Letters to the Editor
March 3, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion.
The GOP has taken delight in calling the Democratic Party the “Democrat Party.” Somehow, it amuses them, surely because it irritates some Democrats. I have sometimes been urged to "lighten up." So, what would amuse me? Let’s see, Pubs Party? Too fun. Repos? Descriptive and compact (would make Martin happy), but without elan. I know. The Relican Party. Sounds like something from a gauzy, long-ago era, slightly reminiscent of a bird with a large bill and distensible pouch with which it can make surprisingly loud noises, and which many mistake for an albatross. The GOP won't mind. They love a good joke.
My statements of opposition to Trump-Relicans are not based upon their political party; they are based upon their ideas and intransigence. Democracy requires integrity, analysis, weighing options and checking in with conscience. Our system of government needs a strong, thoughtful, and principled conservative voice. The present Relican Party does not represent such a voice.
But we have a few charlatans. Andrew Cuomo (Democratic governor of NY) is and always has been a pain in the neck, smug, bullying, bombastic, ego-maniacal, and now likely untruthful in a serious and substantial way (leaving aside for now the two sexual harassment claims) and should be held accountable. It’s bad enough if he did what is accused of regarding Covid statistics. The fact that he carried on like Sts. Peter and Paul in Covid-2020 just made him less sympathetic. His chances of ever being selected by the Democrats as a presidential candidate are “zayro.” Think of him as the Democratic Ted Cruz at CPAC without the sexual harassment issue. In Cuomo's favor is that he does not blame his young children for his political blunders.
I can accept errors, misjudgments, re-visitations, and just plain changing your mind for a good reason in politics. But trying to make yourself look good at the expense of public need, and offering a thuggish defense, is exactly what is not tolerable. We’ve been there, had that. And recently.
The easy political virtue of the Relicans was on dazzling display again last week. Gym Jordan and others objected to former Congressman and CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s nomination as Health and Human Services Secretary because he is not a physician specializing in virology. Trump’s HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, wasn’t either and it was irrelevant to his nomination. Then.
It is not essential that the HHS Secretary have taken the Hippocratic Oath as a doctor. But we see that it is a requirement of the Relican Congress that they take the Hypocritic Oath at every opportunity.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 24, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
I had planned on discussing Jackson Pollack, Pimm's Cup, and listing the weaponry retrieved from the mob in Trump's Capitol War, but two events intervened.
First, Texas (TX) is in a critical condition even as it warms up after a week of single-digit temperatures and the failure of their power grid. People are dying of the cold, lack of food and potable water, sanitation (frozen toilet pipes were being emptied into trash bags). The suffering there is still almost unimaginable. Governor Abbott (note to Don Jr., he's a Republican, not a Democrat) told Texans to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, and initially rejected federal assistance. He blamed the Green New Deal (which does not yet exist) for a long line of governors failing to regulate and make essential improvements to the power grid which TX and ERCOT operate, by choice outside the federal system. TX views power production as a profit enterprise rather than a public need. Larry Kudlow blames Biden.
Meanwhile, TX senator Ted Cruz counseled his constituents to "stay home and hug your kids" during the freezing storms, and blamed his 10- and 12-year-old daughters for forcing him to practice “good dad" skills by accompanying them on a flight to Cancun; what could he do in TX? Apparently Ted's wife, who went along, is incapable of chaperoning their children alone. (In TX, Democrats raised four million dollars for relief) While his staff was aiding and assisting constituents, Ted sniffed the looming PR disaster and hightailed it back to his stricken state and his poodle Snowflake, left alone in a freezing, dark house. And passed out one flat of water in an empty parking lot, absent aides and press.
Second, the phenomenon that was Rush Limbaugh died last week. No one would wish the suffering he endured with lung cancer on anyone. However, if the truly malign state of political affairs in the country could be laid at the feet of any one person, it would be Limbaugh. He started off as a well-informed comedic critic of The Left (fair enough) and morphed into a champion of those "without a voice" who would publicly utter for them the rude, cruel, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, conspiratorial, and undemocratic things they were too afraid or "civilized" to say themselves. They got over it.
Limbaugh had the astounding power to imprint a heroic persona on a man like Donald Trump, as unprincipled and fundamentally unattractive as he is, such that one political party would forgive him anything however gross, selfish, or illegal. His community of "Dittoheads" were convinced that the GOP was the working-class Party and equated any criticism of the patriotic Right by the Left with hatred of country. He burnished victimized validation and the ugly comfort of "us vs. them." Democrats were enemies of the state and were "not entitled to govern.” Dittos either do not understand or do not care that Democracy is not sustainable under those conditions.
“In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,” Limbaugh shared with the nation. You can't argue with that.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
After reading Kelly's letter and your response I am compelled to enter the conversation. I am sure if I had written anything close to what Kelly said about our former President Trump only using the name Barrack Obama and posted it on Facebook or Twitter I would be banned from those platforms for life. I find it difficult to understand how someone can spew forth such hatred toward our 45th President. I am sure writing as she does is symptomatic of a very unhappy liberal. Since Martin did such a thorough job dispelling Kelly's multitude of lies and misinformation, I simply want to provide some positive information concerning President Trump.
Shortly before Rush Limbaugh's death I am told he wrote the following letter to President Trump.
"My days on earth are numbered: But before I fade away, there is something important I need to say. It may not be important to anyone else: but it's important to me. Win, lose or fraud President Trump, I just want to say thank you for the last four years.
Thank you for making it cool to be an American again. Thank you for showing us that we don't need to be under China's thumb anymore economically, or any other way. Thank you for one of the strongest economies we've ever experienced in my lifetime.
Thank you for all you have done for the minority communities and the outstanding decrease in the unemployment rate you had. Thank you for making it feel good to love our country and to be a proud patriot again.
Thank you for supporting our Nation's flag and the men and women who fought for the freedom that stands behind that flag. Thank you for supporting our nation's law enforcement organizations, and understanding how difficult their job really is.
Thank you for quelling the flood of illegal immigration, and bringing to justice the thousands of criminals that flood brought us. Thank you for giving corporations a reason to come back to America to make our own products and put Americans back to work.
Thank you for bringing our troop’s home from endless deployments that presented us with little more than body bags: and for your commitment to strengthen our military.
Thank you for operation warp speed and keeping your promise to bringing the Covid 19 vaccine to us in less than a year. Thank you for your never-ending attempts at bringing peace to the Middle East and support Israel.
Thank you for your Tax relief, and thank you for our energy independence. Most of all though... THANK YOU for taking a damn rotten job that you never had to take!!! Thank you for caring enough for this country to want to try and make a difference.
Thank you for showing America how little Career Politicians actually work for their constituents: for showing us how much those politicians despise you for showing America how easy it is to build a great nation, rather than rape her to line their own pockets and stock portfolios.
Thank you for allowing us to experience a President that wasn't a lifelong politician, but a lifelong American.
THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.....YOU DID YOUR BEST.
When you consider all that President Trump accomplished in four years it's no wonder the liberals are scared to death of him. He showed them for what they are and Kelly is doing an excellent job showing us just how desperate liberals really are.
Dave Johnson,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 17, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Now we know. The vast majority of the Republican Senate/Senators (RS) doesn’t care if a president of their Party violates every administrative and democratic standard of high office and every oath he has taken, going so far as to incite to riot against Congress as it performed its Constitutional duties.
The house managers did a good job of showing the Senate and history what actually happened on January 6, which the defense deemed “incendiary” since the facts were against them. The majority of the RS twirled and showed their knickers. The former president’s lawyers then took a bow and lawyers everywhere averted their eyes from the embarrassing spectacle.
When the verdict acquitted Trump, McConnell took to the podium and confirmed that "everything they said about him is true." He agreed Trump was guilty. It was lack of jurisdiction he had relied upon to acquit, even though the senate had established jurisdiction on a vote several days before. Past bad presidents refrained from like conduct because they knew it would not be overlooked, excused, or tolerated. Until last Saturday. If this Republican defection from duty emboldens white nationalists and milita fringe groups, remember: you broke it, you own it.
The GOP can no longer profess that they represent “conservative values.” They can no longer decry violence, or even riots, anywhere by anyone; the president advocated it. Engendering violence against Congress is permissible. The marauding mob who accepted Trump’s invitation to get “wild’ at the capitol? They will surely be punished to the full extent for the violence they delivered on Congress. But what of the guy who urged them to “Save the day of January 6” and threw gasoline on their heavily armed, already-smoking impulses to “save their country” by “fighting like hell” and by specifically targeting his own VP? He’s already gone from “loving” them as patriots to sharing his disappointment at how “low-class” they looked.
Why does the RS defend and protect such an emotionally-crippled, unprincipled person for whom the door of loyalty swings only one way? They do it because they desperately want the Republican base votes at any cost. So, they will endure his abuse and pretend they are doing it for the country. We were given opposable thumbs and relatively large brains, presumably so that we could use them.
In his last editorial, Martin said that, as Editor, he was being “generous with me” in printing my LTTEs. I think I might have said that in my Christmas letter; that extra Pimms Cup may be the culprit. A better way to put it, I think, is that Martin upholds the high standards of the ideal press, to print information, if reliable, from all points of view. “Fair and balanced,” if that rings a bell. For that, I am respectful.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 10, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
This will be another momentous week in American history. Second impeachment and second trial for one president. One offense involved using the foreign powers of the US government to gain cooperation of another country to silence a political rival and, the second, incitement to riot against his own government while in office.
But I am all about trying to find a ray of sunshine, some reason to smile, or a laugh, at the turn history is giving us. I regret that I only have about 350 words for this missive, because I could have you rolling on the floor if Martin would give me carte blanche. But I kid Martin.
If you haven't seen and heard the recent Mike Lyndell "documentary" on the ways the 2020 election was "stolen," check YouTube because I cannot do it justice here. It takes Trump's arguments on how he won a landslide victory and commits them to video as if Jackson Pollack were illustrating "How Logic Works." He gives you Satan influencing voting algorithms! "Absolute Proof" will be Exhibit "A" at Dominion’s slander trial. I would start racking up those "good night's sleep" hours now, Mike.
Or Gym Jordan (QAnon-OH), who called on Democrats to "move on," to ignore Trump's 2021 Capitol War to earn the GOP's sly and heavily-conditioned promise of "unity," and decried the collapse of civilization in "cancel culture." There is a Sack cartoon in the Star Tribune of Colin Kaepernick, laughing.
Then there's the high-wire clown act, hilarious but frightening in its craziness: Marjorie Something Greene (Q-GA), believes Parkland, Newtown and other mass murders were "false flags" or hoaxes, asserts that CA wildfires are the result of space lasers, and has endorsed calls for the assassinations of Democratic legislators. All of these astounding beliefs, including her psychedelic claim that Democratic elites are part of a cannibalizing pedophile ring, earned her the Wall Street Journal's verdict of being merely "cuckoo" and "nutty."
Here's the funny part: Kevin McCarthy (Q-CA) minority House leader, gave Marjorie a "talking to" such that the Republican House gave her a standing ovation on the floor the other day. They endorsed her and, therefore, are complicit in her madness. No wonder Pelosi jerks McQ around with such aplomb.
Heck, here I am just getting started and I've reached my word count limit. Time to get serious. Because America.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 03, 2021

