Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happenings: Blessed Business, Damn RVs

This evening's meeting of the 12th City Council of Santa Clarita was unremarkable, but that’s never stopped me from remarking, has it[1]? As a result of tonight’s actions, legislation pertaining to redevelopment has been supported, buses will get on-board visual display monitors, and economic growth will be fostered—at least theoretically.

Councilmember McLean began the meeting by reusing one of her past invocations. “When you’re smiling, the whole world really does smile with you…happiness is contagious,” she said. McLean summarized a scientific study revealing that people with happy friends are more likely to be happy themselves. (What does it mean if hearing about happy people makes you scowl?)

Several community groups were recognized next. Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles were honored for reaching this, their hundredth year. During photos, Mayor Pro Tem Ferry stepped forward as an authority on proper Girl Scout cookie consumption: “You’re supposed to freeze the thin mint cookies.” The recently dissolved Newhall Redevelopment Committee was recognized next. Phil Ellis said that while the committee is gone, they’ll continue to meet informally. His announcement was met with applause. Councilmember Weste commented for the umpteenth time in as many weeks about the importance of the redevelopment process in California. She said that without it, places like Pasadena (“POS-uh-dee-nuh”) would have been "left behind". Weste was front and center for the final recognition as well, this time extended from the Domestic Violence Center to the councilmember. Weste has been a big supporter, and they thanked her.

The consent calendar’s items were approved. The council will support three bills that clarify the roles of redevelopment agencies and their successor agencies while allowing cities to retain affordable housing funds. Santa Clarita has nearly $9M in these funds. Another item unified areas throughout the Santa Clarita Valley at large to comprise the new SCV Enterprise Zone. It was mentioned that some 330 businesses have taken advantage of enterprise zone tax savings. Buses are set to get on-board visual displays for information and advertising. And that, in essence, was it.

As for new business, City Manager Ken Pulskamp presented an economic growth program. Measures ranged from subsidizing the annexation of movie ranches to making a master plan for a conference center to reducing filming fees to a “business incubator” program. To pay for these incentives and programs required $110,000 from the general fund and another $140,000 from other sources. The City Council, SCV Economic Development Corporation, and the Chamber of Commerce were all enthused, shocking many. The economic growth program was adopted with a modification to extend a development fee deferral program through 2014.
A Newhall woman and her husband spoke during public participation. She had a lot to say in her three minutes, all of it pertaining to the plague of RVs parked along streets in Newhall. She said that she wanted to follow the model of Simi Valley and to get RVs off the street.  The woman proposed allowing them to be parked for no more than 24 hours and creating a “volunteer neighborhood watch” to deal with the grave problem. “Newhall is turning into the low class RV capitol of California,” she warned. Her husband held a board with photos of RVs parked throughout Newhall neighborhoods. Mayor Laurie Ender asked staff to start discussions with the couple.

Also speaking was Bruce Boyer of Lone Star Security. He is currently in a case against the City regarding its prohibitions of some advertising on/with vehicles. Boyer said that not only was the City violating his right to free speech, but it was wasting taxpayer dollars in mounting a legal defense. The city attorney refused to comment on the matter as it involves pending litigation. The meeting ended shortly thereafter, at 7:22.
[1]And here's the unremarkable agenda to go with it.

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