[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
62°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 20
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieThere are lots of people who think certain government bodies, elected and appointed, should be disbanded until some new folks can come and do the job right. Congress is on the list, and that gets changed come November, at least locally.

There are smaller and lesser known public organizations that owe their existence either to a definite need or some political game that those elected want us to see. The most egregious of these institutions in Los Angeles County is the plethora of “town councils” in the various unincorporated areas.

Here in the SCV, we are most familiar with the Acton, Agua Dulce and Castaic Area town councils. These councils are made up of citizens who want to do something good for the community they live in or, in the case of at least one of them, they want to be more aware of planning and land development issues for their own benefit.

It is for the impartiality required – and since they advise our county supervisors and even sign contracts or agreements as representatives – that the Brown Act and the Public Records Act were adopted. The Agua Dulce Town Council learned the reason for the acts when, in 2005, they were sued and lost in court over compliance with the state’s open-meeting law (the Brown Act).

The Political Reform Act requires, among other things, the filing of Form 700 by each individual of an elected body. That form is a financial disclosure by the individual serving on whatever government board, committee, commission and others to show if there has been or could be any monetary gain from any actions he or she might take as a member of that body.

Some citizens of the Castaic area have requested the reports for the members of the Castaic Area Town Council. The reply they got was simple: “Agua Dulce Town Council is a ‘chartered’ entity, while the Castaic Area Town Council is incorporated since it has articles of incorporation.”

Well, the state of California says that “chartered” or “incorporated” are the same. Plus, the Agua Dulce Town Council was “incorporated,” too, in 1994, with articles of incorporation and by-laws and everything.

Note that by signing the mitigation agreement with Chiquita Canyon Landfill, the Castaic Area Town Council moved from an “advisory” to a “legislative” body. Thus the requirement for Form 700 submissions by the members is mandatory.

So I continued reading, and guess what? The vote to accept the agreement with Chiquita wasn’t a vote in favor at all.

The by-laws of the Castaic Area Town Council state that in order to sign any contract as the Castaic Area Town Council, there must be a two-thirds majority vote by the council to approve.

Guess what? The vote was 6 yes and 4 no. That isn’t a two-thirds vote, my friends, unless the Castaic Union School District has changed the rules of arithmetic since I was a student there.

Under its own by-laws, 6 to 4 is “no pass.” The Castaic Area Town Council actually rejected the agreement with Chiquita. Wonder if they know?

I recently learned that in order to file an application to run for the Castaic Area Town Council, one has to submit a $50 filing fee. Huh? This is for a voluntary and unpaid position? Strange.

When folks in the Castaic area asked for something as simple as the information on the financial disclosure forms, members of the Castaic Area Town Council “lawyered up” and had a letter sent that said the law doesn’t apply to them.

Guess what? It did apply to Acton, Agua Dulce and just about every other organization that in some way works within our governmental process. Just what makes the Castaic Area Town Council so special? Just what do they think would be revealed by submitting the required forms?

If they have nothing to hide, maybe they should do it and follow the law.

At the least, I would recommend they seek more competent legal representation. The legal precedent was so well established in 2005 that even I, an engineering type, can understand it.

Since they have decided to fight it, I can only assume they must have something to hide. Wouldn’t anyone think the same?

Whatever the problem is with the Castaic Area Town Council, it only points to a larger problem within our county. Let’s say the county population is someplace around 13 million. That means each of the five county supervisors could have 2.6 million people to represent. Each supervisor does need folks on the town councils who care and are not self-serving in any way. The one way to make sure that can happen is for each and every town council to be funded by the county so they don’t have to get sponsored by companies or corporations that might not have the best interests of the community in mind.

The various councils, commissions and committee folks also shouldn’t be allowed to approve financial contracts with any company, since only the elected supervisors are to do that.

So now you know I’m just a little tough on this subject. I want our local government to be for the people and not for some company. Really … how would all y’all feel if a company gave the supervisors a bunch of money and then told them how to spend it?

Well, that is just what Chiquita did to and with the Castaic Area Town Council. And the Castaic Area Town Council is supposed to be a representative body that’s an official part of the decision-making process. Right?

Also, don’t go comparing the Castaic Area Town Council with the Val Verde Civic Association. The VVAC is not a government organization but rather a volunteer civic group that is private. Sort of like an HOA. The VVCA reports only to its members and not to the county.

