Simi Valley City Council Member Barbra Williamson was defeated in her campaign for re-election to the city council. She was first elected in 1992. This Ventura County Star news story reviews her time on the city council.
Good luck in your future adventures Barbra Williamson.
Her campaign slogan was "Putting residents first".
Trivia: What politician that ran in 1992 used a similar campaign slogan?
Updated Campaign finance reports are posted on the city's website. Any surprises?
There was recently a robocall that went out to Simi Valley voters. The group that paid for it has not been identified. I wonder if we will ever know who paid for it. Transparency in campaign finance is important to follow the money in politics. We need better disclosure.
I am glad that so many candidates are campaigning for a seat on the Simi Valley City Council. Those candidates are out informing people what the city council does and what the issues are in Simi Valley. The signs might look trashy to some people but I see them as an example of a robust democracy.
There are two seats on the Simi Valley City Council. Do you know who you will be supporting?
You do not need to register to comment but keep it classy.
Recently Republican Simi Valley City Council Member Barbra Williamson took offense at the Simi Valley Acorn calling Simi Valley by the more informal title of Simi . Does anyone remember this old sign I found online? Barbra, if the sign with the population says Simi why is it wrong to call our town by that old name?
Here is her letter:
Please address us by our full name
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.
( Bob Huber along with former Mayor Cathie Wright, State Senator Tony Strickland, and former mayor Greg Stratton. Photo courtesy of Bob Huber.)
Correction : A reader sent in a clarification letting me know that Steve Sojka has not endorsed Audra Strickland before. Thanks for the correction.
Clarification: A reader asked what I meant when I said: "Because of his direct mail business I expect he will be able to maximize his campaign spending." Let me extend my thoughts. Steve Sojka runs an advertising business. I believe his knowledge of printing, graphic design, and shipping business will help him to reduce his costs of communicating directly with voters. I expect his business background will help him get more bang for his buck. Thanks for asking. If I wasn't clear to you I might have confused other people too.
Full Disclosure: A reader suggested it was noteworthy to mention I am a member of The Simi Valley Education Association (SEA), a group that I said might be an important endorsement. I am a member but I don't have any knowledge if the union is interested in endorsing in a city race. I haven't spoken to any of the union leaders about the issue.
The three most often mentioned candidates are Community College Board Trustee Bob Huber, Council Member Steve Sojka, and Council Member Barbra Williamson. My predictions for this year for this campaign is that only two of the three names mentioned above will run for mayor.
I was most surprised at Tony Strickland's endorsement. Tony Strickland is the leader of the Ventura County Republican Party and his endorsement will be influential in this campaign. Steve Sojka has frequently endorsed Tony Strickland and Audra Strickland for the various offices they have run for in the past.
Do you think Steve Sojka regrets helping them in their past races now that Tony Strickland is lending critical support to a formidable opponent? Maybe Linda Parks should call him and see if they want to endorse each other...
What other critical endorsements are out there for the candidates running?
Here's my list in no particular order:
1. Paul Miller
2. George Runner
3. The Simi Valley POA
4. Glen Becerra
5. Michelle Foster
6. Simi Valley School Board and Park Board Members
7. Cameron Smyth
8. Simi Valley Teachers (SEA)
9. Peter Foy
10. Keith Richman
11. Police Chief Mike Lewis
Bob Huber has started out strong and has a head start on officially campaigning. That being said Steve Sojka has many attributes that he can use in a campaign. Because of his direct mail business I expect he will be able to maximize his campaign spending. He is involved in many local charities including The Police Foundation which could help him with the POA. Public safety is the perennially most important issue in Simi Valley city elections and in addition to his support of The Police Foundation he has a long family history with the SVPD.
This race could be very exciting. As a blogger and a voter I look forward to a contested race for mayor. Contested elections are good for democracies and this contest could make the successful candidate a better mayor. I will be covering the campaigns more often than any other source.
