Ken Sandberg
for
Simi Valley Mayor 2012



Intro

We need to elect people who represent us, do the right thing and do it the right way, have some common sense and be honest with people. We also need people on the Council who understands that every penny spent by the City is the public's money, not "free money". I am not a politician and not accepting any campaign donations.

My experience with computers and troubleshooting has taught me that the first thing that you need to do in order to solve a problem is to determine what exactly the problem is. Slogans and marketing will not solve the problem. We need the businesses to tell the City what the problems that they have, as well as talking to companies which contact the City, but decide to not move here, in order to determine what the problems are, then we can work on solving those problems.

For anything that the Council does, there should be three aspects which should be consider. The first is to determine what the goal is, whether it makes sense and then look at the end result and see if it meets that goal. The next two are related, but to determine who benefits and who pays the price. Any of those three could and should cause the Council to consider not pushing the issue. The Council needs to learn to say no when something does not make sense for everyone in the City. For example, the sound walls along the 118, the issue with that is the benefit goes to those who decided to save money and buy a house next to the freeway, but everyone was forced to pay for it. I looked a house next to the freeway and while the price was much lower, the noise and the danger of a vehicle coming off the freeway caused me to pay more money for a house away from the freeway, but then I get to pay for the improvements for those houses when the City put the sound walls up. Instead, those property owners should be paying, the closer to the freeway, the more they should pay. Other examples are the RV Storage law, mobile food vendor ban and the protection of the two towing companies which do business with the City, remember to look at the campaign donations. The City banned mobile food vendors, but those businesses had all the required permits and licenses and suddenly the Council put them out of business, with Williamson claiming that she wanted to level the playing field since those businesses do not have the expenses that other businesses have. It is NOT the role of government to level the playing field for businesses since if it was, then they should tax older businesses to make their expenses the same as a new business.

We also need true leadership on the Council. If you watched the recent candidate forum, you will see the incumbents say that they protected their own benefits because that is what the committee recommended to them. First look to see who those people were and how they got on the committee, then realize that the Council is free to do the right thing. Instead, they voted to keep their own benefits, a clear conflict of interest in my opinion. If only non-incumbents are elected, or if the incumbents personally "vote" to give up their own benefits, the City will save around $500k over the next four years. It is important to note that I heard that Williamson will get an increase in her pension, for a part-time job, if she gets re-elected due to her having the job for over 20 years. Perhaps that is why she said that she now thinks that it is acceptable for the people to vote on the benefits for the Council because she will have gotten what she wanted, more money from the City.




Mayor Bob Huber wants a Slogan for Simi Valley


Mayor Bob Huber wants to develop a campaign slogan for Simi Valley. It is interesting that he says that he wants to develop a campaign slogan. For what campaign? His re-election campaign? I have a suggestion for him:

Slogans Don't Solve Problems

Please read his 20 point plan and see where he wants to work to figure out what the actual problems are. You need to know that the problem is before you try to solve it. Ask why he has not already done those things. Ask why he said that he would replace the paid Business Ombudsman with a volunteer in 2010, yet has done nothing in that regard and is now again saying the same exact thing in 2012. Slogans, marketing plans, advertising, reports, business relocation hotlines, etc. do not address what the actual problems are. Is a tiered business fee plan for new businesses moving to Simi Valley FAIR to those businesses who are already here? Might that convince those businesses here to move elsewhere? The first step is to determine what exactly the problems that businesses have, THEN you work to address those problems.


Summary

I remember. I remember what those elected to City Council have said in the past, yet failed to do. I remember the false/deceptive statements made in order to get elected. I remember that Williamson and her Landfill Task Force said that if the landfill expansion was approved, it would make the Simi Valley Landfill the largest in the Western United States (see Taskforce Files). I remember Huber joining forces with Williamson with these statements. I remember Huber appointing Williamson to meet with Waste Management, over the objections of Steve Sojka and the issue regarding a conflict of interest. So, is it it case that we now have the largest landfill in the Western United States or was that just a lie in order to get elected? There are many other things to remember as well.

The reason I am running for public office is because I believe our elected representatives should do the right thing and in the right way. Sadly, when I look at the actions and lack of actions of the Simi Valley City Council I do not see that happening. While some accuse me of being negative, my belief is that people need to be informed as to what is going on. It is sad that the truth has become negative. The fact is that if candidates don't want to the negative issues raised, then they should avoid those issues in the first place. Others believe in a "deal with the devil" in which there is an unspoken, or sometimes a spoken, agreement to not say anything negative about other candidates. To me, this is being dishonest with the people since it hides the reality of the Council and the people involved.

I also hope that you remember what people have said and done in the past. Typically policitians have said that they are going to do something and they have not (such as with getting rid of the paid Business Ombudsman) or they change their position (such as with the landfill expansion). It amazes me that a person running for office can say that they are going to do something, not do anything about it, then say the same thing again and hope that the people don't remember. For example, in 2010 Huber said that he would eliminate the Business Ombudsman and replace that person with a volunteer. Nothing was done about that, but here it is in 2012 and he is saying the same exact thing, hoping that you don't remember what he said in 2010.

One thing that many residents of Simi Valley might not be aware of is that candidates for Simi Valley City Council can send questions to the city and get them answers. Residents should also be able to ask questions as well, but that is not the way the broken system works. I also feel that the City should put those questions and answers on the City's web page so that everyone can see them. Many Council members speak of transparency, but when it comes down to it, their lack of action show that does not seem to be the case. Due to this, if you have a question you want answered, please send it to me and I will consider asking it. City of Simi Valley responses.

It was mentioned to me that the Council meeetings are to be open to the public, yet you might notice undisclosed communications going on, often with electronic devices, such as cell phones. How is it really a public meeting if there are numerous private discussions going on?


Quick Comments


Since it is close to election time, you will see incumbents doing things in order to try to get re-elected. Ask yourself why Mr. Huber did not introduce his 20 point plan just after he got elected or anytime before the current election. But the main thing to look at with his 20 point plan is that it ignores the first step in solving a problem, which is to determine what exactly the problem is. Instead, the City Council voted to spent $50k for marketing, according to the article: Council weighs in on economic recovery plan

For some additional reading, please read:
Claims filed by Huber's law firm against the City of Simi Valley

Halloween: Lack of Common Sense

Simi Valley Robocalls and the Law



Things to try to do


Here are some things that I would like to investigate, if I were to get elected. It would be nice to get such things investigated even if I was not elected, but you know how politicians are. These items are not in any particular order.

  • Establish a real CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) for Simi Valley, not just training and then ignore the people.

