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Challengers sparse in Santa Clarita Valley as election filing deadline passes

Posted: August 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Several new candidates joined the race for local offices in the Santa Clarita Valley just ahead of Friday’s nomination deadline, but incumbents in two of the larger districts in the Santa Clarita Valley will be unchallenged in November, county records show.

Only incumbents filed to run for seats on the William S. Hart Union High School District board, — the middle and high school district in the Santa Clarita Valley — and the Santa Clarita Community College District board, which oversees the two College of the Canyons campuses, according to online filings from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office.

Overall, challengers are sparse in this year’s election field, with only one district race seeing more than one non-incumbent declared to run, according to county records.

The last day to file nomination papers for the Nov. 5 election was Friday.

Hart and COC

The three incumbents running for re-election in the Hart district are current board President Joe Messina, longtime board member Bob Jensen and Chris Fall, who was appointed to the board in June to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Paul Strickland. No challengers filed.

The Hart district is the only public secondary school district in the Santa Clarita Valley with more than 20,000 students in middle and high school.

The situation is the same for the COC board, with board President Michael Berger and longtime incumbent Joan MacGregor seeking re-election along with Steve Zimmer, who was appointed to the board earlier this year to fill the vacancy left by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, after his election to state office. No challengers filed.

Saugus Union

The most crowded race in November will be the Saugus Union School District board, where two challengers will go up against the three incumbents for three available seats.

The three incumbents — Doug Bryce, Paul De La Cerda and Judy Umeck — have all served at least two terms on the board of the largest elementary school district in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The fourth candidate is Saugus resident Chris Trunkey, a member of the Hart district Measure V citizens’ oversight committee, who also been involved with parent-teacher associations and school site councils in the Saugus district.

The other challenger is Saugus resident Stacie Allegra. Another potential challenger, Valencia resident Bruce Fox, withdrew his candidacy.

Newhall and Sulphur Springs

The Newhall School District board race features only one challenger this year: Sandra Bull, a Valencia resident and retired educator who spent 17 years as a teacher and assistant principal in the Sulphur Springs School District.
Bull will face off against a trio of incumbents — Phil Ellis, Christy Smith and Brian Walters — who announced their intention to run in a joint press release this summer.

The board race for the Sulphur Springs district also sees one challenger going against three incumbents seeking re-election, with Newhall resident Ken Chase seeking to unseat one of three incumbents: Kerry Clegg, Michael Hogan and Lori MacDonald, according to county filings.

Castaic district

The three incumbents in the Castaic Union School District are also set to run unchallenged, according to county filings.

Sitting board members Susan Christopher, Laura Pearson and Victor Torres have all filed paperwork to seek re-election, according to county records.

The Castaic district encompasses four schools, including Castaic Middle School, and is the only local elementary school district that includes seventh and eighth grades.

Newhall County Water District

One of the later filings of this election cycle was made by Carl Puckett, a Canyon Country resident who is seeking a seat on the Newhall County Water District board.

Puckett will face off with incumbents Maria Gutzeit, B.J. Atkins and Kathy Colley.

The water district serves about 44,400 customers in the Santa Clarita Valley, primarily in the area of Castaic, Newhall, Pinetree and Tesoro.

Acton-Agua Dulce

In the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District, three sitting board members — Mark Distaso, Ed Porter and Matt Ridenour — are seeking re-election unopposed.
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