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Reading the results: Voters’ opinion on westside governance remains ambiguous

Posted: November 12, 2009 10:04 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
County officials have broken down election results for the westside governance advisory vote by area - showing what sort of government is preferred by voters in Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Tesoro Del Valle and unincorporated Newhall.

The results showed slight variations in each community, leaving their town council members, along with Santa Clarita city officials, still divided over how to interpret the numbers.

"There is not an overwhelming desire for a new city or annex into the city of Santa Clarita," said Dave Bossert, West Ranch Town Council member. "I view the advisory vote as neither a victory or a defeat for anyone."

In a statement made late Thursday afternoon, city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said:

"We are not surprised that many neighborhoods identify strongly with the city and are interested in annexing. We've heard this from neighboring residents who have requested information on annexation, invited the city to attend their meetings and through various correspondence over the years."

On Nov. 3, westside voters were asked whether they wanted to remain in the county unincorporated area, join the city of Santa Clarita or form their own city.

Voters in every area overwhelmingly rejected forming their own city, according to the results released this week by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder.

However, voters weren't as clear on whether they wanted to join the city or remain in the county unincorporated area.

Stevenson Ranch voters seemed split, with only 51 more votes for annexation.

While Castaic voters clearly opposed forming a new city on Nov. 3, one town councilman refuses to give up hope that one day it will become a city of its own.

"It's not that forming our own city on the westside is a bad idea," said Castaic Area Town Councilman Flo Lawrence. "It's just not a good idea right now."

As was the case in Stevenson Ranch, Castaic voters were virtually split between annexation and remaining in the county unincorporated.

However, Castaic rejected the proposal to join the city of Santa Clarita by 96 votes.

"We want to control our own destiny," Lawrence said. "We have more input through a town council and Supervisor Antonovich than with a five-member at-large city council."

Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich represents the Santa Clarita Valley, including Castaic.

Brian Roney is a Castaic resident who is leading an annexation effort among the residents of the Hasley Hills community. He didn't see the defeat of the annexation measure in Castaic as a signal that his own efforts to join the city are dead.

"There is still a lot of interest in annexation," he said.

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