Letters to the Editor

November 24, 2006
Haunting thanks To the Editor:I would like to thank the Santa Paula Times for publicizing and covering the Halloween Parade. We had approximately 400 participants, which included individual children, a band, and a drill team. The weather was perfect and it was great to have the parade through Historical Downtown Santa Paula. I also want to thank all who came out to watch the 2006 Halloween Parade.I would also like to thank the City of Santa Paula for allowing the Optimists to have the parade and use the two city parks, the Santa Paula Police Department for providing excellent traffic control, the City Public Works for providing barriers, and Community Services for helping me coordinate the event.Others who deserve thanks are the trophy judges and the other volunteers who helped with judging and marching with the children in the parade. I also appreciate the Boy Scout Troup 305 under the direction of Scout Master Al Learn who provided a color guard for the parade.I also need to thank all the business and schools who allowed us to publicize the parade in their windows or classrooms, and to Dr. Robert Dekkers for his donation toward publicity. I also want to recognize the Co-Chairperson, Cathy Hicks, for all the she did to coordinate and publicize the parade.A special note of thanks goes to the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club, who donated the candy and passed them out to all the youth participants at the end of the parade.The last BIG THANK YOU goes to all the youth who dressed up and entered the parade along with the Isbell Middle School Band and the Barbara Webster Drill Team.The Santa Paula Optimist Club is “THE FRIEND OF YOUTH”. If you are interested in getting involved in youth projects and possible membership in our club, call me at 650-9492 or write me at P.O. Box 507, Santa Paula, CA 93061-0507.Pat CunninghamHalloween Parade Co-ChairpersonWhere are they?To the Editor:The local dwellers in this city are concerned about this city and their neighborhood and show support by volunteering. “Real fact” is, a small percentage seem to be a real volunteer or interested in the affairs of the city limits.Too many cannot name our city, county or government elected representatives but can name all the sports players, and all the actors on the soaps, and are not really concerned about the real world. They just sit back and complain and watch the trash on TV instead of the news. But when a disaster occurs they yell out “Where is the help” we need.A few years ago (it only seems like), we had a big bad earthquake at 4 a.m. and no electricity for many hours. I asked that some of us should go knocking on doors to ask if anyone needs help. One male subject, who still lives in the neighborhood, stated we should mind our own business. I sure do wonder how many more like him there are? I hope none.Amazing it is, how many do not own a cheap flashlight or an inexpensive fire extinguisher or how to use it even. And in my neighborhood, I doubt, or even know how to use a flashlight. Or where the gas meter is. But they know where the TV knob is.Well now there is an emergency radio station in our town, AM dial 1610, near KUZZ and KVTA, thanks to the efforts of Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, who also has taught a large group of troopers to be ready to help their neighborhoods, the Fire Department and the Police Department if or when there could be a disaster or terrorism attack. It is teams of locals who took classes for seven weeks and, called Citizen Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), were taught triage, medical, search and rescue, how to use fire extinguishers and put out a fire with it, and other preparedness and lifesaving “stuff.”We live on one of several of the largest earthquake faults in California and the U.S.A., and on occasion (also) a very disastrous fire(s) surrounding our town in the hills and mountains. Keep seven days’ food and water, warm clothes, reading material and toys, TP, etc., ready and know where to go for shelter locally, and don’t panic. Keep a wrench and a small shovel and hammer where you know where it is. And yes, we can have flooding. Hard winters rain surprise and no umbrella or boots? And don’t forget the TP and a magazine.Ken ZimmetSanta PaulaSuccessful Fall FestTo the Editor:Mupu School thanks the following businesses and families who helped make our 2006 Fall Festival such a success. The community support was overwhelming. THANK YOU!! Logsdon’s, Mupu Grill, Best Care Dental, Dana Reyes - Century 21, Center Line Construction, Mendez Concrete, Patron Hairstyles, Allstate, Islands Travel, City Trends, Jill Johnson Dance Studio, Teague Construction, McCoy’s Automotive, Vintage Pleasures, Jeanine Gore - Principal, Chavez Family, Shield Family, McCalister Family, Familia Diaz, CP Aviation, Studio 226, Fletcher Family, Estes Family, Jalife & Associates, Brock Family, Ming Family, Glaser Family - Teacher, Bicycle