Candidate Halub Turns Over a New Leaf?

Ordinarily, the election cycle means that you can count on outrageous commentary from City Council Candidate Eric Halub. In the past, Mr. Halub has served as a convenient proxy for those wishing to disseminate dirty commentary on one’s political opponents without actually attaching one’s name to it. In Simi Valley politics, people love to make misleading, sleazy or outright incorrect statements anonymously and Eric Halub could always be counted on to deliver the message.

Tonight, to my surprise, was very different. Moments ago, Eric Halub shared the main points of his campaign, including public safety among other points. He referenced his past negative commentary and pledged to run a clean, positive campaign.  He concluded his remarks by saying there was no room in Simi Valley for negative politics and that he wanted to be able to hold his head high in town, win or lose. It was easily the most refreshing commentary I have ever heard from him!

Congratulations to Eric Halub for opting to make positive comments for a change. I hope this represents a new strategy for his campaign. If it is, I think he’ll find it significantly more effective than his previous strategies.

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Thank You to Scott Blough

I have been determined to keep my children in private school, but after some recent personal challenges with my Kindergarten aged son, looking at alternatives became necessary. That is a scary notion with all of the school district headlines. I reached out to Scott Blough, not as a candidate for School Board, but as a parent with kids in the district and a personal knowledgebase of facts about our local schools and how they work.

Rather than use the opportunity to campaign, Scott listened and advised. His knowledge of our schools helped me pick some choices that suited my son’s needs. His understanding of the process allowed him to advise me on how to properly research to make the right decision. His guidance allowed me to enroll my son in an excellent school with an amazing teacher and office staff. He helped me without asking for my vote.

Thank you Scott Blough!

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It’s Tuesday and I got Nuthen

556920_497264096977712_385366256_nIt’s Tuesday and I got nuthen. Well, I got a lot I want to talk about but that has to wait until “things” become a matter of public record.

Lets hope this election season says clean and fair. Otherwise I have full employment for life.

Hope to have something to talk about soon.

See ya Simi!

Mitch

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Wednesday Update

BvsBtthdHumpDayI received an e-mail from Ken Sandberg that on July 16, 2014 he pulled papers to run for Simi Valley Mayor, and on July 21 he returned his papers to the City, and on July 23 his papers were verified by the Ventura County Election Division. Way to go Ken!

I have received a copy of the Simi Valley City Clerk’s office memo dated July 25, 2014 detailing the candidate filing status. It appears I also left of the list for City Council candidates Brian E. Wilson, who pulled papers on July 18. I haven’t been able to find out anything so far regarding Brian but I look forward to hearing his views. I am also informed that Randy Nemecek has now been qualified by the county as a candidate for City Council. Good luck to both Brian and Randy.

See ya Simi!

Mitch

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SVPD Officer Bill Daniels to run for School Board

Bill Daniels announced his intent to run for School Board on Facebook this past weekend. Long time Simi Valley resident, Simi Valley Police Officer, and father of a Simi Valley High School, Daniels brings a valuable perspective to the race. His announcement is below:

It is with great pleasure that I announce I am officially entering the race for a position as a School Board Trustee with the Simi Valley Unified School District.

I have been a resident of Simi Valley since 1975 and had the privilege of attending Justin Elementary School, Sequoia Junior High, and Simi Valley High School. For the past 26 years, I have been employed as a Police Officer for the City of Simi Valley. I have been married to my wife, Linda for the past 17 years and we are the proud parents of our son, Michael, who will begin his freshman year at Simi Valley High School in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, over the past several years, it appears that the Simi Valley Unified School District has been spiraling in a downward direction with no plan or vision to correct the fiscal imbalances and the drastically declining enrollment that were created by the current leadership.

It was not long ago when the Teachers voted “no confidence” in the Superintendent. What was the outcome? To the surprise of many, the majority of current school board elected to ignore the concerns of the teachers and left the Superintendent in place. Recently, the school board allowed the Superintendent to retire and collect over $100,000 in a retirement incentive and then re-hired her back on an interim basis until a new Superintendent is found and hired.

