Wednesday night, March 7th, The Santa Clarita Community Council hosted the 8th City Council Candidate Forum. The candidates in attendance were, Bob Kellar, Jon Hatami, Laurie Ender, TimBen Boydston, and Ed Colley.
Over 50 people from the Santa Clarita Valley were in attendance and each listened attentively to the entire debate that lasted from 7pm until 9pm.
The evening began with a brief introduction from each candidate starting with Bob Kellar.
There were ten questions that had been selected by the committee and were put into a paper bag to be drawn randomly by an audience member.
Each candidate was allowed 2 minutes and 30 seconds to address the question, with a minute rebuttal when each had finished stating his or her argument.
Questions included several issues surrounding the community and how they would be fixed.
The first question drawn dealt with a 1994 Youth Master plan which was to help the youth in the community with drug and violence issues.
“I think it has done some great things.” said Kellar.
“We do need new leadership to deal with that issue,” said Hatami.
Candidates debated whether or not this plan worked and some even debated that they would bring a more modern approach to helping with this issue.
Questions everywhere from creating jobs in the community to the attitude carried by the leaders in Santa Clarita were debated throughout the evening. Jon Hatami, a first time candidate, comes from College of the Canyons.
“I graduated from Canyon High and I went to College of the Canyons and so I really know the community,” said Hatami,.“It really gave me an advantage.”
Bob Kellar has been a part of the City Council for over 12 years and has decided to run one final time in hopes that the community still wants him.
During the debate, when the question of ethics surrounding Santa Clarita’s leaders was raised, Laurie Ender seemed to get a little flack about her response from TimBen Boydston as well as one of the audience members.
“Easy, respect others,” said Hatami.
“It’s the perception that we don’t listen, how can we change that perception?” said Ender, “I don’t feel any hostility towards anyone in the city council meeting or towards anyone in this room.
“I feel scared sometimes and I’m awfully glad I have a Sherriff’s deputy to walk me to my car.”
“I don’t know what perception Ms. Ender is having a problem with,” said Boydston. “Ms. Ender said she can’t speak for herself, but what she could do is to stand up and say that’s not acceptable and I will if elected, I’ll stand up.”
However, Ender as with her fellow candidates believed that the debate went very well, despite the one incident.
There are at least two more Forum’s to be held before the election on April 10th.
To find out more about this debate, past debates, or upcoming debates visit: www.canyoncountryadvisor.com