The following is an editorial from KHTS AM-1220 radio owner, Carl Goldman.
The passing of the Open Space initiative could be the most significant event to impact our valley since Santa Clarita achieved Cityhood. We’re thrilled the Open Space initiative passed. Having worked behind the scenes to assist, I can assure you its passing will have nothing but positive results for our valley for many years to come.
City Council Members Laurene Weste and Bob Kellar deserve special praise for spearheading the Initiative drive. They did this as independent citizens, not as city representatives. City staff, under the direction of City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, Rick Gould also deserve praise for laying the groundwork and organizing a broad based committee to work through the details of the initiative. Political consultant Scott Wilk was brought on board to oversee the marketing campaign. But make no mistake this initiative would never have passed without the efforts of Laurene Weste. Our City Councilwoman was on a mission to make certain the Open Space Initiative passed, after failing several years ago. It was her leadership, drive, perseverance and patience that kept the coalition committee together and is most responsible for making Open Space a reality. This will be her shining legacy.
As the Open Space committee molded the details of what would appear on the ballot, they made certain safeguards would remain in place through the creation of a Citizens Committee to oversee the City’s management of the funds.
Like the passing of the College of the Canyons Measure M Bond last November, the Open Space initiative is a small expense to pay for significant returns. Future generations will look back and be proud of what we accomplished. In less than one year, conservative based Santa Clarita passed two additional “taxes” both supported by a very broad coalition of community leaders covering all ends of the political spectrum.
The Open Space committee was made up of a broad cross section of our valley, from environmentalists to fiscal conservatives. It was a true coalition. Yes, even fiscal conservatives like myself were able to look beyond the pain of adding another “tax or assessment” when the long-term benefits impacting so many areas on the quality of life in Santa Clarita far outweighed the expense. Particularly because we can now seek additional Federal and State funding, in addition to using the bond money that will become available with the passing of the initiative. The Open Space initiative allows us to use future revenues to purchase property at today’s prices, and more importantly, while the land still remains “open space.”
City Staff will submit a proposal for the process and selection of the Open Space oversight committee at the next City Council meeting on August 28th. We believe it is important for this committee to contain a similar broad mix of representatives so our money and the land purchased will be leveraged for the strongest impact. KHTS recommends one seat remain open, so that whenever City Councilwoman Laurene Weste decides to leave the political scene, a slot is open for her to permanently slide into.