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Billboard matter will be put to a vote

Posted: June 24, 2014 11:46 p.m.
Updated: June 24, 2014 11:46 p.m.

After hours of discussion Tuesday night, Santa Clarita City Council members decided to put a controversial billboard ordinance to a public vote in the upcoming November general election, rather than repeal it outright.

In front of a crowd of attendees, some sporting buttons reading, “Repeal the deal,” council members voted to put the ordinance — which gives the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority the right to construct three, double-sided digital billboards on city-owned property off Highway 14 and Interstate 5 in exchange for removing 62 billboard structures along the Metro right-of-way inside city limits — up for a vote and seek to put it on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.

“The people can speak through an election,” said City Councilwoman Marsha McLean.

But many of those at Tuesday’s council meeting said they believed the people had already spoken, citing the some 18,544 signatures collected and submitted on petitions to qualify for a referendum.

“If you take this to an election, you will be spending $200,000 to do what you can do tonight and that is to repeal the deal,” said resident Patti Sulpizio.

According to the City Council agenda on the item, Los Angeles County staff has indicated they would support consolidation of the measure with the upcoming general election.

The cost of such an election is approximated at $208,000, according to the agenda item.

Many of the speakers Tuesday night urged council members to repeal the ordinance, citing a litany of reasons ranging from potential aesthetic or safety impacts of the billboards to an alleged lack of transparency in the process to the fact that things have changed because the City Council agreed in a separate action to remove 22 of the billboards in the Metro right-of-way.

The vote on the matter was 3-1. Councilman TimBen Boydston voted against.

“This deal is a bad deal. It was a bad deal to begin with,” Boydston said. “And that’s why I’m opposed to it.”

Boydston said he would like to see work toward a deal that would take down all the billboards in the city, not just the ones in the Metro right-of-way.

“What we need to do is kill this deal tonight so that we can go get a global solution to all of the boards in Santa Clarita,” he said.

Mayor Laurene Weste recused herself on the matter, but the other three council members who participated in the discussion said they believed the matter should be put to a vote.

Councilman Bob Kellar said he heard from citizens who were apparently misled about the nature of the petition by some of those gathering signatures.

“You know as well as I do, there were a lot of people who were the paid people that were not doing it with the level of integrity that you were,” he told those in the audience.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


lars1: Posted: June 25, 2014 8:46 a.m.

To the 18,544 citizens who signed the billboard referendum, the city council votes to ignore you again. We now know Mr Acosta is just another lemming, acting for the special interests not the citizens,
Please email them your disapproval of their decision...

They still don't get it!

Vtown123: Posted: June 25, 2014 10:19 a.m.

I'm ashamed of the council members. They just think we're too dumb to understand what's going on. We do in fact know what's going on, and that's why we signed the petition.

castaicjack: Posted: June 25, 2014 10:21 a.m.

The only people being "mislead" here are those who listen to Kellar. I saw some of the streaming video last night and it's obvious the members on the council who favor the electronic billboards want the measure framed in such a manner as to confuse and control it's description on the ballet. At least Boydston opposed that ploy. It still remains to be seen what language is used on the ballot to describe the measure and be wary it might be presented in such a manner as to project a negative impression of the intent of the referendum.

BBennetts: Posted: June 25, 2014 10:47 a.m.

The meetings have been overflowing with people speaking against this. Then, over 18,000 signatures were obtained from people that are against this. Now we need to have an election on this so the people can speak? Gimmie a break.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:04 a.m.

Not surprising in the least bit. We have elected crooks onto the council and they will ignore the citizen's wishes every time.



EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:27 a.m.

Dante Acosta = Rubber stamp. --edited.

OldReliable: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:28 a.m.

Wait a minute, didn't those opposed to this City Project pursue a vote by "We the People"?

chefgirl358: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:37 a.m.

Good! While I am ticked beyond belief that these council idiots are wasting our money, I will take great pleasure in seeing their stupid measure go down in giant FLAMES.

And what's with Kellar and all of his bs spin comments about people not understanding what they were signing? He's so full of it! Dozens of people were arrested that were hired by these goon firms who want to make all of the money off of these hideous billboards, and paid people to actually harass anyone who signed the petition...that's the only scandalous thing that occurred in relation to petition signing.

The people have apparently, they will vote again...on the same thing. Except this time, the council's defeat will be much more fantastic. I'm just pissed it's going to cost us a quarter of a million dollars because these morons just refuse to admit our expense of course.

DMeyer: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:40 a.m.

Kellar is a crook, and has fooled this city long enough. He is about to be exposed.

Unreal: Posted: June 25, 2014 11:54 a.m.

I am ok with voting. I am sorry to see the good money thrown away for the vote but I am sure that it will be again turned down by the people.

CaptGene: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:04 p.m.

If they were able to pass this without voter input, they should be able to stop it without voter input. The Council is just hoping they can wage a charm offensive to turn public opinion around.

What a sham. --edited.

CaptGene: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:06 p.m.

Kudos to TimBen!

CaptGene: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:07 p.m.

Since we're putting stuff on ballots, let's vote on a ban on billboards city wide.

cj64: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:13 p.m.

Mr. Kellar

Strike 1. Over 18,000 people voted in the referendum to stop the "billboard deal".

Strike 2. The people WILL defeat the "billboard deal" in November no matter how much your corrupt city will finagle the voter pamphlet.

