One seeking re-election, four looking for their first seat.
Five Santa Clarita residents will vie for two open seats on the City Council on April 8 in what promises to be a lively election.
”We haven’t had this few candidates in a long time,” said Sharon Dawson, City Clerk and overseer of all things election-related. “Usually we have 10 to 12 candidates. It’s very different having five viable candidates, it should be an interesting election.”
The seats up for grabs are currently held by Mayor Bob Kellar and Councilman TimBen Boydston and are for four-year terms. On Thursday, the Secretary of State conducted a random drawing to determine the order that the candidates will appear on the ballot and came up with the following list:
Laurie Ender, 44, a current Parks Commissioner endorsed by current Council Members Marsha McLean and Frank Ferry, has experience working with local school boards, having run two successful campaigns and served as president of the SCV Council PTA. She has pledged to make transportation a priority, and hopes to work toward the completion of the cross-valley connector as well as an emergency preparedness traffic plan.
Issues such as fighting the Cemex mine, remediation of the Whittaker-Bermite site and making sure county development outside the city limits don’t have an adverse effect on city residents are important to Ender. She also supports the revitalization of Old Newhall, wants to focus resources on senior citizen housing and transportation needs and work with law enforcement on graffiti and gang proliferation.
Bob Kellar, 63, has been on the Santa Clarita City Council since 2000 and is currently serving as Mayor. A retired Los Angeles Police officer and now a local realtor, Kellar has been active in the business and nonprofit community for several years. He was president of the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce and instrumental in that group’s merger with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. Kellar also serves on the board of the local American Cancer Society and the Santa Clarita Symphony and prior to his council service, chaired the city’s Planning Commission.
During his tenure on the council, Kellar has worked on public safety, road projects, environmental cleanups and open space issues as well as local employers and chamber of commerce to develop higher-paying jobs to ensure a strong local economy.
Bob Spierer, 63, retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after serving at Santa Clarita’s first police chief , overseeing not only the local sheriff’s substation, but also 13,000 county deputies and a budget of more than $1 billion. He currently serves on the city’s Blue Ribbon and Anti-Gang Task Forces, the Newhall Redevelopment Committee and the sheriff’s booster club board of directors.
He is committed to ensuring the Santa Clarita remains a place that is business-friendly and where people want to live, work and raise their children and pledges to be proactive in protecting seniors, assisting with business development and preventing crime.
Diane Trautman, 53, currently serves on the city’s Planning Commission and works as an educator. She is active with Save Our Seniors, local and regional PTA groups and the Arts Advisory Committee and has championed the environment as a founding member of the Santa Clarita Valley Environmental Coalition as well as her work on the Open Space Committee.
She includes in her priorities the reduction of traffic congestion, increasing neighborhood safety, support of working families, preserving the environment and supporting local business. Trautman also believes the city has grown to need expanded sheriff facilities, another hospital and additional parks and community centers.
Maria Gutzeit, 40, currently serves on the Newhall County Water District’s governing board. A chemical engineer and environmental consultant by trade, she has worked with the community on water and transportation issues and helped get the Open Space measure passed. She serves on the board of the Committee on Aging, which supports the SCV Senior Center as well as the SCV Chamber of Commerce.
A long-time resident, Gutzeit’s priorities include increasing public safety and crime prevention, preserving open space and ensuring that growth in both the city and county proceed responsibly.
KTHS will host a Candidate Debate at 6 p.m., Monday, February 4 in the council chambers at City Hall. The event will be broadcast live on AM1220 and the public is invited to attend.