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Bob Kellar: Santa Clarita will continue to thrive

Posted: April 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Now that our city has survived another local election, I thought it would be appropriate to make some comments regarding elections and city hall. After all, things can get pretty exciting, or should I say concerning around election time in Santa Clarita.

I feel that there were far too many attacks on the incumbent candidates for the sole purpose of promoting oneself or another candidate. I am far more impressed with candidates that come forward with appropriate qualifications, an understanding of how local government works, and an ability to work with others. Remember -- no individual can accomplish a thing without the willingness and ability to work with others.

It’s time to move on and I suggest we start by acknowledging and congratulating both Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean on retaining their seats on the City Council. I’d also like to congratulate a person I know will be an outstanding councilmember --Dante Acosta -- as the newest member of the city council.

Looking back over the 27-year history of this city, we have been so fortunate to have achieved an incredible amount of success with many great community improvements. Certainly the city council, individually and collectively, has a right to feel very proud of this city’s successes. However, if it was not for the fantastic 350+ city employees, those successes would not have been possible.

Over the years we have been blessed to have extremely competent and capable city managers along with many strong upper management personnel. As a matter of fact, often the best action a city councilmember can make is to stay out of the way and let caring, educated, experienced and qualified people do their work. It is not the responsibility of the council to manage the day to day operations of city hall; that is the city manager’s job. Our job is to work with the citizens and the city manager in setting and interpreting policy. This is called the “Council- Manager form of Government,” and is the most common form found across America.

Nearly two years ago, the council hired then-Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin into the city manager position.

That was an easy decision for the council as Mr. Striplin had served eight years as the assistant city manager and had proven himself many times over as a strong and capable leader. An additional benefit for the city is that Ken earned his doctorate degree in organizational management. Ken is highly respected by the employees and the council alike. I feel our future in Santa Clarita remains very secure with Ken Striplin at the helm.

Our representative form of government means that the people of our great city elect the city council to represent them – all of them—not just those that show up on Tuesday nights, although we represent them as well. We also represent those we talk to in the grocery store, at community events and charity fundraisers; those who email or call us, and those who stop us at our favorite restaurant or at work. For several years I have been asked on numerous occasions about getting rid of billboards in the city and have had to explain that it was cost-prohibitive.

As I’ve said from the dais, I do not particularly like digital billboards, but the idea of getting rid of all 62 billboards along the railroad right-of-way inside the city, in exchange for three freeway billboards, is truly a great opportunity for our City.

We are very fortunate to be in the City of Santa Clarita. We have such a great city for all of us to enjoy, and I would hope, to appreciate. Financially we remain very strong with a 17 percent reserve fund and a triple AAA credit rating from Standard and Poors. This is something most cities can only dream of having. We have been very aggressive in bringing good quality companies and industries into our City, and creating excellent employment opportunities. Over the years we have expanded roads, parks, trails, facilities and enhanced beautification.

Exciting events have been brought to the City, such as the Cowboy Festival, Amgen Tour of California, swim competitions and much more. Your city council and staff have worked very hard to make this a solid city for all our families to thrive and enjoy, and we will continue this tradition of excellence.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember.



Leemorr: Posted: April 26, 2014 2:28 p.m.

Mr. Kellar...with regard to accepting digital billboards in exchange of ridding ourselves of half of the ugly (but effective) in-town billboards, the citizens who have taken the time to pay attention to this action wonder the same thing: Why was it necessary to marry the first girl who came along? Why not weigh the multiple options that would have come in had you put it out to bid? Perhaps the METRO/AllVision option would have been best...perhaps CBS Outdoor or ClearChannel would have provided a better deal. Why jump? And why not put the whole thing up to vote by the citizens you represent, instead of talking about it for months in closed session before bringing it out to discuss, vote and vote again in a 3 meeting run from February to March? And why even consider handling this issue when one of your voting body had to recuse herself from voting because of a potential financial benefit and another not recusing herself, despite receiving campaign benefits from a lobbyist for AllVision (along with the other, recused member)?

The reason that so many people attacked the incumbents (for all the change it brought) was that they railroaded this thing through...with no regard for the citizens. That isn't how representative government works.

cjdunne: Posted: April 26, 2014 2:51 p.m.

Can't we get some term limits in place. I'm tired of the same old Kellars, McCleans and Westes

ferdmana: Posted: April 26, 2014 3:47 p.m.

Bob Kellar needs to realize that incumbents are not immune from being held accountable for their behavior, decisions and actions. Those items are fair game, particularly during election time.

scvforall: Posted: April 27, 2014 7:08 a.m.

Bob: why have you and the others been so silent about the blockers and those who are preventing the democratic process? Those wanting to sign a referendum should not risk arrest or harassment, especially from non SCV residents being paid to disrupt due process.

ricketzz: Posted: April 27, 2014 7:14 a.m.

