Last Update: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

City of San Fernando Has New Mayor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

M. Terry / SFVS
Sylvia Ballin is the new Mayor for the City of San Fernando. Ballin said a priority for the city will be to reduce the $1.2 million debt that was left by past administrations.

Sylvia Ballin is the new Mayor for the City of San Fernando. Ballin said at the top of her list is to focus squarely on reducing the $1.2 million debt that was left by past administrations.

"My number one priority is the financial stability of the city." Ballin said.

"My commitment to residents is that money generated from Measure A will not be spent on anything other than paying off our [city's] debt."

San Fernando city residents voted to pass the bond measure to remedy the city's debt following a successful recall election in November 2012. After a series of salacious incidents that brought negative attention to the city, recalled council members were removed from the dais and shortly after the city administrator was replaced.

Don Penman, an interim city manager was brought out of retirement to unravel years of undisclosed financial mismanagement.

"We now have a much clearer picture of the damage and have been moving forward with a plan to get the city back on stable footing," said Ballin. "The city is already far more stable than it was a year ago," she said.

Robert Gonzales was voted by the council to become the Mayor Pro Tem. “I'm extremely excited to be in this position and the work we've been doing to get everything paid off,” Gonzales said.

“I'm also excited about all the new businesses that are coming to town including a cupcake store that just opened up last week. There will also be a Walgreens, a Smart and Final Extra at Hubbard and Glenoaks, a used car dealership at San Fernando and Truman and a new coffee shop next to Cold Stones on Maclay” he said.

Ballin is also a board member of the California Water Coalition and the Chairperson of the California Water Coalition Foundation.

Now retired, Ballin worked as a facility services manager for the Metropolitan Water District for several years. In addition, Ballin is also spearheading a scholarship fund in honor of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, a victim of child abuse who was killed allegedly by his mother and boyfriend.

"This scholarship will be given to college students who will go into areas of study that will protect children and positively impact the needs of at risk kids," Ballin said.

Gonzales said he is currently involved with the Cesar Chavez Foundation.

Also at the council meeting, the city also voted to approve Phase 1 of a Bike Path along the Pacoima Wash that begins in Pacoima and travels through San Fernando to the foothills of Sylmar.

Phase 1 will include re-applying for grant funding for the project. Supporters of the project filled city hall including Bikesana del Valle bike organizations and representatives form various elected officials.

After questions regarding costs for maintenance of the path and safety issues were addressed, the San Fernando city council voted unanimously, 5-0 to support going forward to seek California state Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding.

If the phases of the project are fully realized, the Pacoima Wash Bikeway would open to the public in early 2017.

The bike path will extend the full 1.6-mile length of the Pacoima Wash within the City of San Fernando, from roughly San Fernando Road to Foothill Boulevard. It will also connect with the city’s existing railwith- trail bike path that runs between San Fernando Road and the Metrolink railroad tracks.

That bike path is currently being extended eastward, with construction underway within the city of Los Angeles.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 02:59

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