With the Farmers Insurance departure becoming a key focus of the election, the emotions are sure to swing upward a bit and if you’re a human being like I am, you may be inclined to respond emotionally. But let’s try to be fair.
If you listened in to the live discussion last night with the challenging City Council Candidates, you heard a lot of criticism of the sitting Council and City Management regarding Farmers leaving the city. However, you may have also heard that none of the candidates had any definitive answers on what to do about it. The truth is that both a newcomer and a seasoned veteran would need to take a step back and consider the best game plan. I can choose to believe what everyone tells me about the Farmers Insurance training center, but unless I’m sitting in front of the Farmers Insurance decision makers, there’s no way to really know why it moved out of Simi Valley and if it truly marked the start of their ultimate exit plan. For all we know, it was a decision based purely on logistics. Either way, it’s done and the focus should be on filling that space.
If this weren’t an election cycle, we’d be looking at our current leadership for a strategy on how to make that happen. We’d be expecting them to represent our interests and interface with city management to entice a new tenant. But it’s election season, so naturally we wonder if new representation is needed.
In a time like this with a situation like this one, people are inclined to take risks. Some may consider the best risk to be voting for someone with new ideas. Others may consider the best risk to be voting for someone with experience in City Hall. But no matter what, I don’t think that now is the time to make that decision. We don’t know enough and we haven’t heard from everyone. Put those emotions on hold and wait for the discussion to continue.
And this may seem off topic, but it’s important to me to say…
Barbra Williamson is one of the boldest people on the City Council. It takes guts to put yourself out there like she does. You may not agree with her but you cannot argue that she isn’t honest. Before you get upset, I’m not talking about her positions, her policies or her opinions — I’m talking about her willingness to post on these blogs and engage the people on their turf. It’s hard, thankless work that’s got to sting at times. Barbra, thank you. Not everyone realizes it, but you are a very good listener even if you throw in an argument or two, and it means a great deal to me.
I plan to coordinate a chat with the incumbents to address many of the same issue we covered last night and to give them an opportunity to respond. I think you’ll see we have thoughtful people on both sides here. I’ll follow-up here when I’ve got more details.