Letters to the Editor

May 19, 2006
Opinion
Out of balance To the Editor:Measure Y failed by a slim margin when several members of the City Council actively opposed “Y” while others remained strangely silent on the measure. Had they, the Council, taken a positive posture on increasing our tax base Measure Y would likely have passed. Measure Y was all win for Santa Paula and the City treasury with little or no down side.Now we read that the Council is considering a ballot measure to build an additional 150 subsidized housing units in our city. This means taking private property off the tax base while at the same time increasing the need for police, fire, educational and social services. These subsidized homes will not pay impact fees to our public school systems. The 495 homes built in Adams Canyon would have each paid $35,000 or more to the schools. The City would have seen a property tax cash flow from Adams Canyon the minute it became part of the city. Not only that, the developer of Adams Canyon would have contributed 100 acres of new public parkland to the City, paid for the development of the parks and given 40 acres for a new high school. Measure Y would have provided hundreds of jobs for local people and increased our business sales tax. What can our elected officials be thinking?The members of our Council seem intent on further impoverishing our already poor City. Measure Y would have produced millions of dollars in taxes for the City while using only minimal services. The ballot measure now being considered by the Council to build an additional 150 subsidized housing units will increase demand for City services without paying the taxes to fund those services. The Council is trying to add to the side of our economy that is already out of balance. I just cannot imagine why our elected officials and appointed managers would even consider such a proposal. The impacts of a poor tax base are having under funded police and fire services along with a decaying city infrastructure.More and more it is becoming evident that some members of the Council are driven by their own personal, political and social agendas. However, they were elected to act on behalf of the whole community. Well, they are considering another run at a utility tax! Perhaps it is time for a community adversely impacted by these councilpersons to seek replacements that would be truly interested in improving city services and funding our community.Walt AdairSanta PaulaSlip of the tongue?To the Editor:Leaving the Spanish translation on the English side of the argument in favor of E6 was calculated and intentional. The comment by Councilman Aguirre is “Viviendas para nosotros, escuelas para nuestros ninos y trabajos para nuestra gente.” (“Homes for us, schools for our children and jobs for our people.”) I believe this comment is inappropriate and the other members of the city council should not have allowed the comment to stand as written. If Aguirre wants to be a Council Member for “OUR” people and not “ALL” people then maybe he shouldn’t be representing “ANY” people. Think about that in November.Steve BrownSanta PaulaQuality of lifeTo the Editor:Attention: This is important to you! The quality of life for you and your family is forever threatened by the Fagan Canyon Development proposed as Measure E-6, which will be voted on next month, June 6 - I strongly urge, you: VOTE NO.Here’s why: First, this development is for 2,155 homes (with more to come later) as opposed to the 450 homes called for in the City’s General Plan. Past studies have been done by the city (Rincon Consultants, 1998 City ‘Whitepaper’), and they have determined that the appropriate number of homes for Fagan Canyon is at maximum 450. What that means to you if E-6 passes is approximately 21,000 to 26,000 additional car trips generated daily by Fagan residents that will be dumped on our existing streets. Don’t be deceived by the developer’s rhetoric that a few humps, bumps, and traffic lights will make our traffic situation even better than it is now. You are intelligent enough to know better than that. It is a preposterous statement.The developer is even saying that this development is your idea because a few dozen people participated in “charrettes”. The big problem with the “charrettes” was that the size of the project, the number of houses, was never on the table - and that is the crux of the matter. The sheer size of the project requires massive grading, by the developer’s own admission, 28 million cu. yards, enough to fill 33 Rose Bowls. The notion of such grading and the resulting additional 26,000 cars is crazy, and I am sure that you know it.The developer is saying that you are going to get “homes, schools, jobs”; let’s look at what you are really going to get. In terms of jobs, there may be a few temporary jobs during construction, but when the developer realizes huge profits and leaves town, the jobs created by this development are going to be negligible. The developer is saying that you are going to get affordable housing. The last I heard, the average price of these homes will be over half a million dollars; is that affordable for you? Further, with the density, lack of parking and type of houses advocated by E-6, Santa Paula will further emphasize its reputation in the county as “low end,” and we have a good probability that the value of our homes will be reduced significantly.It is a well known fact that residential developments actually cost a city money due to the services demanded by their residents. And both the city and the developer admit that the first three to five years is a negative number for the city. The more dense the development, the greater the need for city services. What this will mean for you and me is increased taxes and fees. And, by the way, if someone already lives in Santa Paula why