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Richard "Dick" Norton shows his support for Steve Knight. Chad Kampbell / The Proclaimer.

Local conservative activists gathered Friday evening for a rally at the intersection of Bouquet Canyon Road and Valencia Boulevard to show support for Republican candidates in advance of Tuesday’s election.

Approximately 30-35 people attended the rally on Nov. 2. Attendees waved signs, spoke to passing motorists stopped at the intersection and handed out campaign-related literature. The rally began at 4:30 p.m. and lasted until about 6:30 p.m.

The event was organized by Gala Caprice Cruz, the president of the Los Angeles County chapter of Californians for Making America Great Again.

Gene Smith, a retired Los Angeles Police Department, officer carried a large “Steve Knight for Congress” sign. Smith expressed his concern about the “deep moral decline” that is being brought on by illegal immigration.

“Democrats are sending so many illegal aliens over the border and it’s costing my grandchildren and children’s future,” Smith said. “I’m just so disgusted with the way that the Democrats have not run this state but ruined it and I just hope someday people will wake up and realize that so many young people are moving out of this state because of high taxes and mismanagement of the state.”

When asked if he’s voted yet, Smith was quick to affirm that he has sent in his ballot. “I wanted to make sure of that, did it way ahead of time,” Smith said. “I’ve looked into stuff, I didn’t say ‘Oh, he’s a Democrat so I’m not going to vote for him.’ No, I look at the individuals.”

Smith stressed the importance of the Nov. 6 election. “It’s a referendum on how this state is going to survive in the next 20 years.”

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Smith wasn’t the only attendee who expressed concerns about California’s trajectory. Kimberly Powers said that the reason she attended the rally was to “get everyone voting properly, save California, protect us from Gavin Newsom. So we don’t go to Hell in a handbasket.”

In contrast, some younger conservatives are planning on leaving California because of its Democratic trifecta.  “As much as I love this town — I love it to death — but LA County and California, I can’t do it,” Leedy said. The 24-year-old Canyon Country resident is planning on joining the Air Force and moving away. “I like my freedom.”

Leedy had extensive knowledge of the Santa Clarita Valley, its history and local issues. He spoke about local development and infrastructure. “My dad, he’s always telling me, there’s people who come from around the world studying our town’s infrastructure asking ‘How do you do it?’” Leedy said.

He also discussed the debate at last May’s city council meeting where the council voted 5-0 to oppose SB 54, which puts restraints on cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies.

“I think we were the first town in LA County to join the bandwagon to say ‘No Jerry Brown, we’re not a sanctuary town,'” Leedy said. “They were unanimous on it, I saw it live, [the city council] were up to one or two in the morning listening to people, listening to as many people as wanted to talk, no matter how stupid, they just listened to them, next person, everybody got no more than two minutes. I watched it on T.V. for a few hours. Lot of support, that was pretty cool.”

A lot of the rally goers expressed pride in the community and a fear that a change in leadership would lead to a decline in the quality of life in Santa Clarita. “Don’t let Santa Clarita become like Los Angeles City,” rally attendee Gregg Contreras said. “That’s where I’m from, I call myself a Los Angeles refugee.”

City council candidate Jason Gibbs also attended the rally. When asked about his priorities, he listed establishing a public safety commission and finding a way to “aggressively tackle” unfunded CalPERS liabilities. He also said that the city should review the Portobella plan and the Bermite property to “make sure that the old development plan matches up to what we need in this city in terms of bringing in middle-income jobs and getting our cross valley connectors done as soon as possible.”

When asked if he had one message to give to voters about the upcoming election he said: “Learn about your candidates, learn about your issues, get to the ballot box and get your voice heard.”

There was a smaller counter-protest down the street that was organized by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley neighborhood hangouts, which are smaller subsections of the larger DSA Los Angeles chapter. The counter-protesters held signs that said “Make America Indigenous Again” and wore shirts with slogans in support of Proposition 10 and Planned Parenthood.

“I felt that it was important, especially being so close to the election, to come out and just let our opinion be heard about these candidates that are running,” Brenda Chico, founder of the Antelope Valley chapter of DSA-LA, said. “I know a lot of them are more local to the Santa Clarita race, but Steve Knight will be my congressman too if he gets re-elected.”

“We’re getting a lot of thumbs up and honks,” former campaign manager for congressional candidate Jess Phoenix Ricardo Gutierrez said. “The folks that were standing over there thought that they were for them, but then they’d get a thumbs down from the same drivers. It was very relieving to see such a good response.”

Chico went on to say she thinks “it’s important, especially given the rhetoric coming out of Steve Knight’s mouth, not just about immigrant’s rights but women’s rights to come out here as a queer, Latino woman and just say that their opinion doesn’t represent everyone in the 25th and everyone in this area.”

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Conservative rally, DSA counter-protest compete for honks on Bouquet Canyon Road
Article Name
Conservative rally, DSA counter-protest compete for honks on Bouquet Canyon Road
Local conservative activists gathered Friday evening for a rally to show support for Republican candidates in advance of Tuesday’s election. They were met with counter-protestors from local Democratic Socialists for America groups.
Publisher Name
The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer
Chad Kampbell

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