SVPD Officer Bill Daniels to run for School Board

Bill Daniels announced his intent to run for School Board on Facebook this past weekend. Long time Simi Valley resident, Simi Valley Police Officer, and father of a Simi Valley High School, Daniels brings a valuable perspective to the race. His announcement is below:

It is with great pleasure that I announce I am officially entering the race for a position as a School Board Trustee with the Simi Valley Unified School District.

I have been a resident of Simi Valley since 1975 and had the privilege of attending Justin Elementary School, Sequoia Junior High, and Simi Valley High School. For the past 26 years, I have been employed as a Police Officer for the City of Simi Valley. I have been married to my wife, Linda for the past 17 years and we are the proud parents of our son, Michael, who will begin his freshman year at Simi Valley High School in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, over the past several years, it appears that the Simi Valley Unified School District has been spiraling in a downward direction with no plan or vision to correct the fiscal imbalances and the drastically declining enrollment that were created by the current leadership.

It was not long ago when the Teachers voted “no confidence” in the Superintendent. What was the outcome? To the surprise of many, the majority of current school board elected to ignore the concerns of the teachers and left the Superintendent in place. Recently, the school board allowed the Superintendent to retire and collect over $100,000 in a retirement incentive and then re-hired her back on an interim basis until a new Superintendent is found and hired.

I believe the Simi Valley Unified School District has been stuck in a culture that has not been willing to keep up with the times. Until such time when the school board is willing to hire a new Superintendent that can bring fresh, new ideas on how to run a school district, they will remain frozen in a culture that can’t compete with other educational institutions. 

Three key points that I want to focus on are:

  • School Safety
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Transparency / Trust

If provided the opportunity to serve as a School Board Trustee with the Simi Valley Unified School District, I will do everything possible to make the necessary changes to return the Simi Valley Unified School District back to its potential as a premier school district within Ventura County. I look forward to further sharing my thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Bill Daniels

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.

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.