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Simi Valley Robocalls and the Law

It seems that this is the year of the Robo Call in Simi Valley. First we get the sleazy attack piece on Sojka with the actual people behind it being hidden, then we get Barbra Williamson's robo call in which Mike Judge is speaking supporting her. One aspect that bothers me about Williamson's campaign is that she is claiming that people should vote for her because she is female, which is sexist, but which is typically accept when if the reverse was said it would be completely unacceptable. Yes, there is a double standard. I also have to wonder if Williamson has had to resort to using robocalls because she is afraid of not getting elected and not getting her increased pension due to exceeding 20 years.

Below is the law regarding automatic dialing-announcing devices, aka robo calling devices. While political calls are exempt under the Federal law, CA law does not exempt political calls with respect to this law. Since Williamson's automated call had the caller-id report the call coming from 805-231-2497, it appears that the call came from CA and since there was no one who asked if the person being called was willing to hear the message, it could be in violation of the law and people could sue Barbra Williamson for $500, as the law allows.

People are still trying to figure out who is behind the Sojka attack since the group that is claimed paid for it does not seem to exist. The campaign statements will show where money has been spent by candidates, but unfortunately those statements will not be available until after the election. If the Sojka attack robo call was done by a Council candidate, it should show up as a payment in their campaign statement. I don't recall getting a robo call in Simi Valley for a Council election in the past, which makes me wonder if the fact that Williamson has resorted to using a robo call is related to the Sojka attack robo call. What better way to hide payment to a robo call company for the Sojka attack ad than to pay for your own robo calls.

Robo Call Thoughts

There are some things to consider with the Sojka robocall attack:

  • Who would benefit by trying to reduce the number of votes that Steve Sojka gets?

  • Who has a record of making false statements in order to further their political career?

  • Who seems to have a record of not caring about the law with respect to being a Council member/candidate?

    The possible parties to the attack robocall seems to be:

  • One of the other Candidates for Council
  • The POA
  • Doug Cross and the Tea Party

    Doug Cross and the Tea Party does not seem likely since their complaint has been done according to the law and I doubt that they would get much out of such an expense. It does seem that the party which did it wanted to include aspects to make people wonder if Doug Cross and the Tea Party did it. The same applies to the POA. It would not make sense for them to violate the law since if they got caught, it would go really badly for them. Most of the other Council Candidates would not gain much by attacking Steve Sojka. A better investment, as well as target rich Candidate would be Barbra Williamson due to all the issues that she has had over the years. To me, the one who would benefit the most by such an attack would be Barbra Williamson, plus it also seems to fit into her character to do such a thing, based on the personal attacks she had made on me and others.

    If you look at the past election records, Steve Sojka has always received more votes that Barbra Williamson. This means that the first incumbent to go would be Barbra Williamson UNLESS something were to occur to cause Steve Sojka to lose votes. Such an attack would not cause all the votes to be lost and also those lost votes would not tend to go to one other candidate. This means that Barbra Williamson would be the one who it seems would gain the most from such an attack.

    The main party who has been know to make false statements with regards to campaign issues, such as the Landfill expansion, is Barbra Williamson. Others have been deceptive, but most have not made outright lies in order to help their political careers.

    As far as I know, there is only one party which has had legal issues, multiple times. Both with campaign contributions and others issues:


    I have also heard of another lawsuit regarding RV storage and a business who wanted to open a storage facility, but the requirements were too expensive. Then it is claimed that Williamson worked with another business to open the facility, with the requirements reduced. Add to that the RV parking law and you have a good way to promote business with perhaps the help of a Council member.

    The final thing which has me wondering is that I don't ever recall a Candidate for Council ever use a robocall before. So we get this robocall attacking Sojka, then a short time later a robocall for Williamson. This allows for the hiding of the payment to a robocall company.


    You can call 805-322-8338 to hear the robo call attacking Sojka. Also, here is a link which has the recording of the call on it:

    Sneaky Robocall the Last Straw

    As a side note, Former Mayor Paul Miller has decided to enter the campaign by making a statement about the campaign and the attacks, including a link to the deceptive robocall. On the surface this seems as an attempt to change the tone in the election by a past mayor, but at the bottom of the web page is the statement, with a black background and a non-white color, so that it does not stand out:

    This means that this is just another campaign ad/web page, but in a deceptive way. How many people are going to look at the fine print at the bottom?

    In response to former Mayor Paul Miller, I would say that people deserve to know the truth about what the Council has done and the actions of the people on the Council. The Sojka robocall is completely unacceptable, in part because it is quite deceptive, but also because who is behind it is hidden. It seems that standard practice in an election is that candidates are not supposed to say anything negative about what the incumbents have done, thereby hiding what is really going on. While it would be nice to not say anything negative, it would be far better if those on the Council did NOT DO ANYTHING NEGATIVE.

