Dear Mitch, May 12, 2013

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Dear Readers,

Its been a busy week and my inbox is going nuts. While there is still interest on what is happening at the Simi Valley City Hall regarding the City Attorney’s continued troubles, what with this week’s news article regarding her paying a claim in violation of the California Tort Claims Act, it seems the focus at City Hall has shifted dramatically over to spotlight the continued poor judgment displayed by Council Member Mike Judge with his Facebook misadventures re soft porn likes and now his sharing of “snuff flicks.”

I am not really sure where all this City Hall Lack of Good Judgment thing is coming from, either.

Since the Simi Valley Police Officer’s Association (the local police officer union, not to be confused with the Simi Valley Police Department, a municipal police department), staged a successful coup in taking over City Hall three years ago in 2010, with the election of their endorsed candidate Mayor Bob Huber and the accidental election of “supported candidate” Council Member Mike Judge over their endorsed candidate Keith Mashburn, the word from inside City Hall is things have never been worse, have never been so unorganized, and morale has never been lower.

To back up a touch, the term “accidental election” regarding Mike Judge is a local colloquialism referencing the fact that in the 2010 municipal election, the Police Officer’s Association, the local police union, not to be confused with the Simi Valley Police Department, a municipal police department, endorsed council candidate Keith Mashburn, a retired fire department battalion chief. The Police Officer’s Association, the local police union, not to be confused with the Simi Valley Police Department, a municipal police department, flooded the town with signs for Mr. Mashburn, and on each sign, to show that Mr. Mashburn was endorsed by the police officer union, a police officer badge was prominently displayed. Come election booth time though, it is believed many associated the police officer badge on every other sign posted around town with the guy who had police officer next to his name on the ballot, Mike Judge.

And to explain the issues coming from inside City Hall, the first hand word that I have received is no decisions are being made, nothing can get done, everyone is so worried about protecting their backside that the documentation on each and every task has gone up multiple folds not to ensure the work is correct, but to protect one from the inevitable sharp shooting that comes from actually making a decision on something. Clerical staff get yelled at and belittled by a certain elected official. Department heads have given up on trying to deal with a certain high level attorney as it is possible that the person just cannot remember what she said from one day to the next, hence her constant denial of prior conversations and decisions. To the receivers, the shocked impression is that she is outright lying to their face, when an equally plausible explanation is that she suffers mental issues normally associated with advanced years.

In 2012, the police union again supported and helped elect Council Member Keith Mashburn. Mr. Mashburn appears to be getting comfortable with his new elected role and with six months now on the job, his honeymoon period with the press is about over. It remains to be seen what his positions are going to be in the future, but he also does not share the blame for the currently ongoing City Hall woes.

So back to the inbox. With the Mike Judge decapitation murder snuff flick issues going on this past week, my inbox has been snuffed, er, stuffed, with all kinds of things from the “whatever . . .” to “its his right to look at whatever he wants!” to “it’s a private Facebook page, get over it!” to “disgusting,” “where does this woman hating misogynist get off???” and “violence against women is not a training film!”

Frankly, I wish the issue would just go away. But instead of an apology from the wayward council member, we get weird postings from him along the lines of “no one is going to tell him what to do.” Kind of like how my then juvenile boys handled issues in seventh grade. And until he fesses up that he really, really blew it, things will continue to compound. Or as one observer relayed to me at the Street Fair (nice job by the way Chamber!), this snowball has taken a life of its own and its headed down hill fast.

So lets get started.

Dear Mitch

Did you see Mike Judge’s Friday’s Thought for the day? It looks like a cat with a torn up pizza in it’s mouth with the caption, “I regret nothing. NOTHING.” So he posts a picture of a cat that has obviously done something wrong and shows no remorse about it as something to think about? And that’s the message he felt like sending out? Is Mike really trying to say he has zero remorse and is fully aware that he did something wrong? I sure hope that is not what he intended. But if he was trying to say “I did nothing wrong” and totally missed that the picture he used sends a different message, what does that say about his ability to comprehend?

