Barbra Williamson’s Real Thoughts on Bob Huber

Several weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on a letter to the editor regarding remarks from Councilwoman Barbra Williamson about Bob Huber.  That entry can be found here.

Barbra has always been open with me on everything and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that.  She offered me this explanation on her real opinion of Bob Huber:

I’ve know Bob for many many many years.  He’s a good guy.  And you can quote me on that. Bob has given a lot to this community and never asked for anything in return.  The reason I am supporting Steve because I believe he is more in touch with what the future holds for our community.  He’s coming from a “hands on” position.  He can hit the ground running.  Bob would need some catching up and in this economy I don’t think we have time to wait.

I appreciate Barbra’s honest position on the topic, but I believe some real campaigning is required in order to win this election.  Bob Huber is a worthy candidate with a lot of support, and I asked Barbra if she agreed.  She replied as follows:

Yes, I believe Bob is a very worthy opponent and will keep Steve on his toes.  In the end, I do believe Steve will be victorious, because of his 12 years of dedication to this community.  He hasn’t left his post….Bob did after four years to further his career, where Steve has made Simi Valley his “career” by the leadership he continues to provide.

Regarding the quote in the Simi Valley Acorn and the subsequent letters to the editor in Bob Huber’s defense, Barbra feels she’s always been open about her positions on both candidates and feels the quote was taken out of context.  She submitted her own letter to the editor as follows.

Ms. Jan Gardner and Mr. Cadwell (letters, Simi Valley Acorn , April 2), please, don’t be perplexed any longer. As much as I respect Carissa Marsh’s reporting, you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.

In reviewing my “prepared” speech at Councilmember Sojka’s announcement in running for mayor, I never used the phrase “relic from the past” when referring to the other candidate(s). I not only relied on my notes but took the time to contact others in attendance who verified I did not use “relic” in any of my comments.

To quote Ms. Gardner, “Barbra said, the mayor shouldn’t be a ‘relic’ and should be between the ages of 45 and 54.”

In fact this is what I really said: “Between 2006 and 2008 the population of Simi Valley was approximately 122,000. Today it’s upwards of 125,000; of that, 98,203 residents are between the ages of 45 and 54 with only 24,683 between the ages of 55 and 85. It is my belief that someone in the age bracket of 45 to 54 is more likely to be in touch with our community than someone whose time has come . . . and gone.”

Like I said at the beginning of my prepared speech, I like Bob Huber. Funny, no one had a complaint about that part of my speech.
Barbra Williamson

And there you have it! Barbra has a clear amount of respect for Bob Huber, but maintains a strong level of support for Steve Sojka, as her recent comments on this blog suggest.

14 thoughts on “Barbra Williamson’s Real Thoughts on Bob Huber

  1. The Age Bracket of 45 – 54? Serious? Does that mean that Bill Davis and Paul Miller were out of touch with our community during the time they served? Bill and Paul’s “time has come and gone”?

    Should that reasoning of desired age bracket apply to the entire council then?



  2. Hi Ted,
    Well I think you can answer that question for yourself…Bill has come and gone…
    Paul is not running again, and well who the heck knows what I am going to do??? Maybe in two years I will re-think my 45-54 to 50 to 75.. 🙂


  3. Barbra,

    I just don’t think the age is the issue. It certainly made no difference with Bill or Paul.

    Our city has some very pressing issues like the fact that Sycamore and Cochran is on the very of becoming the next Tapo Street. Mervyns is a mess. The new Target opening will prompt the closing of the Cochran Target location at some point in the future and I have heard the rumblings of a three year exit strategy for Farmers. That would be three very large vacant buildings.

    Freeway bridges are not the answer – Simi Valley is on the road to no-where. Nothing wrong with being on the road to no-where; in fact that is why this city is so great and has maintained it’s character. When you are on the road to no-where, then you look with in and figure out how to solve your problems with logical, reasonable and practical thinking. The volume of make-up tax dollars needed are not coming from outside Simi Valley – I can’t figure out why that is so hard to understand.

    It’s time for new ideas and leadership. The question for the voters to consider is which candidate will break the mold? And the mold isn’t age.


