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.

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Election Day

Be sure to get out there and vote today!

Good luck to the candidates. Check back tomorrow morning for election results!

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Happy Trails!

Folks, this will be my last post on VoteSimiValley.com. It is my understanding that Mike Chandler will be taking the blog dark following the election. It has been an honor and my privilege to be able to write to you over the last few years. A big thanks to Mike Chandler for hosting this site and allowing me to write to you.

With a few exceptions, I hope the candidate of your choice wins come tomorrow.

Signing off,

Mitch

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SV POA Apology for Negative Ad

We’ve seen negative ads recently. In one case, the owner stands firm and continues to fire away, oblivious that a resulting loss is imminent. In another case, we get a humble apology. Cheers to the Simi Valley Police Officer’s Association for recognizing a mistake, owning it and apologizing.

The SVPOA PAC fund published an ad in the October 31, 2014 edition of the Simi Valley Acorn questioning our schools. We acknowledge that we made a mistake with our ad and we wish to apologize to anyone that was offended.

The intent of the ad was to stimulate conversation. Our schools play a critical role in our town and we believe that safe schools are an essential component of safe streets. While our schools certainly do not “suck”, declining enrollment is having a negative impact on our community.

This ad is not intended as an attack on any candidate and those candidates listed in the ad had no involvement in the content of the ad. We apologize to those listed for any negative impact we had on the positive campaigns they are running.

We hope that all residents who haven’t already voted will do so on November 4 and that together we can continue to keep all of Simi Valley safe.

Humbly,
Jim Wismar
SVPOA Treasurer/PAC Fund Manager

Teachers were angry about the ad because it could be interpreted that teachers were responsible for local school troubles. Parents and students were angry because it suggested that the best and the brightest students in the district were no longer there and had left for other districts. The Simi Valley POA was right to respond swiftly and most of the community is hoping their apology has the same outreach as the ad that was published in the newspaper. I believe their attempts to right a wrong are genuine and I appreciate their sincere efforts. This is a wound that will require time to heal, but this is an excellent start.

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We Deserve The Best

Every election season, I get to hear secrets. I know about the negative ads before they hit the papers or mailboxes. I get forwarded emails consisting of disparaging remarks about candidates and I get copies or screenshots of text messages. I also get approached to publish content or stories on candidates to prevent the source from being identified, and I’m pleased to report that I always decline.

In this election season, I’ve been given enough data to convince myself that there really aren’t a ton of people in the world of politics that we can truly trust. It’s a revelation that isn’t necessarily devastating because we’re all supposed to already know this, but it’s certainly disappointing. I’m beginning to say things to myself like “this candidate only lies to me about small inconsequential things, so I’ll still go ahead and cast my vote their way.” That’s not too great.

Going forward, I feel more compelled to focus less on local politics and more on local schools. I’m feeling very positive about the benefits we have experienced from Santa Susana High School and am pleasantly surprised by how amazing Wood Ranch Elementary is. Their PTA is over-the-top fantastic. It’s nearly impossible NOT to share positive news about these two schools, and I am starving for positive Simi Valley news. I think it’s time to focus there.

I’m taking over the Simi Valley Deserves Better website.  Simi Valley does indeed deserve better, and I’m not convinced that politicians hold the key that unlocks what’s best for our city. Our citizens do, and we need our politicians to represent us and get us there. Until I can find a good partner for that website, it won’t be used as a political piece and will remain offline until a constructive use for it can be found.

I’m quite excited to pursue more positive interests going forward and am eager to vote on November 4th. I hope all of you are too. Let’s pick the best and the brightest. I have made my decisions on who to vote for and hope they make it. Best of luck to all the candidates, and a sincere thanks to all who kept it clean and positive. We deserve the best and the only way to get that is to do your homework and select the best candidates. Good luck!

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Why I Support Scott Blough

I’m not in the business of editing or censoring Mitch’s articles (the adjustments marked “Editor’s Note” in his previous article are not my edits). But we differ on our positions on Scott Blough’s candidacy and I would like to share why.

When I first learned that Scott Blough was running for school board, my immediate thought was to be cautious and reserve my support. I had concerns, but since I’ve never had a chance to share those concerns with Scott, I won’t share them here. They were related to the last school board election.

