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Roger Gitlin: Wear your knee boots at City Hall

SCV Voices

Posted: September 19, 2010 5:27 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2010 5:27 p.m.

Since the Santa Clarita City Council election last April, City Hall resembles a toxic swamp. Santa Clarita is becoming more like Bell every day.

Tuesday night, I exercised my civic right to address the City Council about new financial figures regarding the cost of illegal immigration to Los Angeles County taxpayers. I made the polite request to calendar an item on this hot-button subject for the Sept. 28 council meeting and was promptly shot down.

As Santa Clarita spends millions in redevelopment funds on revitalizing downtown Newhall, I cogently brought to the attention of the council July welfare costs for children of illegal immigrants in the county. Costs exceed $52 million. That’s an increase of almost $4 million from July 2009. Approximately one of four food stamp users is an illegal immigrant.

CalWORKS and food stamp issuances to illegal immigrants are projected to be about $600 million for Los Angeles County alone.

Adding this astounding figure to the $550 million for public safety and $500 million for welfare, county taxpayers are on the hook for $1.6 billion this year. That amount does not include expenses for K-12 education, which is borne by the state. The figures were provided by the office of county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

Last week, I sent Antonovich’s news release to City Manager Ken Pulskamp and all five City Council members.

Regrettably, you won’t see these figures published in the mainstream press, including The Signal, because of what I perceive as political correctness.

I asked the council to place on the agenda a resolution which states, “Santa Clarita declares itself a non-sanctuary city and is doing so is in compliance with California state penal code 834B and U.S. civil code 1304 and 1324.”

City Council members Frank Ferry and Marsha McLean and Mayor Laurene Weste would have no part of placing that item on the agenda for you to render your opinion at an upcoming City Council meeting. Weste, Ferry and McLean, in their joint election flyer, claimed: “We continue to confront the issue in Washington and our neighbors.” This troika crows about their support for Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s six-point plan to stem the tide of illegal immigration — Weste, Ferry and McLean are as fraudulent as they come. 

Why not just dispense with these time-consuming public forums. What’s the point? Weste, McLean, Ferry and Councilwoman Laurie Ender have already decided how they are going to vote before you stand before them. Why bother asking them to consider or reconsider some of their decisions?

Case in point: The largest group of Santa Clarita citizens I have ever witnessed packed themselves into City Hall two weeks ago, beseeching the council to reconsider breaking from the county library system. The council dismissed and marginalized hundreds of city residents with a “we know better” attitude.

The political gamut stretched from conservatives like me, to liberals like Carole and David Lutness. The fact that we can agree on an issue like preserving the county library system is really quite amazing. County library supporters pleaded with the council to reconsider its decision. Nope — the council voted 4-1 in favor of leaving the county system. The lone dissenter was Councilman Bob Kellar.

Recently, Pulskamp unceremoniously pulled the rug from under the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, which hosted its meetings at the city sports complex. Why? No one is quite sure, but committee Chair Alan Ferdman attempted to understand. The responses from Pulskamp’s office were like a moving target — vague and opaque.

In reality, the answer is crystal clear: Ferdman and the committee supported other candidates in the last city election. Now it’s retribution time.

Similarly, Planning Commissioner Diane Trautman was cut loose from her McLean-appointed position because she, Trautman, supported candidates who were not elected.

McLean let the cat out of the bag when she was quoted in The Signal as telling Trautman she was not able to gather the support of Ferry and Weste. That revealed McLean possessed some previous knowledge of the lack of support for Trautman. That alleged meeting may very well be a violation of the California Brown Act. 

City Council candidate David Gauny also spoke during the public-comment portion of the council meeting and expressed his dismay that the council members appear to be joined at the hip, voting in a block. Gauny expressed his concern the process of voter consensus was being bypassed by this gang of Weste, Ferry and McLean.

The troika was not all that silent after Gauny and I addressed them. Regarding my request to calendar the immigration item, Ferry expressed his disgust at my request and McLean exclaimed: “There is nothing more we can do. ... Some people in our community just don’t accept the fact our city hands are tied.”

McLean asked Pulskamp, “Are we a sanctuary city?” He affirmed Santa Clarita is not. This ignorance is telling, folks.
Kellar was articulate and passionate, despite Weste’s attempt to cut him off. He said there is much the city can do to fight illegal immigration, including sending a letter of support to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as the Grand Canyon State takes on the Obama regime in fighting the flood of illegal immigrants draining state services.

Unfortunately, Weste, McLean and Ferry stopped Kellar’s attempt to agendize the item of declaring Santa Clarita a non-sanctuary city.

Astoundingly silent on this issue was Ender. Her silence was telling, though. Make no mistake, Ender sides with the pack, but at least she will face your wrath in the April 2012 election.

I believe if the city election were held today Gauny would be elected, but apparently that is just wishful thinking. We Santa Clarita residents must endure this toxic swamp that inhabits City Hall.

Roger Gitlin is a retired teacher, founder of the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen and state director of the Patriot’s Coalition. He can be reached at His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of  The Signal.


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