Tonight’s recognitions went out to an Eagle Scout candidate who raised money to install a “fitness zone” in Central Park. Next to be honored were the dentists and dental staff that support the Foundation for Children’s Dental Health. Mayor Ferry remembered that, while working as an educator in Santa Clarita, there was a girl with very bad teeth whose appearance got her into frequent fights. With help from the foundation, things (i.e., her teeth and tendency to fight) got better. Ferry called forward the dentists who donate their time to serve the toothy needs of Clarita’s youth, one of whom happened to be his fiancé. We learned that the foundation has served 70,000 children since 1993, and a spokesdentist said that they are mostly children of Clarita’s working poor.
Mayor Ferry now has a policy of kissing those receiving awards and recognition from the City (at least when they're his fiancé).
During round one of public participation, two women pointed out the dangers facing drivers and pedestrians at the intersection of McBean and Decoro. They asked that the City focus its attention on this area and implement changes like a lower speed limit, right-hand-only turning lane, and longer pedestrian crossing time. Next, Sandra Cattell spoke about her plastic bag colletion in astonishing detail. She gave a brief comment about the need for reusable bags, but her real passion shone as she pulled bag after bag out of a large reusable bag, noting the event at which the bag had been received. For most of her speaking period, she credited several river rallies, some informational events, and local institutions for her impressive reusable bag collection. It seemed her point was that it’s not difficult for an active community member to collect a lot of reusable bags—in Cattell’s words, a “plethora of bags!”—that can replace disposable bags. Mayor Ferry was laughing as the exercise continued and continued, asking Cattell if she would be offended at being called a bag lady. Lynne Plambeck spoke on the same topic next, but with more tell and less show. She offered to loan a copy of Bag It, a 70-minute film on the problems with plastic bags, for the City’s use in educating the public. At least one council member (Weste) seemed keen on the idea.
City Attorney Joe Montes dampened the enthusiasm. He said there are several lawsuits regarding plastic bag ordinances in process. The suit for LA is being appealed, and there are suits in San Francisco and Marin County. He noted that a Manhattan Beach lawsuit had suggested that a city the size of Santa Clarita would need an EIR before implementing a bag ban (there may be environmental effects like increased demand for paper bags, he speculated). In any case, the council seems to be supportive of the bag-banning sentiment. Councilmember Marsha McLean said she has “no doubt” the City will implement an ordinance once legal concerns are cleared up, and Councilmember Boydston said he was “in McLean’s corner” on the issue of discussing ways to limit plastic bag use. Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar said he wanted to be sure the public’s sentiments were heard, but did not seem entirely opposed to the idea.
At 6:41, bag talk ended. Council members offered updates, with most at least mentioning the Fourth of July Parade (Boydston called it “world famous.”) McLean, per usual, had the most to say, asking residents to get informed on the ½-cent sales tax associated with Measure R coming up for review; to attend a celebration of the protection of Elsmere Canyon; and to get informed about the Orange Line’s proposed commuter rail project.
The consent calendar passed with just a few hiccups. Council decided to support the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which supports constructing a peripheral canal (or some similar new means of water-routing) that would, in theory, help with both environmental needs of the bay-delta region and secure water supplies for Santa Clarita. Cam Noltemeyer and Lynne Plambeck said that the council should have a study session before supporting this plan, which is not without controversy. City Manager Ken Pulskamp and a representative from the Castaic Lake Water Agency assured the council that they the plan was sound and important, and it ultimately received less discussion by council than the issues relating to plastic bags. In response to a question, Pulskamp said a new conveyance plan would help Santa Clarita with chloride issues, although a new canal wouldn’t likely be built until the mid-2020s, rather past the window we have to address chloride issues.
Councilmember Boydston made a point to ask why some streets were being repaired and others weren’t in the street slurry program. Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar noted that the question is answered almost every couple of years, and it was again this year. Essentially, it’s a really complicated selection process, but it’s mostly dictated by a software program that assesses road quality and repair priorities.
Finally, Cam Noltemeyer wondered why funds under the umbrella of construction were being used to beef up the Newhall Library’s opening day materials collection. It was explained that all the accounting practices were standard and sound, and adding books, CDs, and DVDs (or as written on the agenda, “CD’s” and “DVD’s”) was a fundamental part of building the new library.
Acting in his mayoral capacity, Ferry decided to offer some constructive criticism for Cam Noltemeyer while the council voted to support the consent calendar’s items. He told civic-minded high school students in attendance that “all the negativity and attack that she made on the Council was not for the purpose of creating change.” This was all because Noltemeyer usually leaves the chambers after making her comments. Ferry, who is widely praised for his spotless attendance record and for the rapt attention he affords speakers, was challenged by Boydston who noted that “Sometimes they [speakers] can’t stay,” and suggesting that Noltemeyer had started some important discussions with her comments. A discussion was bubbling between Ferry and Boydston, but Weste stepped in to end it by motioning approval of the consent calendar items (excepting the library one, where she had to abstain due to her proximity to the project).
The meeting ended at 7:35.
Here's the agenda.