To the Editor:
The "Flu"
Thank you for publishing the fascinating article on the 1918 “Spanish Flu” as experienced in Fillmore. The article makes the point that the virus was not “Spanish” (any more than the “Wuhan Flu” was necessarily Chinese in origin). The article on the 1918 pandemic also made it clear that the Fillmore medical authorities’ ultimate insistence on social distancing was a reaction of science, not a “communist plot” to ruin lives and businesses.
Science is clear that new viruses are caused by people intruding into animal habitat or living in close proximity to them. Enough exposure to animal viruses can sometimes result in transfer to humans. These places often have poor sanitation, places that do not have an EPA to provide living standards. There are many theories as to why Covid-19 erupted now and exactly where, and the Chinese likely suspected something threatening and should have sounded the alarm earlier. The scientific world has known about viruses and their potential for pandemic for years. This one was "novel" and the vaccines prepared proactively were not very useful against it.
The world, particularly the US, was aware by mid-December 2019 that a significant health threat was here. Pictures of hundreds of rapidly-built Wuhan hospitals, with thousands of beds, were in the news by then, and something odd was happening in Italy.
Six weeks later, on January 20,2020, Americans were evacuated from Wuhan airport by hazmat-suited Chinese. Our government provided no masks or any other protective gear. When they arrived at March AFB, the evacuees were deplaned and disbursed, by CDC health officials, without PPE, instructions for protection, or how to self-monitor for symptoms. Then the government health officials hopped on commercial flights to other destinations.
Covid-19 news was in the public realm nearly two months before government reacted. We chose to minimize the risk and take care not to spook the stock markets or alarm the electorate in an election year, and to rein in the CDC and our world-renowned health scientists so the consequences of our failure to act responsibly in the public good would be less obvious.
There is an extensive article analyzing the increasing mutations of Covid-19: http://www.wired.com
WIRED
Culture Former FBI Agent Breaks Down Interrogation Techniques. Former FBI agent and body language expert Joe Navarro breaks down how he approached interrogating during his time with the FBI.
www.wired.com
In the right-hand column, there is an article by Megan Molteni, "Worrisome Corona Virus Mutations are Emerging. Why Now?"
In the last paragraphs, the author quotes Tulio de Oliveira, and geneticist and bioinformatician in South Africa, about what we can do now to reduce the horrific risk of ever-mutating viruses: "Buying time until then means doing everything that has so far proven effective at limiting its chances of finding new hosts, and new opportunities to mutate: social distancing, mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, and increasing ventilation. “The important thing,” says de Oliveira, “is to realize we have to drive transmission to almost zero if we are to avoid new variants emerging in the future.”
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Blueberry farmers in California and across the country on the verge of bankruptcy because of an influx of foreign imports flooding the U.S. marketplace with cheap, low-quality fruit.
If the U.S. government does not take action to address the flood of fruit saturating the market – dismantling the ability of American farmers to compete – our domestic blueberry industry will be gutted in two to five years. This means hundreds of blueberry farms, like my fourth-generation family ranch in Ventura County, will be forced to close.
Imported blueberries used to stop entering the United States just as we began our harvesting season, which typically runs from January through May here in California. But this is no longer reality. Imports from Mexico and Peru, in particular, now enter our market throughout our harvesting period. Since 2015, imports have surged by 62 percent, and the main countries growing blueberries – Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru – have ramped up production solely to sell into the American market. The result is falling blueberry prices that are devastating the balance sheets and business prospects of blueberry farmers here and in other states.
The Biden administration can act to save the American blueberry industry. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently investigating the impact of blueberry imports on domestic growers and will make a decision on our case on February 11. We’re not asking for a ban on blueberry imports; American farmers just need some temporary relief to help us compete on pricing during our critical growing harvest season and level the playing field.
A strong domestic food supply chain is important to the sovereignty of our nation, and the American blueberry industry is worth defending.
Josh Waters,
Moorpark

 


 
Letters to the Editor
January 20, 2021

To the Editor:
The inferences you drew from my last letter made no sense until I visited the site you recommended, “The Epoch Times,” where they seem to apply the Leninist, Marxist label to anyone who sees the world from a different perspective. Allow me to provide some background to my views.
My father was a decorated (Bronze Star and Purple Heart) Marine who fought in the Korean War. He despised communism and all forms of enslavement. When I was a kid, I noticed more and more people driving Japanese cars, and I asked him why there weren’t any Russian or Chinese cars on our streets. He replied, “Because what they make in communist countries is garbage.” He worked in the manufacturing sector, and had been to international trade shows. He knew that police-state governments suffocate the human soul, killing off innovation and creativity. So no, Jim and Marie Sandford did not raise no communists.
In my letter I branded your “fraud expert and statistician” Jay Valentine’s work as “junk.” In retrospect, after having viewed another of his YouTube videos (where all of his prognostications about Trump being able to overturn the election turned out to be bogus), I was too generous. His work is delusional, asinine drivel – much like the conspiracy theories he espouses.
You assumed I am a Democrat, but I am a democrat with no party affiliation.
Am I anti-religion, as you asserted? Hell no. Religion is the lens through which billions of people view their world. It gives them purpose, comfort, joy, and community. I am only anti-religion if that religion is used as a pretext to exclude, harass, persecute, or murder others.
You dismissed my assertion that “multiple statistical models” predicted a Biden victory. Then you asked what my “credentials” were. The Harvard Data Science Review (October 28, 2020) published predictions from their own and several other research universities’ Political Science Departments. Each used its own statistical modelling, but nearly all predicted a Biden victory. In Political Symposium, (October 2020) Professor DeSart stated that (per his model’s simulations) “Biden … won an Electoral College majority 99.85% of the time. This is largely the result of the fact that the model projects many more possible paths for Biden to get to 270 than it does for Trump.” So, again, this was, statistically, a fairly mundane election, unlike Trump’s 2016 victory.
As for my “credentials,” no, I am not a data scientist and I don’t have a degree in statistics. However, in earning a BA in Political Science I studied statistics and did some quantitative research. In earning my Ph.D. in Education from UCSB I took additional coursework in stats and quantitative research methods, and read and cited dozens of quantitative studies in the course of doing my own research.
So yes, I have a working knowledge of statistical methods and analysis. My most valuable credentials, however, are common sense and critical thinking. In order to perpetuate massive fraud in a presidential election being held in 50 states, how many co-conspirators would be required? Who would recruit them, knowing that any one of them could blow the whistle? Who would be willing to be imprisoned for years, lose their livelihood, their family, their reputation, their freedom, just to help Joe Biden win an election that most polls had projected him to win?
Finally, regarding the “breach” (the term favored by insurrection deniers on right wing media sites) of the Capitol, the 100 or so traitors who have been arrested so far all have extensive social media trails in which they boast of their support for Trump. No Antifa kooks have been arrested. Could there have been some infiltrators from leftist extremist groups? Certainly. But, lacking any evidence to the contrary, to put the blame on anyone other than Mr. butt-hurt Trump and his acolytes for the deadly assault on our Constitution and the rule of law is just more asinine, delusional drivel.
Thank you.
Art Sandford Sr.

