Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happenings: Library Committee of 37

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.
With the exception of one item, the Consent Calendar passed with the recommended actions and without discussion. Many of the items related to Old Town Newhall. Duane Harte, Leon Worden, and Carol Rock will be part of the Newhall Redevelopment Committee for four more years; more property in Newhall will be acquired by the City; and outdoor dining is officially allowed in parts of Old Town. Every councilmember but Bob Kellar also gave the go-ahead on very specific types of outdoor merchandise displays, an ordinance made for the all but exclusive benefit of Caston’s.
Under the heading of Unfinished Business, the City Council appointed a Citizens Public Library Advisory Committee. Darren Hernandez, the inept Deputy City Manager stumbling clumsily through the library takeover process, attempted a presentation. Out of 72 applicants, many of whom were prodded into applying by the City, 37 were selected to serve. City Manager Ken Pulskamp apparently doesn’t expect them to get much done, saying “I can’t imagine 37 people will agree on anything!”
Hernandez highlighted the “diversity” of the committee nominees. They number among their ranks five former library professionals, a retired doctor, a daycare director, three persons involved in homeschooling, a couple of self-described PTA moms, two attorneys, a high school student, and a landscape architect. Whoop-de-frickin-do. Among the group of three dozen people, not everyone has the same job! Many members have used or even worked in a library! Some of these people have kids who like books and need educating! Some, like Berta Gonzalez-Harper and Phil Ellis have already given their enthusiastic support to the takeover! In their six to nine meetings over the coming months, I’m sure that this group of Santa Clarita’s best and brightest will get a heck of a lot done—and they’ll probably have a heck of a good time doing it! My exclamation point key has stopped working because of overuse, so it’s time to move on.

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.
The City Council responded. “Having 72 [applications] to go through was a treat!” said Ender, explaining that applicants were chosen for having “a strong desire to see our libraries be successful.” She explained that the committee excluded outspoken critics because they were looking more for an attitude of “let’s make them [libraries] awesome!” than for a debate. Marsha McLean contested the idea of the yes-committee, saying “We put people on that we thought would give a good opposing view.”

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.
In the end, the 37 nominees were accepted and the library ad hoc committee (Ender and McLean) will take care of substitutes and replacements if need be.
Another citizen-stocked committee was discussed next as recommendations about sites for the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) were presented to the City Council. Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc. will have to purchase one of the sites selected by the committee: the Hondo oil refinery site, Gates King Industrial Park, or a site in the Saugus Industrial Center. The Hondo site seems to be the most preferred, receiving the highest score. The almost-as-highly scored/ranked Gates King site gave several residents pause. A member who had served on the MRF site selection committee said he wasn’t aware that 600 trees might have to be felled to accommodate the facility. With legal and environmental issues for that site, it seemed unofficially off the table. The City Council approved the recommended action of directing Burrtec to purchase one of the top three sites.
Finally, the City Council approved a new lease agreement for the County of Los Angeles for the Jo Anne Darcy Library. $622,000 in City funds will be given to the County for completion of the library renovation. The renovation had been halted shortly after the vote to withdraw from the County of Los Angeles Library System—officials said that county funds oughtn’t be used to fix a library they were being kicked out of. Ferry threw a little tantrum about all the horrible things that the County of Los Angeles has done to Santa Clarita, stealing its library money to use elsewhere, etc… His mood was provoked when Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin suggested that LA took taxes from non-incorporated residents who used SCV libraries, but they didn’t return an equal amount of library services at SCV libraries. He bellowed and bounced in his seat and said that it was inexcusable for anyone to think that they were better off with county-run libraries. The City paid to build the libraries, he said, and the County just took money.
Laurie Ender expressed the same sentiment somewhat more calmly: “It’s time to move forward!” In an example of what Tim Myers has brilliantly christened “Ender Math,” Laurie said that 95% of people who use libraries don’t care who runs them. They haven’t come to give an opinion about the library takeover and probably don’t even know it’s happening, so they’re cool with whatever. She said there is a little boy named Derek who just wants his Canyon Country library to be open again so he can check out some books. Can’t we help Derek out?
During Public Participation, the same elderly man from last week (the one who lives at the mobile home park) spoke before the City Council. He had a meeting with the rent control panel and staff helped him through the process, but he still insisted that the City doesn’t care about poor people. Next, Richard Green complained about the high price of participating in the City’s adult softball league. Bob Kellar asked that discussion of these softball fees be agendized, citing the necessity that middle-aged men be allowed to play softball in a league setting for a price below what it costs to maintain the fields and run the lights. Mayor Weste agreed, saying “these are proud men” who would suffer in silence if the City Council didn’t step in. I hope they act soon, or people may just have to play softball informally and for free—perish the thought!

