E-Verify in the Star

The Ventura County Star published an article regarding E-Verify and how it’s become an issue in the race for Mayor. I’ve mentioned in the past that I use E-Verify where I am employed and that I find the service benign and not threatening to our position as an employer, nor do I find it to be a liability.

A report published in January by Westat, a research company hired to evaluate the E-Verify system for the Department of Homeland Security, found the program is unable to detect identity fraud and that about half of the small percentage of unauthorized workers processed by the system were given an inaccurate finding of being authorized to work.

Miller has said that statistic means the E-Verify program is “highly unreliable.”

Citing the same study, Huber accuses Miller of duplicity, saying the research clearly shows E-Verify correctly clears for employment 96 percent of those processed by it.

The unreliability argument should never have happened. I think it’s fair to use the statistics and research to point out the benefits as well as the drawbacks of the program, but calling it unreliable was a bad idea. I think that’s why the city’s move to look into implementing it now comes off as a complete “about-face.” The Mayor’s efforts now look more like a statement of “oops, I was wrong” instead of “let’s take a hard look at this.”

Sojka says City Council members agreed that the E-Verify system might be a good tool but they wanted to wait and be sure they made the right decision. He says Huber is just making politics.

“If it’s such a great program, why hasn’t Mr. Huber applied it to the Ventura County Community College District and why wasn’t he at the City Council meeting in January speaking out about this issue?” Sojka said.

I’ve heard this question posed to me on a couple of occasions and it seems like a fair question. If it’s a groundbreaking program with significant impact on the city, why isn’t it good enough for Bob Huber’s current domain?

But ultimately, the question that I couldn’t answer was what is the expected impact on our city by implementing it? Are we addressing a problem with hiring undocumented workers at City Hall? If the ordinance requires all Simi Valley employers to use it and we’re unable to police the policy, what are we getting and how can we measure those benefits?

Or simply, is there no intended benefit other than it’s a good idea to be as thorough as possible when hiring employees to ensure they are eligible? If that’s the case, then fine. But why all the PR?

One thing’s for sure, we are definitely getting E-Verify headlines now!

Read the whole article here.

25 thoughts on “E-Verify in the Star

  1. Come on, why didn’t Huber address it?
    Better question Mr. Sojka and Mr. Miller, why didn’t you and the rest of the council properly research it and come to the conclusion that is clearly stated in the report. 96% accuracy is a far cry from the, council reported, less than 50% accuracy.

    Funny how some supporters of a candidate try to blame others for their candidates failures.


  2. The whole argument shows the arrogance of the incumbents. This is a free service I cannot over emphasize the word free. So what would it have hurt to use it? Was it not used because it didn’t cost $100,000.00 and they didn’t want to change what seems to be the current Council’s minimum payment these days? Why do we have a small business advocate why not just post the councils members phone numbers down at the permitting office if you need help getting through the red tape you can call one of them? It is not their money it’s ours lets try not to forget that.
    This Election is about our future we cannot, I repeat cannot afford to keep this status quo of wasteful spending.


  3. I did a search on the city’s website for E-Verify. Nothing on the agendas in January as Sojka insists. The only thing that came up was this most recent press release on Aug. 6 2010.

    Mike, I think you should request the transcripts on the january Council meetings to see the discussion that the Council keeps referring to. One of Sojka’s recent video ends with a rather ominous text “because intergrity matters.” I’m just a bit incredulous about the councils “research” into this issue. I know this is not your #1 issue Mike, but “integrity matters.”


  4. Tom, I am not sure where it is either..but you may want to look under “Consent items”????
    Or perhaps it was a verbal for staff to put something regarding this matter in our work box at City Hall. Not sure.
    Actually you can go on line to January and watch the Council meeting(s)


  5. You have to look at the minutes of the meeting which is a summary of the discussions. (Disclosure: My wife is the Assistant City Clerk). For the January 11, 2010 meeting, Agenda Item 2B, Councilmember reports, you will find the following:

    Mayor Pro Tem Becerra requested that staff research using E-Verify to certify that employees hired by City construction contractors are legally authorized to perform work.

    ACTION: It was a concurrence of the City Council to have staff research the use of E-Verify. There being no objections, the motion carried through acclamation.


  6. Mitch,

    You are correct. it was never on the agenda and Becerra’s comments were the extent of the discusion. Mike, I think it is completely warranted for you to ask Sojka about his comments in the paper, as the minutes clearly show a disconnect between his memory and the record.

    Otherwise, to not challenge the veracity of his comments leaves the voters with the impression that the Council was in deep thoughtful discussion on this, when that clearly was not the case.


  7. And while you’re at it, Mike, please have Huber answer the question why the College District has not implemented E-Verify. Sheesh, hasn’t it been long enough?

    The Council did have something agendized in April. Bob did not seem interested then.

