Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happenings: No Love for County Sheriff Station Plans

Tonight, the City of Santa Clarita felt some combination of ignored, wronged, and cheated by the County of Los Angeles. The supes moved forward with a plan to have Santa Clarita's Sheriff's station located outside of the City of Santa Clarita, near the site of the new courthouse planned in Castaic. This was the main topic of conversation at a meeting that, despite falling on Valentine's Day, was a lot like any other. Notable exceptions: City Attorney Joe Montes wore a tie with hearts, Mayor Laurie Ender donned a pink jacket, and Mayor Pro Tem Frank Ferry dispensed love advice to the men of Santa Clarita.

During his invocation, Ferry thanked the spouses and significant others of council members for putting up with the demands of the job. He then advised all the men of Santa Clarita to read a book called The Five Love Languages. Apparently, it helps people identify how to best make their partner feel loved. “It’s almost like Cosmo where it’s the secret of all women,” he enthused. “I should have read it years ago,” joked Councilmember Bob Kellar.

I felt a profound sense of betrayal when Mayor Ender announced that students from Santa Clarita Elementary would be making a presentation; the agenda had promised a presentation-free evening. My despair deepened as children marched forward to hold up a hand-made card and thank various persons from the City for explaining issues related to stormwater runoff. The students described how they worked on a rainwater garden to remove pollutants before the water entered the Santa Clara River. Predictably, Ender found the little ones adorable and said, “Not only are you the cutest kids, I think you are the smartest kids.” After the cutest (and smartest?) of photos, the children dispersed to their various corners of the valley.

Comments from the council members came next. Mayor Pro Tem Ferry said that City Hall was caught off guard by news that the LA County Board of Supervisors is planning to have the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station located in Castaic rather than within city limits. He said that being out of the loop on plans for the sale of the existing station property, relocation, and so on was “very disheartening…when we are their [LACO Sheriff’s] largest city contract.” Ferry called for immediate discussions and wants the station inside the City of Santa Clarita’s boundaries, saying that $20M a year on law enforcement services ought to count for something. “We were taken aback that we weren’t consulted,” addedd City Manager Ken Pulskamp. He said he only found out about the plan when The Signal called to ask him for a reaction. Pulskamp held up a map of the new site, showing that it’s not at all centrally located, and responses to Canyon Country--Santa Clarita’s most heavily populated area--might not be very timely.

City Manager Ken Pulskamp's left hand points to the proposed location of the Sheriff's Station. He questioned how well such a distant location would serve Canyon Country in particular.

There were a few other comments once the station relocation had been discussed. Councilmember Laurene Weste was pleased that 500 solar permits were given in the past year, up from 257 the year before. Finally, Mayor Ender said that there has been far too much reckless driving of late. To combat the problem, there will increased law enforcement presence in problem areas as well as outreach focused on “males between 17 and 25”, as this demographic is the most at risk.

The Consent Calendar was approved without comment, simply accepting a community safety grant and allocating funds for a transportation plan update.

The meeting ended, as always, with public participation. Alan Ferdman invited Claritans to the CCAC’s meet and greet with candidates for City Council R.J. Kelly announced hopes for a Veteran’s Day Parade this November. He said he has discussed it with numerous groups already and would like to follow the Fourth of July route, but in reverse. More discussion will follow, but the Council seemed generally supportive. Bob Kellar revealed that Kelly received four purple hearts.

Two speakers mentioned chloride treatment issues, wondering why no council members had made an appearance at recent sanitation district meetings. Concerns over a hugely expensive salt treatment plant appear to be growing. Councilmember Weste responded with a mini-dissertation on the history of salt, water treatment, legislation, and water-related agencies in Santa Clarita. She had to half-jokingly tell Ferry to not fall asleep. Weste seemed authoritative on the topic, conversant in the relevant statistics and political structures, so it’s clearly not a neglected topic--just one that the CC can't do a lot to change.

The meeting ended at 7:10. Happy VDay.


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