Strike 3. The next time you come up for reelection, you will be voted out.

ElizaS: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:17 p.m.

In all past contentious council items (e.g., library takeover), speakers always say let the people vote on it. Now when they decide to do this on the billboard issue, they're mad. I get that commenters on here are against the deal, but this is a double standard in their cry for always asking to put an item before a public vote.

Approving the deal as the Council did or repealing the deal as they could have done is the same action in my book. If all the opposers were really concerned for giving the public a chance to vote on it, yesterday's action by the council is a good one.

Signing a petition where you have signature gatherers persuading you to sign, does not constitute the will of the people.

Let the people vote. If the opposers are quite confident that an overwhelming majority do not agree with this deal, there should be nothing to worry about. Getting verification from voters would be the biggest told you so to the Council's face.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:34 p.m.

ElizaS:" I get that commenters on here are against the deal, but this is a double standard in their cry for always asking to put an item before a public vote."

Because, ElizaS... this should have been put before a public vote BEFORE the council decided to circumvent the very people they are supposed to represent! The referendum should reflect a "vote".... a vote that the council were afraid of in the first place.

Kellar and Co. will be left with runny egg on their faces come November and I will be wearing a huge smile. They continue to ignore their own citizens for the opportunity to line their pockets, and this will not stand. Sorry, Bob.

DMeyer: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:39 p.m.

The crooked council members are counting on voter apathy, it's actually a good bet on their part. We need to follow through and make sure we cast our ballots when the election is held.

CaptGene: Posted: June 25, 2014 12:52 p.m.

Elizas: "If all the opposers were really concerned for giving the public a chance to vote on it, yesterday's action by the council is a good one"

Only if the people had voted on it in the first place. The council should have put the deal to a vote to begin with, then we wouldn't be dealing with this nonsense now.

lars1: Posted: June 25, 2014 1:14 p.m.

City Council lie number 1. Dozens of people, all on their own time, showed up at city hall to voice their negative opinion on the original billboard deal. The city council beLIEved that the VAST majority, over 200,000 people wanted, and were in favor of the billboard deal. They just did not show up to the city council meeting.

City Council lie number 2. The public was misled by the billboard referendum.
They stated that people shouted "just sign here to stop billboards".
That was not the case. I am a little disappointed in Tim Ben. During the meeting last night there was a council vote on approving the results of the billboard referendum. Tim Ben should have had every council member read what the 18,000+ people signed. There was NO MISLEADING the public on the billboard referendum. Other than the lies of kellar, acoste and mclean nobody in the audience supported that argument. There were plenty of people there who wanted the city to REPEAL THE DEAL. Once again those city council members believed that the public was duped by signing the billboard referendum. There were blockers hired by AllVision. That fact was ignored by those council members.

Sam2222: Posted: June 25, 2014 2:26 p.m.

It will be interesting to see of the 18,544 signatures how many will vote on the issue.

castaicjack: Posted: June 25, 2014 9:29 p.m.

It will be very interesting to see how the issue is presented on the ballot.
I suspect it will be buried somewhere in the back of the ballot and will read along the lines of: "Pursuant to a referendum edict levied upon the City of Santa Clarita, shall the disposition of public announcements conveyed by electronic media be prohibited anywhere within city limits at any time?
A yes vote means you concur with the prohibitive restriction.
A NO vote means you DISAGREE with the prohibition.
I find it interesting the county of Los Angeles agreed to consolidate the issue on the November ballot before it had been voted upon by the city council. At the very least, the fact that county was so accommodating in allowing the inclusion of the issue on the November ballot would, in itself, potentially bias council members who would then know that it would already be coming up for a vote and in what format(ie the November ballot). The latter doesn't surprise me, however, since the county committee looking at the liability issue reversed themselves on their decision not to accept liability for the electronic billboards, as previously reported in a past article on the subject in The Signal. I suspect that reversal on the issue of liability probably came after a call from Antonovich's office.

rwilson: Posted: June 25, 2014 10:07 p.m.

Why did the citizens email the city council to repeal the deal? Why did so many show up at the council meeting to present their 3 minute opinions to repeal the deal? Once again, Mr. Kellar's decision was already made and nobody, including 18,000 misinformed citizens would change his mind. The backroom dealings with the city attorney was obvious. The city attorney kept looking at Mr. Kellar, almost asking him if this is what you want me to say.

stevehw: Posted: June 26, 2014 1:04 a.m.

I'm confused...what, exactly, did the petition for referendum ask for? I honestly have no idea, never saw any signature gatherers nor did I sign it, so I don't know.

What was the wording on the petition?

stevehw: Posted: June 26, 2014 5:18 p.m.

What, doesn't anybody know what the petition said???

castaicjack: Posted: June 26, 2014 9:02 p.m.

People don't carry around a copy of the petition in their pocket or have it posted in front of their computers in the expectation of your demand to provide at your satisfaction of "what, exactly, did the petition for the referendum call for". It should be axiomatic that people signed the petition with the understanding that the electronic billboards would not be installed as planned by the city council. So, you can either believe Kellar's assertion that the people were mislead or you can go with the 18000 plus people who read what they signed with the aforementioned understanding. Whether or not it goes to a vote was up to the city council, whether it should, given the obvious will of the people, is another matter...

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