Ballot Designation Dispute

According to the Ventura County Star, Simi Valley City Council Candidate Keith Mashburn was required to revise his ballot designation after a complaint was filed by incumbent candidate Barbra Williamson earlier this month. From the article…

Williamson addressed her concerns to Simi Valley Elections Coordinator Samantha Argabrite earlier this month.

Mashburn said Thursday that Argabrite told him last week to change the designation. He said he originally wanted to call himself a “retired fire battalion chief” but was limited by law to a three-word description, so he “reluctantly” put down “retired fire chief.”

“Once you elevate to the level of battalion chief, you’re considered a fire chief, but not the fire chief,” he said. “Now I’ve been forced to technically put down something that really doesn’t best represent me because firefighter is the lowest rank.”

Barbra Williamson indicated that the designation wasn’t accurate and felt it was important for all candidates to be operating on an even playing field. For more details, read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

It’s starting again!

It’s been nearly 2 years since I last buried myself in the local political stuff and it’s been a really nice break. A couple of years, 1 new baby and minus 50 pounds of weight loss, it’s starting over again. And while I promised myself I would try to care less, I find myself breaking that promise.

I’m interested to get to know who Doug Crosse is. I see a few signs out there for Keith Mashburn. Barbra Williamson kicked off her re-election campaign on Thursday. And I’ve heard that Eric Halub is running for City Council. Need a reminder of who he is? See below:

Williamson Resigns as Chair of Task Force

Barbra Williamson has officially resigned from the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force, according to this news release distributed this morning by the Task Force:

*** UPDATE: Barbra Williamson has resigned as Chair of the Task Force, but still remains a member of the group. ***

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Resignation of Barbra Williamson, Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force

Simi Valley, CA (December 8, 2010) – Barbra Williamson announced today the resignation as Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task force effective immediately.

Citing the perception of a possible conflict of interest due to her recent appointment to the negotiating committee with Mayor Huber and City Manager Mike Sedell on discussions with Waste Management and the proposed landfill expansion, Williamson thought it best to step down.

SVLET member Louis Pandolfi will take over as acting chair.  “The Task Force has exceeded my greatest expectations and I know it will continue in its professional investigation of the impacts of the landfill expansion on the residents and businesses in our Community”, Williamson said.

“Task Force members will surely miss the leadership that Barbra has provided for over three years, during which she has worked tirelessly to protect Simi Valley from the negative environmental impacts that will result from the proposed landfill expansion”  said Charles Blaugrund Task Force Member. “We wish her success in her new assignment with Mayor Huber.”

Landfill Expansion Taskforce Website

Minutes after I sent an email to Councilwoman Barbra Williamson offering to host a website for the Landfill Expansion Taskforce, she replied with a press release announcing the new website for the Taskforce! Obviously, she and the team have been working on this for a while and the website is a solid representation of data.

For information regarding the Landfill Expansion Taskforce, dates and schedules, as well as related documents, check out www.savesimi.com.

Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force Announces Website Availability

Simi Valley –Barbra Williamson, Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force announced today that the Task Force has created a website available for viewing at savesimi.com  Responding to numerous requests by interested community members concerned about the negative impacts of the proposed Simi Valley Landfill expansion by Waste Management, Inc., Ms. Williamson states, “This website makes it easy for members of the public to contact the Task Force directly and share their points of view with us. I receive inquiries daily on how people can get involved in the Task Force and learn more about the landfill expansion. This gives them an opportunity.”

Found on the website is an overview of the landfill expansion, highlights of critical impacts effecting Simi Valley and neighboring communities, links to forward thinking waste-to-energy techniques and documents associated with the Task Force. Enlisting the aid of local college students, the creation of the website is one example of the commitment of volunteers to inform the community of the impacts resulting from a three-fold expansion of the landfill.

———————————————————————————————————
The Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force is an independent community group formed in 2007 by Simi Valley City Councilwoman Barbra Williamson and members of the community. The Taskforce is not affiliated with the City of Simi Valley or any other government body. Its mission is to keep the public informed and engaged on issues involving the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center’s proposed expansion currently under consideration by the County of Ventura.

####

Waste Management Under Fire

Waste Management took some heat from citizens last night at the City Council meeting. Most notably was Louis Pandolfi, Landfill Expansion Task Force member and outspoken opponent of the expansion. He took on the issue of the recent press release from WM regarding their choice to longer participate in City discussions resulting from the lawsuit filed by the Task Force.