World, Rozie the Clown, Dr. Yoon DMD, Santa Paula 7 Theatres, Round Table Pizza, El Pescador, Buena Lanes, Fiesta Hallmark, All Star Gaming, Instant Auto Lube, Kathleen’s on Main, RXS Clothing, Starbucks, Heritage Hardware, Macs Furniture, Green Thumb, Dr. Nick Luizzi DDS, Santa Paula Subway, Santa Paula Carl’s Jr., Santa Paula Flower Shop, Trader Joe’s, Santa Paula Vons, Dr. Llapogu DDS, Frank’s Paint & Hardware, Vasquez Family, Far West Resorts, Annie (Mark Lowe), Brian Guevara - RE/MAX, Garcia Family, Don Roberto Jewelers, Pizza Nostra, Glover Family, Marinelli Family, and MCC Fall Festival Committee. You did an outstanding job!!Laura MillerFillmoreCongratulationsTo the Editor:Congratulations and thanks to all candidates, volunteers and voters for giving up your time and expending the effort to run for City Council. While total voter turnout seems low from the figures put out on the web, it is interesting to note that Measure L 6 garnered more votes than any candidate and also received a higher percentage of “Yes” votes (60%) than did the SOAR Measure a few years back, about 55% as I recall. So L 6 will be “the law” and the new Council would be well advised to work within it rather than try to find ways around it, which lawyers are wont to do (just say “No”). The new Council would be well advised to forego expending more precious city resources and funds on further litigation, regardless of what the lawyers may urge. Limoneira (East Area One) should carefully assess the L 6 Measure before drafting its Initiative and the interplay between SOAR and L 6 (one vote or two votes, the same ballot, or different sequential ballots and the question of legislative intent, the “single subject rule” and the “severability clause”). The Fagan Partisans should rethink their large-scale development and recast it as a smaller, “higher-end” project, possibly with a resort/spa. Santa Paula may be on the brink of some well-conceived growth, which can be a win-win situation, Adams, East Area One and Fagan along with a better business climate down on Main Street. This is not “the end” but a true new beginning for Santa Paula; let’s welcome it!Richard C. MainSanta PaulaThoughts on the ElectionTo the Editor:Dramatic changes have occurred in Santa Paula. Two council members have been defeated and a third - who finished first four years ago - received just over half the number of votes that he received then. Voters approved Measure L6 nearly 2 to 1. Some observations seem obvious:(1) The hundreds of citizens who worked for these changes are not opposed to all growth and they intend to work harmoniously with all members of the new council. However, they will be around for future elections and will insist upon quality, common sense, and a housing mix in balance with other cities. We respectfully urge that the city never again interfere with the right to vote.(2) The efforts of a county supervisor from Camarillo to influence our local election were not well received here.(3) Dumping large numbers of additional vehicles onto our existing two-lane streets is unacceptable.(4) Until we achieve some semblance of balance with other cities, permitting additional low-end housing in Santa Paula is also unacceptable. This is especially true of the existing city. We already have the highest percentage of such housing of cities in the county. The history of development throughout the nation demonstrates that, without balance, good intentions lead to disaster.(5) We need to replace some existing substandard housing with better quality units. Some additional high-density will be needed for seniors and others. Because of the heavy traffic that high-density generates, common sense suggests locating it in areas with near direct access to the freeway. East Area One can meet this test. Without an adequate bypass loop, Fagan Canyon cannot. The existing General Plan allocation of 450 homes in Fagan should never be exceeded without such a bypass loop. If Fagan is ever to accommodate more units, it makes sense to now require the developer of East Area One to include a 4-lane bypass connector with a landscaped median in his plans.(6) Citing serious problems of topography, drainage, access, and traffic - a previous council conducted a study and set the maximum units for Fagan at 450. There have been no changes in these factors and the current council could approve 450 units there, along with an inn or similar facility, without triggering a vote under L6.(7) The current proposal for East Area One will require voter approval under L6, but it can appear on the same ballot with the required SOAR vote and involve no additional costs. L6 will encourage quality because council members and developers will know that voters are looking over their shoulders. (8) We need to develop a unified plan for all expansion areas as well as for the existing city. The old city should not become the dumping ground for affordable units required of developers building in newer areas.