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UPDATE: Councilman Frank Ferry says he won't seek re-election

Adds two more potential candidates considering a run

Posted: January 25, 2013 1:27 p.m.
Updated: January 25, 2013 6:56 p.m.

Saying he’s proud of his accomplishments during his decade and a half on the Santa Clarita City Council, Councilman Frank Ferry announced Friday he will not seek re-election in 2014.

Noting he is due to marry this summer and one of his sons is wrapping up his high school years, Ferry, 47, said he’s found his life’s priorities have changed.

“I find so much pleasure being with family now,” he said in a telephone interview Friday. He noted the demands placed on council members — committee meetings, public appearances, paperwork to wade through — and added, “I’d rather put that energy into my family, my future.”

Ferry’s announcement seems likely to prompt a flood of candidates for the election more than a year from now.

Earlier this week two challengers announced they would run and two others in the community said they were thinking about it.

Three seats are up for grabs in April 2014, and the other two sitting council members said they would seek re-election.

On Friday, two more individuals said they were considering a run for City Council.
Berta Gonzalez-Harper, a longtime Canyon Country community activist, said she was considering a run for the council.

“I know I’m not as well known as some of the other candidates and the chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t make it,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get yourself out there and take your shots.”

Gonzalez-Harper said she believes the city is currently well run, but she has some fresh perspectives to offer. Asked what they were, she said, “I want to hear some of the other ideas out there” before discussing details of a candidacy.

Dante Acosta, also a Canyon Country resident and an unsuccessful congressional candidate last November, said he’s weighing a potential run, though he hasn’t yet made up his mind.

“We — my family and I — continue to look for ways to serve our community,” Acosta said. “I’m a big believer and supporter in this community. And if that translates into me deciding to run, I would be honored to serve on the council.”

Gloria Mercado-Fortine, a member of the William S. Hart Union High School District, and Maria Gutzeit, currently president of the Newhall County Water District, both announced this week they would seek a seat on the City Council.

Council member Laurene Weste, who was first elected in 1998, and Marsha McLean, who was first elected in 2002, said they would seek re-election. Ferry was elected at the same time as Weste.

Two other potential challengers, Al Ferdman and Diane Trautman, said Thursday they are considering a run for the council. Ferdman is chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and Trautman is a Santa Clarita Planning Commission member.

A spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita City Clerk’s office said Friday the official filing period to run for City Council doesn’t open until Dec. 16. It closes Jan. 10, 2014, for non-incumbents and Jan. 15 for incumbents, she said.

Ferry, principal of Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, said it was a tough call not to run again — one he arrived at about 3 a.m. Friday after much soul-searching.

The sudden rush of candidate announcements this week pressed him to make his decision, Ferry said, but he’s been pondering the issue for years.

A near-death experience two years ago changed his perspective, he said.

Recent discussions with Laurie Ender, who was voted off the council in April 2012, and former City Manager Ken Palskamp, who left his position late last year, encouraged him to take the plunge, Ferry said. Both, he said, have found fulfillment in new pursuits.

Among his accomplishments Ferry listed completion of the cross-valley connector that moves traffic more quickly across the Santa Clarita Valley, the Newhall Community Center, the Blue Ribbon Task Force against youth alcohol and drug abuse, and the youth sports fields the city has built.

This is the best city in the state,” Ferry said. “I look at what we’ve accomplished. I think it’s great that someone else with passion should come forward.”

He said he has no regrets and pledged to continue working for the community and especially its youth after he steps down from the council.





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