I Heart SCV
Santa Claritans, Meet Santa Clarita
September, 2009 - Issue #59
It's surprisingly easy to ignore 99 percent of the things that happen in SCV, even when we live here. To get by, many just need to know a few places to eat and shop and directions to the nearest freeway on ramp. Those with children tend to be slightly better acquainted with the community. Their attention has shifted from escaping Santa Clarita to finding its best schools, signing up for sports and figuring out if the shifty guy down the street who wears sleeveless flannel shirts is registered on the Megan's Law website.

Very few people, though, go out of their way to really follow news and events in our valley. I know a lot of people who would stammer (or laugh) if I asked them to name the mayor, the city manager, or our local state legislators. Of course, this widespread indifference arises for a perfectly good reason. Things in Santa Clarita are going pretty well, so people worry about other things. But when Claritans get more involved, there are very real benefits. They can follow issues that will affect them and, more importantly, talk trash about our local SCelebrities with other news junkies. Luckily, September's a great time to get in on the game.

Schmoozefest for a Song
On September 29, for the bargain price of $35, you can attend the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Unfortunately, this year's theme is one of the dullest imaginable: "Setting a Course for Stability." Last year's theme of "Now Playing Your Requests" was both more interesting and more honest. The City was symbolized by a giant jukebox, a machine that does whatever those who pay it tell it to do.

Regardless of the theme, I'm sure the state of the city will remain strong and optimistic, as always. Since City Council elections (AKA reelections) are less than a year away, you'll hear plenty of glowing, self-adulatory speeches. The real reason to attend the luncheon is not for the song and dance on stage but for the people in the dining room. Though not the most important event of the year, the luncheon is considered mandatory for Claritans of Consequence, the residents who make Santa Clarita run. Even if you're not one of them, it's a very interesting place to just sit back and gather up all of the stray pieces of conversations floating around you. And the food's not bad either.

Fall Cleaning
There's no better way to get to know someone than by rummaging through their trash. You will be able to do this quite literally when the City has its Santa Clara River Rally and clean-up on September 12. The array of refuse one finds in the river wash is as diverse as it is disturbing. Tires, beer bottles, tarps, used toilet paper, mattress springs, drug paraphernalia and shopping carts are among the treasures to be found hiding in the sand and rocks.

If previous years are any indication, this event will get many tons of trash out of the river. It is a miracle made possible by hundreds of parents charitably donating their children for hard labor. Indeed, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, soccer teams and school groups alike mobilize for this clean-up. After you've done your piece in the river, there are vendors and community groups eager to flaunt their green-ness for you. Apart from the free handouts, you can keep abreast of the latest eco-friendly developments that are shaping the City more than many of us would have expected. As a bonus, you'll have a good deed to brag about at the State of the City Luncheon.

Handouts Accepted Here
It's hard enough to get Claritans to focus on SCV. How, then, do we get the adoration, attention and money of the outside world? City Hall has been aggressive in its pursuit of competitive grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and things are starting to pay off. Caltrans recently gave the city authorization to proceed on millions of dollars worth of federally-funded transportation infrastructure projects. These include asphalt rehabilitation and road improvements to keep our city of drivers driving.

The City is also trying to attract more regional attention with a $5 million economic development plan introduced earlier this year. One part of the plan, the Film Incentives Program, has been discussed everywhere from Hollywood Reporter and Variety to the LA Times. Industry analysts say the "micro" incentives being offered won't make much of a difference for big productions. Still, the quietly positive press that the program has garnered may be reward enough. On an even more local level, by now we've all seen the Think Santa Clarita graphics on posters and buses throughout the valley. It's a reminder well worth taking; if we really heart SCV, she deserves our attention.

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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