[KHTS] – For nearly 16 years, Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry’s looming, oft-controversial but always impassioned 6-foot, 6-inch frame has sat at the dais to work on municipal affairs.
With his recent decision not to run for a fifth term, the Alemany High School principal discussed why he got involved, whom he’s endorsing, and what is next moves will be.
“When I ran initially, there was really no one on the council who represented me – I was the early 30s, two young kids (demographic),” he said, harkening back to his first campaign, a 60-vote loss to Jan Heidt in 1996.
“So when I looked at the council, I didn’t see someone who I thought represented the majority of Santa Clarita, and that was young families with young kids,” said the 48-year-old “elder statesman.”
He looked at it as a Parks and Recreations issue. There weren’t enough fields.
It was a traffic issue. There weren’t enough roads.
It took him an hour to get to Nobel Middle School where he worked at the time, from the top of Bouquet Canyon Road.
Now, with a son about to graduate from Springfield College and another at University of Arizona, the recent empty-nester is about to get remarried, and sounded as though he was ready to transition to a different phase in his life.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 16 years,” he said, describing the opportunity to play “SimCity” in a growing community of which he was unflaggingly proud to be a part of as, “a blast.”
As far as endorsements for April’s race, and who he would like to see take his seat, he said a vote for the two incumbents, Mayor Laurene Weste and Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, would be a vote to continue the great quality of life Santa Clarita enjoys.
“After that, I’m probably going to stay out of it,” Ferry said. “Sometimes, me helping someone actually hurts them. I don’t want to influence people one way or the other.”
Continuity is important, he added, and before he endorsed anyone, he would want to know where they stand on some tough issues.
“I would ask hard questions,” Ferry said. “‘Would you have voted for the hospital expansion, yes or no? Would you have voted for the library, yes or no?’”
While Ferry doesn’t seem to relish the divisive nature of politics, it’s an aspect that never bothered him over the last decade and a half.
“I think for me, what’s changed is… it’s almost on a national scene where, when you have parties being splintered and you have extremes going left and right, it takes the joy out of public service,” he said, describing himself as a moderate Republican who suddenly found himself not far enough right for many in the GOP after the tea party movement.
He cited a political atmosphere that exists in which contrarians are averse toward compromise on principle, as part of why he’s not running again.
“It just got to the point where it wasn’t enjoyable to me anymore,” he said, “so it was time to move on.”
His frustration began in earnest, he said, with the expansion of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, an issue that prompted Ferry’s infamous “developmental terrorist” comments.
This labeling of hospital-expansion opponents was a fight against what he considered conspiracy theorists, and those using their political influence to purvey lies to the public.
“There’s a boogie monster in the closet that just doesn’t exist,” he said.
“The political clout on something that was used on what should have been a simple decision,” he said, referring to the hospital’s add-on. “And then you have something like the library, which, an incredible thing for our community.”
His verbal spats with City Councilman TimBen Boydston on the dais have been well documented, and fodder for opponents who have labelled his, at times, single-mindedness in approach, as a disrespectful way to deal with the public.
“I believe that Mr. Ferry and I have different philosophies about how elected officials should interact with their constituents,” Boydston said.
“Even if you disagree with people you work for,” Boydston said, “you must always treat them with respect, and listen to what they have to say.”
That last sentiment was something echoed in an apology issued by City Councilman Bob Kellar, after an exchange last year between Ferry and Boydston led the then-mayor to say I’m sorry for the disruption on the dais.
Boydston applauded Ferry’s lengthy record of advocating for the youth of Santa Clarita, something seconded by City Councilman Frank Ferry, but also noted frustration he’d heard from residents about how the City Council, not just Ferry, treated people.
To that end, Ferry said his experience on the council has been one that’s taught him to mellow to a certain extent, noting that while he may disagree with what’s being said, he doesn’t always express his contrarian views.
“I have to bite my tongue,” Ferry said. “I’ve learned a little bit,” he said, adding he didn’t always get along with former City Councilwoman Jan Heidt, either, but his work with her led him to develop a great respect.
Swearing in as mayor, April 2012
“I’ve divided more communities where, they hate me or love me based on a road that’s gone through their neighborhood,” Ferry said. But those as the decisions you have to make.”
Regardless of whether you’ve argued with him on the dais, or been a longtime supporter, it’s clear that his youth advocacy will leave a lasting impact.
His hands-on involvement with programs such as Community Court, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Youth Grove and many others, will be something in which Ferry takes great pride.
“Frank Ferry has been an advocate for the youth in Santa Clarita, and I applaud him for the work he has done in that regard for many years,” Boydston said.
And Kellar, who has seen Ferry at his best and worst behavior on the dais as a longtime councilman himself, echoed those words.
“Frank Ferry, you can certainly say, is a man who loves the city of Santa Clartia,” Kellar said. “He’s done so many good things. I particularly appreciate the level of interest and work that he has put into the youth of Santa Clarita. He has really been on the forefront.”
