Mitch Green: Simi’s Leaders are all Republican

In a letter to the editor today in the Simi Valley Acorn, Mitch Green points out that all of Simi Valley’s leaders in City Hall are Republicans. The letter appears as follows:

I was watching the April 12 Simi Valley City Council meeting, and the thought struck me that every single person on the dais was a Republican. The mayor, each council member, the city manager and the city attorney, all Republicans.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with being a Republican or the Republican point of view, unless you’re not a Republican and unless you don’t share a Republican point of view. In that case, your voice is not heard and your views don’t count.

So why allow this to continue? There is no reason that other points of view should be shut out of city hall.

In the upcoming City Council and mayoral race, every single candidate who has announced an intention to run for office, except me, is a Republican.

Come on, folks, if your views are shut out of city hall, step up to bat and run for office or get behind someone who shares your views. Do your civic duty and let other points of view be heard.

I hope I don’t come off as naive, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything from City Council come off as blatantly partisan.  Further, of the City Council meetings I’ve attended, I can’t say I’ve ever seen one that came off suggesting that anyone’s views are “shut out of city hall.”

I would be curious to hear others’ thoughts on this.

Also, who is Mitch Green?  Is he running for City Council like his letter suggests?  Has anyone seen his official announcement if he is?  I’d be interested in learning more. UPDATE: Mitch Green is the assistant city attorney who announced his candidacy early this year.

Bob Huber for Mayor – Part 1 of 3

Click here for thoughts on the Bob Huber for Mayor Campaign

Bob Huber is a well respected local businessman and an active member of the Simi Valley community.  He’s also running for Simi Valley mayor.  I’ve asked both candidates a series of questions, both of whom have now responded.  It’s important to note that Bob Huber has requested to meet with me in person to answer questions face to face, but our schedules have not yet lined up.  Bob was generous enough to submit his answers to me before a meeting took place, and I sincerely thank him for that — his preference was to meet me before submitting responses.

Simi Valley voters have expressed concern about the state of our local economy.  One concern is related to local businesses.  I asked both candidates a question about businesses in Simi Valley closing and Bob Huber submitted the following response.

Vote Simi Valley: What do you say to voters who express concern regarding the closure of businesses in Simi Valley?

Bob Huber: It is very unfortunate we have business closures in our city.  We must strengthen our business community and that requires a proactive attitude at City Hall.  I started two businesses from scratch here in Simi Valley.  First, my mortuary which I operated nine years in the building which now houses the Cultural Arts Center.  My second business is my law office, where I have been at the same Simi Valley location for the past twenty-eight years.  During that period I have advised business people, incorporated businesses, and strategized with business owners.  I intimately know business concerns and wishes first hand.

I have been in the forefront of working with and for Simi Valley business for four decades.  I have served twice as President of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce.  I personally wrote the Industrial Commercial Resolution that was adopted by both the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce, which started the city’s original outreach for jobs and businesses.  For several years I served as a charter Commissioner on the five member Industrial Commercial Development Commission appointed by the city council to bring jobs and businesses to Simi Valley.  The other members serving as commissioners were the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, City Manager, Chamber of Commerce Manager plus myself.

I personally initiated the original Shop Simi Valley Campaign when I was a councilman.  Unfortunately, the city dropped the ball and let the program die after I left the council.  As an example, part of the original program, we placed signs on all our city buses promoting “Shop Simi Valley” – in fact, we had a community wide contest for the slogan on the buses.  A gentleman by the name of Doug Crosse won the contest.  His slogan placed on all the buses was – “Bus to the Best – Shop Simi Valley.”

The city needs to make a better effort to use local Simi Valley businesses for its own expenditures of goods and services.  As mayor, I will step up the process of local business utilization.

Our city has a well-known reputation of not being friendly to people who want to open a business, expand a business or remodel a business here.  This is verified by talking to the business owners and contractors who have dealt with City Hall.  This problem has been here for many years, during both good and bad economic times. We need to actually cut the red tape at city hall, not just talk about it at election time.  If we want people to have their businesses in Simi Valley, we need to make it easy for them to operate.

An example of city red tape, recently a city bureaucrat abruptly shut down a local business over the question of whether or not a permit was required to make some internal changes.  An overzealous city employee prematurely shut this business down when a mere warning to get a permit would have been sufficient.  This was an extreme anti-business action.  I had to intervene on behalf of this business and the business was allowed to continue within four hours.  This anti-business attitude by the city needs to be changed.  The city needs to be more business friendly.

