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A Little Distraction
August, 2015 - Issue #130
Santa Clarita in August is a uniquely miserable experience. It's not just the heat - it gets hot plenty of places. It's the fact that you have to live the exact same 102-degree day and 70-degree night 31 times in a row. Finding distraction becomes essential in the face of such repetitive discomfort. So, dear reader, here are some tales of distraction with which you might distract yourself. Just don't lose too much focus, OK?

"They save far more energy walking than flying, and sometimes they have to walk to escort little ducklings, so walk they do - RIGHT THROUGH TRAFFIC."
Wilk can't Multitask
California State Assemblyman Scott Wilk was bored at work one day, so he sought some distraction. Instead of keeping tabs on the $117.5 billion budget under consideration, he started reading and posting on Facebook. When the time came for a vote, Wilk erred by casting a most un-Republican-like vote in favor of the state budget. It wasn't the deciding vote, and he was able to have it officially changed after he realized what had happened, but it certainly wasn't his finest moment in Sacramento.

The social media that so distracted Wilk also let him make amends quickly. He used Twitter to say, "My wife is right - I can't multitask! Accidentally voted for Budget while Facebooking against AB 93. The perils of social media #CABudget." Wilk absolutely loves talking on social media, and he's offering commentary all the time - it's not just his support staff behind the tweets, photos and posts. You might even chat with him one day; his favorite topics include politics, Santa Clarita and himself. And if you do find yourself engaging with Congressman Wilk, it probably wouldn't hurt to include a helpful hashtag, say #PayAttention, #DontFBandVote or #ISCVlovesWilk.

We didn't Start the Fire
Santa Clarita has enough honest-to-goodness fires to keep the LA County Fire Department busy. They don't need distractions. But that's exactly what some people in Shadow Pines have been serving up. In late May, witnesses say that a woman named Kristine Cosgrove was having an argument with her neighbor. She walked back over to the neighbor's home later that night. Instead of ringing the doorbell to make amends, she apparently lit the house on fire, then made her way back home and had a protracted standoff with the police that ended in her arrest.

In June, firefighters were facing the Calgrove Fire. With such dry hillsides and so many homes in the area, another distracting fire from Shadow Pines was the last thing they needed. But it's what they got. While the mighty Calgrove fire raged in the south, about five acres were consumed in the so-called "Gator Fire" of Shadow Pines in the north, forcing a number of residents to evacuate. The cause was still under investigation at the time of this writing. Whatever it is about Shadow Pines, I'm sure residents and firefighters alike have had enough fiery distraction for this year.

Distracted Driving
Cell phones are supposed to be the most insidious of driving distractions, but have you considered the perils of waterfowl? As the new school year begins at Valencia High, hundreds of motorists are going to be faced with ducky distractions for the first time. For the uninitiated, Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway form one of the busiest intersections in the valley, especially when school starts and ends. In a stroke of brilliance, planners decided to build ponds on three of the four corners for the Bridgeport communities and Bridgeport Marketplace. A flock of ducks and geese move between lawns and ponds throughout the course of the day. They save far more energy walking than flying, and sometimes they have to walk to escort little ducklings, so walk they do - right through traffic.

At a recent City Council meeting, a couple of concerned citizens came forward to say that ducks can distract drivers, causing accidents, or that distracted drivers might not see the ducks, causing roadkill. It's just a bad corner all around. But perhaps we can take this as a cautionary tale. Hearting SCV means never getting so distracted that you miss what's right in front of you.
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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