Chamber Forum Catches Candidates By Surprise, Prompts Laments
An attentive group of business owners listened to the five candidates running for two open seats on the Santa Clarita City Council Thursday afternoon at the Valencia Hyatt Regency.
The candidates seemed ready and eager to answer queries from inquisitor Damian Jones, a former lobbyist for the chamber, who asked the typical questions about crime, open space, and the heroin problem, but found themselves caught by surprise when one of the last questions was their pick of the three candidates running for termed-out Cameron Smyth’s 38th District Assembly seat.
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Of the five on the dais, only Jon Hatami demurred. Ed Colley and TimBen Boydston spoke highly of their two favorites - Patricia McKeon and Scott Wilk for Colley and Paul Strickland and Scott Wilk for Boydston, while incumbent Laurie Ender endorsed Patricia McKeon and Bob Kellar sided with Scott Wilk.
The hostile environment of electioneering was on everyone’s mind, though, and drew comments from both Hatami and Ender.
““It’s pretty tense down here, you’ve got people attacking each other from all different sides,” Hatami said. “Here’s what I’m going to say, and I’ll do the same thing on the City Council. I am not on any side, I am on the people’s side. I’m not running on any team, I’m on Team Hatami, and I’m trying to do the best I can to help everybody. I like all my Republicans, I like all my candidates and I’m sticking in the middle and that’s it.”
“It’s become so contentious in this community, which is so unfortunate because it’s so hard to get people to want to run for office,” Ender said. “Really, who wants to do that? Right? And we’re a little bit crazy to be able to go through that. It’s so heartbreaking to see mud slung at people who are serving and who want to give back.”
The candidates are scheduled to make several appearances throughout the community to give all the opportunity to hear their opinions and campaign promises. Candidate forums are scheduled as follows (additional listings may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in future listings)
Wednesday, Feb. 15- 7-10 p.m. – Canyon Country Advisory Committee, Moose Lodge, (18000 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country)
Thursday, Feb. 23 – 6:30-9:30 p.m. - SCV Republican Assembly, IHOP-Stevenson Ranch (24737 Pico Canyon Road)
Monday, Feb. 28 – 6:30 p.m. – SCV Congress of Republicans Roundtable discussion, Repertory East Playhouse (24266 Main Street, Newhall)
Wednesday, March 7 – 7-10 p.m. – Santa Clarita Community Council candidate forum, Elks Lodge, (17766 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country)
Tuesday, March 13 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. SCV Republican Women, $20 for members, $25 guests (all are welcome), reservations required. Paseo Club (27650 Dickason Drive, Valencia)