would they “need” to move into Fagan Canyon at a much higher cost along with the Homeowner’s Association and Landscape Lighting District fees of over $300 per month, to start?We will get a few bucks for schools (no new high school though), but we could receive significantly more net dollars from several other developers with good projects, like those having a hotel and a golf course.Let’s turn down E-6 and let a developer propose a better project. This land is too valuable to offer it up to the first plan that comes along. There is a huge scarcity of land and all developers know that. This is, after all, Ventura, California, the most prized land in the world. Moorpark turned down a development that offered their city over twice in sheer dollars what our city government accepted and put on the ballot as E-6. Let’s not take less than we deserve and can readily get. Don’t be fooled by the developer’s line that if E-6 fails, they will leave town, and we will have no development for growth. Quite the contrary, we will have a line of developers with good projects wanting to do projects in Santa Paula, Limoneira, and Pinnacle, to name just two of the more obvious.Another important point is that a rumor is being spread that E-6 is about Adams Canyon. It’s not. E-6 is all about Fagan Canyon with its 26,000 daily car trips. This vote is too important for you not to understand the facts. Don’t be deceived. Many of our fire department and police department personnel have been convinced by the city and the developer into thinking that this project will provide money for raises. The financial study done for the city reveals no such thing. These people do an excellent job and should get more money, but Fagan will not provide it. Many local merchants see Fagan as a financial bonanza, a bonanza that will never be realized due to faulty logic. Over the coming days you will hear many of them advocating Fagan, believing that it will solve their financial problems, which it will not do.For about eighteen months, our City Government has had an agenda to force this project on us without letting us have the right to vote on changing our General Plan so drastically. They have done everything possible to keep you from having a say. This Proposition/referendum had to go to Court to force the issue to assure that you would be given a chance to vote on something that will impact you and your family for years to come. Don’t be deceived by the lies intended to convince you that this is a good project. It’s not. This is about the developer making huge money, going back to Texas, and leaving us with a big mess.Protect your future and the future of your family. VOTE NO E-6. Please tell all of your friends and neighbors about the problems with this development and urge them to “VOTE NO” as well. Now is the time. This is our last chance.Larry SagelySanta PaulaBeware of the Already HavesTo the Editor:As a life long resident of Santa Paula, I am aware, as well as many of you probably are, that the population is divided into two distinct groups. Let’s call them the “ALREADY HAVES” and the “CAN’T GETS.” We have this very phenomenon in Santa Paula as a matter of fact.That’s all good and well most of the time, it’s a fact of life after all, but as we grow closer and closer to June 6th (that’s the day you should go and vote) I feel it is very important for the “CAN’T GETS” to take a very close look at the “ALREADY HAVES’” agenda. This does not in any way mean that this is how all of our comfortable citizens feel, but let’s be honest, there are some that you will be reminded of while reading this. In the “ALREADY HAVES’” minds Santa Paula is ideal. They came to this town (many were not born here) looking for the peace and serenity of a small town. And indeed that’s what they have found, and are very satisfied to leave it just as it is. Many of them do not depend on the economy of Santa Paula to keep them afloat. They “HAVE” you see, they are not seeking to better their community or their opportunities. All they can see is that it might take them two minutes longer to get where they are going. To them that is a great inconvenience and injustice. They care very little that there are “CAN’T GETS” that their selfish reasoning will affect. That is what really separates them from our caring group of “HAVES” who care very much for their City and its citizens.Now, pay very close attention to this you “CAN’T GETS”. If the “ALREADY HAVES” have their way, this entire opportunity will evaporate. This is YOUR OPPORTUNITY they are playing with. This is YOUR OPPORTUNITY to own your own home, or start a business, play with your children or grandchildren in safe new parks, send those same children to newer and safer schools or even to have further shopping choices in YOUR TOWN. They wish for you not to have that opportunity you see, Santa Paula is perfect in their eyes. How do your eyes see it?It’s time for the “CAN’T GETS” to stand up for what you desire in life. Give our citizens and your own family a chance to build a great life in our hometown. Here is your opportunity. Get out and vote YES for Measure E6 on June 6th. Give our own City employees an opportunity to live within the City that they work for and protect. Don’t let the selfish people who are set for life govern what happens to your and yours.Maiya HerreraSanta PaulaSupport Fagan CanyonTo the Editor:Santa Paula’s police and firefighters are chronically under-funded. As a result, the city could be a lot safer. Santa Paulans are quick to decry the sad state of the city’s public safety services. However, residents have already demonstrated that they are not willing to foot the bill for improved fire and police service. You may recall Measures J and K, which proposed a small tax increase to fund new police and fire stations, as well as new equipment