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Bob Kellar: Santa Clarita will continue to thrive

Posted: April 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Now that our city has survived another local election, I thought it would be appropriate to make some comments regarding elections and city hall. After all, things can get pretty exciting, or should I say concerning around election time in Santa Clarita.

I feel that there were far too many attacks on the incumbent candidates for the sole purpose of promoting oneself or another candidate. I am far more impressed with candidates that come forward with appropriate qualifications, an understanding of how local government works, and an ability to work with others. Remember -- no individual can accomplish a thing without the willingness and ability to work with others.

It’s time to move on and I suggest we start by acknowledging and congratulating both Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean on retaining their seats on the City Council. I’d also like to congratulate a person I know will be an outstanding councilmember --Dante Acosta -- as the newest member of the city council.

Looking back over the 27-year history of this city, we have been so fortunate to have achieved an incredible amount of success with many great community improvements. Certainly the city council, individually and collectively, has a right to feel very proud of this city’s successes. However, if it was not for the fantastic 350+ city employees, those successes would not have been possible.

Over the years we have been blessed to have extremely competent and capable city managers along with many strong upper management personnel. As a matter of fact, often the best action a city councilmember can make is to stay out of the way and let caring, educated, experienced and qualified people do their work. It is not the responsibility of the council to manage the day to day operations of city hall; that is the city manager’s job. Our job is to work with the citizens and the city manager in setting and interpreting policy. This is called the “Council- Manager form of Government,” and is the most common form found across America.

Nearly two years ago, the council hired then-Assistant City Manager Ken Striplin into the city manager position.

That was an easy decision for the council as Mr. Striplin had served eight years as the assistant city manager and had proven himself many times over as a strong and capable leader. An additional benefit for the city is that Ken earned his doctorate degree in organizational management. Ken is highly respected by the employees and the council alike. I feel our future in Santa Clarita remains very secure with Ken Striplin at the helm.

Our representative form of government means that the people of our great city elect the city council to represent them – all of them—not just those that show up on Tuesday nights, although we represent them as well. We also represent those we talk to in the grocery store, at community events and charity fundraisers; those who email or call us, and those who stop us at our favorite restaurant or at work. For several years I have been asked on numerous occasions about getting rid of billboards in the city and have had to explain that it was cost-prohibitive.

As I’ve said from the dais, I do not particularly like digital billboards, but the idea of getting rid of all 62 billboards along the railroad right-of-way inside the city, in exchange for three freeway billboards, is truly a great opportunity for our City.

We are very fortunate to be in the City of Santa Clarita. We have such a great city for all of us to enjoy, and I would hope, to appreciate. Financially we remain very strong with a 17 percent reserve fund and a triple AAA credit rating from Standard and Poors. This is something most cities can only dream of having. We have been very aggressive in bringing good quality companies and industries into our City, and creating excellent employment opportunities. Over the years we have expanded roads, parks, trails, facilities and enhanced beautification.

Exciting events have been brought to the City, such as the Cowboy Festival, Amgen Tour of California, swim competitions and much more. Your city council and staff have worked very hard to make this a solid city for all our families to thrive and enjoy, and we will continue this tradition of excellence.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember.



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