Running for Santa Clarita City Council can be rough. Just ask first time candidate Jon Hatami.
“I’m new to this whole political thing, and there is a lot of meanness. A lot of aggression. A lot of issues and things I think that make a lot of new people like me not be a part of politics,” Hatami said.
Mayor Laurie Ender, herself a candidate for reelection to the City Council, said the way she’s seen Hatami be treated is similar to when she ran four years ago.
“We say we want new people, but if you’re new, that’s not OK if you’re not in alignment,” Ender said.
Apparently, the atmosphere has been in stark contrast to the civilized forum hosted by SCVTV, The Signal and AM 1220 KHTS. Ender spoke of an earlier forum.
“There was a woman who sat in the second row who swore like a sailor through the entire forum at one of the candidates. There’s hissing and booing. The nastiness is unbelievable,” said Ender.
Ender says she’s been forced to stop linking her Facebook page to the local paper because people keep writing “nasty stuff” there for her and her online friends to read.
“It’s just like, why don’t you just come to my house and yell at me,” said Ender.
Ender speculated the political environment in the Santa Clarita Valley mirrors the national vitriol. She says the SCV can do better than that and the culture has to change.
“I don’t know how anybody in their right mind is ever going to come up and want to run for office in this community,” said Ender.
Fortunately, the legitimate media sponsored forum was held in the controlled environment of the SCVTV studios without an audience. Perhaps that along with the fact this forum would be televised had every candidate on their best behavior.
SCVTV CEO/President Leon Worden served as the moderator, while The Signal’s City Editor Lila Littlejohn and KHTS News Director Carol Rock asked the questions of candidates TimBen Boydston, Ed Colley, Laurie Ender (incumbent), Jon Hatami and Bob Kellar (incumbent).
One of the seven questions posed was as follows:
Candidates: Where do you stand on term limits for the City Council?
Bob Kellar: I believe term limits are best served and addressed by the citizens. If in fact the citizens want to have term limits in the City of Santa Clarita I’m fine with it. But I really think the best way to address this issue is each and every time we have an election if it’s time for an incumbent, somebody such as myself is up for reelection, if we’re no longer doing the job we need to do on behalf of the citizens its time to replace us. I would support that much more than term limits, if you will.
TimBen Boydston: Although I agree with Bob on most things because I think he’s done a great job as city councilman and I’m supporting him. I have to say on term limits I disagree. I believe that term limits are entirely appropriate. I pledge to the people that support it, I will, it will be one of the first things I put in front of the city council is term limits. You do two terms, eight years – and I will include myself in that – and then go and do something else. When George Washington, in our country, and they wanted to make him the king, when he finished his term he said ‘No, I’m gonna go home.’ I think America is being hurt because we have full time politicians and as they stay in the office it becomes harder and harder for people with new and fresh ideas to replace them. So, I believe in term limits and I look forward to bringing that before the council and see if we can go ahead and have some new ideas at city hall.
Ed Colley: It’s an interesting issue. If we recall, 12 years ago Bob Kellar was in favor of term limits – apparently, not now. I find it interesting Mr. Boydston believes that term limits are appropriate and yet believes that 16 years on city council is entirely appropriate for a current incumbent. I’m not going suggest that I am in favor of term limits or not. If the people of the City of Santa Clarita wish to vote in term limits I would certainly be supportive of that idea. I do agree though that it is appropriate for the voters to decide on when and if a city council person ought to go.
Laurie Ender: I’m not opposed to term limits, but I think it can be a dangerous thing. I think term limits are one of the biggest problems in Sacramento right now. We have people who are elected to Assembly and to Senate and they can only be there a short time. So they get in, introduce as much legislation as they can, that costs money. They make horrible changes and decisions and then they’re termed out. So, they are not around to be responsible for the problems that they’ve caused. So I certainly want to see us do it with a lot of thought here and to decide what’s the right amount of time to have someone here. You should be in office to have to answer to the people for the decisions that you’ve made. And so, if you’re only there for four years or maybe eight years I don’t know if that’s enough. But I’d be interested in pursuing the topic.
Jon Hatami: I support term limits 100 percent. I’ve probably talked to maybe about 3,000 people in the city going door-to-door. I would say the vast majority of them would support term limits. The vast majority have told me they want somebody new, somebody with fresh ideas on the city council. I think part of government ‘Of the people, by the people, for the people’ means that we should bring in new people. Because things change. There’s younger people here in Santa Clarita that have a lot of different issues and we need younger people in the city council. We need younger people with fresh ideas, new ideas. People who are not so involved with everybody up there at the top. I think you bring in different types of people, a different type of diversity, different types of ideas makes our city better. So I’m 100 percent behind term limits.
More topics for discussion can be seen on the 1-hour Santa Clarita Council Candidates Forum, which will be televised on the following dates and times on SCVTV (Time Warner Cable channel 20, AT&T U-verse channel 99 and online at SCVTV.com):
Wed., March 7 at 5 p.m.
Thurs., March 8 at 8 p.m.
Sat., March 10 at 8 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Sun., March 11 at 9 p.m.
The forum will also be replayed several times through Election Day on April 10.