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Home » Santa Clarita News » UPDATE: Santa Clarita City Council Race 2014: 12 Residents ‘Pull Papers’
UPDATE: Santa Clarita City Council Race 2014: 12 Residents 'Pull Papers'

UPDATE: Santa Clarita City Council Race 2014: 12 Residents ‘Pull Papers’



Twelve residents have “pulled papers” for the Santa Clarita City Council race, according to Santa Clarita officials on Monday.

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The filing period for the City Council election, which takes place April 8, began Monday, and the race is expected to be a very competitive one.

Pulling papers involves setting an appointment with the City Clerk’s Office, where a candidate receives pertinent information for a council run, such as a frequently asked questions document, information about election ethics, FPPC contact information and a calendar of events.

It does not guarantee a candidate’s name will appear on the ballot, only that they have expressed an interest in running and taken the initial step. There is no filing fee in order to run for Santa Clarita City Council.

Once the required signatures and paperwork have been filled out, returned to the City Clerk’s Office and certified, a candidate is eligible to run. The city will be posting candidates’ names on the webite as the names and signatures are verified.

Much of the information is available at a city website set up for elections, however, candidates are asked to come to the City Clerk’s Office because their official nomination form must be signed by the Caputo or City Clerk Armine Chaparyan.

There will be three seats up for grabs, and one of the incumbents, Santa Clarita City Councilman Frank Ferry, has already announced his intention to not seek re-election.

The other two incumbents, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean and Mayor Laurene Weste, have both pulled papers.

As the race nears, will be posting profiles with more information about who will be running. But in the first week of filing, we contacted the candidates to find out a few basics about them.

What they do, why they’re running and why they feel they’re qualified to run for City Council:

(Marsha McLean declined to be interviewed for this story. Laurene Weste did not return a call seeking comment.)

KHTS AM-1220 will continue to update the list as more information becomes available.

(Candidates are listed in alphabetical order):

Dante Acosta, independent financial adviser

Why are you running for City Council?
“The bottom line is, we love this community and we want to help maintain the quality of life we have here for our children and, perhaps, our grandchildren one day.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“No one has the unique combination that I do, I believe, in my community involvement, my small-business experience and my economic experience as an adviser to be able to combine those things.”

Moazzem H. Chowdhury, owner of two pharmacies in Santa Clarita

Why are you running for City Council?
“There’s a lot of things we can affect in day-to-day life — we have a bedroom community, (most people) work outside. We have to look into job creation and find out why they are going outside (for work). The second thing I’m thinking about is the school and educational system. (Most students) have to go out of this area — why don’t we do what we can to expand College of the Canyons so (students) can stay here.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“Because of my experience in the last 36 years as a pharmacist and health care professional, the last 17 years in this community, I have seen from the (City Council members’) way, what are things that could be done, and how things are done. I’ve seen all the ups and downs with regulation for small businesses around me, and why they are affected.”

Dennis Conn, unemployed

Why are you running for City Council?
“It’s a nice city, but they roll up the sidewalks at night. … The second (reason) was about higher education. We have to go to UCLA and USC, over four hills every day, just to get a higher education. I shouldn’t have to be doing this. … The third thing is, when I ran for City Council, I went to Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster and Palmdale, and I took a look at their TOT (Transit Occupancy Tax revenue). We need to educate people in the news and, more importantly, the council members so that they understand this.

What qualifies you to run for office?
I ran for sheriff, I ran for governor. I know where the money is at, and I know where we get the money to pay for more teachers. In 1987 (the year the city of Santa Clarita was founded), I was a local pioneer.

Stephen P. Daniels, works for Covenant House, a shelter for homeless teens in Hollywood

Why are you running for City Council?
“I think an outside voice is kind of needed for Santa Clarita. From my understanding, most of the people who’ve been involved in the City Council have been on there for more than 10 years. I lived in Santa Clarita, when I went to CalArts, and then moved to Hollywood, and moved back here when I wanted to start a family because I love this city.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“I’m a political idealist who really cares about what the voters think. I can tell you that any decision I make will be a result of what the voters want, and in the best interest for the city of Santa Clarita.”

