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COUNCIL REACHES OUT TO BOYER ANNEXATION TO BE INCLUDED IN TALK.

Byline: JUDY O'ROURKE Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA -- A two-time mayor of Santa Clarita has accepted the West Ranch Town Council's invitation to discuss many topics -- including annexation to the city -- at an upcoming council meeting.

Newly installed Town Council President Dave Bossert reached out to former Mayor Carl Boyer as part of a bridge-building bid to key valley voices. Decisions about annexing or becoming a separate city could one day face residents in the outlying areas and Bossert says people should be asking lots of questions and carefully weigh the answers before that day dawns.

``I'm trying to get a handle on a very complex situation,'' he said. ``It frustrates those people who say `Shut up and annex.' I want to know what all the ramifications are.''

Some say Stevenson Ranch lacks the economic muscle to become a city unto itself, but Bossert said while no incorporation movement is afoot that possibility and annexation are options that must be fully explored.

Boyer had a hand in the city's formation in 1987 and was elected to serve on the first five Santa Clarita City Councils, from 1987 to 1998. He was mayor, a role rotated among the five council members, in 1990 and 1996.

Bossert bought and distributed copies of Boyer's 2005 book ``Santa Clarita: The Formation and Organization of the Largest Newly Incorporated City in the History of Humankind'' to the town council members. They may or may not read all 354 pages before the Oct. 4 meeting.

Boyer will talk informally and answer questions.

He doubts Stevenson Ranch has the population or sales tax base to finance cityhood, but would not discourage the move, he said.

Local officials asked the state Board of Equalization to set up an artificial city of Santa Clarita before the real city took shape, so leaders could see what numbers they had to work with each quarter.

``That way the county could not lie to us about the figures,'' he said. ``They lied to us more about the responsibility the county had and the money the county was (infusing) from county funds into the Santa Clarita Valley.''

He cited the example of a bridge project worth about $2 million, which the county took credit for but financed with federal funds.

Boyer would support annexation but said the area's residents should be allowed to choose their destiny. He does not dislike Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, but said the supervisor represents a ``fossilized government.''

``The supervisors have allowed Los Angeles County to grow to more than 10 million people without doing anything about it,'' he said. ``No new counties have formed in California since 1907, and as a result the people are apathetic, they realize they have no control over a supervisor when (he or she) is elected in a district of more than two million people.''

Some favor Town Council members' geographical diversity, where members hail from the different communities they serve. City Council members are not apportioned that way, but Boyer pointed to the lackluster showing at the polls in April -- where just 15 percent of the city's 79,164 registered voters cast votes -- and said Stevenson Ranch residents who strongly backed one of their own would probably succeed.

``If Stevenson Ranch came into the city, if they voted 100 percent for Stevenson Ranch candidates they could probably elect all Stevenson Ranch candidates because the turnout is so low,'' he said.

Councilmen Bob Kellar and Cameron Smyth are up for re-election in 2008, but Smyth's seat is expected to open up earlier. In November, he is favored to win the 38th District Assembly seat held by Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, who is termed-out. The council could appoint a replacement, hold a special election or operate with four members.

Santa Clarita had originally sought to encompass 150 square miles, but the agency that oversees municipal boundary changes in Los Angeles County nixed the plan, granting it a little more than 39 square miles and leaving out Castaic, Val Verde and what is now Stevenson Ranch. Over the years, the city has completed 28 annexations, most recently adding the Stonecrest neighborhood in July.

Boyer's sourness on county rule might make some wonder if he wants to boost the city's girth to reinvigorate the push to turn the city into its own county. Canyon Country formation was voted on and approved twice by Santa Clarita Valley residents, in 1976 and 1978. Other county residents, who had the final say, rejected the move, and Boyer says it would be virtually impossible to revive the process.

Boyer is retired, but he has participated in several missions to Santa Clarita's sister cities in Ecuador and the Philippines.

Bossert said new speakers will be featured each month. In November, an attorney will discuss whether Brown Act rules apply to the council, and in December, Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce President Larry Mankin and Chair Chris Fall will discuss the impact of residents shopping local -- valleywide. West Ranch will also reach out to the town councils in Castaic and Agua Dulce.

judy.orourke(at)dailynews.com

(661) 257-5255

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Carl Boyer, once mayor of Santa Clarita, has accepted an invitation to talk to West Ranch residents about annexation.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 5, 2006
Words:873
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