I'm Just Sayin': For new voices or old, it's important to vote

The Crescenta Valley Town Council election will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the La Crescenta Library.

The Town Council serves the unincorporated portion of La Crescenta/Montrose as an advisory group for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

Over the years they have worked to get a new library, set building standards for Foothill Boulevard and multi-family housing developments, acquired a spot park and an upcoming dog park, as well as many other accomplishments that improve the safety and quality of life for our area.

As I wrote in my column a couple of weeks ago, it's really important that residents vote for who they feel will best communicate their concerns and interests to the various county departments, as well as share information about what's happening in our neighborhoods and schools.

This year there are 10 candidates seeking the six council seats available — three, three-year regular terms and three, one-year alternate terms. Voters may choose up to three candidates.

I attended the Crescenta Valley Community Assn.'s candidate forum last week and was very impressed by the caliber of candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring. I have no doubt that many of them would serve us well.

However, having been on the Town Council from 2000 to 2007, I have seen some that, once elected, don't live up to the expectations they raised when they campaigned. For whatever reason, they seem to lose their drive and passion when they find out the amount of time and effort involved in being an effective council member.

The council has had too many members in recent years who have coasted through their terms without much to show for it.

Now is the time for some new voices, and I will be casting my vote for three newcomers — Charly Shelton, Odalis Suarez, and Harry Leon.

Shelton, who at 21 is the youngest candidate running this year, or any other year that I can recall, has already worked several years for the now-defunct Crescenta Valley Sun and currently at the Crescenta Valley Weekly. He has been out in the community as an observer and now wants to be a participant. It is likely that he has been to more meetings and events than most of the other candidates combined.

Charly can still remember what it's like to be a teen in La Crescenta, where the recreational opportunities are limited, allowing too many kids to drift into drugs. He has worked with the Drug and Alcohol Coalition and Prom Plus, and now wants to start a youth council to give teens a voice.

Suarez lived in Glendale — where she served on numerous boards and commissions, most notably the Design Review Board — before moving to La Crescenta. With development a key issue in the Crescenta Valley, her experience on the Design Review Board will be invaluable to the Town Council's Land Use Committee.

Leon understands that new homes must be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. He has regularly attended Town Council meetings the last few years and even volunteered to work the council's recent pancake breakfast.

He also first suggested the youth council idea to Shelton and there's no question that these two gentlemen can make it happen.

No matter whom you choose to cast your ballot for, please be sure to vote this Saturday.

SHARON RAGHAVACHARY is on the steering committee for Crescenta Valley Community Assn. and a member of the Family Advisory Council for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. She may be reached at sharonchary@gmail.com.

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