Judge Cat

Dear Reader (too many today to come up with cute names for you, so you all get to be “Dear Readers),

Yeah, I did see that post! What is up with that? The one comment that was sent to me was “This guy is an arrogant idiot!” The same person sent me a screen shot of Judge commenting Friday night, “I’m getting to the point where I wish dueling was still in vogue.” Now, what do you think Mike meant by that? Another reader sent me the same screen shot with the caption, “Mike Judge Wants to Shoot You.”

So here’s the question for today: Do you think that a) Mike Judge was just being cute with his statement that he wishes dueling were back in style; b) do you think Mike Judge was implying he wants to shoot someone? c) do you think Mike Judge was conveying the message that he would like to shoot me?

Here’s the screen shot . . .
Mike Judge Duel

***

Dear Mitch,

Mike Judge says he’s a Police officer who happens to be a City Councilman. Great. Do we really want someone who views representing our city and its citizens as something he just kind of does on the side?

Dear Reader,

Interesting take. I too noticed the play on words. Perhaps there is confusion over which hat to wear at any one time . . .

Or perhaps . . ., well, perhaps that observation can stay in the pocket for now . . . 😉

***

Dear Mitch

Have I got it right that at first the explanation for posting the decapitation video on Mike Judge’s Facebook page was to ID the killer and then when it was pointed out this was obviously a Mexican Drug Cartel video, the explanation went to it was a training tool? So when we find out something like there are rules against using these kinds of video as a training tool, will the explanation switch to something else?

Dear Reader,

Wow, it is so amazing how you caught that! If you were to listen to the supporters of this conduct, these simple observations tend to get lost, overlooked or (pointing finger in opposite direction), Hey! Quick! Look Over There!!!

My kids used to play the same games too . . . “Well, MAYBEE it happened that way!” Sure kid, and just MAYBEE you’re gonna git chur butt whipped! (Ahem, figuratively . . ., such tender dear boys . . .)

***

Dear Mitch

What is going on with City Hall? Between signing void contracts, posting videos of people’s heads being cut off and paying $20,000 on expired claims, it makes you wonder if there is anyone who works there that has half a brain? And as long as they are passing out free money, when can I get mine?

Dear Reader,

Heck, I’d like some free money too. Maybe some health and dental benefits, pension contributions . . ., all that. Then MAYBEE I could sit at my desk all day long, twirl around in my chair, suck up to my elected friends, take long naps behind closed doors, rush off with my clip board in hand looking very busy, “Not now! See me when I get back! Better yet, send me a memo!!”

But then again, I also like actually getting things done . . .

***

Dear Mitch

Remember when Doug Crosse was ready to sue over Steve Sokja’s cell phone reimbursement that was something like $7,000 over 14 years? Where is he now that the City has forked over $20,000 on a claim it didn’t have to pay?

Dear Reader,

Yeah, what is that all about?

Doug Crosse! Come back! Your City Needs You! Bring Your Broom!

***

Dear Mitch

What happened to all your posts on Vote Simi Valley? You and Chandler still cool post the Mike Judge issue?

Dear Reader,

Yes, I think so, but the Mike Judge issue hasn’t gone away yet, so that remains to be seen. Until we see how all this shakes out, lets just say we are working things out, and the prior columns have all been safely tucked away.

***

Dear Mitch?

I saw that you have been kicked off the Facebook page, Simi Valley Letters to The Editor again. And then the natives enjoyed a good old fashion “parade the head on a stick” post hatchet job party at your expense.

You are probably not missing out on too much, other than the denial of your First Amendment Rights for pointing out the Councilman “wears no clothes.” Funny how the defenders of a certain local politician demand First Amendment rights for their boy to watch and share human decapitation videos, but insist on censure and denial of those same First Amendment rights for anyone pointing out that this public figure has publicly embarrassed himself and Simi Valley.

You do know that Letters to The Editor was started as a Republican political operation, and it has now been taken over as a propaganda site for the radical right fringe group called the California Republican Assembly or CRA for short? And the voices there all tend to agree with each other as they boot anyone who does not follow the right wing fringe Republican agenda.

Wherever YOUR political sympathies lay, I doubt they fall in with the “right wing fringe” group.