***

To the Editor:
I hope that you, once again, will allow me a few extra words.
Another of our iconic citizens, George Campbell, died the other day of Covid. I should say two iconic citizens, because his wife of 75 years died on the same day, at home. It seems appropriate that, as always, they would go together.
I did not know Lawanda but, like so many others, I knew George so she had to be remarkable, too. I worked with him at City Hall in the 1980's when he was the volunteer fire chief and healer of all things electrical, and I was the city clerk. I remarked once to John that Mr. Campbell, and then “George” after his definite correction, was a singularly dignified, calm, and steady person whom everyone revered. You could absolutely rely on anything George said.
Well, John took off on George Campbell. He told me that he was not only a great person, but a great flier in WWII, and a mechanical genius with incredible automotive skills which John, lamentably and admittedly, never had. George was up there with coaches of all sports, football players, some very colorful lawyers, and WWII military in John’s mind. George was a hero. And John was never given to hyperbole outside the courtroom.
George and Lawanda Campbell have an extensive family legacy in Fillmore, and they will be sorely missed.
**
We are about to start a new administration on Wednesday. Right in the middle of one of the most challenging periods of our country’s history. I have written enough, for the moment, of the current administration. The problems created by Trump and his crew are Biden/Harris problems now. And ours.
Will Joe Biden be able to solve all the problems of the nation in a rapidly changing world? No, he won’t. He’s going to try to change the way the government serves its citizens, the way it deals with the world, and the way it recognizes the concept of “We, the People.” But he is going to need some time to set the ship of state on a new course. And he cannot do it alone.
A lot of the old rules are not working any more. The expectations of the years since WWII have to be reexamined and adjusted, because history is, as always, on the move. We have been through some very trying times, and we may not be finished. But we have endured because we had a common cause: the survival and success of our democratic process and the prosperity and well-being of our people. We are going to have to be open to new, constructive, and forward-thinking ideas. Biden cannot save the nation, but all of us, committed, can. We've done it before.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
A few weeks ago, I wrote a plea to Fillmore residents to exercise civility when writing about our president. It would seem my words fell on deaf ears. Not only has the rhetoric become more intense, but the language has descended into hate speech. It is truly a shame that Americans cannot communicate without using insulting and disparaging language. I have no problem when readers choose to disagree with matters of policy, but when the conversation turns to insults, lies, and just plain nasty personal attacks I think we have crossed a line which will only lead to more animosity. But as bad as the attacks on President Trump have become there is in fact a more important issue we should be discussing. Ronald Reagan said "We are only one generation away from losing our freedom".
We have educated a generation of our youth to believe they are the entitlement generation and that America is a racist nation. Free college tuition, free Medicare, subsidized housing, guaranteed middle class wages etc. Socialism is the great seductive carrot used by the far left to entice people to join their cause. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Socialism works until you run out of other people's money. As Reagan said, "history will record our actions - or lack thereof' with astonishment and sorrow". Reagan also said "If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth".
Dennis Prager recently wrote a column about the "good German" a term used to describe the ordinary German who did not harm Jews during Hitler's rule but also didn't help them or attempt to stop the Nazis. We tend to hold such people in contempt for doing nothing in the face of astonishing barbarism. But Prager continues, the last few years have taught him not to judge the good German so quickly. Why? Because of "the ease with which tens of millions of Americans have accepted irrational, unconstitutional, and unprecedented police state-type restrictions on their freedoms, including even the freedom to make a living".
Did you ever think the government would forbid you from going to church, using the park, eating at a restaurant, going to a barber or hair dresser, and forcing you to wear a mask when outside your house. Did you ever think that big tech companies would independently censure your ability to communicate your political opinions on the internet? Just one final quote from Reagan, "history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening".
Dave Johnson & Huguette Johnson,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
In days past I would use my words to wrestle with you over our conflicting political views. That seems wrong now because you appear to be in a state of shock over the results of the “stolen” November election. (Perhaps grief is a better word?) I am concerned for your well being.
My specific concern is that there can be no remedy for losing your democracy to “leftist radicals” who will disfigure every legislative policy that doesn’t promote socialism and sell out to China, and climate change hoaxers, and Antifa, and etc.,.... gun control nuts... There is no remedy for that depth of despair.
I can offer just a half-measure solution. That remedy is to follow the example of those of us who were shocked and victimized, in a similar way to how you might now be feeling, by the murder of George Floyd last March.
We took to the streets. It felt good to gather in a warm and resolute huddle in Central Park and listen to some pointed and emotional speeches. Then we chanted and marched and hollered our way down to highway 126, where motorists honked out their support. (Yeah! Love you too! Hoo-rah!) ... Finally, we ended up trampling the green grass in front of the seemingly vacant police station. (Don’t I admit it? I trampled the grass... so disrespectful we were of law enforcement, manifestly.)
Putting sarcasm aside, sir, you also might benefit from publicly demonstrating with your brothers and sisters in the local #STOPTHESTEAL community. Because, like us with Black Lives Matter, clearly your message is felt to be real and urgent: ”The election was stolen!”
Sincerely, Tom Somers

 


 
Letters to the Editor
January 13, 2021

To the Editor:
I want to thank Mr. Farrell for continuing to publish the Fillmore Gazette and, I hope, this letter.
With all due respect, Mr. Farrell, I read some of the work of “fraud expert and statistician” Jay Valentine. His work is junk. It’s not science. Scientists do not start with a conclusion, and then go searching for evidence to support it. Multiple statistical models predicted a narrow Biden victory, a few models predicted a Trump win. There was nothing “statistically impossible” about Biden’s win, and the only thing stolen in the 2020 election was the money that Trump et al. duped their supporters out of as part of their grift operation known as “Stop the Steal.”
To quote that radical leftist, atheist, communist Senator Mitch McConnell, "If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again."
McConnell’s co-conspirator, Senator Lindsey Graham opined, “If you’re a conservative, the idea that Vice President Mike Pence could reverse the results of the election (as President Trump had urged him to do) “is the most offensive concept in the world.”
Of course, Donald Trump, that very stable genius, is not now, nor has he ever been, a conservative. He has no ideology. He lacks the maturity to be a man of principles. He’s a demagogue, per Webster’s, “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of people rather than by using rational argument.”
And now, sadly, (at least) five people are dead as a result of his conceit, his greed, his gullibility, his recklessness, and his delusions of grandeur. Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It’s time to condemn all forms of violent extremism and live in the real world. The challenges facing this country can only be met through thoughtful, civil discourse and rationale, well-planned actions.
Art Sandford Sr.

***

To the Editor:
As a Valencia orange grower in Bardsdale and a stockholder in Southside Improvement Company, I am very disturbed by the Company's Board of Directors' approval of a "Trump" flag flying at its reservoir on Bardsdale Avenue. I wrote to the Board over two weeks ago requesting they remove this flag, as this blatant political statement is not shared by all of the members of the Southside Improvement Company. Apparently they have chosen to ignore my letter, because the flag is still there. Whoever erected the flag should display it at his own private residence, not on property belonging to a non-profit corporation. Especially after the events at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, that this flag continues to fly at the reservoir is an insult to Southside's stockholders who were outraged at the disrespect, destruction, and death they witnessed on television that night. Southside Improvement Company should remove the "Trump" flag immediately.
Marjie Bartels
Bardsdale

***

To the Editor:
Impeachment.
Promise kept: on day one of his presidency, Trump warned of an American Carnage. You have to give him credit when due.
Now, the consequences. What is the highest good for our country? (1) allowing the President of the United States to incite a riot, without consequence, by endorsing his lawyer's call for "hand-to-hand combat," and admonishing his fanatical minions to march to the halls of Congress and “take back our power” to reverse his loss in the presidential election, or (2) impeaching the president for the incitement of insurrection so that no future president will be similarly tempted?
Many of the Republican members of Congress, of both House and Senate, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Kevin McCarthy, et al., encouraged the falsehood that the election was somehow improper when no court could find a cause of action or any proof thereof. They supported every obstacle to the peaceful transfer of power, bellowed their right to spread their lies, and hid from their marauding constituents, some of whom carried zip ties, as they ransacked the Capitol. But now they are calling for "unity" and for "moving on" without impeachment or invoking Article 25,
They want Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer to call off impeachment “for the good of the country.” If those Republicans had really cared about the good of the country, they would not have allowed a clearly mentally fragile, narcissistic, and vengeful president to create the false scenario of a stolen election, confine his presidential duties to daily golf excursions, and lie to and incite his followers to move against the constitutional government he took an oath to protect.
Graham explained that he was with Trump all day Friday, and Trump is sorry about the vandalism and is preparing a speech "outlining all his accomplishments." Roy Blunt informs us that the "president touched the hot stove on Wednesday, and is unlikely to touch it again," reminiscent of Susan Collins' assurances that "Trump has learned his lesson" after the last impeachment. They treat him as a child, and while he probably is emotionally just that, they are every bit as responsible for this national disgrace as he is. They enabled, excused, and extolled him. And then, finally, they beg for “peace and unity" when he finally morphs his unshackled self-adulation into sedition.
The decision to impeach is not about removing Trump from office. The people have spoken and they have chosen Biden to lead the country for the next 4 years. Impeachment in this instance is not about politics, it is about national security. Threats not just from unfriendly nations, but from the precedent that a president can act against the interests and most revered principles of our nation and pay no price for his treachery.
Kelly Scoles

 
Letters to the Editor
January 6, 2021

To the Editor:
The Trump administration is trying, on many levels, to subvert the presidential transition. One example is Russell Vought, the now-director of the Office of Management and Budget. In a presidential transition, OMB is tasked with coordinating with the incoming administration to communicate current policy and budgetary matters, including plans for pandemic medical and economic relief, so that the presidential transition will be as seamless as possible for the incoming administration and for the benefit of the country.
Vought has refused to do that, declining to provide Biden’s team with vital information under the argument that they will just use the information to “dismantle this administration’s work.” He has apparently not been made aware, as the Trump administration has observed so often, that “elections have consequences.” He apparently also does not understand that the OMB’s work product does not belong to Trump or to OMB but belongs to “we, the people.” This is a common misconception in the present administration, as is the idea that they have a right to make the transition as difficult as possible for the Biden administration. Because Trump.
We all know by now that Vought’s response comes directly from the current president, the man who has said repeatedly that “I, alone, can fix it.” That the only way he will accept the election result is, “if I win.” Who has determined that everyone who disagrees with him, the Supreme Court, federal courts, state courts, state elections offices and their governors (Democratic and Republican), DrudgeReport, the New York Post (!), the Electoral College and even Mitch McConnell, are all wrong. He didn’t lose the election, he can’t lose the election, he will not accept losing the election. Please, Mr. Trump, you’ll have some time now; get some therapy.
Whatever you may think politically of Joe Biden, he does not believe that he owns the office of President of the United States. He does not think that every federal employee owes allegiance to him, personally, or that he knows everything, or that it’s his way or the highway. He does not think the government exists to serve his financial interests. He knows his job is to serve the interests of the American people, as best he can. Appallingly, Russell Vought of OMB, and other critical agencies, does not understand that. We are the losers.
By Kelly Scoles

