Council candidates’ stances, issue by issue

first_img Community groups and the chamber should jointly find a permanent spot. He suggested the city pay the county a nominal fee to keep the current location at the county public works yard within the city. Other issues: Growth outside city and its impacts on roads, schools and public safety. The city should aggressively pursue annexation of Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Westridge and Fair Oaks. He also favors hiring more sheriff’s deputies in narcotics and gang units. Jo Ann Smith Curtis, retired trial attorney: Redeveloping downtown Newhall: “I think there needs to be redevelopment there but I don’t believe they should use eminent domain.” Open space: “I would have voted for it if they put some kind of cap.” Smith said she is interested in promoting another measure. To relieve traffic, developers should put in roads first and have them in place before homes are sold. “We must reduce the growth here.” Canyon Country: “They have been forgotten. They don’t qualify for redevelopment but there are many things they could have.” The community, she said, needs for sheriff’s and fire department services as well as more restaurants and higher-end shopping. Cemex: “I think we need to oppose that vigorously. The site would be terrible for roads, pollution in the air.” Supports the city’s efforts. Elected mayor: “No, I think it’s just another layer of government. The candidate that has the most money will win, generally.” Replacing Smyth: Ambivalent, but suggests appointment over election to save money. Shelter: “Absolutely. It should be put out to the citizens to get input on where they would want it.” Issues: Housing and development. “It has a domino effect on everything. The more roads you build the more people you get. I think we need to have a moratorium on building till we get the roads in place.” Would like to see more assistance for low-income seniors. Ken Dean, teacher and business owner: Eminent domain: “I hate eminent domain. If a government entity is going to want to use (it) for property it should go to the voters.” Open space: “It was a very good idea but they made big mistakes.” The “lifetime tax” should have had a 10-year cap. Traffic: “It’s very simple. Synchronize every light in the city based on the speed limit, anywhere from 35 to 45 mph.” Canyon Country: Needs more parks, a mall, police station and restaurant row. Cemex: “We need to get (U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck”) McKeon much more involved. The council can only do so much.” Elected mayor: “I don’t want to see another layer of government piled on top of what we already have.” He favors current system where council members rotate the job. Replacing Smyth: Council members should interview candidates to replace him; requires 5-0 vote. Shelter: Yes, suggests locating in the region where the temporary site stands now, in the Golden Valley Road/Centre Pointe Parkway. Issues: “Uncontrolled development and traffic congestion.” Frank Ferry, incumbent and Saugus High School assistant principal, seeking third four-year term: Eminent domain: “We had a 5-0 vote to go forward with redevelopment. We would probably use some eminent domain in commercial areas. I have not seen any plan to go into residential areas.” Open space: Good idea, but either city failed to communicate what it was about or voters simply would not support it. Traffic: “I advocate building as many roads as possible. You cannot build enough roads in the city of Santa Clarita.” Canyon Country: “We represent everyone equally. We have probably put more assets toward Canyon Country than any other community.” That was done because the community was not master-planned by a developer, he said. Cemex: “We have spent over $4 million to purchase property, to fight in court. We are committed to continue the fight.” The city seeks to keep mining at historic levels. Elected mayor: He championed the proposal, which was voted down Tuesday 3-2 by the City Council. Replacing Smyth: Hold special election to avoid perception of an appointment as “puppet of other council members.” Shelter: “Our city, our community, our valley should be responsible for a homeless shelter within our community.” He will serve on county task force exploring solutions for Santa Clarita. Issues: How growth in unincorporated areas affects the city. Cleaning up Whittaker-Bermite property and exploiting its economic potential. Long-term: prevention and intervention for youth to curb gangs, graffiti, vandalism, drugs and alcohol use. Mark Hershey, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant: Eminent domain: “I would feel bad about it, would have to get all the facts. If that’s what’s best for the community, that’s what I would do.” Open space: Great idea. “I think they hustled it through to get it passed. They either had a horrible survey or did it quickly. Needed to limit years; no one wants a tax forever.” Traffic: He supports building alternative roads, and expanding some existing ones. It is important, he said, to build roads before the developments they will serve. Canyon Country: Hershey would seek to improve the Metrolink station, resurface streets, upgrade medians and open a satellite sheriff’s station. Cemex: “I don’t think it’s good for the area. It might be time to negotiate with them before we lose leverage.” Elected mayor: Yes. It would need to be full-time job with higher pay than today. Replacing Smyth: “If I come in fourth I’d like the fourth-place person to do it. I want them to appoint me; I don’t think they’re going to agree on that.” Shelter: He opposes a year-round shelter for the homeless, supporting the current seasonal site, but wants to gather more information. “I think they should find a place and use the same place every year so people know where it is.” Issues, short-term: The city should address racial conflict and cultural diversity at high schools and attitudes toward a Latino market