Today is the day!

Well, today is the day. Get out and vote if you haven’t already.

If you haven’t already made up your mind, I hope you vote for me, Jamey Brooks, Sandy Pella, Clay Westling and Grace Donahue.

I think most of you are aware of the issues and understand how we got to where we are as far as the sewer/water bills, sales tax agreements and over-dependence on Redevelopment debt. If you are informed, I believe you will vote accordingly – voting for the people who have fought for Fillmore residents all along. Us.

I believe you will vote for the candidates who are not funded by secret special interests.

But, there are a lot of people in our community who are unaware of how we got to where we are. The opposition candidates supported by Campbell’s secret PAC have based their campaign on lying to the voters about these issues.

The bottom line is, do you want elected officials who are willing to deceive you to get into office, or take money that has strings attached? I don’t.

 

 

How to Buy an Election

I was at an event last week and this subject came up. When those at the event learned of this PAC/ 501 (c) 4 in Fillmore, they were shocked. How could a little town like Fillmore have something like that?

There have already been sent 11 12 13 offensive and misleading mailers and we will probably get more this week. So if they send out 15 mailers at about $4,000 each that’s $60,000. Plus they have conducted two telephone polls and have a paid full-time political consultant.

Who is paying for this? As you may now know, the 501 (c) 4 does not have to disclose its donors so there are special outside interest who want to control Fillmore.

Update: According to the FPPC regulations 501c4’s do have to list their donors – it’s just that Campbell is not doing it.  His failure to comply with state law allows for the donors to remain anonymous until after the election when people may then realize what their vote actually cost. 

Fillmore is definitely going through a power struggle. I think it has been ongoing since before my time, but when I was elected in 2008 it seems as if those who were not in control anymore didn’t take it well. They have spent the last four years and more, aided by the Fillmore Gazette, in an unprecedented offensive of slander, libel and twisting the truth so that the public is confused and misinformed.

Is this what we want for our community? A local government captured and controlled by lies and special interests?

If you want honest, ethical and responsible government, please vote for me, Jamey Brooks and Sandy Pella for City Council. I am also supporting Clay Westling for City Clerk and Grace Donahue for Treasurer.

Thank you,

Gayle

 

The latest junk mail and more…

Just wanted to touch base and update you all on election information. You have probably received the malicious and misleading mailers sent out by “Communities Together” secret PAC. Many of you have contacted me and expressed your distaste. It is disappointing that Fillmore citizens are subjected to this much unnecessary divisiveness. We are the only city who has this sort of thing for a local election. It makes you wonder who is willing to spend that much money and what is the agenda.

Many of you have also contacted me to ask for signs. I apologize, but we are out of signs. Someone has removed nearly all of my signs! We don’t know if it’s the opposition camp or just kids but it is disturbing.

I want to thank all of you for your support and contributions. All candidates are required to file campaign finance reports detailing their contributions and expenses. They can be viewed at the City Clerk’s office any time. Know who is funding the candidates. My campaign is funded by citizens and I do not accept contributions from developers or other special interests. If you would like a copy of my report please let me know and I will email you a copy.

The mailers and advertising are expensive. Our opponents have tens of thousands to spend on mailers but they are not reporting who is paying for their mailers. I believe they have sent out about nine mailers to date – a lot of money!

For the record, here is the FYI on the latest, the “$131,000 gone and you’re paying for it” mailer.

These were delinquencies from 2002-1008. They were incurred before I got on the council and should have been handled long ago. Our staff has been diligently trying to collect but most have moved. So, what we voted last week to do – and it wasn’t just me, it was a unanimous vote from the council – is to hire a collection agency to collect the debt. The list of delinquencies was included in the agenda and staff has asked that if anyone has knowledge of the whereabouts of anyone on the list to please let them know. If you would like a copy of the list please contact me.

And how deceptive is this statement on that same mailer? “Washburn kept water rates high for residents, wrote off unpaid bills for special interests and continued the policies that lead to the sewer bonds being downgraded by creditors.

Gosh, where to begin? First, the water rates are set by the entire council and of course no one wants to raise them. However, did you know there are about three leaks per week on our older lines? We are raising money to pay for the line replacements rather than incurring more bond debt which costs more due to the extra millions in interest we have to pay.

