'I don't have the name recognition, but maybe these balloons will help me. At least the kids will remember me.'
Vernon Pera, candidate
The annual Frontier Days parade marched through Canyon Country Saturday, but with a new political twist--the parade featured more candidates running for the proposed Santa Clarita city council than clowns running down the street.
Almost half the 25 candidates running for the city's first council rode in the popular parade down Soledad Canyon Boulevard, waving to a cheering crowd of about 1,500.
For many of the candidates, the annual event presented a prime opportunity to be seen by voters. And, despite parade rules restricting the level of politicking, the candidates did their best to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Never mind that the Santa Clarita council doesn't exist. Voters will decide Nov. 3 whether to approve incorporating Santa Clarita, as well as who will sit on the new city's first council should results favor cityhood.
One candidate blared the "Superman" theme from a car stereo as he traveled down the route. Another inflated 1,000 balloons with his name on it and gave them away. Three candidates decided to car-pool. Another held his 2-year-old son in his arms. Almost all the candidates had someone on the route distributing campaign literature.
"It ain't easy," said Janice Heidt, a Canyon Country community activist as she sat in a 1958 Corvette convertible beneath a red umbrella shielding her from the sun. "The candidates are a pretty cohesive group. But the main idea is to sell the city . . . ."
Others seemed concerned with making an impression.
"I don't have the name recognition, but maybe these balloons will help me," said Vernon H. Pera, a Canyon Country manufacturing representative. "At least the kids will remember me."
Pera, dressed in a black leather vest, black hat and red shirt, stood unsmiling but majestically in a candy-apple red Corvette.
Linda Hovis Storli, a Valencia teacher, also rode in a red Corvette, and handed out literature after the parade. "I guess we were all treated fairly, but we were limited by what we could say on a sign," she said of rules forbidding elaborate signs.
Storli complained that a parade vehicle driven by cityhood opponents displayed signs.
Kenneth Dean, a Canyon Country architect and designer, said he stood apart "because I'm the only one holding my son in the parade." However, 2-year-old Derek fell asleep several times.
Six candidates were supposed to ride in the convertible of Louis E. Brathwaite, a city formation committee member from Valencia. But, by the time the parade started, Brathwaite was only driving two others, Carl Boyer III, a Newhall teacher, and H. G. (Gil) Callowhill, a retired businessman from Saugus.