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UPDATE: Santa Clarita: Billboard petitions have sufficient signatures

Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures

Posted: May 5, 2014 11:44 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2014 3:19 p.m.

Electronic billboard opponents welcome the arrival Monday at City Hall of petitions aimed at reversing a Santa Clarita City Council decision on billboards. Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures on the billboard petitions. Signal photo by Austin Dave.


After estimating the number of signatures on 15 of 28 boxes of billboard petitions turned in at City Hall today, Santa Clarita city officials declared a minimim number of signatures had been collected to send the issue up to the next level: verification of those signatures by Los Angeles County officials.

"A Sheriff's (Department) van will transport all of the petitions to Los Angeles County offices in Norwalk, where each of the signatures submitted with the petitions will be verified by Los Angeles County staff," said a city news release issued shortly after 3 p.m. today.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved an ordinance in March that would remove more than 60 billboard structures in the center of the city in exchange for permission to construct three double-sided billboards on Santa Clarita Valley freeways.

Opponents of the plan circulated petitions calling for the council to reverse its decision or conduct a public vote on the matter.

Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures of residents calling for the City Council to repeal the ordinance. Petitioners trying to reverse the city’s decision were required to gather at least 11,170 valid signatures, according to Gail Morgan, city spokeswoman.

Today, city staff were collecting and scrutinizing the petitions inside the Century Room at City Hall.

The county will verify each and every signature to ascertain the total number of valid signatures, Morgan said.

Typically, petitions should contain 30 percent more signatures than the number sought to allow for invalid entries, said Steve Petzold, one of the organizers of the petition drive.

The minimum requirement plus 30 percent would be 14,521 signatures.

“The rule of thumb for petitioners is that you need 25 to 30 percent over the minimum to be confident you’ll have a sufficient amount (verified),” he said.

The referendum petition seeks to force the city to either repeal an ordinance that allowed for the billboard deal or allow a public vote by the people on the issue.

The ordinance, approved by the Santa Clarita City Council in March, gave the go-ahead for a proposal from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to take down 62 billboard structures along the Metro right-of-way inside city limits in exchange for giving Metro the right to construct three, double-sided digital billboards on city-owned property off Interstate 5 and Highway 14.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




stray: Posted: May 5, 2014 11:56 a.m.

The grannys, Kellar, et al are ALL dumb founded today! But, this isn't over UNTIL it's OVER. If it comes to a ballot vote, then that will speak volumes when the votes are tallied. It will clearly indicate that the people of this community have "had it" with their arrogance! THIS council is deliberately going against the citizens which they represent.

What did you say Kellar about how YOU were certain that the MAJORITY of SC wants the ebillboards ??? Let's hear that again...

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: May 5, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Count 'em up, baby!!!!!! Kellar and the "rockin grannies" are on the run!!!

chefgirl358: Posted: May 5, 2014 12:55 p.m.

I really hope they have enough signatures!

stray: Posted: May 5, 2014 1:42 p.m.

“I’m going to make a prediction that we are going to have unbelievable support from the community on this,” Kellar said. “I mean, sit back and think about it, how often have you heard people say, ‘Boy aren’t those beautiful billboards?’”

I was hoping Kellar would step into the ring here. But, it appears he's hiding under his desk! So, I feel compelled to post your previous statements Bob...

City Councilman Bob Kellar, who voted in favor of the proposal when it was before the council, also spoke at Thursday’s meeting. He said afterward he continues to believe that the majority of Santa Clarita residents are supportive of the proposal.

“There’s no question in my mind, having been a city councilman for 14 years and having heard so many complaints, that the vast majority of our citizens would be in favor of taking down 118 billboards in exchange for six faces along the freeway,” Kellar said.

Kellar said he thinks it is unfortunate that Boydston spoke against the proposal, since the majority of council members elected to support it.

Well, once again Boydston - KUDOS for listening to your community residents while professionally representing us while voting against this!

lars1: Posted: May 5, 2014 3:15 p.m.

The city is just a bunch of thieves. I have no doubt that they will discount every signature. There is BIG REVENUE to be made, so that trumps what the people want.

hopeful: Posted: May 5, 2014 3:30 p.m.

I am very proud of our community!

SCV4ALL: Posted: May 5, 2014 4:16 p.m.

Its easy for Caltrans to get money into our council but hard to get it back out. The council will fight its own citizens over this, and hire a high paid law firm to preform some lame analysis and then still allow the electric nightmare.

chefgirl358: Posted: May 5, 2014 4:31 p.m.

HA! In your face city council!

lars1: Posted: May 5, 2014 4:40 p.m.

I don't trust anyone in the city with this.
They give out misinformation and lies, and are very unethical and deceitful.

chefgirl358: Posted: May 5, 2014 7:21 p.m.

I am so proud of our citizens for banding together and flexing our muscle. To get 18,000 signatures in such a short period of time is outstanding. Thank you so much to the folks who stood out there gathering signatures!

SReilly12: Posted: May 5, 2014 8:20 p.m.

Well I for one would like to thank those that got arrested. They, I believe, contributed heavily to the news coverage of this by the Signal. Without the recent incidents that occurred, people wouldn't have paid any attention to this matter. Now look.......with their help, people are informed, signatures have been gathered and we get to move forward in our fight!!! I would also like to thank our City Council, once again they showed their true colors and the people of this community get to experience their self interests once again. --edited.

DavePutnam: Posted: May 5, 2014 8:49 p.m.

TimBen Boydston was the only council member present this morning when the petitions were delivered at City Hall. He proudly stood with the citizens while Mayor Marsha McLean, Bob Keller, and our newest council member Dante Acosta were nowhere to be seen. Of course, I'm sure that Lauren Weste recused herself from being present and former council member Frank Ferry along with his condescending attitude toward constituents is long gone, never to be heard from again.

scvmom87cp: Posted: May 6, 2014 10:44 p.m.

The bigger issue to me in this whole fight is that if the city voters cared more at election time and weren't so apathetic, the people sitting on the City Council would be elected by a larger segment of the voters. The voter turnout in this City for the City council is embarassing. Then when something hits the papers, everyone goes crazy. I personally would like to see the billboards along the rail lines gone. The 3 large elctric billboards along the freeways will not bother me in the least. I know this is part of democracy but the number of people in front of every store, in each shopping center was ridiculous. It will be interesting to see how many of those signatures are certified.

missyJk: Posted: May 6, 2014 11:46 p.m.

YAY city!!! whose the fool that negotiated the money on this deal for the electronic billboards? it was brought out in the city council meeting that i watched on TV that other cities negotiated better terms and monies for their cities on these electronic billboards with less commitment time, they had 40 years our city council members sold us for 50 years and a lot less money. I say keep the billboards along the rail lines i actually like seeing them if i have reason to go down Railroad ave..

Unreal: Posted: May 6, 2014 10:12 a.m.


Allan_Cameron: Posted: May 6, 2014 10:27 a.m.

They will not tell the public this, but the Sanitation District is also subject to referendum and initiative.

The nearly 400 million dollar tax hike will be launched tomorrow, Wednesday, May 7, at City Hall, at 6:00PM.

CastaicClay: Posted: May 6, 2014 11:11 a.m.

I would sign a Sanitation District petition. No dog in the billboard fight.

Unreal: Posted: May 6, 2014 12:29 p.m.

Allan_Cameron: We would have to pay signature gathers or be willing to collect them ourselves.

scvforall: Posted: May 7, 2014 11:15 a.m.

The truth is the old ladies and the proud racist railroaded us so that Laurene could make more profit on her land by Railroad Ave.

The train has left the station and the citizens are on the move. The Council better sit up and pay attention.

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