“The reason I’m running is not because the city is being run poorly, but I think the council has lost touch with the people on the street,” said Gutzeit, who is vice president of the Newhall County Water District board. “What I have loved about the water board is getting input from a lot of different interests and achieving a solution that works for everybody.” Gutzeit rates the city’s top issues as the Cemex mine proposed on the outskirts of town, community preservation in the older areas, and maintaining relations with the county. Past tensions in city-county relations seem to have eased of late. Councilman Tim Ben Boydston promised to be a place-keeper when the council appointed him in January to fill the 14 months remaining in Cameron Smyth’s term after Smyth headed to the state Assembly. Boydston promises not to veer from his word, though his affinity for the post has whetted his appetite. “I’m not saying I will not run in 2010 or for a different governmental seat,” he said. “In the long run, if I do stay in this I want people to know that my word is my bond and it means more than anything else.” Councilman Bob Kellar is serving his second four-year term and has said he will seek a third. Deputy City Clerk Susan Coffman said the trio have not yet applied for the job. The filing period for the at-large April 2008 election will open Dec. 17.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Spierer was the first sheriff’s office commander in Santa Clarita’s history and served 32 years in the Sheriff’s Department before retiring in 2001. A lively dialogue between the city and neighboring communities could spur annexations in coming years, and the Santa Clarita Valley is poised for substantial growth in the next two decades. Maintaining public safety tops the issues facing the city, Spierer said. “When we talk about quality-of-life issues – traffic, neighborhood preservation and jobs creation – you have to start at public safety,” he said later. “We need to take a careful look at how we can improve our position and make this an even safer community to live in.” A recent Money magazine survey named Santa Clarita one of the best places in the U.S. to live. Chemical engineer Gutzeit has joined the early race in part because fundraising for the expensive task takes time. SANTA CLARITA – More than a year before the next Santa Clarita City Council election, two high-profile candidates – who emerged as front-runners to fill a council vacancy earlier this year – announced Thursday that they plan to run for the two seats. Currently, one of those seats is held by an incumbent who plans to seek re-election, the other by an appointee who vows to keep his promise not to run. The challengers are Maria Gutzeit and Bob Spierer. Supporters at Thursday’s news conference kicking off Spierer’s campaign said his service record speaks for itself. “He was a great commander and police chief and did a fabulous job for our city, keeping us safe so we can enjoy our lives,” said Councilwoman Laurene Weste.