***

To the Editor,
In recent weeks Fillmore has been significantly affected by the surge in COVID-19. As of Monday, the community of Fillmore has seen 265 positive cases within the last two weeks which is 1300% higher than the county goal of less than 100 cases per 100,000 population to be placed in the red tier by the state’s standard. This exponential growth is deeply concerning given the governor’s recent incentive to increase per pupil spending in districts that begin reopening K-6 classrooms in mid-February. COVID-19 in Fillmore is rampant and the risks to both students and staff with a hasty return to in-person learning while the virus is out of control is cause for alarm.
Safety of students, staff, and the community at large must be paramount to any consideration of reopening despite the appeal of additional funding. Any reopening plan must be established in coordination and collaboration between school district administration and local educator associations with health and safety as the top priority for both sides. Negotiations take time. On behalf of FUTA and the students we serve, I urge Fillmore Unified to demonstrate restraint in their decision to return to in person instruction. It is imperative we do not rush into reopening without a proper plan in place to take advantage of the governor’s incentive. It is the responsibility of FUSD leadership to provide the due diligence necessary to collaborate with all stakeholders and establish a reopening plan that respects the safety and health of the community of Fillmore.
Tammy Ferguson
FUTA President

***

To the Editor:
Just wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for the many columns you have written dispensing accurate and meaningful information. I am 77 and in all my years I have never seen so much fake news and outright lies told by the press. I understand that politics can become a blood sport but the intensity and vestural hatred displayed by the press these past few years is truly disturbing and poses the question how can" we the people" come together as one nation when we are being torn asunder by the nightly news. I know there are citizens of Fillmore who would disagree with my conservative views but there are many who hold the same values you express each week. For those who disagree please let's not speak ill of one another. Vigorous discussion of the issues is the American way of solving our collective issues. I hope 2021 will be a year when we can find more common ground and less anger. Keep up the good work Martin and hopefully we will see more Fillmore citizens participating in the dialogue. Let's just remember to keep the dialogue factual and civil.
Dave Johnson, Fillmore Ca

***

To the Editor:
One thing that you have to give to the Democrats is that they don't fool around - they get things done. The Democrats in the House have gotten something meaningful done already, and we're just a few days into the new year. They just passed a rule change banning the use of words like "parent, grandparent, father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle," etc. from use on the floor of the House of Representatives. They've EXcluded all of these words, of course, in the name of inclusivity. One wonders if this kind of stupidity comes naturally to these people, or if they have to work at it. Hopefully, some of the sane people there will start using these banned words every time they speak. When they're called out of order for daring to use words like "father" or "mother" on the floor of the House, maybe the public will see what kind of people we have running our country and do something about it. One wonders where Julia Brownley stands on this rule change. You should ask her.
Pastor Leslie Lanier
Wayfarer's Chapel Lutheran Church
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 30, 2020

To the Editor:
Here is my response to your “Realities” editorial “showing” how Joe Biden was “fraudulently” elected:
First, all of us Democrats quickly learned that the will of the tiniest majority of people in Florida, in November 2000, was to send Al Gore to the White House.
Secondly, we learned that the election in Florida had some unintentional but crucial snafus to it, (i.e. the “butterfly” ballot) resulting in George W. Bush’s narrow election.
Thirdly, we disappointed Democrats fell in line with our candidate, who graciously conceded the election... a shocking result, to lose on a 59-yard field goal with no time left!!
In November your candidate lost; there is no evidence of voter fraud, the federal and state courts have said so 50 times, and China was not involved. Nor do the Trump campaign lawyers assert otherwise to a judge... any judge, anywhere.
The only question is, can you serve us Fillmorites by accepting reality, or does it just feel so very wrong, in your long experience of politics, that you know that clinging to a BIG CONSPIRACY is the noble path forward?
Respectfully submitted,
Tom Somers
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
I was very troubled to read your apocalyptic view of our country and the world. As if periods of great change have not always brought with them the anxiety, fear of the unknown, and pain of some sort. I heard a lot of pain in that editorial, some of it passing as deep angst, and I know that you are not the only one so afflicted. I know, too, that so many are facing more immediate concerns about food and job security as well as Covid resistance. The events of the last four years, especially 2020, will change our country and the world forever.
Change is hard for all and disastrous for some. Fortunately, On January 20, 2021, we will have an administration that has a track record of trying to improve government and responding to the needs of the ever-expanding failures of our current economic practices. The Democratic Party has not done enough for the working class. The Republican Party believes the ordinary American is disposable, that status quo will keep most of them in line, and can often be relied upon to accept entertainment over policy. Under McConnell, McCarthy, Blackburn, Grassley, Cornyn, Graham, et al., it has has been demonstrated that the GOP believes conservative (and necessarily, change-resistant) power is its own reward
We need all the vision and new ideas we can engender because the changes coming are massive. For one, we must determine the country’s economic base. It’s not manufacturing (unless it is renewable, or “green,” energy and equipment), or gas and oil, or services. Farming is at risk. Banking will be our base? Our GNP is not doing well. One political approach, under the Republicans and Trump, has not worked, even without Covid. The stock market does not reliably help anyone who cannot take a major financial hit, and that’s most of us.
It's up to us, as it should be. We are in this together and we're going to be called upon to prove it. Everyone in this country and every country on the planet. America First does not help us. Talking loudly, crudely and ignorantly whilst brandishing a big stick is clearly counter-productive, as Teddy R advised. We do not operate in a vacuum. here or anywhere. The current practice of the Capitalistic Faith is not working for far, far too many people; it requires a second look and some readjustments. And fast.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 23, 2020

To the Editor:
It is Christmas week, in honor of which I will not render any political opinions. I hope this finds you in touch with family, virtually and spiritually if not physically. This will end and we will be restored to our loved ones. Thank you to those who observed the mask and washing protocols.
I was so happy to see Art Sanford’s Letter to the Editor (LTTE) last week. We are so fortunate in Fillmore, in that we have a local newspaper for just our community, where can expound on our concerns, and dispute (or agree with) our Editor. We are fortunate that Martin tolerates opposing opinions in the Gazette, and sometimes I think he gets a charge out of them. I hope that more readers will take on an issue when they feel so moved. I have tried to get Martin to give me a little weekly column so that I don’t take up all that space in the LTTE but, so far, no luck. Thank you, Mr. Farrell, for publishing opinions, especially when they are diametrically opposed to your own.
For Martin and Tenea and staff, thanks for all your hard work. Thanks to all the parents who are working so hard at keeping their kids in virtual school, and the teachers who have to keep up with 30 kids by computer. Shops and stores that have enforced the mask requirement have my gratitude. The parents who work are heroic, and even more so those who cannot. God bless the farmworkers, postal workers, and all those delivery people. 2020 has been a long and difficult year. The burden on some has been harder, on some easier, but let us all do what we can to lift up others in 2021. Happy Christmas Season.
Kelly Scoles

 
Letters to the Editor
December 16, 2020

To the Editor:
I looked at the sources you offer to support your theory that the election was “stolen.” One source is a PhD who claimed the coronavirus was a hoax, one who mistook cities in Minnesota for cities in Michigan and screamed “fraud” when the election numbers didn’t add up (ya think?), and another who found "statistical anomalies" conclusive of fraud. Allegations, opinions, accusations, suggestions, and conspiracy theories require proof to be persuasive. Your citations fail meet that standard, as has Trump in the courts.
The Supreme Court has declined to hear several cases related to the election. The Cyber Elections Chief, Attorney General Barr, Matt Drudge, Erik Erickson, various elected Republican state officers, local and federal judges, have found no fraud in the election process which would effect a change in the electoral result. So, all these people are suddenly in league against Donald J. Trump, people in his own Republican Party, and that doesn’t inform your opinion on the validity of the election? I would say that you believe what you want to believe and no one, short of your choice of deity, directly and in person or possibly in a burning bush, could change that.
Democrats understand that the Republicans are disbelieving and disconsolate over the results of the election. We’ve been there. Twenty years ago, Al Gore lost the election in Florida, a state whose governor was the Republican candidate’s brother, Jeb. The Supreme Court, along party lines, ordered that the Florida recount stop, and awarded the presidency to W. on the basis of 537 Floridian votes, though Gore won the national popular vote by 500,000 votes. Al Gore conceded. He didn’t see dead people, everywhere, voting.
Recall the reaction to Hillary Clinton’s loss four years ago. She won the national popular vote by three million votes and lost by mere hundreds of votes in some places where Democrats had long held sway. She was shocked, many of us were, but we did not challenge the ultimate outcome, even though suspicions of Russian interference in the run-up to the election were rampant. Like it or not, Trump was president and she conceded, albeit unhappily, the next day.
Leaving aside Trump's emotional problems that make him unable to accept reality not in his favor, he believes that he IS the state and a challenge to him is a challenge to the republic. That, in and of itself, beyond all the repugnant things that Trump has done, all the grift he has practiced, all the malignancy with which he has processed his tenure, is enough to disqualify him. Presidents who revere our Constitution do not attack it. Disappointed despots do.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
In 2016 Donald Trump ran a brilliant campaign. He bullied and bulldozed his way through the Republican primaries. His “Make America Great Again” un-filtered populism galvanized support from disaffected Americans -- primarily high school-educated, white (88%) conservatives. (Source: www.pewresearch.org)
Republicans should be proud of their party’s performance in the 2020 elections. They picked up seats in the House, and will likely retain a small margin in the Senate. In gubernatorial and state legislative races, Republicans fared better than Democrats. There was no “blue wave.”
If the 2020 election was “rigged, fixed, a massive fraud,” then it was a poorly executed operation. Perhaps the next time that “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Warren Buffet’s chauffer, Chairman Mao’s grandson, the ghost of Hugo Chavez, and Bill Gate’s Cuban pool boy spy meet in the basement, sex-slave dungeon of the Baskin-Robbins on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue to plot their next act of world domination (and enjoy a two-scoop hot fudge sundae), they will do more than conjure up a “statistically impossible” victory for the Democratic presidential nominee.
If there were evidence of massive fraud, why doesn't his legal dream team present it in court? Because they’re lackeys, but they’re not stupid and, as officers of the court, they don’t want to end up in jail or get fined by a judge. “Despite Trump’s allegations to the contrary, his lawyers have acknowledged that they are not claiming that dead people voted or that occasional computer glitches were part of a deliberate conspiracy.” (Source: www.snopes.com)
In 2016 Trump defeated Clinton 304-227. In 2020 Biden beat Trump 306-225. That’s politics in a democratic republic with a federalist system. Trump lost the 2020 election. Time to move on. Time to work together. Time to stop indulging the ego-maniacal fantasies of a spoiled, petulant, vindictive, autocratic, erratic, and soon-to-be ex-president.
Art Sandford Sr.
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 9, 2020

