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It's Complicated
November, 2018 - Issue #170
Election season has finally arrived. I hear that there are races involving districts and counties and states, but for many Claritans, there is no more glorious office than the Santa Clarita City Council. How else can we explain why Mayor Laurene Weste - who first served in 1998 - is running yet again? How else can we explain why TimBen Boydston - who has been variously appointed, victorious and defeated in past bids for a seat - is trying to make a comeback? It's always the same handful of people in local politics, but their convoluted journeys and relationships typify how complicated life can get in Santa Clarita.
"After an examination of various accounts, authorities alleged that SHE TOOK $58,000 over many years of volunteering with Girl Scouts of America. That's a lot of Thin Mints."

I have a Proposition
Nowhere is politics more fraught with confusion, complications and dangerous levels of chaotic energy than the California General Election Propositions. The first step to putting a proposition on the ballot is gathering millions of dollars to spend on gathering signatures, hiring lawyers and getting more money. This hurdle is readily cleared by many. The next step is getting a really confusing name and summary such that even intelligent voters have no idea what will happen if they vote yes or no. The final step is buying enough ads to win; deception should be generously applied throughout the process.

2018's propositions are many. Prop 8 regulates the dialysis industry - who knew there was so much contention over kidneys? Prop 12 changes how chickens, veal calves and pigs can be caged. Deja vu? No, you already voted on how to cage or un-cage hens in the past, too. In the voter guide, the pro-Prop 6 argument promises that it will "immediately lower gas prices," while the con argument warns that it "jeopardizes the safety of bridges and roads." If you're hoping for clarity, you've come to the wrong place, dear Claritans. Good luck with that voter guide.

The Volunteer Embezzler
Embezzling from Girl Scouts of America and a cancer charity seems pretty awful, mostly because it is. So what do we make of Patricia Cascione, an otherwise-typical Claritan mom of three, who did just that? The first complication is what exactly happened. Cascione was only arrested after an investigation that spanned months. After an examination of various accounts, authorities alleged that she took $58,000 over many years of volunteering with Girl Scouts of America. That's a lot of Thin Mints. She is also alleged to have stolen $30,000 from Beverly Hills Cancer Center. Since she was involved with other groups as well, investigators are still checking to see if there is evidence of embezzlement elsewhere.

The other complication is how to react after the initial shock and dismay. Given the price of life in Southern California, Cascione and her children weren't living large on the money that she took. She only had access to the funds because of all the volunteering and community work that she did. Her crimes seem utterly indefensible, yet she did a lot of volunteering along the way, too. So what to make of the situation? Well, it's bad, but also complicated.

Menu Planning
Thanksgiving is ostensibly about celebrating blessed abundance. Yet from the start, Americans have worried about whether there will be enough food. That fear was literal at first. They had to grow, gather, trade or hunt enough to eat. During the culinary dark ages, Americans worried about having pounds and pounds of turkey cooked in such a way as to be rendered inedible. Dry turkey, dodgy stuffing: water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. And for decades, now, we have agonized over how to adequately provision a table divided into dietary factions of vegans, ketogenics, gluten-phobes, food snobs and vintage meat-and-potato types. In today's Clarita, where turkey is optional but a big salad with pepitas is indispensable, Thanksgiving traditions are complicated indeed.

The secret, I find, is to imagine all your Thanksgiving guests not as your friends and equals, but as your children. Call out Jess for feigning a cruciferous vegetable allergy - she can pick around them. If Spencer doesn't like your $6 chardonnay, he can save his allowance and buy a nice bottle for himself. With a mix of accommodation and tough love, you can turn your SCV feast into one all can heart.
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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