    Huber did something similar in 1981, when he opposed the condo project on the hillsides. When the Council approved the project in 1979, he did not show up to a hearing, was not involved. There was ample opportunity. But when citizens started complaining later, apparently he figured he could get some political face time out of it.

    So lo and behold, when the matter went to a ballot measure, there was Bob, getting his picture in the newspaper and everything, fighting the condo project (that he could have opposed in 1979)!

    It’s a pattern.


  8. Mike C: I wouldn’t hold me or Brian accountable for either candidate’s lack of communication. Steve Sojka’s comments on e-verify are limited to what you see in the paper.

    Neither mayoral candidate has demonstrated leadership through their campaigning in my opinion. Neither candidate has answered any of my concerns about current issues such as business challenges in Simi Valley, the business advocate position, or the Shop Simi First budget. That’s how I see it.

    Ask me how many times a campaign representative has said to me “now, this is off the record.” That’s both sides tossing that around, which makes for a lot of interesting but useless information.

    What are you unsure of on E-verify? The recap is Huber proposed it to fight immigration. Various members of city council pointed out they looked at it and decided it was unreliable. Time passed, the city flipped and decided it was a good enough program after all, ultimately looking bad. Sojka remained quiet the whole time, until the Star published his remarks in an article. He says little in the article on the topic.

    Sojka is in quiet mode. Huber’s team responds to me through a representative who seems willing to elaborate, but prefaces any unofficial replies with “off the record.” And the fundraisers… well, they’re fun parties, but hot beds of information they are absolutely not. Great venues for photographs and feel good chats, but a place to get people to answer your questions? Nope! Once they read your name tag, it’s quiet time. These are rooms full of their friends, after all. It may come as a surprise to you, considering my charming personality, but a lot of people who attend these events disagree with me and don’t care to discuss much with me. Blogger does not equal newspaper/press, and people know that and act accordingly.

    They will need to talk eventually. I mean, I hope so, they have to, right?! But until then, it’s press releases and more press releases. I do what I can and I explore all channels. I have lots of coffees and lunches. I think my intestinal lining is wearing thin.


  9. To answer your question, no they don’t send me a significant volume of press releases. However, I did receive one from them weeks ago that I sat on unintentionally. When I realized I had overlooked it, the news was no longer fresh so I chose not to post it. I own that as my own failure. Otherwise, no, it’s been pretty quiet from their side. I have been pretty open about that on this blog and have received assurances that news will come and I believe they’ll make good on that.

    Perhaps the timing is strategic? I’m honestly not sure.


  10. Ted,
    I don’t have problem with anyone being critical of any matter that is handled by the City Council, so long as they offer a solution along with the criticism, which always seems to be missing. So let’s hear some solutions to filling the Farmers Building and Mervyns building. It’s so easy to talk the talk, let’s see them walk the walk…. Solutions, what would you do? Instead of Friday night quarterbacking let’s hear firsthand what you, Mike Judge; Keith Mashburn; Mike C; Mitch Green; Sedell Soldier; Tom R. would do to solve the vacancy of just these two businesses. I am very interested in hearing your solutions.


  11. Barbra,

    I ask what solutions I or any other challenger have to a problem (Farmers) that was just announced in the last day or so is disingenuous at best on your part. For one thing, we are limited in our ability to cal on the City Manager to ask him what went down; we cannot just call Assistant City Manager Brian Gabler (in charge of Business Development) and say, hey Brian, what’s the plan here? For one thing, once I put in my notice last October of my intent to run for City Council a memo went around City Hall instructing departments to be cautious of speaking with any potential candidate (meaning me) of any matter which could be an issue in the upcoming election. And since I left City Hall on April 2, 2010, I have no more sources of info than the average citizen who reads theses blogs or the Acorn or the Star.

    On the other hand, you and the rest of your peers on the City Council have access to the people and the information which is important for making decisions which affect the City. And if you and your peers on the City Council muff a call when you had full access to information, you cannot throw that back on those of us who are out of the loop. You are the one who has been on City Council since November 2, 1992. You are the one, along with all the other incumbents on the City Council, who are charged with looking out for our well being.

    Shame on you Barbra. You should know better, and you do.

    So what would I do as Council Member? I would keep an open line of communication with the very people I listed above and charge the CM with keeping me informed of the issues. And if I found myself blind sided by the failure of senior management to so keep me informed so that I could do my job on behalf of the constituents, I would seek a change in that management.

    The people would expect nothing less.