I believe the Simi Valley Unified School District has been stuck in a culture that has not been willing to keep up with the times. Until such time when the school board is willing to hire a new Superintendent that can bring fresh, new ideas on how to run a school district, they will remain frozen in a culture that can’t compete with other educational institutions. 

Three key points that I want to focus on are:

  • School Safety
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Transparency / Trust

If provided the opportunity to serve as a School Board Trustee with the Simi Valley Unified School District, I will do everything possible to make the necessary changes to return the Simi Valley Unified School District back to its potential as a premier school district within Ventura County. I look forward to further sharing my thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Bill Daniels

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It’s Opinion, Baby; The Lineup; Lieutenant Gordon Tells It The Way It Was; And A Hot Time In Wine Country

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As the election cycle ramps up, Vote Simi Valley comes back into its stride. And hopefully soon, full stride. While we do try our best to be factually correct and informative, always remember that this site offers up opinion, commentary and analysis. We do not try to be a “news” site. There are plenty of other places you can go to find what passes for “news” these days.

What does “opinion, commentary and analysis” mean? Just that. What you read is the opinion of the site founder and editor, Mike Chandler, and myself Mitch Green as permanent guest blogger and legal adviser. We try our hardest to be informative and we certainly want to be accurate in what we state. Myself, I pull my facts from legal documents, reputable news outlets and trusted sources. We try our hardest to be accurate and if we are wrong (what??), well sometimes we even admit we were wrong. For those of you who have threatened us with lawsuits in past election cycles (and you know who you are), just remember that this is an “opinion, commentary and analysis” site which enjoys broad First Amendment rights for opinion based statements. Not to mention that I’ve had an outstanding tutorial in anti-SLAPP motions in the past three months or so with which to “SLAPP” down any frivolous threats which hopefully will not come to our humble little outpost during this election cycle. (“SLAPP” stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” and generally refers to lawsuits which try to suppress First Amendment protected expression).

I’ll give you more background on the whole “SLAPP” lawsuit concept, was well as abuses concerning the SLAPP concept at a later time. For now just know that its good to be back in the saddle bringing you, Simi Valley, the latest in opinion, commentary and analysis in Simi Valley politics.

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And with that behind us . . .

Hello Simi Valley! The election season is well underway and candidates are stepping forward to pull papers to run for local office.

For City Mayor, Robert O. “Bob” Huber looks to be running unopposed. Mayor Huber has held office for two terms now and he will be tough to beat. Regardless if anyone else pulls papers, Mayor Huber remains the odds on favorite to win re-election.

For City Council, we have a packed race. Incumbents Glen Becerra and Mike Judge, each with large fan bases, are running for re-election. Former City Council member Barbra Williamson, herself with many supporters, has thrown her hat into the ring to seek the office she once held for twenty years. Veteran candidates Eric Halub and Randy Nemecek have both stepped up to run again and will no doubt provide many a colorful commentary and alternative viewpoints. New to the process are candidates Mary Mikesell and Rene F. Sanchez-Chew. My thinking is that Mr. Becerra and Mr. Judge will both be very tough to beat but one never knows what will happen as the race progresses. [Disclaimer - I represent Glen Becerra in an unrelated legal matter and I have given Mike Judge a modest campaign contribution].

For Simi Valley Unified School District Trustee, we have veteran campaigner Josie Hirsch who narrowly lost in 2010 and 2012. Josie will be a tough candidate to beat this year as the most experienced “candidate” in the group. Scott Blough, former president of the Simi Valley Police Foundation and Simi Sunrise Rotary member is running as is Elaine Stitster. While I do not know Elaine Stitser I do look forward to hearing about what she would like to do for the school board. I do know Scott Blough from Simi Sunrise Rotary and I know he has been investing much time learning about the issues that the district faces. And just today (Sunday, July 27, 2014) veteran Simi Valley Police Officer and former Police Officer Association president Bill Daniels has announced his intention to run for the school board. With the serious financial issues facing the school board and the tough challenges for any successful candidate, I commend such an outstanding group of candidates willing to step forward and make a change for the better.

