Gauny Touts "Smart Development" Approach To City Planning In Bid For Council
Santa Clarita City Council race heats up with campaign announcement.
Standing in front of City Hall Friday morning, community activist and local businessman David Gauny unveiled his approach to how the city of Santa Clarita should be run, as he officially announced his candidacy for City Council.
Targeting specific issues, Gauny touted zoning and planning to be among his chief concerns.
"In the mid- to long-term, I am committed to higher quality development in our valley," he said. "Such strategic planning takes much more effort but we can and must avoid the high-density, strip mall mentality that has ruined greater Los Angeles. Our city can enjoy similar tax revenues without further cheapening our neighborhoods, clogging our roads, or ruining our quality of life."
Gauny established that he is not anti-growth, but instead focused on what he calls "smart development."
"Just increasing densities triple and four times, as is proposed in One Valley One Vision, doesn't bring smart development," Gauny said. "It requires people sitting down and planning our city, and I think that our Council needs to be instrumental in that and I'd like to bring more checks and balances in that respect."
Gauny went on to say that he would like to see a top-notch corporate center and a premier arts or convention center in an effort to attract tourism and larger corporations. All this, he says, helps to keep residents employed locally and boost the city's revenues.
"We need to look at how we're developing," he said. "We need to get back to the 30,000-foot view and take a look at what's going to be the crown jewel of Santa Clarita. Is it going to be urban sprawl? Or is going to be premier venues where we have a convention center and maybe a good commercial center?"
The newest City Council candidate is no stranger to planning, development and zoning issues. He formed and led Smart Growth SCV, a large group of residents who opposed the original size and scope of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and G&L Realty's master plan for expansion. After several years before the Planning Commission and City Council, the plan was eventually passed, although at a reduced size.
In the immediate future, Gauny hopes to focus on helping local companies.
"As a potential city councilman, among my chief concerns in the short term will be a stronger effort to identify and communicate the many programs available for local struggling businesses," he said.
Gauny himself is a local business owner; he serves as principal and managing broker of Smart Money Broker, a mortgage company he shares with his wife.
In the public safety area, said he would be supportive of special gang and white collar crime units for the Santa Clarita area.
Renovating facilities and services for seniors, along with "complete transparency at City Hall," were also items of discussion for Gauny during his announcement.
The City Council election will be held in April, and Gauny faces the challenge of unseating at least one of the three incumbents. Frank Ferry, Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste are seeking re-election. TimBen Boydtson is also running as a challenger.
Of the endorsements in Gauny's corner, perhaps the most talked about is that of sitting Council member Bob Kellar.
"I know David. I've spent many hours talking with him about matters affecting this community, and I'm convinced that David, along with a number of other good people in this community, would be of great benefit to the City," Kellar told KHTS.
He says that since his endorsement, people have asked him if he's attacking his fellow incumbent Council members, to which he replies "absolutely not."
"I know this is an issue of sensitivity," Kellar said. "I think my fellow council members have done an outstanding job. But we've got a lot of very fine people and some of them wish to come forward and be a part of the process. And you know what? It's a good thing to have this kind of interest in our community. Occasionally, and I'm a ‘case in point,' we have to kind of step aside and let new people come on board to bring forward their ideas, their energies."