2014 Simi Valley Election Results

Bob Huber was re-elected as Mayor of Simi Valley. Congratulations to Bob Huber for earning another term as Mayor.

In 2012, the people spoke and told Barbra Williamson they were ready for her to move on. They have spoken again and confirmed their decision was final. Both Mike Judge and Glen Becerra were re-elected to the City Council. The people of Simi Valley sent a message yesterday that it takes more than a smear campaign to change their minds about who represents them on the council. Congratulations to Mike Judge and Glen Becerra.

For Simi Valley School Board, Bill Daniels is the top vote getter and has earned a spot on the Board. Scott Blough appears to be the second most vote getter, earning 18.79% of the vote. Right behind him is Elaine Litster, with 18% of the votes and a discrepancy of just under 300 votes behind Blough. She outperformed the incumbent candidate and a three time experienced candidate, gaining momentum for her campaign late in the race, and without a boost from any of the active unions. If these are the final figures and Daniels and Blough are for sure our new trustees, Litster MUST run again. She will surely be victorious if she tries again in two years.

Congratulations to everyone!  And brace yourselves… the next election is in two years and it’s unlikely that it will be as quiet as this one.

The Barbra Williamson Mistake

Debbie Thomas, Paula Cornell and Judy Pepiot have chosen to rescind their endorsement of Barbra Williamson. They are planning to mail a letter to Simi Valley women who previously received their first letter of endorsement. What follows is the text of that letter…

We made a mistake.

We love Simi Valley and in our effort to support qualified women to the city council we asked you to support Barbra Williamson as someone who would bring people together and work collaboratively.

We were wrong and we need your help to fix it.

We’re rescinding our endorsement of Barbra Williamson as a result of a vicious smear campaign she is running that smacks of Washington and Sacramento politics that has no place in Simi Valley.

We know that disagreements are part of politics. We know that different opinions are healthy parts of campaigns. We also know that personal attacks and destruction are ruining our ability to work as a community and we all need to stand up against it when we see it.

Standing up against this type of politics is what we’re doing now and we strongly encourage you to join us. The only way this behavior will stop is if we all take a stand.

We made a mistake. We were wrong. We’re embarrassed to have been fooled. Please help us make it right by rejecting the campaign attacks of Barbra Williamson.

There’s no place for personal attacks in Simi Valley.”

– Debbie Thomas, Paula Cornell and Judy Pepiot

Women Displeased With Barbra Williamson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Women of Simi Valley Disgusted with Barbra Williamson’s Vicious Tactics

Simi Valley, CA (Oct. 30, 2014): Last month, Paula Cornell, Judy Pepiot and Debbie Thomas sent a letter to the women of Simi Valley urging them to vote for Barbra Williamson for the Simi Valley City Council. Today, in light of the disgusting and vicious hit piece Williamson mailed about City Councilman Glen Becerra, the three denounced Williamson’s tactics and urged voters to vote against her.

“Barbra Williamson surprised us all with a hit piece on Glen Becerra today that is reprehensible,” Cornell, Pepiot and Thomas said in a follow-up letter to the women of Simi Valley. “It is politics at its worse. It was meant to do harm to a city councilman who is highly respected in our city. Simi Valley deserves better and it deserves a City Council who can and will work together to continue doing what is best for our community.”

Cornell, Pepiot and Thomas are all involved in numerous volunteer roles that sustain and bolster the quality of life in Simi Valley. Each tackle their volunteer jobs by working with all sectors of government, as well as nonprofit groups, service clubs and the public. Over the years, they have had close encounters with almost everyone involved in Simi Valley’s decision-making processes. They endorsed Williamson because they believed the city needed a woman’s perspective on the City Council.

“We signed the original letter on the understanding that Barbra would run a clean campaign. Now we fear this may not be the last hit piece from her. Shame on Barbra for stooping as low as she did to say nasty untruths about a city councilman” Thomas said.

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Local Campaigning is Dramatic Everywhere

…not just in Simi Valley. I’m almost relieved!

