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2 candidates debate council-public hostility during forum

Posted: March 8, 2012 7:15 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2012 7:15 p.m.

Two Santa Clarita City Council candidates traded barbs this week over the level of hostility during City Council meetings, with one saying antagonism is aimed at the public and the other saying it's sometimes aimed at council members.

"These citizens went down to City Hall," challenger TimBen Boydston said during a candidate forum Wednesday night. "(Council members) called us terrorists, and one of the council members said that the developer should sue us. How in the world do you think there's not a problem?"

Though his comments during the forum addressed Mayor Laurie Ender, it was Councilman Frank Ferry who called community members "developmental terrorists" during a 2010 council meeting.

Ender said the public was never confronted with antagonism from council members, but she sometimes felt targeted.

"I don't feel any hostility toward anyone at the City Council meeting or anyone in this room," Ender said during the forum at the Elks Lodge in Canyon Country. "I do feel scared sometimes, and I'm awfully glad we have the sheriff's deputy there to walk me to my car."

Boydston, Ender, incumbent Bob Kellar, challenger Jon Hatami and challenger Ed Colley answered questions Wednesday night during the forum hosted by the Santa Clarita Community Council.

The nonprofit group was recently formed by Canyon Country Advisory Committee chairman Al Ferdman for the purpose of informing Santa Clarita Valley residents about issues, Ferdman has said.

The five candidates were given 10 questions two weeks in advance of the forum, and five questions were then drawn at random for them to answer.

Candidates were allowed to respond to their competition's answers, which prompted the exchange between Ender and Boydston.

Ender said that she did not have any control over what other council members said at meetings.

"I happen to serve on the council with two men who are very outspoken about the things they believe in," Ender said. "I appreciate them both very much, whether or not I agree with them, and I'm certainly not going to tell either one of them what they should or shouldn't say."

The two male members of the council are Kellar and Ferry.
Along with Kellar, Hatami, a deputy district attorney, and Colley, a Castaic Lake Water District board member, declined to offer rebuttals to other candidates' remarks, although Hatami agreed there was hostility during council meetings.

"Just because you're a City Council person doesn't give anybody the right to scream at somebody or be mean to somebody or try to belittle somebody," he said.

"That's not, I think, how you effectively communicate with anybody. ... You were elected by the people so the people are the ones who you represent, and so I think you need to actively listen to individuals."

Kellar said he would keep listening to residents and would offer them respect.

"I would propose that I can do what I have been doing for a dozen years - listening to the people, having eye contract with you, making informed decisions and hopefully never have anyone think that Bob Kellar is not doing what's right and is not listening to the people, because I do and I intend to continue doing it," Kellar said.

Colley also said that he would respect residents' opinions.

"I listened to the citizens and ultimately voted against that rate increase. The structure of that rate increase was not fair, was not reasonable," Colley said. "And so I have a history of listening and I will continue to listen to the citizens."




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