How does one deal with a super majority in government with an unbending idealism with no room for compromise, consensus building or common sense? Hopefully we can figure it out sooner, rather than later.
To mention a bit of history and my involvement in Santa Clarita, I have always been interested in staying involved in my community and since 1973 have been actively involved in Santa Clarita with regional organizations, joint powers authorities, commissions, local and state organizations, etc.
When we became a city in 1987, I enjoyed working with and being actively involved in many aspects of city-related citizen committees such as the environment, waste management (especially keeping the world’s largest garbage dump from being built at the gateway to our city), traffic/transportation issues, revitalization of Newhall, making all of our different areas — Canyon Country, Saugus and Valencia — successful and vibrant. Making sure our libraries are able to serve our residents, keeping the world’s largest gravel mine from decimating our water supply, and importantly, attempting to have a voice in how our community stays safe, family-oriented and our neighborhoods able to maintain a wonderful quality of life.
I was first elected to the Santa Clarita City Council in 2002 and I kept that interest going because I feel our city’s residents needed to be heard and their needs met. I became involved in the League of California Cities (now Cal Cities) because the leadership was truly interested in fighting for local control, fighting to control the taxes and fee proposals put forth by Sacramento legislators and not letting them only serve one segment of the population of California. Over the years, I have become frustrated that most — but not all — of the state board leadership no longer remains objective and has stopped listening to all of us; instead acquiescing to the supermajority that now exists in Sacramento. I pulled back from policy committee membership because of the lack of objectivity.
However, I felt it was extremely important to continue to be involved to continue to be vocal on the things that are important for the leadership to hear.
The supermajority party, however, comes up with some of the most nonsensical laws to obliterate the ability to have a say in how we maintain our quality of life, the ability to stop our property taxes from going through the roof, removing the ability of our businesses, especially our mom and pops, to conduct their business without onerous rules that make it impossible to actually stay open.
One of the worst problems is the laws passed over the years that protect criminals instead of victims.
Our council feels the league does not fight hard enough on issues we care about so we are no longer a member of the league, but we must continue to have a very loud voice to advocate for equitable solutions to maintain our safety and quality of life.
There are many propositions that will appear on the November 2024 ballot that we all need to become educated about as they can affect how our existing taxes are increased, our voting power to have a say could be lessened, and increased property taxes could be forced upon us. One thing that many renters apparently are not aware of in voting for property tax increases is that although they do not pay property taxes, their landlords do. Therefore, as property taxes continue to rise, the rents will also continue to rise. People can hardly afford to pay the increased rents, the continuously rising property taxes, now. Some of the 2024 proposed ballot initiatives could only make it worse.
There is Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 and ACA 13. Compare these to the California Business Roundtable’s initiative.
There is the proposed L.A. County H 2.0 – that would increase the sales tax of one-quarter percent currently being collected through Measure H, which was supposed to solve the homelessness crisis, to one-half percent.
Assembly Bill 1679, if signed by the governor, is a real problem for all of us. You can Google these, as I did, to learn more about them.
In conclusion, please, please take the time to learn about these proposals for the 2024 ballot. Our futures depend on it.
Marsha McLean, a member of the Santa Clarita City Council, submitted this commentary representing her own personal opinion and not necessarily those of other council members.