OK, “Dear Reader,” that voice was barely disguised. But I’ll play along and say, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”

***

Dear Mitch,

Bill walked from Santa Monica to Westwood. It took 45 minutes to walk from Santa Monica to Brentwood. Then it took 25 minutes to walk from Brentwood to Westwood. He just arrived in Westwood. the current time is 2:30 P.M. At what time did he leave Santa Monica?

Do you start at the beginning of the problem, add 45 minutes and 25 minutes and then subtract that from the current time? Do you start at the current time and then go backwards 25 minutes and then another 45 minutes? Do you use a technique of random selection using reasoned deduction or do you methodically go in order to arrive at your solution?

Let me know which method you use.

***

Dear Reader,

Here I have to confess that I learned how to solve these kind of equations in my head at an early age. When I see a story math problem, I keep a running total in my head while I read the problem, waiting for the “call of the question.” If this were a formal test with a series of similar questions, I would be disciplined to glance first at the call of the question, here “At what time did he leave Santa Monica?” Then when I read the question, I see that we start in Santa Monica. Great. Add 45. Plus 25, running total up to 70. We arrive somewhere at 2:30, less 70 minutes = 1:20 in my head at the same time we arrive at the end of the paragraph with the final sentence, “At what time did he leave Santa Monica.” That for me happens simultaneously for me as I read the question.”

I learned how to do the same thing when I read a government claim coming into the City. You just knew which ones had denial written all over them from first glance, which ones blew their statute of limitations giving us an easy win before it even started, and which ones to pucker about. Its not really rocket surgery, its just doing the same thing over and over again and learning from your prior mistakes.

But if you keep doing the same mistake over and over again, well then, in the words of Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.”

To recap, I do not always start at the beginning of a problem when I notice a trend. Sometimes you have to start with the patterned result, and then work you way backwards and then back forward again to arrive back at that same result. And then ask yourself, “Is there a pattern here that I need to be concerned about?”

So Simi Valley, what do you think?

Is there a pattern going on here we need to be concerned about?

***

Tell Mom you love her today, and if for some reason you cannot do that in person, thing loving thoughts of Mom and find your own way of telling her anyway.

Mitch

PS: I dare you all to share this link with our friends at Letters to The Editor! Such a shame they would miss out on our discussions . . . 😉

Snuff film

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“Snuff film”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A snuff film is a motion picture genre that depicts the actual murder of a person or people, without the aid of special effects, for the express purpose of distribution and entertainment or financial exploitation.”

***

Did you know that “sharing” a video of a puppy or kitten getting its head cut off can get you seven years in the federal slammer? And that it was our own Elton Gallegly that helped get that bill passed?

“Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010”.

18 USC § 48 – Animal crush videos

(a) Definition.— In this section the term “animal crush video” means any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that—
(1) depicts actual conduct in which 1 or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 and including conduct that, if committed against a person and in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, would violate section 2241 or 2242); and
(2) is obscene.
(b) Prohibitions.—
(1) Creation of animal crush videos.— It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly create an animal crush video, if—
(A) the person intends or has reason to know that the animal crush video will be distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce; or
(B) the animal crush video is distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.
(2) Distribution of animal crush videos.— It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, market, advertise, exchange, or distribute an animal crush video in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.

(d) Penalty.— Any person who violates subsection (b) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 7 years, or both.

(e) Exceptions.—
(1) In general.— This section shall not apply with regard to any visual depiction of—
(A) customary and normal veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices;
(B) the slaughter of animals for food; or
(C) hunting, trapping, or fishing.
(2) Good-faith distribution.— This section shall not apply to the good-faith distribution of an animal crush video to—
(A) a law enforcement agency; or
(B) a third party for the sole purpose of analysis to determine if referral to a law enforcement agency is appropriate.

[Note: Just being a member of law enforcement and sharing the crush video with your law enforcement buddies on social media is NOT an exception to prosecution]

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/48

From the The Feministe blog, I quote,

The New York Times describes ”Crush Porn” as follows (You have been warned!):

“A decade ago, Congress decided it was time to address what a House report called “a very specific sexual fetish.” There are people, it turns out, who take pleasure from watching videos of small animals being crushed.

