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Dave Bossert - Status quo is the way to go Nov. 3

Posted: October 24, 2009 3:49 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
With two weeks until the Nov. 3 election and the absentee ballots already out, the election is practically over at this point. That is the usual mantra from those who say their vote won't really make a difference. I don't believe that. With this advisory vote for the westside unincorporated communities, every vote matters.

What is at stake with the advisory vote is the future governance of our communities.

The ballot lists measures A, B and C. Do the unincorporated communities want to remain unincorporated communities in Los Angeles County; form a new city; or annex into the city of Santa Clarita?

Each option has its own merits and its own drawbacks. Which one is the best choice for our unincorporated communities at this moment in time?

Measure A asks: "Do you support areas in the Santa Clarita Valley including Sunset Pointe, Stevenson Ranch, Southern Oaks, Westridge, Tesoro, Castaic and Val Verde remaining as official communities in unincorporated Los Angeles County? Yes or no."

On the sample ballot there is an argument in favor of voting yes on staying as-is, because: "Los Angles County is a proven partner that has maintained area fees consistently over the years. $22.2 million dollars alone was spent on county services in unincorporated Santa Clarita (Valley) areas over the last two fiscal years."

To anyone who lives in the West Ranch area, that is evident with new tennis courts, park bathrooms, traffic signals and many other improvements.

The county has been a great partner to our communities and has forged a good working relationship with various community groups that allow for direct communication with county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and his staff. The county treats our communities with respect.

The downside to some is that county government is located downtown and there are some differences in fees.

Antonovich has an office right here in Santa Clarita staffed with a senior deputy and others who are attentive to the needs of the unincorporated county residents. There is no reason to go downtown.

The difference in fees amounts to an average of $93 between the unincorporated communities and the city, according to the recent city funded report. What is not publicized enough is that the county fees have remained consistent over the years, whereas the city has slowly added more fees to its residents, such as the recent open space fee.

The next option is Measure B: "Do you support areas in the Santa Clarita Valley including Sunset Pointe, Stevenson Ranch, Southern Oaks, Westridge, Tesoro, Castaic and Val Verde incorporate into a new separate city? Yes or no."

Forming a new city in the Santa Clarita Valley at this point in time would be extremely risky and potentially very divisive. Aside from the enormous amount of expense involved in pursuing this option, there does not appear to be much of a groundswell to create a new city.

Frankly, I don't see an outpouring of community volunteers who would take on such an arduous task, nor would it necessarily be a service to the entire Santa Clarita Valley at this time to do so.

Vote no on Measure B.

Measure C states: "Do you support areas in the Santa Clarita Valley including Sunset Pointe, Stevenson Ranch, Southern Oaks, Westridge, Tesoro, Castaic and Val Verde negotiate an annexation into the city of Santa Clarita? Yes or no."

This should be a no-brainer question, but unfortunately the city of Santa Clarita has made a number of missteps over the years that have shunned and disrespected the unincorporated communities surrounding the city. At times, some city officials have behaved in a completely contemptuous manner towards the leadership in various unincorporated communities.

On a purely fee-related basis there is not much difference, as was already mentioned. But it is the uncertainty of future fees and taxes that is unpredictable, especially when the City Council can add fees at any time.

Vote no on Measure C.

Taking all that into consideration leaves me with the only possible choice, which is to vote yes on Measure A: Remaining official communities in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Antonovich has proved time and again he is listening to and representing the residents of the unincorporated communities.

He is a man of his word who governs from a place of integrity, honesty and fairness, and he is someone I consider to be a great and reliable public servant to the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The grass is not always greener on the other side and we can't afford to take chances changing our governance during these uncertain economic times.

The status quo is the way to go.

Vote yes on Measure A and remain an official community in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Dave Bossert blogs at www.westranchbeacon.com and also serves on a number of boards and councils. His column reflects his own
views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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