Alan Ferdman, retired from aerospace industry; chairmen of Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC)

Why are you running for City Council?
“I’ve been the chair of the (CCAC) for the last 11 years, and during that period of time, I’ve helped residents deal with city-related issues, questions and about codes and enforcement, and you know what I’ve found? We talk about how good we are, but many of those processes could be better, and I’m interested in making that happen.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“Why me? Two things… I’m very familiar with handling complex budgets and issues, and I’ve spent at least 20 years volunteering with the city. … And as a member of the (CCAC) for the last 20 years I have a lot of experience looking into city issues, and i think those things could help me qualify as a person who could hit the ground running.”

Berta Gonzalez-Harper, retired from BGH Consulting, a PR firm she owned and operated

Why are you running for City Council?
“Two reasons, one of the reasons is the lawsuit: As an American with Hispanic ancestry, I am opposed to districts based on race and ethnicity, and I was prompted to enter the race by the lawsuits filed against the city. The second reason is because I believe we live in a very well-run city and i believe people have to stay involved if we want it to stay that way.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“Grass roots, common sense, and I’m a longtime resident. I’m a nonpartisan voter for a nonpartisan office. I’m pro-business, I’m pro-resident and I’m pro-city — I don’t have any axe to grind, I just want to see the good works continue.”

Maria Gutzeit, owner of Compliance Plus, environmental consulting firm

Why are you running for City Council?
“The main reason I’m running is because I definitely think there needs to be a change at City Council. There’s been a few people that have been there for 16 years or so, and that’s a long time. I think Santa Clarita has a great history, but we need people who are going to look to the future, too. I want to bring my experience from local office to the City Council, and a bring a fresh perspective, too.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“Well I’ve been in office at the (Newhall County Water District) for 10 years, and that has taught me how to work with different agencies, and a lot of varied interests. I am also an engineer who started my career in a Fortune 500 company, and I’ve been running my own business since 1995, so I bring my small-business owner experience.”  

Duane Harte, retired, former owner of Academy Addressing and Mailing 

Why are you running for City Council?
“I’m running for City Council because I’ve been involved with the city for so many years, and I’ve seen how things run — I want to make sure the city continues to grow and maintains the quality of life that everybody has come here for.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“I’ve been involved with the operations within the city for over 25 years now. “I’ve been a member of the Newhall Redevelopment Committee, so I’ve helped Newhall grow, and I’m on the Parks Commission. I was a business owner for 40 years, and I’m an accounting major by education, so I think all of that, put together, makes me the most qualified.”

Gloria Mercado-Fortine, CEO of Global Education Solutions, an education consulting firm 

Why are you running for City Council?
“I’m running for City Council because I feel that I have proven leadership. I know what it takes to do the job of an elected official. I’ve represented my community, I believe, well, I’ve been successful and, at this point, I want to take my experience and leadership to the next level, and that’s City Council.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“I’m a lifelong resident, I love this valley and I believe we have a great city. This is where i grew up, and, again, my leadership, my ability to work collaboratively to get things done, my ability to do problem-solving and really to be able to work with people, listen to people, and collaboratively solve our problems.”

Paul Wieczorek, U.S. Postal Service employee

Why are you running for City Council?
“I wanted to do something important with my life, and this seemed the best thing. I haven’t done enough, so this is something I thought I could do for myself and for the community.”

What qualifies you to run for office?
“I just feel that I’m pretty level-headed and I’m definitely good with math, and I know there’s a lot of expenses that need to be looked at and gone over.”

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Source: Santa Clarita News

UPDATE: Santa Clarita City Council Race 2014: 12 Residents ‘Pull Papers’

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at
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