“Much of the material featured women inflicting the torture with their bare feet or while wearing high-heeled shoes,” the report said. “In some video depictions, the woman’s voice can be heard talking to the animals in a kind of dominatrix patter. The cries and squeals of the animals, obviously in great pain, can also be heard in the videos.”

Congress went a step further and in 1999 outlawed the depiction of crushing, and most depictions of cruelty to animals, making crush-porn illegal.

Last month, the United States solicitor general asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. “Depictions of the intentional infliction of suffering on vulnerable creatures,” the brief said, “play no essential role in the expression of ideas.” The First Amendment, the brief went on, is therefore irrelevant to the case.

Interestingly, most of the cases that have been brought under this law have depicted dog-fighting, not crush-porn. But crush porn essentially disappeared from the market after 1999; since a Third Circuit court ruled that the law banning animal cruelty videos is unconstitutional, the videos have sprung up again. To complicate things further, it doesn’t matter if the act was legal where it was filmed; the standard is that if the act of cruelty is illegal where the video is bought or sold, the law is being violated. So a video of bullfighting in Spain (or dog-fighting somewhere dog-fighting is legal) is illegal to sell in the United States.

Basically, the “crush” law places depictions of animal cruelty in the same category that we place depictions of child pornography, where we say that depictions of the crime have absolutely no free speech value; or alternately, where the potential for harm is so great that it justifies this kind of reach. Amy Adler, who I had as a professor at NYU, has written about the exceptionalism of child pornography laws extensively, and I’d recommend checking out her stuff for a deeper understanding of the constitutional issues involved here. The other legal scholars who the reporter speaks to also seem to think that the law will be struck down.”

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/01/06/crush-porn-and-free-speech/

And here is the link to the Congressional Report re “Crush Videos”

http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?sel=DOC&&item=&r_n=hr397.106&&&sid=cp106FWNRg&&refer=&&&db_id=cp106&&hd_count=&

There are challenges to the “Crush Video” law, as demonstrated recently by a ruling in Texas.

“Torturing animals and filming their painful deaths is an activity protected by the U.S. Constitution, according to a federal judge in Texas.

In an opinion issued this week, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake tossed out charges against a Houston couple accused of violating the federal “animal crush video” statute. Lake wrote that the law “abridges the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.”

Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Justice allegedly created and distributed violent sex fetish videos — animal snuff films — that depicted the torture of puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other animals.

In one of the videos, Richards was seen torturing a pit bull puppy. According to the Houston Chronicle, Richards bound the puppy’s mouth with tape, cut its back leg with a meat cleaver, slit its throat and severed the dog’s head from its body.

Other videos purportedly show Richards crushing crawfish, crabs and lobsters under her bare feet or stilettos.”
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Judge_Animal_snuff_films_protected_by_1st_Amendment.html

And not withstanding that one judge’s ruling in Texas, the Crush Video law still remains the law of the land everywhere else in the nation.

So, the question of the day remains,

IF IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHARE ANIMAL CRUSH SNUFF VIDEOS, WHY IS IT NOT ILLEGAL TO SHARE HUMAN MURDER SNUFF VIDEOS???

Riddle me that, Batman

“Snuff film”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A snuff film is a motion picture genre that depicts the actual murder of a person or people, without the aid of special effects, for the express purpose of distribution and entertainment or financial exploitation.”

I Still Like Mike Judge

I hear the news vans have been to City Hall today regarding the recent news about Councilmember Mike Judge.  Honestly, that bothers me.  Here’s why:

I see Mike Judge as an important symbol in our community. It seemed the odds were against him when he first ran for City Council, but his numbers were pretty decent.  He gave Barbra Williamson a run for her money, but she still retook her seat.  The next time around, he firmly landed a seat on the Council.  He did that without the business accolades and awards.  He did that without the community connections and big dollar donors.  He did that without the support of sitting Council members.  For me, it was an exciting milestone.  It was sad to see Michelle Foster leave, but exciting to see a guy that we could all relate to be victorious.  His campaign style and general demeanor were very appealing to me from the very beginning.  I liked seeing him win.  I’d like him to stick around.

