I Heart SCV
Story-telling Santa Clarita
January, 2017 - Issue #147
"This is a story that four council members get to write the CONCLUSION to. No one doubts that they heart the SCV, but will everyone agree on what's best for it?"
One of the very few things that I'm truly good at is sitting under a pile of blankets and not moving for long periods of time. Sadly, human hibernation doesn't seem to be a viable way to spend the winter, so this innate talent goes unused and unappreciated. How to spend a chilly SCV winter, then? Storytelling is always welcome. There are plenty of new stories in the making and old, forgotten bits of history to be rediscovered and cherished. But for this month, let's look beyond the stories and consider the storytellers themselves - the people turning the chaos that is Clarita into meaningful tales.

Binging on "Diet"
I am taking off February 3, and I suggest you do the same. That's the date that Netflix rolls out "Santa Clarita Diet." The series, which has been described as darkly comedic, stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, both of whom also executive produce. Binge-watching "Diet" will be a great way to demonstrate allegiance to the valley that inspired it. The 13-episode series could well be the anchor of a new category in Netflix viewing options: Santa Clarita-based dark comedies.

There hasn't yet been any feedback from critics about the show, but there are some solid reasons to be encouraged. So many TV series and movies are filmed in Santa Clarita that the show's cast producers and writers must surely have picked up on the narratives that define the SCV. Then there's the fact that Barrymore and Olyphant play married real estate agents experiencing familial challenges - cliched, yet also remarkably true to life. And finally, this isn't Drew Barrymore's first time in Santa Clarita. "Never Been Kissed," her underappreciated masterpiece, had its climactic finale filmed in this very valley. She hearts the SCV enough to come back. All considered, be optimistic.

Communications Legend Retires
Gail Morgan is Santa Clarita's communications manager, but that's such a bland title. Lila Littlejohn once wrote that she was "the voice of the city," the California Association of Public Information Officials called her a "legendary communicator" and I once heard Morgan jokingly acknowledge being dubbed "high priestess of propaganda." For decades, she has been the person providing a coherent narrative from City Hall, shaping the stories that are in press releases, the news and conversations. Even in Santa Clarita, it's not always easy to have to put a positive spin on literally every aspect of city life, but she has tirelessly led the way. Alas, it seems that Morgan has finally retired.

Gail Morgan has a long list of greatest hits, but as retirement approached, many recalled the critical role she played in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Amid massive power outages, central command was 20 phones in one room with a big board updated with less-than-digital technology. Indeed, Morgan has seen the city through nothing less than a revolution in communications technologies, always comfortably in control. Now in retirement, perhaps she'll find time to relax - and tell us how she really feels.

Make the Story
The game of musical chairs comes to mind when describing TimBen Boydston's place on Santa Clarita's City Council. He was first appointed as a replacement for Cameron Smyth, who left to serve in the State Legislature. Then he took a break, ran and earned enough votes to reclaim a seat. After the latest election, he came in third place behind Bob Kellar and Cameron Smyth. That would mean he's off the council, but Mayor Pro Tem Dante Acosta will be leaving to serve in the State Legislature. If the council foregoes a special election, Boydston could technically be appointed to serve yet again.

This practical deja vu is unlikely, though. Boydston may have won third place in the November election, which makes him the absolute undisputed logical choice for the opening, but only in a political vacuum. In the real world, Boydston has often disagreed with his fellow members and he didn't get support from the powers-that-be in Santa Clarita in the past election cycle. This is a story that four councilmembers get to write the conclusion to. No one doubts that they heart the SCV, but will everyone agree on what's best for it?
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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