Meeting does little to sway Stonecrest
CANYON COUNTRY – Santa Clarita officials faltered some in their attempt this week to sway undecideds and opponents of annexation in a Canyon Country neighborhood in the throes of choosing. Failing to be wooed by officials’ pledges of cost savings and better municipal services, some resisted Thursday night’s campaign at which city officials called the Stonecrest tract a needed land bridge to a mega-mine planned a mile away, which the city is spending millions to fight. “We don’t trust the city, that they’re giving us correct information on the whole thing,” resident Steven Saylor said. “I think it would help them if they just came out and told us it was about the mine and then were specific about their plans of how they were going to attack that and how we are part of that.” The city owns the land above Mexico-based Cemex’s 56.1-million-ton gravel mine planned in Soledad Canyon, and while losing appeals in court to have the project re-evaluated or scaled down, officials say it would be a strategic advantage to have the mine in the city’s jurisdiction. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventSupporters of annexation in the crowd of about 115 – who vocally outnumbered the foes – agreed with officials that close-in city governance offers more access and accountability than county-based rule for day-to-day and mega-issues. “If our forefathers rolled over on the English like you want to roll over on the mine, we wouldn’t be here today,” said Tom Gavin, who serves a Stonecrest homeowners association board. In response to Saylor’s question about whether annexing would stop the mine, City Manager Ken Pulskamp said it would not, but that judges in the court cases have asked why the city so opposes a business outside its jurisdiction. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, in response to a lawsuit filed against the county by Cemex, signed a consent decree that permitted the mining operation in their jurisdiction under agreed-upon conditions. The county did not make a pitch for the status quo at the meeting, but Bob Haueter, a deputy for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich who sat in the audience, said his boss had opposed the mine “as vigorously and strenuously as anyone in the room.” “What are they going to do differently that the county did not do?” Saylor asked. On Dec. 14, Cemex filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the environmental review in annexation papers filed by the city in its proposal to annex 1,885 acres in the area where the mine is proposed. Senior city planner Kai Luoma said Thursday, “Cemex is obviously scared; they don’t want us to annex the area.” Resident Darlene Curran took city officials at their word. “I think it’s cut-and-dried, we need to be part of the city,” she said. “If we’re with the city they can back us up … to stop the mine from getting any bigger than it is.” Verbal volleys on other matters – such as potential savings on municipal fees and taxes and sheriff’s services in the city versus the county – were less heated. Some heckled a hand-picked roster of speakers, sanctioned by officials, as they extolled the value of annexation – saying “This is our meeting!” As they left, most people seemed entrenched in the views they entered with. [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!