And as to each candidate in each office, best of luck to you. Lets have a clean race and may the best candidate win.

_____

I had the good fortune of having brunch today at the Moonstone Beach Café in Cambria with my wife, her mother, and as our guest her good friend Gordon. Gordon, it turns out, was a captivating speaker who held our attention, and the attention of those around us, for a good two hours over a Bloody Mary, ample portions of food, followed by delicious coffee. Gordon enthralled us with his experience as an Air Force officer registered nurse working in air base trauma centers during the Tet Offensive at Da Nang, Vietnam. Gordon’s personal opinion regarding the Tet Offensive is that the Viet Cong took advantage of the Marine Corp being shifted out of Da Nang into the Delta with inexperienced Army troops rotating in to protect Da Nang. For those who remember, the Viet Cong were smart and tough fighters who used the Tet Offensive to infiltrated throughout South Vietnam, with more than 80,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnam regulars striking over 100 towns in a coordinated surprise attack that turned out to be the largest military operation conducted by either side up to that point in the war. Gordon tells of the trauma centers being overrun with casualties and only those few men R.N.’s being allowed in Da Nang as the Pentagon was leery of female R.N.’s becoming casualties. Gordon, then a First Lieutenant in the Air Force, used his contacts in Saigon to plead for help as the casualties were coming in wave after wave and his corpsmen were running on empty for days without sleep and fatal errors were creeping into the equation. Gordon told how he suggested to a full colonel in charge of Air Force nursing in Viet Nam to plead with the Pentagon to at least allow female nurses to volunteer for duty in the battle zones and after a few days the Pentagon relented. Of the 700 female nurses in Saigon, 701, including the full colonel, promptly volunteered for battle zone duty and those selected were immediately air lifted into Da Nang and the evacuation hospital at nearby China Beach.

Talk about being spell bound. Gordon had further stories about his time as a Director at Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, his friendships with hospital CEO Dolores Hope, wife of Bob Hope, the day he met and became friends with Betty Ford, teaching John John Kennedy how to ski (per Gordon, young John was a natural), and the day he got to sit with Frank Sinatra in the rail road caboose at the Chairman of the Board’s private Palm Springs estate, Whispering Palms, where Mr. Sinatra housed his extensive private model rail road collection.

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After two of the most enjoyable hours I’ve had in some time, it was time for my little group to part ways with our guest and leave the 65 degree comfort of Cambria and head out for Paso Robles wine country. Our intended destination was the Robert Hall Winery which was some 45 minutes up and over Highway 46 into Paso Robles where we traded overcast coolness for a bright and HOT 103 degrees. Such a temperature change going over the coastal range. When I first came to California I was a helicopter pilot with the California National Guard. We would do training exercises at Camp Roberts outside of Paso Robles, which in the mid eighties was just a dusty cowboy town yet to be discovered by the chi chi wine country set. Due to flight limitations we would station our helicopter units in Camp San Luis Obispo near the cool coast and then every morning take a 20 minute flight over the range into Camp Roberts. We were usually hauling supplies and troops in the morning and an empty helicopter back at night and inevitably we would find the Paso side of the mountain 30 degrees or so hotter than San Luis Obispo. And because of flight limitations, if we attempted to fly out of Camp Roberts to the field units with full loads of troops and supplies, we wouldn’t have been able to get our birds off the ground. The fact that it was that much cooler at night when sleeping was just frosting. (OK, so this was admittedly nothing like Da Nang during the Tet Offensive, but still serving nonetheless).