To Mike Judge: we’ve all made errors in judgment over the years ever since email gained traction as a main stream form of communication.  When you can share content with a ton of people by a simple click of a button, bad things are bound to slip out.  Own it.  Accept accountability and apologize.  You have a lot of supporters, and those who are troubled by this can forget about it and let it go if they know it won’t happen again. Your First Amendment rights are a true privilege that you value, I understand.  But a few people and the media are concerned.  So commit to not doing it again.

To Mike Judge’s advisors: thanks for sticking by him during a tough time. But if you’ve got an agenda to protect and you’re not publicly defending him, then you’re not doing anyone any favors.  You know who you are.

Mike Judge is a solid person who I respect as an individual and as a Councilmember.  I’d like to see this blow over really soon.  Let’s move on with a little assurance from Mike that this isn’t a concern moving forward.  It’s time to get back to business, folks!

Full Audio – December 4 Tapo Street Grant Meeting

Today, I received a lawsuit threat from Ted Mackel for posting the article referencing the timeline of events related to the Tapo Street renovation grant dispute. Check back later for the screen capture of the lawsuit threat letter that was delivered via Facebook. This is important to note because it explains why the article was edited shortly after it was published.

For clarification and full disclosure, I’m providing a full, unedited segment of audio. The video embedded below is the full audio of the meeting that took place at City Hall on December 4, 2012, between city officials and a group of citizens. It is over an hour long, but I encourage you to listen to it in full so that you can draw your own conclusions.

For your own copy of the audio CD of the meeting, write to City Clerk, City of Simi Valley, 2929 Tapo Canyon Road, Simi Valley, CA 93063, and request a CD of the meeting between Doug Crosse and the City Manager held on December 4, 2012, pursuant to the California Public Record Act. Give the City at least 10 days to respond.

(Mitch Green has provided a cliff notes summary of the meeting dialogue which can be found here.)

Redevelopment Grant Timeline of Events

The events of the Tapo Street redevelopment grant issue that have played out during the course of the last election and finally concluded with the business owner returning the grant funds involve a series of letters, information requests and other maneuvers. Mitchell Green, former 2010 City Council Candidate, published a detailed account of how things went and when. He allowed me to republish his post here:

For a time line refresher, Kelly Kolarek’s letter to the editor of July 27, 2012,

http://www.simivalleyacorn.com/news/2012-07-27/Letters/Candidates_not_fit_for_council_seats.html

Doug Crosse announces his suspension of his City Council campaign on August 10, 2012, citing Mr. Kolarek’s “attack letter,”

http://www.simivalleyacorn.com/news/2012-08-10/Letters/Behavior_is_an_election_question.html

September 5, 2012, Doug Crosse files his government claim against Steve Sojka for “cell phone reimbursement misuse” and also files his first public record act request with the City requesting documentation of only the K & J Auto Facade Renovation Grant information.

October 1, 2012, Doug Crosse makes his second Public Record Act request, this time authorizing Scott Santino, Bob Huber’s 2010 campaign manager to pick up the documents from the City.

October 4, 2012, the City prematurely denies Doug Crosse’s government claim regarding Council Member Sojka’s cell phone reimbursement, after sending the small claims matter out to a private firm for an unnecessary opinion costing the City $2,622 in the process at $285 per hour legal billing rate. Which makes no sense when under the Government Code the City needed to do nothing and the claim would have been denied by operation of law with no expense to the City and no conflict of interest to the City Attorney, but the, Doug and friends might not have had enough clown time if the matter had run its proper course. This is a key point of perhaps improper government collusion and, in my opinion, a key weakness as any discussion, communication, e-mail or other correspondence regarding any of this by the City Attorney to anyone but the internal City Attorney’s Office, outside retained counsel for the specific matter, or to the entire City Council in closed session is NOT protected by attorney-client privilege and IS subject to disclosure through the Public Record Act. Unless, of course, a personnel action were to result. Or worse. And guess what folks, you can’t delete e-mails from the City’s hard drive, you can only remove it from visibility. But its still there . . .

