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The Need for New Blood on the City Council

| City Council, Gazette, Opinion | April 3, 2014

Four years ago I agreed with Councilman (Bob) Kellar when he said that we needed new blood on the City Council. The three Council members running at that time were re-elected, yet again. It is time for a change. Twenty years is too long to serve on the City Council. I applaud those in the local press and on social media who have said it is time for fresh ideas and new faces. As our city grows and grows up, we need new leadership. There are many excellent candidates running for office this year, some for the first time. In the years to come, some will prove their mettle and dedication and hopefully also serve on the Council. Santa Clarita is fortunate to have so many qualified individuals who want to represent our citizens, and I look forward to working with whoever wins the seats.

My endorsements for City Council are for people that I believe will do a great job, but by no means the only people that can do the job. I believe we need individuals who are, above all, independent thinkers, intelligent, hard working, and respectful of the citizens who come to us. They need to actually listen to the citizens, even when being criticized. They need to be able to work with the City Manager and staff with respect, and take the time to understand staff recommendations. They must also have the intelligence and courage to be able to disagree with those recommendations when their judgment and study shows the need.

They need to be able to engage in public debate in a respectful manner, as this is the cornerstone of a democracy, and to not be afraid of being in the minority. They should have the courage to always give the reason for their vote, and answer the questions of the public to the best of their abilities. They must always remember that they are in their job to serve, not to be served. They need to be strong enough to admit mistakes, apologize, and then find solutions, not excuses.

This is a tall order, but representing the people is a sacred trust. The people pay for their government and deserve to have their tax dollars managed wisely. And do I always achieve these ideals 100 percent myself? Of course not, but the key is to never stop working to become a better representative. The following are three people who I believe are like-minded in the pursuit of these ideals – not perfect people, but people who have shown that they are committed to the principles above.

Alan Ferdman, a smart, retired manager and engineer from the aerospace industry who works full-time for free as a community advocate, helping people interface with their government and trying to make our city an even better place to live. He has an excellent grasp on processes that will benefit the city by helping make it become more efficient. He has a heart for the people and is always trying to help the “little guy.” His respect for diversity and his appreciation of people’s strength through their differences is huge. His ability to understand and relate to all sides of an issue makes him an excellent leader.

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Maria Gutzeit is an intelligent businesswoman, who also has an engineering background. She is an elected official serving with distinction on the Newhall County Water Board and is skilled in coalition building. As a mother of a young child and also a caregiver, she understands the challenges of families in Santa Clarita. Her husband is a small business owner, so she understands the need for good paying jobs and a dynamic local economy. Working in the environmental business, she understands the importance of finding the optimum level of regulation based on science, not politics.

Gloria Mercado-Fortine is an accomplished educational consultant with a background in education, who currently serves on the William S. Hart School Board. She has experience working with many companies, so understands the world of business. Being in education, she knows the importance of good jobs and the education needed to get them. Through her collaboration with the City she has helped create a safer environment for our children to grow up in. Her work with at-risk children and alternative education has given her a heart for the disadvantaged.

The City of Santa Clarita was founded to give its people the power to determine their own fate, to be able to address their government and be heard, and to do the will of the people. Our city is not a for-profit corporation, and although we must be fiscally prudent, we must not make our decisions based on how much money we can make, how big we can grow our bureaucracy, or which special interest group has better connections.

The people of Santa Clarita need to take their City back. The power is in your hands. Vote April 8.th.

At Your Service,
TimBen Boydston, Councilman

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