I was a bit concerned to return from a weekend outing and read Saturday’s Signal where the headline stated: “More inmates heading to Pitchess?”
I am sure many Castaic residents are not thrilled about this news, and I spent a great amount of time calling and speaking with people at the county trying to get this matter – which I’m sure was going to be approved on Tuesday, Sept. 20 – continued to a later meeting.
After being told that would not happen, I was successful in having it delayed for two weeks and also advised that L.A. County representatives would attend our Castaic Area Town Council meeting today at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the Castaic Union School District office, 28131 Livingston Ave.
While the Castaic Area Town Council is an advisory board to the county without the authority to make decisions for the town of Castaic, I have found our supervisor, Michael Antonovich, and the Board of Supervisors to be very receptive to our needs.
However, in this instance it appears that the county may be in a situation where it has nowhere else to house these inmates, and that the best solution for the entire county is to go ahead with this plan.
While we must be compassionate to the needs of the entire county, I believe it would certainly not hurt to let them know our opinion on this issue. While we may lose this battle, there will be other county issues, and I want to make certain that we wind up being treated fairly, in the scheme of the entire county, with regard to our fair share of resources and any negative impacts imposed on different communities throughout the county.
I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Doyle, superintendent of the Castaic Union School District, who agreed with my position and felt that it would not be in the best interest of our students to have these mentally ill prisoners housed in our community, whether at Pitchess or elsewhere.
I encourage our residents to attend the Town Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. today to let the county know our feelings with regard to this issue that might have an impact on the decision or other decisions that may arise in the future.
John N. Kunak is a 12-year member of the Castaic Area Town Council. He had previously served eight years on the Castaic Union School District Board of Trustees.