Huber & Sojka on Who Will Win

I was 18 years old when I sat across from a friend of mine in the Simi Valley Denny’s listening to my 18 year old friend contemplate running for Mayor of Simi Valley.  “I should do it,” he told me. “The Simi Valley Mayor is almost never contested.  If I run a good campaign, I might win.”  He didn’t run, though.  He had too much respect for city government to run for Mayor just because he could.

I always remember those conversations from so many years ago because we always wanted to see our community express a stronger interest in local government.  Even at that young age, we wanted to see a true race for Simi Valley Mayor.  Well, we’ve got one this time… and this is tough!  These candidates are both compelling and worthy.  So who will win?

I asked the candidates that question directly and got their opinion. Let’s start with Bob Huber.

Vote Simi Valley: Why do you believe you’re going to win this election?

Bob Huber: Our city is at a crossroads financially.  The state is financially upside down and, unfortunately, other public entities are dependant to a certain extent on the state’s stability.

I believe I will win the mayor’s race because of my proven record of leadership over many decades in Simi Valley and the fact that it is well known that I listen to people and respect their ideas.

When the people go to the polls in November they will have had an in depth comparison to actual candidate innovation and accomplishments.  After comparison, it will be apparent that I listen to people and actually deliver for them and not just talk about delivery at election time.

It is common knowledge when we judge the future leadership actions of any individual we look to the actual past actions and record of the person.

I have been elected the president or chair of six organizations in our community including the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, Simi Valley Community Foundation, YMCA, Boy Scouts, Rotary Club and Methodist Church Board.  I founded or co-founded the Simi Valley Senior Center, Simi Valley Education Foundation, Simi Valley Leadership and the Mayor’s Charity Dinner.

I am known as an innovative person in the community.  As a city councilman, I initiated 1) the City’s Affordable Housing program providing affordable housing for our seniors and young people; 2) the City’s Tree Preservation Ordinance to stop developers from destroying our mature trees; 3) the official City Historian Position to insure our heritage is preserved and 4) the City’s original “Shop Simi Valley” program.

Additionally, I fought for the passage of the Hillside Performance Standards and led the successful election fight to keep developers from building condos on the hills.  I also led the ballot fight to keep organized gambling out of Simi Valley.

Our number one challenge during the next mayor’s term will be to keep our city fiscally sound in spite of the state’s fiscal crisis.

I will bring to the mayor’s job a solid proven background of successful and responsible fiscal management and leadership that listens.

When I was a city councilman I initiated the city’s Citizens Advisory Committee which brought the citizens at the grass roots level into the process of solving the financial crisis imposed on the city after the passage of Proposition 13.  I have a proven record of actually leading the city through a financial crisis such as the one we now face.

I have forty years of financial experience.  My college degree is in business administration.  I have started and operated two businesses from scratch here in Simi Valley.

I will hold monthly open house meetings at City Hall to hear citizens’ concerns regarding city priorities.  I am committed to bringing city government closer to the people it serves.

I was elected Chair of the College District Board and have served as chair the past two years.  The College District runs Moorpark College, Oxnard College and Ventura College with a budget over twice the size of the city’s budget.

I believe it is critical in these precarious financial times to have someone leading our city that has actual hands on experience at the top running the organization.  My opponent does not have that experience.

I believe the voters will agree with me that actual hands on experience is critical in these troubled times and will elect me mayor based on my proven leadership experience.

I asked Steve Sojka the same question.

Vote Simi Valley: Why do you believe you’re going to win this election?

Steve Sojka: Because the love I have for Simi Valley and its residents will push me to work harder than anyone else in this election.  I have prepared for this by serving in our community for the past 25 years and on our City Council for the past 12 years and have the experience and knowledge to lead Simi Valley into a great future.  Having the support of Mayor Paul Miller and the entire City Council, the majority of the Planning Commission, the majority of the School Board and the majority of the Park Board demonstrates my ability to work with others and build consensus on improving Simi Valley for all of our residents.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Gabe says:

    I am very impressed with Steve Sojka’s endorsements and overall support from so many segments of our community. The endorsements page of his website is powerful.

