Barger talks homelessness, public safety and employment at VIA Cocktails and Conversation

Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger shares the top three countywide issues on her mind during VIA's Cocktails and Conversation event on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Tammy Murga/ The Signal

Santa Claritans have seen her take on important issues serving on the Board of Supervisors, or most recently, reminding citizens of the dangers of fireworks use. 

But on Wednesday, the local business community had the chance to interact with Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger in a more relaxed setting during the Valley Industry Association’s Cocktails and Conversation event at the Valencia Country Club. 

“These were designed to be more casual, social opportunities for our elected officials to get to know some of the folks in our organization and vice versa, and it’s a friendly environment,” said host Ed Masterson of SOS Entertainment. 

About 70 people, representing multiple businesses, attended the event and had the opportunity to learn about Barger via a relaxed, question-and-answer setup. 

Before tackling the more serious-tone questions, Masterson asked her to share some of the fun aspects of her job when she gets the chance to visit the city. 

Her answer, without hesitation: roller coasters. 

“Getting on roller coasters at Magic Mountain without having to wait in line,” she said with a smile. 

Barger’s district is quite large, geographically speaking, stretching from the edges of neighboring San Bernardino, Kern and Ventura counties, the 5th district covers 22 cities and 87 unincorporated communities over the span of 2,800 square miles.

So, what are the challenges of having an area of this size? 

“For example, I work closely with the city of Santa Clarita,” she said. “City Council oversees day-to-day city, and I work on the unincorporated area. It’s important to work together. If you really look at what we do, we are the city council for the unincorporated but, again, we work with our cities. 

“One only has to look at the Sheriff’s Station (in the Santa Clarita Valley) to realize this is about working together because you, as constituents, don’t care who does it, just get it done. That is a commitment that I made.”

The supervisor was also asked to share the top three issues currently on her mind, to which she answered the countywide homeless problem, public safety and employment. Some efforts going toward these issues include working with the state to receive a waiver to fund long-term beds for the mentally ill, as well as better-paying jobs. 

Barger ended by encouraging the public to use their voice to create change and build a better tomorrow for the generations to come.  

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