October 10, 2012, Doug Crosse files his Grand Jury Complaint with the Ventura County Grand Jury.

October 17, 2012, Doug Crosse holds his TEA Party meeting where he openly brags about the City Attorney calling him to discuss his and the TEA Party’s claim against the City, and he jokes with her about speeding up the denial so he can get on with his lawsuit against the City. Which, remarkably, is just what happened. (Remember, I never would have done this in the 8 years I supervised the civil defense for the City – this is just unheard of). Council Member Mike Judge also attended this meeting.

Also on October 17, 2012, Doug Crosse acknowledges his co-conspirators in his Grand Jury Complaint stunt, as follows,

“Guys like Scott Santino and Ted Mackel don’t get involved in these type of things, my good friend Louis, uh, Pandolfi over there, don’t get involved in things like this except for one reason and that is, we want to hold our government accountable.” Doug Crosse, October 17, 2012

[Editor: speculative remarks removed]

Also on October 17, 2012, Louis Pandolfi posts on Facebook the following “poll”:

“1. Did you vote, or would you support, condominiums in the hills at the gateway to our community, at the Happy Face location?
2. Are you in favor of disbanding “our Police Department, firing our police officers and contracting with the County.”

Then, on October 22, the Robo Calls happen with the following script (notice the quotes and then check again Louis Pandolfi’s “poll” above):

“Dear Neighbor, I’m really concerned about crime in Simi Valley. Did you know that Steve Sojka running for City Council may want to shut down “our police department, fire our police officers, and contract with the county?” Imagine wanting to shut down our fine police department? This is the same Steve Sojka who gave $70,000 of our tax money to a friend and campaign supporter to remodel his used car lot, a matter now before the grand jury. Sojka voted for condominiums in our hills at Happy Face. Sojka talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Its time to get rid of Sojka before he really hurts our community. Thank you. This message is paid for by Justice Political Action Committee.”

Notice the near exact wording between that Louis Pandolfi uses on October 17, 2012 in point 2 and the Robo Call Script? The 12 Magic Words Gate? Perhaps just a coincidence. Also, there is no Justice Political Action Committee, which makes this Robo Call illegal on its face. And, as there is only one used car lot in Simi Valley, with the implication that because it is “now before the grand jury” that it “really hurts our community” the tie in also makes it actionably defamatory and qualifying for punitive damages in its very face. That is, if the identity of the Robo Caller participants is firmly determined to the satisfaction of a court of law.

October 24, 2012, Barbra Williamson and Mike Judge hold a press conference calling on the City to investigate the grant authorized by Steve Sojka and Glen Becerra.

October 29, 2012, Doug Crosse waives his broom in City Council chambers, giving proper witch hunt imagery to his political stunt.

November 1, 2012, the Ventura County Grand Jury announces that it is declining to investigate the complaint prepared and filed by Doug Crosse and endorsed by the Simi Valley Moorpark TEA Party. Grand Jury foreman Jay Whitney later spoke with the Ventura County Star, where he “characterized the letter as essentially a form letter, saying it should not be interpreted as meaning that the jury made any findings as to possible criminal violations with the grant.”

November 19, 2012, City Council on motion by Barbra Williamson, directs City Staff to meet with Doug Crosse to discuss his concerns regarding the K & J grant. On November 20, 2012, Doug Crosse in an interview with the Star, states that he hopes the meeting will be open to the public. “ “I will cooperate in any way I’m able to,” he said. “I’m glad that at least it’s moving in some direction.” He added that he would like his meeting with city staff members to be open to the public.”

On December 3, 2012, Assistant City Manager Brian Gabler informs Mr. Kolarek’s representative that they are not welcome at the meeting as it is “not open to the public.”

