Letters to the Editor

September 01, 2000
Let the voter beware To the Editor:I just finished reading the proposed SOAR Initiative that will be included in the November 7 ballot.Every other page of this proposed SOAR Initiative specifies that the only allowable housing will be for the LOW AND VERY LOW income families. The only “winners” in this initiative are the BUILDERS of these high density tenements.LO AND BEHOLD! Parts of Santa Paula already resemble Steinbeck’s barrio of Tortilla Flats.Whatever happened to PEOPLE’S PROPERTY RIGHTS? Who are these people who would defend their own properties but trample on others?Let’s face reality. MOST OF THE PROPONENTS of the SOAR Fiasco own homes that are not affordable to the average citizen.LET THE VOTER BEWARE. Read the initiative carefully.Ramona Urias ChavezSanta PaulaDream come trueTo the Editor:I want to thank Santa Paula for supporting me to get to Orlando to compete in the AAU Junior Olympics. I really had a great experience in Orlando, running with kids from all around the United States and making new friends. I won a fourth and a third place medal. I tell you they are bigger than your palm and weigh about one pound each.I would like to thank these generous sponsors who helped me to get to Orlando and accomplish my dream: Dr. and Mrs. Steven Shuel, Mrs. Helen Keefe, Mr. and Mrs. David Marquez, Judge Ed Beach, Pat and Bud Untiedt, Mr. and Mrs. John Blewett, Andy’s Plumbing (Mr. and Mrs. Dave Lagesse), Embroidery Plus (Mr. and Mrs. Bob Casarez).Thank you also to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Salas, Mr. and Mrs. John Masteller, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Finley, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Coker, Dr. Kent Hollenback, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Tushla, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Tushla, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Swartout, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Orellana, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Marzec, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Leidig, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Galvan, and my best friend, Michael Masteller.It was a dream come true and I thank you for giving me the opportunity.Benjamin KolbeckAge 9Santa PaulaPolitical processTo the Editor:I would like to write this letter to the editor to talk about political process. In particular the process that we, as a city determine when it is time to expand the boundaries of Santa Paula. I would like to talk about the kind of assets that we currently enjoy in this community, by virtue of just being here. Things that most people don’t think about much.It has always impressed me a lot, people who, like myself, have spent most of their lives in the area and feel genuinely blessed by their good fortune to be living in such a beautiful community. When you drive around and look at your surroundings, the character of the community, the agricultural setting, we are blessed. I’ve had the experience over the last several years of commuting into the Los Angeles Basin, once or twice a week, and when I get back to the Santa Clara Valley, I want to kiss the ground. Scenic landscape, decent air, reasonable transportation on freeways, adequate underground water supply. It is easy to put a value on your taxes, but how do you put value on these intangibles? Who knows?One thing for sure is that other people from outside our community do recognize the value, when they see it. So here is this thing called growth; people exercising their right to petition to do development, and change the landscape. The financial interests mount on both sides of the issue. Stuck in the middle is this thing called the City Council, just a group of civic-minded individuals (hopefully), that make difficult decisions for this town. Add to the mix folks who have a huge financial incentive to influence our City Council.And here am I, for the most part not really having the time to focus on what is going on down at City Hall, on a day to day basis. When you look at the way really big, important decisions are made, there is a way that we do this; by majority vote. That way we know that the “Community at Large” has given it “Due Consideration,” and nothing has slipped in unnoticed. For this reason I support Measure I, which puts question of future growth to a majority vote of the people in the community. This is not anti-growth, it’s common sense, nothing more.Brant JacksonSanta PaulaSilly season revisitedTo the Editor:Re: Silly seasonCouncilmember Jim Garfield’s letter of August 25th gives voters in Santa Paula the opportunity to question Mr. Garfield’s “truth.”Truth: A court order prevents Mr. Garfield from voting on any land use issue concerning Santa Paula.Truth: The City of Santa Paula paid thousands of dollars for Mr. Garfield’s legal defense.Truth: Mr. Garfield is a pro-growth real estate broker. He owns one of the largest real estate businesses in Santa Paula.Truth: Mr. Garfield advertised property for sale in the Santa Paula Times, “in the path of future growth.” He knew then that he voted in favor of a general plan, an EIR document and a vote to go forward to LAFCO which included property that would benefit him financially.Truth: Mr. Garfield knows now that it took a court order and a costly defense for his personal business decision to stop him from voting on any land use decisions in the future. That is why he fears voter approval of Measure I. He no longer will have the ability to profit from his purely self-serving votes.Truth: The courts were too late to prevent Mr. Garfield’s vote on the Downtown Redevelopment 3.5 million dollar project where his real estate “for sale” signs are prominently displayed. Yes, he will be reaping the profits of that vote for a long time.
