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Vote for Kellar on April 8

Local Commentary

Posted: March 24, 2008 2:30 a.m.
Updated: May 25, 2008 5:03 a.m.
I encourage everyone to vote in our City Council election on April 8. This election is a critical one because two of the five City Council seats are in contention and the challenges of the past will appear relatively easy compared to the difficulty and seriousness of the issues ahead of us.

At its current stage of transition, our city could be likened to a teenager entering adulthood. And, just as life's challenges become more complex for a young adult, so it will be for our city as it goes
through the transformation.

The key issues of our immediate future can be reduced to two basic categories: environmental and economic. As the city grows, the needs of our citizens increase and their interactions become more
intricate, placing greater demands on our environment. Access to clean air, open space, and fresh water will become more strained.

The need for fire protection, public safety, health care, affordable housing, efficient transportation, and other essentials will become more acute. As we stretch, and our neighbors expand, conflict will become more common - witness the recent "dust up" with the city of Los Angeles over Las Lomas. These issues, if not properly resolved, could adversely affect the quality of life that we enjoy here.

On the economic front, the city's income will suffer as a weakened economy takes its toll. The financial pinch will come just as our needs are expanding.

Although the city's conservative fiscal policy produced a budget reserve that should help us through short periods of harder economic times, the need to husband our resources will take away any latitude
for flexibility that the more robust income of the past permitted. In short, our leaders of tomorrow will have to make tougher, more rigorous choices when spending our capital.

If we are to stave off future gaps in needs and resources, we must have an effective economic development program and must continue to promote a favorable business climate in the city.

We need leaders who can balance the competing economic and environmental needs of the total community and who can govern by consensus-building. Most important is how they will collaborate with
others to form decisions that reflect the will and best interests of the people.

We also need passionate, inspired leaders with influence beyond our city's boundaries and individuals who can make sound decisions based on critical thinking.

Bob Kellar fills the bill on all my criteria. There is no more ardent supporter of Santa Clarita or more impassioned advocate for its needs. As a multi-term council member and mayor, Bob has displayed
exceptional leadership on our behalf, and his influence passes through L.A. County to Sacramento and all the way to Washington D.C., garnering favorable outcomes on such issues as the proposed Cemex
mine and the Las Lomas development.

He stands tall as a supporter of local business and is a strong advocate of economic development in the community. Bob clearly does the work of, and is in touch with, the people of Santa Clarita as indicated in every major public and private poll, where he consistently earns top votes for the individual people would most like to have as mayor.

No council member has more visibility in our city than he. His military experience and many years in law enforcement have honed his ability to make quick, accurate decisions during crises. We need his
strong hand on the helm going forward.

Of course, I cannot endorse Bob without acknowledging some media reports that impugn his integrity in office. To that, I have two responses.

First, in all the time that I have known Bob, in all his public and private dealings, he has displayed nothing but the highest integrity in his actions and greatest respect for the needs of the people of Santa Clarita, period! When he appointed me to the Planning Commission, his only charge to me was: "You don't work for me - you work for the people of Santa Clarita. Just do what is best for them!"

In the entire time I have served, he has been true to that instruction, allowing me total freedom to assess all the issues independent of his influence.

Second, it would be monumentally wrong to let his detractors manipulate our opinion of Bob until he has had a fair opportunity to defend himself against the allegations.

In the complex, issue-laden future that we face, we need leaders who can anticipate trends and deal with circumstances effectively as they develop. I have the highest confidence that Bob Kellar is the right
person for the job right here, right now!

For the sake of our future, show him your support on April 8.

Bill Kennedy, a Santa Clarita planning commissioner, lives in Valencia and is a principal with Wingspan Business Consulting. His column reflects his own views, and not necessarily those of the organizations he works with nor of The Signal.


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