Several candidates have filed to run in the race to unseat three City Council incumbents up for reelection.
Councilman Bill Miranda, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and Mayor Laurene Weste, who are expected to run for reelection, will see opponents in Logan Smith, Brett Haddock, Diane Trautman, Lee Uber, Chris Werthe and Jason Gibbs.
Weste and McLean were elected in 2014, and Miranda was appointed in 2017 to fill the term of Assemblyman Dante Acosta.
The city of Santa Clarita recently consolidated its elections with Los Angeles County, and as a result, its timeline for elections is regulated by county policy and law.
The first date for candidates to file for their paperwork for November’s election is July 16. The deadline for applications is Aug. 10, unless an incumbent doesn’t file for the race, in which case it would be extended.
Haddock, 33, was born and raised in Santa Clarita and wants to bring his knowledge of software engineering to give the city a better technological infrastructure.
Haddock said he looked at traffic issues as a computer problem, and saw mass transit as a solution and bringing more businesses to the SCV by utilizing a better fiber optic network to enhance Internet use.
“I also want to be a more accessible representative to the SCV people,” he said. “Getting ahold of council members, with the exception of Cameron Smyth, is hard. For the most part a lot of people feel ignored. I want to engage everyone on a new level.”
The software engineer said he has facilitated billions of dollars in transactions through his employment at eBay and has seen “the big picture of how operations works and the minutia of the details.”
Haddock is also a board member of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, a local civic engagement group.
Werthe, 35, said he “sees a constant complacency and ignoring of glaring factors of our city growing,” and wants to run to address homelessness and traffic concerns adequately.
“The current council wants to play the small town card and just address beautification issues,” he said. “And they vote on issues they have no real impact on. I wanted to get into politics because I am a civil servant, and I understand how the civil service class works.”
Werthe works for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and attributes his research background dealing with different levels of city, county and state government to his understanding of bureaucracy.
He is a military veteran of nine years and has been a Valencia resident since 2015.
He is working on a Master’s in public administration in CSUN.
Smith, 25, is concerned about the council’s age diversity and wants to bring a younger voice to speak on the issues.
Smith is concerned with the opioid epidemic, and properly combatting homelessness and the housing crisis. He has worked on multiple campaigns, such as the political campaign of Christy Smith for the 38th Assembly District in 2016, and the statewide field campaign for the California Disclose Act for campaign finance disclosure.
“This is a country with a long history of young leaders stepping up,” he said. “I think this is a city of the future, and it’s important to have a balance of voices and perspectives (on the council.”
Smith has a website available at https://www.smithforsantaclarita.com/. He works as an organizer for a nonprofit youth civic engagement group, NextGen.
Saugus resident Diane Trautman, 63, is a former Planning Commissioner who wants to create a more comprehensive approach for housing for people of various income levels.
She believes the current council lacks a long term vision and wants to bring more change with her background as a personnel administrator.
“I’m a former small business owner/operator,” she said. “My husband and I created and StudyPros In-Home Tutoring 2003-2011. So I have an understanding of some of the challenges faced by small businesses.”
Trautman also wants to prioritize treatment for the homeless and to extend more help for seniors.
Uber, 36, said he wants to explore new ideas on school safety, easing the rush hour traffic burden by enticing businesses to relocate to Santa Clarita, and putting the debate surrounding medical and recreational marijuana sales to a city-wide vote.
“I feel like I would be a great representative of many of the residents of Santa Clarita,” the Valencia resident said. “I’m disappointed by how politicized the City Council has become. It’s embarrassing to see our council meetings on Fox News, and our council members celebrating recent divisive resolutions.
Uber said he has no formal experience in politics, but as a concerned citizen without a voice on the City Council, believes it’s his duty to run.
Jason Gibbs could not be reached for comment on this story.