Mayor-elect Bob Huber spoke as well, identifying WM as a large Texas billion dollar corporation that produced a press release that he found offensive, standing up for Councilwoman Williamson’s right to free speech. Additional speakers suggested alternatives to the large landfill regarding waste disposal, like new state of the art facilities for disposal as well as rail transport to ship waste to landfills outside of Simi Valley.

The number of folks there to speak out in favor of Waste Management: ZERO!

During Council Comments, Barbra Williamson took a few minutes to recite a prepared presentation on her thoughts regarding Waste Management’s recent position. It was a strong, moving statement that I would like to share with you hear. I’m hoping to have a transcript of the presentation later this afternoon.

It’s a terrible position that we’re in as the approval deadline approaches for this landfill. From my observations, the landfill expansion has been surrounded by a mix-up of fear inducing statements and confusing, sometimes conflicting figures. Most people have taken either a firm pro or anti position against the landfill, but for those who want to study the facts and make an educated decision, it’s difficult. Every seemingly credible source is easily followed up by another just as credible source with conflicting data. With one side suing the other, and the other side now refusing to participate, clarity does not seem likely any time soon.

As an added note, Councilwoman Foster’s remarks regarding annexation seemed dead-on to me. Annexation cannot occur without willing participation from the land owner — Waste Management. With that said, as a City we should be laying the pressure on the County Board of Supervisors to ensure that we are represented.

Landfill Debate Challenge

The election may be over, but the fight between the Landfill Taskforce and the Simi Valley Landfill continues to rage on. The Taskforce recently submitted a letter to the General Manager of Waste Management’s Simi Valley Landfill to debate the issue of the expansion in a public forum. The letter reads as follows:

November 4, 2010

Mike Smith
General Manager
Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center
2801 Madera Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065

Dear Mr. Smith:

The Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce invites Waste Management to participate in an open forum/debate on the issues surrounding the expansion of Simi Valley Landfill. We believe the community would benefit from an opportunity to hear all sides of the proposed expansion in a forum that ensures the debate does not become a battle of competing sound bites, half-truths and unanswered questions.

A community forum/debate with mutually agreed upon rules would prove beyond a doubt WM’s commitment to the principles outlined in your April ll, 2007 press release announcing Waste Management’s application for expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center. You stressed that WM is “committed to meeting the long-term waste disposal and recycling needs of Ventura County in an environmentally sensitive, cost-effective and community-focused manner.”

We would like to schedule this for early to mid December and have already spoken with California Lutheran University Professor Herbert Gooch, PhD. and he has agreed to serve as the moderator. I am hopeful you will accept our invitation at which time we can finalize the remaining pertinent details.

You can contact me at your convenience at 805.231.2497.

Barbra Williamson
Councilwoman, City of Simi Valley
Chair, Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce

So far, all we know at this point is that Waste Management is in receipt of this letter. No official word yet on whether or not they will accept the challenge and participate in the debate.

November 4, 2010
Mike Smith
General Manager
Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center
2801Madera Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Dear _.””~ ..I.•..,…”••..•. ”
The Simi V ey Landfill Expansion Taskforce invites Waste Management to participate in an open
forum/debate on the issues surrounding the expansion of Simi Valley Landfill. We believe the
community would benefit from an opportunity to hear all sides of the proposed expansion in a forum
that ensures the debate does not become a battle of competing sound bites, half-truths and unanswered
questions.
A community forum/debate with mutually agreed upon rules would prove beyond a doubt WM’s
commitment to the principles outlined in your April ll, 2007 press release announcing Waste
Management’s application for expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center. You stressed
that WM is “committed to meeting the long-term waste disposal and recycling needs of Ventura County
in an environmentally sensitive, cost-effective and community-focused manner.”
We would like to schedule this for early to mid December and have already spoken with California
Lutheran University Professor Herbert Gooch, PhD. and he has agreed to serve as the moderator. I am
hopeful you will accept our invitation at which time we can finalize the remaining pertinent details.
You can contact me at your convenience at 805.231.2497.
Barbra Williamson
Councilwoman, City of Simi Valley
Chair, Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce

Landfill Lawsuit Presses On

The lawsuit filed by the Landfill Expansion Task Force is still on, with a court date of December 13, 2010. The motion is available here for download and if you’re looking for an interesting (and thorough) read, I encourage you to download it and take a look.