We also need to be more proactive attracting business to Simi Valley.  As mayor, I will personally work with business people who want to come to Simi Valley.  This approach works very well in Texas where the governor takes a hands on personal approach to attracting businesses by dealing directly with the business owners and streamlining the process – as mayor I will do the same and not rely solely on city staff as the Council does now.

Based on the concept of the late Assemblyman Nao Takasugi, as mayor I will create a “Red  Team” for the City of Simi Valley.  The members will be from the Chamber of Commerce, the City bankers, the economic sector and professionals in the creation of economic growth.  The purpose is for the volunteers of the “Red Team” to meet with business owners who are thinking of moving out of the city or closing their businesses.  They will advise about grants, loans, government and private assistance available.  The “Team” will also be able to advise about problems facing the business that can be resolved and save the businesses and jobs for Simi Valley.

I announced at my press conference on February 8, as Mayor I will hold monthly open house public meetings at City Hall.  Obviously, as a multiple business owner here in Simi Valley, the well being and success of our business community will be a constant and on-going topic of discussion when I am mayor.

I sincerely thank Bob Huber for participating and gladly commit publicly to meeting with him face to face in the near future.  Read more about Bob Huber’s campaign for Mayor of Simi Valley by visiting his website at www.huberformayor.com

This Week – Q&A with Bob Huber

Bob Huber has answered some questions regarding his campaign for Simi Valley Mayor.  Bob is a popular candidate with good intentions for the city.  He’s interested in communicating with the voters on the issues.  His preference was to meet with me first before submitting his answers, but our schedules haven’t yet lined up.  I intend to commit to meeting with Bob Huber in person per his request.

Check back later this week for Bob Huber’s answers to questions related to Simi Valley issues.  In the meantime, you can find out more about Bob Huber by checking his website at www.huberformayor.com

Scott Miller for Simi Valley City Council

Scott Miller intends to submit his paperwork on Monday to run for Simi Valley City Council.  I’ve known Scott for a couple of years and know that he’ll put a lot of passion into his campaign.  But I’ve also seen passion behind the work the incumbents (Michelle Foster and Glen Becerra) have done during their time in office.  I had some questions for Scott about his campaign and he was gracious enough to answer them for me.

Q: Scott, I’m curious.  What’s inspired you to run for Simi Valley City Council?  And how will your presence in City Council be better for the City than by simply re-electing the incumbents?

A: Mike, one thing is that I am not seeing enough done for the small new business person. Also, I keep hearing from young people there is nothing to do in Simi Valley. Mike, I see a synergy there someplace. I feel that I bring a different look at things. My kids go to public school. My wife is a teacher. I am a business owner who is changing the way I am doing business. There are dozens of businesses that have closed in Simi Valley, my store being one of them. I am passionate about my city. I am the guy next door. I know I will bring a different spin on things.

Q: Name recognition is an important thing in local elections.  How will you “get your name out” to Simi Valley voters?

A: Mike, I know lot of different people from all walks of life. People know me from Tutu’s Shave Ice. I have been in Simi Valley for a long time. I make a point of not being a wall flower and I enjoy talking to people. My kids and friends make fun of me because when we go out, people come up to me and start talking!

It’s true!  I’ve seen this.  A chat with Scott outside the grocery store turned into a marathon of people shouting “Hi Scott!”  People know this guy!  But will that be enough to squeeze out one of two popular City Councilmembers?  Time will tell.

Best of luck to Scott Miller on his campaign!  More to come, I’m sure!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2951370&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Scott Miller at his shop, Tutu’s Hawaiian Ice Cream Shack

Steve Sojka for Mayor – Part 1 of 3

I’ve asked both candidates for mayor a series of questions and Councilmember Steve Sojka was quick to respond. It’s important to note here that I have not yet received any answers back from candidate Bob Huber.  Mr. Huber would like to meet with me personally before answering these questions and we’ve been unable to connect.  I expect an answer to these questions from Mr. Huber in the near future and it’s worth mentioning that he’ll see Mr. Sojka’s answers before submitting his.

Simi Valley voters have expressed concern about the state of our local economy.  One concern is related to local businesses.  I asked both candidates a question about businesses in Simi Valley closing and Steve Sojka provided a thorough response.

Vote Simi Valley: What do you say to voters who express concern regarding the closure of businesses in Simi Valley?

Steve Sojka: I have the same concern regarding the closure of any business here in Simi Valley. I have been fighting for Simi Valley businesses for the past 25 years and the last 12 years as a businessman on the City Council.  Unfortunately we are experiencing the by-product of the worst economy we’ve seen in decades but I believe the worst is behind us and we’ll start to see some improvement this year.