(9) We possess one of the most ideal climatic and physical settings in the nation. Like the Santa Clara Valley of the north, this valley will soon acquire some of the finest industries in America. Our only limits lie in our own aspirations. If we fail to demand excellence, we will forever regret it.(10) There is virtually no support for the asphalt plant that other cities do not want. Allowing it would further damage our image and drive away the very industries that we most want and need. Let’s join together, plan for genuine quality, avoid further contentious referenda, AND BUILD A CITY THAT WILL BE THE PRIDE OF FUTURE GENERATIONS AND ALL OF CALIFORNIA.As we welcome new council members, let’s thank all who have served, appreciate their efforts, and wish them well. I have at time been critical of some specific actions, but I respect these persons.Delton Lee JohnsonSanta PaulaThanks for generosityTo the Editor:Unity Baseball Clubs would like to thank all of our generous sponsors and the many golfers that helped make our first golf tournament a HUGE SUCCESS!!! We have a 9-and-under team that plays on Sundays in Simi Valley and a 13-and-under team that plays in Ojai on Sundays. With the generosity of our wonderful sponsors, we are now able to compete in tournaments, the first for both teams being Thanksgiving weekend in Ventura and much more to come.We would like to share a special public THANK YOU to Pete Sanchez and Eddie Mendoza for allowing us to bring back the name of UNITY. We hope we are making you both proud!! To our sponsors and to the companies and people who helped with the tournament and raffle... Lochenheath Golf Club, H & H Auto Electric and Repair, The Adams Preserve, Ed Montelongo - Avalar Home Loans, Ventura Toyota/Scion, Santa Clara Valley Bank, Fruit Growers Supply, Anderson-Kulwiec Architects, Henry Marin Jr. Trucking, Kevin Sliger - RE/MAX, JDM Plumbing, Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Luis Fajardo - First Pacific Mortgage, Ford of Santa Paula, Mountain View Golf Course, Mendez Concrete, Paychex, Wood-Bender Law Firm, Monarch Uniforms, Mupu Grill, La Cabaña, Familia Diaz, Harvard Café, All Star Gaming, El Pescador, Sam’s Gym, George Thompson Jewelers, Malibu Feed Bin, Trader Joe’s, Golf n’ Stuff, Cronies Sports Grill, Tia Babe’s, Santa Paula 7 Theatres, Starbucks Coffee, Santa Paula Times, Ventura Star, Kasey Perry, Monica Melendez, Christy Mendoza, Tina Mata, Mary Mata, Jimmie and Sami Distl, Chuck McMurrey, Evette Eaton, Barbara Wileford, Pat and Erin Mendoza, Andi Hurtado, Jennifer Smith, Rene Sanchez, Bob and Son’s BBQ Restaurant. Again, we thank you for all of your support!!Managers, Gabe Diaz 13-u and Pat Stockton 9-uUnity Baseball ClubMany thanks for one of Santa Paula’s good habitsTo the Editor:Saturday, November 4th marked another Friends of the Library Book Sale. This good habit gets stronger and more fun each year. (And, I think, the crowd of book-lovers and helpers gets bigger every year.)With the usual gorgeous Santa Paula weather, hundreds of books of all kinds, many enthusiastic helpers, and hordes of eager book buyers, we were thrilled with profits close to $3,000! All of this will go to Blanchard Library for new books and equipment, and the creative Library programs which benefit all segments of the town’s population. The Friends help fund the new showing of movies, the Children’s and Youth Reading programs, computers and the Homework Center, and many other useful items year round needed by the Library.The Friends of the Library could not support the Library twice a year this way without the wonderful local volunteers who faithfully show up at 7:00 a.m. to help us set up and again at 3:00 p.m. to help put it all back together! Our heartfelt thanks go to those helpers. Young, old, and happy, they included: Kiwanians Gene Marzec, Jerry Burns and Ken Stock. From Boy Scout Troop 305 Stacie Snow and Cole and Jonas Huff; from Troop 304 was Tom Coughlin. From the high School Key Club was Rosa Navarro. Representing Mupu 4-H were Megan and Ray Mini and Katie and Christopher Zack. Also Kari Aist with her Mupu 4-H children Hanna, Emma, Sara, and Noah. More are Dora Crouch, Ken Zimmet, Cecilia and Cheri Marella, Randy Axell, Sheryl Misenhimer, Kent Hollenback, Robyn Saldino, and Bill Armbruster. Library Board members helping were Dan Robles, Ed Geis, Ninette Reyes, Suzi Skutley, and Beverly Mueller with husband Larry. And as ever, there were our faithful cashiers of the day: Jim Rescoe, Al Sundstrom, and newest Friend, Steve Kunze. Good job, guys. And of course, the year-round book sorters and regulars-at-all-sales, Friends Mary Calkins, Nancy Nasalroad, Pat Alderson, Chris Lemon, Ellen Ruby, and Pat Pierce. A huge vote of thanks goes to our local Publicity people: Peggy Kelly, Don, Debbie, and the staff at the Santa Paula Times for their participation and help. It is fun to see many of these helpers join the rush in at 9 o’clock and become book browsers and customers, too. We are all book lovers.
