Firefighters Association Never Interviewed Sojka

Last week, I mentioned that the Ventura County Firefighters Association endorsed Bob Huber for Mayor of Simi Valley.  I received a handful of comments on the post, some good, some definitely not, but enough to inspire me to look into why this announcement got people emotional.  It turns out, there’s a lot to say on the subject.

In past elections, the Ventura County Firefighters Association has endorsed Steve Sojka for Simi Valley City Council.  It’s natural to believe they’d do the same for his campaign for Mayor, but maybe not. An organization like them would surely conduct some level of due diligence before choosing a candidate to endorse.  In fact, I’m reminded of a phone call I had with Glen Becerra when I had some questions regarding his current campaign for City Council.  He had to call me back because he was right about to start an interview with the Simi Valley Police Officers Association — part of the POA’s process for choosing the candidates they wish to endorse.

The Ventura County Firefighters Association did not conduct any interviews.  They simply selected Bob Huber as their candidate to endorse for Simi Valley Mayor and they did so relatively early. Another potential candidate can throw their hat in the ring and be well qualified for the job, but the Ventura County Firefighters Association has already made their decision, and they did so without speaking to both candidates or even considering that in this early stage, another candidate can materialize.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that having the support of Elton Gallegly, former Simi Valley Mayor and current U.S. Congressman, can easily help influence these decisions.  I realize that’s a bold statement, and I welcome any comments or criticism you have regarding the remark.  However, I want to put that out on the table to make my point.

Does having friends in high places make for an uneven playing field in a local election?  Honestly, what motivates us to vote for our Mayor?  Is it the number of people endorsing the candidate or the caliber of these endorsements?  Is it the issues that face our city and the candidates’ proposed solutions?  I’ve always been concerned about a general disconnect between Simi Valley citizens and Simi Valley government.  I’ve worried for many years that people simply vote “incumbent” or vote for the name on that sign they’ve seen so much of for the past so many months, without regard for our city’s issues.  It’s that concern that motivates me to publish this site, and to compose this very article.

I’ve been voting for Elton Gallegly since I could vote.  He’s a well respected member of our community and a well respected politician.  He has real influence, and has many of his own influential supporters. Though I don’t know for certain, I have to assume that Mr. Gallegly’s influence inspired the Ventura County Firefighter’s Association to endorse Bob Huber. And please note, if I’m wrong, I’ll gladly admit it openly here and humbly absorb some much deserved verbal or written abuse.

The bottom line is that it’s likely I’ll receive more news from both campaigns for Simi Valley Mayor announcing endorsements.  I hope the Simi Valley voters can understand that we’ll never fully know what’s behind these endorsement decisions. Your decision on who to vote for should be based on your own educated effort to understand the issues as they pertain to you and who you believe best fits the bill to resolve these issues.

17 thoughts on “Firefighters Association Never Interviewed Sojka

  1. Mike,

    You said that Gallegly has real influence. I don’t see any evidence for that at all.

    He hasn’t chaired a committee and he won’t be chairing a committee anytime soon. It isn’t that he hasn’t been there long enough as many rising stars in his party have skipped over him.

    Can you name any laws of consequence that passed because of him? I don’t believe there is a law on the books of much importance that passed because of him.

    He doesn’t have control or influence over the Ventura County Republican Central Committee, it is controlled by allies of Tony Strickland and Audra Strickland.

    He isn’t a spokesperson for his party and you won’t be seeing him on television anytime soon. He doesn’t even hold town hall meetings.

    Candidates for governor or president don’t come seeking his support.

    His district voted for Barack Obama yet he votes against the president on almost every vote. Have you seen Gallegly try to compromise on any bill with a Democratic president. Voting no all of the time might keep him popular with party activists but it doesn’t actually push his agenda forward.

    Sure his somewhat influential on some issues but that is to be expected of almost any Member of Congress.

    Do you disagree with any of that analysis?


  2. I understand why they didn’t wait until other candidates might declare. They want to clear the field. It is the same reason the incumbents are raising money now.

    I doubt the two candidates differ on the issues much anyways. This was a political decision to support an ally of Elton Gallegly’s so that he will continue to support them.

    Remember: Republicans don’t like unions, except when they are getting their endorsements.


