Hummingbird Ranch – Almost Commercially Zoned

Saperstein’s Hummingbird Nest Ranch has begun the process of its commercial rezoning efforts and Simi Valley City Council has responded favorably, to no one’s surprise.  This from the Ventura County Star:

The Simi Valley City Council on Monday night heard a prescreening for an application to turn the 123-acre private property near Kuehner Road and Highway 118 into Hummingbird Nest Resort and Spa.

The main components — 42 new casita buildings, a new fitness facility and spa with swimming pools — were more than good enough to move the process along Monday night.

This project became of interest to me personally months ago when campaign funding questions were raised, a controversy that has since fizzled.

David Saperstein, owner of Hummingbird Nest Ranch, donated thousands of dollars to the Miller and Sojka campaigns as “bundled” donations, meaning they exceeded campaign donation limits but were donated under the names of multiple family members, each at the maximum donation rate. For details, see this article on financial filings.  Both Miller and Sojka returned the funds after they were re-elected stating that it would be inappropriate to keep the donations considering Saperstein has a project scheduled to come before the council.

Influence probably wasn’t necessary, as Simi Valley leaders fell in love with the property and its owners almost as soon as it came to life.  And the quotes in The Star by Glen Becerra and former mayor Bill Davis clearly indicate the level of enthusiasm.

“Come back and knock our socks off,” said Councilman Glen Becerra.

Former Simi Valley Mayor Bill Davis spoke out in favor of the project.

“This has the potential of being one of the nicest facilities in the country,” Davis said.

As a believer in making strategic decisions during rough economic times, I can see the positive fiscal impact of the proposed project on Simi Valley and can see this moving forward rapidly.  If you believe otherwise, please share your thoughts here.

No Coverage of State of City Address

One event that I look forward to regularly is the State of the City Address sponsored by the Simi Valley Chamber, presented by Mayor Paul Miller. In better economic times, I recall being very moved and excited about the months to come. While the economic climate has shifted and the city recently adjusted for a $3 million budget reduction, I’m just as eager to hear what’s going on. Considering my recent “interactive” nature, I’d like very much to bring my camera and microphone to share the event with the people who subscribe to my content. But it’s not going to happen. Here’s the scoop:

The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce will once again host the Mayor’s State of the City Address. The Annual State of the City Address will be presented to the Chamber membership on Friday, February 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Grand Vista Hotel. The Mayor’s address will provide an overview of City Departments and City Projects. “We appreciate and look forward to the opportunity to present the State of the City and to share in detail how our City is doing. We are all facing challenging times and this event will allow the City Council to provide information and to gain input from our businesses and residents to ensure that we are doing our best job to meet the challenges on behalf of the community,” said Mayor Paul Miller.

There are lots of people who are interested in what goes on here and want to witness it for themselves.  These events cater to elite members of the community, business owners and members of the Chamber of Commerce, so the average Simi Valley citizen cannot attend this middle-of-the-day event.  I think it’s important to see and hear these things for yourself, to be present for tone of voice and hear quotes in context.  But most people most directly impacted by the state of city affairs, the citizens, will be hard at work at their day jobs.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at the following levels: Table Sponsors – $600 for a table of eight or $350 for a table of four. Sponsors will receive preferred seating, table placard, acknowledgement in the Chamber’s Mid Month Mailer and the event program. Tickets are $40 for members and $55 for non-members.

As a business owner and member of the Chamber of Commerce, I’ll invest the $40 to learn more about where things stand with the City of Simi Valley.  However, I’ve tried to bring my camera and microphone to Chamber sponsored events, and it’s a no-go, so unfortunately, most of the rest of us will have to read about it in the newspaper.  If you plan on being there as well, please let me know and perhaps we can meet up afterward to discuss.