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Santa Clarita billboard issue to be settled by public vote

Posted: June 25, 2014 7:03 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2014 7:03 p.m.

Sheriff's Capt. Roosevelt Johnson, left standing, reaches to escort Saugus resident Steve Petzold, seated, from Council Chambers during the sometimes-contentious Santa Clarita City Council meeting Tuesday night at which members agreed to put the billboard ordinance to a public vote. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze

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Come November, Santa Clarita voters will take to the polls for the city’s first-ever public referendum — in this case to decide the future of a controversial billboard ordinance.

Faced with the decision to either repeal the ordinance outright or put it to a public vote, Santa Clarita City Council members voted 3-1 Tuesday night to seek to put the matter on the ballot for the upcoming general election in November.

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

The ordinance in question would give 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.

The City Council had approved the ordinance, but now it will be put on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.

Los Angeles County staff has indicated it would support consolidation of the measure with the upcoming general election, the city’s agenda item said.

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

But many of those at Tuesday’s council meeting said they believed the people had already spoken, citing more than 11,000 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.

Councilman TimBen Boydston was the lone vote against putting the matter to a public vote.

“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, who also voted against the ordinance when it was before the City Council, 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 other council members who participated in the discussion said they believed the matter is best 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.

Kellar told the audience, “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 said of paid petition-signature gatherers.

The hours-long meeting Tuesday was contentious at times, with some exchanges between members of the audience and council members on the dais.

Saugus resident Steve Petzold was temporarily escorted from Council Chambers by officials from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station after calling out to council members during the meeting.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




chefgirl358: Posted: June 26, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Why are they running the same EXACT story all over again?

castaicjack: Posted: June 26, 2014 1:20 a.m.

A rerun of the same story? Well, two can play at that game.
Latest revisionary semantics revisited on our ballot choices:
"Shall the City of Santa Clarita be compelled to rescind discretionary electronic messaging based upon a prior referendum at the cost of lost revenue due to the city ?"
A "no" vote means you maintain your venue for public dissemination of knowledge.
A "yes" vote means a venue of public knowledge arises immediately and repeats every 10 seconds...

lars1: Posted: June 26, 2014 9:06 a.m.

Allvision, the billboard company that will be making hundreds of millions from this "billboard deal" has bought off this city council BIG TIME!

Allvision came in here and blocked the people from legally signing the billboard referendum. They may be using strong-armed tactics to get the money they want. They are going to try and BUY OFF the election with the assistance of the city council.

Arthur Sohikian, who has been hired as a lobbyist for Allvision, threw Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste a fundraiser just days after the first yes-vote for the billboard deal from which Allvision will reap hundreds of millions of dollars!

Arthur Sohikian, the Allvision lobbyist gets a City Council Committee Position on the North County Transportation Coalition. How does that happen?

Who do Kellar, Weste, McLean and Acosta represent????????
They state that the people are stupid and misinformed.
They state people are saying things that are not true.
They lie about everything. They are dishonest and deceitful!

lars1: Posted: June 26, 2014 9:13 a.m.

The Allvision blockers did not gather any comments from Mr Kellar. Since he is paid by Allvison, there was no mention of the ILLEGAL Allvision blocking activity. His only comment was to the integrity of the LEGAL petition-signature gatherers. A previous statement he made was, "this deal has to go through, any way possible". I guess he means illegal activities are ok!

OldReliable: Posted: June 26, 2014 10:01 a.m.

Didn't those objecting to billboard removals in SCV desire a public vote?

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 26, 2014 11:16 a.m.

Yes, OR.

That's what should have been done ORIGINALLY, at least a year ago. But the pocketliners didn't want that, hence the referendum. One would think this would serve the crooks well enough now as "the voice of the people" instead of spending an additional $200,000.

itzreality: Posted: June 26, 2014 12:46 p.m.

Glad they are putting this to a vote. Wouldn't be wonderful if these very same folks took up the same interest in other areas such as education, public parks and also got things done!

Unreal: Posted: June 26, 2014 1:03 p.m.

I am getting sick and tired of seeing the citizens of this town "escorted" out of city council meetings. The council and the Sheriffs need to show a lot more respect for the citizens who pay their damn salaries.

Unreal: Posted: June 26, 2014 1:09 p.m.

I think $200,000 would be better spent on the "Senior Center", or a "No Kill Shelter" so the pets of SCV aren't killed within a few days after being turned into the Castaic Shelter.

SReilly12: Posted: June 26, 2014 1:31 p.m.

$200K is chump change to these people......of course they want to take it to a vote......wouldn't you fight to the bitter end (and it will be bitter) instead of walking away from the potential cash flow they will receive. Lets not forget they saved you some $$$ by incorporating this item in the November election........................

I don't know who I'm more angry with the City Council or the people in this community that voted these suckers will never learn!

DMeyer: Posted: June 26, 2014 4:02 p.m.

