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Tim Myers: David Gauny & the voter gap

Myers' Musings

Posted: October 19, 2009 10:51 p.m.
Updated: October 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.
So David Gauny announced his candidacy for the Santa Clarita City Council on Oct. 9 in front of Santa Clarita City Hall. Notables stood by his side; most interestingly Councilman Bob Kellar, who offered his endorsement in a hagiography posted on Gauny’s campaign Web site.

This column will not focus in detail on Gauny’s chances at winning a seat. However, the presence of both Gauny and TimBen Boydston in the race mathematically assures the return of the three incumbents and clouds the issue of who will accede to Kellar’s vacated seat in 2012, though I would probably grant a slight edge to Gauny right now.  (I will know for certain in April 2010 when I see who comes fourth in the election. See last week’s column)

Kellar’s presence beside Gauny raised more than a few eyebrows, including mine.

Some wonder, including me, if this candidacy constitutes Part III of the psychodrama of the 2008 election where the emerging nexus of political “power” in Santa Clarita, namely the Valencia tracts between Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive, overwhelmed (for the moment, at least) the old nexus of Sand Canyon.

Part I of the psychodrama began in fall 2006, when then-Councilman Cameron Smyth vacated his seat after his election to the state Assembly. It fell then to the remaining four council members to select a replacement to fill out the remainder of his term.

The council actually developed an elaborate community process to interview and make recommendations for the newly appointed member who would enjoy the invincible aura of incumbency after serving for about 16 months without ever actually winning a first-time election. The community panel in good faith developed an elaborate scoring methodology to vet the numerous applicants, but when the vote finally came, an equally divided council could not decide between Laurie Ender, the favorite of the Valencia nexus, and Bob Spierer, the chosen one of the Sand Canyon nexus. The battle caused some to scratch their heads. All five council members at the time were, and still are, registered Republicans. The two favorite candidates were, and still are, registered Republicans. I guess the scenario confirms the cynic’s view that humans will manufacture cause for conflict if it does not already exist.

Followers of city history know the outcome: The council unanimously selected TimBen Boydston, a man of many qualifications, chief among them his trustworthiness and promise not to run when the shortened term ended. Fast forward to Part II of the psychodrama. With one open seat in the 2008 election, a host of candidates ran, including Ender and Spierer. Spierer, arguably the most accomplished in his field of any candidate or any council member before or since, appeared an odds-on favorite, but Ender engineered a campaign that produced 600 to 900 first-time votes from the new nexus of power, and not only finished nearly 1,000 votes ahead of Spierer but also finished first ahead of the incumbent Kellar.

The various maneuvering that led to the outcome (mathematically determined weeks before election day due to the results of vote-by-mails), including a Republican endorsement obtained and then withdrawn, engendered bitter feelings between the two centers of power. (Two people I once considered good friends still refuse to speak to me!)

Geography aside, the struggle amounted to the waning but once absolute power of folks who lived here for more than 20 years, and the maturing and emergent power of those who lived here between 10 and 20 years now asserting their desire for leadership.

Part III begins with Gauny’s announcement. The forces that supported Spierer sat for nearly a year and a half nursing their bitterness and decided to select an attractive and articulate candidate to accomplish something never accomplished in the history of the city: The unseating of a sitting incumbent who did not finish just past the post in their prior election.

I predict that incumbency will trump the Sand Canyon nexus’ ability to completely eclipse the sun, but it does no harm to try. Those of use who watch these things in interest will await Part IV of the continuing psychodrama.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column represents his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Myers’ Musings” normally appears Sundays in The Signal.


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