and increased staffing. Voters shot that measure down. Santa Paulans keep complaining about public safety, but they’re not willing to pay for it, which brings me to the obvious question: Who will?We finally have an answer to this question, and it won’t cost residents a dime. With $44 million in up-front developer’s fees, Fagan Canyon will pay for a new fire station AND a new police station. It will fund new fire fighting equipment and will provide the money necessary to ensure that there are enough police or firefighters on duty when we need them. It will also provide $2.5 million a year at build-out for ongoing improvements to these vital services. With this money, we will even be able to attract and retain qualified police and firefighters. Every Santa Paulan deserves to be safe and healthy. Therefore, every Santa Paulan should support Fagan Canyon.Carlos JuarezPresidentSanta Paula Police Officers AssociationFagan Canyon potentialTo the Editor:Santa Paula’s businesses desperately need a boost. I have had my shop on Main Street for three and a half years. Over this time, I have seen the street go from having an X Business, a Y Business, and a Z Store with a flourishing customer base to having a smattering of small local businesses that are just barely staying afloat. I consider myself extremely lucky to have stayed in business through what I see as never-ending economic turndown.It is great that Santa Paula has a crop of small businesses with small-town charm, and proprietors that know their customers’ names. However, believe it or not, larger businesses are good for smaller businesses. Chain stores like Trader Joe’s and Pier One seek out communities of homebuyers with household incomes between $60,000 and $150,000. The median Santa Paula household brings in just $42,000 a year. If we build homes and attract the middle class, we can also draw these businesses. And you know what? More business, bigger business - it brings in jobs to the city and keeps Santa Paulans shopping in Santa Paula (and not Oxnard), and that benefits everybody.Fagan Canyon will provide these homes, not only for the middle class we need to attract in order to jumpstart our businesses, but for Santa Paulans. Fagan Canyon residents will have the potential to spend $85 million annually.$85 million in annual retail revenues sounds pretty good to me right now.Pamela ColvardPamela’sSanta PaulaHope for a better futureTo the Editor:Those of us who supported Adams Canyon are still disappointed with the recent defeat of Measure Y. However, we have to remember why we supported Adams Canyon in the first place. We threw our weight behind it because we dared to hope for a better future for Santa Paula: affordable housing, more jobs, money for better schools and city services. A lot of people, including myself, supported both Adams Canyon and Fagan Canyon because we wanted these things for our city. For people like us, who support growth and the boost it will give Santa Paula, there is no time to grieve for the loss of Adams Canyon. We have to get behind Fagan Canyon with full force right now. Yes, we would have liked to have seen Adams Canyon approved, but we still have one more shot to get this city going with the help of developer’s fees and tax revenues.If Measure E6 is approved - as soon as it’s approved - the Fagan developers will donate $44 million in fees. This money will go toward new fire and police stations, increased paramedic services, anti-gang programs, and our water and sewer systems. And that $44 million is just the beginning. Following that will be $24 million for new schools and improvements to our existing schools, $6 million for road repairs, and an estimated $85 million in annual retail revenues.If those figures don’t get you excited again about the future of Santa Paula, I don’t know what will. Let’s not lose again; we can’t afford to let more than $100 million in benefits go the way of Adams Canyon.Tisa and Charlie GrantSanta PaulaI can’t help but compare the communities I visit with home in Santa PaulaTo the Editor:Whenever I travel, I can’t help but compare the communities I visit with home in Santa Paula. As I drive up 126 on my return, my reaction is always the same: “Wow! Santa Paula is located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the world.” The Santa Clara River Valley is an ideal setting, with its orchards, fields and mountains. It would be unforgivable to fill the valley with houses. That is why I support the proposed development in Fagan Canyon.If you analyze the places that Santa Paula might grow, you quickly realize that our choices are limited. We can grow on the valley floor or we can grow in the side canyons. The Santa Paula General Plan considered growth in three side canyons (Adams Canyon, Fagan Canyon and Santa Paula Canyon) and three areas on the valley floor (west of town, east of town and across the river, south of town). To me, the three options on the valley floor are unacceptable because they would ruin the world-class setting we live in. They would put houses on some of the best farmland in the state. They would violate greenbelt agreements and one would crowd out the airport. The Santa Paula Canyon option is not much better. The orchards in the canyon are supplied by a single irrigation system. That system would soon become uneconomical if we begin converting orchards to houses. We would inevitably have houses all the way to Steckel Park and all of that traffic would be channeled down Ojai Road. With the valley floor and Santa Paula Canyon being unacceptable places to build and with the voters twice rejecting Adams Canyon, only Fagan Canyon remains. Like it or not, all of our eggs are in this one basket.When it comes to growth, “just say no” is not an option. We have a moral obligation to our children to provide housing. Our kids