City Council candidates introduce campaign platforms at lunch

SCV City Council candidates are introduced during a VIA luncheon forum held at Valencia Country Club in Valencia on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

About 100 people gathered at the Valencia Country Club to hear from most of the Santa Clarita City Council candidates as they offered their campaign platforms on Tuesday.

The luncheon event, hosted by the Valley Industry Association, had 12 of the 15 candidates running for office in a focused question-and-answer forum.

Each candidate had an opportunity to answer three questions that focused on homelessness, development and the younger generations.

Before addressing the questions, candidates introduced themselves and told the audience why they should vote for them in the Nov. 6 election, in which the top three candidates will win seats on the City Council.

They are:

TimBen Boydston

Boydston is a former city councilman and is looking to rejoin the council to improve the growth of the city. He believes voters should choose him because he is an “independent voice but I know how to get things done.” As an example, he cited his efforts in getting rid of digital billboards when he was previously on the council.

Ken Dean

Dean has been a part of multiple city committees including Open Space and Transportation. He is running to help the council improve several issues, especially traffic and transportation.

Jason Gibbs

Gibbs is a senior project manager. He wants Santa Clarita to do more for the community, especially children. “Everyone steps up and steps out to do things for other people, and I think that’s where the success is going to be.”

Brett Haddock

Haddock is a former eBay software engineer. He said he left his career to dedicate his time to the City Council campaign. Haddock has more than 300 hours in volunteer work with several nonprofits, including Bridge to Home. “I want to keep Santa Clarita an amazing city, and I want to pass it on to the next generation to give them the opportunity and have the same experience that I had growing up and focus on our future,” he said.

Marsha McLean

McLean is the city’s mayor pro tem, and has been a member of the council since 2002. Some accomplishments, before joining the council, include leading a coalition to fight a massive landfill in Elsmere Canyon, which is now preserved as open space. She wants voters to choose her because of her experience and focus on the state’s unfair fees and taxes.

Bill Miranda

Miranda, an Air Force veteran and local business owner, holds a seat on the council. He was appointed in 2017. “I want to keep Santa Clarita the great place it already is today,” he said. “I want to continue doing things to serve.”

Sandra Nichols

Nichols is retired and an advocate for people who are disabled. As someone who travels by wheelchair across Santa Clarita, she wants to be “a voice for the voiceless” by focusing on older adults and those who are disabled.

Logan Smith

Smith is a political strategist and nonprofit organizer. He has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for 15 years, and is running because he believes the city needs new voices and new visions. “Santa Clarita stands at a crossroads with people,” he said. “It’s time for new leadership to address the challenges the city has faced for too long and have been left unresolved for too long.”

Diane Trautman

Trautman has served as a city planning commissioner and is running to “bring a new voice and ideas to the city’s leadership.” She wants to pursue innovative and comprehensive solutions for issues such as housing, homelessness and public safety.

Sankalp Varma

Varma has lived in the SCV for more than 10 years. As a rideshare driver, he said he can bring a unique voice to the council as he has spent significant time with local residents and learning about their desires and concerns.

Laurene Weste

The city’s current mayor has served on the council since 1998. She said Santa Clarita is “strong because of our diligence and our planning.” Weste hopes to continue making that happen, she said, through re-election.

Paul Wieczorek

He has worked as a postal carrier for 35 years and has run consecutively three times in the past. His goal, if elected, is to bring a hometown feel back to the area. “I’m not a politician. I just want to see Santa Clarita do better,” he said.  

Candidates Cherry Ortega, an investor and entrepreneur; Sean Weber, a local businessperson; and Matthew Hargett, an emergency medical technician, did not attend the forum.

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