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Coalition forms to raise issues at city hall

• About 10 neighborhood groups consolidate to support one another

Posted: June 21, 2008 10:39 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Got a problem in Saugus? Newhall's got your back.

At least that's the goal of a new citizens coalition that consolidates about 10 neighborhood groups into one to make some noise at City Hall.

"It is very enlightening to find out that you are not alone," said former Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston, who created the group. "The goal is to lend mutual support to other groups that are in the coalition so that the City Council will know that there's a broad base of support for the various groups."

Fresh off the council, Boydston said he formed the coalition because he noticed a problem at the City Council meetings.

"There seemed to be a common theme: the frustration level of the citizens," Boydston said Tuesday. "The citizens felt that they weren't being listened to."

Boydston said the coalition brings together homeowners associations and activist groups that have fought housing developments and traffic problems in their neighborhoods.

In recent months, residents have spoken to the city council before the issue is even placed on the agenda for consideration.

Though some activists say that council members don't listen, council members have said they hear the residents loud and clear. Since January, the council has taken action to satisfy some of the groups.

When Newhall and Canyon Country residents learned of a trash company's plans to build a giant recycling center in their neighborhood, dozens marched to the podium at City Hall demanding the council scrap the plans. Council members and city staff met with the company's executives and the company withdrew their plans for that location.

Following his 16-month service on the council, Boydston said he received phone calls from activists for advice in raising their concerns at the council meetings. He said the goal is for groups to brainstorm solutions for the others and educate each other on how things work at City Hall.

Groups include SmartGrowth SCV, which has been critical of the development agreement for the expansion of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, and the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, which keeps the city apprised of issues facing east side residents. "We're all from Santa Clarita. What affects the east side affects the west side. What affects the west side affects the east side," said Alan Ferdman, the committee president. "When my neighbors are hurting, I'm hurting."


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