At Robert Hall it was our intention to try a few samples and then head back to COL Jack’s Ranch. Lucky us though, we were asked if we would like to be included on a tour of the “caverns” where the aging wine is stored. Would I ever! And for the next 25 minutes or so we enjoyed a tutorial on the winery’s background (Robert Hall started out with one gas station back in the mid west that he built into a chain and then empire and then started the winery in Paso Robles in 1996). We got to observe the various cooled caverns stacked to the ceiling with custom made European oak barrels (at $1200 to $2000 each, depending on the exchange rate, and over 3500 barrels in just the white wine cavern, plus three times or more then that in the red wine caverns). We were given a tour of the grape crushing equipment, the fermenting tanks, the laboratory, the private tasting room which included the last known bottle of the 1997 vintage, the first for the winery and the banquet room. Of course, we got to sample small sips of various varietals along the way. Such a treat.

And then it was time to head back to COL Jack’s Ranch, my mother in law’s homestead. It was still 103 degrees out and not many people were on the road, perhaps hiding from the oppressive heat. Yet a good time to crank out this week’s blog to keep our loyal readers up to date on the local political scene.

And with that its time to call it a week. The Kubota tractor is waiting and there are 5 acres to mow before sundown. Time to pay for my stay.

See Ya Simi!

Mitch Green

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Tom Foolery or Public Service? You Decide

DUI

Hello Simi Valley!

It looks like the current election season began on July 14, 2014, at least for the Simi Valley City Council race, and already the muck is flying about! And who would expect anything less than dirt and skulduggery from our fine citizenry? And to think, those who love to heap the dirt the farthest and highest somehow think they can keep credit for their mischievous glee hidden from the rest of us. As if being a scum raking bottom feeder might interfere with their claims to “pillar of community” standing?

Now, we here at Vote Simi Valley understand that during a hard fought campaign the stuff can hit the fan and the fan can cause some unintended splatter, but if you’re going to throw the muck at the fan to begin with, you should get credit for your wonderful deeds. No need to hide under rocks! Come out from the shadows!

An example of the first round of muckery is the anonymously sourced posting of the Sojka dui video on the afternoon of July 15, 2014 by Hews Media Group, begging the question, just where did they get the video? Hews Media Group’s principle, Brian Hews, has stated, “We will not reveal our sources.”

Fair enough.

The El Segundo City Clerk’s Office, on the other hand, has no problem informing who requested the video and when they sent out the video. In fact, as a governmental agency, they are required by law to disclose who requested the video.

It turns out that on March 26, 2014, the City of El Segundo received its very first request for all information regarding the Sojka arrest from none other than Simi Valley resident Tom Mackel.

Fight On Tom!

Mr. Mackel presented a second request to the City of El Segundo for information on Sojka on June 18, 2014, again on July 2, 2014 and again on July 9, 2014. It would appear that Mr. Mackel hit the jackpot when the City of El Segundo released to him a copy of the dui video on July 15, 2014. And of course, that would be the same date that the dui video was splashed far and wide throughout the electronic frontier.

Now, it may only be a coincidence that Mr. Mackel had the only copy of the dui video legitimately released by the City of El Segundo as of July 15. And it may only be a coincidence that the dui video hit the street running on July 15. That is not to say that Tom Mackel is responsible for releasing the video to media and others for posting on Face Book. No, why Mr. Mackel’s computer could have been hacked or his wifi could have been tapped. In fact, Mr. Mackel may merely have been obsessively intent on obtaining copies of the Sojka material just to fill out his own personal archive of responses to public record act requests.

Nonetheless, Tom Mackel clearly deserves the credit for doggedly digging for that video and being the first to be rewarded with its receipt from the City of El Segundo on July 15, 2014.

Hurray Tom! You were the first!

And I’m sure its only a coincidence that the very same video was splashed far and wide later that day with the source kept anonymous.

[Editor's Disclosure:  Mitch represents a lot of people through his law practice in Simi Valley, to include Steve Sojka and Glen Becerra on matters not related to the dui video]

Posted in Featured Articles, Issues & Headlines, Simi News, Site News | Comments

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.

Posted in City Council, Featured Articles, Issues & Headlines | Tagged | Comments