Simi Valley City Council candidate Ernie Federer frantically phoned his friends Thursday morning, looking for somebody to bail him out with a few dollars.
But he wasn’t in too much trouble, because “jail” was a conference room at the Simi Valley Radisson Hotel with plenty of coffee and pastries.
Federer and a dozen other Simi Valley residents let themselves be locked up for charity on Thursday to raise money for the mid-coast chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Assn.
Sitting around a table in the hotel, Federer, along with Fire Chief James Sewell and several local business people, helped raise about $5,000 for the organization. They volunteered after receiving a call from chapter director Liz Kelleher.
“I called them and said, ‘We have a warrant for your arrest for being criminally big-hearted,”’ she said. “I think it’s fun to be playful with the whole thing.”
Fire Capt. Ken Maffei, who heads the local firefighters’ association, raised more than $600 in less than half an hour by calling fire stations. He said he was getting extra donations to help out Sewell, who is new to the area and was worried about raising enough money.
Lori Tashima, a customer service representative for the Bank of A. Levy, was also raising money at a quick pace, but was short of the $500 mark as her hour was coming up.
“I think people are avoiding my call,” she said.
One of Tashima’s friends pledged $500 to keep her in jail for a little longer, Kelleher said. Tashima said she enjoyed the event, even taking home a mock mug-shot of herself complete with booking number under her chin.
“This is a great way to help out,” she said, holding a phone and filling out another pledge card.