Business Challenges in Simi Valley

It’s been referred to in letters to the editor, comments on this blog and Brian Dennert’s, as well as comments on the Ventura County Star. Depending on the nature of your business, moving shop to Simi Valley can be a difficult and expensive task. It is one of the issues that should be addressed by all candidates for City Council and Mayor.

When I consider my own business endeavors in Simi Valley, setting up shop was a relatively simple and inexpensive task. I leased space in a small office, registered for my business name and opened my accounts, paid my Simi Valley business tax, and that was that. But if your business requires construction, zoning changes, or anything else that may modify existing infrastructure, you’ve got quite a task ahead of you, not to mention tens of thousands of assumed costs.

For the next several months, I’ll be following a specific case of a business owner setting up shop in Simi Valley. His business exists currently in another city, but he wants to bring it in Simi Valley where he lives. He has faced several obstacles and has had to dig deep to pay for thousands of dollars worth of unexpected costs. His desire to press on and bring his business home is motivating him to continue, but his frustrations are building and his concern that his dream won’t pan out are starting to feel more real.

As these milestones are reached, I’ll share his progress and hope that our candidates are prepared to address these issues and propose their solutions.

Mayor Miller borrows from Senator McCain

Simi Valley Mayor Paul Miller “borrowed” Senator McCain’s frequently used statement in an article at the Acorn on Friday.  A quote from the article…

With unsure economic times ahead for the city, Miller said, his experience is a necessary asset. He said Simi Valley doesn’t have time for a mayor to get “on-the-job training.”

That’s a somewhat unusual move considering McCain is trailing in the polls, though perhaps it’s a safe one considering the predominantly Republican Simi Valley community.  I’m actually quite delighted to see comments like this in the paper.  It’s really the first time in recent history that I’ve seen anyone show they’re even slightly threatened.  It’s like real, grown-up politics.

I’d love for the Mayor to spell out what potential economic challenges we might face and how his experience will help us through such situations, or how a lack of experience would be detrimental in such situations.  Further, I’d be curious to know when it’s okay or safe for someone who’s never been the Mayor to be elected to the position.  Was he just lucky?  Was the timing right?

These questions and more will remain unanswered in the pay-for-entry moderated “candidates forum” at the Lost Hills Golf Club this Wednesday.  Bummer.

Chamber of Commerce Denies Camera Access!!

The following says it all.  I’m extremely disappointed and let down.

 —–Original Message—–
From: Mike Chandler
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 9:43 AM
To: Stacey Pistole
Subject: Candidates Forum

Stacey,

I operate a website dedicated to broadcasting issues and news about the local Simi Valley election.  I make use of online articles and online video to get the word out about who’s running and why.  I am also a Chamber member.

I have already registered for two participants for the Candidates forum on the 15th.  Could I get the Chamber’s permission to bring my video camera to record the forum?  I would give both the Chamber and Acorn full credit in the final production.  Further, I’d like your permission to conduct on camera interviews with members of the audience both before and after the event.

I have a very small footprint and can assure you that I’d go relatively unnoticed.  Please do let me know if this is acceptable.  It’s critical for my project.

Best regards,

Mike Chandler
RM Web Effects, LLC
http://www.rmwebeffects.com/

 Her reply:

——Original Message——
From: Stacey Pistole
To: Mike Chandler
Sent: Oct 8, 2008 10:11 AM
Subject: RE: Candidates Forum

Hi Mike
I just talked to Leigh Nixon our CEO.  We are already contracted with iBreakthrough – Kevin Green.  He will be video taping and it will be used to stream on Chamber website.  I am not sure if you can use any of his footage for your project.  You can contact him at (805) 520-3378.

Thanks,
Stacey
Stacey Pistole
Programs Manager
Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce
www.simivalleychamber.org
spistole@simichamber.org
Main 805-526-3900
Direct 805-520-8223
Fax 805-526-6234

To which I replied…

—–Original Message—–
From: Mike Chandler
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 1:35 PM
To: Stacey Pistole
Subject: Re: Candidates Forum

Hi Stacey,

No, I can’t really use any of his footage.  I’m not asking you to contract with me.  I just want to video tape the presentation.

Regards,

Mike Chandler

And received the final answer below…

Mike
The Chamber is only allowing one camera in the room.  I am sorry. 

Thanks,
Stacey
Stacey Pistole
Programs Manager
Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce
www.simivalleychamber.org
spistole@simichamber.org
Main 805-526-3900
Direct 805-520-8223
Fax 805-526-6234

With all due respect, this really stinks to high heaven in my opinion.

Out of Reach Candidate Forum

If you’re as fascinated with local issues as I am, you definitely want an opportunity to hear what the local candidates have to say before the November 4th election.  If you’re NOT a member of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, then DON’T COUNT ON getting that opportunity.  What follows is from the member e-newsletter:

The Candidates Forum will be held at the Lost Canyons Golf Club at 11:30 a.m.; admission is $20 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members. At this writing, thirteen candidates have accepted the invitation to participate in the Forum and they are:  Audra Strickland, Carole Lutness, Cameron Smyth, Debbie Sandland, Brad Jashinsky, Ray Cruz, Rob Collins, Paul Miller, Bruce Witkin, Barbra Williamson, Steve Sojka, Daniel Jenkins, and Richard Carter.  John Loesing, managing editor of the Simi Valley Acorn will serve as moderator for the event; and voters may submit questions for the candidates in advance to the Acorn at simi@theacorn.com.

Pay careful attention to times and entry fees… No doubt, this is NOT a forum meant for the average, working class Simi Valley voter.  If any non-Chamber members plan to take the afternoon off of work and pay $50 to attend a moderated forum, I’d very much like to hear about it.