should not have to move to Bakersfield to find a home. We also have a legal obligation to provide housing. Every five years, the City of Santa Paula must prove to the State of California that we are doing our share. If, as some have suggested, we build just a few high-priced homes in the canyons, we will have failed in our obligations to our children and to the State. We need to provide a larger number of homes of all sizes, types and prices. The Fagan Canyon project does this. We can’t afford to squander 2,000 acres of land on a few hundred homes. If we use four or five acres of land for each house, the prices will be too high and we will soon run out of canyon land. We will be forced to build on the valley floor towards Ventura or Fillmore. The land is just too scarce to be squandered on five-acre mansions for the rich.If we are not going to waste the land on ultra-low density mansions, we need to determine what the appropriate number of houses is. Long ago I reached the conclusion that the maximum number of homes in Fagan Canyon would be determined by the traffic capacity of the available access routes. The City has studied the traffic from the proposed development and has found that it can be managed to an acceptable level of service by using various traffic improvements such as signals, turn pockets, intersection reconfigurations and the like. The developer will be required to pay for all of the needed improvements. Traffic is a funny thing. You can have a traffic jam with 100 cars or free flowing traffic with 1,000 cars. The difference is in the streets. Traffic jams are caused by inadequate streets. If you fix the streets, the traffic will flow.Before retirement, I worked in local government for 30 years, nearly 25 years as Santa Paula’s Public Works Director/City Engineer. In those years, I never saw a developer more willing to work with the community than Centex Homes. They have gone to great lengths to develop a plan that reflects the needs and desires of the community. The Fagan Canyon project is arguably the best planned development in Ventura County. They deserve our support with a yes vote on Measure E6.Norman WilkinsonSanta PaulaEminent domain in SP?To the Editor:If the Santa Paula City Council is willing (required!) to exercise the power of eminent domain for the Foothill Road Extension proposed by the Fagan Canyon developer (see section 7.4.5 of the Development Agreement), what other properties will the city grant to Centex to get the Fagan Canyon Project completed? The City Council approved this development agreement when they approved this project in December of last year. This Development Agreement is approximately 80 pages in length. HELLO!... did anybody (council members?) take the time to read (and understand) the darn thing? The following is an excerpt from paragraph 6.2.1 of the Fagan Canyon Development Agreement.6.2.1 In General. City must cooperate with Developer and take all actions necessary or appropriate to facilitate the timely development of Project Facilities and Infrastructure. Such cooperation includes, without limitation, (i) the diligent and timely exercise by City of its power of eminent domain in a manner consistent with the laws of the State of CaliforniaWas it delegated to staff in hopes that they would make the correct recommendations? We all hear about the big-ticket items that will cause problems for Santa Paula (i.e. traffic, water usage, air pollution), but what about the fine print of the Development Agreement? If Measure E6 is approved, the Development Agreement, along with the Specific Plan and a General Plan Amendment will be adopted. Not only would this approve a project that is too large for Santa Paula to handle, it gives the developer “free reigns” and excessive flexibility to do whatever it takes to get the project built. In my opinion, the developer should go back to the drawing board and present a smaller more “SP Friendly” project and, more importantly, the City Council should revisit the Development Agreement and make revisions so it is more balanced and not so lopsided in favor of the developer.Steve BrownSanta PaulaDon’t miss opportunitiesTo the Editor:The approval of the Fagan Canyon project will allow Santa Paula to catch up on lost opportunities.Unfortunately, the fear of additional traffic hinders some people from supporting this project.If we had been keeping up with our annual allocation of housing starts in previous years, like other cities, we would already have the traffic today that will come with the Fagan project over the next 5 to 7 years. What we would not have, however, is a well-planned new community that offers something for everyone. We would have projects scattered around town and in various places.Centex will be required to have the traffic mitigation plan reviewed each year, and it will have to be approved before the next phase of construction can begin.Prior to the days of SOAR, developments were taking place in pockets of ag land, such as Hillview Estates, Las Pasadas and the Westgate Industrial Park. They were lemon orchards. Actually, nearly the entire town was comprised of numerous orchards.Those of us who have worked for economic prosperity and community enhancements over the years know that this project means opportunity.We need homes for the working class, not just vacant lots.We need schools today, not “someday”.We need jobs for today’s workforce, as well as tomorrow’s.We need revenue sources to begin immediately, not at uncertain future dates.I ask that Santa Paulans look for the good in this project and support it where they can.Will this community change as the result of it? Yes. Are we changing by doing nothing? Yes.The Fagan Canyon project offers what we have needed for years. Measure E6 will put Santa Paula on the road to opportunity and to prosperity.
