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Timben Boydston: Residents are not terrorists

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Posted: June 26, 2010 2:45 p.m.
Updated: June 27, 2010 4:30 a.m.

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
— Socrates

When Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry called citizens who speak at our City Council meetings “developmental terrorists,” he crossed the line from political rhetoric to hate speech. If citizens who choose to address their elected officials are labeled as “terrorists,” what do we call real terrorists who set out to kill and maim innocent human beings?

Let me set the record straight about what I and my fellow neighborhood leaders are doing and why. When Santa Clarita became a city 22 years ago, it was so we could be self-governed at a local level.

We wanted to be able to go to our City Council, voice our opinions and have an impact on the decisions our council members would make — decisions that should not be made behind closed doors, but together in public meetings in a participatory democracy. Neighborhood leaders are doing just that, trying to have an impact on city policies and planning, which they believe are negatively impacting their communities.

But they have been bullied, berated and belittled. Enough is enough. Our City Council should stand up and tell Mr. Ferry that calling Santa Clarita citizens “terrorists” is wrong and must stop.

Ferry wrote in the June 6, 2010, edition of The Signal: “What I don’t welcome are those ‘developmental terrorists’ who choose to deliberately misstate facts and disseminate misinformation.” He has said numerous times that we are giving false information to people, but he never gives any examples of this supposed misinformation.

Even The Signal said in its June 20 editorial: “If that’s the truth, then it’s understandable that he’d let passion get the better of him and give Boydston and company a tongue-lashing.”

Well, I am here to tell you that it is not true. I would never go around telling people lies; my mother and father raised me better than that.

Ferry goes on to say that we are “forwarding a political agenda that has more to do with shutting down any and all development and promoting candidates than it does with protecting our community.” This is not true.

Of all the groups that have asked me for advice about making changes to proposed projects in their neighborhoods — Calgrove, Placerita, The Summit and Singing Hills, to name a few — I have never encountered a single group that said “Don’t build anything.” They all just want something that fits into their neighborhood. That is good planning and is part of Santa Clarita’s general plan. 

Ferry knows very well that I am not anti-growth, because I have spoken before him endorsing many projects I thought were good for the city. A story in the June 14 edition of The Signal stated: “If Boydston and company had their way, Ferry said, the city wouldn’t have an Aquatic Center, the Plaza at Golden Valley or even the cross-valley connector.”

Not true, Mr. Ferry. I commended the head of parks and recreation at the time on the excellent purchase of the sports complex property; I helped push the opening of the cross-valley connector while on the council; and I spoke to the council in favor of the Golden Valley project because of the vast open space and the tax revenues that would come to the city instead of the county. Ferry was there.

Ferry writes in the June 6 edition of The Signal: “Rather than working together, these developmental terrorists aim to kill projects before the City Council or the Planning Commission even get a chance to provide a review or comment.” Are you kidding me, Mr. Ferry? When I was on the City Council, I saw proposals for every major project proposed to be built in Santa Clarita long before they ever went near the Planning Commission or council meetings. The developers, or their lobbyists, came to me with their proposals long before the projects were formally proposed.

As an example, I saw the preliminary drawings for the Casden project three years ago when I was on the council and was asked for my input, and that project is still nowhere near coming to the Planning Commission.

I don’t mention the above example to criticize this practice; it helps the council members get needed information. But the people need to be able to give their input, too. So I advise them to go to the City Council and let their elected officials know what they want.

They should have the right to do so without being called terrorists.

TimBen Boydston is a Newhall resident and former member of the Santa Clarita City Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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