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Candidates have wide range of experience, tough competition

So far, three have filed paperwork to run for City Council, along with three incumbents

Posted: January 2, 2010 8:15 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Daniel Henriquez, 43, is an accountant and 20-year Navy veteran.

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The pool of candidates running for three city council seats includes Santa Clarita residents who have never run for public office before. Their experience spans the professional spectrum: from a retired Navy Lt. Commander to a part-time model.

The candidates are up against some stiff competition. The incumbents - Mayor Laurene Weste, and Councilmembers Frank Ferry and Marsha McLean - combine for more than 25 years worth of experience on City Council.

None of the incumbents running for re-election won a seat on the council on their first go-around.

Both Weste and Ferry, who were each elected in 1998, lost to incumbents when they ran for the first time in 1996. McLean was elected in 2002 after coming up short in '98 and 2000.

While they know it will be an uphill battle, all said they believe they have what it takes to get elected and have obtained nomination papers from the City Clerk.

Officials from the clerk's office said all potential candidates need to do to get on the ballot is fill out the proper paperwork and get signatures from at least 20 Santa Clarita residents.

The potential candidates likely will need more than 5,000 votes to get elected.

The Navy veteran
Daniel Henriquez, 43, used to decipher codes for the Navy as an intelligence officer during the first Gulf War. He said the discipline and organization he learned during his 20 years in the service will translate to public office, and getting new people on the council would be positive for the city.

"I believe these seats need to be rotated out so the city gets new ideas, fresh ideas," Henriquez said. "You don't want government to become stagnant."

Henriquez retired from the military in 2005 as a Lt. Commander, he said. He has lived in Santa Clarita for 10 years and now works as an accountant.

Besides bringing a new perspective on city issues, he said he is running to bring a level of transparency that has been missing on issues like annexation and taxation.

Henriquez was born and raised in Louisiana, got a degree in finance from the University of New Orleans and also has a Master's in business and tax law.

"Hopefully name recognition isn't the only thing that's going to win an election," Henriquez said.

Homeless youth advocate
David Galvan, 23, works as an administrator for a charitable organization that provides food and shelter to homeless children in Los Angeles.

Galvan said he likes the "business model" of Santa Clarita's government with the council providing direction for staff and City Manager Ken Pulskamp.

He said if elected he would want to spearhead improvement projects in Canyon Country, similar to the work the city is doing in Newhall, he said.

"Canyon Country needs something along the lines of a Newhall beatification project," Galvan said. "It's not a bad area but people don't prefer to live in that area."

He said he realizes going against three incumbents, and being relatively young, will make getting elected difficult. He said he's going to reach out to young voters and try to get them engaged in their local government - something that he says has been difficult so far.

Galvan has an associates degree in criminal justice from ITT Technical Institute in the San Fernando Valley. He is currently working toward a bachelors degree in the same field.

The model
Johnny Pride, 25, is a male model and actor. He grew up in Santa Clarita and graduated from Canyon High School.

He said his lack of personal commitments gives him plenty of time to work on city issues if elected.

"I'm not married and I don't have kids," Pride said. "I have a lot of time on my hands and I'm motivated."

Pride said he has been to a couple of city council meetings several years ago. He has modeled for and managed three tanning salons in the valley, he said. He did not attend college he said.

Johnny Pride is his legal name, he said.

"I get that question a lot," Pride said.

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