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Our View: A call for civility and aisle-crossing

Posted: April 16, 2010 6:13 p.m.
Updated: April 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
The City Council election is finally done with - sort of. Residents are awaiting the final tally on votes to see who will get the third seat. Who will join re-elected council members Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean behind the dais? Incumbent Frank Ferry, currently ahead by only 69 votes, with more than 600 votes still to count, or challenger David Gauny?

While we wait for the results, expected later this week, it's worth taking some time to debrief.

While Santa Clarita voters are glad the election season is done, there is likely a lot of mixed emotion by the voters, with some happy about the return of the incumbents and some frustrated about the lack of change.

One thing is for sure, though: With a slate of 11 candidates, this was one of the more interesting (some would choose a different word) council races in recent years. There was lots of back-and-forth campaign rhetoric, some of it respectful and some not. There was even a fair share of scandal, too.

At the risk of being redundant, we again salute each candidate who entered this year's race with the noble intention to make a difference in the community. Sitting on the City Council entails a lot of sacrifice and plenty of public scrutiny.

It's our hope that those who chose to run, and lost, don't retreat from public service. Our community can benefit from the insights and passions of TimBen Boydston and Harrison Katz of Santa Clarita, whether or not they're part of the council.

Furthermore, this year was perhaps the first time some had gotten involved in the local political process as candidates and their supporters, mostly volunteers, worked hard to drum up votes. If your favorite candidates didn't win, don't let that stop you from staying involved in making Santa Clarita a better place to live.

The 2010 race for council was characterized by a number of high ideals and passionate statements from candidates. It was also, sadly, marked by something that has become all too commonplace in the world of politics: a certain lack of civility, respect for differing opinions and statesmanship.

Whether it's misleading mailers or verbal barbs tossed in the direction of opposing candidates, negative campaign tactics turn off many voters and ultimately benefits no one.

Our state - not to mention our nation - is in great peril, gripped as they are at the intersection of poor management and weak leadership for too many years in both the executive and legislative branches - all that compounded now by a recession.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to stop refusing to cooperate so they can prove a point or achieve one-upmanship, and instead start to find common ground that is in the best interest of the people.

It doesn't matter that the City Council is a so-called nonpartisan body. To any candidate who called for fresh ideas and getting rid of the incumbents, and lost, we call on you to stay involved.

To the two incumbents who retained their seats and to the eventual declared winner between Ferry and Gauny, we say: Never let the status quo be satisfactory. Be willing to work with everyone, even those who rub you the wrong way.

Our future depends on it.

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