Now that the incumbents have secured their positions on the Simi Valley City Council, how will the challengers strengthen their positions the next time they run? Bruce Witkin, challenger for Mayor (who received my support and my vote this election) took on the challenging and seemingly impossible task of taking on the super popular and heavily supported Paul Miller. Mike Judge took on Barbra Williamson and Steve Sojka, long time council members with lots of support and lots of campaign dollars. So how does a challenger build up their reputation in the community to earn that same level of support?
Richard Paul Carter opted NOT to print and post campaign signs citing his desire to prevent cluttering the Simi Valley landscape. Gerald Smith (challenger for council) and Ed Lang (challenger for Mayor) didn’t have signs, no reason stated that I could find. Mike Judge and Bruce Witkin, on the other hand, did have signs printed, and they were also nearer to victory than their other challengers. Signs and ads help, but clearly it’s not enough to oust popular incumbents.
Business owners who are running for office should join the Chamber of Commerce. It may seem like a conforming move, but it’s a move that is effective. Before I joined the Chamber (and after, for that matter) it was described to me as a good ol’ boys club, where the elite members enjoy attention, rewards and honors, and lots of referrals from influential figures, while the new members have to claw their way to the top, proving themselves as worthy. My advice would be to disregard those warnings and join. The Chamber consists of your peers in business. The same things that concern you concern them as well. There are hundreds of newer or non-elite members, more so than the elite top-dogs, and they are registered voters. And don’t join when your campaign starts. Join now!
As a candidate, you obviously have a passion for your community. Prove it now, to yourself and to voters, and join the Rotary Club. The Rotary Clubs in Simi Valley are responsible for many high profile annual events that raise a significant amount of money for charitable organizations. Be ready, because joining the Rotary Club requires true dedication. I was a member of a Simi Valley Rotary Club for nearly a year, but dropped out of the club when my divorce kicked into high gear. If you have a high demand career or personal issues that will prevent you from participating right away, then take it slowly and strategize before you join. But without a doubt, Rotary is a rewarding organization in which to participate… you’ll feel good about your efforts, and so will those who support you and vote for you.
I’m curious to know how folks like Mike Judge and Bruce Witkin plan to spend the next few years before they run again. I’m hoping to catch up to both of them soon to find out. When I do, I’ll post that info here.