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.

SV POA Apology for Negative Ad

We’ve seen negative ads recently. In one case, the owner stands firm and continues to fire away, oblivious that a resulting loss is imminent. In another case, we get a humble apology. Cheers to the Simi Valley Police Officer’s Association for recognizing a mistake, owning it and apologizing.

The SVPOA PAC fund published an ad in the October 31, 2014 edition of the Simi Valley Acorn questioning our schools. We acknowledge that we made a mistake with our ad and we wish to apologize to anyone that was offended.

The intent of the ad was to stimulate conversation. Our schools play a critical role in our town and we believe that safe schools are an essential component of safe streets. While our schools certainly do not “suck”, declining enrollment is having a negative impact on our community.

This ad is not intended as an attack on any candidate and those candidates listed in the ad had no involvement in the content of the ad. We apologize to those listed for any negative impact we had on the positive campaigns they are running.

We hope that all residents who haven’t already voted will do so on November 4 and that together we can continue to keep all of Simi Valley safe.

Humbly,
Jim Wismar
SVPOA Treasurer/PAC Fund Manager

Teachers were angry about the ad because it could be interpreted that teachers were responsible for local school troubles. Parents and students were angry because it suggested that the best and the brightest students in the district were no longer there and had left for other districts. The Simi Valley POA was right to respond swiftly and most of the community is hoping their apology has the same outreach as the ad that was published in the newspaper. I believe their attempts to right a wrong are genuine and I appreciate their sincere efforts. This is a wound that will require time to heal, but this is an excellent start.

Why I Support Scott Blough

I’m not in the business of editing or censoring Mitch’s articles (the adjustments marked “Editor’s Note” in his previous article are not my edits). But we differ on our positions on Scott Blough’s candidacy and I would like to share why.

When I first learned that Scott Blough was running for school board, my immediate thought was to be cautious and reserve my support. I had concerns, but since I’ve never had a chance to share those concerns with Scott, I won’t share them here. They were related to the last school board election.

When a personal issue came up with my kids and their school, I went to Scott Blough for assistance because I knew he had conducted extensive research on Simi schools. Scott already knew that I was reserving my support, but he agreed to help graciously. He helped guide me through a difficult process that resulted in my son’s enrollment in one of Simi Valley’s best elementary schools. The fit was perfect and has continued to be successful for my son. Scott never asked for anything in return, and I appreciated his genuine, no-strings-attached assistance.

I usually focus my attention on the City Council race, but this time I’ve been focused on the school board race. I’m invested in the success of our local schools. I’ve decided to vote for Scott because I believe he’ll listen to me when I have something to say and take my call if I want to express concerns. He has the support of others in the community that I respect, many of whom are Simi Valley Education Foundation members, and that’s very meaningful to me. I believe that he’ll focus on the needs of parents, students and teachers, and be open to all opportunities to address the district’s severe financial issues.

I’m voting for Scott Blough and I hope that all of my friends and family who may feel otherwise respect my decision.

As an added important note, this was Scott’s response regarding a negative POA ad. I received Scott’s response to the ad well before seeing the ad itself. In fact, he published this response on Thursday night:

Early in the campaign, I signed a clean campaigns pledge. Most politicians sign it to hold their opponent accountable. However, it places on us the obligation to hold ourselves to account as well.

This acorn newspaper ad in tomorrow’s paper was neither paid for nor produced by my campaign. However, it promotes my name as a preferred campaign choice.

Let me be clear- I reject this ad. We do not need to tear down our schools to fix them. We need to work together to help our schools.

This ad is negative. It sucks.

Something About Elaine Litster, Candidate for School Board

homecoming

In the last few days I had the chance to meet Elaine Litster, candidate for Trustee on the Simi Valley School Board. I didn’t get to speak with her for long, but in the five minutes or so that we conversed she came across as very intelligent, well educated and approachable. And then she told me she was from Idaho and that was it, I was intrigued. You see, I am from Eastern Oregon and my dad and younger sister and her family currently reside in Boise Idaho. Eastern Oregon and Idaho border each other and the people there tend to be kindred souls, if not distant kin.

