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Bruce McFarland: An unholy alliance at city hall

Democratic Voices

Posted: July 26, 2010 10:16 p.m.
Updated: July 27, 2010 3:57 p.m.

On July 13, I was a public speaker chastising Santa Clarita city council member, Frank Ferry, as well as of his harem of council-member devotees, for their self-serving position on raising the campaign contribution limit from $360 to $1,000.

I tried to explain to folks that our city government was like a family, a crime family, in the way they interact, raise money and seem to have an insatiable need to encourage growth in the SCV.

I called Ken Pulskamp, “the Don,” and the council members, his lieutenants. I got a good laugh from the citizens in audience, but nothing but glares from Pulskamp-a-nostra and his thugs.

Now, I know some of my readers only read me in hopes of skewering me, because of my occasionally outrageous comments. I probably won’t disappoint you today, but the truth of my accusations about city government are desperately important to understand, if we ever want to derail Pulskamp’s evil plan to stuff 500,000 people into our valley.

There’s an unholy alliance that goes on at city hall that begets evil — the evil that will destroy Santa Clarita as we know it. That evil has many of the characteristic found in crime families.

As the Don, Ken Pulskamp, quietly oversees the family business — growth. In the Mafia, the Don often conducts legal businesses as a front for more nefarious activities. Pulskamp appears to many as a committed public servant, always trying to make life better for his citizens. What he’s really doing is perpetrating his agenda of growth on an mostly unknowing citizenry.

I’m not sure if Pulskamp started out as a thug, or if he became one out of necessity.

City managers are by nature empire builders. You don’t hear many city managers bragging about how they have fewer staff, smaller parks and less roads than when they started their job. They certainly don’t want people leaving their jurisdiction. Can you imagine a city manager saying, “when I started, we had a population of 250,000; now we’ve got it down to 190,000.”

A city manager in a very wealthy small community might get by, by increasing taxes and increasing services. That can’t work in Santa Clarita. When the city was started, we had an overwhelming need to improve conditions left by uninterested county bureaucrats.

Every city manager wants to be liked and wants to be successful. In Santa Clarita, citizens have lots of demands and lots of needs. The city council members also need to make themselves feel relevant. Producing results that will satisfy all these desires require money. And why limit yourself to the money contributed by current citizens, when you can get money from developers before the people move into town.

Think about it — it’s a Ponzi scheme. Use money you collect from developers today — to build roads, plant trees, develop parks, put cops on the street — and you’ll make the city more appealing for even more developers, and more money down the road. The problem, of course, is twofold: One, people in this valley don’t want 500,000 additional people living here, and two, at some point, there won’t be any way to accommodate all the people and development. Pulskamp will be long gone by then.

The unholy alliance is how Pulskamp manipulates the city council. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship. Pulskamp throws Ferry a bone, and Ferry lays down and chews on it for a while.

The city council, in a quest to prove relevance, ask Pulskamp to help them achieve some goal, like say a cross-valley connector, or a bunch of medical office buildings or a fantasy field of dreams, or maybe just some ivy on the side of an unwanted and unneeded new building.

In return for the council’s support, Pulskamp demands obedience and support for his growth at any cost agenda.

The people of Santa Clarita are beginning to realize that they do not share the same vision and agenda as the council and city manager. This is a big problem, because the council and city manage have thumbed their noses at the public’s request for due process and responsible government one too many times.

Now the lieutenants are up in arms, calling names on any citizen who dares to disagree with their edicts. The citizens of Santa Clarita are a nuisance to our council and city manager.

It’s time for the people to rise up and demand a city government that works for us, not the council’s self-serving agenda of growth, growth and more growth. They won’t stop unless we stop them.

Bruce McFarland is a Santa Clarita resident and represents the 17th state senate district at the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.


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