By Perry Smith
A question to the dais regarding Santa Clarita’s handling of a waste-disposal proposal prompted the City Council’s “sleeping tiger” to again spar with City Councilman TimBen Boydston and verbally attack a resident who frequently criticizes policy at City Hall.
During a public-comment portion of the Santa Clarita City Council’s regular Tuesday night meeting, Cam Noltemeyer asked why the city had no subcommittee meeting on a proposed MRF, or materials recovery facility, since it was on the consent calendar.
“Burrtec was supposed to be putting in a MRF in our community and I was looking for the subcommittee meeting on this and the subcommittee meeting was cancelled,” Noltemeyer said.
“And then I saw it on the consent calendar,” she said, referring to Tuesday night’s agenda. “I tried to find the staff report, and there’s no staff report there, and so where was this decision made?”
Noltemeyer left shortly after making her comments, and therefore was not available to be questioned for this story.
But the discussion of her complaints did not end with her departure.
As is City Council’s normal procedure, city officials began to address the questions raised during public comment about 10 minutes later, when those in attendance had shared their consent calendar concerns.
“I just want to mention one thing,” said City Councilwoman Marsha McLean. “The information on this item (Noltemeyer was referring to), all of the information, was totally available on the City’s website…because that’s where I went to look at it, very carefully.”
Boydston then indicated he wanted to add to McLean’s comments, but it appeared to be the proverbial last straw for City Councilman Frank Ferry, who had verbally sparred with Boydston during a previous City Council meeting.
“I’ll clarify one other thing Mr. Mayor,” Boydston said. “That doing the business of this council, in front of it, and Mrs. Noltemeyer, I’m sensitive to, if Mrs. Noltemeyer is still here…”
At which point, Mayor Bob Kellar pointed out that Noltemeyer had “left some time ago.”
“She doesn’t care about the result, she just wanted to cause a problem and leave, so don’t talk to her,” Ferry said.
“Perhaps she’s watching on (SCVTV),” Boydston said.
“She isn’t,” Ferry said.
“Just in case,” Boydston replied, “there was a subcommittee that was scheduled and it was cancelled due to a personal issue for one of the council members who was on it…I asked for a briefing myself, being on the subcommittee, to get a background on this issue…this is kind of a bigger hearing than…”
As Boydston finished, a clearly frustrated Ferry began to explain his annoyance with the commenter, whom Boydston himself later described as a regular “critic of the city.”
Ferry seemed more exasperated with Noltemeyer than her complaint and questions on waste disposal, describing her as a “toxic” presence who caused problems in San Fernando during her four-year term on that city’s governing board, and accusing her of trying to bring these problems to Santa Clarita.
“Let’s be honest,” Ferry said. “Noltemeyer was a council member for the city of San Fernando, she was a total wreck down there, where they made rules against her, they voted against her…she throws out little bombs or grenades and then leaves without an answer.”
“It has to be said,” Ferry added, when Boydston tried to regain control of the floor, as Kellar asked Boydston to allow him to finish his comments.
“We have to shut her down. You put her as the god and the savior of the city,” Ferry said, pointing to Boydston. “No, you’re wrong.”
As Boydston called for a point of order, Kellar said to Boydston, “Let him finish,” adding, “no one interrupted you.”
“I can only listen to so much before I have to explode and say, ‘You’re full of it,’” Ferry said.
Kellar then gave the floor back to Boydston, reminding him that other people are entitled to the floor.
“The reason I was asking for a point of order, Sir, is because we have rules that we are supposed to abide by here on the dais, and those rules are about common respect for the citizens who come before us,” Boydston said.
Then Boydston followed with an explanation. “My reason for having a point of order is to remind the council that we are not supposed to denigrate, argue with and put down the citizens who come here, no matter how badly we disagree with them,” he added.
Ferry again launched into the explanation behind his attack, during which Boydston asked Kellar if he had the floor five times.
“I don’t know,” responded a now exasperated Kellar. “What do you want me to do, take him out by the stack and swivel?”
Another call for decorum by Boydston led Ferry to argue Boydston only wants it when it benefits Boydston.
The role of someone like Noltemeyer was necessary in a democracy, Boydston said after Tuesday’s meeting, acknowledging that she frequently disparaged city policy and procedure.
The incident was similar to a dais spat the two had in March, when Boydston questioned the city’s use of public funds for a “Mayor Dude” public relations campaign, which featured Ferry, who was mayor at the time.
Noltemeyer was not present to defend herself from the attack, but Ferry suggested residents Google “Cam Noltemeyer” and “San Fernando City Councilwoman.”
Noltemeyer served on the San Fernando City Council from 1982-86.
After serving one term, she was targeted by her fellow incumbents during her re-election campaign, according to an L.A. Times report.
All three incumbents lost, Noltemeyer by the narrowest margin of the three, a mere 45 votes.