I Heart SCV
Counterintuitive Clarita
July, 2009 - Issue #57
Santa Clarita is a terrifyingly predictable place. Every election, local politicians will promise to improve traffic and keep children safe. You can walk into any restaurant and order a chicken Caesar salad - menu unseen - knowing that it will cost $9.99 and taste pretty good. SCOPE will always find something wrong about every development. The Chamber of Commerce will never find anything wrong about any development. And once a development develops, Gail Ortiz will break out the jumbo scissors and a red ribbon will be symbolically snipped. Barring earthquakes, even our natural disasters are predictable. There will be fires in October, droughts in any year beginning in 2, and plagues of school-less children in June. Santa Clarita will never produce its own Nostradamus; we just don't need one.

With all of this predictability, we must relish that which isn't as we would have expected, those wonderful things that are paradoxical, ironic, nonsensical or absurd. Recently, there have been several goings-on that leave us little to do but squint our eyes and scratch our heads. Thank goodness.

What's Yours is Mine
Many things about Old Town Newhall are counterintuitive, not the least of which is the fact that we're trying our darndest to make it New Town Newhall. Apart from that, installation of a new streetscape involves cutting down nice, established trees to make room for skinny, shadeless saplings. Then there's the matter of anchoring the area with a new library to be built 300 yards away from one still standing.

Most puzzling of all, though, is the stance the City is taking on eminent domain in Old Town. The City thinks it would be a good idea to extend soon-to-expire powers of eminent domain for another 12 years. This would allow them to force owners to sell properties that are deemed blighted or necessary for public projects. The counterintuitive part is that the Planning Department of the City Council has gone to great lengths to convince Claritans that using the power of eminent domain is very unlikely. But they still want it. In short, they're begging to have license to do something that they're all but promising not to do. This request makes a lot more sense when you realize that threatening to use eminent domain is often as good as actually using it.

Terminator, Meet Splinters
Despite whispers (sometimes very loud ones) of Six Flags Magic Mountain's closing, the park that defines our valley continues to do well. By the time you read this, a new coaster, "Terminator Salvation: The Ride" will even have opened and be approaching its one-month anniversary.

When I hear Terminator, I think of machines and science fiction and industrial factories and cyborgs. Naturally, I thought this ride would be some ultra high-tech steel alloy robotic something or other. Like much else in Santa Clarita, though, the ride has been given a counterintuitive twist. It's made out of wood. Now I like wooden coasters as much as the next thrill seeker, but for the Terminator brand? In any case, I haven't yet had a chance to enjoy this new coaster experience. LA Times writer Brady MacDonald did, though, and he declared it a "must ride" despite the fact that the queue line was apparently better themed than the ride itself.

Hooray, a Parade
Jay Thomas, President of Magic Mountain, will take some time off from presiding over the park and new coaster openings to serve as the Grand Marshall for this year's Fourth of July Parade. The theme is "Fun in the SCV." I think it's meant to be a contradiction in terms. The best seats are along a narrow strip of grass and sycamores on Orchard Village road, so if you want to enjoy the parade comfortably, you have to get up early on a Saturday when you should be sleeping in and rush to claim your spot only to spend hours waiting for the marching bands, flatbed truck floats and trotting horses to wrap things up. You would think that we'd give up on the whole exercise at some point, but every year we defy logic and turn out in the thousands to watch.

The parade may be a predictable part of the Claritan Calendar, but our attendance needn't be. It's reassuring to know that sometimes we defy expectations in a good way, supporting local groups when it would be easier not to. Attending the parade is one of the truest demonstrations of how much we heart SCV.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to
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