Simi Valley City Council approves City Fair and Cajun and Blues Festival

SimiCajunBluesBy Debra Tash

July 3, 2013

SIMI VALLEY—The Simi Valley City Council approved financially supporting both the Cajun and Blues Festival run by the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise as well as the Simi Valley Fair and Music Festival, formerly known as Pioneer Days at its July 1st meeting.

The City Council decided that Simi Valley would absorb $5,181.54 in costs for the Cajun and Blues Festival.  Past festivals held in 2010, 2011 and 2012 resulted in net proceeds for the Rotary of $95,589 to $116,913 which then gave $75,751 to $101,460 to 40 local charities.  Some of the revenues were retained by the Rotary Club for seed money to pay for future festivals.  Rotary Club officials reported that the event attracts outside revenue to the city.

The Simi Valley Fair and Music Festival has been a local tradition with its family friendly carnival and parade since 1934.  This next year the Fair will cost the city an estimated $23,000 in police overtime and $,2000 in other service fees.  In an earlier decision, the Simi Valley City Council has awarded $500 to fund the “Mayor’s Trophy” for the event parade.  In 2012, the Music Festival generated $137,000 in revenue, most used to cover expenses leaving $14,900 to pay seven local charities for services provided.

While, the Cajun and Blues Festival had no opposition at the City Council meeting, the same was not so for the Simi Valley Fair and Music Festival run by the Simi Valley Days Foundation.  Lee Hintlian, speaking for the Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley said, “the Music Festival has never donated money to our Kiwanis Club.”  Hintlian asked the City Council not to give a fee wavier.

Lee Seymour, chair of the Simi Valley Fair and spokesperson for the Simi Valley Days Foundation addressed what happened between the Foundation and the Kiwanis.  It came down to three party contracts between the Foundation, the Kiwanis and the Fair’s various vendors.  “I felt a responsibility to clean up these contracts,” said Seymour. “The Kiwanis received $10,000 to $15,000 raised from the carnival.  According to Seymour, the Kiwanis are no longer a party to the Foundation’s contracts.

Council Member Keith Mashburn said, “It’s rumored that one or more of your foundation members are paid.”  Mr. Seymour stated, “No one is paid on our board and all our bills are paid.”

Becerra proposed that staff work on a policy to create guidelines on what events can be supported with taxpayer funds. Council member Mike Judge, speaking about the Fair and Music Festival said, “Police are already working.  It’s a great community event. I don’t want to see this event get trashed.”  According to Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, “We will have to wrestle with policy another day.”

The contested Simi Valley Fair  passed 4 to 0 with City Council Member Steve Sojka not present.

 

Debra Tash is a Citizens Journalist who also serves as Subscription Manager.  She can be contacted at [email protected].

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