  4. Ted Mackel’s Center of the Galaxy is the shopping center south across from the old Mervyn’s, because his family controls it as stated previously by himself last month on this website. So he will always argue the biggest issue in any election is what is best for that center, not anything else best for Simi Valley or Simi Valley residents.

    Why on Earth would Target pursue a new store on the west end when the one on Cochran is always packed? Target wants both stores, because that is what it is doing nationwide, opening many new stores all over the place, in a full-court press against Walmart. Read the news, Ted. Or, you probably do but are going argumentum ad hominem on us. Stating “The new Target opening will prompt the closing of the Cochran Target location at some point in the future” is merely self-serving.

    If Simi Valley is on the road to nowhere, the Mackels are always free to move on. That’s what’s great about America, the freedom to move to wherever you wish. But just because you can’t seem to have the business acumen to market your little center to compete well in a tough marketplace, or that you have signed on to help one candidate in a campaign, probably for pay, does not mean the rest of us have to sit around while you bash our hometown.

    There are real leaders here (like Barbra and Steve Sojka) working hard to make a great community even better, to improve traffic flow on the freeway (which helps make it easier for residents to GET to shopping centers by the way), to give residents more shopping choices and bring more jobs to town, who volunteer to get their fingernails dirty at youth sports events and who have put their names up to voters at re-election time in “job performance reviews” and who have passed.

    Steve Sojka has passed two job performance reviews before voters, both times receiving more votes than any other candidate on the ballot for the office he ran for. That’s because he is in touch with all the issues that people in Simi Valley find important, not just about the health of half a shopping center near Cochran and Galena that is anchored by an Albertson’s.

    New ideas might have prevented the Ventura County Community College District from laying off more than 140 employees including many college instructors since just last July. That’s more employees than we have sworn police officers in Simi Valley in just a few months. Wow. But unfortunately the College District did not have anyone with any new ideas among its leadership, Ted.

    Think about that, then think about how many layoffs the City of Simi Valley has had. I don’t want to hear about the state budget or the economy, because every government agency is dealing with that. It’s just that some local leaders deal with it better. Bob Huber has been chair of the Ventura County Community College District the past two years, and it is bleeding employees. I don’t want that mold brought to our City government.


  5. Ted Ted Ted………..
    This City has blossomed into a beautiful city and you know it. Go back to the early eighty’s it was a mess. We had very little direction or ideas. Sure you can pick out areas in our community that need a little “sprucing” up and the City bends over backwards to work with the owners of the property through the grant process. Look at Tapo Street. It’s alive and thriving because of the $2 million dollar investment provided by the City.
    I am curious, where did you get the crystal ball about Target and their closing shop?
    Ah, and then there is the rumor mill about Farmers. Even if they do leave, Simi Valley will survive. We will get bigger and stronger retailer…You just wait and see. But hey, I appreciate your comments and thoughts.


  6. Anyone who thinks Tapo Street is “alive and thriving” is living under a rock. I noticed Mr. Sojka recently made the same comments about Tapo Street.
    Build Pavillions so Vons (40 years on Tapo) can close. I guess it is better so our City employees can just walk across the street to get items and not have to drive the one mile to Tapo St. Now the old Vons is just a big empty eyesore. (a lot like the way our current leadership approved Kohls so Mervyns could close.)
    Turn a dirt field into a dirt field with half built, empty condos. Far, far from alive and thriving. New leadership is needed in Simi.


  7. Let’s see Farmers has approx 980 employees when that building can handle 1600. That sounds like a heck of a commitment from Zurich – oops I mean Farmers.

    Farmers is not a retail site it’s a 6 story office building; not sure how we can put a bigger stronger retailer there unless there is a zone change in the works. We have several large vacancies as it is now why do the bigger and stronger retailers not come now?

    Would not Target’s bold step to open two stores in the same city that does not meet population demographics, signal to other prominent retailers to hitch their wagons and head for Simi Valley?

    If we need more sales tax dollars why does the city handcuff Walmart and refuse to allow them to add grocery operations similar to their superstores? We want people to Shop Simi First should we not give them more local choice?