  3. Brian, you look at this from a big picture standpoint, and I’m looking at it from the more narrow point of view: local Simi Valley politics. Regardless of how anyone feels about Elton Gallegly’s career, you cannot argue that a local Congressman has influence in local politics in the form of endorsements and can easily gather endorsements for his preferred candidate.

    In fact, I think you’re agreeing with me in your second post when you said “This was a political decision to support an ally of Elton Gallegly’s so that he will continue to support them.” That’s my point. If that’s how these endorsements materialize, why should we be interested? Do they matter to voters? Should they?


  4. Congressmen don’t control the VCPFA, that is ignorance. They support Huber period end of story. Bitter Sojka supporters with blogs……..


  5. MB,

    Do you want to go on the record, using your real name, that Gallegly had no conversations with their political leadership regarding this race?

    I didn’t think so.


  6. Go on record and use my real name like you are right now right “Brian” ??

    These undignified and unprofessional and I encourage a boycott on this site. You have no business with a forum like this, people deserve truth.


  7. Tim, those are fair remarks and I take your criticism as constructive. Thanks. However, I don’t think there are any “maybes” here. I think it IS power politics, as you put it. And that’s why I am concerned.

    I don’t think Steve Sojka is a victim. I think he has a ton of supporters, all of whom show themselves on his literature and website, all of whom have merit. But I think YOU are in the minority. I think most voters do NOT ask candidates for their plans and cast their votes based on endorsements, name recognition, and other similar factors in local elections. I don’t think you can tell me I’m wrong about that.

    So if these endorsements matter to voters (and my comments area heats up with these announcements) I’d sincerely like to know why. Because I anticipate more of the organizations that support Congressman Gallegly, such as the Simi Valley Police Officers Association, will announce their support for Bob Huber and a mini, anonymous, and moderately annoying debate in the comments area will ensue. Someone thinks it matters.

    And to be clear, I don’t mean this in any negative light. If I were Bob Huber, I’d want powerful endorsements like these and I’d accept the help of a friend like Gallegly. My issue is that I’m like you, I want to know that I’m voting for you because you’re the man for the job, not because someone else gives you the nod.

    That was long winded, so my apologies. I want to be clear and I have trouble articulating my thoughts on this in a way that doesn’t get me labeled as a Huber fan or Sojka fan (which seems to switch up daily!).


  8. “The Ventura County Firefighters Association did not conduct any interviews. ”

    I’m am just wondering how you know this to be true?


  9. MB,

    My name is Brian Dennert. I didn’t mean to confuse you by just using my first name.

    Anyways I will repeat my question:


    Do you want to go on the record, using your real name, that Gallegly had no conversations with their political leadership regarding this race?

    I didn’t think so.


  10. How am I suppose to know what Elton Gallegly did or didn’t do? And you dont know either, you have no clue so you have no business saying it or even hinting it. Your against Bob Huber because he doesn’t send press releases.


  11. Chandler is a Bob Huber stooge who masquerades like a journalist. This is a detour meant to distract you. Do not be fooled, you are reading stories straight out of the biggest Bob Huber fan club in Simi Valley.

    I hate all y’all!


  12. MB,

    I am willing to use my real name. I stand behind my statement that they talked about it. Feel free to call Bob Huber, the candidate you support, and ask him.

    I don’t think it is a high honor getting a press release. I don’t blame Bob Huber for not sending them, I assume it is his campaign. But I do mind his campaign staffers bothering me for not posting what they don’t send in.


  13. Mike C: Give a thought to changing the headline to read that the FFA did not interview candidates before endorsing, rather than they didn’t interiew a particular candidate. Do you see how by putting just one person’s name down, it makes that person look like they weren’t given the same opportunity as the others? If no one was interviewed, your headline is mis-leading.

    Yes, I read about endorsements. Mostly, it is to see if thinks are in the normal places. The endorsement issue is more about those that are not given, rather than those that are. I expect certain candidates to get certain endorsements. When they do not, it can raise a flag. Still, nothing beats learning about a candidate by going to events, speaking to them, and asking the simple question…”What do you intend to do?” and insist on a substantive answer.


  14. Hi Tim. I think you and I are on the same page, mostly. But I can’t change the headline. The Huber campaign confirmed that Huber was the only candidate that was interviewed and that Sojka was not given the same opportunity.

    I very much appreciate your comments. I think you give a lot of sincere thought to these issues. I hope you make the same comments to your friends and neighbors, truly!


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