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David Gauny: An imperfect man vs. a well-oiled machine

Posted: February 13, 2010 4:40 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2010 3:57 p.m.
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of columns from candidates in the 2010 Santa Clarita City Council race. David Gauny: Imperfect man vs. well-oiled machine

Scott Wilk declared in his Jan. 29 column that he could "outperform Nostradamus" by predicting that all three City Council incumbents would be re-elected in 2010.

Wilk didn't mention that he manages the campaign of at least one of these incumbents or that, along with his wife - a voting alternate for Sen. Tony Strickland - he controls two of the six votes needed for the 11-member 38th Central Committee board to rubber-stamp their endorsement. He's really more a political puppet-master than a fortune-teller.

Wilk was also a registered lobbyist in our city, which means he represented controversial projects before a City Council he is helping to elect.

The resulting conflict of interest is obvious, and it is just one example of manipulated process and status quo that I intend to upset as a candidate for the City Council.

The incumbents are increasingly out of touch with the most pressing needs of our constituency, and my agenda has called out the failures:

* Small business - Despite accounting for 70 percent of our local economy, small business has been forgotten and big-box stores and corporations remain the primary beneficiaries of stimulus programs. Years into a down economy, what incumbent has done anything to correct this?

* Planning - Reactive planning approvals are ignoring planning law and hurting our neighborhoods, costing our taxpayers millions of dollars in lawsuits. Where is the process and critical review needed to avoid this?

* Process - Public outcry on these issues is being squashed. We are replacing public hearings and good process with arbitrary decisions and self-congratulating.

What's sad is that re-election of incumbents now has little to do with actual performance. Massive funding from outside interests allows people to outspend and ruin challengers before leadership failures are ever exposed.

This is exactly what happened to a candidate named Bob Spierer just two years ago.

In 2008, a lobbyist firm with which Wilk is now affiliated - Blair Biggs Communications - represented Spierer's opponent, Laurie Ender. Incredibly, Ender was boosted to victory with a $30,000 expenditure from one of Wilk's past clients - G&L Realty - and a $12,000 expenditure from longtime City Councilman Frank Ferry.

These two sources alone provided more than 50 percent of Ender's campaign money, all of which was used to bury Spierer - and buy G&L's vote, of course.

Now it's my turn. I have learned there is hell to pay when you upset the apple cart that feeds so few at the cost of many. The fire really began two weeks ago when Ferry threatened me in the council chambers with a smear campaign. "We've been doing opposition research for a year," he said, "we're coming after you ... now you're going to learn the hard way."

If Ferry will win in a mud-slinging campaign, let me be the first one to throw it - at myself.

At the age of 22, I was charged with a DUI just after my discharge from the Navy. I was young and it was a hard lesson - one thankfully learned without someone being hurt.

In 1994, I had a business partner who split with our business accounts and equipment. Working two jobs to dig myself out of the debt and back taxes, I missed a court appearance for an illegal left-hand turn citation and was ultimately charged with driving on a suspended license.

Like most people, I am not proud of my mistakes but I have grown from them. I paid my dues like an adult and learned a lot since my 20s. I've managed two national sales organizations and posses an understanding of economics that surpasses that of many with degrees in the subject.

I love my wife, pay my bills and I am step-dad to two beautiful daughters who excel in school, the arts and kindness.

Ethics, campaign violations and smarmy politics at City Hall are the problem, and I hope our public will not be duped when the hit mailers come.

My candidacy includes a rational, well-researched agenda for better business and planning in our city. I have braced my wife and daughters for what's coming but I will not be intimidated, whether by fact or fiction.

Fortune-tellers and bullies do not belong at City Hall. I am not the richest or most powerful man in Santa Clarita but I am deeply committed to restoring fair process and representation for our citizens. We need anything but status quo in this election.

Please see my detailed agenda at I hope to have your support on April 13.

David Gauny is a Valencia resident and a candidate for the Santa Clarita City Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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