As far as write offs for special interests, no telling what that means. The list is available and there are no special interests that I can see.

As far as continuing policies that lead to downgraded bonds, this is really shameful since we begged the council at the time not to pursue those bonds. We knew the community could not afford this sewer plant or the financing! They refused to check out the alternatives we suggested.

Who knows what they will come up with next but it will be misleading and untruthful so please contact us to put the record straight. Gayle: 524-7313 or Jamey: 796-3671.

The Fillmore Chamber of Commerce and One Step a la Vez are hosting a candidate debate 6:30 pm, Wednesday at city hall. I hope you can make it. Your support is important and it is also important to know where the candidates stand on the issues.

Debate Highlights…

I hope you got a chance to attend or watch the city council debate forum last Wednesday. In case you didn’t, it is being rebroadcast on Channel 10 every day at 12:00pm and 3:00 pm.

As I stated in my statements, I believe I am the most experienced candidate and that will be a necessity in the next budget cycle.  Here is why:

None of the opponents; Minjares, Tucker and Neal, had any ideas about the budget other than “conducting forensic audits”, insinuating that there is hidden money in the budget. The budget is audited every year by a certified accounting firm. I was considering a forensic audit for the sewer construction costs a few years ago and staff advised if would cost upwards of $200,000.  I knew we did not have the discretionary funds. There is no hidden money in the budget and trying to find some hidden money to solve the budget deficit is “magical thinking”.

We need specific ideas to generate more revenue and continue reducing expenses!

The ONE thing that will be the most effective in addressing our current budget situation is to resolve the ongoing sales tax agreement litigation. These agreements entered into by a previous administration in 2003, prompted the state legislature to prohibit future agreements due to millions in tax revenue leaving the state. Resolving the lawsuits should provide additional revenue that the State Board of Equalization has been holding.

We also need to reduce the operating costs of the sewer plant. Minjares, Tucker and Neal don’t want to change the current contract. Jamey Brooks and I DO. We have consistently been opposed to the sewer plant but it was too late to fix it when we got elected. While we knew that the city had to build a sewer plant, we knew we did not have to build THAT size or type of plant. We knew that there had not been an economic analysis of the impact of the rates on the residents and businesses. We are currently paying for 25% more flow rate than we produce, but the current contract has NO provision for lower flow rates! That’s a bad contract and it needs to be changed.

The debate did substantiate there was a “beef” about the cell tower. This question was asked by the audience. If you remember, we requested that there be a city council public hearing on the item to allow a greater opportunity for the public to learn about the cell tower than one Planning Commission hearing. In fact, the head of the Planning Department felt there would be a community concern on the height and placement of the tower, so instead of keeping the decision in-house, he made an executive decision to move it up to the Commission.  That is typical for most cities. Former Planning Commissioner Tucker and former Planning staff Minjares revealed that they created the controversy because it was their project. These two were more concerned with “protecting their turf” than they were about the public’s right to know about the cell tower. They need to remember that we are here to serve the public, not to protect their turf or to prevent a public hearing because they don’t like a council member! They didn’t complain in 2006 when that city council rejected their decision on the North Fillmore Specific Plan!

Junk Mail…

This election year will be a bigger challenge than usual with the new “Super PAC” non-profit created by Roger Campbell to help get his candidates elected. If you read the article in the Ventura Star last week, you know that the funding for this group is secret and he does not have to report the amounts or the donors

In addition, last Saturday voters received a “hit piece” mailer talking about the “push poll” taken a few weeks ago. If you got the poll, you know the questions were designed to cast a negative light on the Council. But the poll questions and Campbell’s flyer are false and misleading

Then today, another hit piece arrived, this time making such outrageous and bizarre statements that it is shocking to see how untruthful and misleading the opposition campaign is going to b

The latest lies:

