City Council Candidate TimBen Boydston would like a seat at the table again, or more precisely one of the padded raised seats the city council members occupy at City Hall. On April 10, Santa Clarita residents will have the opportunity to vote for two open seats currently held by Bob Kellar and Laurie Ender, who are both seeking reelection.
Boydston, Executive Director of The Canyon Theatre Guild, once held the seat Ender occupies.
For 16 months Boydston completed the term of Cameron Smyth who left to become an Assembly Member for the state of California. There was one caveat. Boydston had to agree not to seek the seat at the end of the term. That opened the way for Ender.
For the last four years Boydston has still made regular appearances at city council meetings, but as a speaker with his regular refrain, “TimBen Boydston, former city council member, speaking as a private citizen.”
Asked why he’s coming back, Boydston said: “I’m running again, because with the exception of Bob Kellar, I believe the council is not listening carefully to the people.”
One particular instance of the council sporting a tin ear was on the issue of raising the campaign finance limit that individuals could give a candidate from $340 to $1,000. Boydston notes that Kellar voted against it.
“They voted for that and thereby made it easier for people to buy influence and also to shut out candidates that are not able to raise a great sum of money,” Boydston said.
Boydston is clearly a Kellar supporter. City Council Candidate Ed Colley is an Ender supporter. Each is therefore focusing their political fortunes on the other seat. Colley wants Kellar’s, Boydston yearns for Enders’.
To that end, Boydston quickly set out define their differences. While Ender led the charge for the city’s assumption of the local libraries from Los Angeles County control, Boydston calls the enterprise a financial mistake since taxpayers had already built the libraries through years of taxes.
“We paid for the libraries once to build them the first time and then we paid to buy them. I don’t appreciate that and I don’t think it was necessary. I think it was an incorrect use of millions of dollars,” said Boydston.
There is perhaps a greater difference between them which Boydston would like the public to know about – the use of Political Action Committees (PAC) to fund city council campaigns.
Boydston believes when a candidate gets a large contribution it skews the process. He sites “a very good example of that” happening during Henry Mayo Hospital medical office building project.
“On the medical office project, the builder of that project, G and L Realty, they put a 30-thousand dollar contribution into Laurie Ender’s…on behalf of Laurie Ender…and that 30-thousand dollars in my opinion was very helpful in getting her elected,” said Boydston.
Beyond drawing distinctions between him and Ender, Boydston would like to see a sheriff’s station built in Canyon Country.
“I think the Sheriff’s are doing a great job, but there are improvements to be made. When a Good Samaritan gets gunned down in broad daylight in Canyon Country that’s a problem,” said Boydston.
Boydston, a four year veteran of the Air Force, believes the city council needs to be more focused on attracting high-paying jobs to the city.
“It’s all well and good for you to build commercial where you have stores and restaurants, but if the people in those are simply being paid at the minimum wage then that doesn’t afford them the ability to pay for housing in the Santa Clarita Valley. We need to make sure that we are attracting high-paying jobs to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Boydston.
Ultimately, Boydston rounds back to his original belief about the current city council not being responsive to the residents of Santa Clarita.
“I think the city council listening and considering what the people have to say is paramount, because that goes to any issue and all issues that come before them,” Boydson said.