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No Weste, Young Man

Posted: April 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

I have carefully considered the endorsement of Laurene Weste by the The Signal’s Editorial Board published on March 16, 2014, and I feel stongly that it must be challenged.

A major issue that is not mentioned in the endorsement is that Laurene Weste owns a large piece of property in Newhall directly in the planned path of the Lyons Avenue extension to Valle de Oro-Dockweiler.

This is not news to The Signal or those of us who follow city governance.

I do not begrudge her ownership of this land in the least. However, the unique circumstance of her self-interest in a very valuable piece of property with such strategic location causes problems for the City Council and representative government.

The billboard and Lyons Avenue extension issues will continue through the next term of office.

Laurene Weste recused herself from closed negotiations and votes involving billboard replacement and relocation.

But this meant that only four members of council were able to vote.

With the imminent replacement of Councilman Frank Ferry, the dynamic on the council is sure to change.

The billboard issue is in all likelihood going to appear before the council again in some form, since the council amended the MTA agreement to require review by City Council, not the community development director, for issues related to the billboard reduction and relocation agreement.

In all likelihood there may be a myriad other issues for the council to consider as MTA proceeds with the permitting process for the digital billboards.

Removal of billboards from the railroad right-of-way is a first step toward the long-planned Lyons Avenue extension to Dockweiler.

To proceed with this desirable plan, the city will have to negotiate a way through Weste’s property or consider a taking through eminent domain.

In any event, a railroad crossing will have to be negotiated with the MTA. To have Weste holding a council seat is indeed problematic, and the city deserves a council person without these conflicts.

In its endorsement editorial, The Signal laments Laurene Weste’s inability to recognize the problem that many people have with council transparency, but the paper endorsed her despite its own reservations.

Being very kind to the Editorial Board, I consider this to be a major lapse in its collective judgment. Without going into detail, Weste’s commitment to transparency is questionable and suspect.

Laurene Weste has served this community on the Santa Clarita City Council since 1998 — 16 long years. It is time that the voters of Santa Clarita bid her adieu and select one of the many qualified contenders for the position.

Our city should not be weighed down by the self-interest of one of its five City Council members.

 

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