  2. Jim D says:

    So is it a surprise that a sitting City Councilman who is NOT up for re-election and is now running for Mayor has all of his fellow elected Officials supporting him? Seems like the typical politicians “circling th wagons” to protect their fellow politician. Bob Huber has a big hill to climb in trying to take on the establishmet. But I can’t think of a more noble cause!

  3. Patrick C says:

    In the last 12 years, the current leaders have either guided or allowed us to be where we are.

    So, if you are happy with things as they are, vote for the people who got us here.

    If not, send them packing. If you want to change direction, you have get moving first, which means you need to make a change.

  4. M.H. says:

    Vote for Steve Sojka… Another vote for the present City Council. It is time for a change! Bob Huber is clearly the logical choice. His many years of knowledge and background is exactly what is needed in Simi to make our city grown and be financially sound. Comparing the two comments Bob Huber is the only choice. It’s exactly what I want to hear. A Mayor who is detailed and doesn’t sum things up in one short paragraph!

  5. Teacher Linda says:

    Steve Sojka put himself up for a “job review” before voters twice, and both times received the most votes of any candidate. He has much more experience working directly for a municipal government, and a modern municipal government at that. After his terms, he put his record up for the scrutiny of voters. He most certainly has paid his dues and earned the respect of colleagues and voters alike.

  6. To be fair to the candidates, neither of them knew that their answers would be placed side by side. Had they known, they probably both would have crafted their answers differently, but then again maybe not. Both answers work for me.

    Bob Huber did have the advantage of knowing that Steve Sojka had submitted his answers already, and he saw Sojka’s first answer published before his were in. Sojka’s first answer was verbose and it’s possible that may have influenced how Huber answered. My approach with both candidate’s was very casual, and Sojka answered accordingly. Huber took quite a while to respond, on the other hand, and only did after Sojka’s first answer was published.

    Regardless, I’m curious to know what makes one candidate better than the other. I often hear that Bob Huber’s knowledge and background (in law, I assume) make him the better choice. How so? Likewise, I hear that 12 years on the Council makes Sojka the better choice for Mayor? Does it?

    Aside from length of responses and who has “paid their dues” how can you really determine, especially at this early stage, which choice is the better choice?

  7. Alan B. says:

    I’m going to come out and say it: I’m supporting Steve Sojka.

    I’m 33 years old and have lived in Simi Valley since 1983. I’ve grown up here, went to school here (SVHS ’95) and am now raising a family here.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is similar to the story that Steve has to tell. Steve is a guy I can relate to. It’s difficult to explain this to people, but there is just something about being able to relate to someone. This is no offense to Mr. Huber, but I can’t relate to him the same way I can relate to Steve.

    I believe there are a lot of others out there in the community like me. This is probably the first opportunity in the 40+ year history of Simi Valley, to elect someone who has a story like Steve’s to tell. He’s homegrown, has roots here, and cares about where this city has been, is at, and will be in the future. He’s in it for the long haul. Simi Valley deserves a leader like Steve Sojka. I believe the choice is clear and over the next few months, many others will too.

  8. Sue M. says:

    I “interviewed” both candidates at the Simi Valley street fair. I went thinking I was going to vote for Sojka because he was in my graduating class in school but after talking to both of them I came away with the impression that while Steve was looking for the next hand to shake, Bob Huber was actually listening to me and even ASKED my opinion on a couple of matters. Steve is very polished but he’s a politician’s politician. Bob is more “salt of the earth” but he has more long term experience in a variety of political and charitable and business ventures if one cares to research the candidate’s backgrounds…

  9. Jackie S says:

    I think both canididates are good people who really love Simi, and I’ve been leaning towards Bob Huber. But after reading that letter in the Acorn today, it makes it so much easier for me, because now I’m going to “Vote for Huber and keep Sojka too”

  10. Sojka Fan says:

    The comments from supporters of Huber are all the same, they don’t say anything new. ever. I would say there probably all the same person.

    Bob Huber has a lot of people being very loud about supporting him, but sorry the silent majority is choosing Steve Sojka. He is who we know, he’s who we trust, and he’s who the city needs. AND he can win this election easy hands down without a bunch of people posting the same message under different names on blogs.

