Permission for Campaign Signs

I’ve said before that I love campaign sign season. This election will probably undo that for me. This morning, a property owner was quoted saying this in a letter to the editor of the Ventura County Star:

As a property manager responsible for several shopping centers in Simi Valley, a situation has reached a point where I am obliged to inform the public of a wrongdoing and ask that a candidate cease an ongoing practice regarding political signs.

Mayoral candidate Bob Huber stated back in July that he was going to delay putting up political signs out of “respect for the community.” We find this statement somewhat ironic in that no respect for property owners is actually being displayed by Huber’s campaign, and his campaign workers have no respect for the city’s political sign regulations.

Under city regulations, candidates are supposed to obtain permission to place campaign signs on commercial property. Huber did not contact us to obtain permission, yet every day his signs are posted on our properties. You would think after 20 or more signs are removed, his campaign would attempt to call for permission. No call. No letter. No e-mail. No permission.

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

Several weeks ago, I read a letter in one of the newspapers from someone who felt his house had been TP’ed and vandalized because he had Huber for Mayor signs in his lawn, and he held Huber’s opponent responsible. Signs have been disappearing mysteriously throughout the past several months with plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle suggestions that the culprits are connected to opposing campaigns. Most people, including myself, have taken those suggestions at face value, but this letter suggests signs might be disappearing for other reasons.

68 thoughts on “Permission for Campaign Signs

  1. There are complaints about the sign ban, but the Council is not hearing them. One issue is for lost pets, which those (now illegal) signs help to reunite pets with their owners.

    The campaign signs don’t inform people of anything, just the name and it is sad state of affairs if people vote based on the number of signs that they see.

    Personally, I would love to see ALL campaigns to be done only by free means with Town Hall Meetings so that the people can question the candidates. I know that this will not happen because money talks and contributions can buy votes. I would think that Simi Valley is small enough to not have to raise $45k in order to get elected.

    I think that I am the only one not taking campaign contributions. I might not get elected, but at least I don’t owe any donors anything and I won’t have signs up all over the place.

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  2. There are MORE complaints about the signs being allowed than there are for not allowing them. You are so out of touch with the residents of this community Ken it’s scary.

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  3. Unless you do a survey, you really don’t know what the feelings are. You are hearing only those who choose to contact you. So, your claim that I am out of touch with the residents of this community is false, as well as being baseless.

    The stated that the only complaints were from the candidate, which is FALSE. I corrected you in the reality and then you attack me for it. That is a great attitude to have from an elected Council Member. It clearly shows that you don’t really want to hear from the public.

    Why not stick to the issues and the facts, rather than the attacks? At least you have stopped with the childish “shoo” comments.

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  4. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about this statement:

    “There are MORE complaints about the signs being allowed than there are for not allowing them.”

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  5. Oops, sorry for two posts instead of one, but Mr. Hodge made a good point with this one also:

    “The part of the sign ordinance I like is the requirement of putting the identity and contact information on the sign. This way, the ‘owner’ of the sign can be easily contacted and told to have it removed.”

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  6. Oh Please Mr. Sandberg…you are so out of touch it’s not worth commenting on. Just take a moment and read Mr. Tracy’s comments, and I don’t now him from Adam…

    There are MORE complaints about the signs being allowed than there are for not allowing them.”

    I rest my case Mr. Sandberg………

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  7. Barbra, that is NOT what you said before. You are clearly changing what you said because you know you were wrong and that makes you out of touch, not me. Your attacks and previous childish comments show a serious lack of judgment on your part and show that you should not be on the Council, which hopefully will be corrected at the next election. These comments WILL come back to haunt you.

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  8. Mr. Sandberg, can we please get an outline of what your platform is? Bickering back and forth between one person on this website is not providing any information about your candidacy for this voter.

    For the record, I am not a close friend of Barbra Williamson, or writing this to “protect” her, though I do respect her positions on certain matters, and signs and aesthetics in town are among them. When it comes to over-cluttering our streets, she has a pretty good record of taking care of it. Simi Valley used to have signs, leaflets and pamphlets posted and pasted all over the place. Some people are a bit frustrated now, but it used to be much, much worse.

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  9. Comments are shut off or else I would ask on the astroturf post. We’re all thinking it…… how many of those fake posts were Ted Mackel??

    P.S. I’m using my real name!!

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  10. My platform, if you want to call it that, is common sense and open and honest communication.

    For example, the recent Council discussion regarding the Royal & Corto development, they spend time talking about the window, or lack thereof, and whether it should be clear or frosted. That is not an issue that the Council should be involved in. It should be up to the buyers and the sellers. Then, it was mentioned about the special assessment and asking if that could be paid in advance, as if doing that the cost would not be passed onto the buyers. The buyers are going to pay one way or another unless the City pays the assessment, which is not going to happen, plus then we would all pay.