Kay Wilson-BoltonPresident & CEOVentura County Commerce, Inc.What’s wrong with Fagan?To the Editor:Some people have asked me: “What is so wrong with the Fagan Canyon Project as proposed by Fagan Canyon Partners, Centex and the City of Santa Paula?” It is a legitimate question.It begins with the initial decision by Centex and the City to allow over 2,000 houses and apartments, when they know that all previous studies, done by Rincon and the City, show that the 450 dwelling unit number set forth in the General Plan and the city’s “Whitepaper” presented to LAFCO in 1998 was at the top end. Ex Planning Director Joan Kus, for the city, stated that more than once in public and in letters to this same newspaper some 10 years ago. So what has changed? Certainly not the geography, drainage nor access. No, what has changed is the decision to re-grade the canyon floor to simulate the flat area of Oxnard, where Centex has built hundreds or thousands of houses on small lots. To be specific, 28 million cu. yds. of earth will be moved, enough to fill 33 Rose Bowls, or enough to cover an area 1 mile by 1 mile over 20 feet deep (a cubic yard being 3’ by 3’ by 3’). This includes “cuts and fills” of over 100 vertical feet.Notice how neither the City nor Centex will even comment upon this fact. And the “Charrettes”, participated in by many well-meaning people who were never allowed to even discuss the number of units to be built, nor the grading that would be required. It is a circular argument. They want to build 2,000 plus units and that requires massive grading. If they massively grade, they can build 2,000 plus units. Chicken, egg. Egg, chicken. 1,250 dwelling units would have been an increase of over 300%, but they have elected to run the numbers up to 600% over the figures believed optimum by the City and Planning Director Joan Kus just a few years ago. It is the same canyon, folks. The motivator is simply greed. Hate to use that word, but what else can it be?And then the design itself has many problems. 395 “low” and “low, low” income units, by City Council mandate, must be built first in the initial neighborhood to be opened, before Centex can build even one market-rate home. If these units are for current Santa Paula residents, where are they now living? Will they be able to afford the Homeowner’s Association and Landscape Lighting District fees of $300 per month (estimated by Centex) on top of rent and utilities? The Landscape Lighting District will also maintain the streets, repaving, patching and so on. Normally such a system is used only in upscale developments where the streets are private, but in this case, the city has required that the streets be privately maintained even though they will be public streets. Totally unorthodox and untried, not a realistic solution. And on top of that, the city and its attorneys admit that if the residents refuse to pay these dues, nothing can be done by the city to enforce the maintenance obligation. The city is simply trying to escape the responsibility of streets maintenance, since if the city did maintain the streets, the “negative” cash flow would be even greater than it is and the present citizens of Santa Paula would not approve such an arrangement. This is no way to run a city, folks.The balance of dwelling units will be single family detached homes on small lots (approximately 40 by 90 feet, as an average), with two story homes and small driveways. Where will the 3 to 4 cars and trucks per household park? I suggest people go look at an upscale community called Sterling Hills in Camarillo, just at the foot of Spanish Hills, million dollar homes on relatively small lots, and the streets are so clogged you can barely drive down them. It will open your eyes to the coming problem, I guarantee. Santa Paula does not have that kind of congestion now on a citywide basis. Current city lots are 6000 sq. ft. or 60 x 100 feet, and driveways are longer, allowing more vehicles for off-street parking.Of course the drainage problem will be huge. All those hard surfaces, roofs, parking areas, streets, will funnel huge amounts of water to the existing Fagan Barranca. The traffic impacts on current city streets, 21,000-26,000 vehicle trips per day at build-out, are unimaginable. And, the intersection of Santa Paula Street and Ojai Road was not included in their traffic mitigation plan because, the developer says, it already has a traffic light and there is no plan to widen that intersection even though five streets meet there including the access to the Santa Paula Hospital.Construction traffic on Ojai Road will be a nightmare. Glade Drive, now a cul-de-sac, will be opened up to “through traffic”, Santa Paula Street, later Foothill Road (in the city) will be primary access routes, no by-pass route over Santa Paula Creek is planned; really no meaningful traffic mitigation at all is required of the developer by this City Planning Commission or City Council, except for the re-striping of road lanes, the prohibition to park in front of your own residence if you live on a primary access route, speed humps or bumps, and traffic lights up the yin-yang. Thanks, guys and