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Organizers hope that Castaic reconsiders

Unincorporated areas feel like an afterthought in proposed marketing plan

Posted: April 17, 2009 10:21 p.m.
Updated: April 18, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Partners organizing a valleywide marketing campaign expressed hopes Friday that the Castaic Chamber of Commerce would reconsider its decision not to participate.

A decision by the commerce to opt out of the marketing plan gained support Wednesday from the Castaic Area Town Council.

The Castaic chamber will operate its own marketing program rather than participating in “Think Santa Clarita,” the tentative name for an upcoming campaign aimed at promoting business in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The (valleywide) campaign ought to be as inclusive as possible for the entire valley,” said Bill Kennedy, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, a partner in the campaign.

“I really would like to see some compromise that allows all parties to have a stake in this because I think it’s important,” Kennedy said.

If Castaic wants to run its own campaign targeting its community first, there can still be room for its participation in “Think Santa Clarita,” Kennedy said.

“I don’t see a problem with looking at our neighbors first,” he said, referring to Castaic wanting to focus promotion on its own businesses. “And if you can’t find what’s in your neighborhood, look at the city. If you can’t find it there, look at least within the valley,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people trying to keep their money close to home. I do think everyone will benefit better if we all cooperate.”

As chairman of the SCV Chamber’s Economic Development Committee, John Shaffery is indirectly involved with the marketing campaign and said he encourages all surrounding communities to take advantage of an April 24 meeting at Santa Clarita City Hall.

At the meeting, the name of the campaign will be discussed and “everything will be on the table,” he said. “Think Santa Clarita” is not the definitive name, Shaffery said.

The local attorney said the campaign has two goals: “That we spend our dollars on anything and everything inside our valley, and the secondary benefit would be for outside groups to come in and spend dollars here.”

He said he hopes the Castaic Chamber would least consider the program.

Calls to Castaic Chamber President Latisha Smith went unanswered Friday afternoon, but a Castaic Area Town Council member expressed her support of whatever the chamber decides.

“We certainly would have supported (the valleywide campaign), had they asked us prior to them making the assumption we were participating,” said Renee Sabol, land use chairwoman for the Town Council, which is an advisory group for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

Sabol said if Castaic is brought in from the get-go for any future campaign, she would support Castaic’s inclusion.

“I just think when you start a campaign like this, you bring all the stakeholders together at the beginning,” she said.

 “What the chamber decides is best for our community is what I’ll support,” she added.

Although Town Council Vice President Robert Kelly voted against the chamber’s decision, he said Friday he can understand the chamber’s concerns.

“Castaic is like the step-child of Santa Clarita,” he said. “They (Santa Clarita officials) only contact us when they want us to participate in what they want us to participate in.”

Kelly said he’d like to know how much money the campaign planners are asking of its participants.

Shaffery said participants need to be mindful of funding.

“I’m hoping not only will Santa Clarita provide funding but hopeful area town councils and groups will participate in funding, as well,” he said.

Castaic’s decision to go its own way is completely understandable to Dave Bossert, president of the West Ranch Town Council, which represents Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks, Stevenson Ranch and Westridge. The West Ranch Town Council is an advisory group for Antonovich.

“(The Castaic Chamber) did cite that they felt they were an afterthought, and I think that is the general sense with many folks that are aware of the situation,” Bossert said. “They feel as if the unincorporated areas became an afterthought in the (campaign).”

However, Bossert said he can see the campaign’s organizers are making an effort to reach out to those communities outside the city limits and that, “at least, is a consolation,”  he said.

“I can tell you several members of the West Ranch Town Council will be attending the next (campaign) meeting and we’re going to go from there,” he said.




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