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
It concerns me that you are trying to create baseless doubts in people’s minds about the last election. Even Rush Limbaugh has said the base is starting to look like kooks.
Contrary to your flurry of fevered assertions last week, the election has been decided by the electorate by 7,000,000 vote majority, as reported by the Chief of Cybersecurity for Elections, Christopher Krebs, a lifelong Republican hired by President Trump to safeguard the elections system from interference by foreign or domestic actors. Krebs was fired by Trump just after the election when Krebs assured the nation that it was the "safest election in history." But, since Trump had been promising a “rigged election” since June, off with his head.
AG Bill Barr, who has heretofore been Trump's bulldog, has determined that there is no evidence of fraud or error that would change any election outcome, and is awaiting his guillotine. Thirty-four judges in various states and counties, many of them Republican nominees to the bench, have denied allegations of fraud because of ridiculous pleadings and lack of evidence.
Secretaries of States and Attorneys General of both political parties have confirmed that no votes were counted anywhere but in the US. It is a mystery why the voting machines employed by a dead Venezuelan despot could only negate votes for Trump. Do you honestly think that in the Democratic political genius, only the votes for Trump were manipulated on multi-race ballots?
I can assure you that, if the Democrats had decided to “fix” the election, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Joni Ernst, Susan Collins and Kevin McCarthy would be looking for other employment, and there would be no need for a runoff for the Georgia senate seats.
As for the “courage and determination” of Rudy “Ghouliani” of melting-hair fame, and Sidney “Kraken” Powell: Powell was removed from the very small team of attorneys willing to serve Trump’s demands because she was so crazy. Too bonkers for Rudy; no small achievement. Meanwhile, Trump grifts for money to “fight the election fraud.” Everyone knows what the money is for. It is for Donald personally, as it always has been.
If, at this point, you are going to call an election a massive deliberate fraud, you cannot avail yourself of excuses, “too numerous to mention here.” If you’ve got something besides the litany of fraud allegations in your editorial, all rejected by the courts, let’s have it, Martin. You are correct that honest elections are of vital importance to our democracy. Honest acceptance of the results is, too.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 2, 2020

To the Editor:
Money isn't everything. We have significant challenges in a changing world. But when our economic system is failing most of our country, when thousands of working poor are homeless, when kids have to rely on the schools for breakfast, lunch and snack, and when 7,000 families in one city in Texas line up for free food, our capitalistic system is seriously out of whack. One reason is that the economic elites realize hundreds of millions of dollars a year in salary, corporate profits, or tax deductions, yet the minimum wage and general compensation for a changed labor market has received no corresponding benefit since the 1980’s. Trickle-down is a distant joke.
Most of us feel this. Many no longer feel safely in the middle class as defined when we were kids; children will not do better than we did; tax dollars are not enough to fund education, transportation, infrastructure and societal programs required for a an advanced nation in a rising economic tide. Deferring maintenance of infrastructure, including schools, transportation, highways and bridges, exploded back in the Reagan Era and were ably supported by the tender mercies of Grover Norquist: above all lower taxes for the rich, and somewhat for the middle class if absolutely necessary to keep the grumbling down.
Both political parties have failed in this regard. Trump seemed to many like a political breath of fresh air when he signaled his free-speaking, politically incorrect, blue collar populism. But Trump's plans to cut taxes included cutting school lunch programs, gutting Medicare and SSA, or overturning pre-existing conditions (and lied about it). He said he understood the aggrieved and forgotten middle-American, he stuck his angry fingers in the faces of elites, but nothing changed.
The Democrats have failed to convince the country that the ordinary person, the laborer, is their constituency. The Democratic hearts are there, but they learned back in 1980's that the only way they could survive the mesmerizing but absurd "Morning in America" was to cuddle up to corporations and try to beat the Republicans at their own game. They can't. They talk the right priorities but generally do not deliver them to a disappointed constituency.
If our democratic capitalistic society is to survive, the basic needs of ordinary citizens must be achievable, or we must consider another system which is more equitable. There is a new president. Let’s prioritize the repair of our economic system going forward (alternative energies would provide thousands of jobs), and decide what each of us owes to, and can expect from, our government. We must explore what the contract we made with each other long ago means in today’s world, and whether the Great American Experiment can survive.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
November 11, 2020

To the Editor:
Dr. Adrian Palazuelos
District Administrators
Fillmore Unified School Board Trustees
Fillmore Unified School District Certificated Staff
Fillmore Unified School District Classified Staff
Fillmore District Parents and Students
As a new school board member of the Fillmore Unified School District, I look forward in assisting the district administration, school administrators, teachers, classified staff, students, parents, and working with all school board trustees. My goal is to always focus on the children and to ensure the children of Fillmore and Piru will receive an education that will allow them to succeed when they are adults. That has been my goal through many years and positions in the Fillmore School District. Now I will continue that mission through my work as a FUSD Board member and keeping communication lines open to all our stakeholders.
I would like to begin by providing you with my background experience. I am a Santa Clara High School graduate and moved to Fillmore in 1983. I am married and have two children; both are Fillmore Alumni, and I have three grandchildren.
Like many working adults and parents, I continued my education when my son and daughter were in high school to complete my goals and to set an example for them of the importance of a higher education and pursuing a career. I began at Ventura College and graduated from the University of La Verne with a master’s degree in educational counseling.
I worked for the Fillmore Unified School District from 1991 through 2004 in classified positions. First was a position at San Cayetano School as a health clerk and later at Fillmore High School as a special education paraeducator. Finally, I worked as the FHS career technician for eleven years. Being on campus daily, I have experienced the many aspects of building a collaborative relationship with faculty, staff, and students.
Throughout my years in the Career Center, valuable changes were made to attract more students to utilize the Career Center for their college and career preparation. Students learned how to take online career searches based on their interests and skills. I invited guest speakers from various careers to speak to students. FHS is known for its Career Day with over 100 presenters from various careers and colleges, where I coordinated and expanded it. Additionally, I took part in implementing a School to Career Program, where students were placed in their career pathways.
They received assistance with career choice by having guest speakers and opportunities for job shadowing and internships. Working closely with Ventura Community Colleges Admissions’ offices, I scheduled matriculation testing, helping seniors with transitioning after high school.
Many of my responsibilities in the Career Center were expanded in my next position in 2004, as the University of California, Santa Barbara College Site Coordinator through the Early Academic Outreach Program, where I continued to assist students with SAT registration, financial aid information, navigating colleges, and scholarship applications.
With the extensive training at UCSB, I shared my information with FHS staff and students. I evaluated school transcripts closely with school counselors and worked with them, the career technician, and teachers as a team player to better assist all students at Fillmore High School.
Serving as a liaison between community colleges, EOP, matriculation, financial aid, transfer center and the Educational Assistance Center, I was able to keep the school and district up to date on changes in higher education. My role was instrumental in developing a college going culture in Fillmore, having an exceptional number of students accepted to college.
Throughout my years at Fillmore High School, I had several students who thought they would not be eligible to go to college; and with proper guidance, many of these students were able to attend a college after high school. Building a rapport with students, parents, and the high school staff made the college numbers reach a high peak.
The college going process started as I assisted students in preparing for college in ninth grade and offered the rigorous UC Summer Algebra Academy. As the coordinator, I directed and planned with teachers for the Academy. I introduced students to Californiacolleges.edu, where they were able to explore careers and colleges as well as visit UCSB and another university.
In helping students prepare for college, they created a career path based on their personal and academic goals. I provided continual assistance with UC and CSU application workshops, personal statement workshops, and advised students of their A-G progress and meeting with them frequently. A crucial aspect of making sure a student was successful was keeping record of student semester grades to see if the student qualified for one of the four college systems by their junior year. For parents, there were financial aid and parent workshops on how parents can support their children in the college process.
In order to be successful, I have related to parents, students, staff at FHS and UCSB by listening and responding to their needs. I am organized and analytical when studying information. I am cognizant of deadlines and the importance of sharing accurate data to district shareholders. I am a team player who is goal-directed, enthusiastic, and excellent at coordinating activities with students, parents, faculty, staff, and community members.
Overall, I had a great connection to students and families by encouraging them to have high expectations for themselves, and I provided support as a health clerk, classroom paraeducator, as a career tech, and as a college site coordinator. My job duties have given me the knowledge about the inner workings of a diverse population and structure of high school and college, as well as having the classroom experience of planning and implementing educational programs. I enjoy working with various groups of students, supporting and assisting them with their educational goals.
In closing, I look forward to working collaboratively with the Fillmore School Board trustees, and I would like to keep an open line of communication for all FUSD students, parents, teachers, and staff. Furthermore, I would like to make sure the FUSD curriculum is fully updated and aligned with California Common Core State Standards. I look forward in bringing a positive outlook in the Fillmore Unified School District.
Sincerely,
Olivia Palacio

