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August, 2012 - Issue #94
Traditionally, there have been two paths to immortality: religion or getting your name in Guinness World Records. Santa Claritans have banded together for two attempts at the latter this year. First, the world's biggest drum circle assembled at College of the Canyons. Mostly students, the goal of their drumming was to draw attention to arts, education and under-appreciated percussive instruments. The other record was tackled at Academy Swim Club, where three dozen kids participated in an international attempt to hold the largest, simultaneous swim lesson. Both records brought people together to make something that lasts... at least through one edition of the record book. It's a good lesson on the balance between cooperation and competition for those Claritans trying to build their own lasting legacies.

"But Boydston is still the type to STAND OUT by speaking out."


TimBen, Again
Maybe it's all his work in the theater, but TimBen Boydston can't help but hold the spotlight in his capacity as a Santa Clarita City Council Member. When he served his first, abbreviated term, he had heated exchanges with Frank Ferry. Ferry, now mayor, has been reluctant to engage Boydston this time around. Perhaps he's mellowed after his serious health scare and because he's engaged. But Boydston is still the type to stand out by speaking out.

During a discussion of political sign ordinances, he worked with City staff to make a half-hour video of old meetings, tortuously driving home the point that political sign policy is unfair (and not terribly exciting). He has brought focus on issues that are normally not given a second thought, like street repaving priorities, and he has been insistent about pursuing concerns presented by the public, even when that means hounding his fellow council members about activities like environmental fundraising events. Apart from leading to longer meetings, Boydston's style has led some to wonder about the right ratio of confrontation to collaboration for public officials. He has four years to work it out.

Feeding the Homebound
Santa Clarita has a substantial senior population that supports a bustling drugstore industry. As noted blogger and valley observer Jeff Wilson has pointed out, Newhall may be unique in its ability to sustain three mega drugstores at the same intersection - the Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS crowding Lyons and Orchard Village.

But seniors cannot live on pills alone. The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center has long played a key role in providing nutritional services to the valley's seniors, including lunch at three locations in Santa Clarita and home-delivered meals to those who are less mobile. The news that they were receiving less federal funding struck a chord at City Hall. Calls to send money to the center, however, were quickly tempered by worries that any increase in donations from Santa Clarita would be offset by equivalent decreases in donations by other funders. Letters and comments sent to The Signal paint different pictures of the severity and origin of problems with supporting the nutritional services program. But one thing is clear: to keep our seniors around for the long haul, we need to help keep the center around for the long haul.

The New Look of Pollution
The anti-pollution movement has moved well beyond the familiar problems of perchlorate in drinking water and smog in the air. Three forms of unconventional pollution have been recently targeted for eradication from the SCV.

The first is light pollution, the proliferation of bright outdoor lights that drowns out stars and can even lead to health problems. Local realtor and astronomy enthusiast Steve Petzold has become the leader of the movement to dim Santa Clarita, calling on everyone to be responsible with their photon emissions. If light doesn't inspire you, the fight against plastic bags might. Council Member Marsha McLean, environmentalist Lynne Plambeck and others are united in efforts to reduce plastic bag use and littering in the SCV. Whether this means a bag ban or something else isn't clear yet - the city attorney has advised waiting until active bag-ban lawsuits in California are decided. Finally, there's a movement to get rid of the political signs that pollute our viewscapes every election season. A new policy puts any signs in the public right-of-way into "sign jail" until after the election. We can quarrel about which of these - if any - are top priorities, so long as we recognize the shared goal of making an SCV we can heart for the long haul.
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 iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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