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Why you should vote for Kellar

Guest Column

Posted: March 9, 2008 1:49 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Recently our city celebrated its 20th birthday. Like a child prodigy, we have accomplished much in our city's brief history, including being named "Best City in California to live in" by CNN/Money Magazine.

Our high quality of life not only has drawn national media attention, but more residents as well. In the near future Santa Clarita will become the third-largest city in Los Angeles County, behind Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Our city's founding fathers provided a firm foundation for us to blossom into a community even beyond what they imagined. But with growth comes both challenges and opportunities. We need to cast a vision to the future while still holding fast to the principles and policies that have brought us to where we are:
n Public safety: According to the FBI our city is one of the safest in America. One of the reasons for this success is we engage young people before there is a problem. The city spends more on parks and community services than our public safety budget. This is the most cost-effective way (in both dollars and human potential) to deal with crime. We also have a zero-tolerance policy on graffiti and gang activity, which has had a positive impact.

But we can always do more. That's why the city is committed to building a new Sheriff's Station at the civic center so our men and women on the front lines are equipped to do their jobs more effectively. Also, we are committed to bringing a sheriff's sub-station and community center to Canyon Country. Our community youth center in Newhall has had a positive influence, and we want to replicate that success in Canyon Country. Finally, I believe we need to ensure that code enforcement is conducted evenly across the entire city. It doesn't matter if your city is nice, if your own neighborhood doesn't feel like home.

-- Roads: The topography of our valley makes it beautiful, but it presents challenges as it relates to road infrastructure. In 2009, we will be opening the $245 million, 8.5-mile cross-valley connector that will link Highway 14 to Interstate 5. This road is needed for convenience, commerce and in times of catastrophe. Currently Soledad Canyon Road is our sole east/west link, and our citizens must have more options. The city has also advocated in Washington D.C. for more federal funding to widen Interstate 5. The I-5 is the backbone of the federal highway transportation system for the West Coast. Addressing the widening of the Newhall Pass is not only in the best interest of our citizens, but of interstate commerce and national security as well n Sound planning: Another way to reduce traffic is through smart planning. An example is College of the Canyons' new Canyon Country campus. During the first semester it was open, 3,800 students enrolled at the campus. That means thousands of cars won't be making the trek across the valley.

-- Job creation: Creating high-paying jobs here in the Santa Clarita Valley reduces traffic, protects our environment and improves our family life. During my time in office 20,000 new jobs have been created in Santa Clarita. But we can do more. Santa Clarita has a diverse economy, including a burgeoning bio-tech sector. We can foster that by partnering with College of the Canyons on workforce development issues to train local residents for high-paying jobs in new, clean industries. Local jobs mean a better quality of life for our families as more parents do not have to commute to Los Angeles.

-- Environment: I believe it is our moral obligation to be stewards of our environment. During my time in office, the city has acquired more than 3,000 acres of parks and open space. Working with Councilwoman Laurene Weste, I co-chaired the SCV Save Open Space Committee so the city can acquire even more undeveloped land and keep it as open space.

Located in Soledad Canyon is the proposed Cemex mine, which would be the largest aggregate mine in North America. The city is working with federal officials to try to cancel Cemex's leases. The proposed mine would negatively affect our air and water quality, as well as further congest our roadways. I am deeply devoted to stopping this proposed mine.

Our city is committed to doing other things to make Santa Clarita an even better place to live, such as fostering the arts and bringing more cultural events to our valley.

We have accomplished a great deal with still a lot more to do. I'd be honored to have your vote on April 8.


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