At SCVTalk, the Santa Clarita blog covering local politics, Mike Devlin has an article published about a City Council candidate playing a little dirty with some volunteers supporting another candidate. It’s nothing too crazy, but it’s amusing to see it all play out — not just the incident itself which was caught on video, but the City Council Member denying it happened when confronted at a Council Meeting.

Read the full story at SCVTalk which provides excellent coverage of Santa Clarita issues with fresh content regularly. Check out the video below.

Lawsuit fizzles

There’s not a whole lot about the complicated legal process regarding the robocall suit that I feel I have a firm grasp on. I will say that I was hoping the identities of the robocallers would be confirmed on the record. Those close to the story already know the culprits. During this process, their emotions have ranged from angry defiance to fear to outward joy, and during the fear phases, they discussed it and ratted each other out through the email forms, anonymous tweets and other formats. A brave lot… In short, most know who they are but a few were hoping (for once) they might actually get their names attached to their anonymous messages. No such luck this time.  They love their city and they love their political positions… anonymously.

When the court determines that a message is protected by the first amendment, then there’s no further interest in pursuing the identities of the anonymous culprits. That’s the only message to take away.

I plan to do myself a favor and ignore the City Council campaigns this year (except for Barbra Williamson’s, which will play out like reality TV) and maybe some year we can restore civility to this process. Maybe someday it won’t be such a heinous fight. Until then, I’ll continue to receive my bi-annual threat of lawsuit from people who wine about vexatious litigation and launch attack campaigns with fake Facebook accounts.

Candidate Halub Turns Over a New Leaf?

Ordinarily, the election cycle means that you can count on outrageous commentary from City Council Candidate Eric Halub. In the past, Mr. Halub has served as a convenient proxy for those wishing to disseminate dirty commentary on one’s political opponents without actually attaching one’s name to it. In Simi Valley politics, people love to make misleading, sleazy or outright incorrect statements anonymously and Eric Halub could always be counted on to deliver the message.

Tonight, to my surprise, was very different. Moments ago, Eric Halub shared the main points of his campaign, including public safety among other points. He referenced his past negative commentary and pledged to run a clean, positive campaign.  He concluded his remarks by saying there was no room in Simi Valley for negative politics and that he wanted to be able to hold his head high in town, win or lose. It was easily the most refreshing commentary I have ever heard from him!

Congratulations to Eric Halub for opting to make positive comments for a change. I hope this represents a new strategy for his campaign. If it is, I think he’ll find it significantly more effective than his previous strategies.

The Arrest Video

A video is circulating right now that shows Councilmember Steve Sojka being arrested on a DUI charge a few months ago. The video was acquired by Hews Media Group, submitted by an anonymous source. Since the arrest, Sojka has plead no contest in Los Angeles court and was subsequently sentenced to three years probation and required to participate in an alcohol abuse program.

Things like this shake people up and can polarize a community. Even sharing this video has the potential to spark an ugly debate and get people fighting. I sincerely hate that. But pretending it didn’t happen is foolish. These things matter to our community.

During Steve Sojka’s 2008 campaign for City Council, I didn’t feel like he and I were on the same page. He reached out to me on a personal level in 2010 during his campaign for Mayor and we spent a good deal of time talking to each other and getting to understand each others’ positions, and getting to know each other in general, something that meant a great deal to me. I hope that he is able to take this situation and turn it into something positive by teaching the youth in our community that even the most caring and cautious individuals can make mistakes that have dire consequences and that the risks aren’t worth it.

Mike Judge’s Campaign Kick-off

If you’re looking to actually “re-elect” a candidate to the Simi Valley City Council, then you might want to take a look at Mike Judge. Council Member Judge officially kicked off his campaign tonight at the Junkyard Cafe here in Simi Valley.

Mike addressed the crowd and expressed his desire to be re-elected to the City Council. He wants to continue his work on the Council and focus on a few important key items. Among those key issues are continuing to explore a community liaison program with the police department and strengthening economic development, particularly the business community.

