It was an exciting City Council meeting Tuesday (read about it here). In case you missed it, outgoing Mayor Marsha McLean had a few things to say about the city’s accomplishments during her watch as well as many thanks for the community’s support. Incoming Mayor Laurie Ender also had some thanks and goals that she shared with those gathered at City Council chambers. We present both women’s speeches in their entirety –
From outgoing Mayor Marsha McLean –
Good evening! I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as your Mayor this year. It has been an incredible year for me and for our City. I’d like to tell you about a few of the highlights for 2011.
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This spring, we celebrated the completion of our first community garden project at Central Park. All 80 plots are full and surplus vegetables grown there are donated weekly to the SCV Food Pantry.
If you’ve driven down Creekside Road, you’ve probably noticed the new Creekside Road streetscape project, which added landscaping, traffic calming measures and benches to “auto row.” This work, totally funded by the Auto Dealers Association through a landscape maintenance district, also provides new safety measures for pedestrians as well as vehicles.
In May, we gathered as a community to dedicate the Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge at Golden Valley. The monument at the bridge honors those who have died serving their country and all of us during the War on Terror.
Perhaps one of the biggest events of the year for the City was the grand opening of our new Santa Clarita Public Libraries. The City now owns and operates the three local libraries: Canyon Country, Newhall and Valencia. During the first week of July we held grand opening festivities and library patrons now enjoy increased hours of operation, a $900,000 infusion of new books and media, upgraded facilities, and new technology. To date, the City has distributed over 35,000 City library cards and is welcoming over 2,000 patrons per day at the three branches.
This has been a big year for law enforcement and 2011 marks a double digit drop in our part one crime rate, making it the lowest in our City’s history. Special teams, the new Zone Program, Crime Tip program and Gang and Juvenile Task Forces have improved safety for our community.
This summer, we dedicated over 500 acres of open space called the Haskell Canyon open space. This area was originally proposed as a housing development and now will be preserved forever as open space. Overall we have preserved over 6,000 acres of open space in perpetuity.
In August, we held our “Topping Out” ceremony for the new, 30,000 square foot library in Old Town Newhall. The event commemorated the final steel being added to the new, state-of-the-art library. We also dedicated a 50-year time capsule that will be buried at the new library site.
Also in August, we hosted Senator Barbara Boxer at the Transit Maintenance Facility, dedicating our federally-funded new solar panel project that is providing 97% of the energy needed to power that facility, saving the City $144,000 per year.
This year, the City continued our Thursdays in Newhall program inclusive of the weekly farmers market, the Art Walk and the new and very successful SENSES events. We also hosted our annual Marathon and Mayor’s Walk, attracting thousands of athletes and volunteers. The annual Cowboy Festival, Earth/Arbor Day, the Summer Concerts in the Park and several other great events and programs were also held this year.
In October, we kicked off two projects in Old Town Newhall at a groundbreaking event. These projects will add 93 spaces to the Newhall Metrolink Station as well as a new, half acre passive park to the adjacent Newhall Community Center.
In November, we joined with the West Ranch Town Council and area residents at a groundbreaking event to begin a landscape project at Lyons Avenue and Interstate 5. This project will greatly enhance a major gateway to our City. We’ve also completed a series of landscape projects city-wide that help to beautify our community.
I’m particularly proud of our City’s financial state. Through prudent fiscal planning, we have a 100% track record for a balanced and on-time budget, yet we are still able to fund important programs and projects such as the creation of a community center in Canyon Country.
We must continue to make sure that our older, established areas of the City are given the necessary attention to keep our entire City safe and economically viable.
This year, I was appointed to the Southern California Association of Government’s or SCAG’s High Speed Rail Sub-Committee. I also serve on SCAG’s Transportation committee, where I represent our City and the North County; I also serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Orange Line Development Authority.
Locally, I serve on the SCV Chamber’s Transportation Committee and the City’s High Speed Transportation Ad Hoc Committee. I am also a longtime member of the North County Transportation Coalition. By participating in these state and regional organizations my goal is to make sure that Santa Clarita’s interests and needs are represented at every level of planning. By continually working with these groups, we can make sure that our City benefits from the transportation planning and ultimately the projects that result from this work.
There are a few items on this list that are works in progress that will continue into next year. One of these is the effort to prevent large scale mining in Soledad Canyon which we will continue working towards through legislation.
We are still working on the clean up and future of the Whittaker Bermite property located in the center of the City. Only a small portion of the nearly 1,000 acres needs to be cleaned up. I don’t want to downplay the seriousness, but we need to realize the facts.
