Robocall Story Moves Forward

The robocall story continues to progress, believe it or not. Of course, I’m not allowed to talk about what I know. There’s no legal obligation preventing me from talking about these discoveries, but in order to get updates I’ve been asked to keep these findings confidential which drives me a little crazy. These are important facts that people need to know. People will learn them in time, but my patience is wearing thin.

As milestones have been reached and new information has come to light, I’ve found the whole situation to be more and more troubling. Those behind the robocall are firm in their belief that what they did was right. They are certain that what they did was for the benefit of Simi Valley. Yet they continue very desperately to hide their identities and steadfastly refuse to admit the robocall script contained misleading statements and falsehoods. The time between the date of the robocall to now, with all of the discoveries, has completely shaken my belief system. THESE are the people behind it?? Despite disagreements, I always assumed these were people who were just exceedingly passionate. But they’re really just sneaky liars.

This fight will carry on beyond the June court date for the robocall lawsuit. People will celebrate the upcoming news, but I won’t. I’m sad. This will distract from the elections and shake things up even more. Every election, I think I’m going to rekindle my own passion and cover this stuff more in depth, but I know now that I won’t. Instead, I’ll be immersed in stories about sneaky liars who despite their best efforts and lots of money to stay hidden, are now genuinely fucked, and I’ll hope things settle and get better for our community in the next two years.

Simi Valley still deserves better.

A Smear Too Far

556920_497264096977712_385366256_nI’m going to go on the record here that I think the “status quo defenders,” aka the anti school board recall, have gone a little too far in its attempts to character assassinate local political activist, Wayne Evans.

Wayne, I’m sure, is more than capable of pulling up his big boy pants and defending himself, but I still think the status quo defenders have taken a step too far.

Now, I didn’t really mind when they posted stuff about me that was far from on target.  Heck, I found it amusing, to be exact.  The folks that wrote about me were clearly paid stooges who probably never met me nor read page one of my many blog columns.  So, they didn’t do their research and they are way off target and being as this recall campaign is going to be a long one, why correct them from their erroneous ways now?

But like with another more recently, they posted some things about me that may be wafer thin correct but clearly not the entire story.

So lets have at it, shall we?

This is what our friends at http://www.savesimischools-norecall.com/ have to say about me . . . 😉

“Recall Supporter-Mitch Green. See above. Green also was recently removed from popular Simi Valley Facebook site for repeatedly attacking Simi Valley Councilman Mike Judge. Green also served a 2 day suspension from his job as an attorney with the City of Simi Valley for conduct un-becoming a city employee. Also ran as democrat for Simi Valley City Council in 2010. Green, who is a lawyer, has recently been attacking the school district’s lawyer, Robert Thurbon. Do you think he’s angling to be the new school district attorney if the recall campaign succeeds? Only Green can answer that question, we don’t know.”

Now, on its face, there is a shred of truth to all the above.

I was kicked off the Facebook page Simi Valley Letters to the Editor, oh, maybe 4 or 5 times.  Maybe more.  One friend of mine was kicked off that page 11 times in one day.  So I have some catching up to do. What the heck, Letters to the Editor, or “LTE” for those in the “know,” is very right wing Republic Conservative, and I tend to be a little more on the Democrat conservative side.  And with a little “c” on the “conservative” at that.

And the reason that I was most recently kicked off “LTE” was not because I was “repeatedly attacking Simi Valley Councilman Mike Judge.”  On that count I was merely raising newspaper articles written about Mr. Judge and his sharing of the murder snuff porn flick, the one where the lady gets her head cut off on live video. Remember that one? [Which, as an aside, makes one wonder: Do the anti recall folks endorse misogynistic murder snuff porn?]

Anyhoo, the reason I was kicked off Simi Valley Letters to the Editor was because I posted the felony conviction for drug sales with weapons charges of a critic who, among other things, accused me of faking my military career (the one where I enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard at age 18 as a private and retired from the Army Reserve at age 45 as a major, you know, that military career? All 27 years 16 days worth? ) and then insinuated that I had broken federal law regarding posing as a federal officer.  And then that same critic sent me a photo shopped document claiming that I had been convicted of some unknown felony in 1992, the same year I was admitted to the California State Bar after rigorous background check . . .

So now you know.