  • Change the campaign contribution law such that candidates and Council members can not accept money from people and businesses who have contracts/services with the City.

  • Put all campaign contributions for Council members on the City web site in a searchable format and maintained for as long as the person holds office. Currently the information is available, but is not searchable since it is a scan of a document.

  • Enforce the conflict of interest rules. This includes candidates who accept free advertising/endorsements from organizations which have business with the City, such as the POA. I have heard of a Council member change their view due to a text message from the POA.

  • Require public notification when there is non-standard interaction with the police or other City departments and City Council members, Police officers or City Employees. Police officers should be required to report interaction with people which would be handled in a different manner than if it was just an average person. An example of this would be a story I saw on the news in which a police chief crashed a city vehicle (not Simi Valley) and it was attempted to be covered up. The police should not be allowed to provide special service to certain people without it being completely public.

  • All new laws passed should be documented on the City's web site, along with what the vote was and should be maintained in an easy to see and search manner. Currently the information can be found, but it is not typically easy. For example, try to find the information on the change in Council Benefits and the re-definition of what a firearm is.

  • Investigate installing right turn green arrows for traffic signals which have left turn arrows and no U-turns or which traffic the other way prevents pedestrians from crossing the street. This would help to keep traffic flowing and to reduce pollution, as well as saving people money due to reduced fuel consumption.

  • Require ALL communication sent/received during a public meeting to be public. If you notice, Council members are sending and receiving text messages and having private conversations during Council meetings.

  • Allow for real communication between the City and the public. People should be able to ask the City questions in public and get answers in public. Currently, you can speak for 3 minutes at a Council meeting, which is seems that you are actively ignored, but you can not demand answers to questions.

  • Make the questions which candidates can ask the City public. Currently candidates can ask the City questions, but all of this information is not public unless a candidates decides to do so, like I have done.

  • Allow for residents to ask the City questions and have those questions and answers posted on the City's web site. It is YOUR City, not theirs, so you deserve to be able to ask what is going on.

  • Allow for more communication/interaction with Council agenda items. Currently the agenda is sent out Friday night for a Monday meeting. This does not give the public time to give response to issues. There also should be a delay in when the item is discussed initially and when it is voted on. The Council meetings are made available on the public access channel and on the web site (after the meeting), but there is no opportunity for the public to give feedback unless you are actually at the meeting. Also, after the public speaks, the Council has a discussion, but the public has NO ability to address issues raised in the Council's discussion. The public should have another opportunity to speak after the Council discussion and this should continue until just before the vote. The public should have the last word. Also, there should be a delay from when the item is discussed to when it is voted on to allow those viewing the initial discussion remotely.

  • Change the Council benefits to apply to ALL current Council members, either immediately, or in the worst case, at the next election.

  • Change the nomination process for the Planning Commission. Currently, those elected to City Council can reward a person by appointing them to the Planning Commission. The nomination process should instead come through the community by way of the neighborhood councils.

  • Create a citizen's committee to investigate Code of Conduct violations. Currently the Council does not actually do anything about Code of Conduct violations as they are the ones who deal with it. The vote on retaining their own benefits while removing the benefits for those "newly" elected is an example of their protecting their own interests. Each election is a new election. Williamson loves call people names in discussions regarding City Council issues, especially when she is caught in a lie, which violates the Code of Conduct, but the Council refuses to police itself.


    Forum Thoughts


    After a recent Candidate forum it struck me that most of the people running have "solutions" to the problems in Simi Valley, but the simple fact is that they don't actually know what the problem is. Politicians always have to have solutions so that people think that they know what they are doing, the reality is often something different.

    One of the major issues is in regards to businesses in Simi Valley. There is talk of marketing and other means to try to get businesses to come to Simi Valley. As an example, if you have a restaurant which has prices too high, poor quality food and bad service, all the marketing in the world is not going to make the restaurant a success. The first step to finding a solution is to actually determine what all the problems are. This is not something which politicians want to admit to as then they don't have all the answers.

    Another interesting aspect is the politicians are reactive. I have raised the issue of the lack of a real CERT program in Simi Valley. Instead of looking into the issue and taking action, politicians investigate and prepare to discuss the issue during campaigns. They also do things just before an election so that they look like they are doing something. To me, this is dishonest to the people they are supposed to represent. Elected officials should do the right thing, in the right way, for their whole term in office, not just use their position to "campaign" before an election.

    It also seems to me that politicians don't want to discuss what the believe the role of government should be. Instead, politicians want you to believe that government is there to solve ALL of the problems in the world. When you look at the questions asked at forums, it seems clear that many people seem to expect the government to solve ALL the problems as well. Of course, when the bill comes due, the view might change.



    The names change, but the people remain the same.

    While some of the names have changed, the people seem to be the same. So, this time I am running for Mayor of Simi Valley so that people have a choice. When I went to run there was no one else running against the current Mayor. One other person pulled the papers to run, but for some reason he dropped out.

    I am not a politician and I am not accepting campaign donations. While it might be nice to get money and have an expensive party, like Mayor Huber seems to have done on 05-May-2012 (see campaign documents), it is just not right and not in the public interest, as well as creating conflicts of interest (which does not always appear to be disclosed). You might ask yourself where some of those Council "ideas" come from, such as eliminating food vendors, flower sellers, etc. which compete with those who have a fixed location. The comment about leveling the playing field shows where they are really coming from. There are those who have more access to those who YOU have elected to office, which include those who have donated money. The people elected are supposed to serve YOU, not the special interests.

  • Who's money is it?
  • We need people who do the right thing
  • We need to have people elected to serve US, not themselves.
  • We need those who have been elected to be honest and not to use issues in order to get elected or re-elected
  • We need people to do things because it is right, not because they want to get elected
    Ask yourself why people donate a lot of money to people running for Council/Mayor. Do you think that they expect something in return for their money? Some of the candidates have received money from the tow companies in Simi Valley, the very same companies which appeared to be protected by the City Council when another company wanted to be able to provide service to the City.

    For links to the campaign documents and Council compensation, please see: Simi Valley City Council Money/Ethics Issues. Also, please realize that if you get rid of all the incumbents in this elected, you will save the City of Simi Valley close to $500,000 over the next 4 years. This does not include other long term costs. This is especially important for Ms. Williamson since as I understand it if she gets re-elected her pension will go up quite a bit since she will have over 20 years of "service".

