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.

Political Appointments in Simi Valley Should End

Both Michelle Foster and Steve Sojka were appointed to the Simi Valley City Council to fill empty seats outside of an election cycle. I have nothing against Michelle Foster or Steve Sojka and believe both have served the community well. However, I would like to bring an abrupt end to the political appointment process and put the selection of ALL City Council members back in the hands of voters.

Two years ago, I made reference to a special election in Moorpark that took place to fill an empty City Council seat.  The seat was vacant after a sitting Councilmember, Janice Parvin, was elected Mayor of Moorpark. The process involved appointing an interim Councilmember to fill the vacant seat until the election could be organized and executed, resulting in a new permanent Councilmember elected by Moorpark voters. Without a doubt in my mind, I firmly believe this is how it should be handled in Simi Valley.

If you consider the upcoming ballot for Simi Valley voters, it’s hard to say at this point whether or not there will be a vacant seat on the City Council. Though both campaigns for Mayor are in full swing, I have yet to identify a front-runner. I suspect that as both candidates begin to focus more on the issues, we’ll see voter reactions and get a clearer picture. Suppose, however, that Councilmember Sojka is victorious in his bid for Mayor. The current procedure would be for the Council to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, and Simi Valley voters won’t have a say.

I plan to follow-up with the City to find out what we need to do to put these choices back in the hands of Simi Valley voters. I personally feel like I would be a shameless hypocrite if I didn’t put forth some effort to change that policy. The purpose of this website is to celebrate free speech and democracy, after all! And while you may trust the judgment of the City Council, I’m pretty comfortable with my own judgment as well.

I am curious to know who supports this idea, so please leave some comments so we can discuss.

Scott Miller for Simi Valley City Council

Scott Miller intends to submit his paperwork on Monday to run for Simi Valley City Council.  I’ve known Scott for a couple of years and know that he’ll put a lot of passion into his campaign.  But I’ve also seen passion behind the work the incumbents (Michelle Foster and Glen Becerra) have done during their time in office.  I had some questions for Scott about his campaign and he was gracious enough to answer them for me.

Q: Scott, I’m curious.  What’s inspired you to run for Simi Valley City Council?  And how will your presence in City Council be better for the City than by simply re-electing the incumbents?

A: Mike, one thing is that I am not seeing enough done for the small new business person. Also, I keep hearing from young people there is nothing to do in Simi Valley. Mike, I see a synergy there someplace. I feel that I bring a different look at things. My kids go to public school. My wife is a teacher. I am a business owner who is changing the way I am doing business. There are dozens of businesses that have closed in Simi Valley, my store being one of them. I am passionate about my city. I am the guy next door. I know I will bring a different spin on things.

Q: Name recognition is an important thing in local elections.  How will you “get your name out” to Simi Valley voters?

A: Mike, I know lot of different people from all walks of life. People know me from Tutu’s Shave Ice. I have been in Simi Valley for a long time. I make a point of not being a wall flower and I enjoy talking to people. My kids and friends make fun of me because when we go out, people come up to me and start talking!

It’s true!  I’ve seen this.  A chat with Scott outside the grocery store turned into a marathon of people shouting “Hi Scott!”  People know this guy!  But will that be enough to squeeze out one of two popular City Councilmembers?  Time will tell.

Best of luck to Scott Miller on his campaign!  More to come, I’m sure!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2951370&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Scott Miller at his shop, Tutu’s Hawaiian Ice Cream Shack

Simi Valley Campaigns Are Go!

The Simi Valley council and mayor campaigns are officially a go and the City Council has finalized concerns related to campaign finance reform.  Campaign donations from business persons are allowed, but donations from a single business person cannot exceed $1000, regardless of how many businesses they own.  To clarify, Joe Smith who owns five businesses can donate a total of $1000 to a single campaign, but he cannot donate $1000 from each of his five businesses (for a total of $5000 in this example).

The fact is this was always the rule.  However, the ordinance is being modified to more clearly spell this out.  This was what caused trouble for Barbra Williamson during the last election cycle when she accepted donations totaling $3000 from businessman Glen Gerson from his multiple businesses.  Barbra explained on the record that her misunderstanding of the ordinance is why she accepted the donations in the first place, not a willful intent to break the rules.

Nearly two years later, the matter of campaign financing rules is weeks away from being settled pending final approval, paving the way for campaigns to kick into full swing!

Steve Sojka officially announced his intent to run for Mayor yesterday at Lost Canyons Golf Club.  I’m sorry I missed the event.  I heard it was energized and exciting.  A video of the event is being posted on YouTube which I intend to link to when it’s available.  There’s a massive showing of support and enthusiasm behind Sojka’s campaign and the energy is intoxicating.  It takes a brave individual to run against such a tidal wave of support!  I’m very interested to see how the mayoral race plays out.

I’m hoping to hear more from Steve Sojka and Bob Huber over the course of the next several months.  I think it’s a critical time for our city and I’m very eager to hear what each of them have to say about the state of the city and their hopeful role.

Moorpark Does it Right

Councilmember Janice Parvin of the Moorpark City Council is now the city’s new mayor.  Of course, this opens a vacancy on the Moorpark City Council.  In the city of Simi Valley, our council would appoint someone to the vacant position, which is what was done when Michelle Foster filled the vacant position left by Paul Miller when he was sworn in as mayor.

I like Michelle Foster a lot, but I didn’t vote for her (well, eventually I did… but not then).  It almost seems undemocratic to elect some members of city council and not others.  Further, I believe Steve Sojka was also appointed when Bill Davis was elected mayor years ago.  Again, I’ve since voted for Sojka many times, but it wasn’t the voters who positioned him as the incumbent on every election since his appointment.

Here’s an article from the Acorn on Moorpark’s handling of the vacant council position:

Eighteen local residents submitted applications to fill a shortterm vacancy on the Moorpark City Council. The deadline to apply was last week. City officials will interview the candidates at a special meeting next Wednesday and select one on Dec. 17.

The interim appointee will replace Councilmember Janice Parvin, who was sworn in as the city’s new mayor on Wednesday, until voters elect a new person to complete her Council term on June 2.

Read more here…

I think that’s a solid, democratic way of handling it, even if a special election (which can be costly) is in order.

Can They Get Their Name Out?

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.

School Board Disappointment

I have to admit some level of disappointment with the election results, specifically related to the School Board. From the teachers’ standpoint, apparently status quo is preferred. However, from the standpoint of a parent with school age kids, I’m not satisfied.

I can’t pretend to know all the details, but my understanding is that housing developers are required to contribute funding to the school district when large housing developments are built out. The school district can then decide whether to put that toward building another school or increasing an existing school’s capacity. Judging by all the temporary classrooms assembled on the basketball court at Atherwood Elementary, our school district opts to take the money over building another school.

I found Brad Jashinsky’s comments about the C4 Bond spending compelling. Evidently, I was the only one. I firmly believe the results of the election, specifically regarding the school board, were because of the voting public’s lack of knowledge on the issues.

Am I the only one who’s disappointed?