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Who’s Running for City Council? The 2020 Vision Begins

| City Council | April 11, 2019

Twenty Democrats have announced they will run for president next year. Two people have declared their candidacies against Rep. Katie Hill, with others expected to follow.

And down the ballot, it’s not too early to look at the race for city council.

“Is it really time to actually start talking about 2020?” Jason Gibbs asked.

Well, yes. Even though the election isn’t for another 19 months, minds can change and the filing period doesn’t open until next summer, former candidates have been giving some thought about whether they want to give it another go.

DEFININTELY RUNNING

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Of the eight people the Gazette reached, only Ken Dean said he was in. Dean, despite not paying for a ballot statement, finished a surprise fifth out of 15 with 14,951 votes (8.33 percent) in 2018.

“A lot of people know me and like what I stand for,” he said, adding the issue that frustrates him the most is traffic and congestion, and it likely will be a campaign theme for him. He said he would like to form two committees if elected: one to examine traffic and one to work on synchronizing the stoplights in the city.

He said the corner of Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road is particularly bad, as is the intersection of Reuther Avenue and Golden Triangle Road. He said the railroad crossing often leads to delays there, yet he doesn’t experience delays when the train crosses the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Rainbow Glen Drive.

“There’s not an ounce of logic the way they’ve got it set up,” he said.

PROBABLY RUNNING

Councilmember Cameron Smyth said that when he was elected in 2016, he intended to run again in 2020. But that requires him talking to his family and employer to ensure everyone can make the commitment, and since there is no primary election, he has until next summer to formally file paperwork.

THINKING ABOUT IT

Gibbs (ninth place, 10,008 votes, 5.57 percent) and Sandra Nichols (13th place, 5,049 votes, 2.81 percent) are contemplating, they said.

Nichols said she is most likely running, “but in life, there are no guarantees.”

Gibbs said he wants to wait and see if Councilmember Bob Kellar runs again. “If Bob truly decides not to run, there’s a good chance I’ll run,” he said.

Former councilmember TimBen Boydston (seventh place, 12,857 votes, 7.16 percent) said it’s way too soon to speculate, adding he won’t give it serious consideration until at least November.

DEFINITELY NOT

Kellar previously has said he will not run again. On Monday, he reiterated that.

“Twenty years is enough,” he said. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure, but I am out of here.”

Logan Smith (sixth place, 12,871 votes, 7.17 percent) said he isn’t running because he wants to help others get elected or, in the case of Hill and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, re-elected.

He said he expects the council races to be competitive, considering that 61 percent of votes cast in 2018 went against any of the three incumbents. “There’s clearly a willingness to change,” he said. “The question is will it be someone handpicked by an incumbent or fresh blood?”

Diane Trautman (fourth place, 16,479 votes, 9.18 percent) said she would run only if district voting exists, and she doesn’t think there’s enough time for that to happen.

“Something needs to be done to change the dynamics here so that more members of this community, and more diverse even than myself, can actually stand a chance at getting on the council, and that’s not going to happen without moving to council districts,” she said. “It’s just outrageously expensive and extremely difficult to raise that money in this environment. The people who are happy with the status quo will give to the people they know will maintain it.”

These three join Brett Haddock (eighth place, 11,427 votes, 6.36 percent), who a month ago said on Facebook he wasn’t going to run.

“I look forward to seeing the field of candidates when the filing period closes next year, and will be a vocal supporter of those I believe have the same values, and hold a desire to move the City of Santa Clarita in a forward direction,” Haddock wrote. “I will also advocate for the city to abandon at-large elections and move to districts. Hopefully, though unlikely, avoiding a costly (California Voting Rights Act) lawsuit. We can look to the city of Moorpark to learn how to transition to a system that better represents Santa Clarita, and facilitate the electing of superior candidates.”

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About Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan has been a writer and editor since 1990. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. His new book "If You Experience Death, Please Call and Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language," a humorous look at the ways people misuse English, is available on Amazon or at his website, www.leebarnathan.com. He is hired by people all over the country to help them refine the message or story they wish to share with their target audience or demographic.

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