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!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happenings: OVOV's Traffic Fairy Tale & The "Unredeemable"

Imagine a Santa Clarita where the population has doubled, but traffic congestion is about the same as it is today. You don't have to imagine! That's the Santa Clarita that One Valley One Vision will deliver, an SCV where a little street widening, some more bridges, and a new-found tendency to limit car trips and shop close to home means the roadways keep moving smoothly. This promise was part of the Planning Commission's OVOV discussion that occurred from late November 16th into the wee hours of November 17th. Before this most important matter could be discussed, some lesser matters were considered[1]. Briefly:


Bubbles is a bar and restaurant that will be opening in the Vista Valencia Shopping Center. Despite its effervescent name, the establishment will serve a full menu in addition to beer and wine. Associate Planner Patrick LeClair offered far more details about these plans than anyone would consider decent, including a map on which someone had used green dots to indicate every residence from which planners had received one of the 140+ letters regarding Bubbles. Really, there's a person at City Hall who does that--gets comments, locates the address of origin, plots it on a map, and makes that map available for the Planning Commission. They glanced at this map for about three seconds. Anyhow, many local residents were against giving the applicant a permit to serve alcohol because (1)The live entertainment that would accompany the serving of alcohol would be noisy and bother neighbors, (2)There are enough places serving booze in the area already, and (3)Nearby schools mean the under-aged could be run over by drunk drivers. One man said, only half-jokingly, that this would be a step towards having strip clubs and medical marijuana dispensaries in the shopping center.

Despite these protestations, the Planning Commission gave the applicant the OK to serve beer and wine at the restaurant named in honor of the carbon dioxide found in these beverages.


Pity the Verizon guy who stood before the Planning Commission (he actually looked like the Verizon guy (when did those commercials stop?) aged by perhaps two decades). On behalf of his company, he was trying to get a conditional use permit for a wireless telecommunications facility--a cell tower with associated infrastructure. Unfortunately, this tower would go up in association with the ominous black Southern California Edison towers that mar the views of Belcaro residents. Though the tower would be somewhat obscured by the other, bigger towers, it was clear that Belcaro's retired population had had quite enough. Try as he might, the Verizon guy couldn't keep people from conflating his proposed project with the vastly unpopular SoCal Edison project. Commissioner Dee Dee Jacobson said that her heart went out to Belcaro residents: "You are a retirement community that's been hoodwinked by Edison." No one on the Planning Commission could stomach giving the community another eyesore, so staff was directed to continue working with Verizon and Belcaro's residents to look for a better place to locate the tower or a better way to obscure it.


The Seventh Day Adventist Church on Valley Street would like to host a school on their premises. A school operated in the past (1960-1983) as did a temporary religious school until very recently. They proposed accommodating just over 200 students in grades K-8 and pre-school. The pastor, who was pretty snappy for a man of God, said that neighbors were mostly concerned about the noise that would come from having a school in what is essentially their backyard. He said that people who objected to hearing the sounds of children were "unredeemable." (A sign reading, "For thou shalt love the sounds of children, else thou is for the Pit," is rumored to hang in his office.)

Many members of the church voiced their support for the school during the comment period. A smaller number of neighbors came forward to explain their problems with a school. Many were retired or worked from home, and they said that they didn't want to have their peace disturbed. For while the sounds and laughter of children sounds lovely in the abstract, in practice, it means hearing little boys tell fart jokes and little girls gossip about how fat Madison looks and children shrieking and giggling and yelling as children are wont to do. Apart from noise, neighbors objected to having cars dented and windows broken by wayward soccer balls.

