Westside Residents Squash Idea To Form New City
Much warmer reaction seen toward annexation or staying unincorporated.
Residents of the Westside communities of Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Castaic and Tesoro are not the gambling type...at least not when it comes to their local government.
In an advisory vote on last night's consolidated election ballot, nearly 75 percent of voters smashed an idea to form their own unique city across the I-5 from the city of Santa Clarita.
The question was one of three put on the ballot with the purpose of figuring out what direction the residents would like to go.
The first question simply asked if residents were in favor of remaining a Los Angeles County unincorporated area, with LA County serving as their sole local governmental body. Roughly 56 percent of voters marked "yes" to this inquiry, equaling 1,622 votes.
Despite the answer to any of the following questions, this first result could be interpreted as contentment with the status quo. After congratulating the winners of the other local school and water board races, Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Michael Antonovich commented on this.
"Our Westside residents, and those from all of our Santa Clarita Valley neighborhoods, recognize that Los Angeles County continues to be fully committed to providing quality municipal services and proactive, responsive representation," Antonovich said in a statement. "Thanks to the Town Councils and my Santa Clarita field office staff who work hard everyday to ensure our Valley residents have a strong voice in their community and in local government."
The second question on the ballot involved the option to form a unique City for the unincorporated areas. Despite a County-funded study that determined a new City could possibly be feasible, residents apparently didn't want anything to do with the long list of unknowns and rough financial estimations, voting it down by a three to one margin.
The final voting option allowed Westside voters to mark whether or not they were in favor of annexing into the city of Santa Clarita. By the time all of the votes had been counted early Wednesday morning, about 53 percent favored annexing into the City, compared to 47 percent opposed.
While the number might reflect a slight majority consensus, the City of Santa Clarita will likely require a much stronger sign that the residents really want to annex before initiating the lengthy and expensive process. Normally, the City requires 60 percent of the residents' signatures before initiating the process. This might prove to be a different case; however as of now the City Council has not tipped its hand.
"As you know the Santa Clarita City Council has not taken a position one way or the other on the advisory vote, and they believe that this is truly a decision that needs to be made by the residents in these areas," said Santa Clarita Communications Manager Gail Ortiz.