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

12 thoughts on “Bob Huber for Mayor – Part 1 of 3

  1. Businesses are all about results, not about just doing stuff and looking busy on committees or in meetings. What did this Industrial Commercial Development Commission deliver? Tandon? Much of this response occurred so long ago, it’s irrelevant today. Michael Jackson topped the charts back then.

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  2. I think that’s just disrespectful trash talk from a Sojka supporter. If you read Sojka’s bio you’ll see he sits on committees left and right too. If you could tell me what “results” simi businesses are benefiting from coming from Steve Sojka that would be one thing.

    Huber said himself that hes been proactive with simi businesses because its part of his current business model. You don’t want that experience on your city’s executive management???

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  3. I think the message was pretty direct, but I don’t think it was intended as trash talk. I’ve heard enough of these remarks to know that Bob Huber’s time at City Council being several years ago will become an issue that he’ll need to address eventually. He’s running a serious campaign, so I’m sure he eventually will.

    As far as whether or not his efforts were effective, he seems to have a solid number of supporters who think they were:

    http://www.huberformayor.com/endorsements/

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  4. Steve Sojka’s website is chock full of supporters from Simi Valley business leaders, from Chamber of Commerce Past Presidents, Board Members and Ambassadors to Leadership Simi Valley graduates to dozens of local business owners, not to mention all the businesspersons on the Simi Valley Police Foundation and Simi Valley Education Foundation also listed:

    http://www.sojkaformayor.com/ENDORSEMENTS.html

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  5. Hi Paul,

    I haven’t heard too much from Steve Sojka’s campaign, honestly. Most of the remarks I’ve heard regarding the candidates have been from the community, online and offline.

    I agree that endorsements are relevant and important in this election, and I’ve debated with a few others on this topic (not everyone agrees with me). The truth is that both candidates have very compelling groups of supporters.

    Quite frankly, I just think it’s way too early to even predict where all this will go. My hope is both candidates will make an extraordinary effort to reach out!

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  6. Mike,

    As the city’s former Assistant City Attorney for Civil Litigation, I had the pleasure of being on the opposite side of a lawsuit from Bob for about 3 years. While we didn’t always agree (and law wouldn’t be so much fun if we always agreed), I will say that Bob came across to me as a man of honor willing to stick to his guns to the very end on an issue that he believes in. Bob is tough, he is experianced, and he is a proven fighter. If Bob is elected mayor of Simi Valley there is no doubt in my mind that he will do an excellent job of leading the city through what may be a very tough time coming up in the near future.

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  7. Thanks for asking the question, Paul T. Since there is limited space here to list all of Steve Sojka’s accomplishments the past 12 years, let us focus on one very big one that ties into the first few comments to this post.

    Steve Sojka is the City’s representative on the Ventura County Transportation Commission. Right now in town, particularly on the center-west side, you might notice when you drive under freeway overpasses that the lanes swerve kind of strangely. That’s because Caltrans is widening the 118 freeway.

    That project is vitally important to Simi Valley for residents and businesses alike, and would not be happening right now if not for the determined work of Steve Sojka.

    You see, when the $27 million for the west portion of the overall widening project (the second phase of the 118 widening) was in jeopardy, as the state considered distributing the money elsewhere, Steve Sojka went to the State as our Simi Valley representative on the Transportation Commission and not only secured the funding, but convinced the State to move our project ahead of others.

    This is a known fact. If you have not heard it, you either are not very informed, or you are only hearing what you wish or choose to hear.

    Now the freeway is being widened so Simi Valley residents can enjoy better movement through town — and businesses will benefit greatly also.

    I could go on and on and on with several other accomplishments, but that’s for the campaign. Keep visiting Steve’s website at http://www.sojkaformayor.com and I’m sure much more will be added in the weeks and months ahead.

    PS: In 1983 when Bob Huber was on the City Council, 16 people died in traffic fatalities on Simi Valley streets — the most in the City’s history. Many, many people died in cars and on motorcycles in Simi Valley that year. Lots of bloodshed and tears, lives shattered. The leadership shown in response? Mr. Huber chose not to run for re-election.

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  8. I heard a speech at an opening day where someone said Steve Sojka was involved with helping the process to get those great new softball fields built at Big Sky Park. And I saw something where Steve Sojka worked with Simi Youth Baseball and the Reagan Library for the PONY World Series last summer. He’s obviously done a lot for local youth sports programs.

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  9. What has Steve Sojka accomplished in the last 12 years? If you have to ask that question then you haven’t been paying attention…

    Public Safety
    Steve has served on the Police Foundation for the past 12 years and as its President in 2002. He has contributed thousands of hours and dollars to the PF to help support the public safety of SV. Steve along with Paul Miller were the ones that helped develop and implement our Citizens Patrol which are extra eyes and ears for our Police Dept. Steve was the Chairman of the SWAT day at the Town Center which raised thousands of dollars to help our SWAT team compete at the Nationals in Colorado. Steve personally donated $5,000 to the PF when he was awarded Money Mailer’s National Franchisee of the Year in 2008.

    Business
    Let’s start with when he first joined the Council, he spearheaded the creation of the office of Economic Development at City Hall to assist SV Businesses in navigating through the permit process while also to attracting clean industries to SV that bring with them high paying jobs. He was an active member of the SV Film Commission in the 90’s which brought filming to our Valley. In fact he is currently working on a deal to help bring Commonwealth Studios here which would bring millions of dollars in revenue and high paying jobs for SV. He also helped bring the SV Town Center here which has provided thousands of jobs and also closed a tax leakage of $3-4 million dollars a year for our city. He is Chairman of the Small Business Advisory Committee which created the Shop SV First program which not only promotes SV businesses but educates our residents on the importance of shopping local to keep our tax dollars at work for us to provide money for public safety,streets and roads and important city services.

    Traffic
    When the $27 million was in jeopardy for the second phase of the 118 fwy widening, Steve went to the State as our SV representative to the Ventura Cty. Transportation Committee and not only secured the funding but convinced the State to move our project up ahead of others so that our residents could enjoy free flowing traffic through our town. Steve is also committed to complete the synchronizing of our traffic signals to help the flow of traffic on our surface streets.

    Youth Sports
    Steve was the person responsible for bringing the Park District and the City together in working on the improvements to Simi Youth Baseball which since has not only won a number of World Series Championships but has hosted the World Series the past 2 years which has been an economic boost for our hotels and restaurants. Steve along with Glen Becerra spearheaded the efforts for the new Girls Softball Fields at Big Sky Park. They brought together the Park District, the City and the Amanda McPherson Foundation to provide one of the best Softball Complex in the nation. Steve is currently working on bringing new Football Fields to SV for Viking Football. These fields would also provide the ability to have Lacrosse Leagues in SV.

    Beautification
    Steve Co-Chaired the Design Guidelines for Residential and Commercial Development that raised the standards for the look and feel of new developments which is evident in projects such as the Kohl’s Center, Regal Center, the SV Town Center and the office building at First St. and the 118 fwy. Steve has been a great partner of mine in the beautification of SV by landscaping our street medians, the 118 fwy and the L.A. Ave. / Rail Road Track beautification project.

    I know first hand the committment Steve has given to the community over the past 12 years as your City Council Member, including making sure that no city employee looses his/her job because of budget cuts.

    Councilmember Barbra Williamson

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