The Santa Clarita City Council is calling on cities throughout Los Angeles County to push for legislation that would empower the cities to force the Board of Supervisors to be more responsive to the county's 8.6 million residents.
The council's action comes just weeks after Santa Clarita sued the supervisors to overturn their approval of a 2,555-unit housing tract in the Stevenson Ranch development west of the city.
Mayor Jo Anne Darcy, a field deputy to Supervisor Mike Antonovich, opposed the measure and said the council's call for action would hurt city-county relations. "The fire just gets turned up every time we do something," Darcy said in exasperation.
On a 4-1 vote late Tuesday night, the council approved a resolution calling on the California Contract Cities Assn. to request state legislation that would enable a majority of the county's cities to place before the voters a proposal to restructure county government. Currently, only the supervisors can put such charter amendments before the voters.
The California Contract Cities Assn. is an El Monte-based lobbying group of 68 municipalities, 50 of which are located in Los Angeles County. Sam Olivito, the association's executive director, said in an interview that the group has never received a proposal similar to the Santa Clarita resolution.
Councilman Carl Boyer III, the resolution's leading proponent, said he hoped to spur a debate on the role and function of county government with the goal of improving county-city relations.
The resolution approved Tuesday was a watered-down version of a resolution that had offered three controversial restructuring options: enlarging the board from five to seven or nine members, creating the office of county mayor, or portioning the county into smaller counties.
Councilman Howard P. (Buck) McKeon said the original resolution was sure to rile the supervisors. If Boyer's goal was to improve city-county relations, McKeon said, "I think this will do just the opposite."
Councilwoman Jill Klajic said sarcastically, "I don't think we have a relationship with the county."
"I disagree with you, Jill," Darcy said.
In the end, the council adopted Boyer's resolution after deleting the specific restructuring options. Darcy voted against the resolution.