Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happenings: Nothing, nothing at all

With the State of the Union, the Christopher Dorner shoot-out, Mardi Gras-ing and all the rest, it was probably just as well that tonight’s city council meeting was short and dull[1].  The homeless shelter will be allowed to stay at its present location for three more years, and the city council allocated funds to maintain basic city infrastructure and services.  That’s all that happened, and now that you know, we can move on to the important stuff, like why Ferry was gone again and the McLean-Ferdman alliance and TimBen’s favorite KFI talk show hosts, “Ken and Bob.”

Mayor Kellar broke the news about Councilmember Frank Ferry gently: he was “unable to be with us” for the evening.  Ferry, who has not sat through an entire City Council meeting since November 2012, blew off the whole thing tonight.  Perhaps it’s unfair of me to phrase it like that, but I assume if it had been an emergency, Kellar would have justified the absence.  Ferry was supposed to deliver the invocation, so Kellar had to pinch-hit.  He read something that a Castaic man wrote about being a man, but encouraged women to take the advice to heart as well.

Leading the pledge was a WWII veteran and purple heart recipient.  He and other were honored thereafter, and Santa Clarita has apparently become an official Purple Heart City.  Next, the Boys and Girls Club presented the City with a plaque for its financial support.  Some 300-400 kids visit every day, and the City funds have allowed it to remain open Fridays. 

Public participation consisted of two speakers and signaled what may well be the end of the Sand Canyon Mobile Home Park saga.  Recall that City Attorney Joe Montes was charged with preparing a report about the recent increases in rents, which residents called unfair and illegal.  The community’s Ray Henry asked to have a meeting with the city manager to go over the study.  John Lang, who sits on the local manufactured housing panel, spoke to the fact that the panel allows increases only in accordance with our rent control ordinance.  He said that the City could review that ordinance, but as it stands, the rent increases had been perfectly legal.  City Manager Ken Striplin directed staff to work out a meeting to go over all of these issues with Ray Henry. 

During individual comments, Councilmember Marsha McLean wondered about the potential for a public-private partnership to build more freeway lanes on the 5.  Use of these lanes would require a transponder and cost drivers.  While McLean was trying her best to make it a facts-only speech, her derisive use of the word “toll lanes” and her encouragement of people to give their opinions about these roads revealed her true feelings.  Councilmember TimBen Boydston applauded Mayor Kellar’s town hall event for Newhall earlier this month, and he encouraged people to continue paying attention to a potential tax increase that John and Ken (“Ken and Bob”) of KFI dubbed the “rain tax”.  It would have property owners pay a new storm-drain feee when they’re already paying to treat storm-drain runoff.  Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste talked about a new website that makes it easier for people to find the bricks that honor veterans at the Veterans Memorial Plaza[2].

The recommended actions on the consent calendar—mostly just money to upkeep utility trucks, concrete, and bus security cameras—passed without comment from anyone.

The last item of the evening was considering a proposal to let Santa Clarita’s Bridge to Home Homeless Shelter stay at its Drayton Street location for another three years.  It was originally intended to move to a new location every three years.  With no one opposed to the plan and several prominent Claritans in favor, it easily passed.  As a condition, Bridge to Home must meet a different milestone each year that should conclude in it finding a permanent location in Santa Clarita in year three at Drayton.  Additionally, Boydston and McLean added provisions to have the group increase its insurance coverage to $2M and to come before the City before taking action based on achieving its milestones towards a permanent location.

The meeting ended a little after 7, but not before Al Ferdman made a comment about wanting to support McLean's efforts to inform the public (and oppose) plans for toll lanes.  It was an unusually complimentary, chatty sort of comment between Ferdman and McLean.  Is Ferdman aligning with McLean when both run for City Council?  I may be reading far too much into a three-minute comment but, then again, I may not.

[1]Here's the agenda
[2]Go to