    Sycamore and Cochran, Mr Young is not the center of the universe, it’s one more commercial district in the city we all should be concerned with. Mountain Gate is a Mess and is now parceled off for sale. Tapo still has it’s issues. The old Vons is still vacant, Blockbuster is going to be gone in the next couple years. The mixed use development project is stalled. The Belwood center is a disaster, the only draw there is Fresh and Easy. There are two out-parcels for fast food that can be developed on that site – I think a KFC was slated for one of them – still not built.

    How about the Stonegate center on Yosemite and LA ave. WE HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES, time to stop the bleeding and not add Sycamore and Cochran to the pile.

    Unfortunately Mr Young I talk to merchants in this town daily and not just from the Alberston’s center. Business is tough and it is not just the economy that is causing the hurt.

    I don’t have a problem with the freeway bridges, but I do have a problem when we whistle in the dark thinking that freeway bridges are going to bring shoppers to Simi.


  8. Matty,

    The land that Pavillions and Kohls sits on was owned by the School district and was zoned for a High School. The original general plan never had that site zoned as retail. When the school district abandon the plan to put the third high school there, the property was sold. I spoke to a group that wanted to put a private school on the site and they claim they had a Higher Bid on the property than the Shopping Center developer. Private school would have been exempt from property taxes and would generate no sales tax revenue for the city.

    I actually like that development as it sits currently, but what I try to point out is, that because that zoning was changed, it upsets the balance of residential units to commercial. Everytime we have re-zoned to add commercial, we have neglected the needed added population to support the commercial. This is a city wide problem.

    I believe that the city has always thought that the shoppers would come from outside Simi to make up the difference. Programs like Shop Simi First Fail not because of the people involved or the idea, it fails because we don’t have enough bodies to participate in the program. It fails because no one pays attention to the lifestyle and working habits of the people of Simi Valley.

    When you don’t have a large enough population to support your retail businesses, you need to take a very complex approach to coming up with solutions.

    As I have said before the toothpaste is out of the tube, let’s stop trying to put it back in.


  9. Personally, I think a large part of our retail overgrowth has been caused by Simi Valley—particularly the Director of Economic Development. Why should the City even attempt to control the marketplace and prop up prices? Target was smart to originally cross Simi off of their expansion, but the City stepped in and somehow persuaded Target to build (with lots of incentive cash I assume). We are setting ourselves up for failure.

    We need to let the Free Market undo the mistakes made by Simi Valley. All these closing businesses are a result of the City’s intervening push to continually expand beyond our capabilities. We just need to stop. It’s only prolonging the Market’s correction and slowing down what should have happened a long time ago.

    Unfortunately, what the City wants and what we is actually capable of doing are two different things. Let’s try to vote smart.

    It’s time to liquidate.


  10. Mr. Chandler- It was Jan Gardner who insinuated that Ms. Williamson called Mr. Huber a relic. A quick check of Mr. Huber’s endorsements and you will see that Jan Gardner is a supporter of Mr. Huber. To that end, Mr. Evans is correct. It is political spin from Mr. Huber’s side, whether or not Mr. Huber actually said it.


  11. I liked Gary Young’s comments. Commercial development issues are not high among the top priorities of voters here. It’s the worst economy of our lifetime, so a lot of stores close and some centers look bad. It’s not bothersome to most people. We still have plenty of shopping opportunities; and when the economy turns around, centers will recover. People get that.

    Most people in Simi Valley like this town and don’t want to see it changed dramatically or messed up. Continuity is a good thing. Despite the economy and doom and gloom, the City has stayed stable and avoided layoffs and significant cuts to services. No Police Department layoffs or reduction of services at the Senior Center, etc. That’s quite an accomplishment, like it or not.

    What alarms me is all the layoffs in the Community College District since last summer, all under Mr. Huber’s watch, as chair of the College District Board. That should be Part 2 of your interview, Mr. Chandler. I keep looking for a comment about this from Mr. Huber in the newspapers, but interestingly only District staff keeps getting quoted. If someone says they can bring “fresh ideas,” why weren’t fresh ideas applied to the College District to avoid 144 layoffs in 9 months? All told, 144 is an enormous number. The City of Simi Valley’s is 0.


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