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Westside advisory vote results are murky

Voters shoot down idea of westside cityhood

Posted: November 4, 2009 9:55 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.
With the cityhood measure failing by a wide margin and split vote on whether to remain unincorporated or join the city of Santa Clarita, city officials struggled to interpret the results Wednesday.

“I think it is kind of clear as mud,” said Gail Ortiz, city of Santa Clarita spokeswoman.

Voters trickled out to the polls Tuesday to voice their preference in the non-binding advisory vote on the future style of government for the westside unincorporated communities. Voters in Stevenson Ranch, Val Verde, Castaic, Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks and West Ridge were asked if they would like to form their own city, join Santa Clarita or remain unincorporated communities.

With all the precincts accounted for, forming their own city failed by more than a three-to-one margin. Voters were split over whether to remain unincorporated or join the city; with 1,567 voters supporting annexation and 1,622 voters pushing to remain unincorporated.   
Ortiz said the mixed results on annexation versus remaining unincorporated will take some time to sort out. But one thing looks apparent.

“The only thing that is clear is residents don’t want their own city,” she said.

Brian Roney, Castaic resident and leader of the annexation movement in the Hasley Hills community, welcomed the defeat of the measure to incorporate a westside city. Now he wants to see the precinct-by precinct results to determine how each area voted.

“I think after we get the precinct votes we will know what direction each community wants to go in,” he said.

The city is also interested in the precinct vote.

“We’d love to see the results just to get a feel for individual neighborhoods,” Ortiz said. “We have no intention to do anything with the results.”

Ortiz and city officials have continued to assert that Santa Clarita doesn’t shop for neighborhoods to suck into the city.

County officials didn’t have a specific timetable for delivering the precinct results.   

During public hearings on governing the westside, many community members worried about the city cherry picking communities that would fill the city’s coffers with tax revenues.

Roney said the tactic doesn’t exist.

“I don’t like it when people say cherry pick,” he said. “The city doesn’t approach neighborhoods about joining it, the neighborhoods approach the city.”


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