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Two more announce candidacy for City Council

Posted: July 6, 2013 3:34 p.m.
Updated: July 6, 2013 3:34 p.m.

Canyon Country resident Berta Gonzalez-Harper and Newhall resident Duane Harte have added their names to the already burgeoning list of those who plan to run for Santa Clarita City Council in 2014.

Both informed The Signal of their decisions on Saturday.

Harte is a current member of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission. He is also treasurer for the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.

This would be the second time Harte has run for City Council, following an unsuccessful bid in 2002.

“Now that I’m retired, I have the time,” said Harte of running for council. “And I said when I retired I would do it again.”

A current resident of Newhall, Harte said he has lived in various places in the Santa Clarita Valley for about 40 years: an experience he says would serve him well in an elected role.

“I know a lot of things about Santa Clarita that will help me in running it,” he said.

Harte spoke highly of the work of the City Council and city staff but said he thought he would make a good replacement for longtime Councilman Frank Ferry, who has announced he will not seek reelection in 2014.

“I’m a person that listens. I don’t talk; I listen,” Harte said. “And I think that makes me a valuable asset as far as the people of Santa Clarita are concerned.”

Harte said he will officially announce his candidacy during a 10 a.m. event Thursday at Santa Clarita City Hall.

Gonzalez-Harper said one of the major reasons she decided to run was due to the recent California Voting Rights Act lawsuit that was filed against the city, alleging its system for electing City Council members dilutes the Latino vote.

“I finally just decided it’s time to just jump off the fence, especially with these ridiculous allegations,” she said, adding that she thinks the lawsuit is “ludicrous.”

A longtime resident of Canyon Country, Gonzalez-Harper was also complimentary of the current City Council but said she thinks there could be more emphasis on some areas, such as expanding services for seniors in Santa Clarita.

Gonzalez-Harper also said she thinks her lack of political affiliation and her experiences as a single mother would add a fresh perspective to the council.

“My only desire and my only reason for running would be to serve my community,” she said. “I consider it a public service job.”

The two join an already crowded field of candidates for the April 2014 City Council election.

Former Congressional candidate Dante Acosta, Canyon Country Advisory Committee Chairman Alan Ferdman, Newhall County Water District board President Maria Gutzeit and William S. Hart Union High School District board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine have all told The Signal they plan to run.

Incumbent City Council members Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste have also said they plan to seek reelection.

Santa Clarita Planning Commission member Diane Trautman told The Signal earlier this year she was leaning toward running but said Saturday she is still undecided on whether she will launch a bid.

She said she expects to announce her decision, one way or the other, in a couple of weeks.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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