 
Letters to the Editor
November 4, 2020

To the Editor:
The election is upon us. We are about to witness the historical choice our country has made regarding the future of this great experiment in a democratic republic operating under our constitution. Plenty of words will be said about the result but, for now, thank you to all of our citizens who voted. Those who studied the issues and, to the extent possible, turned from their own issues to consider those facing our city, state and country. Let us find out that there was no interference by any political party, by any foreign nation, by anyone trying to change the representative character of our government, in the election vote. There are a lot of issues still out there, some of them are: climate crisis, wealth disparity, criminal justice, our standards of civility, our political standing in the world, how our economics will be focused, and how we characterize our nation with regard to other countries. There are many causes that still require our attention and they're not going anywhere without us.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 28, 2020

To the Editor:
Debate and Health Care dated October 28, 2002
If you are a person who has any interest in being protected against shutout by the insurance companies for a pre-existing condition or relies on ACA (colloquially, "Obamacare"), the last debate was helpful to you. Without unhinged interruption, Biden was able to share some of his policy plans and reaffirm that of the many issues facing in this election, health care is one of the most important. In Texas v. California, the Trump administration, and Republican attorneys general of several states, are arguing before the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) that the ACA is unconstitutional and should be dismantled entirely. Trump agreed, but insisted that the pre-existing conditions provision of ACA would be replaced by “better than ever before” protections. In the future.
This is a fabrication that Trump has long hawked. He insisted in the debate, and with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” last Sunday, that he has “so many plans” already prepared, all of which protect people with existing medical conditions from being dropped by insurance companies. His agent handed Stahl a 3-inch book representing “the plan,” which was later discovered to be assorted unrelated materials and blank pages. He’s got nothing, and he doesn't intend to have anything. And he thinks the electorate still believes him.
If Trump is successful in the SCOTUS, millions of Americans will be left without health insurance. Trump keeps repeating that millions already have insurance through their workplaces, a fact that is, I’m sure, heart-warming to those without insurance but which does not solve their own significant concern: lack of health insurance, particularly in the middle of a pandemic and its aftermath, a sure pre-existing condition.
The encounters in the debates and on “60 Minutes” once again exposed the depth and breadth of the indifference of this president for the truth, for the real needs of this country, and for any responsibility towards people who trusted him with their country and its standing in the world. All he can do is tout how “perfect” his performance has been as president, how “magnificently” he has handled the Covid crisis, and how well the economy was doing before the "not-his-fault" mismanagement of "the plague."
Let’s at least put to rest that last claim. Trump did not create the best economy ever. All he did was to allow Obama's and Biden's economic rescue of the 2008 Republican Recession to gain yardage until early 2020 when Trump tragically fumbled the ball.
Kelly Scoles

***

To the Editor:
Ted mayr funeral home closure
Some of you may have heard that Ted Mayr Funeral Home, in Ventura, has closed! It looks like it was about August 30, 2020.
The last Funeral Services group, Pierce Brothers, leasing the building, has moved out since their lease ended. It was thought that a notice was sent to clients, but perhaps many did not see the notice. I did not see the notice. The Mayr Family is selling the building.
If you had prepaid funeral memorial services insurance (Dignity, etc.) arrangements, I found that all the clients’ records were moved to the Westlake Pierce Brothers funeral home branch. You should call them at (818) 889-0902 to get a copy of your file, etc.
Kathleen Briggs
Former Ted Mayr Client

***

To the Editor:
I just wanted to reach out and thank all the wonderful people in this community, who have supported me during this election season. During my tenure on the council, we have done many great things such as streamlining the permit process making it easier for businesses to locate to Fillmore. We have been working to revitalize our downtown area, to provide affordable housing opportunities, and to provide a balanced city budget. We have worked diligently to protect public safety and advance city services. My work is not done yet. I am counting on you to provide me with four more years to serve as your council member. So please remember to vote on November 3rd and cast your vote in support of Mark Austin.
Mark Austin, Fillmore City Council Member

***

To the Editor:
Thank you, Fillmore
We’re coming down to the finish line with only days left until Election Day. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone in Fillmore who has shown support for Mark and me over the past couple of months. To everyone who has contributed to our campaigns, posted our signs in your yard, passed out flyers or just said to us, “We voted for you.” I appreciate you.
Fillmore is a beautiful town. From the picturesque farmland surrounding us to the small-town look and feel. From the trains to all the parades, carnivals and festivals. From all the activities put on by our Parks and Recreation Department for us to enjoy to the way our community pulls together during an emergency.
But the one thing that really sets Fillmore apart and makes it the best place I can think of to live is the people. Everyone is friendly and helpful and has that small-town attitude.
There’s a tight-knit feel to our community and that makes the difference. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and that’s why I want to say thank you. Your support means a lot to me.
Tim Holmgren

 
Letters to the Editor
October 21, 2020

To the Editor:
We are writing this letter to voice our endorsement of Esther (Sivakami) Taylor and Christina Reyes Villasenior. This election cycle has been an exciting time for our small town. To give residents a choice between numerous candidates is what makes our democracy great. We are endorsing Sivakami Esther and Christina after looking at their platform, we stand behind their views for the future of Fillmore. Their platform includes prioritizing locally owned businesses, an emphasis on equity and inclusivity, more affordable housing for low-income families and senior citizens, the creation of youth and family resources, and an emphasis on environmental stewardship. They are endorsed by numerous Ventura County organizations, which you can read about on their website futurefillmore2020.org. We have seen that these two women are valued community members, who are well educated, informed, and have the life experience to tackle the difficult choices that come with being a council member. They have shown through their campaigning that they are eager and ready to listen to all residents of Fillmore, even when those viewpoints differ from theirs. When elected, they will make themselves available to listen to the needs of constituents. Sivakami Esther and Christina will foster respect and inclusion in our city, by encouraging more citizens to participate and by making everyone feel welcome. We are excited for this upcoming election, and we urge every citizen to vote.
Evaristo Barajas, Ernie Morales, and Manuel Minjares,
Former Mayors of Fillmore.
Lynn Edmonds,
Fillmore City Council Member.

***

To the Editor:
Sixty years ago, JFK made it clear that the Vatican would have no say in how our government was run. His religion informed his views of democracy, it did not demand them. The same may not be true of Judge Barrett. Her membership in People of Praise, a secretive and highly conservative subsection of charismatic Catholicism seems to be so pervasive in her life that it may amount to a cult or significant, implacable cultural bias. Google it and make up your own mind.

I thought it disturbing that Barrett would not answer settled questions in the law like, can the president interfere with a woman's right to vote? She had no opinion, despite the 19th Amendment and several federal laws. Couldn't answer whether a president can unilaterally delay a general election? It's in the Constitution; he can't. She has never thought about climate change; can't say if the science is real. And this is the judge with the towering IQ?

Her interpretation of the Constitution is based upon "originalism" or "strict constructionism" and was/is shared by Scalia, Alito and other justices who have advocated this peculiarly brain-dead view of a document which is, in fact, a living basis for making life better for our citizens in a way that reflects guiding principles as well as present reality.

As one observer noted, interpreting the Constitution should not be about time-travel to the 1700's to embrace the same prejudices and limitations as our forefathers, and then apply that to people in a vastly different era. References to the humanity of slaves, women, and freedom, were only made later in the Bill of Rights and subsequent Amendments. What leaden ignorance cannot expand on extraordinary basic principles? Under this view, we don't need a court, a computer would do. Even that would be better than a justice who knows “nuthin' 'bout nuthin."

Fox News warned Democrats against "kavanaughing" Barrett. Rest assured. No one has credibly accused her of attempted rape and dubious character. We have seen her deflect and obfuscate, but she did not cry, snivel and accuse the Senate Judiciary Committee of malice in their questions.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, Ca

***

To the Editor:
In an effort to inform voters, the League of Women Voters, Ventura County conducted candidate forums for local city councils including Fillmore. Also had forums on other local election candidates, mayoral, state senate and assembly and the Congressional District 26 election.
The League of Women Voters conducted discussions of the California Ballot propositions and Ojai School Bond K. You can access the video recordings of these events at the LWV Ventura County website:
https://my.lwv.org/california/ventura-county/candidate-forums
Be an informed voter! And, make a plan to vote!

***

To the Editor:
Attention Fillmore Community
We are looking for a local artist who is interested in painting a mural both inside the station and on both sides of the outside of the building. We would like to showcase your photo and bio in the store for the community members and visitors to enjoy for decades to come. We have stores in Morro Bay, Ojai and Fillmore we are interested in getting painted.
If you or anyone you know is interested, please email Amy at AMY BCRETATL(@ yahoo.com. Thank you all for your amazing support in our local community.
Sincerely,
Your Neighborhood Shell Gas Station

***

To the Editor:
To: Dr. Adrian Palazuelos & District Administration, Fillmore Unified District School Board Trustees, Fillmore Unified School District Families, Fillmore Unified School District Certificated Staff, Fillmore Unified School District Classified Staff

Community service and civic duty were modeled for me by my parents from a very young age. I have always gravitated to leadership roles, be it the lead in the school play, serving as Senior Class President for Fillmore High Class of 1978, becoming a teacher and ending my career as a school site principal. I knew that once I retired from my employment with the Fillmore Unified School District that I would seek to serve as a Fillmore Unified School District Board Trustee. Due to the two vacancies sought by two uncontested community members, my continued call to service will become a reality for me in December 2020 when I will take Oath of Office.

