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A November of Possibilities
November, 2012 - Issue #97
Children are brimming with potential. The child scribbling with crayons is a potential Picasso; the one pulling wings off flies, a potential serial killer. Potential simply abounds in youth. Slowly, however, our possibilities become fewer. First to go are opportunities to be an athlete. Then go college options, then career options, then romantic options, then retirement options, and then, eventually, the only options left are what to have for dinner and which kid inherits the antique clock. But while your personal possibilities are diminishing, this month brims with potential and decisions that will shape the Santa Clarita of 2013 and beyond. Your future path may be locked in, but Santa Clarita's isn't.

History Bullies
City staff and the planning commission have been working for six years on how best to preserve Santa Clarita's historic places, like the Newhall Ice company building. When they brought their most recent ideas to the city council, they were told they could do better. This may have been disheartening, but subsequent discussion brought some clarity. There are three informal possibilities for saving historic monuments in Santa Clarita: buy, beg, or bully.

The buy approach, favored by Mayor Frank Ferry, is simple: if a structure ought to be preserved, the City should buy it outright. The beg approach was the one presented most recently: ask owners of historic buildings to "opt-in" to a historic preservation program, receiving tax benefits for agreeing not to alter their building. The opting-in is the problematic part. If you'd rather not have property constraints, you skip historic listing, and the building is unprotected. This brings us to the bully option, which may win out. Properties would be added to a historic list whether their owners liked it or not. Incentives would come, but listing and penalties for building alterations would be unavoidable. This may not please property owners, but as we know, bullying can get results.

War and Feet
I like to think of elections as multiple-choice tests, and the November ballots are about as easy as they come. With only the top two candidates from primaries on the ballot, you have a 50 percent chance of picking the right one, even if you just close your eyes and choose at random. (And yes, I do think there is a right answer.)

There are two possibilities for our local congressional district. The first would be reelection of long-time Republican Congressman Buck McKeon, and the second, perhaps more unknown possibility, would be election of Democrat Lee Rogers. They have differed on important local issues like Cemex, national issues like healthcare and policy issues like government spending. Their funding sources also differ. McKeon receives many contributions from the defense industry, which flourishes in his district. Rogers has received funds from more left-leaning groups and individuals, and he's also done well with podiatrists. He happens to be one, and some of his colleagues donated funds after a detractor made a video mocking his foot-doctoring profession. Of course, presidential options may be weighing more heavily on your mind this November, but it's worth considering the range of possibilities at all levels of government.

Together, It's Possible
Roger Hasper, who owns the Newhall Bicycle Company, has worked with his family and volunteers to serve a community Thanksgiving meal each year for the better part of a decade. Some people bring food to serve and join the meal, and many less fortunate Claritans share food brought by friends and neighbors. The tradition has flourished. In 2011, The Signal estimated more than 2,000 people attended the event.

I once thought that the classic, Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving would be nicer. Those who might otherwise be struggling or alone on Thanksgiving could be invited by neighbors, each family looking after one or two in need. But what the Haspers do seems closer to the core of Thanksgiving - bringing out the whole community like so many modern-day, less-puritanical pilgrims. Does it really matter, after all, if mushy glazed carrots are served on china or paper plates? What's most inspiring, perhaps, is how open the Haspers have been to the many possibilities of the meal. There's no guest list and who knows whether food will meet demands, but with enough people, it seems to work out. We can all heart SCV as a place where, on occasion, the best of possibilities happen.

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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