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TimBen Boydston: Keep the SCV from going downhill

Posted: March 19, 2010 4:45 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
My family moved here in 1960 for the same reasons you probably did. It was a beautiful valley with lots of open space, low crime, little traffic and great schools. Twenty-two years ago we formed our own city so that we could control our own destiny and keep our valley a beautiful place to live.

Unfortunately, our current City Council has lost touch with that dream and is selling out to out-of-town special interests. It is plain to see that they are not building enough roads, because the traffic keeps getting worse.

We used to be one of the safest cities in America, but our rank on that list keeps falling. The council once wanted to listen to the people, but it moved public participation to the end of its meeting and public participation fell more than 60 percent.

The incumbents on our City Council are out of touch with the people. Two of them have been there for 12 years and one for eight years. A City Council seat should not be a job for life. I propose term limits. I agree with Councilman Bob Kellar that we need new people and their ideas.

As evidence of how out of touch our council is, you need look no further than the proposed One Valley, One Vision plan. This new general plan will determine what our city (and our valley) will look like in 20 years.

Although the county plan is separate legally, OVOV encompasses both areas at the same time. And what is in that vision? The environmental impact report consultants hired by our council make it clear in their May 21, 2007, letter: "We understand that the OVOV planning effort will add 75,000 to 80,000 additional dwelling units to the Santa Clarita Valley, with a resident population of approximately 500,000 people."

The current residents do not want that much development. The majority of property owners surveyed by the city in 2007 agreed they did not want to become overcrowded like the San Fernando Valley.

I believe that future building should be low-density, high-quality, suburban-style housing with lots of open space. Your council believes differently.

There are 42,000 dwelling units already approved for our valley. That is enough housing for 21 years, so you would think that would be enough density for our council.

No, under the quaint, misleading term "Valley of Villages" they want to cram high-density areas on top of the existing zoning. And these areas "are intended to become more ‘vertical' from a density perspective over time," according to the aforementioned EIR consultant's letter.

The OVOV plan also makes our already bad traffic worse. Yes, they are planning worse traffic for us.

When I was on the council, I was the only one who wanted to study peak hour traffic flows.

The incumbents voted to only study average flows, which meant that the worse traffic times are hidden because of averaging. Major roads and intersections are required by law to be planned, and future traffic flows are required to be graded according to the traffic flow.

Letter grades, like in school, are used: A, B, C, D, E and F. "A" is perfect, free-flowing traffic and "F" is gridlock - total traffic failure. Our current plan calls for a target of "A," with an "acceptable" level of "C" and, in rare urban areas, a "D." The new OVOV plan calls for traffic flows to be "E," one step above gridlock.

Welcome to the San Fernando Valley, where we will sit in traffic and pollute the air while our blood pressure rises and all we can think about is, "Where can I move to?"

We need new leadership, new vision and we need a new plan for our city - a plan that is written by and for the people, not written by out-of-town consultants for special interests. We need to make sure that there are enough roads and infrastructure to keep pace with development.

As an independent voice of the people, I am supported by Republicans, Democrats, business people, seniors, families, students and public safety personnel.

I will listen to the people, create a new plan for our future growth, create jobs, build roads, increase funding for law enforcement and work with our schools for a better future.

To find out more about me, my record and my vision for Santa Clarita please visit www.TimBen.com. I would be honored to have your vote.

TimBen Boydston is a Newhall resident and a candidate in the 2010 City Council election. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal

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