    SECTION 2871-2876

    2871.  As used in this article, "automatic dialing-announcing device"
    means any automatic equipment which incorporates a storage
    capability of telephone numbers to be called or a random or
    sequential number generator capable of producing numbers to be called
    and the capability, working alone or in conjunction with other
    equipment, to disseminate a prerecorded message to the telephone
    number called.
    2872.  (a) The connection of automatic dialing-announcing devices to
    a telephone line is subject to this article and to the jurisdiction,
    control, and regulation of the commission.
       (b) No person shall operate an automatic dialing-announcing device
    except in accordance with this article. The use of such a device by
    any person, either individually or acting as an officer, agent, or
    employee of a person or corporation operating automatic
    dialing-announcing devices, is subject to this article.
       (c) No person shall operate an automatic dialing-announcing device
    in this state to place a call that is received by a telephone in
    this state during the hours between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. California
       (d) This article does not prohibit the use of an automatic
    dialing-announcing device by any person exclusively on behalf of any
    of the following:
       (1) A school for purposes of contacting parents or guardians of
    pupils regarding attendance.
       (2) An exempt organization under the Bank and Corporation Tax Law
    (Part 11 (commencing with Section 23001) of Division 2 of the Revenue
    and Taxation Code) for purposes of contacting its members.
       (3) A privately owned or publicly owned cable television system
    for purposes of contacting customers or subscribers regarding the
    previously arranged installation of facilities on the premises of the
    customer or subscriber.
       (4) A privately owned or publicly owned public utility for
    purposes of contacting customers or subscribers regarding the
    previously arranged installation of facilities on the premises of the
    customer or subscriber or for purposes of contacting employees for
    emergency actions or repairs required for public safety or to restore
       (5) A petroleum refinery, chemical processing plant, or nuclear
    powerplant for purposes of advising residents, public service
    agencies, and the news media in its vicinity of an actual or
    potential life-threatening emergency.
       (e) This article does not prohibit law enforcement agencies, fire
    protection agencies, public health agencies, public environmental
    health agencies, city or county emergency services planning agencies,
    or any private for-profit agency operating under contract with, and
    at the direction of, one or more of these agencies, from placing
    calls through automatic dialing-announcing devices, if those devices
    are used for any of the following purposes:
       (1) Providing public service information relating to public
       (2) Providing information concerning police or fire emergencies.
       (3) Providing warnings of impending or threatened emergencies.
       These calls shall not be subject to Section 2874.
       (f) This article does not apply to any automatic
    dialing-announcing device that is not used to randomly or
    sequentially dial telephone numbers but that is used solely to
    transmit a message to an established business associate, customer, or
    other person having an established relationship with the person
    using the automatic dialing-announcing device to transmit the
    message, or to any call generated at the request of the recipient.
       (g) The commission may determine any question of fact arising
    under this section.
    2872.5.  (a) The commission, in consultation with the California
    Emergency Management Agency and the California Technology Agency,
    shall open an investigative proceeding to determine whether
    standardized notification systems and protocol should be utilized by
    entities that are authorized to use automatic dialing-announcing
    devices pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 2872, to facilitate
    notification of affected members of the public of local emergencies.
    The commission shall not establish standards for notification systems
    or standard notification protocol unless it determines that the
    benefits of the standards exceed the costs.
       (b) Before January 1, 2008, the commission shall prepare and
    submit to the Legislature a report on the results of the proceeding,
    including recommendations for funding notification systems and any
    statutory modifications needed to facilitate notification of affected
    members of the public of local emergencies.
    2873.  Automatic dialing-announcing devices may be used to place
    calls over telephone lines only pursuant to a prior agreement between
    the persons involved, whereby the person called has agreed that he
    or she consents to receive such calls from the person calling, or as
    specified in Section 2874.
    2874.  (a) Whenever telephone calls are placed through the use of an
    automatic dialing-announcing device, the device may be operated only
    after an unrecorded, natural voice announcement has been made to the
    person called by the person calling. The announcement shall do all
    of the following:
       (1) State the nature of the call and the name, address, and
    telephone number of the business or organization being represented,
    if any.
       (2) Inquire as to whether the person called consents to hear the
    prerecorded message of the person calling.
       (b) The calling person described in subdivision (a) shall
    disconnect the automatic dialing-announcing device from the telephone
    line upon the termination of the call by either the person calling
    or the person called.
    2875.  No person shall connect any automatic dialing-announcing
    device to any telephone line without first making written application
    to the telephone corporation within whose service area telephone
    calls through the use of such device are proposed to be placed. In
    such application, the person shall provide information as to the type
    of automatic dialing-announcing device proposed to be connected, the
    time of day such telephone calls are proposed to be placed using
    such device, the anticipated number of calls proposed to be placed
    during the specified calling period, the average length of a
    completed call, and such additional information as the corporation or
    the commission may require. Upon receiving such an application for
    service, the corporation shall review the furnished information and,
    if it appears that calling patterns would create a traffic overload
    condition or the service would be detrimental to the services of
    other customers of the corporation, it may deny the application or
    modify the application and grant the application as so modified.
    2875.5.  (a) On and after July 1, 2002, no person operating any
    automatic equipment that incorporates a storage capability of
    telephone numbers to be called or a random or sequential number
    generator capable of producing numbers to be called may make a
    telephone connection for which no person, acting as an agent or
    telemarketer, is available for the person called.
       (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission shall
    establish an acceptable error rate for telephone connections made in
    violation of subdivision (a). The commission shall determine the
    error rate, if any, before July 1, 2002.
       (c) The commission may require any person operating equipment as
    described in subdivision (a) to maintain records of telephone
    connections made for which no person, acting as an agent or
    telemarketer, is available for the person called. The commission may
    require copies of those records to be submitted to the commission.
    2876.  Any person violating this article is guilty of a civil
    offense and is subject to either or both of the following penalties:
       (a) A fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) for each
    violation, levied and enforced by the commission, on complaint or on
    its own motion, pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 2100)
    of Part 1.
       (b) Disconnection of telephone service to the automatic
    dialing-announcin g device for a period of time which shall be
    specified by the commission.



    Index for Save Simi Valley

    Written: 28-Oct-2012

    Updated: 03-Nov-2012

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