Commissioners Ostrom and Jacobson saw this as a "good neighbor problem." Chair Tim Burkhart was disappointed at the "animosity" that existed between the church and its neighbors, an animosity that went both ways. Since noise was the main issue and there was no real solution, the Planning Commission ultimately decided to approve the school on the condition that it submit a yearly plan. This plan will cover things like the timing of recess, lunch, and other regular outdoor activities. It will be discussed with planners and neighbors to see if everyone can agree on whether staggering outdoor time or having it all at once will lead to the least amount of disturbance for the neighborhood.

A ten-minute break followed.

OVOV Continued

At 10:49, Senior Planner Jason Smisko opened the second official discussion of the draft One Valley One Vision general plan. He began by responding to questions raised in October. Smisko had what might be described as a selective memory, addressing three softball questions (e.g., Was there a typo about library square-footage? and How often are general plans made/revised?) in place of the major questions brought up at the prior meeting. Among these bigger, more important questions were: What use are general plans when so many exemptions and exceptions are granted, and can these be capped?; What happens when the SCV runs out of water or landfill space, both of which may occur before build-out?; and Can we be certain that the County of Los Angeles will honor its agreement to maintain open space and low-density developments in exchange for Santa Clarita accepting most of the high-density development? Responses to these topics were vague at best, such as pointing out that technological advances may re-shape the waste disposal question in the future.

Next, Smisko explained the "Significant and Unavoidable Impacts" associated with OVOV. He made the ridiculous point that there would be significant unavoidable impacts regardless of whether the valley saw complete OVOV buildout or whether all development stopped today--as if all significant impacts are of the same sort and magnitude (they're not). Again, these significant unavoidable impacts include loss of agricultural land, noise problems, loss of wildlife habitat, running out of landfill space, contributing to global warming, and air quality issues.

The draft land use element was discussed next. Smisko said that overarching goals included creating a "valley of villages", concentrating denser developments in existing urban areas, and preserving open space around the periphery of the valley. He pointed out that 50% of the planning area was designated as open space. However, the rest of the planning area would see a potential build-out of 155,000 residential units with perhaps 462,000 individuals, about double the 80,500 residential units that exist today.

Senior Traffic Engineer Ian Pari discussed the circulation element of OVOV. He said that it was about more than just cars and had involved looking at how best to develop a multi-modal transportation system. The plan emphasized walkability, a network of bikeways, increased transit availability and use, and reducing the vehicle miles of travel per person. He then described a sophisticated model that projected vehicle traffic under the OVOV scenario. It allowed for a before-and-after comparison of "Level of Service" at major intersections and roadways, which can range from A (free flow of traffic) to F (total gridlock). The model showed that even though there may be twice as many people at full OVOV build-out, they will be driving fewer miles per day, staying closer to home, and using alternative transportation. Thus, the level of service at major intersections and roads stays about the same. Five arterial roads are projected to have an "F" grade because of gridlock at peak hours, but that's the same number of arterial roads that have a Level of Service grade of "F" today.

[Comments: This was, of course, a fairy tale. Roads are going to be widened and there will be five new bridges over the Santa Clara River, but to keep the present level of traffic with twice as many people mostly relies on a change in how often and how far Claritans drive. Expecting this change seems absurd. People drive across town because they prefer Trader Joe's to Whole Foods or because they like the Target in Canyon Country better than the one in Valencia. We all know (or are) people who go miles out of their way to save five-cents on gas or because the coffee is slightly better at a different cafe. The model can assume people will visit the closest shopping centers and behave rationally, but it's just a model built of frail human assumptions. To quote the statistician George Box, "All models are wrong, but some are useful," and this model's main utility is allowing the City to promise traffic won't get worse with twice as many people using the roads.]

With the conclusion of the staff presentation on the land use and circulation elements, it was time for the public to comment.

