Santa Clarita is made for the Fourth of July. The traffic congestion slows you down just enough to appreciate the beautiful display of flags hung along the roads. The suffocating heat makes the pool that much better. And the fact that no one gets a good view of the fireworks show really makes you feel like part of one big, almost-happy family. It's pretty great. And while Independence Day is perhaps the pinnacle of patriotism, Santa Clarita's embrace of the patriotic extends well beyond the Fourth.
"Everyone is generally supportive of the aim of the MEMORIAL, but people are fired up about the final execution. It's tense, yes, but that's certainly better than apathy."
Santa Clarita does a lot to show its respect for those who have defended our country. But somehow, good intentions can invite controversy. Take the new "Hometown Heroes" banner program. Large, full-color banners showing military personnel are hung along major roads for appropriate civic holidays. However, some residents, like Alan Ferdman, found it outrageous that families had to pay for the banners. They're $417.50, though the family gets the banner to keep after two years and some local businesses are helping to defray the cost.
Things got even more contentious when discussing a proposed memorial wall for Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall. A couple of local vets said the plaza was built to focus on veterans more than memorials, and some worried a wall, however well-intentioned, could disrupt the symmetry of the space. Councilmember Laurene Weste even worried about the material - how would black granite fit in? Councilmember Marsha McLean worried that a big wall might provide cover to unsavory activities. The proposal was so controversial that the city council made no final decisions. Everyone is generally supportive of the aim of the memorial, but people are fired up about the final execution. It's tense, yes, but that's certainly better than apathy.
"Make Dating Great Again"
Dave Goss is a Claritan who grabs an opportunity when he sees it. With so many involved in this year's presidential race, he and friend Tim Burks decided to secure the domain name Trumpsingles.com. The site is now up and running. In an interview with KHTS, it was revealed that the brilliant venture was formulated at Doc's Inn - one of Santa Clarita's more unassuming watering holes. Goss explained that while Sanderssingles.com lets people date for free, in the spirit of Trumpian values, there's a more exclusive paid membership option being offered. The website is pretty bare-bones at this point, but a small handful of Claritans have signed up. Many more are likely to as the website gets amused (or confused) coverage from MarketWatch, The Blaze, The Wall Street Journal and others.
Trumpsingles.com is obviously a great place for fans of the Donald to meet like-minded potential life partners, but it's open to all. Perhaps a Republican and Democrat could find passion in their shared love of politics and good old-fashioned American debates, even if they end up voting for different candidates. In any case, Donald Trump has made a big impression on Santa Clarita even though he's never stepped foot here.
Don't Rain on my Parade
I've been going to Santa Clarita's Fourth of July Parade for as long as I can remember. At first, it seemed like a punishment. Why did we have to wake up early and drag folding chairs out to watch people waving at us from the back of convertibles? But given enough time, I grew to treasure the parade. There are politicians and pageant winners, Elks Lodge and Old West Masonic Lodge, horseback riders and bikers, emergency responders and military service members, plus lots of red, white and blue.
The lineup hasn't changed appreciably through the years, but the crowd has. People used to nap, but now they drowsily look into their iPhones. I don't mind much because at least they've made the effort to show up. Last year, a local resident - let's call her Chorus Stone - was peeved that I seemed to poke fun at the parade. It can be less than thrilling, especially if you don't find people waving from cars particularly compelling. That's the fault of the entrants (Be more thrilling!), though, not the dedicated parade organizers and volunteers. So at the very least, show up to watch and cheer, you hearters of SCV: Lyons or Orchard Village, 9am.