Folks will only be as crooked as they can be until they are caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Until they follow the law, we can’t be sure just where their fingers have been.

If they insist on not following the law, I suggest the county of Los Angeles withhold funds from town council elections in Castaic. Why should county taxpayers pay to run an election of something that is not following the law?

Answers, please? Anyone?

 

 


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

6 Comments

  1. Bonnie Nikolai says:

    What part of this commentary isn’t factual?

    • SCVNews.com says:

      The comment you’re referring to was left by a user (actually the only user) who has been banned from this site for reason of fraudulently posting under fake names. The comment has been removed.

  2. Susie Evans says:

    Ok, I missed that comment from her….Anyway, I am so glad you wrote about this. I am happy to hear that someone else see’s the CATC and their operations as I do…..they must follow the Brown Act. I am still trying to understand why someone must pay a filing fee of $50 to be on a volunteer board. Our VVCA does a wonderful job of letting us know when the meetings are, what topics are on the agenda and the minutes of the meeting. Very open for all residents.

  3. Natalie Tate says:

    Thank Mr. Manzer and the SCVNews.com for your integrity.

  4. Natalie Tate says:

    Thank you Mr. Manzer and SCVNews.com for your integrity.

  5. Greg Kimura says:

    Hi Susie,

    Thanks for the compliment. I try to guide my Board by telling them to listen to the residents of the community. It’s easy to think that we know what’s best for everyone, but until we listen to the people, how can we know?

    I appreciate you coming to our meetings and letting us know how you feel. Our Board has heard the message loud and clear. The current expansion Draft EIR is not acceptable and the residents are not pleased with the sludge the landfill has brought in (which is against their permit and the agreement with Val Verde). We also know that the community has odor issues, which stem from the landfill operations and their lack of utilizing state of the art technology and effective odor mitigation techniques. Further, we know that the community is upset about the landfill’s blatant lie about not accepting nuclear waste from Rocketdyne.

