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First Santa Clarita town hall draws dozens

Posted: February 7, 2013 9:21 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2013 9:21 a.m.

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar addresses attendees at Wednesday's town hall meeting at Newhall Elementary School.

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Santa Clarita residents talked with city staff, examined brochures and two raised a stink at the first in a series of public town-hall meetings Wednesday night at Newhall Elementary School.

Two of the roughly 60 attendees at the event said they have experienced a strong smell of chlorine coming from the water at their Newhall homes.

One, Larry Bennett, said it sometime smells almost like he went to visit the community pool.

So Bennett decided to mention the smell to city Mayor Bob Kellar at Wednesday’s meeting.

Afterward, Bennett said he felt like Kellar was sincere about addressing his concerns.

“I don’t know if there is going to be a change, but I thought by coming here I could get my thoughts out in the open and see if something could be done,” Bennett said.

And it is because of concerns like these that such meetings are so beneficial, Kellar said.

Kellar said citizens play an important role in city governance and the city takes public input seriously.

“Citizens are the bosses,” Kellar said. “And we have the privilege of working for you.”

At the start of the meeting, Kellar talked about the city’s work in Newhall, including ongoing beautification efforts, expanded programming at the Newhall Library and the proposed traffic roundabout that will be constructed near William S. Hart Park.

After Kellar, City Manager Ken Striplin and Captain Paul Becker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station each spoke briefly.

Striplin talked about the state of the city’s budget for next year, which is in the early planning stages, and how the city works to make sure public-works projects are considered when deciding how to spend money.

“We want to make sure that when you’re driving you’re not dodging potholes,” Striplin said.

In addition to the formal presentations, city staff members set up a variety of tables around the Newhall Elementary School’s multi-purpose room to discuss projects, programs and community issues with attendees.

Local resident Larry McClements said he thinks the more informal nature of the event makes it easier to talk with city officials.

“Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to go into the (Santa Clarita City) Council chamber,” McClements said. “I see this as a good way for them to get feedback from the community and get put on the spot a little bit.”

Wednesday’s event is the first in a series of four meetings that will be held around the city in the coming months.
Town Hall meetings will be held in Canyon Country on March 5, Saugus on April 30 and Valencia on May 8.

Each meeting will focus, in part, on issues in the community where the town hall is being held.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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