2014 Simi Valley Election Results

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

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

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

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

The Barbra Williamson Mistake

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

We made a mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Debbie Thomas, Paula Cornell and Judy Pepiot

Women Displeased With Barbra Williamson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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Williamson Supporter Slams POA

I read a lot of positive letters to the Editor of the Simi Valley Acorn this morning, along with a few negative ones.  Among the negatives was a letter from a Barbra Williamson supporter with some commentary regarding the Simi Valley POA’s lack of support for her campaign.

So now let me get this straight. Barbra worked to get $100 million for Simi Valley, which included this shooting range for our police department, and yet the Simi Valley Police Officers Association isn’t endorsing her? What’s up with that? Maybe they like all that extra overtime and the comfy desk jobs.

To read the letter in its entire context, click here.

The Simi Valley POA has been very active this election cycle. They’ve endorsed Simi Valley School board candidates (Blough and Daniels) in addition to their endorsements for Council and Mayor. They’ve also made financial contributions to several Council candidates beyond the ones they endorsed.  Their motives appear to be in the best interest of the community, encouraging democracy and providing voters with more choices than just the incumbents. I applaud their efforts.

Lawsuit fizzles

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

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

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

Tom Foolery or Public Service? You Decide

DUI

Hello Simi Valley!

It looks like the current election season began on July 14, 2014, at least for the Simi Valley City Council race, and already the muck is flying about! And who would expect anything less than dirt and skulduggery from our fine citizenry? And to think, those who love to heap the dirt the farthest and highest somehow think they can keep credit for their mischievous glee hidden from the rest of us. As if being a scum raking bottom feeder might interfere with their claims to “pillar of community” standing?

Now, we here at Vote Simi Valley understand that during a hard fought campaign the stuff can hit the fan and the fan can cause some unintended splatter, but if you’re going to throw the muck at the fan to begin with, you should get credit for your wonderful deeds. No need to hide under rocks! Come out from the shadows!

An example of the first round of muckery is the anonymously sourced posting of the Sojka dui video on the afternoon of July 15, 2014 by Hews Media Group, begging the question, just where did they get the video? Hews Media Group’s principle, Brian Hews, has stated, “We will not reveal our sources.”

Fair enough.

The El Segundo City Clerk’s Office, on the other hand, has no problem informing who requested the video and when they sent out the video. In fact, as a governmental agency, they are required by law to disclose who requested the video.

It turns out that on March 26, 2014, the City of El Segundo received its very first request for all information regarding the Sojka arrest from none other than Simi Valley resident Tom Mackel.

Fight On Tom!

Mr. Mackel presented a second request to the City of El Segundo for information on Sojka on June 18, 2014, again on July 2, 2014 and again on July 9, 2014. It would appear that Mr. Mackel hit the jackpot when the City of El Segundo released to him a copy of the dui video on July 15, 2014. And of course, that would be the same date that the dui video was splashed far and wide throughout the electronic frontier.

Now, it may only be a coincidence that Mr. Mackel had the only copy of the dui video legitimately released by the City of El Segundo as of July 15. And it may only be a coincidence that the dui video hit the street running on July 15. That is not to say that Tom Mackel is responsible for releasing the video to media and others for posting on Face Book. No, why Mr. Mackel’s computer could have been hacked or his wifi could have been tapped. In fact, Mr. Mackel may merely have been obsessively intent on obtaining copies of the Sojka material just to fill out his own personal archive of responses to public record act requests.

Nonetheless, Tom Mackel clearly deserves the credit for doggedly digging for that video and being the first to be rewarded with its receipt from the City of El Segundo on July 15, 2014.

Hurray Tom! You were the first!

And I’m sure its only a coincidence that the very same video was splashed far and wide later that day with the source kept anonymous.

[Editor’s Disclosure:  Mitch represents a lot of people through his law practice in Simi Valley, to include Steve Sojka and Glen Becerra on matters not related to the dui video]

The Arrest Video

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

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

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