    The reason I decided to run for City Council was due to seeing what the Council has been doing and not doing. The last election showed me how deceptive and dishonest the incumbents and some candidates can be, which the people of Simi Valley deserve better. We need to have people who will do what they say and be honest and not deceptive. Sojka's cherrypicking of crime statistics in the last election to deceive the people of Simi Valley is a prime example, saying that the crime rate is lower than it was 20 years ago and in 2003 is deceptive when he knows that the crime rate from 1998 to 2002 is lower than it is from 2003 to represent (2009). Recent newpaper stories about the crime rate should concern people, although it does not appear to be a concern of the Simi Valley Police, based on the quoted officer. The Council compensation was finally brought up, but it was long after the last election and it appears it was done before this election. I wonder why (well, not really, it is pretty obvious). The Council elected to exclude themselves from the changes, plus NOT ONE Council member has elected to get ONLY the benefits which they claim is fair for those newly elected. Then look at all the of deceptive and false statements that Barbra Williamson has made with respect to the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion. I went to one of Huber's Town Hall meetings and it seemed more like a dance to me, the Simi Valley Side-Step. I am also very disapointed with Mike Judge as he falls in the the name changing, but the people remaining the same. At one of the Town Hall meetings I talked to Mike Judge about the benefits and he told me that he gave up some of the benefits, but that he was not going to tell the others what they should do. I told him that he was elected to serve the people of Simi Valley, not the other Council members. He had nothing to say in response.

    We need a City Council of 5 Independent people, not 5 of the same. With regards to appointments, Glen Becerra said that he could see no reason to have a special election. The reason is because we are supposed to have a democratic process of allowing the public to vote on who they want on the Council, not the current Council deciding. Sojka was appointed, which appears to be what they like, appoint those that they like and give that person an advantage in the next election. This is also an issue since it appears that current Council members like to run for Mayor when it is "safe" for them to do so, like Sojka did for the last election. It is quite interesting that Sojka did not run again, perhaps he did not want to take a chance of not being on the Council anymore if he lost. The example of Sojka running for Mayor as a sitting Council member is a prime example of why it should be dealt with. I have heard that those on the Neighborhood Council have to resign if they want to run for a Council position, so why is the same not true for a sitting Council member who wants to run for Mayor?

    We need a Council that will not do the will of special or personal interests, such as the mobile food vendor ban where Barbra Williamson said that her main reason was due to the mobile businesses not having the same costs as a stationary business. This is NONE of the Council's business and seems to be doing the will of the stationary businesses, not of the community.

    We need a Council which follows the rules and the laws, the Miller's CUP is a prime example of the Council not following the law and doing the will of special interests by the Council requiring HOA approval, which from what I can tell is illegal. In the second round of the CUP, Steve Sojka and Michelle Foster both detailed the requirements for issuing a CUP and that all conditions were met, but Glen Becerra instead did want a friend wanted, who I hear he does fund-raising with, who no longer lives in Simi Valley and who wrote a letter saying that it was not about the cows, yet that is exactly what the CUP was about. This is doing the will of special interests and not following the rules.

    Simi Valley does not have a real CERT program, unlike other communities. CERT is defined as Community Emergency Response Team, but Simi Valley changes the "Team" with "Training", yet there are two full time positions in the police department for overseeing such a program. It seems that they are only interested in the around 40 members of the DSW (Disaster Service Worker), but in an emergency, 40 people are not near enough, such as in 2005 during the fire. Simi Valley does not maintain the list of CERT members, does not have any on-going training, like other cites have. When there was a County CERT refresher, Simi Valley did not notify those who had taken the CERT class nor did they even put it on their web page. This appears to violate Municipal code 4-5.08 regarding Emergency Plans.

    The current Council changes whether their position is full-time or part time, depending on what serves their interests at the time. Glen Becerra said that if the public wanted them to get rid of the benefits, they would, but so far I have seen no action so that you can can vote on this or even give your opinion at a Council meeting. At the Acorn Forum, Steve Sojka listened and said that he would bring this up at a Council meeting, but after the election. Brian D. Iverson said Glen is in city-related meetings and phone conversations to constituents throughout the day, including when he is at his job. How many of you would be fired if were working for another paid job at your full-time job? Since he works for SCE, all of us pay his salary there. We also deserve to know ALL of the money the Council members get from all the various boards they are on, both public and private, due to their being a Council member.

    We need Council members who are honest, not deceptive, such as the statement that Simi Valley is safer than 20 years ago, which is true, but the crime rate from 2003 to 2009 is higher than it was from 1998 to 2002 or the false claims regarding the land fill expansion such as Barbra Williamson claiming that there would be 600 additional truck trips, but since the average number of truck trips reported is around 500 and the expansion would allow for an increase in the maximum number of truck trips by 70, from 822 to 892, but still under 900, how can you add 600 to 500 and still be under 892? Well, the answer came from another person in which it was said that she is talking about traffic trips, which is double since it counts a truck going in and counts the truck again when it leaves.


    I am running for Simi Valley Mayor to try to make a difference and improve how OUR city is run. Kurt Vonnegut said in one of his books that anyone who wants to be president should be disqualified. I agree with that. I don't really want to run for Mayor, but when I see what they are doing and not doing, I feel to need to try to makes things better and do the right thing. If I felt that the current City Council was doing the right thing, then I would not want to run, but that is not the case. I have lived in Simi Valley since 1997 and I don't think that things have been getting better. There is more crowding, more traffic, now a 5th McDonald's have been approved right next to townhouses, etc. People have moved to Simi Valley because they liked the way it was, but that seems to be changing.

    I am not a politician, but just a person trying to make a difference. This is why I have spoken at the planning commission meeetings and at the City Council meetings on topics which I do not have a personal agenda, but which I feel the right thing needs to be done. One aspect of politics that amazes me is the number of signs that are up for candidates. Signs are not free, so it is clear to me that there is a lot of money being spent on trying to get some people elected. I have to wonder what those who donate money expect to get for their money. I highly doubt that they don't expect anything in return.

    Do you know what the City Council has been doing? I know that I don't know all of what they have been doing, but most of what I have seen I don't like. I know it is not easy to find out what is going on. There is no email notification, no web pages which are easy to see what they have done. There is no newsletter informing people what laws they have passed. Most of what I hear about is because I see it in the local newspaper. I was shocked to discover that the City Council banned wood fences in an article which talked about allowing it for residences. At one council meeting, Council Member Steven T. Sojka made comments about HOAs which sounded like he things that the City Council should get more involved in the private business of home owners and their HOA. The City Council should provide essential services and not try to get involved in every aspect of a resident's life.

