My picks for CV Town Council

As much as I am passionate about our community’s past, I am more passionate about its future. For those of us that live in the unincorporated county section of La Crescenta, the key to our future is in the hands of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, an elected group of volunteers that is our only true local government. However, the voting record for our community is a scandal, with thousands of residents accounting for only a few hundred votes.

The joke goes that if you have a handful of friends, you can get elected to the Town Council. Unfortunately, that has resulted in a few council members who have been there solely to pad their resumes, socialize – or worse – to protect their real estate investments. Please, people – change that voting record!

The election is this Saturday from 8 to 5 at the La Crescenta Library, and you can vote for three candidates.

This year’s slate of candidates is so impressive that I find it difficult to make a choice, but at the risk of offending some candidates I consider friends, here goes nuthin’. Here are my top three picks, followed by a rundown on who’s who in the rest of this overqualified pack.

Cheryl Davis. Cheryl is the current president, and I’d like to see her be able to finish what she started, specifically the dog park and the re-do of our do-nothing Land Use Committee. The dog park is happening (congrats Cheryl!), so now I hope to see progress on reconstituting the committee that should be the eyes and ears for local development, but has lately been missing in action.

Odalis Suarez. Odalis moved to La Crescenta from Glendale two years ago, and their loss is our gain. While in Glendale, she was a fixture in Glendale community volunteer groups, homeowners associations and activist organizations. She served on the city’s Design Review Board, was key in the fight to save Oakmont 5, and was a founding member of VOICE.

Harry Leon. This is the only candidate not already in the council who I’ve seen at every Town Council meeting – to me an important distinction. He’s informed, passionate, and best of all, participates. I may not even agree with him on every issue, but at least I can be assured he’s paying attention.

I wish I could vote for these guys as well:

Charly Shelton. Charly is our youngest candidate and has the energy and enthusiasm of youth. New ideas just spew out of him! Plus he’s amazingly well informed thanks to his several years working local newspapers. What is it with kids today!?

Dr. Young Seok Suh. This candidate doesn’t need my endorsement to get elected. Our huge Korean community has been a sleeping giant… until now. Dr. Suh has the ear of this awakening force. I think he’s a shoe-in, and frankly, I think he’ll do a good job. ‘Bout time, Korean-Americans!

Charlie Beatty and Krista Smiley. Both are savvy veterans with years of CV Town Council experience behind them. Experience counts when dealing with the County, and these guys know what works and what doesn’t.

Will Swick and Thomas Pollack. Both of these gentlemen are good people and have the best and purest intentions for their role in the Town Council. Neither appears to have a personal agenda, and seem only to want make their council and their community better.

Michael Claessens. Mike is an accomplished lawyer – always a plus for the Town Council. Yet he is the only candidate that I have reservations about. I see him as an angry candidate – angry that the emergency evacuations for last year’s fires and floods were flawed, and angry that the County wanted to build a hiking trail through the Flood Control property behind his house. He’s angry that he wasn’t kept informed of progress on these two issues – both covered in several meetings held locally that he didn’t attend. Now he’s probably angry with me, too.

Please vote. Take back control of your community!

  • Christine Burton

    I wish that you had better reasons for your support. Let’s see… ethnicity, pure intentions, and young. Guess I’m glad you don’t cover a more critical beat — you could get this troubled country into a world of hurt with such specious, fatuous and gratuitous criteria for your support.

    Any CV resident who isn’t somewhat angry about what happened here last year is still numb. No other explanation.

    It takes courage to hold larger better funded public agencies accountable. It takes experience, character and nerves of steel. Could you not have examined the candidates with a little more respect for the possibility that a little steel might make an important difference next time. Or would that kind of inquiry disturbed the good people, the savvy insiders, the untried inexperienced freshman?

  • Mike Claessens

    Setting aside, for the moment, the dubious ethics of printing a voter guide two days before an election, our community needs an effective voice. If I am elected, I promise to do everything I can to make sure that the people who live here and are most affected by government decisions of any sort are first notified and consulted. That goes for every issue, whether it’s evacuation plans, the Foothill Community Standards District, over-size residential buildings or the CV Trail. The views and concerns of the people most impacted should be given the highest priority and deference.

    I read yesterday that because of my strong opinions on these issues, Mike Lawler can’t support me because I am too “angry.” I just think that recent events have ignited in me a passion about our community and about maintaining our quality of life.

    I am not afraid of authority nor am I a go-along, get-along kind of guy. Despite what Lawler says, I don’t think that insisting on having a voice and an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect me and my family is a bad thing. I think a lot of people up here feel the same way.