Steve Sojka at Cajun Festival 2010

Sometimes, volunteering for charity means getting your hands a little dirty.  Steve Sojka warned me about that right before he shook my hand at the center stage beer booth at the Simi Valley Cajun Festival this afternoon.  Steve Sojka, Candidate for Simi Valley Mayor, was serving beer to raise money for the Simi Valley Police Foundation.  The Simi Valley Police Foundation provides financial assistance to the Simi Valley Police Department to enhance existing programs (or fund non-existing programs) in an effort to maintain the best in public safety.

For those who don’t know how proactive Steve Sojka is regarding his support of the Simi Valley Police Foundation and the Rotary Club, here’s some documented evidence that the man is willing to get his hands a little dirty (or beery?).

Q&A With Mike Judge – Simi Valley City Council Candidate

If you followed the Simi Valley election in 2008, then you already know Mike Judge.  He ran a good race for a newcomer, ranking well in the final vote count with 17% of the votes.  Other newcomers scored 8%, 6% and 3% of the total votes.  I saw a lot of signs for Mike Judge and heard more buzz about him in the community than any other newcomers in the race.

Mike Judge has been a police officer for the LAPD for 20 years, has been a long time resident of the City of Simi Valley where he and his wife are raising three children, and is a self-described “conservative, law and order, pro-business candidate.” I asked him some straightforward questions the other day which he answered promptly so that I can share his remarks with you.

Vote Simi Valley: Both Glen Becerra and Michelle Foster are running for re-election.  Is your campaign specifically targeting one of the incumbents, or are you asking the voters to simply elect you to one of the open seats?

Mike Judge: I have entered the election process for Simi Valley City Council because I want to serve my city.  I am sure that all  of the candidates, including the incumbents,  will be sharing their ideas and goals in order to win the support of the voters.  Our city is facing many challenges in this time of a weak  economy. Every citizen and business is looking for solutions from community leaders to lead the city in the right direction. Over the next several months, serious discussion and debate of those issues by all the candidates should take place.

This upcoming election is not about the incumbents, the status quo or the typical political tactics of the past.  People across the country (including Simi Valley) are unhappy with government’s rapid growth and spending.  The voters of Simi Valley will decide what type of leaders will be best for their families and their businesses.

Vote Simi Valley
: In local elections, name recognition is an important asset.  How do you plan to “get your name out” to the Simi Valley voters?

Mike Judge: In the past, name recognition was important but an informed electorate will ultimately elect their leaders for specific reasons, not popularity.   I do believe that people are more interested in learning about the candidates today than ever before. Ideas, character and integrity should be the foundation of the voter’s decision making process.  It is my job to inform the voters of Simi Valley of my background, commitment and my recommendations in moving the city in the right direction. I will do everything possible to reach and inform the people of Simi Valley.

Vote Simi Valley
: How will the Simi Valley City Council be better or more effective with Mike Judge as a Councilmember?

Mike Judge: This upcoming election is not about whether the City Council will be better or more effective.  This election is all about moving Simi Valley in a positive direction. Government is not the solution to our economic problems. Government is the problem… Leadership is the solution.  Leaders must be dedicated and committed in improving the opportunities for our people and businesses to prosper. My hope is to become one of those leaders.

Thanks for participating, Mike.  I look forward to chatting with you more during the course of your campaign.  Good luck!

Michelle Foster’s Campaign Website is Live

Michelle Foster, Simi Valley

Michelle Foster, Simi Valley City Councilwoman

Michelle Foster is seeking another four years on the Simi Valley City Council and her campaign has begun with a brand new website at and a Facebook page. Like Glen Becerra, Michelle Foster is a well-liked and well supported incumbent who, in my novice opinion, stands a strong chance of being reelected.

I’ve been fortunate to have a handful of conversations with many of the City Councilmembers, but I have rarely crossed paths with Michelle Foster.  I both attend and watch City Council meetings online and I believe Foster serves the community well.  I would prefer that Simi Valley opted for special elections to fill vacant Council seats, but I’m glad they appointed her (she was appointed when Mayor Miller’s seat was opened when he was elected Mayor and she has since been reelected by voters).

I’m curious to know others’ thoughts on Michelle Foster and hope to have an opportunity to speak to her before election day.

