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Home » Santa Clarita News » Organization Asks Ferry, Ender To Recuse From Henry Mayo Vote

Organization Asks Ferry, Ender To Recuse From Henry Mayo Vote

Smart Growth’s lawyer’s letter accuses council members of bias,
but City’s Attorney disagrees.


ImageTuesday night, a letter from the law offices of Luna and Glushon,
retained by local organization Smart Growth SCV, asked Mayor pro Tem Frank
Ferry and Council member Laurie Ender to recuse themselves from any upcoming
vote regarding the Henry Mayo/G&L Realty campus expansion.

 

Smart Growth SCV has long been a staunch adversary of the size
and scope of the project, which was proposed by Henry
Mayo Hospital
and their partner G&L Realty. Over the course of four years of Planning
Commission and City Council review and public comment, the plan has shrunk from
five parking structures, four medical office buildings, one hospital
administration building and a new inpatient hospital facility, to three medical
office buildings, three parking structures and a new hospital tower. The plan
has not yet been passed, and a public hearing is next scheduled for September
23rd.

 

Tuesday night’s letter cited examples they believed to illustrate
bias on behalf of Mayor pro Tem Frank Ferry and Laurie Ender.

 

The letter references Ferry as saying “I’ll tell you straight up –
am I going to let them go extra height? Yeah, I am.” According to the letter,
this comment was from January 9th, 2007
while Ferry was referring to the project’s proposed height for the new
inpatient building, which exceeds normal City building standards.

 

Council member Laurie Ender also was cited in the letter as
writing the following in her blog In August 2007, prior to her election:

           

“After three years of he-said/she-said and ‘wouldn’t the couch
look better on that wall,’ over two of those years in the Planning Commission
stages, we are still listening to the same back-and-forth debate about the
Master Plan ad nauseam. … At this week’s City Council meeting, after hours and
hours of comments and remarks (literally,) it seems that a light bulb has gone
off and the Council members have decided that they want a guarantee that there
will be an expanded hospital before there are any office buildings. Are you
serious?…I want parking. Hundreds of parking spaces would be nice but,
selfishly, every time I have to go to the HMNMH campus I would give my left arm
for just ONE space.”

 

Image
David Gauney, head of Smart Growth SCV speaks to the Council.

While the letter was meant to discredit Ender and Ferry’s ability
to responsibly vote on the Henry Mayo/G&L issue, three Ender supporters
spoke in her defense, saying that her opinions during her campaign were
responsible for getting her elected, and therefore on par with those who put
her into office.

 

“As a voter I expect to hear Ender’s voice during council
discussions,” said Sabrina Utter. “That is what I meant when I marked my ballot
as well as every other person who elected her into office.”

 

Ender addressed the request too;

 

“I have no intention of recusing myself on this issue. The thing
that everyone seems to be missing, is that this was a huge issue in the
campaign,” Ender said. “I was very outspoken about that, and I won…I got the
most votes. So it’s not just me, there are an awful lot of people in this
community that are hoping to see a hospital expansion.”

 

Santa Clarita City Attorney Carl Newton weighed in on the
allegations, saying that law requires elected officials to be fair, but does
not bar them from having strong feelings or opinions, particularly during an
election campaign. 

 

“I do not believe that those comments that are cited in this
letter serve to establish that any council member has taken a firm position for
or against the project,” Newton
said. “Certainly there have been expressions of strong feelings and strong
perceptions relative to the project, however I have stressed numerous times
that all of the council members must hear all of the evidence before making a
decision, and it appears to me that every council member has followed that
advice.”

 

Frank Ferry did not comment on the recusal request during the
meeting.

The next Henry Mayo/G&L Realty campus expansion debate will
take place September 23rd for the City Council’s public hearing.

 

The City Council also passed a temporary historical protection ordinance
by a dramatic 3-2 vote. Click here to read more on that, and other details from
Tuesday’s meeting.

Organization Asks Ferry, Ender To Recuse From Henry Mayo Vote

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