Former commissioner Diane Trautman said that she had submitted eight pages of comments for the Planning Commission to review. Her main concern was that the circulation element was "a house of cards" that would come crashing down if any of the proposed bridges or road widenings weren't built. Since some of these will be very difficult and expensive, she hoped a more realistic assessment of future traffic scenarios might be made. Lynne Plambeck questioned whether having public comments at midnight on a work night was an effective means of community outreach. (She’s so deadpan that one can miss the hilarity of her rhetorical understatement.) Plambeck brought up the same concerns she had last time about adhering to the general plan instead of granting so many exemptions, whether the County will honor low-density development, etc. Her questions again went unanswered.

Cam Noltemeyer echoed Plambeck more forcefully, saying that putting discussion of OVOV after three other lengthy planning items revealed "arrogance and contempt" for the general public.

Most of the commissioners had relatively limited comments about the elements. Commissioner Ostrom was the exception. His main concern was that property-owners ought to be notified if major changes are coming to their property or the areas surrounding their property. He then lamented the tendency to react rather than plan and voiced concerns about the County of Los Angeles using metaphors based on large animals--"the elephant in the closet" or rather "the dinosaur in the closet [...] feeding on us." "Is the reluctant dragon going to be cooperative?" he asked, thoughtfully.

In response to the fact that the public had to wait until midnight to discuss OVOV, the commission agreed to allow more comments about land use and circulation on December 7th. Commissioner Jacobson made a motion for a 60-day extension during which the public could spend more time reading and assessing the draft OVOV and EIR--it carried.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Signal Knows Best

Permission to Speak

When it comes to speaking out against the takeover of Santa Clarita’s libraries, The Signal’s editorial board members are ambivalent[1]. They actively encourage critics to participate in the Santa Clarita Citizens Public Library Advisory Committee (SCCPLAC, pronounced “scuh-PLAK!”). But outside of that committee, they’d prefer everyone just shut up.

That’s because your opposition is unfounded, the result of being manipulated by “misinformation and scare tactics". The board writes, “Criticism grew from a calculated effort by labor union leaders […] inciting library patrons with dishonest doomsday messages. Patrons were understandably frightened.” Eek!

You didn't back the County of Los Angeles Library System because it has ably served Santa Clarita for decades. No, you were scared into your position by thuggish librarians intent on spreading literacy with a side of lies. Meanwhile, it was Mayor Pro-tem Marsha McLean who offered a refreshing message of hope: "Cracks are forming!"[2]. You heard about severe restrictions on inter-library loans, the potential for new fees, and the loss of one-of-a-kind resources, but this was propaganda spread by questionable sources, like the County Librarian. You just lacked the basic reasoning skills necessary to critically evaluate these misleading messages. Thank goodness Leon and the gang at Creekside are on the case.

This widespread ignorance also explains why the dozens of comments given at the City Council meeting on the library takeover didn’t matter. According to The Signal editorial board, “They [the City Council] didn’t need three hours of testimony. Were their minds made up before the meeting? Yes…” You may think you know what you want, but it's best to let the City Council and The Signal (their opinions typically indistinguishable) decide what's best for you.

Curiously, while the editorial board knows what’s on your mind right now (fear, confusion, misinformation) and what was on the minds of councilmembers, they don't know how you want to customize Santa Clarita's new library experience. Perhaps that’s why The Signal deems it acceptable for people to participate in the Santa Clarita Citizens Public Library Advisory Committee.

On the Vital Importance of the SCCPLAC

The editorial explains, “The committee is tasked with assessing the specific needs of the community and transforming those needs into a strategic plan.” We are a singular community, after all, and there must be a lot of guidance to ensure that our diverse, unique needs are met. Where else in America does there exist a city populated by seniors, working professionals, college students, and families with young children? How can we meet the community’s unusual demands for both the classics and popular, contemporary materials? Is there any place else quite like Santa Clarita, where the people want their libraries modern, convenient, and comfortable?

