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Commentary by Kevin D. Korenthal
| Friday, Nov 15, 2013

kevinkorenthal_1212The Santa Clarita city councilman whom everyone loves to hate just threw more kindling on the fire of disgust that has plagued much of his tenure on City Council.

If it were just an infrequent outburst of petty annoyance at the often laborious Democratic process, Frank Ferry could be forgiven for lashing out. However, “Mayor Dude,” as Frank has stylized himself in previous re-election years, has a long history of dyspeptic attitude not befitting a moniker that seems to infer he is a “man of the little people,”

Nay, the Frank Ferry whom regular watchers of Santa Clarita City Council meetings have come to know is no friend to those who strive to be heard and have their ideas and problems addressed by the City Council.

One might even use Frank’s comments about “developmental terrorism” (an obviously bad choice of words to describe the activism of people opposed to new development) to determine that he is in fact a man of the development community.

Of course, this is all well and good, as long as he understands that a beautiful, thriving community such as Santa Clarita will only remain so if we are prudent about the use of the limited land and resources that are available to us. Alas, Frank has refused to elaborate on the extent of his support for ongoing development in the city, or at what point he thinks the city has matured in size to where it is unable to maintain the quality of life that so many have flocked here to enjoy. So we can only guess what his thoughts are on the subject.

During his most recent outburst on Oct. 22, Ferry once again showed his ill temper by disrespectfully referring to a fellow council member as “full of it” and labeling a member of the community who had spoken earlier in the evening as “poison and toxic.”

While this person is admittedly a bit of a malcontent who frequently speaks before the council, it was beneath someone who is supposed to represent the community to insult and publicly ridicule a member of the community in such a manner.

Even if a council member disagrees with what a speaker has to say, he or she should give each speaker the respect and dignity one deserves for standing up and speaking one’s mind, if for no other reason than out of respect for the position he or she holds as a public servant. A servant is submissive to those they serve, not contemptuous of them.

Of course, lowbrow tactics and character assassination are Ferry’s style, as I discovered personally in September 2010. I was in a heated election against Frank’s friend, Castaic Lake Water Agency Director Ed Colley. I understand Colley had confided to colleagues that he underestimated the level of support my campaign would receive and was concerned I might be successful in claiming his seat on the CLWA.

Apparently, Frank Ferry was worried, as well. My series of poignant and aggressive criticisms of Colley’s tenure and the policies of the CLWA prompted him to write [a letter] to my employer at the time. In the letter, Ferry bemoaned the criticism I was waging against Colley and the board, specifically regarding the CLWA’s decision to promote a solution to the chloride problem that was highly suspect and appeared to be very costly. Although Colley voted against the AWRM (chloride solution, Alternative 4), he had not lifted a finger or his voice in opposition in public.

These criticisms were relevant and deserved to be heard, but Ferry, in his zeal to protect his friend, went after my job – my means of supporting my family – in order to silence me.

A year later, the California economy and the politics behind it caught up with members of the association I represented, and I was laid off. Still I can’t help but wonder the impact Ferry’s imprudent communication to my employer played in that decision.

These kinds of ruthless attacks against private citizens and community activists by those who are supposed to represent us are unacceptable, and it’s up to voters to make sure those who will not listen to or respect their constituents and use intimidation to silence critics are shown the door.

It’s a good thing for our community’s sake that Ferry has promised not to run for this seat again, because Santa Clarita deserves better than a schoolyard bully on our City Council.

 

Kevin D. Korenthal is a 30-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley. He lives in Canyon Country with his wife and children.

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