gals!The developer claims on its 4 by 4 foot signs, prominently displayed: “homes, schools, jobs”. “Homes”: can’t argue that point. But who they will house (?), that’s another issue. Certainly not current residents, by and large. “Schools”: they will create the need for them, and by law must fill that need, but notice, no new high school. “Jobs”: the number “200” was honestly mentioned by Centex in its presentation, but then the City Council put forth the number “5,000” - as “regional jobs” - whatever that means. “Jobs” doing what?And the cost to the city, long term, mid-term, short term, to provide city services will surely exceed the limited revenues real estate taxes provide under Proposition 13. As an example: In California our taxes are limited to 1% annually against current appraised value. In Texas, it is more than twice that, over 2% annually. Also in Florida, New York, and elsewhere, residential real estate does pay its own way - but not in California. The City knows this, the fiscal studies attached to the project admit that this is true, but like Oxnard and Moorpark, the city is operating under a “cash flow” theory where so-called “up front fees” and borrowings, vehicle taxes and disposable income/sales taxes, might, just might, provide more cash flow for the city, reminiscent of Mr. Ponzi and his pyramid schemes. Think Enron. Look at Oxnard: are they swimming in money over there? Not from what the newspapers report. But they’ve got traffic! (And if you notice, their roads need re-paving too in the older sections of town, as is the case in virtually all cities, not just Santa Paula.)What does Santa Paula get out of this deal? No new City Hall. No new Community Center. No new library. No new Recreation Center. No municipal swimming pool (even Fillmore is going to get theirs). If a 2,000 plus housing development cannot provide any of the above, Santa Paula will never have any of these “amenities”. Think about it. Why has our City settled for the current plan? If you know anyone on the Council, I suggest you ask them that question.Over in Moorpark the voters recently rejected a plan wherein the developer offered the city almost twice as much in “fees” and benefits than the City Council and city government negotiated here. Is this city that desperate? Again, if you know someone on the Planning Commission or City Council, ask them to refute what is written above.To date, all we have been given is “spin”, not real answers. Two Council members, for more than 18 months, continually stated, before the vote in November 2005, to approve the Fagan Project, that they preferred a smaller plan and larger lots, but when the hammer came down, they went right along with the other two Council members. Why?A “NO VOTE” on Measure E6, cast by absentee vote, or on June 6 by voting at the poll, is the safer vote. Remember, voters, you must connect the head and the tail of the “NO” arrow on your ballot. If you select “YES” by mistake, ask for another ballot, as you cannot correct a miss-marked ballot. A better plan can, and will, be designed for Fagan Canyon, better for the land, better for the city and better for Santa Paula’s current residents.Richard MainSanta PaulaSinking feeling re FaganTo the Editor:Now that the Adam’s Canyon initiative has failed, I see the Santa Paula City Council firmly supports the Fagan Canyon initiative. This makes little sense to me, since Adams would have provided approximately $20,000,000 [that’s million] in city taxes after build out, with a total of 495 homes on approximately 13 acres apiece, including the hotel and golf course complex. Also included was a 100-acre parcel with sports fields and playgrounds built by the Pinnacle group, and 40 acres for a new high school. Let’s not forget it also included donated land for an access road from Fagan Canyon that emptied into Foothill and Briggs Road, minimizing most of the westbound traffic from the city. This option was given up so that the City of Santa Paula could recommend Fagan Canyon.Fagan Canyon will give the city $3,000,000 in taxes after build out, providing us with 2,200 homes, and approximately 26,000 trips per day traveling through our city streets and Ojai Road. Gee, isn’t it a brilliant move to give up $17 million a year in taxes and increase our traffic problem with 26,000 trips a day to select Fagan Canyon as our best option? Of course our equally bright Chamber of Commerce saw the benefits of this option as well.Now let’s examine the cause for dereliction of duty. Did even one member of the council step forward and tell us that if Adams Canyon passes, we would be able to build a new sewer system without raising rates or increasing fees? Already we received a notice of fee increases for sewer charges. Did even one member of this elite group step forward and tell us that a new high school and middle school could have been built without passing any school bonds to pay for them? They could have been paid for with funds received up front for permit fees collected for high school and middle school that builders are required to pay in their normal permit fees. These fees would have been almost eight times higher