The city government is inbred (and defensive it seems). When you promote from within rather than open the most powerful job in the city to national candidates you get no surprises. This is how a corporation behaves; not a dynamic public service. Mr. Striplin may be a wonderful person but he lacks the experience that we may have found from a competent nationwide search for candidates. By keeping the inner circle intact Mr. Keller et al have cheated the city in general. At some point Santa Clarita will be dragged kicking and screaming into the present.

DavePutnam: Posted: April 27, 2014 8:20 a.m.

Mr. Keller needs to remove the rose tinted glasses and realize how inappropriate it was for the two incumbents running for reelection to participate in a fundraiser given by a lobbyist working for a company that was part of the Metro billboard negotiation. As a successful politician I would hope that he is well aware that due to the fact that there were several other viable candidates on the ballot who came close in votes to the incumbents, many voters opted for other candidates than Ms. McLean and Ms. Weste.

Councilman Keller obviously had access to the nuts and bolts of the Metro deal long before it was placed in public view late last year. His willingness to participate in hasty votes on this without considering the constituent's as well as fellow Council member Boydston's obvious concerns on the matter demonstrates an extreme lack of appreciation and respect for the office he was elected to by the voters. A large percentage of the 62 billboards on the Metro right of way that he boasts of getting rid of turned out not to be a part of the Metro deal but were instead part of a separate deal with Edwards Outdoor Advertising. This separate deal which handed the Edwards Company a check for well over $1 million in taxpayer money was approved by the City Council late in the same evening that the final vote on the Metro deal was taken. In the end, the Edwards deal did turn out to be a much better than the one that would place six monster signs located on three 5 to 6 story platforms located at the gateways to our city for the next 50 years.

Perhaps Mr. Keller missed the protest of well over 100 citizens in front of City Hall on the day that he cast his final vote for the billboard deal on April 8. I somehow doubt this, as it was featured fairly prominently on the front page of the newspaper that has been known to give him fairly dependable glowing coverage. Maybe if the opponents of the billboard deal are successful at getting a measure on the ballot to scotch the deal via referendum, he might finally take notice.

By the end of Bob Keller's current term ending in two years, he will have served the city for 16 years as a council member. Obviously as the years go by, his sensitivity, dependance and reliance upon the opinions expressed by the average citizen of the city has grown dull. This often happens in situations where you are surrounded by a bunch of yes-men and women.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: April 27, 2014 8:33 a.m.

Bob Kellar is a simple crook, nothing more. Why is he so afraid to put the billboard scam to a vote? I hate Bob Kellar. This city will indeed thrive once we put opportunists like him, Weste and McLean out to pasture. They are way over their "expiration" date... and you make me feel dirty for ever having voted for you.

Awwww.... did the old grannies get their feelings hurt? Maybe you should give them a backrub, Bobbo.

chefgirl358: Posted: April 27, 2014 10:24 a.m.

You jerk! You sold us out for those hideous crappy digital billboards and now you're hiding with the witches from the chaos that has ensued with this petition drive.

lars1: Posted: April 27, 2014 5:14 p.m.

Soon we will have the car dealer ads on the electronic billboards.
We all know who called bob kellar and wanted the billboard deal.

the city council no longer represents the citizens of santa clarita.
the "special interests" who throw money to the council members, have more say in city decesions than the public.

it is only fitting that when the ugly electronic billboards are up and running, the city will see no income. the net income from the billboards, as reported by metro will be zero.

metro has screwed us with the pay toll carpool lanes, and they will screw the city over this deal. when whe have bozos representing us, thats what you get.

OldReliable: Posted: April 28, 2014 4:58 a.m.

I happen to agree with Bob Kellar. Santa Clarita is a fantastic community to live in and all you naysayers know this is absolutely true otherwise you would have moved long ago. I say, dump those ugly billboards as fast as humanly possible as they have blighted our city far too long. Go City Hall!

ricketzz: Posted: April 28, 2014 6:23 a.m.

A person who puts a Dick's Sporting Goods in a stripmall in the sky, so the entire city can see the big green "Dick's" sign all day long, is worried about a few miniature billboards next to train tracks and telegraph lines? Honestly, I still think the Walgreens with no back easement at Soledad and White's is uglier, because it blots out the afternoon sun.

Where is the survey that says the little billboards were a priority?

jpsval: Posted: April 28, 2014 8:50 a.m.

Politics and politicians in Santa Clarita are as important as a good back door screen. Stay shut, keep out the flies and be still. A community whose latest issue is 'billboards' compared to what is actually happening in the country and the world just ought to be thankful. I don't pay any attention to these oxymoron politicians and their views or ideas just as long as common sense prevails. (which at times as been tested) I am certain that the leadership council of any of our high schools could do as good or much better job than any past or present city council in running SC. Actually omitting kick backs and payoffs their effort would be a better service to the public.

ricketzz: Posted: April 29, 2014 6:26 a.m.

Princeton University and Northwestern University have published a paper that shows government is not doing the will of the people when it conflicts with the wants of the wealthy. We are no longer any kind of democracy. We are an oligarchy, which is a euphemism for fascist state.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: May 3, 2014 8:12 a.m.


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