An effort by former Mayor Carl Boyer to encourage the city to take up the cause of breaking up Los Angeles County left the onetime city leader feeling a little let down Wednesday.
“I was a little disappointed that the discussion hinged in a large part on finances,” Boyer said, after hearing the discussion in the City Hall’s Century Room.
“The process of the study session did not allow any give and take on these issues. I would simply point out that the last (effort to split up the county) we conducted in 1975 and 1977 didn’t cost any government entity any money,” he said. “We drew up the secession ourselves with volunteers.”
City Mayor Bob Kellar praised the idea, but felt that such an effort would require the backing of local government – and it’s a campaign that simply wouldn’t be fiscally wise at the moment, while the city is working on improving revenue levels back to pre-Great Recession levels.
“I do applaud Carl Boyer, and I don’t necessarily think he’s off base with his concern,” Kellar said, commending Boyer’s leadership in Santa Clarita.
“We are elected to represent the citizens of Santa Clarita. We’re not elected to go out and redesign government,” Kellar said.
“When you look at (the effort to change the county), it’s such an incredible commitment on time and money,” the mayor said, referring to the signature-gathering process, among other steps.
As the law stands now, a county effort involving less than 5 percent of the county’s population, a figure estimated to be around 10 million people total, would require signatures from 25 percent of the people in the proposed new county, which could be anywhere from 75,000 to 250,000 signatures, depending on the size of the proposed new county’s borders.
What would likely be more expensive would be that state law also mandates signatures from at least 10 percent of the remaining population outside of the new county’s borders. At a minimum, that would be about 900,000 signatures.
However, Boyer is hoping to spur talk that could change the law to take away the onerous signature-gathering process.
A countywide convention of stakeholders was one of his suggestions, an effort to bring together taxpayers, officials – any interested party, which could discuss breaking up the too-large county, he said.
“Supervisors have field offices and representatives, and thing are improving,” Boyer said. “But at the same time, the county is getting larger and larger and larger.
“I think the thing we really have to do is start the discussion.”