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.

2012 Simi Valley Election Results

Bob Huber defeated Ken Sandberg for Simi Valley Mayor, though Ken captured 20% of the vote.

As predicted, Steve Sojka achieved a very comfortable victory for Simi Valley City Council with 30.38% of the vote. Joining him on the City Council will be Keith Mashburn, who took 21.07% of the vote.  Congratulations to Steve Sojka and Keith Mashburn!

Election Day in Simi Valley

Today is Election Day and despite the loud opposition to Steve Sojka, I predict he will enjoy a sound victory tonight. Some of his loudest critics have opted to attack from the shadows with anonymous robocalls which makes supporters rally, and pushes those on the fence to cry foul and show support.

What I can’t predict is who will be joining him. After years of practically worshiping the ground she walked on, Barbra Williamson lost my support this election. But as an incumbent with a lot of support, a lengthy history on the Council, and a name the city recognizes, she stands a good chance. Tim Shannon has put in a lot of work and a good deal of money to get his message out to the voters. His campaign has been precise and coordinated, and stands a good chance of being effective. Keith Mashburn has run a clean campaign, keeping it honest and staying clear of the negative. His name is out there and his key endorsements give him an advantage.

I think Randy Nemecek has done a great job through his campaign. Having first met with him when he started several months back, seeing how far his reach expanded has been impressive. If we don’t see a victory for Randy tonight, I hope to see him run again in the next election. Mark Littleton appears to have a very loyal following online. With more fundraising, he could have spread the word to a broader audience. I would have liked to see more of him and I suspect that I will if he isn’t victorious tonight. Eric Halub campaigned harder than I expected. His signs are everywhere, suggesting he’s investing the time to knock on doors and spread the word. Though he’s outperformed the expectations of most who are familiar with him, I’m skeptical that it will be a victory for him tonight.

Good luck, candidates!

Steve Sojka Campaign Goes Online

The Steve Sojka for Simi Valley City Council campaign has officially announced the launch of their campaign website. You can see the website by browsing to www.sojkaforcitycouncil.com.

The website includes details on three primary objectives, specifically Quality of Life, Public Safety and Economic Vitality. You can also find various articles regarding Sojka’s work on the Council, contact details and ways to support the campaign. For more details, click here to see the website.

Doug Crosse Opts Out

Doug Crosse has chosen not to continue to pursue a seat on the Simi Valley City Council. This news came on the same day that a letter was published in The Acorn in response to a Sojka supporter who objected to Crosse’s campaign website, in which Crosse replied:

As to Sojka sidekick and campaign chair Kelly Kolarek’s attack letter of July 27—that my concerns on this issue are untrue or exaggerated— the reality on the issue of the councilman’s behavior is well-known to be absolutely true to anyone who has served with him, attended or watched a council meeting since he lost the last election. Just ask them. It’s been all the buzz for two years.

On my being unqualified, I guess Kolarek missed my resume of qualifications plainly posted on my website.

Doug Crosse indicated personal and family motivations for deciding not to continue his pursuit in the election.

New Planning Commissioners

New Planning Commissioners were appointed this evening. Councilman Glen Becerra reappointed Mary Bibb to the Planning Commission. Newly elected Councilman Mike Judge nominated Kenneth Rice, long term Simi Valley resident. Both were unanimously voted in to the Planning Commission.

Mayor Bob Huber nominated Scott Santino who was his Campaign Chair during the Mayoral campaign. The Mayor introduced Santino, discussing his background as a businessman and long time contributor to the community through various community organizations. Scott Santino’s appointment was not unanimous, with votes of opposition from Councilman Glen Becerra and Councilman Steve Sojka. No official word from either on why they voted no, but I suspect members of the press will chase them down for questions and publish something official later in the week.

There has been a lot of speculation from insiders during the past several weeks regarding Santino’s appointment to the Planning Commission. It’s widely believed that Santino intends to run for City Council in two years. Two years of service on the Planning Commission can be beneficial for a hopeful candidate for City Council. Councilwoman Barbra Williamson served on the Planning Commission before being elected to the Council, and former candidate Keith Mashburn was also a Planning Commissioner when he threw his hat in the ring last summer. Being a business owner and Planning Commissioner looks favorable on a ballot, not to mention the added benefit of two years of name recognition and experience in City business.

Though just a rumor at this point, the next election cycle could be just as interesting as the last if Scott Santino runs. He would likely draw the same support from the POA. I plan to stock up on blood pressure medication!

New Sojka Fan Video

I wish that I had the guts and determination as a highschool student that Kyle Quiroz displays so effortlessly. He put together another video in support of Steve Sojka for Mayor. In this one, he’s written some new lyrics, worked on some choreography, and edited together a music video with family and friends, with an appearance from the Mayoral Candidate.

