The Signal, SCVTV, KHTS co-host Santa Clarita City Council candidate forum

The Signal, SCVTV and KHTS co-hosted a forum Monday at The Centre for Santa Clarita City Council candidates. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Thirteen Santa Clarita City Council candidates discussed their views for the city’s future, touching on topics from transportation funding to safety to priorities for residents.

Monday evening’s forum, jointly hosted by KHTS AM-1220/98.1 FM, SCVTV and The Signal, hit on a number of issues, but housing and affordability seemed to be primary concerns for the candidates.

LIVE: Santa Clarita City Council Candidate Forum

LIVE: Watch as candidates running for Santa Clarita City Council answer questions from The Signal, SCVTV and KHTS Radio.Read more about the forum here:

Posted by Santa Clarita Valley Signal on Monday, October 1, 2018

One question posed to the hopefuls essentially asked them for strategies on how they could make Santa Clarita more affordable, so the generation of residents who are joining the workforce would be able to continue living and working in Santa Clarita.

Councilman Bill Miranda noted that he was “determined to change that,” acknowledging, as all the candidates did, that the city was part of a countywide housing crisis.

Councilman Bill Miranda
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

“You talk about affordable housing. I’m talking about workforce housing,” Miranda said, noting the city need to make sure approved developments were creating infrastructure and supporting job growth.

“There’s absolutely nothing worse than a senior who’s outpriced from their apartment,” Councilwoman Marsha McLean said. “The way to alleviate that problem is supply and demand.”

Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and Diane Trautman. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

The fact that Santa Clarita should build more to create affordable spaces was shared by most of the candidates; however, each also had a slightly different take on how to accomplish that.

“We need to look at a variety of solutions,” said Diane Trautman, one of the challengers. “We need to talk to our developers about starter homes,” she said, as well as shared housing for seniors. “Just building is not going to be enough.”

Diane Trautman answers questions at a forum held for the candidates running for the Santa Clarita Valley Council Monday Evening. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Sankalp Varma noted that there’s a younger generation, “and they need to figure out their hustle, and what their hustle is.”

Sankalp Varma
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

The help there has to come from city leadership, he said, noting leaders need to make it so the younger generation “can get better paying jobs here in Santa Clarita, so they can start with a condo and work their way up.”

TimBen Boydston, a challenger who’s previously served on City Council, answered with three words: “More affordable housing.” However, he also followed that up with that it has to be done “very carefully, so you don’t overburden the infrastructure.”

TimBen Boydston
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Candidate Jason Gibbs noted “The supply is coming,” referring to a slate of recently approved housing projects for the area, but that’s not enough, he said.

“We need to see the business infrastructure that’s going to be able to provide for that,” he said, noting job development, as opposed to building, would be the crucial factor.

Jason Gibbs
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Candidate Matthew Hargett feared there wasn’t a short-term solution, but he did note that there’s been promise in what the city has been able to do with its improvements to the Newhall area, and that “it’s going to take a combination of better, higher paying jobs” in addition to more affordable housing.

Matthew Hargett and Brett Haddock
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Another candidate, Brett Haddock, noted the housing gap for California grows by about 500,000 homes each year, which is why more building was needed.

“We need starter homes. We need mixed use and new developments,” Haddock said.

Brett Haddock and Ken Dean
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Affordable-housing programs, in addition to rent control, were the solutions suggested when candidate Ken Dean was asked for his solutions, which he hoped would work to eliminate homelessness. He also noted the cost of monthly rents in Santa Clarita, referring to the $1,600-plus monthly rent for a single-bedroom apartment as ludicrous.

Sean Weber sought for economic solutions, but sarcastically reiterated “building more housing” as the solution, noting how many houses have been approved, and pointing to the fact that affordable housing is still unavailable.

Brett Haddock, Ken Dean and Sean Weber
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

“What you build matters,” noted Logan Smith, another City Council hopeful. “We need to build multi-family home dwellings and we need to build responsibly,” Smith said. “And we also need to work on cost controls.”

Sean Weber and Logan Smith
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste called for a “balanced approach,” to housing, she said, “so that we’re not just created a massive area of housing near a quality community, and we do need to build transit centers.”

Logan Smith and Mayor Laurene Weste
Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Candidate Sandra Nichols looked toward alternative solutions, noting how Seattle was looking to solve its housing shortage by building large complexes with shared resources like community kitchens.

“We’re losing any kind of community,” Nichols said, lamenting how technology has become a social divide. “Everybody is just on their phones and playing games all the time.”

Sandra Nichols                                                                                                                                                      Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

Challengers Cherry Ortega and Paul Wieczorek did not attend the forum.

The election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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