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Year in Review: Council incumbents best challengers

Year in Review: Marsha McLean, Laurene Weste win comfortably

Posted: January 2, 2011 10:48 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2011 4:55 a.m.
 

Thirty-two votes.

That was the razor-thin margin that propelled incumbent Frank Ferry to a third term on the Santa Clarita City Council in the April 13 election.

The often-contentious campaign pitted the three incumbents seeking re-election against the two most serious challengers in the race: David Gauny and former Councilman TimBen Boydston.

Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste captured a combined 34 percent of the votes and were re-elected by comfortable margins.

But the race between Ferry and Gauny took more than a week to decide.

After 600 provisional votes were counted, the final results were announced. Ferry received 6,510 votes. Gauny won 6,478 votes.

Thirty-two votes made the difference.

“What this tells people is the importance of getting out the vote,” City Manager Ken Pulskamp said at Santa Clarita City Hall after announcing the final results.

After the more than 38,500 ballots had been counted, the race for the final seat was decided by about 0.1 percent  of the total vote.

Although defeated, Gauny was upbeat after the final vote was announced. He said he was proud of the campaign he ran.

“To even get so close to an entrenched City Council (incumbent), and on a shoestring budget — it was an accomplishment,” Gauny said that night.

Gauny, a mortgage broker, said the final outcome may have been decided by voter confusion.

David Galvan, a 23-year-old who seldom campaigned, received more than 1,000 votes.

Gauny said he feared some voters accidentally voted for Galvan because his name and Gauny’s are so similar.

“(Galvan) earned some of his votes, but I do think there was some confusion because our names are so close,” Gauny said. “He never came to any of the events or anything.”

It was the culmination of an often-litigious campaign.

At debates, incumbents Ferry, McLean and Weste sparred with challenger Gauny over the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital expansion plan.

All three incumbents approved Newhall Memorial’s 15-year expansion plan in November 2008.

Gauny said the plan had loopholes that allow hospital officials to build parking structures and a medical office building without expanding hospital care facilities.

Ferry said Gauny was distorting facts and fighting the hospital’s master plan because Gauny’s home overlooks the campus.

“I know you’re protecting the view of your backyard, so you can still have a pretty Santa Clarita view,” Ferry said during a telephone debate.

Although the race was close, it wasn’t the closest in the 23-year-old city’s history.

That distinction belongs to the 1994 City Council election, when Clyde Smyth edged out Jill Klajic by 16 votes.

April’s City Council election brought out a cast of colorful characters: practicing accountant Daniel Henriquez, who claimed to have served in the military and have college degrees, although records don’t exist with the U.S. military or the colleges he claimed to have attended; and actor Johnny Pride, who was arrested for investigation of rape during the campaign but never charged. Other candidates included Kenneth Mann, whom the media was unable to reach during the campaign, College of the Canyons student Harrison Katz and longtime local activist Henry Schultz.

While 11 candidates ran for the three open seats, the top five vote-getters captured 80 percent of the vote.

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