Find out more about Michelle Foster’s campaign, read the latest news and announcements and find out about campaign events at

Simi Valley Cajun Festival 2010

This Memorial Day weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30, is the Simi Valley Cajun Festival. In case you haven’t heard (and it’s likely that most people have heard), the Cajun Festival is an annual event in Simi Valley where attendees can enjoy music and entertainment, unique food and drinks, talent shows, shopping and family friendly activities and fun.

The event is put on by the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise and it happens to be an incredibly successful fundraiser.  The Rotary donates to familiar Simi Valley organizations like the Simi Boys and Girls Club, The Free Clinic, The Simi Valley Education Foundation and the Simi Valley Police Foundation.  The love is shared beyond Simi Valley, with benefits going to the American Cancer Society and The Rotary Foundation, just to name a few.

For those of you interested in the Simi Valley political scene, you’ll see some familiar faces at the Cajun Festival.  Last year, I spotted Mayor Paul Miller browsing the vendor booths.  Councilman Steve Sojka and Candidate for Simi Valley Mayor was working the beverage booth last year and sold me a beer! I also saw Councilwoman Michelle Foster at the Cajun Festival last year chatting with fellow Rotarians.  And though I didn’t actually see him last year, Candidate for Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber was likely there as well, and will surely be there this weekend because he, like the Mayor and Councilmembers mentioned, is a member of the Simi Valley Rotary Club.

The event is a real blast.  I attend every year, and do my level best to recruit as many friends as associates as I can to join us for some fun in an energetic, cheery environment. It’s always fun.  Go there this weekend and have a good time.  Bring your cameras!  You WILL see our Simi Valley leadership putting their campaigns on hold and coming together to do a lot of good and raise a lot of money for worthy charities.  I’ll see you there!

Glen Becerra Campaign Kickoff

A few days ago, I mentioned a couple of campaign events. One of those was Glen Becerra’s official campaign kick-off. I hadn’t anticipated being able to attend this event, but when my sister agreed to watch the kids, we charged the camera and made our way there. What a night!

There was something very intoxicating about the environment. Aside from the breathtaking view on the beautiful property, it was really moving to be among so many Glen Becerra supporters.  I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I can tell you that every single person there was really excited about seeing Glen Becerra reclaim his seat for another four years.

People from all walks of life support Glen Becerra.  I saw Cameron Smyth, State Assemblyman, as well as Jeff Gorell who is the favorite for State Assembly (replacing Audra Strickland).  I saw many familiar Simi Valley business owners from my past life as a networking member of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce.  I saw friends, neighbors and even Glen Becerra’s brother.  I even saw a gentleman named Bob Daggs who owned a large, successful manufacturing company where I used to work years ago. It was at that company where I transitioned from an accounting clerk to a Marketing Specialist, learning my way through website development, ultimately launching the career I have today.

Glen Becerra has a very strong following in Simi Valley. I had a lot of good things to say about him last summer when he published an ad in the LA Daily News in an effort to make the best of an opportunity.  This evening, I heard a lot of other people having a lot of good things to say about him as well.

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher

Huber & Sojka on Who Will Win

I was 18 years old when I sat across from a friend of mine in the Simi Valley Denny’s listening to my 18 year old friend contemplate running for Mayor of Simi Valley.  “I should do it,” he told me. “The Simi Valley Mayor is almost never contested.  If I run a good campaign, I might win.”  He didn’t run, though.  He had too much respect for city government to run for Mayor just because he could.

I always remember those conversations from so many years ago because we always wanted to see our community express a stronger interest in local government.  Even at that young age, we wanted to see a true race for Simi Valley Mayor.  Well, we’ve got one this time… and this is tough!  These candidates are both compelling and worthy.  So who will win?

I asked the candidates that question directly and got their opinion. Let’s start with Bob Huber.

Vote Simi Valley: Why do you believe you’re going to win this election?

Bob Huber: Our city is at a crossroads financially.  The state is financially upside down and, unfortunately, other public entities are dependant to a certain extent on the state’s stability.

I believe I will win the mayor’s race because of my proven record of leadership over many decades in Simi Valley and the fact that it is well known that I listen to people and respect their ideas.