For those of you who may not know me, I am a married mother of two children who are third generation Fillmore High School Alumni. I have three grandchildren who attend San Cayetano Elementary School. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degree from California State University, Northridge and hold a K-8 teaching credential, Bilingual-Bicultural Certificate of Competence and an Administrative Credential in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

I started teaching in 1986 at San Cayetano Elementary School where I taught for 14 years. I was hired as Assistant Principal for Fillmore Middle School in 2000 and a year later, appointed Principal, serving in this role until 2007. I later served as Migrant Education Coordinator from 2007-2010. I returned to teaching at Mt. Vista Elementary School for 2 ½ years before being appointed as Principal of San Cayetano Elementary School for 7 ½ years until my retirement on June 18, 2020.

I am fully aware that the role of school board trustee comes with great responsibility. That responsibility includes that I first and foremost represent the voice of all students, Pre-k through 12th Grade. I understand that students and their families are counting on the collective duty of all school board members to do right by them. This requires that we work as an effective School Board by fulfilling our responsibility with integrity, respect and transparency. My personal goal in striving to be part of an effective school board, is a focus on the following 5 critical areas of School Governance:

Focus on Student Achievement
The best school boards understand that student learning is job one. This emphasis necessarily means that policies and resources of schools are targeted to promote achievement for all students. School practices, which have their roots set in policy, must have a laser-beam orientation on high standards, a rigorous curriculum, and high-quality teachers. Issues a school board must consider are evaluated against the contribution toward student learning -- the core business of schools. Thus, I will ask questions about current and proposed curricular programs in order to have a solid understanding of curriculum resources to make informed decisions that will raise student achievement.
Allocate Resources to Needs
Not all students walk through the school doors with the same needs. As a lifelong community member of Fillmore and having served as teacher and administrator in this district, I recognize this fact and thus am tasked to allocate resources such as time, money, and personnel, adjusting practices accordingly. Documents of the school district, such as the District General and Categorical Budget (LCAP), School Site plan budgets and other resources must be viewed as tools to reach student-learning priorities, thus the districts spending practices must align to district and school site goals. In order to make informed decisions on budget priorities, it is my responsibility to ask questions on budget allocations in alignment with the district LCAP goals to ultimately benefit students.

Monitor Expenditures and the Return on Investments
We are all accountable to somebody. In my 34 years serving as a FUSD employee, I am mindful of the accountability I owed to stakeholders, most importantly our families who entrust their children to the education of public schools. Board members are tasked to routinely and regularly measure and report the return on investment of the education dollars spent. To be considered effective policy makers in the education of the students we serve, including social emotional and academic achievement, we make our greatest gains by asking appropriate questions. To this point I recognize the self-instructive value in consistently asking: What services are we providing to which students at what cost and resulting in what benefits?

Use of Data
As school board members, being informed policy makers, requires using data. We cannot be assured that all students, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status, are progressing toward and reaching high standards without data. The challenges to student learning, and particularly to providing equity among all students in achievement, are complex. Intuition-based assessment of student learning is tricky at best and certainly is an insufficient basis to determine education policy. We cannot accept general explanations of student social emotional and academic progress. With the current state of distance learning education for example, it is incumbent upon each school board member to ask questions with respect to its effectiveness by periodically analyzing pre and post achievement and attendance data. Without data, reports to communities about the education return on investment, are unconvincing. Communities expect measurable results, through data, from their tax dollars.

Engage the Communities We Serve
It is critical to look for ways to institutionalize parent and patron involvement in providing policy-making input. Specifically, it is incumbent upon us to have established mechanisms for community involvement in setting the vision for the school district, representing the values of the community, and identifying the district's short-term and long-term priorities. Thus, I will ask questions about our collective efforts for family involvement at the school site level and in our district. Involvement which strongly emphasizes a shared partnership with our community in educating our district’s 3,700 plus students.

School site leaders, teachers, support staff and our FUSD families depend on school board members to make informed researched based decisions to benefit ALL learners. My 34 years of dedicated service and experience as a teacher, administrator, parent and grandparent qualify me to take on the challenging role of school board member, providing an invaluable perspective which will assist in making transformational decisions that will serve the best interest of all FUSD employees and most importantly for our students.

In closing, I wish to share how grateful and honored I am to have the awesome opportunity to serve as your new school board member. I am committed to the success of all our students and to serving the constituents of the Fillmore Unified School District Community. I encourage all stakeholders to take an active role in our schools. Attend school board meetings to share about the challenges and celebrate in the success of our students. Let your voice be heard!
With Gratitude,
Tricia Gradias
Retired Principal

 
Letters to the Editor
October 14, 2020

To the Editor:
I was struck by your assertion that Trump “knows a lot more than anyone else on deck about leadership” I hope you’re wrong, Martin, because if that’s so, we are in a national self-destructive mode of epic proportion. I believe that we have had enough of leadership by chaos, in an administration that cares more about loyalty than competence.
To lead, you have to first understand the objective. Then you have to be able to look inside yourself and understand your own strengths and weaknesses. You don't have to know everything, but you have to know where to find it and have the humility to invite it in. Once the path forward is selected or created and faults in the process are discovered, as they always are, you never ever blame someone else for the defects. As Truman so famously said, "the buck stops here."
Unfortunately, Trump exhibits not one of these qualities. He lacks even a quark of self-knowledge. He is an extremist in all things. He brags about his prowess, but has shown no “leadership talent” beyond cowering the GOP with his self-serving rages. “I alone can fix it” was the first sign that we were in for a nihilistic journey in democracy. No one alone can fix anything involving other human beings, and "leaders" who think they can are the most deluded and dangerous of all.
Last week, Trump endorsed resistance by anti-government domestic terrorists if he loses the election, a statement that not only demonstrates his lack of leadership, but reveals his terrible disdain for the essential principles of this country. He wins, or he will make sure the place is on fire. He is always the aggrieved victim when things go amiss, the tragic object of endless “hoaxes,” “fake news,” “frauds,” "liars" and “haters.” Truman's "buck" is nowhere in sight.
I wish the Democrats had selected a younger candidate. But at this moment in our history, the alternate to Trump has qualities that we urgently need and of which Trump has no trace: an understanding of the benefits and limits of good government, basic honesty, an understanding of the rest of the world, a recognition of the responsibilities of a president toward the American people, the ability to self-reflect, and compassion for the human condition. The only person who can lead by "I, alone," is known as a "despot."
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
This year has brought our nation and the world unprecedented challenges in which we will all feel the ripple effects for possibly generations to come. While the American people are strong and resilient, this pandemic is a whole new unexplored territory which many of us are still coping with and navigating through the rough waters while looking for steady ground of the shore.
Although everything we have learned about life has been turned upside down, we can still count on our American Freedoms and one of the most important is the right to Vote. With election day closing in quickly I wanted to reach out and lend my endorsement for Mark Austin, Tim Holmgren and Ari Larson.
Over the past four years, Mark Austin and Tim Holmgren have been instrumental in keeping the city moving forward with fiscal responsibility, strong leadership and being dedicated to our city. As a team we have increased our reserves, streamlined the permitting process, oversaw the construction of new parks and worked to keep Fillmore safe and clean for residents. Both Mark and Tim have served planning commissioners and understand how to work within the confines of city government, with staff and developers to get projects completed.
I have served on many boards with Ari Larson over the years and she truly cares about this community with her unwavering involvement and fingerprints in so many places. She rightfully named citizen of the year because she cares so very much about Fillmore.
The upheaval of the past year will take further navigation in order for Fillmore to avoid the pitfalls of continued budget cuts and shortfalls that are rampant in surrounding cities. Because of this my vote is going to Mark Austin, Tim Holmgren and Ari Larson as I feel they have the non-partisan ideals, the drive, commitment and understanding of what it takes to be a true leader for Fillmores Future.
I do hope you join me in casting your vote for proven leadership for Mark, Tim and Ari.
Diane McCall, Former Mayor and City Councilwoman

***

To the Editor:
Let’s put 2020 behind us by making sound decisions on our ballots and start 2021 off right. The Citizens of Fillmore will best be served if Mark Austin, Tim Holmgren and Ari Larson are elected to the City Council. This will provide stability on the City Council for the next term. Stability matters when it comes to governing a small town. Making the most of our resources is a tough balancing act. Austin, Holmgren and with the addition of Ari Larson as the newest council member will demonstrate they know how to balance a budget, live within their means and will bring fresh perspectives to Fillmore. Austin, Holmgren and Larson will provide leadership, protect public safety and advance city services. I'm voting for experience, not experiment. I'm voting for effective leadership, not "group think". I'm voting for stability not chaos. Austin, Holmgren & Larson will conduct our business with civility and openness. They won’t bankrupt the city with a wild ideological agenda. Austin and Holmgren have brought jobs to Fillmore, built parks, kept city rates down and have been great stewards of the trust we’ve given them. They have been working to revitalize our downtown area. They have approved Affordable Houses that are being built right now. They’ll do a great job again when reelected. Fillmore’s best future is with Austin, Holmgren and Larson. I fully endorse them for Fillmore City Council, so should you.
Steve Conaway