Last month I was briefed by our Dept. of Economic Development and we examined the vacancy rate for businesses in Simi Valley and it is currently at 5% which is much better comparatively than the County or State, but is still not good enough for my hometown.  That’s why I am continuing to fight for local businesses by Chairing the Simi Valley Small Business Advisory Committee which produces the successful “Shop Simi Valley First” program educating residents on the importance of buying from local businesses.  This Committee has also provided a series of FREE Business Workshops to help local businesses navigate through items such as: Financing, Marketing, Business Plans, Permit Process etc…All in the name of helping Simi Valley Businesses grow and prosper.

I also believe that government sometimes needs to get out of the way of business and let the Free Market take hold.  I have been working hard at City Hall to streamline the Permit Process so that we can encourage entrepreneurs to expand and grow their business which ultimately provides jobs for our residents.  As Mayor, I will develop a “Business Roundtable”  which will put Business Owners, Planners, Inspectors, City Management and the Mayor all in one room to discuss ideas on becoming more business friendly and provide solutions to the hurdles that business owners face today.

Ultimately if we want to help small businesses, we need to attract big businesses here.  As Mayor of Simi Valley, I will continue working to attract and develop clean industries to Simi Valley like Hi Tech, Bio Tech, Film and Aerospace which bring with them high paying jobs that create disposable income and increases the wealth for all of Simi Valley.

My sincere thanks to Councilmember and Candidate for Simi Valley Mayor Steve Sojka.  For more information regarding his campaign, check out his newly launched website at http://www.sojkaformayor.com/

Bob Huber No Relic

Ba-ZING! That’s what you say when someone says something profound with great gusto, right?  Ba-zing?  Well, anyway… Don’t mess with this guy’s candidate! A letter to the editor of the Simi Valley Acorn from Simi Valley resident Steven Cadwell addresses Barbra Williamson’s comments about Bob Huber at Steve Sojka’s mayoral campaign announcement.  Of course, it’s important to note that Barbra didn’t specifically say she was referring to Bob Huber, but you definitely got that idea.

Barbra’s remarks were as follows:

Councilmember Barbra Williamson enumerated Sojka’s accomplishments, saying that his successes are current and ongoing, not “relics from the past”—a jab at Sojka’s challenger, local attorney Bob Huber, who last served on the council in 1984.

Williamson said she believes someone in the “45 to 54 age bracket” will be better in touch with the community’s needs than “someone whose time has come and gone.”

“I like Bob Huber, but I really like Steve Sojka,” she said with a grin, adding that the city needs “a young, up-and-coming man whose roots are firmly planted in the history of our community but also the future.”

Steven Cadwell says, no way!  Here’s his letter to the Simi Valley Acorn:

Barbra Williamson inferred at the mayor kickoff for her dear friend Steve Sojka that Bob Huber is a “relic from the past.” Curious, I went to Bob Huber’s website to verify for myself.

Well, Barbra, there is more to our city than just our city politicians.

By Williamson’s comments, anyone not currently on the City Council is irrelevant. That’s just balderdash and the people of our city know that.

Let us just look at the past three years. Bob Huber has been recognized by three unbiased organizations for his leadership since 2007.

In 2007, the Rotary Club named Huber “Rotarian of the Year.” Also in 2007, the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce named him the “Strathearn Lifetime Achievement Award” winner for his leadership in Simi Valley.

In 2009, the Ventura County Bar Association bestowed upon Huber its highest honor: The Nordman Award, which is given once a year to only one attorney in Ventura County for public service and leadership.

It sure does not sound like Bob Huber is a “relic from the past.” Incidentally, what public service recognition has Steve Sojka received in the past three years? I wish he had a website so I could verify for myself.

Additionally, for the past two years Huber has served as chair of the board of trustees of the Ventura County Community College District, which runs Moorpark College, Oxnard College and Ventura College with a budget over twice the size of our city.

Twice, Huber has been unanimously elected chair by his fellow trustees because of his leadership.

As chair of the college district, Huber, unlike Sojka, has actual hands-on experience running a public agency at the top.

Actual leadership is a must in these scary financial times. Again, it sure does not sound like Bob Huber is a “relic from the past.”

It’s up to the people of our city to pick our next mayor—not the good ol’ boy system.

Excellent letter, all good points.  I think Steven Cadwell should run for office next!

Seriously, I love Barbra Williamson. You don’t always have to agree with her, but she’s definitely not afraid to say what’s on her mind, even if the Simi Valley Acorn is there, feverishly writing down her every word!