    I personally feel that we should not have to have term limits as the people who run should do the job and then go back to what they were doing. Unfortunately, that is not what happens. Many of the members on the City Council have been there for years and it does not seem to me that they are doing the will of all the people, but instead doing what serves their own interests and the interests of those who support them. Due to this, I think that term limits are a good idea in order to keep fresh people in the positions. At a minimum, after two terms the Council member should only be allowed to run as a write-in candidate, so that if people really want them, the person could still be elected.

    If nothing else, I hope that I can encourage you to follow what the City Council is doing and let them know when you agree or disagree with what they are doing. This is the only way that the City is going to go in the direction in which the people of the city want it to go. Otherwise, those in control are going to do what they want. If you look at the news, you will see some of the issues in the City of Bell, but I have also seen comment about Simi Valley City employees who have a high salary. People should know who is getting paid from their money and how much they are getting paid. It should be easy to find out so that if people find it unacceptable then something can be done about it.

    The first thing a City Council member should remember is that they are there to do the will of the people of the city, those who elected them and those who did not vote for them, not their own personal interests nor that of their friends, associates or those who have helped them. I also think that a person should serve their community and then go back to their lives and let someone else serve. We should not have professional politicians. It seems that those who serve too long forget what they are there for and instead start serving those who did not elect them and/or their own personal interests.

    It is important to remember that there is no free money. All the money the City gets comes from hard working people and the elected officials have a responsibility to spend the money as the resident want. If money increases, such as when property values went way up, that does not mean that you should spend more.

    The City Council has an obligation to information the citizens of Simi Valley all of what they are doing. It should be easy to find out what laws they have passed and what they are doing. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case today.

    The issues listed below are no doubt the tip of the iceberg. How do the citizens of Simi Valley find out about all of what the City Council is doing? You can try to keep up by constantly accessing the City's web page, but agendas are not always put far in advance. The new laws seem to only be there for a short period of time before you have to look at the City Code. I know I have seen agenda items regarding the City being sued, but those are in closed door sessions, so I have no idea of what the City has done and what it is costing us.

    Save Simi Valley

    I also have a web site for various issues in Simi Valley, including the deceptions by Barbra Williamson and the Simi Valley Landfill Task force.

    Save Simi Valley Web Site


    I also created a forum for people to post messages about what is on their minds:

    Save Simi Valley Forum

    Simi Valley Feedback

    I created a yahoo egroup for people to post messages about what is on their minds. Due to spammers, it is a moderated list, but basically anything that is not spam will be posted.
    Subscribe to simivalleyfeedback

    Powered by us.groups.yahoo.com



    What I, personally, would like to accomplish by running for Mayor


  • For the people of City Valley to pay more attention to what the City Council is doing and not doing.
  • To force the City Council to disclose information in an easy manner, such as an email news letter.
  • To get a City Council who will do the will of the WHOLE community, not for personal or special interests.

    In order for me to "win", I do not need to get elected as Mayor. If I manage to increase the awareness of what the City Council is doing and not doing, then I have improved things. If you think that I will doing what YOU want me to do, then vote for me. If you think that I am not the right person, then vote for someone else. I hope you will consider a non-incumbent though. I think the current people have been on City Council for long enough.

    I believe that the City should provide essential services, but that government should be limited and certainly not be a Mommy Government, who claims to know what is best (wood fences, for example). If you do not agree with me and instead want someone who will give you stuff, then please do not vote for me.

    If elected, I will do my best to listen to all residents and business owners in Simi Valley. I think it should be easier to give feedback to the City Council and that the City Council should listen (in addition to following the law). An email discussion list might be an option. No, I am not looking to use expensive means of communication. There are many free options to consider.

    I think that the information should be easier for residents of Simi Valley to get. New ordinances, adopted by the City Council, are listed on the City Web page (if you know where to find it), but it seems that once it has been incorporated into the Simi Valley Municipal Code the items are removed from the web page. Why is it so difficult to find out when they banned wood fences in Simi Valley? Why not keep the list available for several years? I would also like to see a newletter announcing what the City Council is going to do, as well as what they have done. I know that the response from those on the City Council is going to be that the information is available and it is not their fault that people did not find it. Read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" for a commentary on such responses.

    It seems to me that all the fund raisers to run for City Council creates a conflict of interest in what the person will have to do. I am not sure of what is done with all the money, but clearly some of the money is going for nice dinners/parties for those who can afford to pay. None of the signs that I see around town say anything. Those signs seem quite hypocritical since the City Council banned signs such as lost pets and garage sales (try to find out when). The ads I have read a amusing, but I personally don't care if the person's father was Chief of Police. I care about what the person has done and intends to do.

    I think it also would be a good idea to consider term limits. This would help to refresh the City Council and reduce the payback to campaign donors and other conflicts of interest which cause the person to no longer do what is best for the whole community. I have seen some campaign ads which show that the City Council member has been appointed to various positions, no doubt because they are a City Council member. This is yet another issue which can create a conflict of interest and is also a way that the person can profit by their elected position.

    One interesting thing that I recently heard was that there are term limits on the Neighborhood Councils. Why are some term limits in place, but not for those that really count?
    Ethics?

    I have to wonder what would happen to most people if they worked for another paid job while they are supposed to be working for a company. How many would get fired for such behavior? In this case, Glen Becerra works for SCE (Southern California Edision), according to his web page, "Glen is employed as Chief of Staff for the Local Public Affairs Division of the Southern California Edison Company". A letter to the editor a long time friend tells that Glen Becerra is doing City work while at SCE. In this case, all of the SCE customers are paying his salary and if he does not have enough work to do at SCE, then perhaps they should save some money (reducing the rates that we pay) and eliminate his position or get someone who will actually work for them.

    http://www.simivalleyacorn.com/news/2010-10-15/Letters/City_Council_is_not_a_parttime_job.html


    There are some additional issues with this, such as what do you have to do in order to get a Council member's cell phone number? Do you have to be a campaign donor? I also have to wonder why they don't seem to understand that they need to fix the real problem. Mike Sedell earns a lot of money, especially when you add in the benefits, so why are the Council members getting calls instead of the City staff dealing with the problems? If the Staff can not deal with the problems, as they are paid to do, then perhaps they need to be replaced with someone who can do the job.

    I have to say that the math in terms of hours is interesting. Glen Becerra claims to work two full time jobs, be on the private boards, which is most likely a paid position, and volunteers with many organizations. How can all of this be done with the limited hours in a week? Something just does not add up.

