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Why Can’t All Politicians Be Like SCV’s Maria Gutzeit?

Posted: August 5, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2013 2:00 a.m.

This is a paid candidate endorsement letter

Last week I attended a fundraiser for Maria Gutzeit, who is running to retain her existing seat on the Newhall County Water District. Gutzeit’s (D) fundraiser was held at local developer, Larry Rasmussen’s (R) office. The event was well attended with a good smattering of Republicans and Democrats and folks well in between. I’m pretty sure I saw some folks lovingly hugging trees in Larry’s parking lot while others were comfortably carrying chainsaws.

There’s something about Maria that causes this kind of otherwise unnatural convergence. It’s that magic something we used to see more of in politics, a certain special blend of professional competency melded with a mind towards community collaboration. To America’s loss, we haven’t seen much competent, professional collaboration in our national or statewide politics lately. What kind of country would we experience if our elected guys and gals would actually, finally, sit down and deal for the betterment of our country?

A better country!

Well, maybe one day Maria Gutzeit will be our congressman or senator and lead those packs of rats by showing them how good governance can be done. But park that sweet dream for a couple of years. For now, Maria is running for the NCWD board, and she’s supported by folks from the full, diverse, political spectrum. Having tip-toed through this minefield of polarized politics, Maria also successfully plays pied piper across the environmental landscape, leading a path towards consensus.Finding that rare common ground between developers and environmentalists, between heavy industry and clean water guys may seem Herculean; yet with her pragmatic problem solving approach, Maria gets deals done.

Maria’s secret? Pragmatism.

Developers need water for homes. Industry needs water for business. All of us need clean water for the health of our families. And everyone wants, and indeed needs, water delivery at fair pricing over the long run.

Water = sustainable community. Water = affordable homes. Water = jobs.

And did I mention that water = jobs?

Maria and her fellow board members have managed one of the most cost effective water providers in the Southland. Maria is committed to long term, high value water service to SCV businesses and families, equally.

Unlike so many SCV social-climbers-turned-politicians, Maria understands the factors required to make water policy successful for community growth and health. Maria is a chemical engineer, making her day job consulting on waste management and environmental mitigation. She’s the person keeping landfills, reclamation facilities, and metal processors on the right side of state and federal environmental regulations. She works to make regulations function as reasonable approaches to job creation, not job destruction. Maria’s daily work places her at Ground Zero of government red tape, real world environmental needs, and concerns of business owners and employees. With a deft touch and sharp mind, Maria is the expert at collaborative consensus. She knows sometimes you must tell a developer, "no." And sometimes, an Oak tree may need to be turned into furniture for the greater good.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have our national politicians committed more to their constituent’s well being than to the sundry oaths or extremist –isms to which they’ve subscribed?

Maria Gutzeit has worked hard all her life to earn her chops and get to where she’s gotten today. She earned her chemical engineering degree on a National Merit Scholarship at University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana. Relocating to the Golden State, she founded Compliance Plus, and environmental consultancy which she has successfully grown as a sole proprietor businesswoman. She and husband Tom have a three-year old daughter, Emma, who keeps Maria running hard on the mommy track in addition to work and public service. Maria has long served on the board of the SCV Senior Center, the SCV Open Space Committee, and has been Supervisor Antonovich’s appointee to the LA County Bicycle Master Plan committee. When Maria isn’t radiating citizenship, she can be seen around town cycling and enjoying other outdoor sports with Emma and Tom.

Almost everyone who knows Maria has urged her on towards higher public office. That’s a big step when you’ve got a daughter and a business and an otherwise busy life. No doubt, Maria will some day compete in an arena where Democrats and Republicans are more partisan and polarized. But knowing what I know about Maria’s fans, they’ll forget about the "D"s and "R"s and instead happily mark their X next to the M.

For now, Maria Gutzeit deserves your vote for Newhall County Water District Board.In the future, who knows … maybe we’ll be hearing from her "Live from City Hall." Maybe one day Buck McKeon will have a problem called "Maria." Now or then, we’ll be well served with Maria Gutzeit addressing our concerns with her signature pragmatism.



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