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