  11. Brendan M. says:

    I also have to say, I’m supporting Steve Sojka. I agree that its still pretty early in the game, but I trust him and Alan B. put it best, I can relate to him 100%.

    Steve Sojka’s team has been professional from the beginning. Contrary to what these commenters say, I think it’s Bob Huber’s side that’s been negative. His supporters are very aggresive and its a put off.

    The thing about Steve Sojka being a polished politician is ridiculous. He’s been in business in Simi for years. We used to save a dollar on pizza from his coupon pack from a local pizza joint in 1994! The manager of that place told me he want to Simi High with Steve Sojka. And he’s been in the local Rotary forever. He’s practically an embedded fixture in anything related to youth sports in Simi. A politician’s politician? Gimme a break!

    Huber supporters can spout their rhetoric for the months leading up to election day, but youll get 35% of the vote at the most if you work harder. You will see.

    Sojka is the choice period.

  12. Jean W says:

    I attended the street fair and got to meet both candidates as well. Bob Huber’s camp had a lot of balloons, bags, and everyone was wearing red shirts, but the scene felt more like an airport baggage claim area. His volunteers were kind of aggressive. I just wanted to get away.

    Steve Sojka didn’t need all the hype, which was a great contrast to Bob’s Bazaar down the way. His booth was conversational and unscripted.

    He asked me where I lived and I was amazed when he suddenly recalled a now resolved parking issue in my neighborhood from five years ago. Wow!!!

    That kind of attention to detail impressed me. Steve Sojka has my vote.

  13. Richard P. says:

    I read this web site often and I am also leaning more towards Steve Sojka. I dont buy Jackie S.’s letter to the newspaper about “keep them both.” Jackie, we don’t decide who to vote for a city mayor that way. You should email the web site owner and ask him to take that embarassing comment down.

  14. David B says:

    I really like that Steve Sojka is not endorsed by Tony Strickland. To me, not having this endorsement on his page means that Steve Sojka is more open to working with all groups in our community, not just listening to the hard right crowd.

    Steve has Assemblyman Smyth’s endorsement. Smyth is known at the state level as a great legislator who works with everyone.

    Steve Sojka has my vote.

  15. Gabe says:

    Mike C: Huber was a City Council member for 3 years, and a lame duck for 1. He let it be known that he would quit and not run for re-election before his final year on the Council even began. (Then he cashed in on his Council experience by consulting for developers). He never had to have a “job review” before voters, for a re-election to the Council.

    I know two things for certain. I do not like quitters. And I never vote for lawyers.

  16. Gary says:

    Steve Sojka’s response indicates his modesty. Count the use of the word “I” in the candidates’ responses, and compare.

    Steve Sojka has done much for this community, and he rarely stands on a soapbox to brag about it. Here are a few of many, many examples of some of these accomplishments:

    Steve Sojka has served on the Police Foundation for the past 12 years and as its President in 2002. He has contributed thousands of hours and dollars to the Foundation to help support the public safety of Simi Valley, including direct involvement with every K-9 police dog the Foundation has ever provided to the Police Department. Just last year, Steve was Chairman of the SWAT day at Simi Valley Town Center that raised thousands of dollars to help our SWAT team compete at the Nationals in Colorado.

    When the $27 million was in jeopardy for the second phase of the 118 Freeway widening, Steve Sojka engaged state government officials as our Simi Valley representative to the Ventura County Transportation Commission. He not only secured the funding but convinced the State to move our project up ahead of others so our residents could enjoy improved traffic flow.

  17. Kim says:

    If elected, we are not really sure how long Huber will serve as Mayor. He may serve one term and then we have to go through the process again in two years. Our community can’t afford this uncertainty.

    Steve Sojka is committed to working for the residents as Mayor for the long haul. He has worked for them election after election for 12 years.

    I really like that Steve Sojka is taking on big long term challenges too. Despite the financial environment, Steve’s multi-agency work on developing a long term plan that turns our Arroyo into a community asset will pay dividends in the long run.

    Our community can’t afford fly-by-night adventures in the Mayor’s office. We need someone who has proven they’ll be there during the good times and the bad times.

    That leader is Steve Sojka.

  18. James G says:

    Bob Huber wrote: “I believe it is critical in these precarious financial times to have someone leading our city that has actual hands on experience at the top running the organization. My opponent does not have that experience.”

    Please note that Steve’s comments do not even mention Bob Huber.

    I think Bob Huber should follow Mike C’s advice and stick to talking about what he wants to do rather than taking shots at Steve Sojka.

    He’s really turning off a lot of voters with his negativity.

  19. Sojka Fan says:

    Mike C: I’m not bashing Huber. And I’m not negative. I am very positive that Steve Sojka is going to win. I think it is great that you have so much support for the guy, and a lot of others do also, and they know him well and know his character. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be the next mayor. It just means you and your friends are voting for him. Go ahead and put together an informal poll, not just among all your Huber-knowing friends, but everyone. Put it online, let everyone vote now. As a Huber supporter and friend, you won’t be happy. But I sure will be.

  20. Mike C.,

    Could you point me to one of the online polls you are talking about? I’d like to check it out.

    I could also make some polling software that we can put online and include some level of security checks to ensure that votes are unique. It wouldn’t be fool proof but it would be better than some of the freebie tools out their for polling. I’d just need some help bringing some attention and some traffic to it.

  21. Matty says:

    I noticed that too. They were able to get hundreds of votes in 30 minutes on that poll but it has taken them a solid week to get 10 new fans on Facebook.com. Something doesn’t add up.

  22. Tom R says:

    Brendan M. your figure of 35% of the vote for Huber is pretty imteresting, considering thats Exactly what Sojka got in the 2008 election. So after after 10 years of of being on the council, all he could muster was 35 percent !!! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  23. Sorry Huber Groupies says:

    Oh snap!

  24. @Tom R: The 35% of the vote you’re referring to here is in reference to the City Council election from two years ago. In that race, Steve Sojka was competing for votes against 3 other candidates. I’d say 35% speaks volumes in that case.

    @Gabe: That’s an interesting look into history, but doesn’t suggest that Huber was unpopular or ineffective. In a situation where the Council appoints someone to fill an open seat instead of a special election, they likely had their selection already in mind. The concern about conflict of interest with the builders seemed valid.

    @Mitch G: Can you elaborate? Are you referring to campaign donations? And if so, which election(s)?

  25. Steve says:

    Mike C.: Mr. Huber’s “programs” did not make much of an impression, not long after he left the Council:

    Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1986

    SIMI COUNCIL NAMES DAVIS TO VACANT COUNCIL SEAT

    By REGINALD SMITH, Times Staff Writer

    The Simi Valley City Council voted Monday night to appoint Bill Davis, a 58-year-old electronics repairman and member of the city’s planning commission, to a vacant seat on the council, over the objections of Mayor Greg Stratton.

    The council voted 3 to 1 to name Davis to the two-year vacancy left when Stratton was elected mayor Nov. 4. Stratton replaced former Mayor Elton Gallegly, who was elected to Congress.

    City Hall officials said 15 to 20 applicants had been considered for the job, but the appointment took up only 15 minutes of the council’s meeting and provoked little discussion.

    Davis got the nod because “he can hit the ground running,” said Councilman Glen McAdoo.

    Stratton, who cast the lone vote against Davis’s appointment, nominated a longtime friend and former council member, Robert O. Huber, because, he said, “We need somebody who is familiar with council business.”

    Represented Builders

    But the other council members rejected Huber, an attorney, because he has represented the building industry before the City Council, which could be controversial because of the political importance of development issues in the city, the council majority contended.

    Davis will be sworn in next Monday night. After that, the council is to consider a replacement for him on the planning commission.

    Under the California Government Code, the City Council had a month from the day the vacancy became official — when Stratton was sworn in as mayor last Monday — to name a replacement.

    The council had a choice between appointing a new council member or scheduling a special election for either March 3 or June 2, the next two dates legally available to the city under the California Elections Code.

    In a meeting last week, the council decided to fill the two remaining years of Stratton’s council term by appointment rather than pay the estimated $38,000 cost of another election. Council members also said they did not want the seat to remain vacant four to five months.