(By Dave Bossert) As the new year begins today, I can’t help but feel optimistic about the coming months ahead. The past year was terrific, for the most part, as I reflected on it over the weekend. Looking forward, there are so many new projects starting and my calendar is already brimming with travel to accommodate some of them. But, I also took a moment to think about the local scene here in the Santa Clarita Valley.

2018 has the potential to be a pivotal time for our valley and the City of Santa Clarita. Three of the five city council seats will be up for election and there have been rumblings about who is running. This year’s city council election has the opportunity to make significant and some believe needed changes to the city leadership. It is a chance to elect a diverse slate of individuals and possibly inject some youth into the city council.

That doesn’t mean that those who have been on the city council for years haven’t done a good job. There have been many great strides by the perpetual city council members with open space and parks, which has benefited all the residents of the valley. But there are other areas like traffic, tech, and more diverse representation that have stagnated or fallen behind.  

For years, decades, there have been a tight knit political group that has maintained control over the city council even as the makeup of the city and valley has grown and changed. It feels like the right to time to bring in new blood, youthful visionary individuals that can look further down the road at what the city and hence our entire valley can be.

That can only start if the city changes its charter from the current status of a general law city to that of a charter city. The general law status simply means that the city follows the laws set forth by the state government code, which gives it less autonomy than a charter city.

A charter city has the ability “to make and enforce all ordinances and resolutions with respect to municipal affairs (California Constitution Article XI, Section 5(a)). This is commonly referred to as the “home rule” provision. Typical examples of municipal affairs include the manner of conducting local elections and the city’s dealings with its municipal officers and employees.” San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco are all good examples of charter cities in the State of California.

Read more here: Commentary: 2018 Will Be an Exciting Year in SCV