Candidates visit Harvest Market

Candidates running for Crescenta Valley Town Council greeted community members at Sunday’s Harvest Market.  From left, front row: Silvana Casalegno, Wendy Alane Smith, Robbyn Battles and Kim Mattersteig. From left, back row: Charles Beatty and Todd Thornbury.  Candidate not pictured: Dennis van Bremen.
Candidates running for Crescenta Valley Town Council greeted community members at Sunday’s Harvest Market. From left, front row: Silvana Casalegno, Wendy Alane Smith, Robbyn Battles and Kim Mattersteig. From left, back row: Charles Beatty and Todd Thornbury. Candidate not pictured: Dennis van Bremen.

This Saturday, Nov. 7 Crescenta Valley residents living within the unincorporated area of Los Angeles will be asked to vote for three regular and three alternate Crescenta Valley Town Council members. The council was established 20 years ago as a bridge between the community and the Los Angeles County board of supervisors.
“It really began as an association of residents who were concerned about this area,” said Steve Pierce, current CVTC president.
The council acts as an advisory board for Supervisor Michael Antonovich and over the years has grown in influence and earned the respect of other elected public officials.
“We have the same power as other prominent organizations, like the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley or the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce,” Pierce said. “They can speak with the same representatives for the area. The real difference is that we are an elected body and because of that we follow a certain formality.”
Pierce said the key to the council’s success is how they have learned over the years to follow proper procedures.
“With the county, if you don’t go through proper channels you will not get anything done,” he added.
Pierce has been on the council for four and a half years. He decided not to run this year because he wanted to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.
“I am at meetings about four times a week,” he said.
Although he does not plan on staying home all the time once he steps off the council, he looks forward to leaving meetings before they conclude. “I will still be actively involved,” he promised.
Two other regular seats are up for this year’s election: Liz Arnold will not be seeking another term and Dennis van Bremen’s term is up. All three alternate seats are also up for re-election.
There are seven hopefuls ready to fill the six seats. The candidates are regular seat incumbent Dennis van Bremen and alternates Charles Beatty and Robbyn Battles. New comers to the race are Silvana Casalegno, Kim Mattersteig, Wendy Alane Smith and Todd Thornbury.
Candidate van Bremen has been in the community since 1958. He worked as a counselor at Crescenta Valley High School and has been acting treasurer for the CVTC. He was co-chair for this year’s successful pancake breakfast which raised funds for the council’s scholarship program.
Because of his background with the school district, van Bremen said he wanted to work closely with district administrators on issues concerning children like a drug and alcohol council.
“I like to see things get done,” he said.
Last Sunday, the candidates were at a meet and greet at the Harvest Market in Montrose. CV Weekly had a chance to interview them and ask each a few questions about the upcoming election.
Charles Beatty has served on the CV water district board and the CVTC.
“I think I can make a difference in our community,” he said of his candidacy. “I listen to what the public has to say and [convey] that to the council.” He added that the council represents the people of the community and it was important to be able to listen to residents’ concerns.
Robbyn Battles is a long time resident who just completed her first year as an alternate council member.
“I like seeing a project through, from start to finish,” she said. Battles co-chaired the safety committee and was instrumental in developing a safe drop off area for Monte Vista Elementary. She is currently working on safety projects for other schools including La Crescenta Elementary and worked with senior citizens on developing projects.
“If I am elected I would like to continue that work. I think what surprised me about this year was how much can get accomplished working together.”
Silvana Casalegno said she understood how important the council is to the area.
“It really gives us the voice we need to make ourselves known to [officials],” she said.
She has seen how the town council has worked to keep the community safe and wanted to be a part of that process. Because Crescenta Valley is part of the larger unincorporated area of the county, it can be lost in the larger group and that voice is important, she said.
If elected she wants to work on more fire drills, the drug issue and other events that can bring the community together.
Kim Mattersteig has thrown her hat in the ring after finding out how important and fulfilling community involvement could be. She was the power behind the Briggs Terrace evacuation drill that was held just weeks before the Station Fire. Mattersteig said that she saw a potential danger, researched the solutions and didn’t stop until she achieved her goal. She plans on bringing that same determination to the council if elected.
Wendy Alane Smith and her husband own a construction company in Crescenta Valley. She has been an active member of many organizations including the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
She said she is running to help the community she loves be even better. If elected she would like to work on the safety committee. As a business woman she said she understands what opportunities are in Crescenta Valley.
“I would like to get more businesses to [base] here,” she said.
Like Beatty she was also running for the CV water district board of directors. She did not win that position, but said as a council member she could still promote water conservation. “I would like to help others become aware of how they can conserve water and how important it is.” Todd Thornbury is a local small business owner who has grown up in the Crescenta Valley and now raises his children in the area.
“I am running because I grew up here and the community has given me a lot. I feel honored if I could give back to the community,” he said.
If elected he would like to set up some type of advisory board that would collect input on what people would like to see in the community.
“I would like to give a voice to those who may not otherwise be heard,” he said.
The election is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Rosemont Middle School, 4725 Rosemont Ave. There will be a pancake breakfast with proceeds benefitting the school’s music department. Voters can attend an Emergency Preparedness Fair that will be at the school. The Sheriff’s and L.A. County Fire departments will be there as will the Red Cross and the CV Fire Safe Council. Learn what to do with your pet during emergencies and how to prepare for earthquakes with the Yogi Bear earthquake simulator classroom.