    According the the Simi Valley web page:

    Code of Conduct

    Glen Becerra's ad also promotes the Simi Valley City Council Code of Conduct. To be honest, this is nothing to be proud of. This is because according the the City Attorney, Tracy Noonan, the Code of Conduct can not be enforced since it violates the Council member's first amendment rights. This means that it is a fraud and just for show. It also is an ethical issue since the Council Members agreed to this Code, but some, such as Barbra Williamson, refuse to follow it and there is nothing that will be done about it. The City Attorney refuses to do anything and the Council seems to do nothing as well.
    Hypocritical?

    I went to a recent NC (Neighborhood Council) meeting and the NC representative, who is City Staff, told the members of the board that they should not talk about the landfill expansion nor make any decisions because it could come before them and such actions would be a problem. So how is it that City Council Member Barbra Williamson can talk about it, has clearly made a decision about it, has created an non-City "task force" in order to further her own agenda, but this is acceptable and it not listed as a conflict of interest with regards to Council meetings.
    Dishonesty/Illegal Activities

    As a person running for City Council I am able to ask the City questions, which they are supposed to answer. I am not an attorney, so these statements are my opinion, but I would LOVE to have an attorney give their opinion on this matter. Everyone that I had heard from, including City Staff (Neighborhood Council), the Assistant City Attorney (Planning Commission) and even the City Attorney (Council meeting) all said that the City could not look at the HOA or CC&Rs to determine whether or not to grant a CUP, but that is EXACTLY what they did.

    I asked the question several times:


    The response back was:


    Which is non-responsive, deceptive and in my opinion completely dishonest. There was NOTHING mentioned about deferring to a HOA, but if the City Council refuses to issue a CUP unless the HOA approves that is also not deferring, it is their decision. I was told that this lack of response came from the City Attorney Tracy Noonan. It seems clear to me that she does not want to give the real answer, which that it is, in fact, illegal, because that would mean that she knows that the City Council violated the law and that also that she took part in the activity. All of this can be verified by talking to the Miller's and also looking at what occurred. Tracy Noonan appears to be protecting the City Council, rather than following the law, and thereby trying to protect her job. This is putting the City of Simi Valley at risk of a lawsuit which could cost the residents a lot money. Remember, the City Council nor the City Attorney will pay the costs out of their own pockets. Based on this response, or lack thereof, it seems clear that me that Tracy Noonan needs to be part of the City Council House Cleaning.
    Deception

    After the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum and seeing a double page ad for Sojka, I think that there is the need to set the record straight, especially since Steve Sojka claims to be setting the record straight, but instead is being deceptive. Once a person lies to you, how can you trust anything else that they say? What if they admit to saying anything in order to get elected?

    Crime Rates


    The incumbentsm, Steve Sojka specifically, are pushing that the crime rates are down from 20 years ago and that the current crime rate is lower than in 2003. The reality is that the crime rate from 2009 is higher than it was from 1998 to 2002. It is also true that the crime rate from 2003 to 2009 is higher than it was from 1998 to 2002. Also, the incumbents claim that they have no tolerance for criminal activity, except when it comes to the theft of signs of those running against them.

    EVerify


    I am sure that the current Council wants the EVerify issue to just go away, but their lack of action on the matter shows that there is a problem with the Council. EVerify was brought up, but the Council did nothing other than to decide to wait and see. Based on what I have seen and heard, there was no "in-depth review" being done. Look at the letter that Mayor Miller wrote to The Acorn in Simi Valley. It was very clear that they did not want to do anything and in fact did not get the real issue. While they claim that it is not accurate, the ONLY real issue is the false negatives. The Council was forced into passing something because the community demanded it and it because a political issue for them do to their lack of action. Michelle Foster tried to claim at the Council meeting that it would be too expensive to implement because of the auditing requirements, but there is NO additional auditing requirements.

    The Council also showed that they were just followers, rather than leaders, by attacking Mr. Huber and others and trying to justify their lack of action because others had not implemented it. They jumped on bogus numbers, such as the number of cities using it (actually unknown as a web search only found 15 or so cities advertising that they use it) and the claim that only 2 jobs were saved for US legal workers. It is unknown how many illegal workers did not apply because EVerify was in use. The fact is that EVerify is free and is a good check of the already required documents.

    Council Compensation & Glen Becerra


    Glen Becerra said in a talk on VoteSimiValley.com that if the public wanted the Council to not have all the benefits that they would get rid of it. Where is the deception? Well, it is deception because so far Glen Becerra has done nothing to allow the public to speak out on the issue, either on the ballot or at the least at a Council meeting. To me, it is dishonest to make such a statement and then do nothing to give the people the opportunity to make their feelings known.

    Farmers Insurance Relocation


    While a representative from Farmers stated at a Council meeting that it was a business decision, the real question is why was the training facility decided to be placed in Westlake Village. I am sure that Farmers does not want to say anything which would annoy those in power because they are still in Simi Valley and might need something. It is deceptive to try to ignore all of the issues.

    Landfill Expansion


    The Landfill expansion has been known for several years and on 30-Aug-2010 the Council finally decided to talked to WM about it, a few months before it will go before the Ventura County Planning Commission and the Ventura Board of Supervisors. Only Barbra Williamson has been talking about the expansion. Why has the Council waited so long? I have heard rumors that there are backroom discussions going on to see what they can get for themselves. I have no idea if that is true or not, but what I do know is that the Council should have started talking when the expansion first came up. Steve Sojka is trying to claim that the Council is doing something, but the fact is that for years they have not had any public discussions in the matter and only recently have decided that they should talk to WM.

    Barbra Williamson stated on VoteSimiValley.com that if the expansion was approved that there would be 600 more truck trips per day, but the problem with that is that is not possible since it is listed that there is around 500 truck trips currently and that the expansion would allow for around 70 more truck trip, but still less than 900 per day. Barbra Williamson has been on the Council around 18 years and has quite a bit of experience, so when she says "Candidates are going to say what you want to hear"", I tend to believe that is true for herself and those that she knows. It is not true for me and she does not know me. She also said that politicians have egos the size of the room that they are in, including herself. As a side note, anytime I caught her making false statements on VoteSimiValley.com, should would resort to childish comments in order to deflect the conversion

    I asked Barbra Williamson if the Simi Valley Landfill Task Force had a web page, so that people could see all of the issues that they were raising. She said that it was too expensive. I responded that there were cheap places to have a web page. She said that she did not have time. I responded that she could get someone else to do it. She said "shoo". It is clear that she does not want to write down what they want as then it would be easy to catch her false statements. I have heard rumors that there are those what are trying to get something for themselves in order to approve the expansion. I tend to believe that since the Council has failed to have any public discussions on the matter.