When the people go to the polls in November they will have had an in depth comparison to actual candidate innovation and accomplishments.  After comparison, it will be apparent that I listen to people and actually deliver for them and not just talk about delivery at election time.

It is common knowledge when we judge the future leadership actions of any individual we look to the actual past actions and record of the person.

I have been elected the president or chair of six organizations in our community including the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, Simi Valley Community Foundation, YMCA, Boy Scouts, Rotary Club and Methodist Church Board.  I founded or co-founded the Simi Valley Senior Center, Simi Valley Education Foundation, Simi Valley Leadership and the Mayor’s Charity Dinner.

I am known as an innovative person in the community.  As a city councilman, I initiated 1) the City’s Affordable Housing program providing affordable housing for our seniors and young people; 2) the City’s Tree Preservation Ordinance to stop developers from destroying our mature trees; 3) the official City Historian Position to insure our heritage is preserved and 4) the City’s original “Shop Simi Valley” program.

Additionally, I fought for the passage of the Hillside Performance Standards and led the successful election fight to keep developers from building condos on the hills.  I also led the ballot fight to keep organized gambling out of Simi Valley.

Our number one challenge during the next mayor’s term will be to keep our city fiscally sound in spite of the state’s fiscal crisis.

I will bring to the mayor’s job a solid proven background of successful and responsible fiscal management and leadership that listens.

When I was a city councilman I initiated the city’s Citizens Advisory Committee which brought the citizens at the grass roots level into the process of solving the financial crisis imposed on the city after the passage of Proposition 13.  I have a proven record of actually leading the city through a financial crisis such as the one we now face.

I have forty years of financial experience.  My college degree is in business administration.  I have started and operated two businesses from scratch here in Simi Valley.

I will hold monthly open house meetings at City Hall to hear citizens’ concerns regarding city priorities.  I am committed to bringing city government closer to the people it serves.

I was elected Chair of the College District Board and have served as chair the past two years.  The College District runs Moorpark College, Oxnard College and Ventura College with a budget over twice the size of the city’s budget.

I believe it is critical in these precarious financial times to have someone leading our city that has actual hands on experience at the top running the organization.  My opponent does not have that experience.

I believe the voters will agree with me that actual hands on experience is critical in these troubled times and will elect me mayor based on my proven leadership experience.

I asked Steve Sojka the same question.

Vote Simi Valley: Why do you believe you’re going to win this election?

Steve Sojka: Because the love I have for Simi Valley and its residents will push me to work harder than anyone else in this election.  I have prepared for this by serving in our community for the past 25 years and on our City Council for the past 12 years and have the experience and knowledge to lead Simi Valley into a great future.  Having the support of Mayor Paul Miller and the entire City Council, the majority of the Planning Commission, the majority of the School Board and the majority of the Park Board demonstrates my ability to work with others and build consensus on improving Simi Valley for all of our residents.

What do you think?

Upcoming Simi Valley Campaign Events

There are two major events coming up within the next several days so I wanted to put them out there.  I was curious to know who plans to attend.

Glen Becerra has his first major event this Saturday, May 22nd.  The announcement is as follows:

The Becerra for City Council 2010 Campaign’s first major fund-raiser is this Saturday, May 22, 2010, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the amazing home of Ed and Madeleine Landry. This is the estate nestled in the Simi Hills visible as you enter Simi Valley from the east.

Not many locals have had an opportunity to see Simi Valley from this vantage point, so for that reason and many others, this is not an event to miss!

Individual tickets are still available, for $100, or $150 per couple and you can pay at the door, just shoot us an email to let us know your coming. Details are online by clicking here.

Steve Sojka’s campaign also has something planned in approximately two weeks:

Please hold the date and join Mayor Paul Miller as he hosts many other community leaders for a sunset cocktail reception in support of Steve Sojka for Mayor, set for Thursday, June 3, 6:30 p.m. at Hummingbird Nest Ranch, 2940 Kuehner Drive. Please RSVP by May 31 by calling (805) 660-7695. California casual attire. For more information about the campaign, please visit the Sojka for Mayor website.

I’d like to attend both events, but I’m pretty sure Glen Becerra’s event won’t be possible for me.  I’ve heard the view from that home is amazing, so I’m sorry I’ll be missing it.

If anyone has any details on campaign events from other candidates, please let me know and I’ll post them here!