Through the efforts of Ellen Ruby and Pat Alderson, the Silent Auction was very active this year, with rare and interesting selections, and made quite a few winners happy. If some helpers were overlooked here, we apologize... we really thank and appreciate you all. Many thanks to everyone, Santa Paulans all!!We hope to see you all next May at the Spring Thing... (Sale that is). Same time, same place!Chris LemonFriends of Blanchard LibraryPaying tributeTo the Editor:Being born and raised here in Santa Paula, I was privileged to attend local grade schools and I graduated from Santa Paula High School 45 years ago. I love this town and I have many treasured and cherished memories - especially those of my high school years, where it was not only academic but our social life, including sports and clubs and social events too numerous to mention.Not only did our boys love football, basketball and other sports, but the whole town loved going to games and supporting our school and students. There was the spirit - pep rallies, interaction with our teachers and administrators - but amid the cheering we never left out the tribute to our flag and country, the pride and love of knowing we were free to pay tribute to the best country in the world and the men and women who served to preserve it.In the past 45 years, many of us have continued to give to and support our beloved alma mater. We have given our time and money and talents to many activities and projects, and we still do when asked. We have an active and great alumni association that spends hours and hours keeping track of everyone who has attended Santa Paula High School. Not many know of their dedication and loyalty.A couple of weeks ago I attended the last home game of the year, and again I was caught up in cheering for the hometown boys. The stands were filled as usual. Being the last home game, senior parents, band members, athletes and pep squad members were honored and recognized. The band marched in, and the players were given the usual standing ovation as they entered the field.There we were, standing, waiting for the national anthem to begin... the game began, and (WHAT?) no national anthem. Many sitting nearby joined me in my disbelief that we had not honored our flag and our country.I couldn’t let it go without finding out why. I got up and talked to four people, including the band director, the people in the press box, and a parent helping the band. I later talked with the assistant principal. No one had any answers, only excuses. There is no excuse that is good enough for not knowing and not doing what is done before every game, from grass roots level to the pros.I won’t go into details of my conversations... but I was appalled and sad. I pray that this never happens again. I love my country and I love my alma mater... which is another subject, when players are taken off to a corner of the field and left to support and sing the alma mater at the conclusion of games.What has happened and is happening to our spirit, our loyalty, and our patriotic behavior? Are we letting society sway our beliefs and love for freedom? Some may say that this is small or trite... it is not. It is just a step in the direction of falling into apathetic behavior.At the game mentioned above, three young men who had just returned from the battlefields of Iraq were in attendance and were mentioned publicly. I hope they know of our gratitude and our love for them... and how sad that they did not see a visual proof of that, with all of us standing and holding our hands over our hearts, paying tribute to the land of the free and the home of the brave.Janet GrantSanta PaulaThanks for supportTo the Editor:I was recently a candidate for the Santa Paula City Council. I did not win, but I did receive a lot of support from the community, and made many new friends. Please allow me a moment to thank a few people.First, I extend my congratulations to the winners - Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Ralph Fernandez, and Bob Gonzales. All ran very hard, professional campaigns and won the confidence of the voters. I wish them all the best as they work to address the many critical issues facing the city.I would like to commend outgoing council members Rick Cook and Mary Ann Krause for their service to the community. Although we may have disagreed on some of the issues, I have always respected their passion and dedication for Santa Paula. Thank you for running clean, professional campaigns.To my roadside warrior, Sergio Hernandez, and fellow Kiwanian, Damien Shilo - thanks for the effort. I know first hand just getting into this is a lot of hard work.I would like to thank everyone who encouraged me to run, and supported me throughout. There are far too many of you to name, and I wouldn’t want to miss anyone. MANY THANKS to all of you. I would like to extend a special thanks to Dan and Mary Doll, Wendel and Katy Garrison, Beverly Harding, Dion and Lucinda Anderson, and Jan Shepherd for opening up your homes and hosting receptions on my behalf.Perhaps one of the greatest moments of my campaign was receiving the endorsement of the Santa Paula Police Officers Association. I was immensely proud to gain your support. I extend a very special thanks to Lt. Carlos Juarez, and Officer Ryan Smith. You guys will always be number one in my heart. Thank you for keeping our city safe.Everyone at City Hall was most gracious throughout the campaign, from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, to all Department heads with their excellent briefings, and all the staff at City Hall. I would like to extend a special thank you to City Clerk Josie Herrera who was most helpful with the FPPC filings, and always took the time to see me, even without an appointment. Keep that warm smile going, Josie.I would like to thank The Santa Paula Times. Your staff was always professional and timely. You published all the letters and covered the stories in a factual, professional manner. I would like to acknowledge to Peggy Kelly for her tireless work. Your reporting was timely and accurate. You are a tribute to your profession. Hazel would be proud of you.Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Sharon, who had reservations about me entering this race. But once I made the decision, was always there to support me, just as she has been for these past 38 years.This experience has given me even greater appreciation for the fine people in Santa Paula. Thanks for allowing me to be a small part of your life. We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place.Fred W. RobinsonSanta PaulaThanksTo the Editor:On this Monday night [November 20] I am not sure if all the votes have been counted, the consensus seems to be that Rick Cook and Mary Ann Krause were not reelected. I don’t know Mary Ann personally, but I feel she can consider herself successful! She is very informative and explains all issues very eloquently. Thank you for contributing to the civility of our City Council these past years. You did a great job!Now to talk about Rick Cook, I have known Rick for many, many years. As a young man he had a lot of energy and channeled that energy with the youth of this city. You grew with time and continued to learn, which gave you the ability to represent the citizens of Santa Paula.Rick you make me proud of all the accomplishments you have attained. Your primary goal serving this community on the City Council was “what is best for the community as a whole,” I applaud the fact that you did not have an agenda of your own. I know there were many things you did not agree with as an individual, but you put your thoughts aside and thought for the good of the community as a whole. You maintained civility, which I know is a very difficult thing to do. It is a pleasure to watch you conduct a City Council Meeting.I applaud your integrity, you informed the community on “L6” - you could have been silent and let the chips fall where they may, but you didn’t do that. You felt it was your responsibility to make sure that the community understood the real meaning of “L6”.Mary Ann, Thank you”! Rick you have a lot to be proud of, this City Council has accomplished many things and you contributed to those many accomplishments with dignity!Maiya HerreraSanta PaulaHigh quality design requiredTo the Editor:On the American Planning Association web site, I ran across a forum dealing with the unpopularity of infill development. This is a portion of the discussion:One way to reduce opposition is to insist on high quality design in infill projects, so that residents don’t feel that the amenities in their neighborhood will be downgraded or lost. Similarly, providing new urban open space, such as pocket parks and greenways, to accompany proposed infill development projects may be another way to mitigate opposition.Some of the recent infill projects in Santa Paula fail to meet the “high quality design” recommendation.The most egregious example is the commercial/residential mixed-use building on Harvard Blvd. next to Isbell School. The buildings are too large for the lot and leave too little room for lush, attractive landscaping that is sorely needed at the location. The commercial suites are too small and too far from other retail centers where people would actually want to shop. The two apartment buildings are crammed together with no stress-relieving open space. And really - who wants to live out on the street above a store? This project is a slum in the making.Another unhappy example is the Bender commercial and industrial center visible at the entrance to Santa Paula next to KMart. This project should have been two buildings, allowing for a better landscape plan.As approved, attractive landscaping was promised in front of the single building that would soften the view of the parking area from the freeway above. Instead, a spare assortment of immature plants have been stuck in various spots around the site, doing nothing but make the whole project look cheap. For a while, the tenants were allowed to get away with violations of the sign ordinance by plastering temporary banners on their storefronts. Although the permanent signs that are now up are a mixed quality, at least the flea market look of the place is gone.Tenants should not have been allowed to occupy the building until high quality landscaping was installed.The former Royal Motel on Harvard near Steckel promised lush, colorful landscaping when it came before the Planning Commission a couple of years ago to become apartments for handicapped persons. Disclosure: As a Planning Commissioner, I voted for the remodel, which included a landscape plan. I am satisfied with the design of the structures.However, the promised attractive landscaping was not delivered. The lesson learned here is that in-fill projects, particularly, should be held up until a first-class landscape plan is approved, and occupancy should not be allowed until the landscaping is installed.The condominium project on Dean and Main St. began as a co-op style arrangement for senior citizens. Disclosure: As a Planning Commissioner, I voted for that project. It was later re-approved as a condominium project for all ages. This change to family use will put more pressure on the landscaping. Again, the installed landscaping looks spare and cheap, while it should be at it’s best, and there are no design elements to keep people from walking around it and not through it. What could have been an attractive complex in the years to come will end up being ordinary at best.These are infill projects, but they are not high quality. The low-income, subsidized projects will always have limited budgets for design and landscaping. So we must attract market-rate infill developers who can deliver the best. I urge the new city council to slow down the approval of any more infill projects until higher quality can be assured. I have seen some lovely infill apartments and commercial buildings with stress-relieving setbacks from the street and lovely, colorful, fast-maturing landscape design work. It’s time to step it up.Rita GrahamSanta Paula

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