Canyon Country Advisory group chats about community concerns

Dust rises out of the Sand Fire burn area in Canyon Country Friday morning as high winds prevail. (Austin Dave/The Signal)

Talking mostly about conflicts and concerns across the valley, about a dozen Canyon Country residents gathered for the monthly Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday night.

Chairman Alan Ferdman led the discussion about the mobile home park municipal code and the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce after Democratic Congressional candidate and PATH Deputy CEO Katie Hill answered attendees’ questions about her political views and goals.

“We bring as much current information as we can here,” Alan Ferdman said. “I hope it gives you a better feel for what’s going on.”

Ferdman began the meeting by complimenting the City Council’s discussion on May 9 regarding the mobile home park municipal code 6.02.

“This is the way things should happen,” Ferdman said. “This is the way the council should act on every issue.”

Each council member’s genuine concern and commitment to resolving community members’ concerns showed that persistence from residents matters, Ferdman said.

The chairman encouraged attendees to continue being persistent until the council hears them on matters they care about.

“Keep talking to them over and over until they do something,” Ferdman said.

Under this proposed version of the code, mobile home parks would do away with their five-person panel who makes decisions on appeals in favor of a subcontracted administrative hearing officer.

As a compromise, Ferdman suggested they keep a panel with two residents and two owners, but make the fifth member a law professional.

Additionally, the city should look at all decisions to ensure rent increases are not unjust, he said.

Ferdman then gave attendees a history of the Chamber of Commerce and all the mergers that have occurred since the 1990s.

In what he called the “incredibly shrinking Chamber of Commerce,” Ferdman talked about the merging of the Canyon Country Chamber, the Latino Chamber, the Latino Business Committee and the Canyon Country Merchants Association with the Santa Clarita Chamber at some point.

“The Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce was operating happily,” Ferdman said.

Ferdman said chamber members always express the same viewpoints as the city.

“Have you heard any of these people take any position other than what the city takes?” he said.

Ferdman then touched on a disagreement between Councilman Bill Miranda and Gazette Publisher Doug Sutton on where money from the Latino Chamber’s merger went.

“I don’t think The Gazette is going to give up until they find out what the story is, and I think that’s a good thing,” Ferdman said.

Katie Hill took questions from attendees, emphasizing her focus on homelessness, health care, education and tax reform.

“We have to create more transparency,” Katie Hill said. “The health care industry is the only thing we sign blank checks for.”

On several issues, Hill suggested putting pressure on politicians to make sure what people care about is heard, including finding affordable housing solutions and preparing retirees financially.

Also, she said the foster care system and homelessness both need more funding, resources and services.

Regarding taxes, she said wealthy people ought to pay the same percentage as everyone else, not more or less.

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On Twitter as @ginaender

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