Every time I walk into City Hall, I am reminded why I decided to run for office and why I continue to enjoy what I do each day. I have the pleasure of serving as mayor pro tem on the Santa Clarita City Council, and part of my job involves working with city staff to develop and enhance programs in our city that benefit all residents.
I am proud to live and work in a city that creates forward-thinking programs that provide far-reaching solutions for the community. Over the years, the city of Santa Clarita has been recognized by organizations around the country for successful programs and projects in the public safety, social wellness, business development and other sectors.
This year, the city was once again honored by the League of California Cities with two Helen Putnam Awards for Excellence for innovative and well-rounded approaches to two vastly different opportunities in Santa Clarita.
Last week, I had the distinct honor of accepting the award on behalf of the city for intergovernmental collaboration for the Community Court Diversion Program, as well as the award for city-business relations for the Santa Clarita Business Incubator, at the League of California Cities’ annual conference in Long Beach.
The Community Court Diversion Program was established in 2006 as a collaboration among the city, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and William S. Hart Union High School District. It allows first-time juvenile offenders to enter a diversion program and pay restitution in Santa Clarita, most often through community service, rather than having to travel south into Los Angeles city limits, to be processed through the juvenile justice system. Since its inception, nearly 4,200 youth have performed more than 40,000 community service hours and participants have a 98-percent completion success rate in the program.
The city’s second award was given for the positive impact the Santa Clarita Business Incubator is having on small businesses and entrepreneurs. A collaboration among the city, College of the Canyons and the Small Business Development Center, the Business Incubator houses three technology-focused start-up companies and provides access to vital resources and advice so they may thrive in our city. Since its launch, I am happy to report that two companies have completed the three-year program and have transitioned into nearby operating locations. A total of 19 new jobs have been created in the emerging fields of digital media, entertainment and information technology, and the Santa Clarita Business Incubator continues to be a shining light helping guide new businesses to success.
The Helen Putnam Award for Excellence has a long-standing tradition of being a premier award in our state, and all California cities compete annually for the chance to win one of just 12 awards. I am proud to say that 2018 marks the 13th year Santa Clarita has won this award and second consecutive year the city has won two.
I encourage you to learn more about the city of Santa Clarita’s award-winning programs by visiting our website at santa-clarita.com.
Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].