On December 4, 2012, Doug Crosse, Ted Mackel, Tom Mackel, Louis Pandolfi, and Barbra Williamson met with City Manager Laura Behjan and Assistant City Manager Brian Gabler, and instead of discussing the City’s procedures as was the basis of the motion passed by the City Council, a member of the group instead implies Mr. Kolarek committed fraud while others demanded additional documentation not authorized by the Participation Agreement, which demands were promptly adopted by City manager Behjan. Note: this paragraph was edited to emphasize that not all members of the group accused Mr. Kolarek of fraud after I received a threat of lawsuit. The individual heard prominently suggesting fraud was Louis Pandolfi. The audio of the meeting and the lawsuit threat will be posted later today for full disclosure and clarification.

On December 6, 2012, Assistant City Manager Brian Gabler writes to Mr. Kolarek and on behalf of the City, adopts the demand of the TEA Party group, demanding the documents from Mr.Kolarek that the TEA Party group demanded from the City on December 4. Mr. Kolarek, through representatives, declines to participate.

On December 17, 2012, Jared Held, TEA Party Vice President, posts on Facebook copies of K & J Auto business checks with bank name, address and account numbers unredacted. The City later confirms that it erroneously released copies of the checks to Doug Crosse in violation of its own policies.

On December 19, 2012, Mr. Kolarek chooses to return the grant money.

And yet, the TEA Party continues its attacks.

This concludes Mr. Green’s remarks and I appreciate his permission to repost this content.

Redevelopment Grant Money Returned

Editor’s Note: This is really unfortunate in my opinion. Though it’s been stated numerous times in the press that the effort to question this grant wasn’t politically motivated, these audio segments of Tea Party leader Doug Crosse indicate that the timing was such that it would give people a chance to rethink who they vote for. I’m surprised that City officials didn’t show more backbone and stand behind a grant that they approved, or own up to any issues in their process.

To Mr. Kolarek: thank you for keeping your business in town. I would have pulled the plug and moved out months ago. Please don’t ever donate a single penny to any local political campaign ever again. Your support, while generous, isn’t worth being targeted. And thank you for what you’ve done for the Simi Valley Education Foundation. Your charitable efforts have been drowned out by the political noise of this story, but your generous contributions are very appreciated by this community.

Press Release Statement

After many months of public persecution, slander, and defamation of my character, I am publically addressing the Simi Valley Moorpark Tea Party’s investigation of me and my business.  At this point my decision is to return the grant funds issued to me through the Tapo Street Façade Renovation Program.  With the recently approved Proposition 30 Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative, these funds will cause me huge adverse tax implications.  I have delivered a cashier’s check to the City today.  The money I received is not worth the ongoing attacks on my character.  Peace of mind and focusing on my family and business is far more important to me.  The City of Simi Valley is a small business community, where one strives to work hard to earn a decent living, to raise a family, and support its community.  I have found that this situation to have taken such a toll on me and my family.  I cannot sit back and allow such incredulous acts to continue to happen.

It seems that because of the people I have supported and continue to support politically, I’ve been targeted by the local Tea Party and several other private citizens. This group of irate and mean-spirited people will stop at nothing to try and tear me apart. They’ve come after me, my family, friends and my business.  My wife, along with friends and employees, has received threatening text messages.  Additionally we have been the target of online cyber-bullying and splashed across the local newspapers in a negative fashion. Just this week one member posted copies of my personal bank account information online. Sadly, the City provided my personal information and failed to redact the details of my account number and address. My attorney was successful in having this removed from the internet for the time being, but it does illustrate to what extent this situation has spun out of control.  I’ve seen and heard enough nonsense to know this has to stop immediately.  My family’s safety is more important than money.

I must say it’s very sad to think that our community has members that stoop to this level and have no other greater good to add to the community and invest their time.

When I came to the City with my project several years ago it was to improve a dilapidated corner of the town and beautify it for the community. I was successful in that endeavor and am very proud of the operation my employees and I run. From the beginning we’ve given back to the community through charitable donations to the YMCA, Simi Valley Education Foundation, The Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Wag-n-Walk and other local programs. We plan to continue our relationships in the community and to contribute as much as we can. We will rise above this small group of naysayers and continue to strive for integrity and professionalism despite their tactics.