***

To the Editor:
I have had the privilege of serving with Mark Austin for several years on the Fillmore Planning Commission, and the pleasure of knowing him much longer than that. He brings a combination of common sense, technical knowledge, and a love of Fillmore to the position of city council member that is simply hard to beat! Fillmore needs folks like Mark to be in the driver’s seat for the next four years, and he has my personal recommendation for that job!
Yours truly,
Vance Johnson

***

To the Editor:
We are writing this letter to voice our endorsement of Esther (Sivakami) Taylor and Christina Reyes Villasenor. This election cycle has been an exciting time for our small town. To give residents a choice between numerous candidates is what makes our democracy great. We are endorsing Sivakami Esther and Christina after looking at their platform, we stand behind their views for the future of Fillmore. Their platform includes prioritizing locally owned businesses, an emphasis on equity and inclusivity, more affordable housing for low-income families and senior citizens, the creation of youth and family resources, and an emphasis on environmental stewardship. They are endorsed by numerous Ventura County organizations, which you can read about on their website futurefillmore2020.org. We have seen that these two women are valued community members, who are well educated, informed, and have the life experience to tackle the difficult choices that come with being a council member. They have shown through their campaigning that they are eager and ready to listen to all residents of Fillmore, even when those viewpoints differ from theirs. When elected, they will make themselves available to listen to the needs of constituents. Sivakami Esther and Christina will foster respect and inclusion in our city, by encouraging more citizens to participate and by making everyone feel welcome. We are excited for this upcoming election, and we urge every citizen to vote.
Evaristo Barajas, Ernie Morales, and Manuel Minjares
Former Mayors of Fillmore
Lynn Edmonds
Fillmore City Council Member

 
Letters to the Editor
October 7, 2020

To the Editor:
Most of us awakened last Friday morning to the news that President Trump and several politicos, news people and staff members, had contracted Covid-19. The president had attended a Rose Garden meeting on Saturday and the debate/debacle on Tuesday evening in Cleveland and, though he was diagnosed as Covid-positive on Wednesday, Trump attended several events on Wednesday, all without masks or social distancing. On Thursday, Trump sent a recorded message that the "end of the pandemic is in sight," The virus incubates for up to two weeks before diagnosis, so everyone with whom he came in contact was exposed, and he to them. As he is the president, I wish him well.
At the debate Trump, in a ludicrously excessive performance, ridiculed Joe Biden for avoiding big-crowd rallies as CDC recommended, for taking social precautions, for always wearing “huge masks.” The Trump family refused the host's request to wear masks and socially distance in Cleveland, in arrogant solidarity with the president. When someone assumes the well-known risk (as far back as January) and encourages others do so, surprise is not the first reaction I have.
On Saturday, a weary-looking Trump defended his catching the virus on being the leader of the country who couldn't "just sit upstairs in the White House," suggesting it was an act of courage to expose himself. "A leader," intoned one of his mouthpieces on Sunday, "must take risks." Yes, but not stupid risks, repeatedly, which could harm and even kill you and others. The real problem is that Trump cannot live without in-person adulation, without a stage and audience and acting the "tough guy." Common sense, humility, and discipline are not in his character.
What is it that causes so many people to ignore the evidence of medical experts, and of their eyes and ears, to believe what a scientifically-illiterate president tells them about the pandemic? To paraphrase Isaac Azimov, there is a cult of ignorance in this country that believes democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge and expertise. This country did not achieve the amazing things it has in the last 75 years, including the space program, the polio vaccine and other medical, technological, and scientific achievements, by encouraging ignorance to run amok.
On Sunday, the White House gift shop advertised, for the low, low price of only $100, a "Trump Beats Covid" coin. Howza, howza, ladies and gentlemen, step right up! Because that's who this president and his administration really are. If they can't get you to buy their act now, they will move on to the next show and see how that works. It's the way of carnival barkers.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Local government has never been more important today with all of the challenges facing our country. The City of Fillmore is fortunate to have the leadership to not only endure these challenges, but to move forward in keeping our community safe, prosperous, and balanced. It takes leadership, experience, skills and a commitment to face these realities on a local level. Cities are faced with various issues on a daily basis. Public safety, housing, community diversity/social justice, general plan, public works, economic development, and open communication are just a few examples of running a city. Mark Austin has demonstrated many of these assets as a city councilman. He has been committed to this community for over 16 years serving as a planning commissioner and a city councilman. Many of our successes has been a result of his involvement and vision. In a time where there are organized agendas and political posturing, local government such as cities should be run by non-partisan candidates whose sole purpose is to ensure what's best for our communities. Mark Austin is that person.
Please consider re-electing Mark.
Ernie Villegas
Former Mayor, City of Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Check your property tax bill, there is an item for a Community College Bond Measure. In 2002 the Santa Clara Valley helped this bond pass by a big margin based at least in part by a promise that the bond would fund an Expanded College Center for us. Surprise, surprise, the money was redirected to other projects and the services offered to our youth were actually reduced! Only recently has enough attention been paid to finally make it again possible to earn an AA degree in two years if you choose one of the two majors offered.
Finally, we have a chance to elect someone from Fillmore to the Community College Board representing District 3. Joe Ramirez will represent us well. He is the only candidate with professional college experience and he knows what needs to happen to increase student success. Joe grew up in Fillmore and graduated from Fillmore High School before attending Moorpark College, then UCSB and earned his Master’s Degree at Harvard University. After working in numerous roles in several colleges he has retired in Fillmore where he continues to volunteer with our At Promise students. Please join me in voting for Joe Ramirez for Trustee for Ventura Community College District. Fillmore and Piru students cannot continue to be overlooked.
Janey Muñoz
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 30, 2020

To the Editor:
I hope you will allow me extra words on this occasion. Before I give my second opinion, I want to acknowledge the death of Marie Wren. I loved her, as did anyone who met her. She and Gene were among the most wonderful people I met in Fillmore, and I was always struck with one extraordinary quality of hers (among so many), and that was her joy. You could not walk away from Marie and not feel it. Well done, Marie. It was a pleasure and a privilege.

Just after midnight on March 13, 2020, in Louisville, KY, a 26-year old EMT Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker III were sleeping in their apartment and were awakened by pounding on the door. Unknown to them, it was the police executing a “no knock” warrant, changed to a "knock and announce" warrant at the last minute (for a person not present and for several addresses). The warrant was actually issued for Breonna’s former boyfriend who had used her address as his own. He later confirmed that she had nothing to do with drugs and no drugs were found in the apartment.
Only one witness of 8, who was outside the apartment building at the time, said that the police identified themselves. Walker, who was in the bedroom down the hall, heard the pounding and the door crashing but not the announcement. He assumed it was an intruder breaking into the apartment and fired. The police returned fire, killing Breonna with six shots, firing another 16 into the apartments above and to the side. Walker was indicted by the Grand Jury for the attempted murder of a police officer, a charge which the District Attorney subsequently dropped.
One of the officers was indicted for endangering the lives of the tenants in nearby apartments by recklessly firing errant shots. As to the killing of Breonna Taylor, no charges. The Grand Jury determined that, because Walker shot first, the police justifiably returned protective fire. Keep in mind that the DA found that Walker had not attempted the murder of a police officer. That Breonna and Walker were completely innocent of wrongdoing, in fear for their own lives and protecting their home, apparently did not register with the Grand Jury. Let's see the transcripts.
This case is outrageous for a lot of reasons. Someone is responsible for this tragedy and it’s not Breonna or Walker who happened to be African-American. The police were apparently not responsible for the contents of the warrant. The police clearly did not effectively identify themselves. Whoever authored and accepted the merits of the affidavit and issued the warrant needs to be identified and scrutinized. The tragedy was set in motion by a governmental agency with responsibility for the warrant and the incident, someone higher up than the police officers. At what point did the sole responsibility for the safety of the officers fall to the young man legally protecting his “castle" in the middle of the night? If you are a gun owner, what would you have done? “Yoo hoo, intruder! Are you by any chance the police?” The police report indicated that there were "no injuries" as a result of the incident. Unless you count the dead woman.
We allow guns to everybody so they feel "safe" in defending their families and homes, then issue “no [effective] knock” warrants or make a faulty entrance in an "open carry" state, and regularly let the government avoid responsibility. While reactive violence is almost never the correct response, justice can be vacated just so many times before people begin to think it is unattainable, and they resist the charade.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca

***

To the Editor:
Fillmore women, please be on high alert...
I was on my way home right now, and everything seemed normal as usual. I was even on the phone with my mom and I had just told her that I was less than a block away from home, everything was fine.
There was little to no traffic and I got all green lights. About a block and a half from my house, (East Fillmore) at the stop light next to Fillmore High School a greyish 4 door Nissan/ Toyota pulled up extremely close to my rear bumper. Thinking nothing of it I continued to head home. After making a right turn I noticed the car was staying right behind me at an uncomfortable proximity. I continued on my way and ended up at the front of my house believing that the car would continue on their way and pass me. Not the case. The car slowly pulled behind me and entered into a parked position. I could here the occupant of the vehicle on his phone speaking loudly to somebody. He had them on his car speaker, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. He flashed his head lights into my car and remained behind me.
Since I live on a corner house, it was completely out of the norm for this someone to park anywhere near my house at this hour. (10:45 at night)
I locked my car doors and called my husband to open the front door for me. As soon as my husband came out and stood on our front porch, the car sped off and left.
According to my husband, he saw the car pull up from our dining room window and was just as confused to see someone pull up so close behind me.
Like I said, as soon as the driver of the grey car saw my husband, he drove off...this was too coincidental for someone to be a random person pulling over to google directions.
Please be aware of your surroundings, ladies.
Predators are in our hometown and they’re out looking tonight.
Sincerely,
Concerned Fillmore Citizen