    I have asked the question of those who are against the expansion what their specific issues are, but so far I have not received any honest responses. I personally think that many have been deceived into thinking that the expansion is something other than it is. For example, one of the "negative" issues of the expansion in the DEIR is the creation of new jobs. This is because of the claim that new jobs mean a need for more houses and more recreation facilities. What it neglects to consider is that if there are unemployed workers in Simi Valley, then there is NO need for additional housing or recreation. If a person commutes to work there, then, again, there is no need for additional housing or recreation. Under this concept, it is best to keep the Farmers building vacant as less jobs are better. It just does not make sense.

    Glen Becerra Higher Political Office


    Ok, this is marginal in terms of deception, but Glen Becerra says that he wants to be a Council member, but admited that he is waiting his opportunity to seek higher political office. At least he admitted what he really wants, which is not to just be a City Council Member. He just does not say that all the time since it would negatively affect his ability to get re-elected.

    Attacks against the Community


    One thing that bothers me is the constant claim that if people don't attend a Council meeting, then they have no right to complain about what the Council is doing. If everyone has to go to every Council meeting, then we should just get rid of the Council. I think that people should speak out, but I think that it is dishonest to attack the public if they do not attend.


    Lack of Real Communication

    There is not really a good means of public communication with the City Council. Currently, the public can go to a City Council meeting and speak for three minutes, but they can not get answers to questions. The City Council refuses to respond to any questions put to them. Later, the City Council can respond to what you have said, but then you can not respond to their comments or make additional comments.

    On specific matters, you can also speak for 3 minutes or so, but then after all the public has spoken, the City Council discusses the issue and if there is something that is said which needs correcting (such as the EVerify audit issue), the public can not raise this issue.

    When the public complains about the lack of communication with the City Council, it was said that you can schedule time to talk to them. The problem with this is that it is not public, so others can not hear what you have to say.

    What we, the public, needs is a means of giving feedback to the City in more than just 3 minute speeches. We need to be able to question the City Council and demand answers. Something like a town hall meeting in which there is REAL communication.
    More Lack of Common Sense

    I would strongly suggest that you listen to the VSV Canditate Chat - The Incumbents:

    vsv-candidate-chat-the-incumbents

    The direct link to download the mp3 files is:

    http://www.votesimivalley.com/audio/02-vsv.mp3

    There are some issues talked about which are quite interesting and show, what appears to me, to be a lack of common sense.

    Appointments


    The first issue is appointments. Both candidates were asked about this issue.

    Foster said that she needs to do more research to determine where she stands on the issue. Well, she got appointed and that is clearly how she got re-elected. I am confused as why she would not have an opinion on the matter. Does she have to ask someone else? Does she not want to admit that she is for the appointments?

    Becerra said that he did not see any reason to have a special election. Well, I can tell him a reason for having a special election, which is to allow the PEOPLE TO VOTE on who is running THEIR city. Yes, it is expensive, but if they cut the budget of the Shop Simi Valley First in half, then they would have the money. I am curious as to where all that money, $100k, is going to for the Shop program.

    It is clear that the incumbents want Sojka to be elected mayor and Foster and Becerra re-elected so that they, not you, can decide who the next person will be on the Council. What do you think that the odds are that the person that they want to appoint is not one who bothered to try to get elected by the people? Who has not participated in the election process to let people know where they stand on the issues? Do you think that this is the American way?

    My personal opinion on appointments is that appointments can be a short term solution, but ONLY if it is done in a fair manner. What I mean by that is that those on the City Council do not determine who is going to be appointed. I have heard that it has already been talked about, and perhaps decided, on who to appoint if Sojka gets elected as the Mayor. This is just plain wrong. The Neighborhood Councils and a Town Hall meeting would be a good idea to select candidates. Also, since the person would be appointed and incumbents have an clear advantage on getting re-elected, the person should also be prevented from having their name on the ballot the next time. If the people really want them to continue, then they can write the person's name on the ballot. The main thing is to prevent the current City Council from stacking the deck and getting someone in that they want, instead of what the public wants.

    Council Compensation


    Council Compensation was another interesting topic and one in which it seems that actions (or lack thereof) speak louder than words. Becerra said that if the people did not want them to have full-time benefits for a part-time job (not his actual words) that they would get rid of the benefits. The real problem with this is that how are the people going to tell the Council their feelings? The Council could put this on the ballot so that people could let their feelings be know. They could also put this on the Council Agenda, which is not as good since it is more limited in the feedback. But so far I have not seen a thing being done to make it easy for the Council to find out what people think. I suspect that this because if they do nothing, then the Council can say that people have not said that they want the benefits removed. To me, this is not ethical nor honest. Since they know it is an issue, they should have an open and fair hearing into the matter and let the public speak their minds about it.

    The funny thing to me is that people say that if the benefits were reduced, then the quality of the people running would be reduced. Yet, the people on the Council are saying that they are not doing it for the money. Are they doing it for the benefits? The power? The control? Based on some of the statements, such as the reasons for banning the food vendors, it is clear that they are not doing what is in the best interest of the Community.
    Lack of Common Sense

    On 30-Aug-2010 I went to another City Council meeting. It seems that the more I learn about how this City is being run and the current people on the City Council, I feel that all of the current City Council members should be thrown out. I would strongly suggest that you watch the videos of the meetings.

    EVerify


    There was a discussion about Everify and it seemed clear to me that the City Council did not really want to do anything, but that this has become a political issue (due to their lack of action and statements which do not match the facts).

    It seemed clear to me that the City Council did not want to do anything about EVerify, but were forced to. One aspect of this which shows a lack of common sense is that it was stated that City contracts require the contractor to hire only workers who are eligible to work in the United States, but when it comes to requiring EVerify to be used to ensure that this is done, suddenly there is a cost involved due to the "need" to audit the results. This cost is used as an excuse as to why they should do nothing, but what are the current audit requirements and costs? I doubt that there are any audit requirements currently and there is really no need to audit the results unless it is suspected that the employer is not hiring legal workers. This shows this excuse is bogus.

    City Staff stated that they found 17 out of 400 Cities which use EVerify, but that was from an Internet search. EVerify will not disclose who is using it and it was admitted that it is unknown how many are actually using it, but the 17 was brought up again and again as an excuse as to why not to use it. The claim is that not enough cities are currently using it. This shows that those on City Council are followers, not leaders.

    It was also stated by City Council Member Becerra that the Federal Government has failed us with respect to illegal workers. That is a nice statement, but it completely ignores that fact that the City of Simi Valley is failing us with respect to illegal workers by refusing to require use of a tool which helps to reduce the chances that an illegal worker would get a job, namely EVerify.

