March 26th marks the day that the real Frank Ferry returned to the Santa Clarita City Council. After being provoked by an admittedly annoying TimBen Boydston, Ferry revealed that he would no longer abide the advice of friends who told him to restrain himself. He revealed a new persona, “The Tiger”, to attack Boydston, whom he has labeled “The Sheep.” In a tour de force of sloppy analogies, naked threats, and passionate—if unsound—arguments, Councilmember Frank Ferry has promised to make the remaining year that he will serve with Boydston (unless he runs again, which he only half-jokingly threatened) a very unpleasant year indeed. While The Signal and KHTS will probably focus on the Habitat for Heroes Development as tonight’s big story, support for that project was a foregone conclusion—the real news is that Frank isn’t faking it anymore.
SCVTV began the broadcast some 20 minutes late, and once they decided to start airing the meeting, the USTREAM player interrupted the meeting every 15 minutes to broadcast two commercials. One day, perhaps, SCVTV will be able to broadcast a meeting start to finish without distraction, but I’m not holding my breath. Happily, though, the feed started just in time to see TimBen Boydston deliver comments that broke the camel’s back—or roused The Tiger’s furor, to use Ferry’s spirit animal.
During individual comments from each member, TimBen Boydston gave a very long, rather self-righteous account of his quest to determine whether the “Mayor Dude” campaign of four years ago had been a legal use of taxpayer dollars. In this campaign, ads featuring photos of Frank Ferry were released in an apparent attempt to make City Hall more accessible to youth and uninvolved residents. The campaign occurred as Ferry was running for another term, and Boydston felt it amounted to improper reelection advertisements at taxpayer expense. Boydston’s hunch was right, at least partially. City Attorney Joe Montes confirmed that then-Mayor Frank Ferry should not have been allowed to have his picture placed in non-subscription publications at taxpayer expense. However, Montes said that Ferry lacked the intent required to make this a serious violation; he didn’t know it was improper. And unfortunately, Boydston had an unwelcome air of political false piety, if I can use that phrase, during his lecture. He talked about discussing the campaign during his ethics training, and about how he hoped to prevent this from happening again in an unappealingly smug way.
Councilmember Frank Ferry had had enough. He gets confused when he gets excited, and he tried to have it both ways at first. He painted himself as a victim of TimBen Boydston (“he has brought a hateful, hateful tone to the City Council”) and simultaneously as Boydston’s doom (Ferry called himself “The Tiger” that would destroy any candidates that TimBen “The Sheep” Boydston supports). Then Ferry tried to say that the Mayor Dude campaign hadn’t helped him at all (he won re-election by just over 30 votes) yet simultaneously maintained that it had been a huge, popular, rousing success for the City (Ferry pointed out its notoriety and visibility in the community).
Eventually, his passion crystalized into a mission to no longer stay quiet. He threatened to start a State Independent Expenditures Committee bearing his name that would let him challenge any candidate that Boydston supports to take Ferry’s seat in the upcoming elections. “Am I allowed to still run? I can ruin those plans a little bit, still,” Ferry mused aloud. He promised that he would be silent no longer, saying, “The tiger’s awake, I get a year of saying what’s on my mind.” Another highlight was Ferry’s bizarre, unwelcome insistence on bringing his son into the conversation. He said that Boydston’s attacks on Ferry’s character were also attacks on Ferry’s son: “I can’t think you have even minimal human decency for me and/or my son.” Ferry concluded by telling Boydston that “I don’t want it [the City] going to hell as a result of you and your minions”, and calling on an inquiry into how much taxpayer money was wasted by Boydston seeking staff time and legal opinions on things like sign ordinances and health insurance benefits.
Boydston added fuel to the fire by calmly asking City Attorney Montes if he should leave the Council while Ferry discussed his benefits package, so there was nothing improper. “If you wanna leave while I talk yeah, that’d be awesome,” said Ferry.
I have to run now, but I’ll more coverage later. The rest of the meeting saw widespread support for the Habitat for Humanity project to build a bunch of affordable homes for military veterans, support for pre-zoning movie ranches to be annexed into Santa Clarita, support for Marsha McLean to continue her work with SCAG, and the self-righteous Glo Donnely coming forward during public participation to deride Boydston for coming forward to “to bitch about something that was so stupid.”