Steve Huber for Oxnard Council Campaign Kickoff report

By George Miller

Capt. Steve Huber (USN, Ret.) held the formal kickoff for his campaign to win an Oxnard City Council seat. The event venue was the Fresh and Fabulous Cafe downtown, on Saturday, August 27, 2016. About 40 people showed up to support him or just see what was going on.

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Oxnard City Council candidate Steve Huber at his campaign kickoff 8-27-16. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

Huber is the “retired” Commander of the Naval Surface Warfare Command at Naval Base Ventura County. “Retired” is in quotes because he never really stopped working for the community and is better known locally  for his activities in support of that. He is a regular speaker at City Council meetings to advocate various causes and positions. He also currently runs S H Huber & Associates, a lean/six sigma change management consultancy focusing on process and quality excellence.

He has run for this office unsuccessfully before ….”lost by 10 votes” (to Bert Perello) he said ruefully. But, he believes his time is now, because of the problems the City faces and his skillset, which he feels is an appropriate match for what needs to be done.

Capt. Steve Huber’s Speech

After a networking period and eating opportunity in the rather compact area for attendees, the campaign staff cleared the decks for Steve’s address to the assembled group which came to hear him. Like a good Commander, he started off by thanking the people who have helped him, including family and campaign staff. His son, Steve Jr. and wife were present and on duty, along with campaign consultant Chris Collier and others. We saw quite a few people active in City affairs present.

The City is in Crisis, he told us, as if we needed to be told that. There is a financial and leadership crisis. Programs, government, were cut; children’s and senior’s programs, business development, were slashed. There is a “brain drain” of City staff leaving and poor morale is evident. “I don’t like to see the City going down the drain,” he lamented. “Common sense is not common in  Oxnard…. We need common sense,” he said, seeming to imply that he would provide a massive dose of it.

Steve Huber speech video by Pinedo/CitizensJournal.us

 

Huber described his qualifications. Unlike some candidates, he doesn’t just talk about management and leadership experience, he has it – and in abundance. How does Commander of the Naval Surface Warfare group, with 3000 people and a $730 million dollar annual budget sound (his biography says 1800 people and $600 million)?  That’s about twice the size of the City of Oxnard organization, with a national security mission.

We need experience, skill, to “turn the ship around,” said the former Skipper. Then he told us about his first ship command, which he described as a tired old vessel, run down, dirty, with poor crew morale, which was “literally sinking.” He went on to describe a craft which had three feet of water in the bilge and was actually taking on water when he was taking over. He told us that he had her shaped up, shining and winning awards within 18 months.

So, what about the transition to civilian life? Would he expect a rigid chain of command approach and be confounded by the change?  Apparently not. He said he has been on numerous committees and boards, including, but not limited to (some of this taken from his biography): Planning Commission where he served as Chair. He volunteered on a number of community boards and committees to include, the Board of Directors of St. John’s Community Board, Military Officers Association of America – Ventura County Chapter Board (1st VP), Santa Clara High School Consultative Board (Vice Chair), the Oxnard Ambassadors Executive Board (Military Committee Chair), Channel Islands Maritime Museum Board, the Military Appreciation Committee of the Oxnard Chamber, the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century, Boots 2 Business seminar instructor, and with SCORE as a workshop presenter on How to do Business with the Government.

He said he has been building relationships in the community for years and that these can be put to work for the city’s benefit. He wants to continue “giving back” to our community.

Huber did have a few specifics for us on his directions, if elected. For one thing, he strongly favors the city having an internal controller. Those who have followed the city’s scandals and mismanagement might be hard-pressed to argue with that. He wants to “wean” the city away from what he feels is excessive use of consultants. The third recommendation was to “clean up the city and instill what he called “:an allegiance to ethics.” Councilman Bert Perello, who has been pushing the city on ethics and whistleblower policies, should be happy to hear that. We are hoping to hear more specifics soon.

He wound up his short speech by recalling his time in the naval academy, where he sometimes went to the chapel for inspiration in overcoming the challenges of a tough curriculum of study. He always remembers a Latin inscription there, “Non sibi sed patriae,” which translated into “Not for self, but country.” He sees that as applying to Oxnard as well.