    The food vendors are an example of not serving the community. As one Council member said, she was against it because of the overhead costs, which is NONE of the business of the City.

    The tow service is another example of what seems to be payback. After many years of an “informal” arrangement, it needs to be changed to a contract which either side can cancel. This is clearly due to another company wanting in on the tows. The Council also did not get that having a secure yard in Simi Valley is a REQUIREMENT, not a percentage in determining whether they should get the contract or not. The other 25% with former experience with the City is a clear sign that outsiders are NOT welcome.

    The EVerify issue is another example of a lack of common sense. It is a tool to confirm the information, yet some on the Council seem to think that the use of it requires additional auditing, which is not true, but is used only as an excuse to not implement it. The ONLY real issue with EVerify is the false negatives. There is no reason why it should have been implemented as a “pilot” program and it should have been done when it was first brought up.

    There should be town hall meetings where the community can ask questions AND the Council is forced to answer, instead of the current meetings where the Council can ignore any questions.

    There should be real full transparency. ALL compensation, excluding only a single full-time position, should be disclosed. This includes ALL boards, whether it is the government or on other businesses.

    Full time benefits should only be for full time employees. If the Council member wants to work full time and quit their conflicting employment, then the benefits are fine. The current council is getting credit for a full time position, so they could get a real full time job and the City would be held accountable for the additional pension money.

    I think that a Council member should serve only two terms, but allow for a write-in campaign so that if the people really want the person they can re-elect the person. People should serve and then go back to their regular jobs.

    I personally think that there should be multiple town hall meetings for the candidates so that candidates don’t have to raise large sums of money and become beholden to those donors.

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  11. Thank you, Mr. Sandberg. I agree with you on some of the items. I disagree on the part-time/full-time explanation, because right now most if not all Council members work at least 40 hours per week if not much more on City-related business. The “part time” wording is merely part of a written job description, something that could be fixed by simply changing those words to “full time” on the paper or online job description wherever it is filed at City Hall. If they already are working 40 hours a week for the City, plus working their regular full-time jobs, why would they have to quit their regular jobs? There’s nothing wrong with people working two full-time jobs.

    Term limits have really, really messed up the California Legislature, particularly the Assembly where every Assembly member is in a hurry to pass laws to establish their “legacy” before they get termed out so they can get set up to run for Senate or some other office. We had too many laws in California when term limits were instituted, now it’s so out of hand there’s probably no way to fix it except to scrap them all and start over. Why is it a law to force us to wear a seatbelt when driving? Isn’t that a personal responsibility matter? These are called Nanny Laws – people in Sacramento who think it is their job to protect us from ourselves.

    Let’s pretend City Council members were limited to 8 years total (2 terms) in Simi Valley for a moment. Not every future Council person, but many if not most would want something done to be remembered by. Eventually this town would be peppered with monuments to the very many Council people to have served – because with term limits we would end up with lots more former Council members overall, as they term out and new ones come in.

    Each terming out Council member will push for something to get built, or a law to get passed, for people to remember them by. We’ll get proposals like changing the name of Tapo Street so people don’t get confused with Tapo Canyon Road, or an “Art in Public Places Ordinance” like Moorpark, or a police shooting range in a dam basin (that floods every February), things like that. All public buildings would get named, and I’m sure some of our streets would end up carrying the names of departing Council members.

    While term limits is a neat-sounding buzzword, there are drawbacks. Just like proposals you see in the comments on this website for reducing or eliminating City Council members’ compensation. You see some people say they want the sign ordinance changed so it would encourage more people to run. Well, reducing or eliminating compensation for City Council positions will do the opposite: fewer Simi Valley residents will run. With little or no remuneration, Council seats will be prone to the ultra-rich (like lawyers) or people who already have pensions and/or health benefits (like retired firefighters or police officers), those who can most afford to hold the position. Those who cannot afford to will not run. That seems rather detrimental to the concept of democracy.

    When it is all said and done, the City Council represents 5 employment positions in a municipal corporation that employs how many people? 800? What is the true budgetary impact of compensation for the City Council as a budgetary unit? It may be best to increase their compensation package, say to $100,000 each annually so every person in this town could afford to run. Right now I bet there are some very smart retired executives who would say it’s not worth it, for the current pay/benefits package. Invest a half-million dollars annually into the City Council as a unit and see what kind of talent it attracts to the candidate pool.

    Just food for thought, not attacking your positions. Thanks for the response.

