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Safety Assessment
August, 2016 - Issue #142
No one watches Game of Thrones to relax. You can't even mention the name without causing panic ("No spoilers! I'm only on season 5!"). Something bad and violent and unexpected always happens. The only thing that changes is exactly how bad, how violent, how unexpected: crossbow to the back, charred by dragons, or evisceration? In such a world, you watch with alert interest and surrender all hope. That's a mindset we could use a little more of in Santa Clarita. It's not as though we're on the brink of disaster - knock on wood - but we can be pretty bad judges of our own safety. A more discerning approach is often needed.
"The chunk we're on will carry us very slowly NORTH, leaving Palmdale and inland SoCal behind - something
most of us are OK with
."

Vaguely Inevitable
In a perfect world, we'd get worried about earthquakes before they strike. In reality, we get most worried about earthquakes when scary new research comes out. Most recently, a study was released showing that massive swaths of California are slowly rising or sinking around the San Andreas Fault. The energy must be released eventually, and we're apparently overdue, but precisely how scared should we be?

A few facts give some sense of proportion. The San Andreas Fault is to the north and west of Santa Clarita, part of the border of two big chunks of Earth's crust lurching past one other and causing quakes as they do. The chunk we're on will carry us very slowly north, leaving Palmdale and inland SoCal behind - something most of us are OK with. Geologists say that the biggest quake the San Andreas Fault could produce would be an 8.3, but more survivable 7s are much more likely. Unfortunately, the new research doesn't come with a quake calendar; it just says seismic strain is building. The future, in short, is only clear in the most general of terms. Now you can make a safety plan accordingly.

"Stress and Anxiety"
Measure E passed this spring with the support of about 58 percent of voters. It's a bond measure that will provide $230,000,000 to College of the Canyons for a parking structure and other improvements. Claritans will pay the bill. Raising your taxes may be unpleasant but not exactly scary. Yet safety concerns found their way into the debate via a YouTube video.

Steve Petzold, a local political activist, led the charge against Measure E. In one of his videos, he said, "The taxpayers of the Santa Clarita Community College District have become nothing more than targets." He said this while holding what looked like a rifle (Saying later it was only a pellet gun.), which he then aimed at a map outlining the district boundaries.

In a Facebook comment about the video, Elaine Ballace seemingly called for violence against COC staff and Chancellor Dianne Van Hook in particular. Van Hook said the episode caused her "psychological stress and anxiety" and successfully obtained restraining orders against Petzold and Ballace that were just extended to last for a year. Clearly, a gun is a bad choice for a prop.

A Shiny New Station
Regardless of the safety situation, it's handy to have emergency responders close by. With that in mind, Santa Clarita recently took a big step forward to build a new, more centrally-located Sheriff's Station. The current station was built when the population of Santa Clarita was just 50,000, but the population today is closer to 300,000. And much of that population lives east and north of the Valencia location. Thus, the new station is going to be a 44,000 square-foot facility built on Golden Valley Road.

Santa Clarita contracts with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for services and the new station ensures that relationship will likely remain in place for at least another couple of decades. One of the conditions of the memorandum of understanding that the City Council approved was that LA County would throw in $15,000,000. Crucially, it would get all of that money back if Santa Clarita ended its contract within 15 years of the new station project. In other words, don't count on seeing a City of Santa Clarita Police Department anytime soon. But if the arrangement with the county keeps the city we heart safe, maybe the SCVPD can wait.
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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