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Jail Will Have Positive Benefits

The city of Santa Paula’s decision to hire a law firm to fight the county of Ventura at this late date over the placement of a jail between Santa Paula and Ventura is throwing good money after bad. Earlier efforts to stop the jail were futile. Now the City Council would have us believe that hiring lawyers will somehow magically turn the county away from this site. Wrong.

The sanctity of the greenbelt at the proposed site is hardly unblemished. Junkyards--excuse me, vehicle dismantling and recycling centers--dominate the neighboring landscape. A large vegetable processing plant looms in the foreground.

I love our greenbelt. I ride my bicycle in it nearly every day, drive to work through it and brag about it to all my big city friends. It is one of the reasons Santa Paula is such a wonderful place to live. But it will not disappear because a county jail is located within it.

It is time the council get on with business. Look to the positive aspects of having a jail facility near our community. Starting salaries for sheriff service technicians are $1,700 per month. Deputies start at almost $2,300. These are good, permanent jobs, sorely needed in this town with one of the lowest per-capita incomes in the county.

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Property values will hardly suffer as long as the rest of the greenbelt remains intact. It is even a good incentive to keep the rest of the greenbelt from becoming housing tracts: Who wants to build a house next to a jail? If the Santa Paula City Council wants to beat a dead horse, fine. But don’t use my money to buy the stick.

JAMES GILDEN

Santa Paula


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