Clearly, the SCCPLAC will need to put in long hours to make certain that Claritans’ exacting requirements are met. With headquarters located in exotic, far-off Los Angeles and mere dozens of staff members living in Santa Clarita, the county system was hopelessly out of touch with what was happening in the SCV.

The timing for convening the SCCPLAC couldn’t be better, either. Had it been formed in, say, July, when there was some debate on whether Santa Clarita should let the County of Los Angeles or LSSI run its libraries, there would have been problems. The committee probably would have wanted to debate the issue for more than one evening and might have considered the opinions of the thousands of Claritans who expressed opposition to the takeover (opinions based in confusion and fear, of course). How much better it is to form the committee once the big decision has been made. Now they can focus on important matters, like whether to dedicate a nook to rotating displays about our rich local history and how to best recruit the volunteer labor on which LSSI relies to maintain its profit margin.

While the guidance of the SCCPLAC will prove invaluable, its most important task will be to provide a veneer of legitimacy for the library takeover. No longer will it be a takeover that four elected officials rammed through against overwhelming public opposition and with inexplicable haste. It will be a transition under the advisement of the dedicated and creative members of the Santa Clarita Citizens Public Library Advisory Committee, a transition to a library system specially designed for the unique and wonderful people of Santa Clarita. Yippee.

[1]Here is the editorial, heavy on clich├ęs, long dashes (14 of ‘em!), and condescension.
[2]Thanks to The Signal commenter "August" for this hilarious insight.

Just Wondering: A Correction to the CC Meeting Summary

When summarizing the most recent City Council meeting, I described how some pint-sized baseball players were recognized, applauded, and photographed. After this to-do, Councilmember Frank Ferry loudly proclaimed that parents should grab their kids and head home because the remainder of the meeting would be boring. Discouraging involvement in local politics is one of Ferry's most cherished causes.

I heard Mayor Pro-tem Marsha McLean mutter something into Frank's ear afterwards (it was picked up by the microphone), and I mistakenly assumed she was chastising him. This is what was actually said (recording from the 12:14 mark in the meeting playing behind a photo of Marsha speaking in Frank's ear[1]):

McLean: “I wanna second that, that motion that you’re gonna make because…”
Ferry: “I-on’t-even-try-understand it, but I’ll…” [my best guess: "I don’t even try to understand it, but I'll..."]
McLean: “Well, I understand it!”[2]

It's not that big of a deal. It just appears that McLean knows how Ferry will vote before an item has been opened, discussed, and commented upon by the public and that Ferry doesn't understand the motion he is going to make, nor does he really care. It's old news. I just wanted to correct my earlier statement and to ask if anyone understands what Ferry says, his words being a bit under-enunciated.

[1]Here is the clip at SCVTV
[2]"It" apparently refers to the motion Ferry made regarding annexation in the Tesoro area; watch at the 37:25 mark for more. Luckily, he had some notes to refer to when making his motion.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happenings: Vets, Aerospace, and Trash

Tonight’s City Council meeting scarcely warrants summation—not a whole lot happened[1]. More correctly, millions of dollars were transferred, businesses were included or excluded from working in the City, and the annexation process hobbles onward. It just seems like nothing happened because rather little was said about any of it.

Mayor Weste delivered the invocation, paying tribute to the sacrifice of veterans. She invited everyone to take part in the ceremony to be held at the Veterans Historical Plaza at 11am this Thursday (Veterans Day). Later in the meeting, she would suggest that City staff investigate the feasibility of installing an electronic kiosk that can direct visitors to the location of particular bricks at the Veterans Historical Plaza. Weste said that some families purchased bricks as a memorial but were unable to locate them when they strolled the plaza. This plan will be researched and then discussed by the Parks Commission and City Council.

The Hart Mustang Red Team won the Mustang Pony World Series held in Texas a couple of months ago, and the team’s tiny baseball players (and regular-sized coaches) were recognized by the City Council. After the requisite photo, Ferry bellowed that parents should leave now “’Cause it gets boring from here on out. Ask the reporters!” (As if it hadn’t been boring from here on in.) It sounded like Mayor Pro-tem McLean, increasingly chummy with Councilmember Ferry, was asking him if he had to go about saying it that way, a few words of their private conversation getting picked up by a microphone[2]. But Ferry has never been one to shy away from saying that only he and his friends are allowed to be involved in local politics.