    One big questions from the community is that they have been caught lying to the community. How many other things have they done that we don’t know about? What is the health risk from these activities? The residents would like to know.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A 25-year-old woman has been charged with shooting her boyfriend to death in the parking lot of a Canoga Park bar, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Newhall Woman Charged with Murder of Boyfriend
The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts will host the legendary rapper Kurtis Walker, aka Kurtis Blow, as part of its visiting artist series, on Monday and Tuesday, April 23 and 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Rapper Kurtis Blow Is CalArts’ Visiting Artist for Music
The five filmmakers selected for California State University, Northridge’s 28th annual Senior Film Showcase on May 2 are women, and their stories reflect the rich diversity of perspectives that make up America.
May 2: CSUN to Spotlight Hollywood’s Future Filmmakers
The CalArts School of Theater presented the graduating class of the Acting Program in a bi-coastal Actors Showcase at the Colony Theater in Burbank on Monday, April 16.
CalArts Actors Showcase Celebrates Graduating Class
TMU coach Zach Schroeder has said for weeks that this week's track meet in Azusa, California, would be crucial as far as Mustangs advancing to NAIA nationals.
Two Mustangs Qualify for NAIA Track Nationals
Heath Holder delivered four shutout innings in the first start of his professional career, but the JetHawks dropped the series opener to the Inland Empire 66ers, 8-3, on Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Holder Strong in Season Debut, But JetHawks Fall 8-3
Santa Clarita-based Carnival Corporation and plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company, has made several key senior executive appointments and promotions to serve its multiple brands and business units globally.
Carnival Names New Execs for 4 Cruise Lines
The Saugus Union School District has set its 2018 open house schedule to provide opportunities for Saugus parents to visit their children’s classrooms to view the amazing work accomplished this school year.
Saugus School District Slates 2018 Open House Events
SCV Kids Consignment, part of the LA Kids Consignment family of sales, continues its spring sale Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 in Castaic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
April 21-22: SCV Kids Consignment Spring Sale in Castaic
The Castaic Union School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a three-percent raise and a bonus for its educators at last week’s board meeting.
Castaic School Board OKs First Teacher Pay Raise in 12 Years
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, April 24, starting at 9:30 a.m.
April 24: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Good seats are still available but going fast for the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival's 25th-anniversary gala celebration at Hart Hall on Saturday, April 21 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
April 21: Gala Celebrates Cowboy Festival 25th Anniversary
The Final Environmental Assessment, draft Decision Notice, and Finding of No Significant Impact for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan are complete, and a 45-day official objection period begins Friday before one of three options is chosen.
Forest Service Asks Public’s Input on San Gabriel Mountains Monument Plan
A Stevenson Ranch resident is missing more than $9,000 in jewelry, and suspects her roommates, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Deputy Kevin Duxbury reported in a post on the station's Facebook page
Grand Theft Prompts Victim to Suspect Roommates
Monday, April 23 is the deadline to apply for street pole Hometown Heroes military banners to be displayed by the city of Santa Clarita on Memorial Day, saluting actively serving military members from the Santa Clarita Valley.
April 23: Deadline to Order Hometown Heroes Military Banners
The Hart High School Baseball Program and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will again present Hart Baseball Bingo Night at the Newhall club on Saturday, May 12, starting at 5 p.m.
May 12: Bingo Night Fundraiser for Hart Baseball Program
California State University will not increase tuition for the 2018-19 academic year, but will continue to fight for increased funding to meet its current needs, according to Chancellor Timothy P. White.
California State University Decides Not to Increase 2018 Tuition
Wednesday, May 2 is the deadline to apply for one of 23 positions with the Santa Clarita Library.
May 2: Deadline to Apply for 23 Santa Clarita Library Jobs
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN beach volleyball honored its first seniors Thursday, just after the Matadors improved to 15-6 with a 5-0 sweep over Cal State Los Angeles at the CSUN Beach Volleyball Facility.
Matadors Celebrate Senior Day, Sweep of UC Irvine
Parents from Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts, and Sciences were notified Wednesday that Einstein will surrender its charter from the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District and shutter its campuses.
Einstein Academy to Close Charter Schools
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (17-19, 5-4 BWC) resume Big West play this weekend with a three-game series against UC Irvine at Matador Field.
Matadors Resume Big West Play with 3 Game Set Against UC Irvine
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting Thursday, April 26, at 10:30 a.m.
April 26: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will be holding its regular meeting Tuesday, April 24, at 6:00 p.m.
April 24: City Council Regular Meeting
Solo Flight Swing is a Southern California-based western swing band that performs hot western-swing, dixie, bop, originals, and covers.
April 20: Solo Flight Swing at The MAIN
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week starting on April 15 - April 22.
Volunteers of the Year Recognized by County Animal Control
In partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles, College of the Canyons will be offering the next workshop for family caregivers.
April 28: Family Caregivers Workshop
Once again, the Paseo Aquatics Club entered the pool undermanned and underdogs, and came away with an impressive 15th place finish against 75 other teams, many of which were double and triple in size, at the recent Speedo Short Course Far Western Championships hosted by Santa Clara Swim Club.
Underdogs Paseo Aquatics Club Holds Their Own in Top State Meet
A reckless driver on Railroad Avenue led to a pursuit that landed four suspects in custody on Wednesday.
Newhall Pursuit Ends with Four Suspects in Custody
LANCASTER - Rancho Cucamonga homered five times Wednesday night as Lancaster fell, 11-4, in the series finale at The Hangar. Rancho’s Rylan Bannon became the second California League player this season to hit three home runs in a game.
JetHawks Fall to Quakes in Series Finale
Here is the Stevenson Ranch Crime Information and Public Safety Report for the week of April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Assault, Grand Theft Auto, Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
SACRAMENTO - California State Auditor released Thursday an audit requested by Senator Scott Wilk, R - Antelope Valley, last spring concerning homelessness in California and specifically the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's administration of public funds.
Audit on Homelessness Highlights Need for Improvement, Services
(SACRAMENTO) - Californians who filed tax returns this week must unfortunately wait nearly a week longer until they've collectively earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.
April 23: California Tax Freedom Day
Here is the Saugus (Zone 4) Public Safety and Crime Information Report for the week of April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Assault with Deadly Weapon in Saugus
1880 - Pico Oil Spring Mine Section 2 patented by R.F. Baker and Edward F. Beale [story]
'Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane,' celebrating the work of Oscar-winning Disney animator and CalArts alum Glen Keane (Film/Video ’74), opened at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco March 8 and will be on display through Sept. 3.
Oscar-Winning CalArts Animator Glen Keane Showcased at Disney in SF