Letters to the Editor
August 4, 2016

To the Editor:
In response to the many accusations made against Sespe Creek Collective by your publication and in recent public meetings, as the president of Sespe Creek Collective, I would like to set the record straight about the collectives' connection to an alleged marijuana greenhouse on Grand Avenue. Although Sespe Creek Collective was founded in Fillmore in 2010 and it has kept its Fillmore-based namesake, the collective has not maintained any cultivation or delivery operations in Fillmore since 2011. The collective has nothing to do with any cultivation activities on Grand Avenue nor any proposed cultivation complex and was unaware any such thing was being proposed until several citizens mentioned it at the special council meeting on July 25.
Sespe Creek Collective is registered with the State of California as an unincorporated association. Unlike corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies that you can verify the status online, you would need to contact the Secretary of State to confirm the status of an unincorporated association. Sespe Creek Collective members spend lots of time around Ventura County advocating for regulations and local permits like any other business, and advocating on behalf of patients in Fillmore that rely on cannabis as the medicine to enable them function at their best. Many of the collective's patient members are working adults or retired senior citizens that are too busy or too scared to speak out for themselves in a public forum. We have a solid reputation for upholding the laws, following best practices, and providing a valuable service to the community without causing any problems. We observe seriously ill people finding incredible relief from this medicine everyday and finding hope when modern pharmaceuticals have failed them. We continue to fight this fight because we believe our principles are right and just. We are not interested in selling cannabis to your children.
I understand why people make the mistake of assuming that it must be our collective operating the alleged grow in Fillmore. But I assure you, Sespe Creek Collective would never install a greenhouse with lights close to residences where people might be bothered by the light pollution or potential odors. I would not want to sleep next to a commercial greenhouse either. As a conscientious, not-for-profit collective, it is disheartening to be associated with unknown growers that cause residents grief. It is a shame that the public is so misinformed about who is cultivating in their own town.
It is the lack of sensible regulation in Fillmore that is creating a safe space for the underground market and ensuring its citizens are kept in the dark. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years as a safe, plant-based medicine and it is not going away. I encourage all residents who oppose safe access to this medicine to do their homework and learn about which major industries continue to funnel millions of dollars into a failed war on drugs. Here's a hint: you are probably already addicted to their products or are paying their salaries through your taxes. And if you think using this plant as a responsible adult -- with its unique ability to heal us in so many ways -- is somehow against God's will, I encourage you to read Genesis 1:29 and reflect on where this plant really came from.
Chelsea Sutula, President
Sespe Creek Collective


To the Editor:
I would like to thank the community for their support and participation in the education of students in the Fillmore/Piru community. I have served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal within Fillmore Unified for the last 14 years, and I am eternally thankful for all the support I have received. August 2nd was my last day in Fillmore Unified School District, but I will always remember the countless friendships and relationships I had with parents, community members, and FUSD colleagues.
Fillmore is a very special place, and I will always hold fond memories of my time in this school district and community. I would like to particularly thank the staff and families at Fillmore Middle School, where I have had the honor of working for 12 of my 14 years in FUSD. I will genuinely miss seeing the staff and students everyday, and will keep them in my thoughts always. I will continue to watch the great things happening in FUSD from a distance. Best of luck!
Scott Carroll
FMS Principal