By. Stacey Klein
Hundreds of friends, family and community members packed City Council chambers Tuesday night to watch as Cameron Smyth was sworn in as mayor of the city of Santa Clarita.
Outgoing Mayor Frank Ferry ceremoniously handed over the gavel in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
“In a year, things have changed,” Ferry said. “Last year, I was the youngest mayor. Tonight, there’s a new youngest mayor.
“I have not one hesitation or trepidation in turning over the gavel to Cameron Smyth,” Ferry said.
Smyth’s wife Lena stood by his side as he took the oath of office and took the mayor’s gavel.
Smyth thanked Santa Clarita residents for “taking a chance two years ago on a 28-year-old man who wanted to serve his community.”
He also thanked the other members of the City Council. “I am excited to be a part of this team and although we will not always agree, we will continue to strive to do what (is) best for Santa Clarita,” he said.
Smyth said he has experienced a role reversal with his father, Clyde Smyth, a former mayor of Santa Clarita, and began to get emotional as he thanked his family for supporting him.
Smyth outlined his goals the following year. He said he plans to continue to act cautiously with the city’s budget to cope with impacts from the state’s $21-billion deficit, to continue fighting against the Transit Mixed Concrete mine, and to re-evaluate the Whittaker Bermite site development proposal. Smyth said the city will continue to lead the opposition against the proposed Las Lomas development, which he called “a very significant threat to our city.”
Smyth said he is excited to see the opening of the $8-million Aquatic Center, as well as the opening of four new athletic fields in Phase 2 of Central Park.
“There are a lot of exciting things to look forward to and a lot of exciting things as well,” Smyth said. “I promise to continue to work hard on (the city’s) behalf.”
In an evening described by some attendees as “bittersweet,” several community and school district leaders thanked Ferry for his work as mayor, especially in the areas of roads and schools.
Ferry accepted presentations, plaques, and certificates from numerous members of the local community and government, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Assemblyman Keith Richman, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, and Senators Pete Knight and Tom McClintock. The Santa Clarita Traffic Alliance eternally dubbed Ferry “The Road Warrior” on a commemorative plaque for his efforts constructing the cross-valley connector road.
Ferry was also praised for his work with youth in Santa Clarita, both as an assistant principal at Saugus High School and as mayor. Smyth acknowledged Ferry for his “passion, motivation and drive to get things done for all the young people in this community.”
“It’s going to be hard to follow you,” Smyth said, and joked that he would try to beat Ferry’s record of ending a City Council meeting by 8:15 p.m.
“I’m going to try to beat that record, but I don’t think I’ll be able to beat the record of your accomplishments and the number of presentations and recognition you’ve received tonight,” Smyth said.
The City Council nominated Bob Kellar as mayor pro-tem for the following year. Kellar said he was honored to receive the nomination.