You can learn more about Mike Judge and his City Council campaign on his website at judgementsv.com.

Mike Judge - Campaign Kick off Mike Judge Campaign Kick-off

Elect or Re-Elect? Words Matter.

A couple of years ago, Barbra Williamson was quoted in the paper as saying the following after she filed a complaint about Keith Mashburn regarding his ballot designation of “retired fire chief.”

“You’ve got to play on a level playing field,” she said. “Everybody has to play by the rules. I know there are people upset with me—so be it. I’ve never been one to shy away from a problem.”

Right now, Barbra Williamson is asking people to “re-elect” her as a member of the Simi Valley City Council. She’s doing so with the “Re-elect Barbra Williamson” materials that she passes out at events like the Simi Valley Street Fair, on her campaign website and while walking precincts to talk to voters. The problem with that is that she is not a sitting councilmember. Per California law, only an incumbent can use the word “re-elect” to describe their actual re-election effort. Doing so otherwise is a violation of California Elections Code section 18350.

“I have no ill will toward Keith Mashburn; I’ve known him for years and years and years,” she said. “I think he’s a good person. I think when he put down ‘retired fire chief’ that he knew it was slippery slope and that he even had reservations about it.” – Barbra Williamson, 2012

Likewise, I’m sure Barbra knew it was a slippery slope to use the word “re-elect” and fully appreciates this coming to light so she can address it appropriately. Right? Right. Of course, failure to comply and update the campaign and associated materials is more than just a violation of California Election Code, but it also serves to mislead voters. This campaign will be a critical one for Barbra because it’s her attempt to earn back her seat on the City Council after her two year hiatus. But as the 2012 robocall indicates, misleading voters is ineffective. To assist in this process, I have informed the Ventura County DA, the Simi Valley City Manager’s office, and the Secretary of State Elections Office, among others, all of whom can provide oversight to ensure that voters have a fair chance of knowing who the candidates really are.

In the 2012 election for City Council, Barbra Williamson was defeated by Keith Mashburn, who received 16,800+ votes to her 14,800+ votes, with Steve Sojka taking the top number of votes and being re-elected. Back in 2008, Steve Sojka was easily re-elected as the top vote-getter, with Barbra being re-elected with 22,900+ votes to challenger Mike Judge’s 13,500+ showing at the polls. If history tells us anything, it’s that Barbra has no hope of defeating Glen Becerra’s anticipated numbers this election and that she’s hoping to oust Mike Judge, repeating her success in 2008. His showing as a new candidate in 2008 was impressive, but this time he’s returning with a lot of new support and as an incumbent, which, despite arguments to the contrary, matters to the Simi Valley electorate. She will need to campaign hard this time around, and with more than just a “re-elect” word-play trick up her sleeve. This city is full of surprises, so we’ll see what happens in November. More to come later on the Barbra Williamson campaign…

DISCLOSURE: I was once a very enthusiastic supporter of Barbra Williamson but did not support her re-election in 2012.

A Column About Nuthin in Particular . . .

556920_497264096977712_385366256_nOriginally posted on March 29, 2013 by Mitch Green

Fridays come up so quickly sometimes that just when you think its safe, bada boom . . ., Fridays are here again. And with Friday evenings now comes this deadline thingy that means I have to put out content, whether I’m prepared or not . . . not that I usually find myself at loss for words.

But, this being the last Friday of the month, and as a businessman navigating in the uncharted waters of the emperor’s new recession trying to figure out why it takes longer to collect on invoices and why vendors are raising their rates and why our overhead has gone up 40% from this time last year, yet our revenue has dropped 40% and we are working twice as hard just to stay twice as far behind . . . dang. And from what I hear, we’re doing good.

So, between getting my teeth kicked in at trial and then on the 15th of the month checking revenue and finding the first half of the month equated to what should usually be a good day . . ., we’ ve been hustling rocket docket for the last two weeks just to pull in up with a mediocre month, revenue wise.