The Ventura County Grand Jury reviewed this case when it was originally filed by the head of the local Tea Party and stated publicly that they had declined to move ahead with any investigation. On multiple occasions the City Manager’s office assured me that all facets of the requirements for the grant had been satisfied. Unfortunately this group continues to bring forth new allegations of wrongdoing when previous avenues have run short. The City seems to have bent over backwards to satisfy this small group but they continue their bully tactics. If the City wasn’t satisfied with the paperwork I submitted prior to funding, then they would have never released the check to me in the first place. Now, out of 44 grant projects, only my project is being reviewed by this small group associated with the tea party. When will the constant attacks end? I cannot allow this group to target other local businesses that were involved on my project, and to be targeted like I have and suffer the public humiliation and smear tactics. It makes more sense to return the money to the City and forgo the ongoing argument.  My business is financially sound and not a start-up company. We have been open since 1999 and continue to thrive. I will feel better to have no ties to the Tapo Street Façade Renovation Program in order to remove any doubt from people’s minds and move forward with conducting business as usual in our fine community. Once again, my family’s safety and well-being is more important than money.

Kelly Kolarek
K & J Auto Exchange

2012 Simi Valley Election Results

Bob Huber defeated Ken Sandberg for Simi Valley Mayor, though Ken captured 20% of the vote.

As predicted, Steve Sojka achieved a very comfortable victory for Simi Valley City Council with 30.38% of the vote. Joining him on the City Council will be Keith Mashburn, who took 21.07% of the vote.  Congratulations to Steve Sojka and Keith Mashburn!

Election Day in Simi Valley

Today is Election Day and despite the loud opposition to Steve Sojka, I predict he will enjoy a sound victory tonight. Some of his loudest critics have opted to attack from the shadows with anonymous robocalls which makes supporters rally, and pushes those on the fence to cry foul and show support.

What I can’t predict is who will be joining him. After years of practically worshiping the ground she walked on, Barbra Williamson lost my support this election. But as an incumbent with a lot of support, a lengthy history on the Council, and a name the city recognizes, she stands a good chance. Tim Shannon has put in a lot of work and a good deal of money to get his message out to the voters. His campaign has been precise and coordinated, and stands a good chance of being effective. Keith Mashburn has run a clean campaign, keeping it honest and staying clear of the negative. His name is out there and his key endorsements give him an advantage.

I think Randy Nemecek has done a great job through his campaign. Having first met with him when he started several months back, seeing how far his reach expanded has been impressive. If we don’t see a victory for Randy tonight, I hope to see him run again in the next election. Mark Littleton appears to have a very loyal following online. With more fundraising, he could have spread the word to a broader audience. I would have liked to see more of him and I suspect that I will if he isn’t victorious tonight. Eric Halub campaigned harder than I expected. His signs are everywhere, suggesting he’s investing the time to knock on doors and spread the word. Though he’s outperformed the expectations of most who are familiar with him, I’m skeptical that it will be a victory for him tonight.

Good luck, candidates!

Sneaky Robocall the Last Straw

Robocalls and lies are a common occurance in this election. And the funny thing is the people behind them truly believe THEY are the good guys.

The robocall that several Simi voters received included a distinct lie about Sojka disbanding the police department. Sojka indicated firmly that he would never pursue dismantling the police department. So who was behind the deceptive robocall?

Listen to the call again by viewing the video below. Pay close attention to the words in the script and follow along with the screen capture of the discussion online. This casual poll came from a close associate of Council Member Barbra Williamson.

Maybe this is just a coincidence. If it is purely coincidental, will we ever know who’s behind this? Considering the deceptive nature of the robocall and the culprits’ efforts to stay hidden, we may never know for sure. I’ve drawn my own conclusions and I know who will NOT be getting my vote.

Meet Randy Nemecek on October 30th

Election day is quickly approaching and your opportunities to meet the candidates are becoming more limited. Have you met Randy Nemecek yet? If not, here’s your chance.

Join Randy Nemecek at Topper’s Pizza on Erringer and Cochran for a Meet and Greet event at 7:00pm. Randy will discuss the issues and answer questions. Attendees are invited to swing by, meet Randy, and enjoy some pizza!