Westside Reader August 2015


A newsmagazine covering the communities of Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Castaic and Val Verde on the Westside of the Santa Clarita Valley.

August 2015 Westside Reader • 5

CastaiC town CounCil

Voice of the community

by Jim Walker

Staff Writer

Whether the issues are managed

growth, possible incorporation/

annexation, landfill expansion,

traffic, dust or anything else of concern, the

members of the Castaic Area Town Council

(aka Castaic Town Council) will consider

them, with your best interests at heart. The

council is an advisory board, presenting community

points of view with the Los Angeles

County Board of Supervisors and various

county departments, such as Public Safety,

Regional Planning, and Parks and Recreation.

The Castaic Area Town Council is comprised

of ten elected representatives from five regions

within unincorporated Castaic. Here we

help you get to know your representatives.

Region 1: Live Oak, North

Bluffs, Hillcrest Park, Hasley

Hills and the Valencia Commerce


John Kunak (council president)

Elected November 2012, term expires

December 2016

“I moved to Castaic in 1997,” John Kunak

said. “It was in

1998 that I became

aware that there

was a Castaic Area

Town Council. It

was after the election

and I wanted

to be very involved

in my community

and decided that in

the next election

year, which was 2000, I would run for a seat.”

Kunak is a practicing attorney, living with

his wife of 30 years, Mary Kunak, and his

daughter, Kelley Kunak, 20 years old and a

junior at the University of Southern California

(his alma mater). “My wife and I are extremely

proud of our daughter, who is in her

second year as a USC Song Girl (‘cheerleader’—the

girls who dance to the songs of

the band).”

Kunak has served as a community volunteer

for the past 15 years. “In addition to

being elected to my first term on the Castaic

Area Town Council in 2000, I also served on

the Castaic Union School District Board of

Trustees from 2001 through 2009. I was

termed-out as a member of the Castaic Area

Town Council in 2008, as we were only allowed

to serve two consecutive terms at that

time. In 2012, I did run again and have been

a member of the council since then. I am currently

president of the CATC and also served

as president on numerous occasions during

my prior service on the council.”

Kunak said he has also served multiple

terms as president of the Castaic Union

School District Board, along with being president

of the Castaic Education Foundation

and Castaic Lions Club. “I also serve as a volunteer

judge on the Santa Clarita Valley Community

Court, which is a program to educate

and help our youth, who are first-time offenders

and need some direction,” he said.

“I have learned, through my time in many

of the elected and service positions, that there

should be no particular personal agenda that

one brings forward (at the council), Kunak

noted. “I have always felt, and continue to feel,

that being a voice of my community and representing

the majority view of the community

is my mandate. Obviously, one’s personal

views cannot help but come into play, but I

have made a conscious choice to not come to

any decisions until I have heard all points of

view and refuse to make any decision, or vote

on any particular matter, until a motion is actually

made before the Castaic Area Town

Council and I have heard our entire community’s

views on the matter.”

Jessica Roussel Chambers (secretary

and website editor)

Elected November 2014, term expires

December 2018

With a family of three, Jessica Roussel

Chambers said she

has lived in the

Castaic area for 28

years and works in


She first came

to the council in

January of 2015.

When asked what

she hopes to accomplish

via the

council, she said, “I hope to represent the new

families that have and are moving to our area,

keeping in mind it is these growing families

that are developing in this area — as well as

listening to those who have made Castaic

their permanent home in the past. I wish to

bring Castaic back to its glory years, when I

was younger and there were things to do and

people were proud to call Castaic their home.”

Region 2: Val Verde area

Greg Kimura

Elected November 2012, term expires

December 2016

Greg Kimura is an auto-broker and property

manager, who has lived in the Castaic

area for more than

four years. “There

are two of us in our

house, and my sister

lives here in Castaic,

as do our two

daughters and three

grandkids,” he said.

“I came to the council

when we had a

cell tower issue with

a company called Core. About a year later, I

ran in the 2012 CATC election,” he added.

“Currently, our community has a few major

issues, which we would like to have our voice

heard on,” Kimura said. “These issues are the

expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill,

resolution of the flooding problem at the intersection

of Del Valle and Hasley Canyon,

and the substantial growth that is planned in

the Castaic area. We may not be able to get

everything that we want, but it would be

great if we could be included in the meetings

and our concerns will be considered when

the decisions are made.”

Bonnie Blackwell-Nikolai (co-chair,

Land Use Committee)

Elected November 2014, term expires

December 2018

Bonnie Blackwell-Nikolai said she has lived

in the Castaic area for seven and a half years.

See Town Council, page 16

CastaiC town CounCil Meeting

Letter to Chiquita Canyon Landfill nixed

by Jim Walker

Staff Writer

This month’s meeting of the Castaic

Town Council was a mostly placid affair,

featuring various good-news reports

from the field that held little drama and

stirred up no controversy. It was just the type

of event one might imagine for a “town council”

gathering. However, those in the audience

who exited the meeting early missed a few


Stepping to the podium

Before the scheduled presenters took to

the podium, the council and audience were

addressed by Linda Storli, who is running for

the William S. Hart Union High School District

Board. Storli filled everyone in on her

background, including her 30 years teaching

at Canyon High School, and on her goals, if

elected, which include operating from “a

teacher’s perspective.”

Next at the lectern was Los Angeles

County Sheriff’s Lt. Byron Wainie, presenting

a crime report. With an uptick in commercial

burglaries, “window smashes,” as he described

them, he also reminded those present

not leave valuables on car seats.

Officer Robert Byrod from the California

Highway Patrol was next, reporting on traffic

collisions, citations and arrests in the area —

including, surprisingly, only one injury collision

for the entire month of July in the Castaic

area. He added that the Highway Patrol

would have a “maximum enforcement period”

from Sept. 4 through Sept. 7, during the

Labor Day weekend.

Among other reports given, Jesse Hendrick,

a director of youth sports at the Castaic Regional

Sports Complex, discussed various activities

there, including little league baseball

and mountain biking. At the end of this, councilman

Flo Lawrence reminded all that Sept.

12 will be Grandparents Day at the complex.

“We feed the heck out of the seniors on that

day,” he said, and added there will be a soccer

celebration and 9/11 event on that day as


Hazardous materials

After other presentations and business,

and just when it seemed the meeting would

slip quietly into the night, the issue of the

council possibly sending a letter to the county

supervisors was raised. If sent, the letter

would include a list of hazardous materials

that, in the letter, the Castaic Town Council

would recommend not be allowed into the

Chiquita Canyon Sanitary Landfill. And that’s

when the sparks flew — though all within

proper meeting decorum, of course.

The divisive issue of possibly sending the

letter was brought to the council by member

Bonnie Nikolai, of the council’s Region II,

which includes the Val Verde area. “A constituent

asked me to do it,” she later said. “He

said it would be good to ask the supervisors

if we could be involved with the conditional

See Castaic Town Council, page 12

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