And everyone I’m talking to is feeling the pinch, some more severe than others.

But the Dow hit an all time high this week, from what I hear. Why isn’t everyone jumping for joy? Frankly, I see these highs as a harbinger of hyperinflation. But what do I know? This life I’m hanging out in an Airstream at a trailer park, not a mega yacht on the Mexican Rivera.

So then, what has been happening this last week that’s worthy of passing along?

There have been no meteors scaring small children and the terminally paranoid this week, which should be a good thing, right? BUT WHAT IS THE MEDIA HIDING?!?

[[Er, .. ., ok. [Checks meds]]]

Looking over the headlines the last week has been somewhat dull. There was a homeless camp that went up in smoke near the railroad tracks over by Easy and Cochran. . ., some poor guy got nailed on his motorcycle over on Madera by a left turning lady (dang, I think about that often when putting around town on my Harley Softail), Camarillo places a moratorium on porn production (now, doesn’t that get all? I mean, do you think “family values” just come in a vacuum? Or maybe get dropped off by the stork? Maybe some folks need training material – after all, we can’t all be lucky enough to get to hang out in a trailer park) . . .

(oh, and by the way, if you read about the Camarillo porn production ban, you’ll find out that Simi passed an ordinance last April requiring “dental dams” on all “oral sex” production . . . huh? Wahwahwhat? Now, if you dare, just go with me for a minute and try to think about that whole . . . dental dam . . . , oral sex . . . kind of thing . . ., and now think about our council members proposing this sort of legislation . . ., and, ya know, my mind just can’t get wrapped around that whole thing . . ., let alone imagine that we paid for this find example of “We’re here from the Government and We’re here to help!”)

And then, I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Council Member Glen Becerra’s little brush up with the District Attorney’s Office this week.

In case you hadn’t heard about it, at the City Council meeting held on February 25, 2013, Council Member Becerra, or Glen as many of us know him, burst out for about three and a half minutes during comments about something that he felt was of grave concern to him and which he seemed to feel was being swept under the rug, which was the issue of the City Attorney and Mayor signing a memorandum of understanding with a local developer in December without council authority, and then conducting a cover up of what in actuality was a minor matter rather than just admit “my bad” and move on. And now the cover up of the cover up of the minor boo boo may be compounding out of control to take us places no one ever imagined, just because the players just don’t know when to quit digging their holes.

But, when Glen blurted out his comments on February 25, 2013, they weren’t on the agenda. Mayor Huber out right stated that the issue would be on the agenda soon, but a month later, nothing has happened. And in the mean time, the City has altered documents in the face of public record act requests, issued documents in response to public record act requests that were specifically prepared for those requests and specifically prepared to throw off time lines, and high level City officials have gone to the press and locked themselves in to an airy fairy version of events that might not reconcile with actual records.

But then again, the issue that Glen wanted to talk about was not on the agenda, and so for Glen’s three and a half minutes or so of attempt to get out a message that desperately needed to be heard, Glen might have committed a very minor, technical, violation of the Brown Act. The very act that was designed to bring transparency to government, not to hide information from the public.

So, “you bad,” Glen. But “you bad,” on another level too in my book. You spoke about a matter . . ., what was that? Maybe local high level officials lying, pulling off sneaky, maybe even unethical stuff . . , that maybe most don’t even care about because it’s not on “Dancing with the Stars,” or “Fox News,” so it can’t possibly be important. . . And it can’t possibly happen in small town governments . . . And, No, honest local officials really aren’t that big a deal, right?

Then again, this week’s news also included the criminal convictions of five . . ., count them, five (5) City of Bell elected officials who kept quiet and went along with a pattern of corruption.

When you find yourself digging a little too deep into that hole, just quit digging. Or maybe ask yourself, “how might I look in an orange jumpsuit . . .”

From the trailer park,

Night Simi Valley!

(Next week: Show and tell or lawsuits for fun and profit)