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.