Santa Clarita may gain a little more influence in government matters if a motion on the County Board of Supervisors Agenda is approved on Tuesday.
Our city would join Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando and Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments, a move that organizers hope will foster cooperation and create a greater sense of regional political identity for the area’s two million residents.
“Over the last two years, there was an effort spearheaded by the San Fernando Valley Economic Alliance to create a council of governments,” explained Michael Murphy, Intergovernmental Relations Officer for the City of Santa Clarita. “It included all seven of the (Los Angeles) city council districts in the San Fernando Valley and also the cities in the valley, including Calabasas, Glendale, Burbank and San Fernando. They invited the north county cities – Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster – as well as the two county supervisors who represent unincorporated areas in the valley.”
Murphy said that the involved entities kicked around ideas and benefits of forming the Council of Government; what it might look like, what role it might play. Palmdale and Lancaster said they weren’t really interested in participating, and recently, the Calabasas city council chose to withdraw from the group before it formally organized.
“Each city or entity must ratify their participation,” Murphy said. “Santa Clarita was the first city to ratify, with a vote taken in November. The county’s vote would be the last step to actual formation.”
There is a $10,000 cost to participate in the Council, which Murphy said has been budgeted.
“What it does is bring elected officials of the various municipal and county entities together into one forum to talk about common regional issues and creates some opportunities to work on some regional projects,” he said. “It creates an opportunity to work together in a way that each of the entities may not have worked before.”
Murphy said that he anticipates the group will be working by the end of June.
“It’s more of a regional approach, a voluntary collaboration to work on regional projects and conduct studies, working on legislative advocacy on issues. It gives you a chance to come together and have a voice.”
Tony Bell, spokesperson for Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who co-sponsored the motion with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, said that issues like Valley secession and Measure R transportation projects made forming this group a priority.
“It creates a consensus and unified voice and power base for this area of the county, so that on issues that affect our residents, we can be stronger, be more fully represented and receive the resources we need to serve our residents.”
“The Valley is an interesting dynamic because it wanted to secede from the City of Los Angeles at one point,” Bell said. “The Valley is oftentimes not fully recognized by the City and is a very different community from the rest of the city.”
The Council would include representatives from each city, plus the two supervisorial districts. Participation is voluntary and all decisions would have to be unanimous.
The supervisors are scheduled to vote on the issue at their regular Tuesday meeting.