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‘Mayor Dude’s term marked by bluntness

City Councilman’s outspoken personality brings many blessings — and some curses

Posted: December 12, 2009 8:09 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Councilman Frank Ferry has never been afraid to tell people what’s on his mind.

“I’m very blunt,” Ferry said. “It gets me in trouble all the time; 80 percent of people think I’m funny and 20 percent don’t get my sense of humor.”

The outgoing mayor’s colorful personality has been the driving force behind his creative and campy outreach to Santa Clarita’s youth.

And some of his outbursts have also become YouTube fodder.

Ferry, who is the principal at Alemany Bishop High School, said one of his proudest accomplishments was starting the Mayor Dude campaign — his year-long attempt to relate to and engage Santa Clarita’s youths.

Through the Mayor Dude Web site, Ferry used Twitter and other social media to talk with children about city issues in an effort to make government more accessible. Ferry also spoke at schools telling children to get involved through community service projects.

“Nobody has a clue who the mayor is,” Ferry said. “Most people can’t name their five council members. If people see funny pictures of the mayor, I thought it would start a conversation with kids.”

His unfiltered approach also has made him a source of Internet entertainment.

A series of “Franken Ferry” YouTube videos poking fun at Ferry have been viewed more than 2,000 times.

The videos set some of his off-the-cuff remarks, and occasional heated exchanges with other council members, to music.

“I’m a loud guy that enjoys life,” he said. “When you’re that way you’ll sometimes say something that some people won’t enjoy.”

He said while he has enjoyed his time as mayor, he will enjoy having more free time to spend with his sons now that Laurene Weste is mayor. He added he has no desire to be mayor again anytime soon.

Ferry gears up for campaign

While he may be burnt out on mayoral work, he isn’t done with city government. He said he is going to run an aggressive campaign for re-election.

“This election will be very personal,” Ferry said. “I’m going to campaign aggressively and show there is a clear difference between the incumbents and the challengers.”

One of the challengers is TimBen Boydston, a former appointed City Council member who often clashed with Ferry.

Boydston said some council members who have served the city for a long time have become apathetic.  

“It’s human nature that when you’re in a job for a very long time, many people put their feet up,” Boydston said. “I think there is a certain amount of that in our own city.”

Ferry, 44, said the ability of the council to complete city building projects — like Old Town Newhall street remodeling — during the recession is a sign of strong leadership on the council.

A major accomplishment for the city will be the expected completion of the $200 million cross-valley connector sometime in March, he said.

The 8-mile road will connect Interstate 5 with the Highway 14 freeway.

Completing the cross-valley connector would be a personal milestone for Ferry.

After Santa Clarita voted against building the road in the early 1990s, it motivated him to run for city government in 1996.       


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