 

Post Campaign Kickoff Statement

The campaign sent us this statement afterward …

Dear Friends,

Steve Huber is officially a candidate for the Oxnard City Council which will have two seats open in the November election. 

“I have been actively involved in our community and I see a real need for common sense, responsible leadership on our City Council. I am more interested than ever in making Oxnard a great place to live, work, and play.” The retired Navy Captain and current Oxnard Planning Commissioner lost by a slim margin in the last election. ”In my previous leadership experience, I have brought diverse groups together to accomplish important missions. As a small business owner I know what it takes to balance the books and make payroll on time. I bring a successful mix of rational leadership and expertise in government and business. I am fired up to join the Council and help build a team to make Oxnard the best city in California.

“Oxnard is a diverse city with many distinctive neighborhoods, but we share a universal concern for the welfare and happiness of our families. I want our children to be able to walk to the parks and playgrounds without fear. I want the parents to have good paying local jobs, and I want Oxnard to be safe so we can have a vibrant city. We need to find lasting solutions to our problems, many of which are not unique to Oxnard. Throughout my Navy career, my family and I lived in many places around our nation and I have observed a lot of best practices that might benefit Oxnard. One interesting example might be for the City to repair tires for Oxnard residents and businesses that are punctured when running over potholes. This innovative repair program worked well in the District of Columbia. Citizens were more apt to report potholes and the city was motivated to get them fixed. When my tire was flattened I received a check for the puncture repair, but the real value was that the program improved the city’s streets.”

We need rational, common sense leadership and fiscal responsibility on the Oxnard City Council. It is not just cutting a budget; it is making wise decisions as part of the budget process, to cut where necessary, but to have the courage to save projects that provide real community value. We need to be more innovative on Council, and everyone should feel that they can participate. We shouldn’t be satisfied with poor results, particularly when it comes to crime and customer service. I have a reputation for doing the work, building consensus, and being accountable.”

“A lot of residents have reinforced my observation that Council has lost its functionality. Taxpayers would like to see our city well run, being both cost and time effective. City staff wants direction and support from Council to do their jobs. We have to focus on making our city government more efficient, and that is my area of expertise. My company’s motto is ’We make good organizations better.’ I have the experience and skills to make Oxnard better.”

Captain Huber notes that his objective is to bring people together, helping develop coalitions, and representing the greater community. “My campaign will focus on meeting with as many of my Oxnard neighbors as I can. I will run a real door to door campaign. My volunteers and I will be walking precincts and attending community events. Volunteers will hold ‘Meet and Greets’ in their homes to help me meet and get to know as many residents as possible in a one-on-one environment. I expect to have some spirited debate at these events. I hope to reach as many voters as possible to earn their support and trust, not only for the election, but as we work together to make Oxnard a great place to live, work, and play.

Steve Huber Bio of Awards and Community Service

Steve Huber has more than 30 years of experience in corporate leadership to include command of a Navy Destroyer and a Navy Warfare Center where he led 2,000 employees and balanced a $600 Million budget.  Retiring as a Navy Captain, he is now the president of S H Huber and Associates, Inc. a consulting company specializing in making good companies great through a unique blend of change management, lean six-sigma processes, transformation leadership, and Baldrige National Quality Award techniques. 

Under his leadership of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, his organization recorded in excess of $24 million dollars in recorded savings through Lean Six Sigma initiatives.  As the Commanding Officer, his organization received numerous awards including:

  • 2008 Awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • 2007 California Council for Excellence CAPE Gold Award (2006 Silver and 2005 Bronze)
  • 2007 SHINGO Silver Medallion
  • 2007 Department of Defense Value Engineering Award
  • 2006 California Regional Consortium for Engineering Advances in Technological Education
  • 2006 Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Award
  • 2005 USDA Deming Award for Training Excellence
  • 2005 VA Government Contracting Office/Facility Award

 

Steve’s community involvement includes:

  • Oxnard Planning Commission, 2012 – present (Chair 2013, 2016)
  • Military Officers’ Association of America Ventura County Chapter – 1st Vice President (Programs)
  • Santa Clara High School Consultative Board – Vice Chair
  • Oxnard Ambassadors – Military Affairs Committee Chair
  • Channel Islands Maritime Museum – Membership Committee and Audit Committee member
  • John’s Hospital Community Board – Quality Improvement Board member
  • Oxnard Chamber of Commerce
    • 2014 Man of the Year awardee
    • Military Appreciation Committee
  • Boots 2 Business seminar instructor 2013 – present
  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), 2008 – present
    • Workshop coordinator and presenter on How to Do Business with the Government
  • Oxnard Host Town – 2015 – Finance Committee Member – PAL Special Honoree for Commitment in raising funds to offset any City of Oxnard expenses for the athletes from four nations staying in Oxnard for the Special Olympics World Games
  • Boy Scouts of America, 1985 – present
    • Merit Badge Counselor, Assistant Scoutmaster, Committee Member, Eagle Project Advisor, District Friends of Scouting Representative
    • 2012 Fritz Huntsinger Senior Eagle Scout of the year
  • Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21) – member

Steve’s education includes a BS in Oceanography (Physics) at the U.S. Naval Academy, an MA in Strategic Planning at the U.S. Naval War College, an MA in International Studies from Old Dominion University, and he was a National Security Studies Fellow at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Military Service:

2004-2008 – Commanding Officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division – see honors and awards listed above

2003-2004 – Deputy to the Commander for Human Systems Integration (NAVSEA 03) – completed National Security Studies Fellowship at Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

2001-2003 – Deputy Program Manager for Total Ship Training Systems (PMS 430)

2000-2001 – Deputy, Warfare Systems Engineering Directorate (NAVSEA 53)

1998-2000 – Commanding Officer, USS FIFE (DD 991) – deployed in Eastern Pacific, received Coast Guard Meritorious Service Award for the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 Search and Rescue/Salvage Mission off the coast of Port Hueneme.

1998-2000 – Requirements Officer, Chief of Naval Operations Surface Warfare Directorate (CNO   N869T2- Pentagon)

1997-1998 – Flag Secretary, Commander THIRD Fleet

1995-1997 – Executive Officer, USS GARY (FFG 51) – deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Theater of Operations

1993-1994 – Student Naval War College – completed Masters of Arts Degree in Strategic Planning

1990-1993 – Fleet Warfare Officer, Commander In Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CTF 84) – completed Masters of Arts in International Studies at Old Dominion University and inducted in the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.

1988-1990 – Operations Officer, Commander Destroyer Squadron Five – Deployed to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean

1985-1988 – Weapons Officer, USS REASONER (FF 1063) – Deployed to the Western Pacific

1983-1985 – Aide to the Commandant, Naval District Washington, DC

1980 – 1983 – Navigator, Gunnery, and Undersea Warfare Officer, USS STEIN (FF 1065) – Deployed to the Western Pacific, designated a Surface Warfare Officer

1976-1980 – Student, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

1975-1976 – Seaman Apprentice, United States Naval Academy Prep School, Newport, RI

 

More

Our videographer (speech video will follow) Dan Pinedo told us that he asked Huber what his opinion was on outsourcing City services. Dan said his reply was to squeeze all the efficiency improvements one can out of a department first, then consider other options if it still isn’t good enough.We are looking forward to the upcoming debates, starting on Sept.8, to help compare and contrast the candidates and hear some specifics on what they might do in office.

The Fresh and Fabulous food served was really good.  However, the outdoor event site was cramped, narrow and exposed to the noisy street environment. So it was difficult to hear conversations, but the sound system for Huber’s speech was OK.

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Oxnard City Council candidate Steve Huber at campaign kickoff, 8-27-16. Photo: Huber campaign


George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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En1

He was was the worst CO of the 8 ships I served on…abusive, committed illegal acts against females…should be in prison.

Steve Huber

Thanks for the article George. And Thanks for covering all of the candidates for Oxnard city government.

BTW – I had 80 folks attend my kickoff vice 40 – a Great start!

Robert Franks

I believe Captain Huber will give Aaron Starr a run for the money to fill the vacant Council seat.

Steven Nash

Mr. Huber has been an exemplary Planning Commissioner and Planning Commission Chairman. Oxnard is fortunate to have individuals of his caliber volunteering to serve on citizen advisory groups and running for office.