There are now two official candidates for the Santa Clarita City Council and neither of them are incumbents Bob Kellar and Laurie Ender. City Clerk Sarah Gorman says Jon Hatami and Ed Colley filed papers with the required signatures of 20 registered voters. They have also paid the $1,750 printing fee for having their candidate statement printed on the sample ballot.
City Council Candidate Jon Hatami says if you don’t believe him that there’s increasing crime in Santa Clarita, just ask a deputy.
“Go ask a deputy. See what’s going on. We have gangs such as SanFer, Newhall 13, Val Verde Park, A.O.B, which is All Out Ballers. They’re operating in Newhall and they’re delivering heroin and methamphetamines to our community. That wasn’t happening back in 1983,” said Hatami.
Hatami, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney since 2006. says the crime uptick in Santa Clarita is attributable to a change in demographics.
“The demographics regarding low income housing has changed. Just go to Jakes Way to see that. Jakes Way isn’t part of the city, but it’s going to be. With Section 8 housing, not with everybody, but with a large percentage of it comes crime,” Hatami said.
Hatami, whose platform includes limiting Section 8 housing, insists he is not talking about race.
“Crime and race. There’s no correlation between the two. At all,” said Hatami.
Hatami says he’s 100 percent against racism because he’s suffered from it himself during the Iranian hostage crisis and 9-11.
“I’m Persian. I’m Iranian. I’ve been called Sand N—-, before. I’ve been called camel jockey,” said Hatami.
That experience has taught him to focus on values not the color of people’s skin.
“When I use the word demographics I mean people from the valley. People from different values than we have in Santa Clarita from San Fernando Valley. People coming from inner cities. People coming from Antelope Valley. People coming here that have different values than we do. Some different family values,” said Hatami.
While public safety is a main component of Hatami’s platform he also likes to emphasize the differences between himself and the people who currently sit on the council.
“I am conservative but I think it’s important to listen to all sides and work with people. You have to work with people on the city council and the public and the community and do what’s best for the community. Even though it may not necessarily be best for me. And that’s a perspective that I don’t think that is on the city council right now,” said Hatami.
The career prosecutor says he has no higher political ambitions such as State Assembly Member or becoming a Congressman from the U.S House of Representatives.
“I love fighting for people and I like making my community safe. But I’m not a career politician, no one’s going to buy me, and I’m not going anywhere anybody can,” Hatami said.
City Council candidate Ed Colley would seem to have a challenge on his hands. He’s now facing two incumbent city council members seeking reelection, Bob Kellar and Laurie Ender, who he supported in the past.
“I have voted for both of them in the past. I supported both of their campaigns in the past. Again, they’re both good people and I’m not asking voters to consider them any less than good people that have done some very good things for the community,” said Colley.
The next logical conclusion a voter might come to is that there’s no reason to change. Colley, an Army and Air Force veteran, struggled to find a sharp delineation between himself and Kellar. With a little prodding he did find one issue: Henry Mayo Hospital expansion.
“Bob Kellar has himself been kind of an obstructionist on the expansion of the hospital and he’s also supported other candidates for city council very consistently that are against the needed expansions,” said Colley.
With Ender, Colley has an even more difficult time providing a reason to oust her in favor of him.
“Ah, I could cherry pick different votes perhaps. Find a few that I don’t agree with her on, but again I think Laurie has done a great job,” Colley said.
Perhaps Colley is taking a pragmatic approach. Political pundits, according to Colley, are chalking up Kellar as more politically vulnerable than Ender.
“Her support is very, very broad. She won’t be removed from city council and I think that’s a good thing. She’s done a fabulous job of learning and being as good a representative as she can be for the majority of the folks in Santa Clarita,” said Colley.
Colley would seem to be conceding one seat already.
“Let me point this out. This is an at-large election where every voter has two votes. And so while I think I’m the best candidate the voter needs to decide the best two candidates,” Colley said.
Colley has served nearly a decade on the Castaic Lake Water Agency Board and he cites his leadership there as a reason the Santa Clarita Valley is “drought proof.”
“At the end of the day this community, they turned on their taps, water came out and they were able to use the water in the way they thought best,” said Colley.
That could be a better argument for leaving him where he is rather than on city council.
“I’m hopeful to make the argument that that leadership, that that ability to solve problems would translate into a, my ability to lead in a new, and perhaps a little bit expanded role on city council,” Colley said.