of Ventura County and the 187th Airborne Regiment held their 2014 Veterans Day ceremony on Tuesday November 11, 2014 at the Veterans Park in Santa Paula. Our Post membership continues to age and our numbers continue their downward spiral. On this Veterans Day ceremony we honored our 90 year old plus Veterans and the soon to be 90. They have been the strength and the backbone of our Post for many years. We honored Commander David Lopez of the Korean War Veterans Association with a Certificate of Recognition for his lifelong support for Veterans issues and programs. We also honored Don and Debbie Johnson from the Santa Paula Times for their continued dedication to the community, along with Brian Wilson and Peggy Kelly. The Santa Paula Times is very important source of information within our community and we need to remember that many communities in the United States do not have their own newspaper. This Veterans Day ceremony was a huge success thanks to a very dedicated group of veterans, a very supportive community, and the excellent support from many. Thanks to Ed Mount from the City of Santa Paula Community Services Department, the excellent support from Luis Salazar and George Cancino for keeping the Veterans Park in excellent condition for our events and for their follow up support each time.
Mr. Jerry Cruz directing the Santa Paula High School Band and all the band members; Donna Nelson and the Isbell Middle School Condor Chorus members; Kristi Crisp, Julia Nordstrom and Michelle Anderson with the Barbara Webster School 5th Graders and their Patriotic Songs programs; Heidi Juarez President of the Soroptimist Club of Santa Paula, Laura Phillips and all their members for providing the snacks and refreshments; Mary Shields with the American Heritage Girls group 0304 and 1103 of Santa Paula. We really appreciate Mayor Rick Cook, Vice Mayor Jim Tovias, City Council members Bob Gonzalez and Martin Hernandez, along with Chief of Police Steve McLean and Fire Chief Rick Araiza for attending.
The outstanding joint music program provided by the Santa Paula High School Band, Isbell Middle School Chorus, and the 5th Graders from Barbara Webster and the American Heritage Girls was excellent. The 3 Volley Rifle Salute by the Rifle Squad under the direction of David Garcia and final taps by Bugler Rudy Arellano signaled the end of our ceremony. The Veterans Day Barbecue organized by Gibby Gomez, Jr., the Motorcycle Riders of Ventura County and the Mountain View Golf Course was well attended and very much appreciated by everyone. Thank you all for a meaningful Veterans Day ceremony.
Commander, VFW Post 2043