Bob Huber’s $30,000 Loan

Bob Huber loaned his campaign $30,000 today. Deb Holler included a $1000 contribution. This brings his grand total of contributions from his personal finances and immediate family to $42,000. Most candidates don’t raise that much from their fund-raising efforts throughout the course of their campaign!

One can only assume where that money will go! More local television ads? More newspaper ads? More mailers? More robo-calls? Election day is just days away and it looks like Bob Huber is planning an expensive few days leading up to the vote!

This is fascinating to me to say the very least. Only a couple of years ago, campaign finance reform was discussed as an important topic leading up to future elections. Who cares about campaign finance reform when you have the means to toss $42K into your own campaign coffers?

Watch out, Sojka! Huber’s richer than you!

Sojka Video Goes Viral

Kyle Quiroz, a Steve Sojka supporter, created a music video about Simi Valley in response to a challenge issued by Brian Dennert. Brian recently updated his readers with the following news:

I was out walking the other night and I came across the writer/singer of that song, Kyle Quiroz. We talked for a few minutes and he told me Youtube contacted him because they are now promoting his video. That basically means it is at the top of the search results for Simi Valley on Youtube and they are paying him. At around 4,000 views it isn’t much but I am proud that my blog helped launch the most viral campaign video in Ventura County Campaign history. I am more impressed that Youtube is now sharing ad revenue with Kyle.

What a fun bit of good news to be able to talk about during an election that has quickly become sour. I’m pleased for Kyle and congratulate him for a job well done. Kyle should be commended for not only answering Brian’s challenge, but for also putting himself out there to show his support for the community. He shows true character and I hope to have an opportunity to work with him in the future.

Here is Kyle’s video:

Huber Sign Stakeout Gone Awry

For months, we’ve heard stories about lost campaign signs with some subtle and some not so subtle finger pointing toward the supporters of opposing campaigns. Last week, I posted an article about a property manager taking down Bob Huber’s signs claiming proper permission was not obtained. This week in the Simi Valley Acorn there’s a report of a police stakeout on a Bob Huber campaign sign at the McDonald’s on Yosemite Ave. where more signs were disappearing. The results of the stakeout concluded the signs were being removed by a McDonald’s employee:

Like clockwork, at 4:30 a.m. a man removed the signs—including ones for council incumbent Glen Becerra—putting them in the back of his pickup truck.

When Arabian confronted the man, he discovered he wasn’t a thief, but a property maintenance worker, clad in a McDonald’s shirt.

Though permission to post the signs had been granted, this worker was apparently just unaware.

It’s the nature of the crime that prompts a stakeout by the Simi Valley Police. The dollar amount of the damage combined with the identifiable pattern of the crime offers an investigator an opportunity to solve it. The signs were apparently expensive and enough were stolen to qualify this as a felony.

Santino said it’s been frustrating to see sign after sign taken down. At $65 a piece, it easily adds up to felony theft, which requires $400 or more in damages.

“We knew we were going to lose signs, but the frequency and the vast amount has just been a huge surprise,” he said. “In my opinion, some of our signs have been systematically removed because they don’t want our message out there.”

Though Santino didn’t say it, Huber’s supporters have insinuated that Sojka’s camp is behind the thefts. Sojka, who has also had dozens of signs removed, said that is “totally out of line and unfair.”

Naturally, the question I asked when I first heard this story was were they expecting to find a Steve Sojka supporter creeping around at night stealing their signs? I may never get a straight answer to that question. I can tell you that a few evenings ago, a Huber supporter was discussing his stolen signs on Facebook and is suggesting that his opponent’s supporters are the perpetrators.

And just when you think it can’t get any uglier, the phrase “inappropriate use of resources”  is heard. The Acorn article goes on to discuss the fact that an outspoken Huber for Mayor supporter volunteered to conduct the stakeout, and that his salary range and overtime pay resulted in a relatively expensive night.

Read the article at the Simi Valley Acorn by clicking here.

Was the stakeout a success? That may be a matter of perspective. The signs will likely stop disappearing now that the truth is revealed. No one pressed charges. And if you were hoping a Sojka supporter would be caught and arrested, then this was a stakeout gone awry.

As an added note, I also think City Manager Mike Sedell shows good judgment by choosing not to investigate this until after the election. While it’s easy to draw the conclusion of a conflict since the detective who chose to conduct the stakeout is a known Huber supporter, Sedell opts not to make it into an election issue. I appreciate that he can make that decision despite being a frequent target of criticism by Huber supporters.