I Heart SCV
Who's in Charge Here?
June, 2018 - Issue #165
It's time for high school graduation, which means SCV seniors are now just 10 or 15 years away from leaving home and entering the workforce. When that fateful day does come, they'll discover that working for a large company means having multiple bosses who all tell them to do different things. It's impossible to please everyone and sometimes you can't even split the difference. That's the situation that Santa Clarita finds herself in these days, except her bosses are different levels of government. Deciding which of many masters to obey is one of the challenges of adulthood and it makes the business of running a city more fraught than ever.
"The council will have to decide if it wants to actively support Sacramento, actively support Washington or just let things play out and not get involved. Whatever they decide, some faction of Claritans is certain to be UNHAPPY."

Sactown or DC?
By passing SB 54, known as the California Values Act, legislators made California a so-called "sanctuary state." The act restricts California's law enforcement agencies from participating in immigration enforcement activities. For example, deputies can't ask about someone's immigration status and they are only allowed to assist or communicate with ICE agents under specific circumstances. Obviously, this strains the relationship between the state and the feds. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is even suing California over its policies.

So what's a city like Santa Clarita to do? Soon, it might be supporting Sessions' lawsuit. There have already been comments - both pro and con - on the topic fielded at City Hall and the Santa Clarita City Council will likely soon discuss the matter officially. They'd be joining the likes of Orange County, San Diego County and various California cities that wish to allow for information sharing between local law enforcement and ICE. The council will have to decide if it wants to actively support Sacramento, actively support Washington or just let things play out and not get involved. Whatever they decide, some faction of Claritans is certain to be unhappy.

Costs & Benefits
State and federal law definitely don't match up when it comes to cannabis. And just as with immigration, Santa Clarita holds more conservative views than other parts of California. At a meeting this spring, City Council members voted to keep pot shops out of the SCV and they limited home cultivation to six plants. It's about the strictest a city can get given California's laws and it contributes to a confusing landscape. Claritans can grow marijuana inside their home but not in a commercial space in Santa Clarita, and smoking is legal in the state, but marijuana is still a US Schedule I drug.

Many pot proponents argue that the recreational marijuana industry helps the economy. However, Santa Clarita isn't hurting for tax revenue - there's development and car sales for that - and research for the council concluded that economic benefits are tempered by costly enforcement. "It's a hassle, that's for sure," lamented an anonymous COC student, who described having to drive to Sylmar to buy marijuana in an interview with College of the Canyons' Cougar News. But for those willing to drive 15 minutes or become gardeners, cannabis has never been more accessible.

New California
Elections offer no shortage of opportunities to vote based on your beliefs. And if those beliefs aren't consistent with the rest of the state or country, you still have options. That's because a couple of campaigns are trying to re-shape California entirely. In April, venture capitalist Tim Draper signaled having enough signatures to move forward on his "CAL 3" proposal, which would let voters decide whether they wanted to split California into three states. Under the plan, Santa Clarita would be part of "California," which would comprise the coastal counties from Los Angeles to Monterey. "Northern California" would include San Jose and most everything north of it and "Southern California" would cover the more conservative coastal and inland SoCal counties.

An even more radical "Calexit" plan was recently cleared to start gathering signatures. It proposes secession from the USA. Not so long ago, Claritans made their own successful bid for autonomy and independence by becoming a city but I don't think there will be the same enthusiasm to fundamentally change the state. People here love their country, more or less like their state and truly heart their SCV.
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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