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Council members sing city’s praises at annual address

Officials list achievements of past year in rock-‘n’-roll-themed event

Posted: September 17, 2008 9:41 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar speaks at the annual State of the City Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon at the Hyatt Valencia.

 

Standing next to a jukebox in the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Valencia Wednesday, Santa Clarita city leaders presented an audience of 370 with the city’s “chart-topping” accomplishments of the year at the annual State of the City Luncheon.

“I assure you the city has been busy,” City Manager Ken Pulskamp said at the rock-‘n’-roll-themed event.

In a video presentation, the city’s five council members outlined the state of the city’s biggest projects.

“Everything you see and everything we show you is about you,” said Councilwoman Laurene Weste.

Mayor Bob Kellar said the city is hopeful it will soon see a resolution to the decade-long fight against plans for a giant sand-and-gravel mine in Soledad Canyon. All eyes are on a federal bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon to give mining company Cemex, Inc. land of equal value in Victorville. The bill is awaiting a committee hearing.

“For Santa Clarita, it will mean no mining in Soledad Canyon — ever,” Kellar said. “My hope is that when we stand before you a year from now, it will be with the bill in hand, signed and passed.”

The city’s aggressive efforts to target gang activity made the city a safer place to live, Kellar said.

“The early indication of the first six months of 2008 show our efforts are paying off in a big way,” he said. “Nearly every crime category is down in the city of Santa Clarita.”

Councilwoman Marsha McLean outlined the city’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly.

The city has an award-winning Transit Maintenance Facility insulated with straw and other recycled materials and the city now landscapes with more drought-tolerant plants to save water, she said.

“Sustainability is about respecting our resources and reducing our carbon footprint as a community,” McLean said.
More residents are taking the city buses as an alternative to driving, she said.

The city is planning to provide a fly-away service from the McBean Transfer Station to Los Angeles International Airport. The city does not yet have the funding for the program, but officials hope to start it up by the end of 2009, according to city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.
The city is working on several road improvement projects, including the cross-valley connector that will stretch across the northern part of the city to connect Highway 14 to Interstate 5, Councilman Frank Ferry said.

He said the city is seeking public input in drafting the One Valley, One Vision general plan, a planning document expected to be presented to the council in the summer of 2009.

“Once approved, this document will provide better planning for resource management and maintain a quality of life for all who live and work here in the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said.

Councilwoman Laurie Ender stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in making the city’s biggest projects successful.

“When you get right down to it, our most important partnership is with you — our citizens and community members,” she said. “Each of you is a valuable partner in making Santa Clarita a great place to live, to work and to play.”

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