Another potentially divisive move he’s happy with, is his ardent advocacy for the annexation of the Jakes Way community.
“Everyone thought I was an idiot – it wasn’t developed correctly…” he said, of the densely populated area traditionally plagued with a higher crime rate than the city it neighbored. “Well, I’m sitting there thinking, ‘If we want to maintain and have control, we can keep arguing with the county, or we can own it and do something about it, be proactive.’ These imaginary lines for crime data, they mean nothing.”
Ferry praised the work of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies, who helped reduce the crime rate in the Jakes Way area by about 30 percent through increased patrols.
Always the educational advocate, Ferry speculated that he might work with international students, mentioning a recent trip to China, when asked what his next move would be.
While he has no plans to leave Alemany, lobbying could be another option, he said, considering his government experience and law degree from Glendale College.
He always wanted to do more work with nonprofits, which he did less once on the council because of time constraints.
“There’s a point and there’s a time when, someone needs to come in with new ideas,” he said. “There’s time for me to try some new ideas where you’re either unable to do or can’t do based on FPPC requirements.”
Based on the next two months, voters have to find someone they like based on who can make the tough decisions, he said.
Roads and traffic will continue to be an issue as the Santa Clarita Valley expands, he said, as will crime, the Whittaker-Bermite cleanup and job creation, which he felt were the most important issues going forward.
“I knew on day one that when I became a councilmember that it wasn’t for forever,” Ferry said, describing the last 16 years as a blast. “I knew that any job I’ve been in, you’re replaceable. I was always going to do the best I could do, and then move on.”
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Frontier Toyota and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will proudly sponsor the 2019 White Ribbon Campaign in the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday, May 27 through Friday, June 7.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) announces the expansion of the State of California’s CalFresh Program to now serve older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, beginning June 1, 2019.
LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers will hold their annual Alumni Game on Saturday, June 1, as part of Alumni Weekend presented by Security Benefit, when the club will welcome back over 30 fan-favorite players to Dodger Stadium.
SCVi, iLEAD’s founding school, will welcome Dr. Jacob Cohen, Chief Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, to campus on Friday to kick off the school’s inaugural International Hack Into Space Competition, the school announced Thursday.
Three-hundred employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) volunteered their Saturday morning over Mother’s Day weekend to inspire hope at their annual “Help the Homeless” event at the Weingart Center in downtown L.A.
SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Thursday the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 219 (SB 219), a measure that will create a pilot program for foster youth to receive grants for extracurricular and enrichment activities.
Well Q2 was removed from service after quarterly perchlorate sampling conducted on May 8, 2019, returned a result of 0.006 mg/L – which is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), where treatment becomes necessary or a supply needs to be removed from service. Q2 is located near the Lowe’s shopping center on the west side of Bouquet Canyon, just north of the Santa Clara River.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Katie Hill serves as co-chair of the New Democrats’ Housing Task Force, which made public its goals for the 116th Congress on Wednesday. Hill serves alongside Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA) and Ben McAdams (D-UT).
WASHINGTON – As the summer vacation and travel seasons opens, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Thursday that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.
Seven adults were arrested at a Valencia hotel Tuesday during an operation conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Taskforce and deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, authorities reported Wednesday afternoon.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced the formation of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force and its co-chairs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, hosted a field trip for approximately 80 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students from San Fernando Valley High School on Friday, May 17.
At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Civilian Oversight Commission for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department covered several topics including further review of LASD's Internal Administrative Investigations, a presentation on the Mental Evaluation Teams, and the approval of the Immigration Ad Hoc Committee Report.
The California Senate has approved Senate Bill 153, which would ensure California law is in full compliance with changes to federal law regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who introduced the bill, announced Wednesday.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's Conviction Review Unit has expanded its criteria for cases eligible for evaluation to include any felony conviction in which the defendant remains in custody, the DA's office said Wednesday.
Eternal Valley Memorial Park is inviting members of Santa Clarita Valley scout troops and packs, community volunteer groups and individual volunteers to place flags on veterans' graves on Saturday, May 25, in preparation for the Newhall park's annual Memorial Day Tribute on Monday, May 27.
Los Angeles County supervisors, citing the same number of worrisome scientific studies that convinced them in March to place a 30-day ban on the use of glyphosate, have banned the controversial herbicide from being used by county work crews anywhere in the county.
More residents died from air pollution in Los Angeles County in 2017 than in any other U.S. county, according to a new study released Wednesday, but nationally, the number of deaths and illnesses caused by smog has fallen dramatically in the last decade.
From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
COBRA detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station reported Tuesday night that an estranged husband who allegedly kidnapped his wife from a Canyon Country location on April 9 is now in custody.
The California Senate has approved Senate Bill 387, which would streamline how SCV Water Agency Board of Directors vacancies are to be handled, and the legislation will now go to the state Assembly for consideration.