To the candidates and their supporters: If you ever see a comment that goes over the top and should be removed please send me an email. I do not post that you requested a comment removed. You don't need to register to comment. Keep it classy everyone.
Click on continue reading for another photograph of Bob Huber.
The blogger behind VoteSimiValley.com, Mike Chandler has another update up, this time defending CandleLight Nightclub. Here are a coup of key quotes:
No doubt, nobody wants to tell pissed off residents that they need to stand by and wait for the owners of this nightclub to make a good faith effort to resolve the issues. Who would want to? They're pissed off! But this place earns money for the city AND (and read this, because this is the most important part) the owner's genuinely WANT to resolve the issues completely and be good neighbors! Not sure you believe me? Read on...
o with this issue once again facing City Council, the big question is will they do what's right for Simi Valley business and the general fund? Will they inform citizens of the effort being made and encourage them to wait and see while promoting Shop Simi First, or will they answer the angst of pissed off neighbors and ensure their votes for the next election cycle? This is politics, after all.
Candlelight Night Club recently had an article in the Ventura County Star related to their ongoing efforts to work with the neighborhood and their application to expand some of the facilities.
Here are a couple of quotes from that article:
Commissioner Keith Mashburn at the beginning of the three-hour meeting asked if there are different requirements for the various uses at the site, which includes a wedding and banquet venue, a restaurant, a bar and a nightclub.
Paul Drury, the city's acting deputy director for environmental services, said the business' primary use is a restaurant/banquet/bar facility -- all allowed in the commercial planned development zone. Candlelight's co-owner, Garner Gerson, said the property gets 85 percent of its business between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. But that fact could lead to more problems for the business.
After the meeting, Drury noted the city permit as well as the state Alcoholic Beverage Control license is valid for a restaurant and a bar, where alcohol sales cannot exceed food sales. If the majority of business is coming in after 10 p.m., it would appear alcohol would be the driving force.
"If they did do that, they would not be allowed there at all," Drury said after the meeting.
Mashburn said Candlelight is "over-serving" customers. "I had the impression this was a restaurant," Mashburn said. "It's a nightclub. Patrons are leaving and causing DUIs." Mashburn asked Simi Valley Police Lt. Mike King how many DUIs could be traced back to patrons of the business.
After almost three hours of public comment, the commission voted to send the issue back to city staff. The lone dissenting vote, Commissioner Jim Dantona, said he wanted to move forward with the application with the possibility of additional conditions.
A real quick fix would be for Candlelight Night Club to only allow people to park on site or in the parking lot they rent from Simi Valley High School. As long as nightclub patrons are parking in a residential neighborhood the problems will continue. Now, as far as sound and the other issues those are more complicated.
The United States Supreme Court in landmark case of Buckley v. Valeo dealing with Watergate era campaign finance reforms ruled that campaign expenditures were constitutionally protected free speech and cannot be limited but that campaign donations, because of their ability to either cause corruption or because the government has a substantial interest in stopping an appearance of corruption.
For the government to function our elected officials must safeguard the public trust, however little it might be at times, in our institutions and the people that run them.
Elected officials must keep in mind that even if they know that large donations haven't influenced them and even if all of their supporters trust that they aren't under the influence of their donors, that doesn't mean the general public trust you. When the general public hears of large, suspicious donations their natural reaction is to trust less in government and it diminishes their desire to get involved.
For the rest of the entry click on continue reading.
Mike Chandler, the blogger behind VoteSimiValley.com, recently posted this video of Barbra Williamson discussing campaign finance reform and the idea of forming a committee of Simi Valley citizens to come up with ideas for them. Any nominations?
( This video of Steve Sojka at a recent meeting talking about campaign finance reform was filmed by Mike Chandler.)
Mike Chandler, the blogger behind votesimivalley.com, is calling on Barbra Williamson to return some donations from her last campaign that have been at the center of some recent news stories to put the story behind her.