A day or two after we spoke I checked into Elaine’s background on the internet. That’s when I learned that she has succeeded in one accomplishment after the next since young adulthood. She obtained an Associates in Art degree in Interpersonal Communications from Ricks College in 1983, where she was also Homecoming Queen in 1982, causing quite a stir by landing in a helicopter mid football field. She was Miss Idaho National Guard and then Miss Idaho in 1983 and finished in the top 18 at Miss America 1984, the year Vanessa Williams won. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Economics from BYU in 1986 and later obtained her Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA.

Clearly she is well educated. But what has she done in education that may give her a background for School Board Trustee?

Her employment record shows that after college she worked as an Admissions Counselor at Boise State University (Go Broncos!), seven years as a middle school and high school teacher teaching choir, band and harp ensemble. Harp ensemble? It would seem I forgot to mention she is also an accomplished harpist who has played on stage at Carnegie Hall and she was at one time principle harpist for the Boise Philharmonic and she has appeared on camera as a harpist on day time television The Bold and the Beautiful (I was more into the Edge of Night).

Elaine has worked with the music department for Royal High School since 2007 classified as an “Assistant Coach.” She is past President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Harp Society and served since 2008 as a Board Member for the American Harp Society Foundation. She was PTA President for Justin Elementary in 2010 to 2012.

In her personal life Elaine and her husband Greg have been married for 26 years and they are the proud parents of five children. Elaine and her family are active in their local church where Elaine works with a group for 12 to 18 year old young women and where she coordinates Sunday and mid week faith meetings. Quite the roll model she is for those young women, no doubt.

If you would like to learn more about Elaine Litster’s background, her goals and her stand on issues relevant to the Simi Valley School Board, check her out at http://electelainelitster.com.

I am sure you will be just as impressed with Elaine as I am once you’ve checked out her background and credentials. Myself, I think she is eminently qualified to be a Simi Valley School Board Trustee. Disclosure: I live in the school district and I know who I am going to vote for.

Mitch

PS: Elaine is the one in the middle wearing the crown as 1982 Ricks College Homecoming Queen. Nice Firebird!

 

Thank You to Scott Blough

I have been determined to keep my children in private school, but after some recent personal challenges with my Kindergarten aged son, looking at alternatives became necessary. That is a scary notion with all of the school district headlines. I reached out to Scott Blough, not as a candidate for School Board, but as a parent with kids in the district and a personal knowledgebase of facts about our local schools and how they work.

Rather than use the opportunity to campaign, Scott listened and advised. His knowledge of our schools helped me pick some choices that suited my son’s needs. His understanding of the process allowed him to advise me on how to properly research to make the right decision. His guidance allowed me to enroll my son in an excellent school with an amazing teacher and office staff. He helped me without asking for my vote.

Thank you Scott Blough!

Anti-Recall Website Entertains

School Board Trustees and targets of a proposed recall question whether or not Dan White is fit to sit on the board citing his handling of the recall process. But I question their suitability, citing their inability to operate an anonymous website successfully without revealing their identities or effectively managing their content.

In an effort to clean up their act, anonymous board trustees have removed the personal attack content from their site, having recently been outed as the owner’s of the website. I’ve chosen to memorialize that content here. Recently, they also removed a list of names of recall supporters along with content suggesting they’re financially connected political conspirators. School Board Trustees naming various parents, citizens and Ed Foundation contributors is not helpful to their cause.

I had the good fortune of finding this screenshot of the content they removed. Click to enlarge it.

Removed Content from Anti Recall Site

More than one individual is responsible for reserving domain names for the group’s anti-recall online efforts. The primary domain name and associated website is hosted at GoDaddy.com, but the alternate “.net” and “.org” websites, for some completely bizarre reason, are hosted elsewhere, containing an outdated mirror of the website’s content and my source for the screenshot above. Hiring a web developer should be in their future. (Note to Arleigh: contact me for referrals.)