because of the more expensive homes and hotel/golf course proposed by Pinnacle. Did even one council member remind us the city of Ojai receives approximately 90% of its tax base from the Ojai Valley Inn, and almost went broke while the Inn was being remodeled? Of course Santa Paula wouldn’t want a Hotel/Golf complex like that to provide jobs and finance our projects and maintenance of our existing ones. Did even one council member step up and remind us that Adams Canyon required few city services because of older owners and absentee owners for much of the year? Of course the answer to these and many more questions is a resounding no.I do have to give two of the council members credit for taking a stand, albeit the incorrect one for the benefit of the city, when members Aguirre and Procter came out against it. The remaining three members, Krause, Luna and Cook didn’t have the guts to take a stand. Had these three come out for Adams Canyon, I am confident it would have passed easily. These people were elected to promote intelligent growth and operate the city in a fiscally sound manner. Since neither of these objectives have been accomplished, and all five of our members did little or their best to see they were not achieved, I find this a huge dereliction of duty on their part.Now, because of this failure to support a project that would provide huge benefits to the city, we are asked to support Fagan Canyon. I would gladly do this if it were downsized a bit to around 1,500 to 1,700 homes, and Adams had provided the critical egress and ingress via Briggs and Foothill Roads. I would even support the 2,200 homes with that Adams Canyon route to Fagan Canyon. That option is now gone, and my only option is to vote against Fagan Canyon, and fight for a reduction in the number of homes. Actually the best scenario is to include the Limoneira project and the three developers would provide the land and roads to the approach to a new bridge over the Santa Paula Creek, so that much of the traffic could exit to highway 126 via Hallock Road. That way, we could have a new road and only have to raise money for a new bridge. This is a sensible alternative to our burgeoning traffic problem.I fervently hope that enough intelligent voters will make their way to the polls in November to correct the multitude of misadventures of our city council this November. It’s time to right our broken ship.Phil RiceSanta PaulaWhy we’re voting No on E6 -- Fagan CanyonTo the Editor:We hear talk of smart growth. Fagan is unsmart growth. It’s unsmart numbers.It’s unsmart to build 2,147 units in a box canyon with only residential streets as outlets, streets not designed or built to accommodate such growth.It’s unsmart to put 536 average daily construction related vehicles on these streets for the 15 years of building the project, with the major haul road for heavy trucks being Ojai Road, a two lane road, and lighter trucks on residential, historic Santa Paula Street with attendant dust, noise, and air pollution.It’s unsmart traffic: some 21,000-26,000 car trips daily with attendant pollution.It’s unsmart beyond numbers.It’s unsmart to rely on debris basins to capture storm runoff and debris in the canyon where a great deal of sedimentation can cause basins to fill up quickly, causing flooding, and where said basins are to be built above established residences.It’s unsmart to plan on water supply from wells that have not been as yet identified.Housing yes. Diversity in housing, yes. Infill housing, yes. Fagan Canyon smaller scale housing such as the 450 figure given in the General Plan-that’s smart growth.Richard and Audrey VincentSanta PaulaLack of respectTo the Editor:Re: Mike Odle article: Tape system catches thieves on filmThis morning after reading the article regarding the homeowner who had to install a tape system because his home and his neighbors had been the target of repeated thefts left me with a sick and sad feeling.Almost five years ago we purchased our first home in Santa Paula and we fell in love with this town and we felt we had made a wise choice. Sadly, not long after we purchased our home, we had been the victims of petty thefts as well. In five years we have had paint and painting supplies, bicycles, toys, garden accessories and our cars have been vandalized on two occasions. My neighbors have had similar situations and it seems that the problem only gets bigger.Yes, we need more police and yes, we need to make better decisions regarding our city’s growth, these are problems that many cities face. However we in Santa Paula have a bigger problem that many cities do not face, and that is the lack of respect for someone else’s belongings and home.We are faced with people who have no respect for what someone has worked hard for. It seems that it is easier to steal and vandalize then to go out and earn money for what you need. Many people say that people steal out of desperation, that being poor makes you behave in a thoughtless manner. I believe that can be true, however no one has ever stolen the fruit off my trees or broken into the freezer in my back yard to feed a family.And how do explain the