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Tim Myers: The year the City Council election grew up? Not quite.

Posted: April 9, 2010 6:00 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
The 2006 Santa Clarita City Council election saw an earnest man named Jack Murphy from the Circle J Ranch area running for City Council. I met Murphy through the magic of the Internet and advised him to abandon all hope for his nascent campaign, but he went forward and obtained several-hundred yard signs trumpeting his candidacy.

He would share with me after the election, in which he came last and finished 100 votes behind a lady who did not campaign, that it was then he knew in his heart the wisdom of my advice. Looking over the hundreds of signs, he realized he did not know hundreds of people to place the signs in their yards or places of business, and that he did not possess scores of volunteers to place them in public right of ways for city employees to pick up, enforcing an unconstitutional campaign sign ordinance.

To add further angst at that very moment, another candidate named Henry Schultz walked up to his garage to solicit his vote for City Council, without commenting on or even seeming to notice the hundreds of campaign signs.

What a change in four years. The three incumbents and three challengers who ran actual campaigns with their scores of partisans and third-party anonymous agent provocateurs fought hard and nasty, meeting each other with punch and counterpunch, to wit:

Punch: The incumbents line up the full endorsement of the Los Angeles County Republican Party.

Counterpunch: David Gauny obtains the endorsement of the upstart CRA Republican party organization, allegedly by stacking the membership with late joinings by his own partisans.

Punch: The Signal editorial board pens an editorial stating that an unnamed opposition candidate will misuse Signal headlines in a mailer to accuse the incumbents of laxity in law enforcement.

Counterpunch: The Signal editorial board admits it did not know of an actual mailer but thought a challenger might put one together. (Why are you hitting yourself?)

Punch: During a break in a City Council meeting, Frank Ferry “threatens” Gauny with the release of opposition research.

Counterpunch:  David Gauny reveals on his own motion that he stands guilty of a prior DUI and driving with a suspended license.

Punch: Gauny speaks at an anti-immigration rally where state Sen. George Runner receives a cussing and an insult from the rally organizers.

Counterpunch: The sitting incumbents adopt resolutions regarding illegal immigration that would make a member of the John Birch Society blush.

Punch: An anonymous letter hits local churches stating that an explosion of massage parlors in the SCV threatens Western Civilization either through the negligence or alleged complicity of the sitting City Council.

Counterpunch: The City Council brings forward the old and new sheriff’s captains in the SCV to state they actively engage in running out illegal providers.

Punch: Someone is “stealing” the campaign signs of TimBen Boydston and Marsha McLean.

Counterpunch: Boydston partisans film an individual, probably an independent contractor for the city, enforcing the unconstitutional city sign ordinance.

Punch: Gauny and Boydston raise more direct campaign money than the incumbents.

Counterpunch: Independent organizations, particularly Citizens for Integrity in Government, utilizing money primarily from corporate property interests and city contractors with business before the city, flood likely voters’ mailboxes with mailers touting the incumbents, with the stroke of a few pens neutralizing the money advantage of Gauny and Boydston.

Counter-Counterpunch: Boydston and Gauny hold a joint news conference decrying the influence of out-of-town money on local elections (I am shocked! There is gambling going on here!)

Punch: Local activist Bruce McFarland files a complaint against the Mayor Dude campaign, similar not in kind but in type to a complaint filed against Bob Kellar in 2008.

Counterpunch?: A leaked e-mail describes a putative deal for Harrison Katz to become a parks commissioner if he throws his support behind Boydston and/or Gauny.

The irony may be the following: 85 percent of the voters in Santa Clarita don’t even know a fight is occurring.

The second irony: Many of these punches and counterpunches fell after the fixing of the electoral result by sufficient absentee ballots.

And the final irony: Fully one-third of the ballots ultimately cast will come from people with only a vague idea a fight was even occurring.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Myers’ Musings” appears Sundays in The Signal.

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