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UPDATE: Dante Acosta wins Santa Clarita City Council seat

Posted: April 15, 2014 10:45 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2014 5:48 p.m.

Dante Acosta greets supporters after the final unofficial results of the 2014 Santa Clarita City Council election are announced. Acosta tallied 4,937 votes to win election to the council by 104 votes over Alan Ferdman, according to numbers released by the city. Signal photo by Luke Money

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The ballots are cast, the numbers are crunched, the results are in and Dante Acosta is the new member of the Santa Clarita City Council.

In the culmination of an election that began with the first candidate declarations in January 2013, Acosta secured a seat on the council with 4,937 votes, good for third place, following a count of all provisional and late ballots on Tuesday.

“It’s really an honor to participate in this process and watch that whole democratic process unfold,” Acosta said shortly after the totals were announced in City Hall.

“It was pins and needles a little bit in there, of course, waiting for those results to come in, but they finally came in and actually we pulled ahead a little bit, so it gave us a pretty comfortable margin,” he said.

Acosta was 46 votes ahead of Alan Ferdman after Election Night, but widened his lead to 104 on Tuesday as city officials counted vote-by-mail and provisional ballots that had to be verified after the polls closed.

The final vote tally also included 21 ballots that were found inside the Precinct 84 ballot box after Election Day.

Clinging to a narrow lead, Acosta said he tried to keep an even keel between the close of the polls April 8 and the final votes being counted Tuesday.

“It’s been a juggling act because, on one hand, you’re really excited you’re ahead, but then you realize there’s still a fairly good number of votes left,” he said.

Tuesday’s count was viewed by a crowd of onlookers in City Hall. Among those in the group were Councilman Bob Kellar, who stood near Acosta, and Councilman TimBen Boydston, who sat next to Ferdman as the returns came in.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who won re-election this year, was also on hand to watch the returns.

Place on the council
A Canyon Country businessman who unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, in the 2012 congressional election, Acosta joins the council as the replacement for Councilman Frank Ferry, who decided not to run for re-election this year after 16 years behind the dais.

His fellow council members will be Mayor Laurene Weste and McLean, both of whom were re-elected by comfortable margins in this year’s election, along with Boydston and Kellar.

Acosta said he’ll work diligently to make sure he can hit the ground running from day one to move forward with some of his campaign platform planks, including addressing local traffic problems, ensuring public safety, taking care of youth and seniors and promoting jobs and economic development.

“Certainly I’m going to be reaching out to the other council members and getting a feel for them and what they’re working on and how I can fit and where I can fit best,” Acosta said.

Acosta also said his background as a financial adviser gives him a perspective that will help in his new role as a council member.

“I think it’ll be a good fit and it will round out the council in terms of experiences, life experiences and professional experience,” Acosta said about his upcoming role on the council. “So I think I’m going to be able to get in there and just work hard for the citizens of Santa Clarita.”

Ferdman, who is a resident of Canyon Country, said the results were disappointing but he was proud of the campaign he ran.

“Of course it’s a disappointment but, you know what, we did our best,” Ferdman said. “I think my volunteers and all the people who worked on my election did a very good job; they put out a big effort.

“And the voters have shown their voice and that’s to be respected,” he said.

Though he said he would not seek a recount in the election, Ferdman did not rule out a future run for City Council.

As for what he would like to see the council focus on in the next few years, Ferdman said, along with long-standing issues like the proposed Cemex mine in Soledad Canyon and ongoing cleanup of the Whittaker-Bermite brownfield near Saugus Speedway, he hopes council members work to address any gaps in service that exist in different parts of the city.

“The one thing that became very apparent when we ran is that this is almost like running in two separate cities, and in one side the city is extremely pristine and well-cared-for and on the other side the city needs a little bit of attention,” Ferdman said.

“So I would hope that during this period of time in the next couple of years that we start to equalize the services that are provided across our valley so that every one of our residents and every one of our community members gets an equal and fair shot at what’s available.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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