San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative delegate nomination stirs up council

The San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative now has two Santa Clarita representatives, after a decision Tuesday night that stirred up tensions among council members.

The City Council discussed an invitation to join the collaborative, and subsequently which council member would be assigned as the delegate, in addition to the possibility of naming city Administrative Analyst Masis Hagobian as the alternate.  

The collaborative is a nonprofit that advocates for the resources, investments and management objectives that sustainably benefit communities throughout the region, the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

The council unanimously voted to designate Councilwoman Laurene Weste as the delegate and Mayor Marsha McLean as the alternate delegate. However, this decision came after a split vote reminiscent of the mayoral rotation in December, which led to a heated back-and-forth discussion about who should be the next mayor and, ultimately, another agenda item Tuesday — a discussion about which procedural rules the council should abide by for meetings.

With two nominations in hand, the council first voted for McLean’s nomination, but only Smyth voted “yes.” As it was time for the mayor to cast her vote, she blurted out while pointing at Weste, “OK, I give up. I totally give up. You can have it.”

Weste thanked McLean and the council then all voted in favor to have the mayor as the alternate and Weste as the delegate, which City Manager Ken Striplin said was possible instead of designating Hagobian if there was interest by the council members.

Before voting, McLean said the city was invited to join the collaborative after the organization first contacted her showing interest in Santa Clarita.

“That being said, I would like to put my name out there as the person that is delegated,” she said at the meeting. “I know many members on this collaborative. I believe it would be beneficial for us to have someone who has worked with these same people and I know them and they know me.”

Weste followed by saying she believed she would also make a good fit, as she “worked to create the Open Space District. I served on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and I have been working on the Rim of the Valley for a really long time,” and also noted she has a “great deal of innerconnection with all the different agencies that work on parks and national monuments, preservation, open space.”  

Councilman Cameron Smyth nominated McLean, saying, “I think this is a good position for the mayor to hold at this time because it is a regional position.”

When it came to considering both candidates, Councilman Bob Kellar and Councilman Bill Miranda took a step back to see who had the most workload. As it turns out, according to a count by Striplin, that both council members participate in the same number of committees.

Miranda then asked the mayor if “(the new role) is a burden that we should add to your load?” But McLean answered that the collaborative meets once every other month, and “I think it’s a good burden to add.”

Tension among the City Council on this topic had rolled over from their previous conversation about adopting Rosenberg’s Rules of Order, on which they also struggled to reach an agreement. McLean said the reason the City Council was even considering amending its rules and procedures was because of the mayoral rotation debate in December, in which she said she felt she had to defend herself from being voted out “for no reason except for perhaps political and personal reasons.”  

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