Mr. Garfield must have closed the door to Santa Paula after he arrived just a few years ago. His letter derides those who disagree with him as “carpet baggers” and “outsiders.” He certainly must know that the developer of 5,413 acre Adams Canyon is an “outsider.” How does he justify that “truth”?A nonpartisan group such as the highly respected League of Woman Voters may be able to provide a forum where the real facts as presented in the City of Santa Paula’s General Plan, EIR and White Paper, can be discussed with the public. Then the public can be assured of no money-interest biases, just plain facts.Vote yes on Measure I.Laura Flores EspinosaCouncil WomanCity of Santa PaulaRE: Councilwoman Espinosa’s letter aboveTo the Editor:Quote from the final paragraph: “ A non partisan group such as the highly respected League of Women Voters may be able to provide a forum where the real facts are presented...”Question: How can the League of Women Voters put on a forum, dealing with the General Plan etc. (Measure I), when the same group sent a press release supporting Measure I.I find that a little biased.NO ON MEASURE I will give the city an opportunity for a better economic future.Don JohnsonVice-MayorCity of Santa PaulaRE: Land Development CostsTo the Editor:Elaine Musselman wrote an open letter to the City Manager of Santa Paula (8-18-00), requesting official answers regarding "unreimbursed" costs our City must incur when any land development takes place, and what portion of costs will the taxpayers pay compared to the developer.As a Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Paula, a proud MBA from Brigham Young University's Marriot School of Management, and as a Senior Adjuster for one of the world's largest financial institutions I also ask these same cost/benefit questions regarding development risk.Mrs. Musselman please permit me to share with you some of what I have discovered from two official city reports- City of Santa Paula White Paper Sphere of Influence (10-18-99), and Draft Environmental Impact Report City for Santa Paula General Plan Update (11-97). I don't know if our City Manager intends to respond to you concerning all land developments however, the following regards the largest urbanization project in Santa Paula history- Adams Canyon:Scope. Increase in population- 6750, increase in housing units- 2250, increase in physical size of City-186% (EIR: 4.3-3, and White Paper).Increased Traffic. Peck Rd. 79%, from 11,400 vehicles per day to 20,400. Briggs Rd. 436% from 2,200 vehicles per day to 11,800. Foothill Rd. 1457% from 1,400 vehicles per day to 21,800 (EIR: Figures 4.3-2 and 4.3-4).Traffic Mitigation. Widen Foothill and Peck Roads to four lanes (EIR 4.3-15). Add traffic signals at intersections Santa Paula/ Peck Rd., Briggs/Telegraph Rd., Adams Canyon/Foothill Rd. (EIR: 4.3-16 and 4.3-19).Air Quality. "Increased air pollutant emissions would contribute to the ongoing degradation of regional air quality..." (EIR: 5-5).Funding for Traffic Improvements. Increased local sales tax, user fees, and "utilities tax" (EIR: 4.3-17).Cost of Wastewater (Sewage). "Expected to exceed $10 million" for entire General Plan Buildout, including Adams Canyon (White Paper pg. 21).I am not aware of any official, or net benefit to City, revenue projections regarding Adams Canyon.Thank you for allowing me to share this information with you Mrs. Musselman, if you have any further questions, or concerns please feel free to contact me c/o Planning Department, City of Santa PaulJeffrey W. NovakPlanning CommissionerCity of Santa Paula

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