Next, recognition was given to the heroic faculty and staff of Hart High School who responded when a 16-year-old girl was repeatedly stabbed with an 8-inch kitchen knife during a fight. The honorees included teacher James Harlow, the man who physically held-off the attacker. Mayor Weste beamed as she recounted how tragedy was averted by some quick, decisive actions, and noted “We’re still that small-town American community.” And as such a community, we pay tribute to those who break up the small-town knife fights at our small-town high schools. The victim of the stabbing, incidentally, is recovering and getting better.

During councilmember comments, Ferry commended Henry Mayo for what must be the sixth or seventh week in a row. Reading from a written statement, he applauded the hospital for doing something well or innovating or at least not screwing up—I didn’t bother listening too closely. Marsha McLean thanked everyone for a delicious blueberry pancake breakfast after the 2.6-mile “Mayor’s Walk” on the day of the Santa Clarita Marathon. She was appreciative of Paul Brotzman, “who was in charge of the sausage.” McLean also mentioned that the first segment of California’s high speed rail will be installed in the sparsely peopled San Joaquin Valley, not from LA to Anaheim, as hoped. For her turn, Councilmember Ender asked students in Mr. Hayes’s government class to stand up—they were sitting through the meeting for extra credit—and applauded them. If they continue to attend meetings after finishing school, they should be prepared for a somewhat cooler reception. “I’m totally lecturing you…I should have been a high school teacher” said Ender as she explained how local shopping was important for generating tax revenue for the City. She encouraged people to shop locally and to give charitably locally as well. Finally, Mayor Weste delivered a few updates and it was on to other business.

The Consent Calendar passed with the recommended actions for all items and without comment from either the public or the City Council. This meant that Santa Clarita accepted a $100,000 grant for sobriety checkpoints; building codes were updated to meet California’s new requirements; a small parcel in Placerita Canyon was accepted; and the City paid for an automatic passenger counter system for transit.

Next, over $20M in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds were awarded to Aerospace Dynamics International. The tax-free bonds will allow ADI to expand and create 200 new jobs. This matter was first discussed in June.

The annexation of the West Creek, Tesoro del Valle, and Copperstone area is moving slowly. Ferry motioned that the City re-initiate the halted annexation process for developed areas that want to be annexed. (More correctly, meetings are supposed to be taking place which seems like progress, but annexation is effectively halted for at least the short-term). His fellow councilmembers agreed.

The last bit of business was extending the term of “bin and roll-off box services” franchises currently doing business in Santa Clarita. It’s a five-year extension for the trash guys. Salazar Disposal commented that small businesses were excluded from obtaining a franchise as some of them couldn’t meet the requirements in the past and the franchise extension kept them from doing business in Santa Clarita for another five years. McLean asked Travis Lange if Salazar Disposal could apply for membership, which he seemed to suggest was possible only if they issued a new call. City Attorney Carl Newton stepped in and confused the situation, and it then seemed like Salazar Disposal could apply whenever it wanted. The City Council voted to approve the recommended action (extending the term of the six current franchises), whatever that
means for Salazar Disposal.

During Public Participation, an elderly man named Marshall Pastor came forward to complain about mobile home rent. It amounts to $8,000 per year which, when combined with his other expenses, means he’s “practically going broke.” “I find that most politicians go deaf” he said, telling the City Council “Don’t fail me.” Despite his abrasive and demanding tone, the City Council was sympathetic and he was directed to receive help from the Mobile Home Rent Control Panel. Also, look out for “The Scene” magazine to come out. It will serve as yet another venue for publicizing the same handful of events that every other Santa Clarita website, magazine, and blog are already publicizing.

The meeting ended at 7:19.

[1]Here’s the agenda.
[2]I will verify this and correct it once the video is posted—I don’t want to just project what I hope was said on the few stray words.