    Mitch Green
    Candidate, Simi Valley City Council


  12. That’s about a big a bunch of double talk that I’ve heard so far. So,let me ask the question again. What are you plans to fill the vacant Farmers and Mervyns building? Are you telling me that because you can’t talk with Brian or Sedell you are unable to formulate a plan for these two buildings? What difference does it make as to “what went down”…what are you going to do to fill the gap….? It’s a pretty simple question, either you have an answer or you don’t. Now is the time to walk the walk Mitch…


  13. I agree with Barbra. There is more vague criticism on this site than solutions from challengers and Ted.

    “If the training center would have not been discouraged, Farmers probably would have invested anywhere from 1-3 million in the expansion maybe more. That kind of dollar commitment would have had them more committed to staying in Simi Valley.”

    When was the training center publicly discouraged? At a council meeting?

    “The problem here-in-lies in the fact that the city is still doing things to discourage businesses from staying, expanding or relocating here.”

    What specific policies are you referring?

    What do you recommend they be changed to?


  14. Ok, since Barbra says that you should not be critical of something without providing the solutions, so where is the solution? She is on the Council, now is a good time for her to talk about her solution instead of just attacks.

    To somewhat quote:

    It’s a pretty simple question, either you (Barbra) have an answer or you don’t. Now is the time to walk the walk Barbra.


  15. Great, this is the caliber of candidates we have for City Council? Ken,according to you I don’t have the answer, remember? So I am asking you, for your solution.


  16. When was the training center publicly discouraged? At a council meeting?
    JayT….This never made it to the City Council. It was APPROVED at the Planning Commission level.
    Farmers has not made any requests to expand the training center and all requests that were submitted by Farmers to build buildings or modify existing buildings have been approved by the City. The City has never turned down ANY requests by Farmers to develop the property.
    It’s on the record for all to see. Go check it out. Don’t believe everything you read on this blog.


  17. Barbra,

    Apparently you are backpedaling hard in anticipation of the fight you’re going to be in for in 2012. The challengers are trying to unseat the stagnation, that is our job. And the solution consists of three openings on City Council and three new faces come November 2. And then in two years you can have your day of reckoning.

    And by the way, care to tell us why your buddies Sojka, Foster and Becerra are so quiet? Clearly you can stand the heat, even if all you do is spew silliness and call it a debate. Did you draw the short straw for the job of running interference?

    This City needs a clean sweep come November 2. Three openings, three new people on the Council and new senior management. And then in 2012 two more new faces.

    Mitch Green
    Candidate, Simi Valley City Council


  18. Mike Chandler: Why do you defend Barbra W? I just emailed you what she really thinks of you and your blog. Its also no secret that Becerra and Foster aren’t your fans either. Maybe you will want to stop showing up to their fund raisers? Its up to you.


  19. What a WONDERFUL response from Barbra: “Great, this is the caliber of candidates we have for City Council? Ken,according to you I don’t have the answer, remember? So I am asking you, for your solution.”

    Barbra has to resort to childish personal attacks. I personally think that the caliber of the non-incumbents is pretty good.

    Did I ever say that you did not have the answer? I said that all I saw from you was attacks and no solutions, which is exactly what you are complaining about, so I redirected your comment back to you and all I get in response is an attack. It does seem clear to me that you don’t have the answer and don’t want to say it.

    You have said that candidates will say anything to get elected, which clearly includes yourself when you run or when your buddies are at risk. Has anyone other than Barbra been found guilty of illegal campaign contributions?


  20. Barbra: Please explain why the City Council position is considered “full-time”. Please explain why EVerify has not been required already, before the media attention which is causing a change. Please explain how you listened to the residents when you banned the food vendors, before you listened to residents when you allowed them again. Please explain how you are business friendly when you banned many legal businesses in Simi Valley. Please explain who was behind the sudden need to ban all the food vendors since it certainly was not the residents who were outraged that you banned the strawberry vendors.

    Care to answer? I will be surprised if you decide to answer and give real answers instead of just attacks.


  21. TuckerZ. care to share what I said about Mike Chandler? I would like to now, because I never hide anything.
    As for the rest of you wanta-be’s it’s just as I thought…back peddling.. Just as I thought.
    Mitch,MItch Mitch..threats don’t become you….


  22. Wanta-be’s? That seems like an arrogant, elitist attitude to me, which shows the need for change. Barbra did said that candidates will say anything to get elected and I guess she should know due to all the times she has run. Perhaps I won’t get elected because I won’t do that as it is not ethical nor honest.

    No response to the questions either. A bit of a hypocrite if you ask me. Attacks, but no solutions, other than thinking that only the powers that be should be in office.

    The solution is to fix the problems. Talk to some of the businesses who have had to deal with things and the time it has taken, as well as all the conflicting demands. Barbra knows the problems, yet has not done anything to solve the real problem, because I think she likes people having to come to her in order to get her help as then they “owe” her.

    Listening to the community is also a good idea. The waste of time and effort to pass a ban on strawberry vendors, only to have people be outraged and the ban somewhat removed shows that the City Council only listens when absolutely forced to do so.


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