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.


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