Farmers Insurance to the City

When the news broke about Farmers Insurance leaving Simi Valley, my knee jerk reaction was to point the finger squarely at the City and suggest they dropped the ball. When I’m critical of the City, I’m usually inundated with comments and emails from people who share in my frustration and volunteer information. I usually take a fair amount of comfort in my position because of this.

After taking a step back, I published a more neutral response with an emphasis on a need to react and fill that void. In doing so, commentary persisted against the City with stories about the Farmers Training Center leaving Simi Valley as a result of fallout in the building department. I could never really get any confirmed data on whether or not attempts to expand the Training Center failed due to a problem with the City, or if it was never meant to happen in the first place. Either no one has this data, no one cares to share this data, or the data simply doesn’t exist because it never happened as described. To be perfectly honest, I really don’t know any factual information about any expansion of the Training Center in Simi Valley.

I received a copy of a letter from Farmers Insurance to our City Council. In the letter, the Vice President of Commercial Operations says the following to the City Council:

We have had a long-standing, cooperative working relationship with the Simi Valley City Council and the city staff. We look forward to continuing that relationship as we work together to quickly find the best tenants possible for the Simi Valley facility. We have already offered to your staff our availability to serve on your “Red Team,” which will bring together the right group to aggressively pursue our mutual goal and we have engaged the services of UGL Equis to actively market the property and work with your staff.

The letter indicates the move was a business decision. Admittedly, I was quick to place blame on the City for not being able to maneuver quickly enough in the wake of long standing rumors of this anticipated move. If you take this letter at face value, it suggests that my original position was plain wrong.

Read the letter for yourself and draw your own conclusions. You can view the letter to the City Council by clicking here.

11 thoughts on “Farmers Insurance to the City

  1. I suggest the City and its officials not hold their breath waiting for an apology from Mr. Huber for his Tweet statement. Do we really want a Mayor who rushes to judgment in making decisions without having all the facts?

    Data simply does not exist on this “Training Center expansion” because that is a fantasy someone made up.


  2. Here you go Mike….this is the true story…
    At the northwest corner of the property, between the 6-story building and the post office, is the Farmers training facility. At 21,000 square feet, it was built in 1999 and was used to train the Farmers claims processors. When the building was completed, they had a big open house and invited City dignitaries, Chamber folks, and Farmers executives from the L.A. area. Inside the building is a large classroom, a mock-up of a house for the trainees to study building construction and the effects of house fires, and several vehicle lifts for trainees to examine vehicles involved in accidents. 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 not turned down any requests by Farmers to develop the property.


  3. And no one has ever quit a job because of a jerk boss or lousy working conditions only to say as they turn in their resignation “leaving to seek other opportunities.” Are you REALLY suprised that Farmers knows that in order to lease their huge building and get out from under a 2 milllion dollar a year expense, its best to have the city be an ally in the effort?

    Hell, we as a nation say all kinds of nice and calm words to rogue countries with dictators that hate us in name of “diplomacy”.

    Mike, did you think Farmers was going to send a letter saying that the city was to blame for their mass exodus? And then the city would send it to YOU!

    Are you really that Naive?


  4. Jim, I understand why you might be frustrated, but I have had hour long phone calls, lengthy emails, and a handful of in-person discussions all of which directly contradict each other on this topic. I feel like my choices are limited to taking this letter at face value. However, I know the matter isn’t even close to being closed and I’m very willing to listen and discuss if you have more to add.


  5. your right. I’m VERY frustrated. I get even more mad when Ted points out that our electeds (not withstanding Barbra) havent said anything. I’m fuming that Sojka was peddling his golf fundraiser right after Farmers announced thier exodus. Regardless of why they left…….how about some leadership!


  6. Please take a chill pill, Jim D. Leaders do not send out a press release (or Tweet) every time they fart. That’s what politicians, or wannabe politicians, do. Leaders ensure they have all the facts first. As Davy Crockett said, “Be always sure you are right – then go, ahead.”


  7. Take a Chill Pill? Really. Someone is completely out of touch. I guess Jim D is not all that and a bag of chips either?
    That is probably what makes Mr. Sojka such a great leader as I notice his web site has not been updated since March. The good news is we wont have to worry about fart tweets from him.


  8. Just to make sure this is here for future readers. Councilwoman Williamson and I discussed the rumor of Farmers moving on this site in May 2010. In which she dismissed the idea and said

    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. (May 4, 2010)

    Then Mashburn revealed this information later

    I retired in 2005 and sometime after that I was teaching a class at Farmers and was advised that the training center was moving to Westlake. I asked the Farmer’s employee “why were they moving”? I was told, it is to difficult to work with the City of Simi Valley to expand the current building. This employee said there were issues with parking that would make expansion not practical. There was also talk of adding a second story to the existing building. I can only assume this employee had some inside knowledge of what went on between the City and Farmers. I do not know that representatives of Farmers actually met with the City.

    The point is that the big surprise was no surprise at all and the city tried to spin the move as a surprise and a business decision. Well how great a growing company’s business decision did not include growing in Simi Valley and found Los Angeles County more attractive.


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