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Our View: Our picks for Tuesday's local elections

Posted: October 30, 2009 6:28 p.m.
Updated: November 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Voters across the Santa Clarita Valley go to the polls Tuesday to decide which candidates will steer their schools into the next decade.

Newhall Water District customers will decide which candidates they believe are best suited to provide an ample supply of clean water at affordable rates.

Residents of West Ranch, Castaic and Tesoro del Valle will decide whether they want to wrest themselves from Los Angeles County's grip and chart their own political future.

It is an important election, and it is entirely in your hands. It's not like a gubernatorial or presidential election where your vote is one in millions. Your vote will be one in a few thousand, and considering the projected low turnout, every vote will count.

Westside/Tesoro Annexation: Yes on Measure C
Annexation into the city of Santa Clarita means no more taxation without representation.

It means that for the first time, residents of Sunset Pointe, Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Val Verde, Castaic and Tesoro will get to elect all five of their local representatives.

It means Los Angeles County will no longer be able to suck local tax money out of the west side and Tesoro and spend it on other parts of the county.

The balloting is advisory only, but it will set the city and county on a course that should lead to annexation down the road - and empowerment for our currently unincorporated communities.

Vote Yes on Measure C - and vote No on Measures A and B.

College of the Canyons board seat 1: Michael Berger
A financial expert and former city planning commissioner, Mike Berger is a respected community leader who has already given more than 20 years to COC as a volunteer. His connections in the community helped raise the money that has transformed our two-year college into a pillar of academic excellence complete with performing arts venues, a second campus and four-year university classes on site. Let's put him on the COC board.

COC board seat 3: Randy Moberg
Chairman of the Valencia Industrial Association, Randy Moberg brings 30 years of business and financial experience to the table.

Moberg's connections and credentials position him to forge the sort of partnerships that will ensure the college is providing the curriculum our employers and returning workers need.

Hart School District: Jensen, Solomon, Strickland
Bob Jensen proved his worth on the Newhall School District board. A certified public accountant, he knows how to balance a budget and helped the district steer clear of layoffs and major program cuts during the state's recent financial meltdown. We could use his expertise on the Hart board.

Suzan Solomon has been a great school board member in Newhall the past 10 years. Longtime leader of the valleywide Council PTA and current vice president of the state PTA, Solomon can manage bond funds as deftly as she can connect with parents and teachers and ensure a rich education for our children. The whole valley will benefit if she's on the Hart district board.

Paul Strickland, the lone incumbent, helped lead the Hart district through a few rocky years and was never afraid to say the emperor has no clothes. He has a passion for the arts and is determined to open the campus theaters identified in Measure SA.

He has been a good addition to the Hart board; let's keep him.

Newhall School District: Duswalt, Ellis, Smith
Craig Duswalt is a well-known local businessman who is best known locally for resurrecting the Repertory East Playhouse in downtown Newhall. A father of kids in the district, he is enthusiastic and capable.

Phil Ellis has been an excellent member of both the Newhall and Hart boards in the past. An attorney with a background in banking, he is an intelligent, well-reasoned team player whose chief interest is a good education for our kids.

Christy Smith was a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Education and has served both the Newhall and Hart districts in several volunteer capacities. A newcomer to local politics, she grew up here and now has kids of her own in our local schools.

Perhaps the biggest thing for Newhall School District voters to remember is this: Even though his name appears on the ballot, Mike McGrath is not running.

Newhall County Water District: Atkins, Cruz, Gutzeit
B.J. Atkins and Maria Gutzeit have provided strong, consistent leadership as NCWD board members. Unlike some candidates of the past who wanted to play "water politics," Atkins and Gutzeit know their agency's job is to deliver a plentiful supply of clean, healthy water at affordable rates. And they have done it.

Mike Cruz is a political newcomer seeking a vacant seat. A paralegal for the Los Angeles city attorney, he's got good ideas about water reclamation and recharging our precious groundwater.

Vote Atkins, Cruz and Gutzeit for water board.


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