Having our residents understand that we are here to serve you that we are easily accessible and willing to listen and learn from you has always been important to me. This year I again made communication with your City Council and staff a high priority. The City Council, the staff and I regularly receive and respond to hundreds of emails every month and we encourage you to use this easy method of communication to reach out to us.
We’ve been using a variety of social media with great success and this year, we’ve seen a 70% increase in people communicating with us through our social media.
While some things are beyond our control because of State and Federal Regulations, it doesn’t mean we just lie down and accept the status quo. We have fought and won on many issues and as your councilwoman, I will continue to fight hard along with my fellow councilmembers to advocate for our residents in vital matters that can adversely affect our City.
It has been my honor to serve as your Mayor. I want to thank my fellow council members for their incredible work this year I also want to give a big thank you to our community for your support of our City.
And from incoming Mayor Laurie Ender –
Good evening. This is a very exciting night for me and the start of what I know will be another wonderful year for our City. Over the last two dozen years, the City Council, our City staff and our residents have worked together to create a community we can all be proud of. As Mayor for 2012, I want to continue this good work and high level of achievement. Our City will lead the way to improve our neighborhoods, build our infrastructure and assure that Santa Clarita residents and businesses love to live, work and play in California’s best city.
When I joined the City Council almost four years ago, I did so because I love Santa Clarita and I wanted to help my community. While Santa Clarita enjoys an amazing quality of life, we are not without our issues. Our partnership with the Sheriff’s department, our school districts and our many nonprofit agencies will go into high gear next year as we tackle teen use of drugs and alcohol, with the continuation of our HeroinKills campaign and a new city-wide drug education program.
In the area of public safety and in partnership with our Fire Department, three new fire stations will open in the City next year; one in Sand Canyon and two on Golden Valley Road, assuring that our homes and businesses are protected.
Business attraction, business retention and filming are important to our local economy and this year we will be updating our Business Plan for Progress to continue attracting high quality jobs and supporting our local businesses. We will also be hosting a local event with location managers to promote filming and encouraging the hiring of local people in this vital industry.
In Newhall we have worked hard to revitalize this important gateway into our City and that will continue with the completion of our new 30,000 square foot library in 2012. Also in Newhall, we are constructing 90 new parking spaces at the Newhall Metrolink station and a half acre park behind the Newhall Community Center. At Lyons and the I-5, we are constructing a beautification project, in partnership with the Supervisor Antonovich, Los Angeles County and the West Ranch Town Council that will improve this important gateway into our city and will be completed in the spring.
Our revitalized Santa Clarita Public Libraries are seeing record numbers of visitors at the three local branches and on line, and next year, we are adding new technology and more public use computers to meet these high traffic needs. We are also creating new Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library group and establishing an adult literacy program as well as an early literacy program as identified through the library strategic service plan. This is a wonderful way for you to get involved with our libraries and our community!
One of the new programs for 2012 that I am most excited about is the launch of our new Civic Leadership Program. This program will be geared to attract, train and equip emerging community leaders, assuring that local boards, agencies and our City have interested and engaged residents participating and involved in our community’s future.
Our quest for the preservation of open space will continue in 2012 with new purchases focused on the Newhall Pass, areas east of Santa Clarita and in the Bouquet Canyon area. One of the most exciting open space projects next year is our new open space access plan that will provide our residents with trailhead facilities, trail extensions and public access to over 900 acres of local open space. Look for a spring launch of hikesantaclarita dot com that will include a map of these areas and many new trails.
In Canyon Country, we will be working to create a community center on the east side of town as well as initiating a new public outreach effort so we can more effectively engage residents about their thoughts and needs on the east side.
Public art will continue to emerge with plans for new art on the South Fork Trail, and in the Saugus area in the center median.
We will continue our work to prevent large scale mining in Soledad Canyon. Aggressive cleanup efforts on the Whittaker Bermite property will continue and we will work toward future appropriate development “that meets City objectives” through a public private partnership for this property.
In Valencia, we are underway with our first park and ride for the west side which will open next year adjacent to the McBean Transfer station. This new facility will provide our residents with the ability to conveniently utilize a variety of transportation options.
Each of these great things happens through our partnerships with all of you and through the great work of our City staff. Our staff’s continued commitment to providing superior public service will be highlighted this year in city publications and local venues.
I would like to thank my City Council colleagues for selecting me to serve as Mayor for 2012. I have learned a great deal from each one of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your outstanding service to our community. It is an honor for me to serve as your Mayor. I look forward to an exciting and goal oriented year, as well as the celebration of a quarter century of cityhood. Thank you for your support and your participation.