Castaic Town Council announces Gnome Festival, special election

Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal Castaic Council (L-R) Treasurer Jim D'Addario, President Jessica Roussel Chambers and Vice President Bonnie Nikolai, wear gnome outfits during the meeting Wednesday evening.

With outfits showcasing their idea, the Castaic Area Town Council on Wednesday creatively announced plans to hold a gnome festival, in response to the recent decimation of its “Gnome Island.” 

Councilman Jim D’Addario darted out of the restroom sporting a full gnome costume as the rest of the council members sported gnome hats to complement their discussion of the last agenda item.

“We’re trying to put a positive spin on something that’s been a concern of the community, which is Gnome Island,” Council President Jessica Chambers said, referring to the Hasley Canyon roundabout median that was once home to a plethora of garden gnomes.

Castaic Town Councilman Jim D’Addario put on full dress as a gnome during the meeting Wednesday evening. Tom Cruze/The Signal

In May, the county removed the gnomes, which had been placed by various community members, after county Public Works Department staff received complaints citing the installation as a distraction and safety issue, spokesman Kerjon Lee said last month.

The council said it would support the county’s decision to remove the gnomes. The council’s alternative is to start a “Gnome Committee” to honor the areas’ affinity for gnomes — by creating a gnome festival, to be held in October.

The festival, still in its planning stages, would likely have gnome-themed arts activities and storytelling competitions for kids and adults alike, Chambers said.

“The community does want to have its gnomes,” Chambers said. “We just want it done in a safe manner.”

As Santa Clarita is known as “the city of trees,” Chambers said, the members perhaps hoped Castaic would be known as “the town of gnomes.”

The council had also discussed asking the county if they could place one big gnome at the roundabout instead, but had not yet made a formal decision about asking, Vice President Bonnie Nikolai said.

Rosalind Wayman, field deputy to 5th District L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, approved of the idea and said she thought the festival sounded fun.


The council also planned a to make an appointment to fill the vacancy of former Councilman Jim Idleman for his term, which expires in December. Idleman, who resigned June 1, represented Region IV,  which consists of the communities Meadowood, Bravo, Encore and Castaic east of Interstate 5 and south of Lake Hughes Road.

In lieu of a formal vote-based election, applicants can go to the council’s site and complete the application for the council seat, Chambers said. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. July 3. Interviews are expected to take place July 3-18.

The council plans to announce the new appointment by its July 18 meeting.

At its last planning meeting in June, the council also discussed reducing the number of governing positions, but it has not made a formal decision yet, Chambers said.

The council acts in an advisory capacity for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the various county departments, regarding decisions that impact the unincorporated Castaic community. It is comprised of 10 elected representatives from five regions, and the county does not have oversight of the elected body.

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