Community members vocalize opinions at last council meeting before break

Santa Clarita City Hall

At the last council meeting before the six-week summer break, community members gathered in the city council chambers to make the most of public comment time.

Nearly a year after Santa Clarita city council members approved the community-funded Fallen Warriors Monument, a lack of vetted World War I names has stalled its construction.

Bill Reynolds, who conceptualized the project and serves as The Signal’s Director of Veteran’s Affairs, took to the Tuesday city council meeting to encourage council members to move forward with the monument without the names.

“I need approval to have our monument’s front panel built without the World War I heading,” Reynolds said.

Months ago, Councilwoman Laurene Weste had been hesitant to approve the monument without the names, saying she had heard from the women’s auxiliary that there were up to 17 people from Santa Clarita who had lost their lives in World War I.

Congressman Steve Knight’s office, who vetted every name from the other wars, was unable to verify any from WWI, Reynolds said.

Council members agreed to put the item on the agenda for the first meeting after the break.

Also during public comment time, a group of community members and environmentalists urged the council to join the Los Angeles County Community Choice Energy Program.

“This is a risk-free way to fight climate change and help consumers save money,” resident Logan Smith said.

Activists from and local ratepayers said joining the agreement would save money and electricity at a renewable baseline of 30, 50 or 100 percent, but would also allow people who want to opt out to do so.

“The solution to climate change is moving quickly to renewable energy,” local representative Alan Weiner said. “There is no downside to this.”

He then grabbed a cowboy hat and sang, “the sun shines down on everyone, the best energy is free.”

After making the mayor laugh with an anecdote about how he was mistaken for a senator because of his name, speaker Harry Reid echoed these sentiments.

“I get to help you become heroes without any risk,” Reid said. “You have the chance to hit a homerun without the risk of striking out.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Robert Lewis debriefed the council on the illegal fireworks that were set off from July 1 to 4.

During this time, there were 179 calls made about illegal fireworks, down from 289 the year before. There were 17 extra officers on duty to manage the problem on the holiday, who collected 60 pounds worth of fireworks.

According to the captain, officers cannot issue citations unless they see who set them off.

“It’s very difficult to identify a specific person to issue the citation to,” Lewis said.

Mayor Smyth said he understood the sheriff’s department needed more resources and said he wants to be able to provide that for them.

The council also addressed Lewis about concerns with fatalities and high speeds on the roads and asked about next steps and potential safety programs.

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