This (above left) is a before photo of the Island at Cameron and Santa Paula Streets. (Above right) This is the photo of the Island at Cameron and Santa Paula Streets after cleanup.

Who is Going to Care for Santa Paula? You can... volunteer some time

May 26, 2010
Santa Paula News

By Janice Dickenson

Budget cuts, reduced city revenues, the city, the state and the federal government-all in financial turmoil.† This subject could go on for pages but I donít want to spend any more time explaining.† It wonít change anything.† The bottom line is that there isnít enough money and our city is hurting. † A year ago we had 7 employees to maintain all of our parks and city landscaping, among other responsibilities, and now we have less than half that- 3 employees who cannot possibly hope to do it all.† We no longer have enough city employees to keep our streets clean much less in repair.† These are facts-facts that have no immediate remedy in sight.† Have you noticed the weeds around the city? In planters, popping through cracks in the sidewalks, the streets, around building and lots.† Parts of† Main Street, along the railroad tracks, has been getting some help recently but the weeds are all over the city.† Itís so sad to see it.† So, who is going to care for our city?

A little history...In the 1800ís, when farmers were settling in this valley it has been told that the mustard was so tall that horse and rider could disappear in it.† Who cleared all those weeds?† Who cleared the land for the farms?† Who cleared the roads to these farms?† Who built the first schools?† Who dug the first water wells and irrigation ditches, formed water companies and ... well, you get the picture.† These people didnít have a city to expect it from.† The people did it.† There was no city yet, these people built the city.

In late 1929 a bunch of farmers got together, pooled their money, (and note that this was just weeks after the big stock market crash that brought on the Great Depression) and they built the Santa Paula Airport.† These ďfarmersĒ did most of the work themselves and the airport was operated for the first 50 years without any paid employees and with only part time employees for the next 20 years.† The airport stockholders/ hangar owners took care of it.† Thatís why it survived all these years.† My husbandís grandfather, Ralph Dickenson, was one of these farmers and he was president of the Airport Association for the first 45 years (at no pay of course) and he continued to do his part for years beyond that.† When he was 90 years old heíd drive through the airport and if he saw a weed sprouting out of the asphalt, heíd stop his truck, pull a shovel out of the back and get rid of the weed. † He could have driven by it, heíd certainly put in his time, but he couldnít drive by it.† He was of the generation that DID themselves.† A generation that lived by hard work, with people doing their part-and more-as a community.† These stories are just a sampling of what our history has to tell us.† I love the history of this valley-it is phenomenal!

So, who is going to care for Santa Paula now?† People!† And a great example is Dianne and Dudley Davis of Santa Paula who have spearheaded a group of people to form ďAmerica in BloomĒ for our community.† They are working diligently on this project which will greatly benefit Santa Paula.† The Aviation Museum of Santa Paula supports this endeavor and will help out where it is able.† As a beginning, Aviation Museum volunteers Sue Paul and myself have begun working on a couple of problem areas in town.† The island of junipers at Cameron and Santa Paula Streets, as well as the sidewalks on either side, are now free of weeds and trash.† And joining us the next day at the Fagan Barranca Park is America in Bloom volunteers, Karen and Mike Lynch and Lynne Dowling came aboard beginning on the 3rd day.

While working weíve had the most wonderful cheering on from people driving by, visits by walkers as well as some volunteers signing up and pitching in.† I have to mention a young man who was jogging while pushing his infant son in a stroller, who stopped and asked what we were doing.† After just a short explanation, he parked his sleeping son in the shade where we could all see him and he helped us!† His name is Fred Morales.† Do Rightís Plant Growers have sent an employee, Jesus Coria;† Jose Berber ,who was walking his dog one day, has come back to help; some young folks have volunteered their strength and tenacity: Cat and Anthony Caezza, Josh Laurence and Marcus Fenn.† All of these folks are working so hard, ripping through the jungle of weeds! And there are two very nice women, unfortunately I donít know their names, who showed up with food for us... cookies, nuts and freshly sliced oranges!† All of these people are awesome!

This has been a great experience all around.† Itís a win win for everyone.† Do I have spare time in my life?† NO!† Who does?† But it is important to make the time.† They way I look at it is I need a certain amount of exercise for good health and I chose to spend my exercise time doing this.† Itís a great workout and itís working with friends and meeting great people; itís producing something good; itís making our city beautiful; and itís inspiring people to join in; and our city appreciates it and is working with us.† Itís all good and so far we have cut, pulled, raked and filled over 100 city bins and there is at least one truck load ready for the skip loader to fill! Our city is supportive of our help and is aiding where they are able.† Thank you Brian Yanez!

I was asked to write an article about this and Iím happy to do it.† It is a sad story but one with a solution.† Itís a story with inspiration and community togetherness.† I hope that other people, businesses, groups, etc. will think about pitching in.† The city has an ďAdopt a ParkĒ program in place.† You can ďadopt an areaĒ to clean up too.† Check out the sidewalk and street in front of your own home.† If you are physically unable to help, maybe you could gather some friends or associates and support a local youth group or sports team to help? † The options are many and the results have the potential to turn our city back to beautiful... not to mention continue our cityís history as phenomenal!

For information on how to participate, contact Dianne Davis at 805-407-4696 or email at† † Or you may contact Brian Yanez with the City of Santa Paula at 805-933-4226.† We can take care of our town!

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.