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Boydston reflects on council term

• After 16 months in office, says he ‘loved every bit of it.'

Posted: April 28, 2008 2:33 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2008 5:04 a.m.

TimBen Boydston was appointed to replace Cameron Smyth on the City Council and served 16 months in office.

 
Over the last 16 months, TimBen Boydston made each of the Santa Clarita City Council meetings a lot longer than they already were - and he's not apologizing for it.

During his brief time serving on the City Council, the Newhall resident was known for his many probing questions and criticism aimed at not only local developers and their massive projects, but fellow council members and city staff as well.

The 38-year resident and Canyon High School graduate was appointed to the council in November of 2006 to fill the seat belonging to Cameron Smyth, who was elected to serve in the state Assembly. Boydston said he would not run for re-election when the seat expired this year. Laurie Ender was elected April 8 to fill his seat.

"I loved every bit of it," Boydston told The Signal.

"What I'm most pleased about was opening up the city government to larger scrutiny and actually getting more people interested in local government."

He said he raised his many questions and concerns at the council meetings partly because he only served on two council subcommittees, where many of the details regarding the city's issues are discussed.

"Because I had said I was not going to run, they pretty much said you're not going to get any committees," he said. "I had to bring issues into the regular meetings."

He said discussing the matters at the regular council meetings is "doing the business of the people in front of the people."

"It is the people's money and the people need to have an assurance that it is done in a business fashion and spent in a responsible way," he said.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean said at Tuesday's council meeting the new council will try to bring the issues more to the public's eye.

"I know that you have been very, very popular with residents," she told Boydston. "You've asked questions that maybe they would like to ask but haven't necessarily asked and you brought the answers out and they like that a lot. I think maybe as a token to you, we can try to bring a little more information to the public so they realize that we may ask the questions, but we kind of do it in the background and they don't always get to hear our answers and our responses."

Boydston was a lead critic on the development agreement Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital officials brought to the council for the campus expansion project. He presented the public with e-mails between two planning department employees and a former city planner who was lobbying for the hospital and alleged collusion. City officials said the allegations had already been made and disproved.

The hospital plans were sent back numerous times for revision.

Boydston also pushed for a code of ethics which has not yet returned to the council, and was able to get an ordinance established requiring lobbyists to register with the city.

He said he was pleased to see residents pack the City Council chambers when controversial issues surfaced, such as the city's plan to temporarily shut down a skate park, and plans to build a large recycling plant in Newhall. City officials compromised and satisfied the residents in both instances.

"The people came out and stopped it," he said. "That's democracy."

David Gauny, another lead critic of the hospital's plans, presented Boydston with the SCV's Man of the People Award on behalf of Gauny's citizens group Smart Growth SCV.

"A huge majority of people in Santa Clarita have no idea what you've done," Gauny said.

Santa Clarita resident Tony Newhall told Boydston, "You restored the face of local government."

Boydston, the artistic and executive director of the Canyon Theatre Guild, said he will remain involved and said there is a possibility he could run for election someday. For now, he said citizens and city officials should expect more long meetings to come.

"Neighborhood organizations are facing issues from poorly-planned developments," he said. "I intend to stay very involved in the issues I brought before the council that aren't resolved."

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