The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a Claritan’s thoughts naturally wander towards family, thanks, and City Council meetings. These were all on the mind of Councilmember Frank Ferry. He invoked (invocated?) tonight’s gathering by describing how excited he was to have his son return from college for Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the season, he suggested that “Tomorrow through next Sunday, call ten people who made your life better.” How nice! Of course, this kinder, gentler Ferry would give way to the belligerent one we’re used to later on in the meeting. But for at least a few minutes, all was sweetness and light.
Los Angeles Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman was warmly thanked as he prepares to retire from his post. “This man has given his life to the service,” said Mayor Laurene Weste, who presented Freeman with a key to the city and a personal gift of 9/11 fire pins.
Updates from councilmembers followed. Councilmember Laurie Ender proposed looking into the creation of a local sports hall of fame (“Hometown Hall of Fame”) to recognize Santa Clarita’s sundry Olympians, all-stars, and record holders. Everyone seemed tickled with the prospect, which will be discussed at a future meeting. Councilmember Bob Kellar talked about a new church to which he had been invited. Mayor Pro-tem Marsha McLean described meetings with LA County regarding libraries. She also thanked the people in the supermarket “who stop to say ‘hi’ and who stop to say ‘thank you.’” Mayor Weste looked forward to opening the community gardens in early December, not generally regarded as the ideal time to establish vegetables.
Not everyone shared my/CC’s enthusiasm for the committee. Speakers pointed out the obvious—no one who had been a vocal critic of the takeover had been appointed to serve (though a couple of milder critics, arguably, were). Cam Noltemeyer called it an “After the fact type of committee,” and Lynne Plambeck called it a “‘Yes’ committee.” Wryly, Carole Lutness floated the question “You didn’t choose me…I wonder why?” Many also pointed out that the County has disputed Santa Clarita’s plan to collect the special library tax that the County formerly collected. This was part of how the City planned to fund the local libraries.
Ferry was unusually vocal about the topic. He said that this was all an effort to move the libraries “from good to great”, a phrase he repeated many times. While Ferry was excited about the advisory committee, he predicted that a committee of this size would suffer drop-outs after the first couple of meetings. Thus, he suggested allowing any applicant who attended the meetings to replace appointed members absent more than two or three times. This could open the door for people like Lynne Plambeck or Alan Ferdman to serve. Ferry was quickly scolded by Ken Pulskamp. “I hate to disagree with you,” whined the City Manager, as he explained that Ferry’s idea was unacceptable for various, unconvincing reasons.
Finally, David Gauny remarked on the libraries and other matters, saying, “We are completely going ass backwards on this stuff guys.” It was build a library first, figure out how to operate it, fund it, etc… second. The meeting adjourned with wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving. At the risk of sentimentality, Happy Thanksgiving!