proposed in Valencia. Long-term: Cleaning and exploiting potential of Whittaker-Bermite site, adequate emergency preparedness. Dwight McDonald, California Highway Patrol sergeant: Eminent domain: “I am in favor of redevelopment. (But) I don’t feel anybody there now should be disadvantaged in any way.” Open space: The failed initiative was a good idea, but “there were no limitations, no guarantees. Open space and parks should be there for perpetuity, not to later develop.” Traffic: Evaluate traffic patterns, adjust signals accordingly, explore striping, evaluate alignment of roads, more speed bumps in residential areas. Canyon Country: “What’s done on the west (side) should be done on the east, north and south.” Residents of every community should have the same amenities. Cemex: City officials “should do whatever they can to prevent it from happening. It affects noise pollution, air pollution, traffic, and it will impact the condition of roads.” Elected mayor: “We should have an elected mayor with certain conditions.” All council members should have the same authority; the mayor should serve as the city’s spokesperson. Replacing Smyth: Favors appointment of short-term custodian because a special election would be costly. “Cameron Smyth should have stepped down at the (last) election cycle to allow people to select his replacement.” Shelter: He supports finding a shelter for the homeless and suggests clients perform community service and work toward self-sufficiency. Issues: Growth and annexation. “It is not if (annexation) is going to happen but when it’s going to happen. It is time for us to have our own police and fire (departments.) We can do it more effectively and at the same cost.” He favors “controlled growth” with corresponding infrastructure improvements. Marsha McLean, incumbent and current mayor pro tem, seeking second four-year term: Eminent domain: “Many business people like friendly eminent domain because … there is a difference in taxes and capital gains taxes. When it comes down to tough decisions we have to look at the circumstances and have to weigh the pros and cons to make a decision based on what is best overall for everyone concerned.” Open space: McLean supported the ballot measure, but said it should have included a sunset clause, been more specific about how money would be spent and been managed with the help of environmental groups. She also said it should have been on a standard ballot, as opposed to the mail-in vote. Traffic: The city is building a network of roads, expediting synchronization of traffic signals and increasing quality jobs to reduce commutes. Santa Clarita inherited an infrastructure deficit from the county when it formed and is playing catch-up. Canyon Country: All communities must be treated equally, she said, and noted that many projects are under way toward equity. Cemex: The city must continue fighting the project as proposed. “It will be devastating to our community to have the entire end of that section of the valley become a huge mining operation if this project would go forward at the level it is proposed.” Elected mayor: Voted against the proposal Tuesday. Replacing Smyth: Warrants discussion, probably after June primary when Smyth’s status is more clear. Shelter: “The city has been paying for many years to help with the costs of a winter shelter in Santa Clarita.” Problem with siting a shelter is NIMBY-ism. Issues: Growth, mainly in unincorporated areas. In the city, older areas should not be allowed to deteriorate. Cleanup of Whittaker-Bermite, and public ownership and restoration of Santa Clara River. Jack Murphy, businessman: Eminent domain: “As long as it is for the greater benefit of the community at-large, if it is proven, then I could support it as a last resort.” Open space: “I had no problem with the wording. If they want to pass it they have to get it passed during an election year when you have a large voter turnout.” Traffic: “One of the main issues is cross-valley traffic.” He recommends establishing more retail options in Canyon Country and the east side of town to reduce trips to Westfield Valencia Town Center. “Offer special tax remedies to encourage businesses to move to that part of town, land that could be purchased or leased at a lower rate initially.” He also seeks the extension of a hospital and industrial center on the east side. Canyon Country: Replicate retail stores located near Interstate 5 in Canyon Country. Cemex: “Nobody is for this, but the law is the law. If we had a City Council that would have sat down and negotiated … we’ve spent millions and millions and (Cemex) is going to do basically what they want.” Elected mayor: Yes. Replacing Smyth: Appoint the candidate who comes in fourth in the council race. Shelter: He supports establishing a permanent homeless shelter, locating it in Newhall on Sierra Highway near San Fernando Road. “The city of Santa Clarita should pay for the land or donate or lease land for 10 or 15 years.” Issues: In the short term, increased crime. Long-term issues: Concerned about infrastructure keeping pace with growth and crime prevention. Lynne Plambeck, a business owner and member of the board of the Newhall County Water District: Eminent domain: She opposes it, saying, “A lot of small business owners there worked a long time to own property. I don’t think taking it for another development is the fair way to go on that. But I think if the city works with the current owners to make them owners in the redevelopment project, that could be a win-win situation for both city and small business owners.” Open space: “Frankly, I’m not sure what the idea was. The initiative was written in a very unclear fashion. One of the problems was it was not clear what properties would be purchased and how much was going to go toward park maintenance. I think the concept of acquiring more open space was wonderful.” Traffic: “We need to synchronize lights and reduce construction during business hours, look at public and alternative transportation options and (allow) less building in outlying areas.” Canyon Country: “Needs a hospital facility that’s close and needs more attention to beautifying the community when plans are approved.” Cemex: “They need to continue to pursue the legal avenues while at same time sitting down with mining management to see what compromises can be made.” Elected mayor: “No, unless they also institute a clean money ordinance.” Replacing Smyth: Hold a special election. Shelter: Yes. “The current location is a good one, away from residential areas. I do think it needs to be permanent. It is expensive to put up and take down each year.” Issues: In the near- and long-term, traffic, air pollution and water supply. Henry Schultz, retired scientist: Eminent domain: “I’m from the school of `only as a last resort.’ If it needs to be done, and a serious majority of property owners want to take that step, if it would be a benefit to the community I would look at eminent domain as a step.” Open space: “An open-space measure as it should have been was a good idea, the open-space measure as it came out was a bad idea.” The measure, he said, should have had a finite term of 10 to 15 years with the possibility of renewal, and should have specified how money would be spent. “It should have been only for purchase of land for open space and parks, because that’s what’s necessary.” The city, he said, should have hired a grant writer. Traffic: “Just building roads isn’t going to do it. You have to reduce overall density of new development because each new project brings with it new houses. We’re constrained geographically. There are certain pinch points traffic has to get through; that’s one of reasons things wont get better just building new roads.” Canyon Country: Needs a revitalization plan that includes architectural guidelines. Cemex: “At this point they’re pretty much doing all they can. The city did bring up a good case saying the consent decree went against state law.” Elected mayor: No. Replacing Smyth: Special election. Shelter: Yes. “The City Council should hold open meetings with the public to get input.” Issues: “Traffic – that’s the universal response I get from everybody, over the long term and short term. Quality of life is what’s being impacted by traffic and overdevelopment.” Laurene Weste, mayor, seeking third four-year term: Eminent domain: She supports it only as a last resort to accomplish goals of redevelopment. “It would be unfair to say to 11 property owners who want to do a project to improve their lives and their property values and businesses to have one holdout and say `I don’t want to do anything.”‘ Some property owners have OK’d the city invoking friendly eminent domain, which may yield them tax benefits. Open space: “The wording may have been unclear. It certainly didn’t translate to the voters in a way they were comfortable with it.” Traffic: The Cross-Valley Connector under construction should provide an alternate route, improve safety for emergency vehicles. Canyon Country: “Money’s not coming in unless you create a vision and they know there’s a commitment to finish it because they’re investing private money.” Incentives must be created for properties to regenerate into more exciting shopping, eating and entertainment experiences. Cemex: “We don’t oppose historic levels of mining. To completely change and destroy life on the east side of the valley, which would affect all of the valley, is unconscionable.” Santa Clarita is continuing to pursue all avenues to keep operations at historic mining levels. Elected mayor: Voted against proposal Tuesday. Replacing Smyth: She suggests several alternatives including operating with the four-member council till the 2008 election, tapping someone from another elected board, picking the fourth runner-up in April election or holding a special election. Shelter: The city has an agreement with the county to share responsibility and also has a contract with Lutheran Social Services. Growth, public safety. “All of it depends on decisions we make today.” Must continue building roads, buying open space, providing adequate sheriff’s services, crime prevention. “And not allowing any part of the city to disintegrate.” (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Eleven candidates – including the incumbents – are in the April 11 race for three seats on the Santa Clarita City Council. Here are brief overviews of their stands on the issues: Michael Cruz, paralegal in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office: Eminent domain “should be reserved for roads, schools and hospitals – true public use. For the city to come in and take property from one private owner and give it to another property owner in the hopes it will generate more tax revenue is wrong.” Open space: The city’s failed bid to form an open space and park district was a good idea but should have contained a cost-of-living cap and detailed future spending. The city should take 1.5 percent from its budget to issue a bond to buy land. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event To reduce traffic congestion, he suggests restriping Sierra Highway and San Fernando Road to add lanes and to work with business groups to encourage commuters to who use park-and-ride and buses routed to the Valencia Industrial Center. Canyon Country needs to be declared an economic zone to encourage businesses to return to Soledad Canyon Road. He suggests working with the Chamber of Commerce, landlords and business owners to update facades and beautify the area. To battle a proposed Cemex mine, Santa Clarita should aggressively pursue legislation with federal legislators. On an elected mayor: If city wants to grant the mayor more power, yes. On replacing Councilman Cameron Smyth if he is elected to state Assembly: Hold a special election. If the council does appoint his replacement, it should be the candidate who came in fourth in this election. last_img