I Heart SCV
The Cause Crowd
March, 2013 - Issue #101
Taking up important causes is smart - the bigger, the better. It's smart because no one actually expects you to fix everything. It's enough to fundraise, start dialogues, shine light on the issue, or work doing any of those other semi-productive cliches. Expectations may be minimal, but that's not to say championing a cause is easy work. The successful cause promoter requires lots of friends -preferably with lots of money - and she must endure lots of their events so they'll come to hers. It can be exhausting. But sometimes, amidst all the modest expectations and relentless networking, the cause crowd gets things done. Here in the SCV, we're never at a loss for causes nor the people working to resolve them.

The End of LA County
Carl Boyer is a secessionist at heart. The former mayor of Santa Clarita was one of the key players in fighting for Santa Clarita's cityhood, and now he's fighting for countyhood. Boyer has long spoken about the idea of "Canyon County," which would span Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster and other communities of the great barren north of Los Angeles. One of his main arguments is that LA County is too big to be sufficiently responsive to li'l ol' us. With about 10 million residents, LA County is bigger than the majority of US States and even the majority of the world's nations, yet all the money and power are held in the hands of a few county power players.

Building broad support and momentum for his cause is happening slowly, if at all. LA County may not spend much money on Santa Clarita and the hour-long drives to county meetings may be annoying, but not everyone is clamoring for a new county map. I'm more of a realist than a cynic when I predict Boyer won't succeed and seceding, but he's gotten people talking about local government again, which may be enough.

"With so many
personalities already in the fray, we could have the kind of mud-slinging, personal attacks and ruthless politicizing I've only dared to dream of."
The Mayor Race Begins
The vote for Santa Clarita's next city council members is more than a year away, but there are already half-a-dozen people officially in the race or seriously exploring a run. It's a good time to make a political move. Councilman Frank Ferry announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2014, and many are eager to fight for the seat he'll leave open.

Marsha McLean, who has announced that she'll be running to keep her seat, is known for her passion about transportation and environmental causes. Then there's Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste, a champion of local history and open space. Challengers have reputations and pet causes of their own. Gloria Mercado-Fortine is a name synonymous with education; Maria Gutzeit knows water and business; Diane Trautman is all about the environment and planning; Alan Ferdman is the east-side guy following county issues. McLean, Mercado-Fortine, and Gutzeit are officially in the race and others have yet to make official announcements at the time of my writing. With so many big and controversial personalities already in the fray, we could have the kind of mud-slinging, personal attacks and ruthless politicizing I've only dared to dream of.

She Gets Results
When the right people takes up a cause, they can get the kind of results that inspire us to keep fighting the big, tough, discouraging battles. Krissy McAfee got the community talking with just three minutes behind a microphone in 2010. Her son, Daniel Trae Allen, died of a heroin overdose. Tragically, he was discovered after being dropped off on his driveway instead of being brought to a hospital. Since McAfee's story entered the public consciousness, law enforcement and government have stepped up working on the narcotics problem.

The problem continues. McAffee said Santa Clarita saw 15 deaths from overdoses in 2012. What may be encouraging, though, is the 911 Good Samaritan Law that took effect this year. It encourages people to call 911 if their friend has overdosed by taking away the threat of legal prosecution of the reporter, even if they have drugs in their system or there are drugs at the scene. Over 100 people attended a walk to raise awareness of the new law. Acknowledging our problems may be difficult, but it's the only way to fight for the cause we all heart - an SCV with less heartache.
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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