And as to that “2 day suspension from his job as an attorney with the City of Simi Valley for conduct un-becoming a city employee,” OK, I called an opposing counsel “a joke.” And I was going to take my vacation at Burning Man the following month, and I didn’t feel like wasting my time with a meaningless writeup. The City Manager wanted my head, and the City Attorney was happy to serve it up.

But I did get some interesting press out of it. This is what the Ventura County Star had to say . . .,

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Judge won’t dismiss Simi’s settlement with former police officer

By Raul Hernandez

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A judge refused Wednesday to dismiss a $63,000 settlement the city of Simi Valley reached with a former police officer who claims he was sexually harassed by another male officer for five years.

After the ruling, and outside the courtroom, lawyers in the case and the former police officer engaged in a heated argument, pointing fingers and shouting.

Simi Valley Assistant City Attorney Mitchell Green in court had accused Daniel Gonzales of trying to change the terms of the settlement and now, “embellishing” his allegations with new and very serious criminal allegations against Officer John Samarin. Gonzales accused Samarin of sexual harassment, and later, accused his superiors of retaliation for reporting it.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Green said, pointing his finger at attorney Samuel Galici, who is representing Gonzales.

When Green and Gonzales started arguing, Galici got between the two and shouted several times to Green: “You are not allowed to talk to my client.”

When Green got close to Galici’s face, Galici said: “Get out of my face, sir.”

“You’re a joke,” Green fired back, and left.

Galici, who filed the legal motion last month, claims the city breached its contract with Gonzales by telling an investigator working for prospective employers that Gonzales was fired for being dishonest.

Two jobs allegedly denied

That erroneous information has resulted in the denial of Gonzales’ job applications to work at two law enforcement agencies, despite ranking high as a candidate, according to Galici.

Green adamantly denied any wrongdoing by Simi Valley.

“They didn’t contact us, and we didn’t say anything adverse to them,” Green told the judge.

The court has no jurisdiction to dismiss the settlement, only to enforce it, Green said.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew agreed with Green.

Galici is considering appealing Kellegrew’s ruling.

Gonzales began working in Simi Valley in 1992 and was assigned to patrol, the legal motion states.

He alleges in a declaration with his motion that Samarin began harassing him in the locker room in 1997 “with the apparent objective to get me to have sex with him.”

Gonzales claims he reported Samarin’s conduct to Sgt. Ron Chambers in October 1998.

“I told him how it progressed from him just calling out my name and saying, Hi,’ while he was either undressed or only had his underwear on, to where he was intentionally drawing attention” to private parts of his body, according to the lawsuit.

Green told the court that Samarin was engaged in “horseplay” in the Police Department’s locker room. Police superiors contend Samarin is a “kidder” and likes to play practical jokes.

Accusations disputed

Speaking to a reporter, Green said Samarin disputed the accusation that he tried to draw attention to parts of his body and insisted that he did not engage in sexual harassment.

Green added that Gonzales never said anything about the alleged crimes until recently, and an investigation found no basis for his allegations, which Green said were “outrageous” and “unforgiveable.”

Gonzales claims the harassment continued until 2002.

In May 2003, Gonzales was fired.

He contends it was in retaliation for opposing Samarin’s harassment.

According to Gonzales’ legal motion, the city agreed in 2005 to settle and determine that the allegations that led to his firing were “frivolous” and “unfounded.” Gonzales’ personnel file and documents relating to two Simi Valley Internal Affairs investigations on him were to be sealed, the legal papers state.

Gonzales claims he was denied peace officer jobs at the Oxnard Police Department in 2005 and the Ventura County Community College District in 2006.

‘Attorney says he’s disgusted’

In an interview after the hearing, Gonzales said some Simi Valley officers told an investigator that he is a dishonest cop, which he emphatically denies.

Green said he was very upset and “disgusted” that Gonzales had embellished his allegations by accusing Samarin of very serious crimes. Green said the accusations are totally without merit.

Gonzales said that before he was fired, he told Simi Valley police superiors about his allegations of harassment, but they did nothing about them. Gonzales said the Police Department still has not investigated.

///

Wow, such heady days! Good times . . ., good times.

My point here is that if you have done anything remotely political, you might have some press in your background.  So what?

And to attack Wayne Evans for speaking out now about the school board?  What does that accomplish other than to show a juvenile mind set to warn others to shut up or the status quo defenders will try to dig up some dirt on you.  Calling Wayne out for things from another decade, in another state, is total bonkers.

But bonkers seems to be the only thing the status quo defenders have.

If you can’t beat them on facts, character assassinate.

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!