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City Council hopefuls debate term limits, mayor rotation

Posted: March 5, 2012 5:32 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2012 5:32 p.m.
 


Candidates competing for seats on the Santa Clarita City Council were split on the issues of term limits and the chance for each council member to become mayor during the latest council candidates' forum held Monday.

Incumbents Bob Kellar and Mayor Laurie Ender are facing challengers TimBen Boydston, Jon Hatami and Ed Colley in the April 10 City Council election.

While Kellar said the citizens of Santa Clarita determine the term limits for City Council members by voting them out of office, Boydston disagreed and said two four-year terms should be the limit on the council. The issue would be among the first he introduces if elected, he said during Monday's forum hosted by The Signal, SCVTV and KHTS AM 1220.

"I think America is being hurt because we have full-time politicians and as they stay in office, it becomes harder and harder for people with new and fresh ideas to replace them," Boydston said.

Hatami said he supports term limits because, while canvassing the community for votes, he has talked to about 3,000 people who said they supported term limits.

Ender said she agreed with using term limits cautiously, although she would want to discuss term lengths because she feels politicians make more responsible decisions when they can expect to live with the consequences of their actions.

"We certainly need to decide what's the right amount of time for someone here," Ender said. "You should be in office to have to answer to the people for the decisions that you've made."

Colley said he would look to voters to decide how to base his decision on term limits.

"I do believe it's appropriate for the voters to decide on when and if the City Council members ought to go," Colley said.

Candidates also disagreed on the issue of an automatic rotation for the appointment to mayor, rather than council members deciding who the next mayor should be.
Some candidates said they supported a citizen-elected mayor rather than having the mayor selected from among council members.

Kellar and Colley both supported electing a mayor, although Kellar urged caution because other cities who have elected mayors have had problems in the past.

"I think we could do better for our citizens if we had a good, solid person as an elected mayor," Kellar said.

Ender said she did not support the automatic rotation because the position requires leadership and the City Council should be able to decide who takes the position.

Hatami and Boydston both agreed with the automatic rotation because of past problems with the system of council members selecting their leaders.

Hatami also liked the idea of having fresh ideas from people who are rotated into the position.

"I do like the fact that people can bring something different to the community," Hatami said. "Each mayor has their own different flavor, and I think that's a really good thing."

The forum was mediated by Leon Worden, president and CEO of SCVTV, with questions also posed by Lila Littlejohn, city editor for The Signal and Carol Rock, KHTS news director.

Absentee ballots for the April 10 election are due to be sent out March 12, according to the city clerk's office. The last day to register to vote in the City Council election is March 26.

 

 

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