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New candidates emerge for Santa Clarita City Council race

Posted: January 8, 2014 5:09 p.m.
Updated: January 8, 2014 5:09 p.m.

Two additional people have confirmed to The Signal that they are planning to run for Santa Clarita City Council in April, while another said Wednesday he is strongly leaning toward a bid.

That brings to 10 the number of people who have said they will join the race for the three seats that will be up for grabs.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Valencia resident Stephen Daniels said he is planning to launch a council bid this week.
Daniels described himself as a strong supporter of term limits who thinks there is a need for new blood on the council.

“I just think with the incumbency situation, you’ve got people who have sat on the City Council for so long that there’s no fresh ideas coming in anymore,” he said during a phone interview Tuesday.

Daniels, who works as a marketing and communications manager for a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, said this is the first time he has run for public office.

“In third grade I was treasurer,” he said with a laugh.

Valencia resident Dennis Conn also told The Signal Wednesday he was also planning to file paperwork to run in the council election.

Conn is no stranger to such bids. He unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 1987, 1998 and 2002, city records show.
Conn said Wednesday one of his major goals would be to find ways to collect more revenue in the form of transient occupancy taxes, which are charged for people who stay in hotels, motels or other similar venues.

Another proposal Conn mentioned was to add “blinking red arrows” at city intersections, allowing drivers to make a left turn at a red light during some low-volume traffic hours.

Two other people who have not returned The Signal’s calls have also taken out papers with City Hall to run in the election.

That means there could be 12 names on the ballot for the three seats. Two of the 12 are incumbents.

Others who have said they will run are former congressional candidate Dante Acosta; Canyon Country Advisory Committee Chairman Alan Ferdman; longtime Canyon Country resident Berta Gonzalez-Harper; Newhall County Water District board member Maria Gutzeit; city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commissioner Duane Harte; and William S. Hart Union High School District board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine.

Incumbents Mayor Laurene Weste and Councilwoman Marsha McLean have also said they will run for re-election.

Another four — Conn, Daniels, Moazzem H. Chowdhury and Paul J. Wieczorek — have emerged as potential candidates since the filing period opened in December.

Chowdhury told The Signal Wednesday he is about “90 percent sure” he will follow through and file papers to run.
Wieczorek could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

Friday is officially the filing deadline to get on the ballot. But longtime Councilman Frank Ferry has said he will not seek re-election, and if he doesn’t file papers the deadline is extended to Jan. 15.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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