    Also, some of those on the City Council were unprofessional in their responses to the people speaking. It even got to the point where Mayor Miller had to tell Council Member Becerra to stop, several times.

    Blinders

    Currently, due to political issues, the Farmer's Insurance move is getting attention, but due to this the City Council is talking about waiving Business Tax and allowing sign restrictions to be waived for those within .5 miles from the Farmer's building. The question is why for just that area? What about all other businesses who are having a hard time due to the economic times we are in? All the businesses in Simi Valley should be treated fairly, not just those who have the political spotlight.

    Landfill Expansion


    The comments regarding the Simi Valley Landfill were interesting. Lou Pandolfi spoke and seemed to be fear mongering with respect to the LNG facility. I did not hear him mention anything about the fueling station for Simi Valley transit and all the dangers, especially considering that it closer to other businesses than the landfill is. He also claimed that it was going to be a "megadump", which based on what I have seen, it not true.

    There was also talk of the increased traffic, but what about the increased traffic due to the Simi Valley Transit CNG facility that the Moorpark buses will be using. I guess that traffic is not to be considered.

    One of the most shocking statements was made by Mayor Miller when he said that it is time to start talking to WM about the landfill expansion. The Council wants to claim that they are business friendly, but if that was really true then the City would have been taling to WM at the very start of the process of the landfill expansion.

    I was also shocked when I read some of the EIR information on the landfill expansion. It seems that the EIR process is designed to go against any expansion as it is claimed that creating more jobs is a negative thing due to increased housing and recreation requirements. It seems that there the concept that people in the area, who already live here, might get a job there which means that they would either have a job or no longer have to commute. If the workers are hired from outside the area and those workers commute here, then there is no need for houses or recreation either. I would think that more jobs would be a good thing, but not from those in government.


    Following the law?

    One of the main reasons that I started paying more attention to what the City Council was doing was because of the Miller's CUP and cows. The only thing I knew about this issue was what I had read in the newspapers. I had never met or talked to anyone involved. I decided to go to a Neighborhood Council meeting.

    City Staff stated that the City could NOT consider the HOA CC&Rs when deciding on the issue. Later, at a Planning Commission meeting, the Assistant City Attorney said the same thing. At a City Council meeting, the City Attorney also said the same thing. So, it seems that all except the City Council agrees with this. The problem is that the City Council voted in February to force the Millers get HOA approval AND start the WHOLE process all over again. This seems to be in violation of the law.

    The last discussion before the City Council is also a concern. Sojka suggested that the City should get more involved with the HOAs. Miller lives in the same area, so he excused himself. Ms. Williamson had associated herself with those against the Millers and was forced to excuse herself. I noticed a familiar name on the Landfill Task Force (NOT part of the City of Simi Valley), which might explain her position. Foster and Sojka both listed all of the conditions which needed to be met in order to approve the CUP and voted for it, although it seemed to me that they were try to explain why they were doing what they were in order to protect themselves from their supporters. Beccerra voted against it. I guess he was not impressed by all the required conditions for approving a CUP, but then again perhaps it was because I understand that a friend, who he does fundraisers with, was against the Millers. This person does not live in Simi Valley anymore, but was still trying to get the City Council to deny the CUP. A letter was also written to the Planning Commission in which it was admitted that it was not about the cows. This is a serious problem because the CUP is ALL about the cows.

    All of this makes me wonder who the City Council is working for.


    City Council "full-time" fraud?


    Last night on http://www.votesimivalley.com it was mentioned that the City Council has managed to get all the benefits that they do by claiming a low hourly rate and that it is a full time position. There are a couple of serious problems with this though.

    According to the State of CA the current minimum wage is $8/hour. If you calculate the hourly rate that the City Council is getting, it comes out to $7.18 ($14,937.96 / 2080). This means that the hourly rate is BELOW the CA Minimum wage and suggests that they are not following the law. It could be that they calculated it based on a 35 hour week. No, I am not suggesting that they get a raise.

    The next issue is that if they are claiming it is a full-time, 40 hours per week, job, then I would like to see proof that they are actually working full-time and not abusing their "full-time" position. How many REAL hours are the Council members working? I am not talking about any excuse to claim that they are working as a Council member. Most of the City Council have other jobs, which seems to be a conflict to me in that they can not work at their "full-time" City Council position.

    It seems that this "fraud" is known in City Hall, but it has not been mentioned to the public nor any action taken to correct the matter.

    Simi Valley Salaries
    City Council Benefits

    Simi Valley City Council Benefits from SV POA
    Simi Valley POA Council Ad


    It was mentioned in the 30-Aug-2010 City Council meeting that all of the City Council members went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and that the food and wine was really good. I guess to eat and drink is part of their "full-time" job. It was also mentioned with respect to meeting the Council members that the public has to work around the schedule of Council members as most have full-time jobs which limit when they can meet.

    I also have to wonder at what this fraud is costing the public. Since the position is listed as full-time, the years of service in increased, whereas if it was part-time the years of service would be prorated. This means that if a City Council member were to get a government job, their total years of service would be higher than it actually is.

    BTW, it was mentioned at this Council meeting that a vehicle was given to City Manager Sedell. I guess that he can not afford a vehicle since he only earns close to a quarter million dollars, excluding benefits. I did not see that listed as a benefit for him. Sojka said that there was "full transparency", but if things like this are hidden, how can you really claim that there is "full transparency"?


    Say What Barbra Williamson?


    It amazes me at time the attitude that some people have. I recently found out about votesimivalley.com and some of the statements on there are quite enlightening, especially those from Barbra Williamson. Those statements might come back to haunt her as it is important as it shows the attitude of those who have been elected. NOTE: Many of the comments appear to have been removed from the site.

    On 05-Aug-2010: Click here for this thread

    Barbra Williamson stated "Candidates are going to say what you want to hear". That seems to me that she is admitting to what she does. I am telling you how I feel and what I think, not what you want to hear.

    The next interesting quote was in regards to the banning of legimate businesses, the food vendors. She stated "My main reason not supporting this was because they don’t have the same costs as businesses that have stationary businesses". What business is it of the City Council what the costs of the businesses are? If a business opens their business in an older building in order to save money vs. expensive prime property, is the City going to do something about this? Or is it that campaign donors wanted to get rid of these smaller businesses?

