Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happenings: A City Council Meeting of Safety, Singing, and Scandal

Per usual, tonight’s City Council meeting began with a variety show. There was a spoken word performance by Mayor Bob Kellar, award-giving/photographing-of-award-giving, and even a pack of high school singers. They gave a performance that was exceptional in its use of sparkly blue costumes, high-volume soloists, and unorthodox hand gestures.

Next, we were subjected to another installation of the Public Safety Topics of the Month series. This month, Claritans are invited to meditate and act on the heady topic of “Emergency Preparedness.” To help us in this endeavor, there was a presentation chock-full of practical tips. For instance, we learned that we should have water, a flashlight, and food around in case of an emergency—golly gee is that swell advice! It didn’t stop there. We learned that “Smoke detectors is what’s going to alert us if there’s fires” and that they should be installed in homes and properly maintained.

Eventually, though, it became time for Public Participation, formerly my favorite part of council meetings but now the cause of much dread. Indeed, the anti-Burrtec Materials Recycling Facility gang turned out in force for the third time. Gang leader Alan Ferdman wasn’t pleased. He was stood up at meetings, the plan for the MRF was only put on hold—not ended outright, and the City Council wasn’t acting swiftly or decisively enough for his tastes. About two dozen other residents near the planned recycling facility site echoed his sentiments. All want to see Burrtec stopped cold. At least two of the speakers even went to the trouble of visiting the MRF in Sun Valley where, apparently, there were papers flying around the facility and plenty of other undesirable characteristics.

Many believe that the public is entitled to be heard—I’m finding the anti-MRFers are making me reconsider this entitlement. Burrtec is already backing down, the City Manager and City Attorney have both explained that the Council must at least look over the EIR if it's submitted, and there was, once again, no item on the agenda pertaining to this topic, so the Council couldn’t act on it. I understand that the MRF is a big deal, but perhaps commenters could wait for actual developments in the Burrtec plan before rushing to express outrage.

The remainder of Public Participation focused on misdeeds of councilmembers regarding the upcoming election. Attention has shifted from Kellar to Ferry. Cam Noltemeyer, David Gauny, and Bruce McFarland were among those upset with Mayor Pro Tem Ferry for paying for flyers in support of Laurie Ender. Predictably, Bruce McFarland was bashful when he addressed Ferry, beginning: “Let’s play ‘Who broke the law?’” and encouraging the audience to determine who on the council was a “lying, cheating, un-American crook.” Ferry elected not to respond, and McFarland was likely left wondering whether his words were ever-so-slightly over the top (answer: they were).

The City Council then worked through the rest of the agenda with nary a hiccup. (Actually, Councilmember TimBen Boydston tried valiantly to get a couple of motions relating to parking carried but was shut down.) Even the skating park issue seems under control as City Staff attempts to find a suitable location for a temporary park while the present skate park is demolished and a new skate park is constructed.

There shall be no City Council meeting April 8th due to the Santa Clarita Municipal Election. Thus, until April 22nd, we’ll just have to get by on all the wonderful memories of City Councils past.


mike said...

I watched this meeting- first one in a while. I expected spectacular fireworks. I was put to sleep by the MRF inspired beating of that poor dead horse.

A Santa Claritan said...

I agree, Mike. Apparently, none of them got my "Stay at home--we heard from you already and would rather not go through that again" memo.

Linda Slocum said...

It would be great if the anti-MRF crowd would put the same amount of effort into teaching their neighbors how to recycle. Not that this would completely eliminate the need for an MRF of sorts, but at least Burrtec wouldn't be required to dig through ALL the trash as in the proposed "dirty" MRF. There is a requirement to reduce the impact on landfills, and voluntary recycling seems to be the easiest way to do this.