View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


The ballot results made sense almost everywhere in SCV

Posted: November 20, 2009 3:53 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

On Nov. 3, persons living in the parts of the Santa Clarita Valley outside the city limits of Santa Clarita could exercise their right to vote yes or no on three separate initiatives relating to governance.

Measure A asked whether residents wanted to remain under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County, Measure B asked whether they wished to form their own city or cities and Measure C asked whether they should annex to the city of Santa Clarita proper.
Now many, including myself, thought this ballot structure misleading.

Since these three items constitute discrete alternatives, many believed a better option would be a vote for one of the three options.

Many, including myself, felt those that developed the structure meant to mislead so that no one could reach clear conclusions and cloud the issue for years.

And late on Nov. 3, it appeared they accomplished their mission.

The unincorporated areas in the aggregate stood about 55 percent in favor of staying under County governance and 53 percent in favor of annexing to the city.

The lone exception? Everyone seems sour on the idea of forming their own city, a surprise to me since I thought it would appeal to the casual voter.

Immediately, primarily through the work of local political junkie Michael Devlin, a clearer picture emerged.

In a color-coded map, Devlin indicated the following and I can confirm the correctness of his conclusions.

The following areas stood in favor of annexation to the city: Tesoro Del Valle, the trans-Interstate 5 tracts of Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks, Westridge and the Hasley Hills area of Castaic near the Valencia Commerce Center.

Devlin also correctly identified the areas clearly against annexation that wished to stay under county rule: The more remote areas of Castaic and the unincorporated community of Val Verde (several people at City Hall, rightly or wrongly, heave a great sigh of relief).

Now, my further examination of the vote tallies indicates a correct way did exist to vote consistently on these measures, if one voted on all three.

First, if one voted yes on measure A, to be consistent they would need to vote no on Measure C and vice-versa.

In the areas identified by Devlin that voted for annexation by a majority yes vote for Measure C, pretty much every area that abuts the city of Santa Clarita — with the exception of the area between Pico Canyon Road on the south and the intersection of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and The Old Road on the north — cast their ballots consistently voting majority no for Measure A. These constituted 33 percent of the aggregate votes cast.

In the areas identified by Devlin that voted against annexation by a majority no vote for Measure C, the voters also cast their ballots consistently by a majority yes vote on Measure A. These constituted 31 percent of the aggregate votes cast.

So one sees when they aggregate the “clear” votes for or against annexation, they just about cancel each other out.

So what occurred to confuse the vote?

In four precincts in Stevenson Ranch and two in Castaic, a “bipolar” result occurred.  

When aggregating these precincts the results showed the voters 56 percent for staying under county rule and 55 percent for annexation to the city of Santa Clarita.

These “bipolar” votes constituted 36 percent of the aggregate total.

So how can a group of voters be both for and against the same thing?

I could accuse those folks of not understanding the ballot structure; an embarrassing assertion when 64 percent of the voters could.

However, another explanation might exist. My calculations indicate that despite a 13 percent turnout in Stevenson Ranch, the votes cast on the measures amounted to about 11 percent — a 25 percent reduction in potential votes.

From this, one could imply that 25 percent of the voters in these Stevenson Ranch precincts thought they should vote for A or C, but not both.

This implies that one could recast the Stevenson Ranch vote by switching to the NO on A column the yes votes solely on C and vice versa.

When one performs this calculation, one gets the more sensible, but rather dissatisfying result that these six precincts stand nearly equally divided between the question of annexation and staying within the county.

The obvious solution? Another vote where residents vote for annexation or to stay within the county as an absolute discrete choice.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column represents his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. “Myers’ Musings” appears Sundays in The Signal.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...