    Then, what I really like is that she says "so the Council, who is accused of not listening, did in fact listen to the residents and let the vender(s) stay.". So, if the City Council listens to the residents, please explain why these businesses were banned in the first place? Yes, when the hoards come to the castle with torches and pitchforks, the City Council backed down, but only with the strawberry vendors and ONLY grandfathers those vendors which existed. It is SO kind that the City Council let them stay. Why didn't the City Council find out what the residents wanted in advance? Who wanted these businesses banned in the first place? Clearly, it was not a majority who wantted them banned because the City Council backed down. It is also nice in this case the the City Council can claim to be on both sides because they first banned the businesses, then they listened to the residents and revoked the ban. What a waste of time and effort!!!

    I need to find the other thread where Barbra Williamson seems to think that ALL businesses pay for health benefits and pensions for a part-time job.

    There was also a complaint that people were stopping in the street by the Strawberry vendors. Instead of blaming the person illegally stopping, the blame was placed on the vendors. The problem is that under that concept the baseball fields on Royal, near Tapo Canyon need to be closed because of the people stopping in the street, the illegal street crossings, What is the City Council doing about this serious safety issue? etc.

    Update: there are numerous posts under Barbra Williamson's name in which she writes such things as "shoo, Ken shoo...annoying little nat, shoo". This violates the City of Simi Valley Code of Conduct for a City Council member, but it also shows her complete lack of judgment and arrogant attitude towards those who are willing to speak up, as well as calling her on her false statements. Part of this came about because I suggested that she create a web page for the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce. Eventually she did create a web site, which has since been removed, but contrary to her letter to the editor in which she said it was a lack of respect to not include "valley", the group got the domain "savesimi.com". The files posted on the web site showed the false statements and deceptions of the group.

    Now, I would not doubt that Barbra Williamson might try to claim that she did not write the statements when she gets called on this, but there is no response from her that those posts are not her and other posts confirm that it is really her.

    Things to think about

  • There is NO real CERT program in Simi Valley
  • Simi Valley is NOT business friendly
  • The current City Council has not always followed the law
  • The City Council does not take action against a police chief who lied to residents
  • Lack of Common Sense

    Watering Issues, but not usage

    It is quite amusing to watch the lack of common sense with respect to the watering issues. The City Council has made decisions, then gone and changed those decisions, most likely because the decisions did not make any sense. But the bottom line is that the City Council has never managed to get to the real issues which is water waste and water use. The City Council limited what days you could water, but when you have a sandy soil, deep watering does not really work. They also limited how long you could water based on the number of zones, but that does not address how much water is used nor that if you have a lot of zones, or have the money to put in many additional zones, you can water all night long. Never once did they address the issue of water usage. Water usage should be based on the number of people in the house and the size of the land. It should not be based on prior use since then those who did not waste water in the past would be punished and those that wasted water could easily reduce their usage.

    It is also interesting that the information about how much water the City uses is not easily available. The city forces businesses to put in a lot of landscaping, which requires watering, and also puts in a lot of public landscaping, which also requires watering, but these aspects seem to be ignored.

    Miller's Cows

    There is a process which is supposed to be followed in regards to issuing a CUP (Conditional Use Permit), but it was not followed in the case of the Millers. City Staff stated at a neighborhood meeting that the HOA CC&Rs could not be taken into account, the Assistant City Attorney confirmed that at a Planning Commission Meeting and the City Attorney also stated that at the City Council Meeting. But clearly that did not matter when the City Council demanded that the Millers get HOA approval in February and told to start the whole process again. It also did not matter to City Council Member Becerra who voted against the CUP after Foster and Sojka listed all the conditions for issuing the CUP and voted for it at the final meeting about it. I was told that one of the main people against the Millers was a friend of Becerra and that person also did fund raisers with him. This was not disclosed as a conflict of interest, but it was clear that Becerra was not doing what he should be doing.
    Food Vendors

    It seems that the City Council decided that food vendors, which were licensed with all the required permits, were suddenly unsafe and a serious problem, so they banned them. I personally suspect that the friends and campaign contributors who owned businesses in a building wanted those food vendors removed. I heard statements such as "leveling the playing field" and that the locations that they sold from were "unsafe".

    The leveling of the playing field is quite interesting. Does this mean that if I want to open up a place that the City is going to increase the taxes on all the existing places so that their overhead and mine are the same? If I bought a property, the cost is going to be much higher today than it was many years ago. This is especially true if I want a place which has easy access, such as near the freeway. The cost to build a new building is also going to be more expensive. All the equipment is going to be more expensive as well. So, just what is the City going to do to help me compete with existing businesses? Nothing, because I am not their friend and I am not donating money to their campaigns.

    While mobile food vendors don't have as high of an overhead, they are far more limited in where and when they can sell their food. Most are in places that people might buy from them if they happen by, but generally would not go out of their way to stop by, unlike a place that is in a building.

    It was said that the Hot Dog trailer on Easy St. was unsafe. I walked past there and don't have any idea of how that could be true. All of the customers were on the sidewalk, away from driveways. If it is unsafe to be on the sidewalk, then something needs to be done about that. Of course, when I brought that up at the City Council meeting there was no response.
    Shop Simi Valley First

    This concept is interesting, but I don't think that they really get it. As I understand it they are spending $100k per year on this and Council Member Foster seems to think that awareness is a primary means of determining whether it is a good program. Simi Valley gets 1% of the sales tax spent in the city. The problem is that in order to get a return on investment of $100k, there needs to be over $10 million more than otherwise. Becerra said that they could double the spending on this program.

    I really don't think that spending more makes sense. It is good to make people aware that it is a good idea to spend locally, but consideration needs to be made on what is spent. This is yet another example of the concept of "free money". Yes, it is CDA funds, but it still tax payer's money.
    Sign Restrictions

    I find it quite interesting that the City Council banned useful signs, such as lost pet signs, but are more than willing to litter our community with their political signs. Yes, they have a right to have their polticial signs, but it seems to me that if they were honest, ethicial and not hypocritical that they would not put up all those signs after claiming that other signs are bad. I know of many pets who were reunited with their owners because of the signs. As well, owners being notified that their pets had died. If it were not for the signs, the owners may never have known what happened to their pets. Since the "shelters" only keep animals for a short period of time before allowing them to be adopted, then a short time later killed, it seems to me to be better to try to find the owners.

    This is also a sign that the City Council is going after just a symptom, rather that dealing with the problem. The problem is those people who put up signs and never bother to take them down. In my opinion, it would be better to have regulations which would ensure that the signs are taken down than to ban all signs and then spend money to have a City employee drive all over the city in a city vehicle taking the signs down. We, the people of this city, get to pay the employee, pay for the gas for the vehicle, and get to deal with replacing a vehicle sooner as it has more miles on it and also have to deal with the added pollution.

    To send me a message: