Santa Clarita City Council Race '14: Gutzeit, Mercado-Fortine Are In
UPDATED 11:53 a.m.
Maria Gutzeit also is eyeing a City Council seat, but she wants to make sure it's clear that her focus for the time being will be on her responsibilities to the Newhall County Water District, she said Thursday.
"Overall, I think the city is really well run and we're very lucky to have that. I think one thing that I can bring to the table is a record of a balancing business and environmental issues," Gutzeit said. "And we definitely need good government and a council that works together well."
Gutzeit has been on the NCWD since 2003, and said there are a couple of issues that are pressing concerns for her on the water board. That seat comes up for re-election in November, and she also plans to run for that seat.
"I'm very interested in monitoring the chloride process from my seat at the water agency, and also the (Castaic Lake WAter Agency's) acquisition of Valencia Water Co.," she said. "We are concerned about how that was handled and that it doesn't adversely affect everyone's rates."
Gutzeit acknowledged that garnering the votes for any public office was no easy task, after an unsuccessful bid for City Council in 2008.
Hart district board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine is announcing her run officially at City Hall at 11 a.m. Wednesday, and she's not the only longtime local voice that will be throwing a hat in the ring next April.
City Councilwoman Marsha McLean said she plans to run again, in an effort to continue her service to Santa Clarita that has conintued for more than a decade.
However, two other new faces are also likely to join the mix. Alan Ferdman and Diane Trautmen, two outspoken advocates, who also have been frequent attendees at City Hall meetings, are "seriously considering" a run next April, although no formal announcement has been made, yet.
McLean pointed to her track record and an intention to continuing serving Santa Clarita residents as the reasoning behind her intention to run again.
“I have the experience, commitment and proven leadership that has gotten results in making our city one of the most successful in the state,” McLean said, after affirming her intent to run Wednesday.
The two-time mayor has served on City Council since 2002, and among her accomplishments include helping to galvanize the community against an Elsmere Canyon landfill, a proposal that would have brought one of the nation's largest dumps to our doorstep.
Prior to her work at the City, McLean worked for the Los Angeles Police Department and for a Los Angeles City Councilman, according to the city's website.
Mercado-Fortine pointed to her record of involvement with local schools -- she's been a four-time Hart district board member and a member of the board for the Castaic Union School District, as evidence of her ability to collaborate and develop partnerships that she believes will be essential in planning for the city growth.
Ferdman, who chairs the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and is a fixture at City Council meetings, said there were a couple of major reasons he was planning to run.
"I think theres two major items: One is the way that alot of our community members who come forward at council meetings to speak are not being treated with the respect that they deserve," he said. "And also, we have a lot of outside issues that are going to affect our community to a very large degree."
One of the hot-button topics for the advisory committee has been our local water supply.
"I guess one of the big ones is the chloride issue," Ferdman said. And so it's somehting that we need more information about, and we need a bigger voice and we need a better voice on the council."
Trautman, a two-term planning commissioner, who has run for council before, is also putting together an exploratory committee that's taking a hard look at the political landscape for the 2014 race.
Trautman mentioned similar concerns as Ferdman, and also said a potential run was in the exploratory-committee phase.
"I don't know that there would be any sort of a slate," she said, when asked about potentially running in concert with Ferdman. "But if we have things in common, we'd certainly draw on members of the community who share our concerns."
The chloride issue was also one of her primary concerns, saying the proposal for an expensive water-treatment plant is likely not the best solution for Santa Clarita's water effluence.
"I'm very concerned about what kind of effect that will have on our community, if our residents are asked to fund (a $250 million water-treatment plant)," she said.
Check back for more updates as the candidate list develops.