I Heart SCV
What we're Known For
July, 2017 - Issue #154
"Santa Clarita doesn't have many records, and this certainly isn't one to be relished. What else don't we know we're FAMOUS for? One shudders to think."
Imagine living in Parma, Italy. You might know about the esteemed university, the art history, about the good and bad parts of the various towns, about some local folklore and colorful characters. But any time you told people where you were from, they'd immediately think of parmesan. Unavoidably, your identity would be tied to a pungent cheese. Magic Mountain is Santa Clarita's parmesan. It remains the defining element of our identity though we are far more than just some houses around an amusement park. To locals, at least, we're known for more - both good and bad.

Santa Clarita is a strong contender for the cockfighting capital of America. More correctly, it was a strong contender for this dubious distinction. Earlier this year, over 100 personnel from the Sheriff's Department and the County of Los Angeles Animal Care and Control Department closed in on a cockfighting operation in the Val Verde area. Why were so many involved in the bust? Because there were over 7,000 roosters to be seized. And it wasn't just the birds but all the other accoutrements of cockfighting. There were blades that get attached to birds' legs for the bloody fights to the death and even steroids to make the roosters bigger and more aggressive.

A number of news outlets called this crackdown on illegal animal bloodsport the biggest cockfighting bust in the history of the United States of America. Santa Clarita doesn't have many records, and this certainly isn't one to be relished. The fate of the birds doesn't look too promising, given the limited demand for trained cockfighting roosters as family pets. At least their sacrifice means fewer birds facing the same violent fate in the future. What else don't we know we're famous for? One shudders to think.

E = mc Closed
Santa Clarita often makes the list of best places to raise a family in Southern California. Crime rates are low, there are plenty of parks, and schools are generally solid. This upcoming school year, however, parents will have fewer options for their teens. Barring a miraculous appeal, Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences won't be operating. Close to 500 students attended the school, but its charter was not deemed fit for renewal by the Hart District and by the Los Angeles County Board of Education.

Depending on who you ask, Einstein Academy either never got a fair chance or got entirely too many second chances. The reports that informed the decisions to not renew the charter tended to side with the latter. Late audits and other questionable financial practices were highlighted. The lack of special education programs and a demographically-biased student body were among the other concerns. Many parents of students at the school are deeply unhappy with the outcome. Still, the lengthy review process and the passionate discussions about education suggest that Santa Clarita is and will continue to be a good place for school-age kids for years to come. That reputation is earned.

Fourth of July Parade
If Pasadena is so well known for the Rose Parade every New Year's Day, why aren't we equally well known for our Fourth of July Parade? Part of the answer might be a head start. The first Rose Parade was held in 1890, but our parade didn't start marching along until 1932. The other part of the answer might lie in production value. The Rose Parade is a visual spectacle televised the world over for its beautiful, intricately decorated floats and impressive marching bands. Our parade is rather more modest, with convoys of balloon-decorated trucks and children marching bravely on through the early stages of heat exhaustion.

As regular readers of this column will have anticipated, I'm making my annual appeal to Claritans young and old to attend the parade. Independence Day is on a Tuesday this year, so it only makes sense for you to celebrate close to home rather than pack up the family for a road trip you have to rush back from. But the best reason to attend is because you heart the SCV, and everyone else who does will be at the parade, too. It's who we are, what we're known for.

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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