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  12. Ok, so you say that the Council members are working over 40 hours per week on City business. Do you include events, which they go to in order to get re-elected, events where they are eating and drinking, etc.? What do you consider “City Business”? Where is the time documented? I heard Foster said that she could take the full-time job at the hospital because Council is part-time, so which is it? Look at the hours in a day and consider if a person is working full-time at another position, there is not much time left. Yes, it is great to make this claim in order to justify the benefits, but then why was this not done out in the open? Also, why is it that it is difficult to find out exactly how much money all of the Council members are getting due to being on various boards, including private companies (on the board due to their Council position)?

    I have not seen a legacy issue in Simi Valley. That is something should be avoid since it is just an ego thing, which some have admitted to. I personally don’t think that we want those types of people in office. Sorry, but it does not seem like a valid argument against term limits. The fact is that there is often payback for campaign donations, so the longer a person is in office, the greater chance that they will be bought and paid for. Take a look at the police tow and how they want to change things.

    As far as a seatbelt law, I do agree that it should be changed, but perhaps not in the way you might expect. Wearing a seatbelt typically reduces the injury in case of an accident. So, if you don’t want to wear a seatbelt and by doing so you take responsibility for any and all of your injuries, even if you are not at fault, then I would support that. There is a lack of personal responsibility in this country.

    Also, in terms of the benefits, you have a problem in that most people don’t know what ALL of the benefits are before getting elected. I think Becerra said that in the talk. So, that is not really going to change who runs, except insiders who know what the deal it.

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  13. “then why was this not done out in the open?”

    Answer is twofold:

    1. Current Council compensation package was approved by a City Council before any of the current Council members took office. Regardless of how many hours they work, or whether a piece of paper calls them “part time” or “full time” or “flex time” or “Ken time,” it does not matter, because they are at will employees – at the will of voters. They do not need to clock in. If they do not work enough hours, voters as their boss can fire them. That is why they are free to represent the City as they choose, and if that means going to events to be with the people they serve to listen and answer questions and generally be available, yes, that counts.

    The system probably was approved “out in the open,” but who knows; I think George H.W. Bush was President when it was voted on. The current City Council assumed something someone approved a long time ago, probably around 1990 but maybe even before that, to basically classify Council member positions at the Executive Staff level. It’s that simple. They assumed a package, and no one has ever brought it up, until this election cycle when someone decided it would make for a neat political opportunity. There really are two major suspects as to who “decided.” They are probably working together on it, but no candidate or organization is taking credit for it. They had a few people submit it as letters to the editor, or mention it in comments before Council meetings, and now they’re just acting like it surfaced naturally in town. The Immaculate Issue! (See Turf, Astro).

    2. Any adjustments, such as for cost of living, were made in public. Publicly noticed in advance of the meeting according to the law, agendized, and the media and the public had an opportunity to opine. Council salary adjustments are linked to the Executive Staff salary adjustments (see above; that’s just how it was all arranged and approved by that Council vote long ago), which have mechanisms for cost of living adjustments periodically.

    ^

    You do not understand the towing contracts issue. I’ll explain further later if need be, but time is limited.

    ^

    More importantly, do you really believe the California Legislature works better with term limits?? I have news for you: it’s been a disaster. Friday is Oct. 1. The State budget was due June 30. Who lives like that? Do you not pay your bills for three months? Ever? Why is the State budget not passed? It is absolutely irresponsible. One reason is, 1/3 of the Assembly are lame ducks – they cannot run for re-election due to term limits – so they have nothing to lose and do not care. This is true ALL the time – a third of our Assembly and half of the Senate in California are lame ducks, on a rotating basis, all the time. What type of incentive do they have to do a better job? Meanwhile state workers (including CHP officers) do not get paid, our schools are in limbo not knowing what they can or cannot fund, etc.

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  14. When a new council member takes office, they find out about the benefits, yet they did nothing, did not question it, nothing.

    You say that they are at will employees, at the will of the voters, but if the voters don’t know what is happening, then how can they make an informed decision? Becerra said that if the public did not want them to have the benefits that they would get rid of them, but so far I have seen nothing in regards to asking the public about it. In most cases, the employer would know ALL of the benefits, pay for boards, etc., but in this case the public does not know.

    I have still not seen anything about how much money each Council member gets from various boards.

    Perhaps you have not been watching the news, but in part the reason for the benefits coming up (again) is due to the corruption in the City of Bell. The full-time/part-time issue came to light because Mitch Green, a former asst. City attorney, stated in the talk that they way they managed to get the full-time benefits was to claim it was a full-time position, yet Foster said that she could take a full-time job at the hospital since Council was part-time.