I like Unreal's suggestion, use that money for the Senior Center and a No Kill Shelter.

Rocketeer: Posted: June 26, 2014 5:03 p.m.

" the pets of SCV aren't killed within a few days after being turned into the Castaic Shelter."

And you know this how??? They have a cat at Castaic right now that's been there since May 9th. Another since May 17th. Much more than "a few days."

Go over to the doghouse and it's wall-to-wall pitbulls that belonged to gangbangers who got sent to prison (ironically many of them are there at Pitchess). The staff begs anyone who will listen to take one of the pitbulls but who's going to adopt a dog that's just going to maul them?

So the plan is to spend our money to house a steadily increasing number of criminal's pit bulls for the rest of their lives? Not what I would choose.

I really hope no city council member reads this- if they knew where to get a supply of free pitbulls that they could release on the public during council meetings they wouldn't need to use the Sheriffs anymore.

stray: Posted: June 26, 2014 5:11 p.m.

I agree with most everyone's statements here. Indeed, this is a BIG waste of money that could be spent on much more important things - certainly the senior center and no kill shelters are great suggestions... I really do believe that the seriously KNOWN dangerous pets need to be removed from society. That means the animal itself, not the breed. That way, the no kill shelter gives hope for our four legged friends who stand a good chance in getting adopted.

The council won't give up without fighting back - regardless if they got pie in their faces with the required petition signatures! Too much $$$ at stake... What bothers me is the fact that people are generally lazy and apathetic towards voting matters. They are so lazy in fact, that they won't even fill out a ballot and put it in the mail !!! Just ask your HOA about voting issues! People signed the petitions because they were scattered throughout SC and folks were adamantly against e-billboards. The petitions were practically put in front of people's faces, so they felt obligated. But, something tells me that there won't be a BIG voter turn-out in November and that's exactly what the council is banking on. I hope I'm wrong...


bbcalvin: Posted: June 26, 2014 5:25 p.m.

Maybe the council believes spending $200K on this election is a good investment for this community. If the digital billboards win, that's an extra $500K-$1M per year in revenue(can't remember the figure)that they can spend on other items like parks, senior center, etc. Much better than the one-time $200K cost of the election. That's how I see it from a revenue standpoint.

cj64: Posted: June 26, 2014 7:47 p.m.

The city and city council are the BIGGEST bunch of liars around.

Point 1.
Mr. Cole with the city of Santa Clarita...just another liar...

The proposal will go through an environmental review process and come before the city Planning Commission and the City Council for public hearings in early 2014, offering the community ample opportunities to weigh in.

We are interested in learning your thoughts and ideas about removing 118 billboards on 62 structures in the center of the city in exchange for constructing three digital billboards along the freeways.

Please visit our website at Thank you for your thoughts on this matter

Deal already done in private. FU to any public comments.
The city council does not care what the public wants,
they do whatever we want. Like it or not.

Point 2. Gail Morgan, another city liar.....

From the city’s perspective, the plan is not about the potential for $450-600,000 in revenue that would result from Metro’s proposal, said Gail Morgan, city spokeswoman for Santa Clarita. It’s always been about beautifying the city by getting rid of the billboards, she said. original deal

Now we have kellar, who is adding the words

to the actual text of the voting statement.


stray: Posted: June 26, 2014 10:37 p.m.

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

Interesting comment granny. We already did speak at the council meeting and you ignored us EVERY time! We spoke again through the signature petitions and you ignored us AGAIN! Now, to try again to shove it down our throats, you and your other cronies want to put it up on a ballot as a last resort. Have you heard of desperado ??? That's EXACTLY what it is! It never amazes me what people will do to get what they want. Save your rhetoric granny and Kellar, this is NOT in the best interests of the community. Safety factors are truly being ignored just like the voices of SC residents. "BOO HOO" on ALL of you except Tim!

missyJk: Posted: June 27, 2014 1:05 p.m.

Listening to Acosta i am sorry i voted for him he has fit in with the crowd...TimBen had a good idea repeal it and come up with a new deal, if thats what the community eventually wanted. we would have avoided the 200k that its going to cost us for an election..we got short changed everywhere with this city council they must feel like millionaires up there spending all our hard earned dollars paid to property tax with all their bond issues..I too would like a no-kill shelter and more spent on seniors --edited.

strays: Posted: June 27, 2014 2:42 p.m.

I also did not vote for Acosta - and I'm really glad now that I didn't. I proudly voted for Alan Ferdman. From what I've learned about Ferdman, he represents people on the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, so I trusted that he would apply his talent and ethics on the city council. So don't give up Ferdman, when the existing council continues to act the way they have been doing, it will make it easier for you to rise to the council in the future in the next election. Alan appears to line himself up with TimBen and that will be a positive asset to our council when that day comes.

missyJk: Posted: June 28, 2014 3:58 a.m.

I voted for Alan Ferdman time just him and TimBen

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