When a personal issue came up with my kids and their school, I went to Scott Blough for assistance because I knew he had conducted extensive research on Simi schools. Scott already knew that I was reserving my support, but he agreed to help graciously. He helped guide me through a difficult process that resulted in my son’s enrollment in one of Simi Valley’s best elementary schools. The fit was perfect and has continued to be successful for my son. Scott never asked for anything in return, and I appreciated his genuine, no-strings-attached assistance.

I usually focus my attention on the City Council race, but this time I’ve been focused on the school board race. I’m invested in the success of our local schools. I’ve decided to vote for Scott because I believe he’ll listen to me when I have something to say and take my call if I want to express concerns. He has the support of others in the community that I respect, many of whom are Simi Valley Education Foundation members, and that’s very meaningful to me. I believe that he’ll focus on the needs of parents, students and teachers, and be open to all opportunities to address the district’s severe financial issues.

I’m voting for Scott Blough and I hope that all of my friends and family who may feel otherwise respect my decision.

As an added important note, this was Scott’s response regarding a negative POA ad. I received Scott’s response to the ad well before seeing the ad itself. In fact, he published this response on Thursday night:

Early in the campaign, I signed a clean campaigns pledge. Most politicians sign it to hold their opponent accountable. However, it places on us the obligation to hold ourselves to account as well.

This acorn newspaper ad in tomorrow’s paper was neither paid for nor produced by my campaign. However, it promotes my name as a preferred campaign choice.

Let me be clear- I reject this ad. We do not need to tear down our schools to fix them. We need to work together to help our schools.

This ad is negative. It sucks.

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Lucy and Charlie Brown, Not Necessarily A Love Story

Scary Clown 2014

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a touch quiet of late with my writing, but things are now resolved. By that I mean the robocall lawsuits stemming from the dirty politics of 2012 have been settled and put to rest. And while we may never know who was really behind that cowardly act, I can state that those most vocal in their hurrah’s over their First Amendment right to be politically dirty and cowardly have been XXXX, XXXXXX and XXXXXX [Editor: Sorry Mitch, too risky!].

And in my humble opinion, those same individuals were the ones responsible for the robocall. It may have taken two years and nearly $180,000 to reach that conclusion, but if nothing else, we can all say that the First Amendment works both ways and it is not defamatory to state one’s opinion.

Just my opinion, of course.

As for the $180,000 figure? That may be “a touch more” than the number the robo apologists are touting with their fake check in Barbra Williamson’s most recent dirty mailing, but then again, I don’t work for free either.

So as to Babs’ mailer. She claims Becerra “double dipped” for taking the pay and benefits that he earned as a Council member. But didn’t Babs take the pay and benefits that she earned as a Council member for 20 years? Was Babs double dipping too? Or did Babs just make that story up to flesh out her flyer?

Babs claims Becerra payed $100,000 as a result of the lawsuit. I should know, the real check was drawn from my attorney client trust account. On this I can clearly and unequivocally state that Babs is out right lying.

Babs claims Becerra was “struck down” by the Superior Court for “obstruction of free speech” of Simi Valley residents. So, so wrong. First, those in Simi Valley responsible for the robocall (see my humble opinion above as to who I think played a role [Editor: Sorry again Mitch!]) never had the courage to step forward and claim their role in this dirty cowardly act. The defendants were a Torrance based political consultant and his business, even though the Torrance defendants did get an assist in their defense from local criminal defense attorney Cindy Pandolfi, wife of robocall court watcher Louis Pandolfi. The Superior Court ruled plaintiffs did not have standing to bring their claims of an illegal robocall, that only the state or federal Attorney General could bring those claims. A technicality. And, the Superior Court did not rule that the robocall wasn’t illegal, either.

Then again, the robocall was yesterdays news.

Today’s news remains the upcoming election and the dirty road to Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

There seems to be much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands today about an advertisement the POA (Simi Valley Police Officers Association) put up about Simi Valley schools in the October 31, 2014 Simi Valley Acorn.

The ad asks the question, “Do Simi Schools Suck?” The ad then goes on to mention two school board candidates, Bill Daniels and Scott Blough. Fair enough. The impression is that the POA likes both school board candidates. And there is another full page ad in the Acorn, this one in color, again praising Bill Daniels and Scott Blough.

But what I find confusing is the strong denial of association with the ad by supporters of Scott Blough. There are many today who come out in defense of Scott, but crickets from Scott. Does Scott think Simi Schools Suck? Does Scott agree with the POA’s position? For that matter, what does Scott think, if at all? Or does Scott play both sides here, waiting to see which way the wind blows and then adopting the safe position?