vandalism? It’s simply called lack of RESPECT. I get the idea that if you have it and I want it, I am going to take it or ruin it, because if I can’t have neither can you! I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it, and sadly again this is what our town has become known for.Where does all this start? We can blame economic circumstances, drug abuse, bad parenting; the list can go on forever, but I believe it’s the basic lack of RESPECT, and unless we INSTILL it early and LEAD BY EXAMPLE this type of behavior will likely continue and will very likely escalate into something worse. In my home, our children are taught that you DO NOT STEAL and that having a JOB enables you to have a home and a family and a life! How funny that my 10-year-old gets it but so many others do not.Paula PetersSanta PaulaParadise lostTo the Editor:Adams Canyon, a beautiful paradise, could have been a real start for the new future of Santa Paula when smart planning was ready to start up and would have happened with flying colors if two Council members stayed neutral, as did the other three, and the Chamber members who helped it lose were more positive about what Santa Paula needed for a great smart start. Adams Canyon would have been uncrowded with mini ranchos with orchards and horse farms and a golf course that would have brought much income into the city and without the traffic from many autos each day to clog all streets. Main, Harvard, 10th (150), and 126 are very crowded today now, every day.Yes, housing is needed but not 2,000 plus in a city the size of Santa Paula.If Fagan Canyon is developed, it has to be very much toned down as to not be built up as is being done in the canyons at Castaic. Those mountains look like an over-decorated Christmas tree. And, must have a monstrous “new” sewer system. The local Santa Paula sewer system was not sufficient 20 years ago and how many homes and condos have been added in that time limit? Our sewer bills go up and up without our vote. I had an engineer tell me that the system is built to handle “x” number of homes and industry. When it reaches its peak, it is ready for problems if there is no control.Yes, homes are needed in slow growth, but the monster traffic problem has to be considered, very much so. And soil stabilization has to be seriously thought out when many, many tons of a structure is setting on pads in the hills where soil is changed. Every once in a while we have a very heavy winter season.Last week, Santa Paula Times had many good positive letters.Ken ZimmetSanta PaulaCrazy about the factsTo the Editor:26,000 CARS - that’s CRAZYWe have seen signs popping up around town with this statement. It CERTAINLY IS CRAZY - this would mean every housing unit in Fagan Canyon would have 12 CARS. People need straight facts.We assume they meant car trips - which is projected to be 21,000 at the end of construction - of which 16,000 would be outside the canyon. This will represent about 15% of Santa Paula’s current 110,000 car trips.Peter WrightSanta PaulaDear ALL Santa Paula Taxpayers:To the Editor:On June 6th, you will get a chance to vote for Measure E6 (the Fagan Canyon Project Approval Initiative). Before casting your vote, please know that The Ventura County Taxpayers Association supports a YES on E6 vote because this Initiative will bring homes, jobs and schools - plus so much more to Santa Paula WITHOUT raising your taxes.Here’s what Santa Paula gets with a YES on E6 vote:* $6 MILLION, provided up-front via legally binding contracts between the developer and the City of Santa Paula, to improve existing roads, build new roads and help reduce traffic flow throughout Santa Paula neighborhoods* $24 MILLION to build two new public elementary schools, fund Santa Paula’s existing public middle schools, and provide $11 million to the Santa Paula Union High School District.* $100 MILLION from contractually obligated agreements with the City of Santa Paula to build new and improve existing police and fire stations, improve existing public parks and playgrounds (including play fields, lighting, turf restoration, etc.), improve or build citywide water and sewer infrastructure, improve public libraries, a 10-acre site for the Future Farmers of American, payment for the City’s General Fund shortfall, funding to study a bypass road for Highway 150, and so much more.* 2,155 homes-built over 10 years-that are priced for a range of Santa Paulan residents* 5,000 jobs for local residentsNot only will the city benefit with NO increase in taxes, but the revenues generated from new housing, new jobs and increased retail sales will ensure that Santa Paula will be a thriving, prosperous community --- a place to enjoy living and working --- today and in the future.YOU now have a rare opportunity to bring good things to Santa Paula WITHOUT raising taxes.The Ventura County Taxpayers Association supports YES on E6 and asks you to join us.For more information, please call our friends with the YES on E6 campaign at (805) 525-3343or visit their website www.YESonE6.com.Don Facciano, PresidentVentura County Taxpayers Association



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