    Clearly, some of the events are done due to their job as a politician, not as a Council member.

    How about having events in which makes them more accessible to the general public, in a public manner (video on cable TV and the web site)? How about being forced to listen and to answer questions of the public, their employers?

    Problems exist when people run for office out of their own personal interests and gain power and control due to that. While there are negative aspects, it does get those people out. As I said, if you allow for a write-in campaign, then the person could continue to run if they are doing a really good job.

    Personally, I think that most of the elected politicians do not care about the public and what is best for everyone. Part of the problem is that it seems that many people don’t seem to really care. They don’t know what is going on, in part because those elected don’t make it easy to do so.

    Also, if you think that term limits are bad and since the term limits were voted on by the voters, are you saying that the voters don’t know what they are doing?

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  15. “if the voters don’t know what is happening, then how can they make an informed decision.”

    Voting is a responsibility, and it is the responsibility of voters to educate themselves. The City presents and offers a ton of information, and a ton of information is sitting there at City Hall and on the website waiting to be gathered and digested. The problem is most voters are indifferent, or do not have the time. This is a major, major reason why we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. That is, we do not vote directly on every single issue. We elect people to make those decisions for us.

    Since not everyone can find an elected representative who will vote on every issue exactly as we wish – it is impossible, for many reasons among them we cannot predict the future – we vote for people with broad platforms and ideals, and hope they think like us individual voters on most issues. We cannot expect them to vote as we wish on every single issue.

    Not all voters feel a need to be bookworms and know where every comma is located in city books. For their electeds, they want to know generally how they feel about taxes, public safety, and perhaps other issues such as parks, schools, roads and opens space.

    You haven’t given us much of that at all. It’s all been specifics, mostly complaining about not getting enough information. Well, I’m saying it’s available. Walk into City Hall and ask for it, get it, post it, and keep complaining about it. You’re not going to get many votes like that, I promise.

    After that, please post us your broad thoughts on a vision for Simi Valley, where this place should be in 2, 4, maybe 8 years. That’s what I want to hear about. What Simi Valley would look like if Ken Sandberg were elected. You’ve been writing here for a while, and I still have no idea what that would be.

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  16. Not all information is available. Try to find out ALL of the compensation that a Council member gets for being on various boards, including those of private companies because they are a Council member.

    Then, there are the question that you don’t know to ask because you don’t know about it. I would not have thought that the Council position was full-time in order to justify the benefits. Even Becerra said that he did not know what the benefits were until he got elected. I also would not have know that the Council members could defer the medical coverage (to a more expensive time) if I was not told about it.

    I personally don’t want to see Simi Valley built up like other places. I think that the rural areas should be kept that way unless the whole neighborhood decides otherwise.

    While a Council member might not vote how you want, and in fact a Council member should vote what is best for the community, rather than their personal feelings, it is impossible for a Council member to do what the public wants if there is no means (or desire) to have real two-way public communication.

    I do not believe in Mommy Government and I do not feel that the government should be involved in issues in which it is not their responsibility.

    I can not really say how Simi Valley would look because that depends on what the community wants, which can change over time. What do YOU want Simi Valley to look like in 2,4 or 8 years? I like Simi Valley how it was, which is why I moved here. If I wanted to live a large, built up environment then I would have moved there.

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  17. You are all over the place.

    You could be a Republican in that you oppose “Mommy Government,” ie. against government intervention where it does not belong. Fair enough.

    But you could be a Democrat in that you are not so much for private property owner rights (ie. for more government intervention into the rights or desires of property owners to use their properties), nor so much for economic development, because you indicate a dislike for housing growth, and without “new roofs,” new businesses and new large employers do not come to communities.

    Thank you for the information, it is quite helpful.

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  18. I am sorry that you think that I am all over the place, because I am not. It might just be how you are reading what I wrote.

    I am for private property rights. You are reading too much of your own opinions into what I wrote. While it is true that I do not like turning Simi Valley into all high density housing, don’t try to jump to conclusions based on that. If you moved to a rural area, zoned as such, you would not like that changed without your permission such that there were thousands of apartments surrounding you.

    There are quite a few houses available and I see many trying to be sold. If hundreds of more houses were built, then those people having a hard time selling their house would have a harder time. Also, when you consider the issues with water, that indicates that the time might not be right for a lot of new houses.

    Personally, I do not like the development at Royal and Corto and would not buy a place there, but they do have a right to do what they want with their property, although there are some limits, especially when a zoning change is requested. I do not think that the Council should be dealing with the type of glass in a window as that is between the buyers and seller.

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