  • “Blew through $5 million since taking office”:  What does this mean? The city budget this year is $18.6 million. It just doesn’t make sense.
  • “Raised water/sewer rates”. Jamey and I spent two years trying to stop the sewer plant because we knew the devastating impact it would have on the community. They didn’t listen and now they want to blame us? That doesn’t make sense either.
  • “Replaced long term staff with high-priced consultants”. The city has always used consultants for specialized issues. We currently have one consultant, who is filling in for three positions on a fixed monthly rate that is about a fourth of what those positions were paid. In addition the city payroll has gone from $4.2 million in 2008 to $2.5 million today. A 40% cost reduction!
  • “Paid their city manager a record-high salary”: As the record will show, Jamey and I both voted “NO” on accepting the city manager salary package. We both expressed that our vote was not a reflection of not supporting the city manager or her qualifications, but we disagreed with the salary package that was negotiated. In addition, the city manager was the first and only employee to voluntarily reduce her salary and benefits when she recognized the economic challenges facing the city.

So, be prepared for more of the expensive, secretly funded hit mailers to arrive in your mailbox. We are always available to answers questions to put the record straight. Gayle: 524-7313 or Jamey: 796-3671.

The candidate debate will be at city hall this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. I hope you can make it. It is your opportunity to ask questions. It is important to know the positions of the candidates. Please share this information with your friends and family.

Is this in our future?

Rio Vista hopes voters approve Measure O

By Paula King/ Contra Costa Timesthereporter.com
Posted: 09/07/2012 01:07:25 AM PDT

The passage of a three-quarter cent sales-and-use tax measure on the November ballot is crucial to retaining key city services in Rio Vista, according to city officials in the struggling Delta community.

Rio Vista Interim City Manager Joseph Tanner said that if Measure O fails in the upcoming election, the city will have to consider cutting critical services such as its fire department or operating without a city manager permanently. As the former city manager who recommended bankruptcy for Vallejo, Tanner said that Rio Vista will have to determine if it can continue to be a city at that point.

Read more here…

City Manager to accept new position

City Manager, Yvonne Quiring, has accepted another position in Northern California. While I am happy for Yvonne and she will be closer to family, it will be difficult for us to replace her. I can’t imagine too many City Managers who could have weathered some of the challenges she has faced. Our economic and legal challenges have created an extra layer of work, while at the same time the 50% reduction in staff levels means that employees have to take on double the tasks and responsibilities. Yet, the work is still getting done. I am grateful to all employees for hanging in during these difficult times. This is the new reality for many workers.

Read more here…

Fillmore city manager announces departure

Everybody’s talkin’…

…about Fillmore’s palm trees, that is.

Several Southern California news outlets, including Channel 7 and the L. A. Times have been reporting on Fillmore’s new “anytown” look. Could you tell the difference driving up Central Avenue? The filming and location companies certainly have.

Fillmore Film Commissioners Catherine Frias, left, and Pat Couse, right, pose for a portrait on a section of Central Avenue in downtown Fillmore, Ca. where 26 palm trees were removed on August 30, 2012. The palms were removed to lure more Hollywood productions to the area and make the town look like any town USA and not just California or Florida. (Anne Cusack/ Los Angeles Times)]

Palms down, Fillmore is now more Hollywood-friendly

By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles TimesSeptember 3, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Nothing says easy, breezy Southern California like a palm tree — but in Fillmore, the Southern California icon has been unfronded.

Eager for an infusion of Hollywood cash, the Ventura County agricultural town has taken down 26 queen palms, a tree that has lined downtown streets since 1940.

Officials wanted to give film and TV producers a generic, small-town setting that could stand in for Iowa, Indiana or anywhere else in palm-free America. So one July night, a landscaper revved up his chain saws in the heart of the city’s quaint downtown and, soon after, the Fillmore Film Commission — its slogan is “Film More in Fillmore” — announced the move in an email blast to location scouts. (continued)

Reading this week

I just finished a great book this morning. The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins. It was a great read but I have to confess it has sat on my book pile for over a year! I recommend it. John Perkins also wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, another fantastic read. Both are rated 4 stars on Amazon.

Decision 2012

Well, we’re off to another election year. Check back here for updates on city council meetings, campaign event notices and daily musings in the life of a Mayor and candidate.

Found out that all campaign committees are required to have the election year appended to the committee name. So my campaign is now Gayle Washburn for City Council 2012. It requires an amended Form 410. Lots of paperwork for candidates.