When pondering the future for Santa Clarita, I look to history for understanding and guidance, as we are blessed to live here.
Our ability to overcome challenges and thrive stems from two basic tenets that have withstood the test of time: 1) The involvement and dedication from the community has consistently provided the passion and power to drive change and utilize resources to accomplish the most daunting of tasks, and 2) the open communication and fruitful relationships that city government has created with our school boards, water board, and our state and federal representatives.
No matter how great an idea is, if the relationships and respect are not strong, or those vying for office continually denigrate and utilize partisan positions for political gain, it will fail.
Our current City Council lacks the perspective and representation of the most prominent group that makes up the future of this city: young families. My fresh and informed vision will bring some much-needed perspective to the council to create opportunity for Santa Clarita’s young families to not just exist, but thrive.
These days, skyrocketing home prices coupled with the desire to live in a safe, clean and vibrant city, force many young families to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This reality furthers the immediate need for more business parks, high-end industry and technical careers, and overall local business growth in Santa Clarita.
By partnering with the Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and Valley Industrial Association for smart and structured growth, we can bring in both a new tax base and jobs to the city. My vision means families will have more time together, spend less money on gasoline, reduce carbon emissions, and improve their overall quality of life.
Just as we must do so personally, the city must also make prudent monetary decisions to maintain fiscal stability. Fortunately, we maintain a balanced budget and a 20 percent operating reserve, all while simultaneously working a number of large capital projects vital to Santa Clarita’s future. The new sheriff station, support of the new senior center, Canyon Country Community Center construction, Newhall Ranch Road bridge widening, and the recent completion of the Downtown Newhall parking structure prove local municipalities can make financial decisions that protect our balance sheets while creating critical infrastructure.
Unfortunately, our balance sheets are not independent from the state when it comes to Cal-PERS and their unfunded liabilities. Santa Clarita is tied to a system that is severely underfunded, overestimating returns, and pushing the onus onto local government and employees to make up for their dereliction. The idea of kicking the can down the road and forcing future employees and taxpayers to be responsible for the mismanagement occurring today is reprehensible.
We should never be complacent and allow the saddling of crushing debts and obligations to our children and grandchildren at any level of government.
To help insulate Santa Clarita from these rising costs perpetuated by an out-of-control and arrogant state Legislature, and outside of local management purview, I will work with the council and staff to strategize to continually prioritize the aggressive repayment of our obligations, ensuring our city retirees receive what they earned, and limiting future generations’ obligations to pay for the promises of yesterday.
Public safety is a cornerstone to the health and welfare of a community, and an important factor when people decide on a place to establish roots, improve their lives, and raise a family. As your city councilman, I will work with my fellow council members, our public safety partners, and the community to create the Public Safety Commission.
So many problems our citizens face on a daily basis like area-specific crime, drugs and opioid abuse, and traffic-related issues deserve the dedicated resources and expertise that this commission will provide for the betterment of Santa Clarita. Monthly meetings of the community, the city and our partners will attack those issues that impact public safety, providing the long-desired open and transparent dialogue our city is lacking.
The problems of tomorrow cannot be solved with the thinking of yesterday alone. My fresh perspective on the struggles of young families is what our community desires and deserves at City Hall, while ensuring that our founding principles are never sacrificed for political ideology.
As your City Council member, I will work to evolve the legacy of the past into accomplishments of the future to ensure Santa Clarita is heralded by all those who proudly call this city home.
Jason Gibbs is a candidate for the Santa Clarita City Council in the November election.