This Motion is made on grounds the County of Ventura is currently expending significant monies to process an application for the tripling of capacity at the Simi Valley Landfill, for a location that is expressly and unambiguously prohibited by state law, as expressed in the County’s own “Countywide Siting Element.”  The Countywide Siting Element was approved by all of the cities within the County and by the state’s Waste Board (now CalRecycle), and the Element clealry excluded from consideration the location of the expansion.  Thus, the processing of this application is a waste of public funds that must be immediately enjoined. 

This Motion shall be based upon the attached Points and Authorities, the Declaration of Barbara Williamson, the Request for Judicial Notice filed concurrently herewith, upon all pleadings and papers on file in this matter, and upon such other evidence, oral and documentary, which may be presented at the time of hearing.

The document can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.

Public to Weigh In on Landfill Annexation

Ask and ye shall receive… or something like that. My Old English is a little rusty. What I’m trying to say is we’ll all get an opportunity to discuss our thoughts on the expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill on a date that has yet to be determined. The Simi Valley Landfill Expansion task force announced that Council Member Barbra Williamson (a task force member) will be requesting that the topic be placed on the agenda for discussion.  Here’s the news:

With the current application for expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center and the resulting negative impacts on the community, the issue of annexation of the landfill site and contiguous property owned by Waste Management to the City of Simi Valley should be of paramount importance to the City.  Therefore, at the September 20th Simi Valley City Council meeting, Council Member Barbra Williamson will request scheduling for public discussion the annexation of the landfill and adjacent Waste Management properties.

Established three years ago to inform the residents of Simi Valley of the potential impact the expanded Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center would have on our community, the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force remains committed to its mission. Having completed technical reviews of the project’s draft environmental impact report, the Task Force is focusing its efforts on actions that will protect present and future generations from the adverse environmental impacts proposed by the expansion and to avoid any economic repercussions caused by the landfill’s operations. The Task Force’s position has always been to explore annexation of the property as a means to strengthen Simi Valley’s decision making capacity, and as the host City for the landfill, to safeguard our community. Now that the landfill project objectives and scope are known, it is time to investigate the possibilities and options annexation may present to the City.

Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force

Here’s your chance, folks! Pay attention to that council meeting to see how that goes. Once a date is determined, you can bet that I’ll be publishing it here.

Barbra Williamson Whoops On Simi Acorn

Simi Valley City Councilwoman Barbra Williamson gave the folks at the Simi Valley Acorn a piece of her mind regarding their blatant use of “Simi” in referencing our city instead of “Simi Valley.”  In the letter, she says:

I am probably being a little oversensitive in writing this letter, but today’s (April 29) publication was the last straw, if you know what I mean.

I, like everyone else, refers to your newspaper as the Acorn , or Acorn . What if they were to call you “corn,” just leave off the “a.” It’s just a little thing but nonetheless I am sure it’s important to the owners of your newspaper.

Well, it’s just as important to a resident of our community that we be addressed as Simi Valley, not Simi.

Like I said . . . a little oversensitive perhaps, but let’s show a little respect when referring to our beautiful valley; it’s only six more letters.
Barbra Williamson
Simi Valley

I’m guilty of this.  I often refer to Simi Valley as Simi.  Also, and this may be beside the point, I often refer to Thousand Oaks as “T.O.” and sometimes, I even call Moorpark “M to the P.”  These are tough habits to break, but I suspect I have the willpower to get past this.  I’m pledging publicly that I will give it my best shot.  However, my bad habits don’t end here.

Interestingly, I often refer to the Simi Valley Acorn as “the corn.”

“Good morning, dear. The Corn is a little wet this morning because they tossed it in the lawn.  Good thing the Corn is online!”

It didn’t occur to me until I read Barbra’s letter that this might be an obvious display of disrespect, or as I often refer to it, a display of “d’spect.”  For the record, it should be noted that not only do I have a huge amount of respect for the Simi Valley Acorn, I also really enjoy corn of various varieties. East coast grown white corn on the cob is easily my favorite.  It nicely compliments any summer time barbecue [edit: replaced “BBQ” with “barbecue”].

Having lived in Simi Having lived in Simi Valley all of my life, I feel I owe it to B-Will owe it to Barbra Williamson to put my best foot forward and represent my city as it was intended — with two word, not one!

🙂

P.S. I love Barbra Williamson!