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Campaign name takes valleywide turn

Councilman will ask council to vote upon “Think Santa Clarita Valley” for new slogan

Posted: April 24, 2009 10:49 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

“Think Santa Clarita,” or “Think Santa Clarita Valley?”

That seemingly simple question led to a passionate debate Friday among a room full of partners and potential stakeholders in an approaching valleywide marketing campaign. The campaign is meant to get residents shopping, hiring and thinking locally as a way to help boost the local economy.

Representatives from the valley’s unincorporated areas said the word “valley” in the slogan could make all the difference in winning their support for the campaign.

“I think to be successful, we have to have 100-percent buy-in from everybody,” said Don Fleming, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association and the West Ridge homeowners association.

“I hear all the time, we’re ‘one valley, one vision,’ yet when it comes to marketing, we want to eliminate (the ‘valley’), and I think that’s a dangerous path to go down,” Fleming said.

He had the support of many in the room, including fellow representatives from the West Ranch Town Council, who saw the inclusion of “valley” in the marketing plan’s name as necessary.

He and others expressed concern that ill feelings still exist among residents and business owners outside city limits over the city’s “Shop Local” campaign from seven years ago.

“It doesn’t matter what we think, it doesn’t matter what any of us think. What matters is: ‘How is this going to settle with our residents?’” said Teresa Todd of Point of View Communications, a partner in the campaign. “I think we cannot afford to have anyone come up against us.”

Mary Johnson, an Agua Dulce resident, said including “valley” in the slogan would be key to making Agua Dulce residents feel included

“If it’s ‘Think Santa Clarita,’ I’m not part of it. ‘Think Santa Clarita Valley?’ Then yes, that’s me,” she said.
Bill Kennedy, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, said for the planners not to consider changing the name to “Think Santa Clarita Valley” would signify the marks of “arrogant elitism” and “add to the rift.”

Calling the campaign “Think Santa Clarita Valley” would benefit everyone, he said.

After an hour-long discussion, City Councilman Bob Kellar said he would ask the City Council to consider changing the name to “Think Santa Clarita Valley” during Tuesday’s council meeting. His announcement brought applause.

Kellar’s decision marked a change of direction, as he earlier urged the westside representatives not to “go sideways” just because the word “valley” wouldn’t be included.

Kellar said, “Come Tuesday night, I want this team together. I’m going to recommend we go, ‘Think Santa Clarita Valley,’ and if we get that through, by God, let’s work together.”

“I think that’s a very positive outcome,” said Jack Crawford, a Castaic Chamber of Commerce board member. “It makes it a more all-inclusive concept.”

The issue came to a head last week after the Castaic Chamber of Commerce decided to opt out of the campaign. Chamber President Latisha Smith expressed concern that Castaic was notified about the campaign so late that chamber board members felt Castaic was an afterthought.

Additionally, they were deep in planning for their own “Shop Castaic First” campaign.

But Crawford said in opting out of the “Think” campaign, the chamber may have acted too quickly.

“I think the initial response was based on what was known at that point,” Crawford said. “We felt we owed it to ourselves and those involved to learn more about what was being proposed (for the ‘Think’ campaign).”

In spite of the proposed change to the campaign’s name, however, Crawford said Castaic still will run its own campaign.

“I think they can work hand in hand,” he said.

Johnson, the Agua Dulce Town Council president, expressed appreciation for the proposed name change.

“Inclusion is much better than excluding any specific part,” she said.

Johnson said she will be at the City Council meeting Tuesday in support of “Think Santa Clarita Valley.”



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