I Heart SCV
Starting "Post-Scratch"
January, 2013 - Issue #99
If you're reading this installment in January of 2013, I extend my condolences. Your readership means the Maya-predicted apocalypse was a bust. The peak in the sun's activity cycle has not unleashed radiation to destroy our infrastructure and we've avoided a complete financial meltdown. All of this is unfortunate, for when the world doesn't end, there is no escape from the drudgery of day-to-day living. And if you're like one of those people on Doomsday Preppers, you now have 800 pounds of dehydrated food lying around. Most crucially, instead of starting from scratch, we're left to start this new year from the status quo.

Grand Stands Felled
Those new to Santa Clarita may consider the Saugus Speedway over-built and oddly named for the site of a thrice-weekly swap meet. The tight track, checkered line and grandstands all hail from the days when cars still raced there. The speedway's defining features have long been out of use, most notably the grand stands (LA County's condemnation of the grand stands in 1995 was, in fact, the death knell for racing.). Without much in the way of spectator sports, there has been little incentive to repair the deteriorating wooden seats and they were demolished in 2012.

Managing Director Doug Bonelli is planning to offer pieces of the grand stands for nostalgic fans. Many can still clearly remember the roar of engines that could be heard for miles and the thrilling, close-quarters figure-eight racing once hosted at the track. But why were the stands taken down now? Are significant changes in store? It wouldn't be the first reinvention of the arena, which has moved from rodeo to raceway to retail (or resale). With all the history behind the speedway, though, it's tough to move forward without missing what used to be.

Pave & Pray
They say new home construction is a sign of a strong economy, so new church construction must indicate a valley that's flexing some serious spiritual muscle. In the past few years we've seen construction of big new houses of worship for the NorthPark Community Church and Real Life Church congregations. Now, a new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church is beginning to be realized.

The next step forward may not be very inspiring, but it's very Claritan: paving a bigger parking lot. Santa Clarita, like LA County at large, has a significant Catholic population (One-third of the religious population is Catholic according to county-wide statistics.) and the current congregation can overwhelm capacity at certain times of year. Old homes on Arcadia Street have already been leveled to make way for the expansion, which will eventually include a church with a much larger footprint and the renovation and re-purposing of existing structures. It's very much a case of new built from old. Scratch that. Like much else that's "new" in Newhall, the buildings will call on classic Western architectural styles, so it's less new from old than old from old, which fits the area just fine.

Body of Law Burgeons

2012 saw many new regulations that will take effect this year. It can be difficult to keep track. There is newly-formalized protection for those wearing religious attire at the workplace. You will not be allowed to open-carry rifles. Mental health practitioners can no longer attempt gay "conversion therapy" to change the sexual orientation of those less than 18 years old. A waiver from a doctor is required prior to sending an unvaccinated child to school. Winegrowers in Sonoma and Napa can donate wine or money to opera houses; they apparently couldn't before. Hands-free texting will be allowed for those behind the wheel (For example, you may legally dictate "I totes just hit that car!" to your mobile device.). After the November propositions, there's a quarter-cent sales tax increase, more jail if you engage in human-trafficking and life sentences only if you're third strike is a violent crime.

That's what we get for skirting the end of the world: more laws. But I guess it's not all bad, this matter of still being around. We heart the foundation of SCV, so there's no sense in starting again from scratch.

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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