Mike Chandler of votesimivalley.com posted this video of Steve Sojka speaking about campaign finance regulations at Monday night's city council meeting.
I don't remember the complete story behind the $5,000 donation from Texas in 2004, but if you can fill all of us in, please do so.
Steve Sojka is clearly referencing the recent stories about donations to Barbra Williamson from the owners, employees, and related companies to CandleLight/The Vineyards that appear to some to violate the cap of $1,000 from an individual or business.
What seems strange to me is that looking at Steve Sojka's campaign finance disclosure forms ( click here to download them from the city's website ) a group of related people that appear to be from Texas also donated a large sum of money to him during this election cycle. It doesn't seem like a great idea to complain about Texas money and then have money that looks to be from the same source. If I am wrong about some of the facts here I am sure I will be corrected. Maybe they do live in Simi Valley.
On October 25th David Saperstein, Hillevi Saperstein, Alexis Saperstein, and Jonathan Saperstein all donated the maximum $1,000 to Steve Sojka's campaign.
But in a new article about campaign finance today it is reported that Steve Sojka has decided to give the money back and the mayor also agreed now that there is a project in front of the city for the property is also giving the money back. It shows smart judgment to help restore or maintain the publics' trust in our elected officials.
David Saperstein seems to really care about Ventura County elections giving money to County school board candidates, city council candidates, and others. It is clear that Republican Party leader and Dean Kunicki, who works with Saperstein, is helping to raise the money for the candidates and that's why Paul Miller gave his money back too.
The Acorn is also now reporting on campaign finance with an article out tomorrow about donations to Barbra Williamson's campaign.
Click here for that story. In the article Barbra Williamson complains about the damage to her name when newspaper articles talk about her being investigated. Because of that I think the city should move quickly to show what she did was either wrong or within the rules.
In the article she said:
"The code is written so poorly that they don't know what they wrote," she said. "How can they say I have done something wrong when they can't even decipher their own code?"
I could be wrong, but even though staff wrote it the whole council voted on the rules. If it was unclear it should have been dealt with long before the election. The council should have made sure they agreed on what it did before they voted for it. Of course, with the complexity of campaign finance and corporate structure I could see that they didn't expect an issue to come up about the clarity of the rules.
But to all the candidates, their supporters, and my other readers, let me be clear:
It is not inherently wrong to give or take money for a political campaign. Most of the candidates here are not independently wealthy and couldn't spend only their own money if that was the alternative. Looking through donations records there are a few special interests listed. But there is decent community members who want nothing more than to support their friends and elect people they support.
Besides the appearance of a conflict of interest, which in itself is a reason to avoid questionable money, I have no evidence that any council member has ever done anything unethical because of a donation. I don't see any questionable appointments or votes tied to money for any of the candidates.
Try not to rush to judgment when so many alleged campaign finance issues start as seemingly major scandals and end up with either little or no action taken.
Those in the public eye take criticism all of the time, some of it warranted and some of it not. Before you start making accusations make sure you get all of your facts in order. And like always, if you see an over the top comment that us unfair, send me an email. When I delete emails I don't say who requested to have them removed.
All of these issues are even more in focus because of the many rumors that both Barbra Williamson and Steve Sojka are thinking about running for mayor in 2 years if Paul Miller retires.
Oh, and to add more confusion here is an article about another ethics issue.
I was driving by Alamo and Tapo Canyon, by city hall, when I saw No on Proposition 8 people waving signs and people supporting city council candidate Mike Judge. I only had time for one interview. In the interview the Mike Judge supporter calls out an incumbent and explains his support for Mike Judge.
Here is the video:
Click here to read a past question and answer entry with council candidate Mike Judge.
I expect Mike Judge will learn from his mistakes in this campaign and run again. Don't be surprised to see him joining more charities and keeping a higher profile.
Of all the candidates locally that you don't expect to win this time out which would you like to see run again? Include mostly school board, city council, and mayoral candidates.