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Dashed Dreams
February, 2016 - Issue #136
It was devastating to learn that the City of Santa Clarita has officially supported LA's bid for the 2024 Olympics. I have long advocated that we compete to host. As one of the world's greatest and most vibrant cities, Santa Clarita's hosting of some future Olympic Games is all but assured, but support for LA means our chance to shine is deferred yet again. No world's greatest athletes, no opening ceremony spectacular, no Olympic flame atop the Bridgeport lighthouse- at least not until 2028. Worse, this is not our only recent disappointment. All around, dreams of what could be are being dashed by a heavy dose of reality.
"A dissenting California Supreme Court justice
called the long series of COURT BATTLES against the project 'a recipe for paralysis.'"

Skipped
Bob Kellar is the mayor of Santa Clarita for the fourth time in a decade-and-a-half. He is known for his conservative values; support of law enforcement agencies and the military; and tendency to get grumpy when people talk too much at city council meetings.

No one was surprised by Kellar taking the mayor's seat, but the selection of mayor pro tem (A position akin to "vice mayor.") disappointed many. Over two dozen residents spoke or submitted comments in favor of Councilmember TimBen Boydston to be the new mayor pro tem. He's served for years but never held the title, and it was "his turn" in the unofficial rotation. But his fellow councilmembers decided to go with relative newcomer Councilmember Dante Acosta instead. No one bothered to explain why Boydston was snubbed except Bob Kellar, who said that Boydston didn't adhere to norms or respect the majority. Indeed, votes are often 4-1, with Boydston being the "1." But while his dreams of being mayor pro tem were dashed, Boydston will continue to serve on the council through the end of this year, when both he and Bob Kellar are up for re-election. Will the voters bring vindication or fresh disappointment?

Sticklebacked
The unarmored threespine stickleback fish spends most of its day hanging out in aquatic weeds, snacking on insect larvae. It's easy to see why parent stickleback would be disappointed in their loafing offspring, but now, they've disappointed a major developer. Protecting the endangered stickleback was one of the main reasons that the California Supreme Court rejected the environmental impact report (EIR) for the Newhall Ranch development. The decision came late last year and is a major setback for Newhall Land. The EIR was nearly 6,000 pages, but five of seven justices rejected it on the grounds of how it planned to handle stickleback fish and for inadequately addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

Disappointment about the setback followed. Allysia Finley titled her Wall Street Journal editorial lamenting the decision, "Go Live Elsewhere, We're Cutting Carbon Here." A dissenting California Supreme Court justice called the long series of court battles against the project "a recipe for paralysis." And around Santa Clarita, reactions were mixed between those who want big growth and those who want big open spaces. Newhall Land is planning to continue working for project approval, but it won't happen soon. As for the stickleback fish, they have yet to comment.

McRibbed
Another disappointment that made national (And in a few cases international.) news was the plight of one Xanthe Pajarillo. The pink-haired CalArtian attended a Santa Clarita City Council meeting and made a very emotional plea, asking that the council use its influence to help her bring the McDonald's McRib sandwich back to Santa Clarita. She explained that McDonald's managers had discretion over offering the autumnal sandwich, and local restaurants had elected not to serve the processed pork creation. Pajarillo said that this was a devastating blow for her family, which traditionally enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast including McRibs and McNuggets.

Why did the story blow up, getting coverage on morning new shows, talk radio and even in UK tabloids? Though many said Pajarillo's speech was a stunt, her apparent sincerity was captivating, and she memorably pronounced it "muh-krib" instead of "mik-rib." There were almost tears in her eyes when she said a feast without McRibs would be like "Christmas without snow." A song on YouTube followed ("McRib Blues") and she even organized a demonstration. Yet menu offerings have not changed, and her bitter disappointment surely remains. Let us hope she can find a reason to heart the SCV other than pressed pork sandwiches.
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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