The election is over, the dust has settled and the people have spoken. This was an election that basically went smoothly without controversial outbreaks. Yet, one needs to look at just why certain people won and did so well. What did the people see in these individuals? Were they an activist for a purpose? Were they advocates of a cause?
The outcome, to many, was surprising. Congress, the State Assembly, the City Council, etc.
To the City Council I offer congratulations on winning the election. You have heard the voice of the people, and now we must move forward with a clear vision and direction for our city.
The first item to tackle is traffic and congestion. As we continue to have urban development it is inevitable that the physics of traffic and congestion will stay on the horizon until such time that it is fully addressed and implemented.
I suggest the following:
Form two citizens advisory committees dealing with this. The city of Los Angeles, effectively, has committees that help direct the L.A. City Council members in a clearer direction, bringing a good balance of foresight along with the city staff. We too should do this.
One committee should be a roads committee dealing with just roads. One example is Creekside Road crossing Valencia going behind Barnes and Noble and stopping at a car storage lot. This road could go through to Magic Mountain Parkway. This committee would also deal with re-striping of current problem roads.
And, look further into the 996-acre former Whittaker-Bermite property whereas our general plan shows Santa Clarita Parkway, Golden Valley Road, Magic Mountain Parkway and Via Princessa crossing it. Start planning and planning now during cleanup.
The second committee would be a traffic committee dealing with the distribution of traffic, synchronizing all city traffic lights, creating bus turn-ins, getting in and out of strip malls, etc.
When I appeared before the City Council on Nov. 13, the city manager made the comment that we are not a city conducive for a grid system of roads. I don’t buy that. They are there, you just need to look for them. He also stated that we do not need traffic committees because the city has traffic engineers, of which I am totally aware. The fact is, they are not on top of all the nightmare intersections. The Bouquet Canyon and Newhall Ranch Road timing is ill-conceived and creates traffic backup. Ruether and Golden Valley/Soledad timing does nothing more than add to the congestion on Soledad. I was told that the bad light timing is due to the trains going by. And yet the same trains going by at Rainbow Glen had no street timing problem.
Truly, the City Council has a big task on their hands on what the people have made clear for what they want to see happen. Some of those items are term limits and voting districts. You as a City Council may not agree with these suggestions, but enough citizens have expressed that this is something they want.
I suggest, if for no other reason, that term limits and voting districts are put onto the agenda for discussion, because through discussion it will give everyone, citizens and the City Council, a direction.
Also, because we are a city of diverse people, affordable housing is worth continuing looking into because it helps people break out of poverty, which will work hand and hand with our homeless situation, which is a humanitarian crisis.
And finally, Canyon Country.
On Saturday, Nov. 17, I went to the “Light Up Main Street” in Newhall. I walked around and observed what was a 1940s-looking downtown Newhall turned into, and continues today with all the new construction, an area that is an upscale community with trendy stores, restaurants, etc.
Perhaps now is the time to look into a vision for downtown Canyon Country, using Newhall as a template, to also become an upscale community.
I offer the above as a suggestion from the voice of the people, which I hope and entrust you will use as a template moving forward with a vision that all communities, Newhall, Valencia, Canyon Country and Saugus, are all part of a whole. Make your re-election a proud factor.
Ken Dean is a Santa Clarita resident.