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How can You Think like That?
September, 2021 - Issue #203
In childhood development, there's a key milestone relating to "theory of mind" - the realization that other people have their own unique thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Most kids catch onto this by the time they're 5. Then, they spend the rest of their lives wondering why all those other minds are so wrong about so many things. So it is in Santa Clarita, where some contentious issues have the other side exasperated, wondering how everyone else could have gotten things so mixed up. As September rolls around, we may get a clearer picture as to what Claritans are really thinking.

"So it is in Santa Clarita, where some contentious issues have the other side exasperated, wondering how everyone else could have gotten things SO MIXED UP."
Narrowly Newsom?
On September 14, Californians will vote on whether Governor Newsom gets to keep his job. Just over a month before the special election, a UC Berkeley poll found that 47 percent of likely voters favored recall and 50 percent opposed it. Analysts at FiveThirtyEight wrote, "Gavin Newsom Has Reason to Worry." For some, voting for recall is a no-brainer, and for others, it's an unthinkable outrage. To retain his office, Newsom may need to focus more on energizing Democrats to vote rather than on trying to change anyone's mind.
If recalled, who would replace Newsom? There are dozens of candidates. Many have highlighted Caitlyn Jenner, known for a stellar Olympics career, the Kardashian-Jenner empire and her role in a fatal car crash in Malibu. Of course, some didn't view her as a serious candidate, perhaps in part because she flew to Australia to film Celebrity Big Brother in the key final months of the race. Instead, the leading challenger has been Larry Elder, an attorney, author and talk-radio host. If we go strictly by poll numbers, Governor Gavin Newsom still edges out Elder, Jenner and everyone else. He seems poised to avoid recall, narrowly or not.

Holdouts
If you haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it's probably no accident. They're free, available everywhere and promoted to the point of annoyance. According to LA County Public Health's website, as of June 1, 67 percent of Santa Claritans had had one or more vaccine doses. The number crept up to 70 percent on July 1 and to 72-73 percent by early August. In other words, there's not a lot of demand for the vaccine from still-unvaccinated people. Roughly comparable rates of vaccine hesitancy have been reported for Europe in the scientific journal Nature. So it's not just Santa Clarita or LA County or America - there might always be a segment of the population that is skeptical of vaccines, even when they're widely reported as safe and effective.
The only change coming this September is that vaccines are expected to receive full FDA approval, as opposed to emergency use authorization. This could increase vaccination rates if FDA approval gives people reassurance. More businesses could use approval as grounds for requiring that their employees get jabbed. Still, some are sure to refuse. At least we all agree about less controversial topics like masks, vaccine passports and schooling. Right? Ooph.

Safe Assumptions
The LA County Sheriff's Department regularly posts crime statistics for Santa Clarita. As of the first half of 2021, there had been two criminal homicides, 32 sexual assaults, 53 robberies and 98 aggravated assaults in incorporated and unincorporated Santa Clarita. Most of these numbers represented increases compared to the same time period in 2020. Property crimes didn't change by much, except for a jump in arson. In Los Angeles proper, violent crime has also gone up. The number of homicides rose sharply in 2020 and is expected to keep rising through 2021. The story is the same in many other
American cities.
No one is arguing about the jump, just about what caused it. How LA polices, prosecutes and imprisons people has been changing. Some can interpret an uptick in crime as a signal that more reform is needed, while others want to return to and redouble traditional law enforcement. Or maybe it's all a society-wide side-effect of coronavirus. Regardless, Santa Clarita remains a fairly safe city overall. We can disagree about the recall, puzzle over our neighbor's vaccine beliefs and debate how to make cities safer. You can still heart your SCV neighbors, even if they're wrong.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions and catty comments intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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