Over the past 15 years I have worked hard to protect the quality of life in Santa Clarita. Below are some of my accomplishments. But as I made this list, I thought about all the times that politicians have taken credit for the accomplishments of others. This practice not only hurts the people that helped to make a campaign successful by not giving them their due, but it also reduces the credibility of the person making the claim. So, let me be very clear. I couldn't have achieved any of the work below without the support of friends and allies. I am very grateful to the many fine people that live in Santa Clarita and care about our community.
- I collected 5000 signatures from local residents to help put the state park bond on the ballot. Monies from the passage of that bond helped fund the acquisition of Towsley Canyon Park and several other local open space acquisitions.
- I participated on the committee that helped to write the City's Ridgeline and Hillside Ordinance. This was the second ordinance passed by the newly formed city.
- Local civic and environmental groups won a public interest lawsuit involving the Westridge project. This legal victory resulted in establishing school fees that were three times higher than those that were required previously. These fees (which could amount to approximately $70 million over the buildout of the Valley) helped schools fund new facilities and reduce over-crowding. This same public interest action also resulted in the establishment of a library assessment to provide new books and facilities when new development is approved. I was instrumental in bringing this issue and organizing the coalition of groups.
- In 1993, I was elected to the Newhall County water district over concern with the failure of the water agencies to oppose the Elsmere Landfill. After my election, I persuaded the Newhall County Water District Board to oppose the landfill.
- I was part of the coalition that successfully opposed Elsmere Landfill. I chaired a group called Landfill Alternatives Save Environmental Resources (LASER), a Countywide group that opposed landfills and supported alternatives. In conjunction with the City of Santa Clarita and the City of Pasadena, we organized a successful conference to explore alternatives to landfills. Many of the conference suggestions are in place in both cities today. Elsmere landfill does not exist today because of the hard work of volunteers including myself, along with the opposition to it by City and local government.
- I became a founding board member of the Friends of the Santa Clara River formed to promote awareness and protection of the Santa Clara River that runs through our community.
- As a board member of SCOPE (Santa Clarita Org. for Planning and the Environment), I helped negotiate a settlement agreement on the North Park project. The agreement ensured the development would be included in the school and library agreement described above, and that a trail to accommodate horses would continue to connect from the local ranches to the trails along San Francisquito creek.
- I organized a "Livable Communities" Conference in conjunction with the City of Santa Clarita, local agencies and the development community to take a look at the impacts of urban sprawl and development scenarios that would reduce those impacts.
- I strongly objected to the water agencies reporting polluted water as though it was available. As a result of these concerns, Friends of the Santa Clara River and the Sierra Club brought public interest litigation against those agencies to ask the Court to forbid this practice. In 2004, a landmark decision by the 5th district court of appeal forced the agencies to properly disclose polluted water resources.
- I spear-headed the Santa Clarita environmental opposition to the 21,000 unit Newhall Ranch proposal because it will create massive traffic and air pollution problems, impact the Santa Clara River and does not have a sufficient water supply to support the project at this time. The project approval was overturned by the Court but re-approved in 2003.
- Participated in a successful taxpayer suit to prevent local developer controlled water agencies from creating a water monopoly. This suit also prevented the water agency from acquiring a private water company with polluted wells at a huge cost to taxpayers. Unfortunately, the agency was later able to go to the legislature and change the law to allow the acquisition. Now taxpayers are paying millions in litigation and clean-up costs for these polluted wells.
- After a local developer failed to keep his letter agreement to save heritage oaks and a stream in Pico Canyon, I helped organize "The Great Urban Tree Sit" to save the Pico Canyon "Old Glory" Heritage Oak. That oak was later moved to a regional park instead of being cut down and a settlement agreement was reached with the developer.
- I wrote the complaint submitted to the Bureau of Land Management on behalf of the environmental groups against the CEMEX mine.
- In a settlement agreement with the developer of the auto dealership next to the Santa Clara River, we assured that informational kiosks would be built to provide public information on the river trails, received funding for a scholarship endowment at CSUN and obtained $25,000 for a wetlands restoration project on Bouquet Creek.
- As president of Newhall County Water District, I ensured that the District no longer counted polluted water as available for new development. I promoted water conservation methods such as tiered pricing and new technologies to use landscape water more efficiently. I promoted the enactment of a landscape ordinance that would require separate metering use of native plants to encourage increased conservation and urged the formation of a watershed council to coordinate the efforts of local agencies towards river protection.
- I initiated bus tours of the Santa Clara River to help inform the community about the various conservation issues on the river.
1990 to the present
As a board member or chairperson of various non-profit groups, I:
- Organized information campaigns and conferences about local issues,
- Provided information and public comments to various city, state and federal agencies on local issues,
- Spoke in various venues advocating good planning and preservation of natural resources,
- Promoted public involvement in local government, and
- Participated in public interest litigation to prevent water pollution and tax-payer rip-offs
- Carla Bard Award for Water Activism, 2001
- Sierra Club, Santa Clarita Group, John Muir 2003, Green Tiger 2005
- Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter (55,000 members), Weldon Heald Award for Conservation, 2005
- Signal Newspaper, newsmaker, 2005
- Signal Newspaper, one of City's 51 most influential citizens
Commendations and Appreciation
- Association of California Water Agencies, Ground Water Committee
- California Literacy
- California Water Policy Conference
- Newhall County Water District, 1997
- Water Education Foundation
- Wildlife Way Station