A political flier featuring both Mayor Bob Kellar and former Councilman Cameron Smyth has created a bit of a dust-up with two of their opponents in the Nov. 8 Santa Clarita City Council race – and also shed a bit of light on local political alliances three weeks before Election Day.
TimBen Boydston, seeking re-election to the council, and Alan Ferdman, another candidate among the 11 in the hunt for the two expiring seats, both reacted this week to the Kellar/Smyth flier, which was mailed to voters last week and was paid for jointly by the Kellar and Smyth campaigns.
It’s not the message of the flier – “Mayor Bob Kellar & Cameron Smyth won’t let Santa Clarita turn into another San Fernando Valley’’ — that has Boydston and Ferdman irked.
It’s that Kellar and Smyth appear on it in tandem – running tacitly, though not officially, as a slate.
“I think that, right from the beginning, certainly the rumor mill was that Kellar had encouraged Smyth to run with him, and their goal was to knock out TimBen,’’ said Ferdman, who finished 46 votes shy of winning a council seat in 2014.
“What we’re seeing is, they are acting as a team. It’s a situation where they are attempting to load the council – I knew that from the beginning, it’s no surprise.’’
“Yes, it’s been that from the very beginning,’’ Boydston said. “Mr. Kellar was clear from the beginning that he recruited Mr. Smyth. Mr. Kellar has made it no secret he did not like the way I conducted myself (on the Council), and I make no apology for the way I conducted myself.’’
It should be pointed out Boydston and Ferdman acknowledge they are political allies and supporters of each other’s candidacies. They even appeared recently as a joint fund-raiser, though both stressed that they did not organize the event, but rather were invited by supporters.
Kellar acknowledged his support of Smyth. But the mayor steadfastly denied the pair is running as a slate.
“Slate? Absolutely not,’’ Kellar said. “I never have. I have made comments in other venues that Cameron is the person I am supporting, other than myself.’’
Kellar also said the joint flier enabled both campaigns to “cut our costs in half, it’s as simple as that, nothing more.”
“I will not even attempt to disagree that we are acting as a team,’’ Kellar said.
As for whether Kellar recruited Smyth to run as a way to squeeze out Boydston, the mayor said that was not the case.
“I heard that he was considering running, and when I heard he was considering it, I said, ‘You were a great councilman, I would love to see you back,’ ’’ Kellar said.
Smyth told the same story.
“Any assertion that Mr. Kellar recruited me to run is not accurate,’’ said Smyth, who served on the council from 2000-2006 and in the Assembly as a Republican from 2006-1012.
“Once I decided to consider running again, he certainly was one of the calls I made. But I made literally 100 calls to people across the community when I considered getting back in.’’
For his part, Boydston said, “I want to be re-elected, and one of the reasons is exactly what is happening with Mr. Kellar and Mr. Smyth.”
“Mayor Kellar and Mr. Smyth are part of the status quo, and they are looking to return the council back to the days when there were almost always 5-0 votes,’’ Boydston said.
Those 5-0 votes, Boydston added, “represent the status quo, which is, in my opinion, dictated by lobbyists and special interests.’’
An example, Boydston said, was the now-defeated proposal of bringing electronic billboards to Santa Clarita “which Mr. Kellar and Mr. Smyth both were in favor of.”
Boydston was a lead voice against the billboards, and highlights that in campaign speeches.
Boydston also said he was “flattered” by the Kellar/Smyth flier stressing they would not let Santa Clarita “turn into another San Fernando Valley’’ – which was Boydston’s campaign slogan four years ago, and which he has used in campaign speeches this year.
But Kellar scoffed off the charge of such literary larceny.
“If that was his slogan four years ago, congratulations,’’ Kellar said. “I do not need to go to TimBen Boydston to know what to say.
“I was raised in the Fernando Valley, and if somebody offered me a house there today for free, I wouldn’t take it.”