I must say, I am not a big supporter of Scott. During the robocall case Scott came to my team to announce that he had received the robocall on his cell phone, which is strictly prohibited. The Friday night the week before plaintiff’s opposition was due to be filed against the motion to strike the class action complaint, Scott called me and we had a 12 to 14 minute conversation while I paced my garage. Scott told me how much he supported the plaintiff’s case against the robocallers, how he had received the robocall on his cell phone while he was sitting in his office at the bank, how he could deliver to me two other people who received the robocall on their cell phone, and how he would bend over backwards to make sure I had his declaration regarding receipt of the robocall on cell phones.

Excellent! I then proceeded to draft an outstanding opposition, putting in some 40 hours of work over three days, only to have Scott then incredulously proclaim to me three days later that I was trying to get him to perjure himself by signing the declaration that he had come forward to offer.

Imagine Lucy pulling the football from Charlie Brown at the last second.

And then I had mutual friends report back to me that Scott Blough was spreading the word that that I tried to get him to commit perjury. All over a story he either made up to begin with (i.e., receiving the robocall on his cell phone) or perhaps he just got cold feet. Or perhaps he was warned off. Who really knows?

If that was my only experience, I would say ok, Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). But it is not.

In early August of 2014, I and two associates met with Scott at Friday’s on a Saturday afternoon. The meeting was to hear out Scott and decide if he was someone we wanted to support in the school board election. After some time I left my two associates and they were invited over to Scott’s house because Scott wanted to show them “something.” When there, Scott produced two highly confidential documents about another candidate and gave those documents to my associates. I am not sure why Scott gave away those documents, but it is clear the documents were of a nature that he should never have had possession.

Without going into specifics, the documents pertained to one candidate, and were of a nature that if released into the wild, may give the false impression yet another school board candidate had surreptitiously “back doored” the documents from his employer. The associates didn’t take the bait, didn’t release the documents into the wild and didn’t have anything to do with this heinous attempted smear. Rather, the associates contacted the appropriate authorities and the matter was, so to speak, “handled.”

My concern is whether Scott was Machiavellian enough to see the “two-fer” to be gained in smearing two candidates, perhaps at the last minute, which no amount of damage control could correct prior to the election. And then sitting back claiming that he had nuthen to do with nuthen and letting his apologists come forward to make excuses for him.

And yes, I did see the documents prior to them being turned over to the appropriate authorities and yup, Scott should never have been in possession of such confidential material.

So, once again, Scott’s involvement may have just been an innocent, easily explainable situation qualifying as “no harm, no foul.” Right?

And then comes the frosting to the story.

The one candidate subject to the confidential material had their attorney (no, not me) write a cease and desist letter to Mr. Blough having him refrain from further dissemination of the material he had no right to possess in the first place.

And as is his right, Mr. Blough had his attorney write back to the first attorney, claiming Mr. Blough was, in essence, a victim of dirty politics rather than a proponent of dirty tricks.

And the letter was signed, “Cynthia Pandolfi, Attorney for Scott Blough.”

As in, an attorney for the robocall defense team, now just coincidentally representing “Lucy.”

Your conclusions may vary.

Enjoy your weekend.

PS: Wendy and I voted for Elaine Litster and Josie Hirsch.

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The Barbra Williamson Mistake

Debbie Thomas, Paula Cornell and Judy Pepiot have chosen to rescind their endorsement of Barbra Williamson. They are planning to mail a letter to Simi Valley women who previously received their first letter of endorsement. What follows is the text of that letter…

We made a mistake.

We love Simi Valley and in our effort to support qualified women to the city council we asked you to support Barbra Williamson as someone who would bring people together and work collaboratively.

We were wrong and we need your help to fix it.

We’re rescinding our endorsement of Barbra Williamson as a result of a vicious smear campaign she is running that smacks of Washington and Sacramento politics that has no place in Simi Valley.

We know that disagreements are part of politics. We know that different opinions are healthy parts of campaigns. We also know that personal attacks and destruction are ruining our ability to work as a community and we all need to stand up against it when we see it.

Standing up against this type of politics is what we’re doing now and we strongly encourage you to join us. The only way this behavior will stop is if we all take a stand.

We made a mistake. We were wrong. We’re embarrassed to have been fooled. Please help us make it right by rejecting the campaign attacks of Barbra Williamson.

There’s no place for personal attacks in Simi Valley.”

- Debbie Thomas, Paula Cornell and Judy Pepiot

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