I Heart SCV
Same Headline, Different Story
April, 2019 - Issue #175
"This was seen in Sand Canyon, where roads became impassable from MUD. On Terri Drive in Canyon Country, backyards literally vanished, creating sinks eight feet deep."
Everyone knows about "Which Rachel?" situations. Santa Clarita, like America at large, is so saturated with 20- and 30-something Rachels that you need to ask which Rachel is the Rachel being talked about to preserve some sense of order in the universe. Based on contemporary child-naming practices, this will soon become a "Which Emma?" problem, but for now, we need clarity on Rachels. The same phenomenon has been playing out in the news, too. There's a strange sense of having seen the headline before, even though the timestamp shows it's mere hours old. Amidst all the overlap and deja vu, let's sort out which news story is which.

Which Payout?
Did you hear about the bizarre, six-figure decisions involving law enforcement in the SCV? They happened twice in as many months. In the first case, a salesman named Omar Segura came to the Saugus home of an off-duty Pasadena police officer and tried to sell an alarm system. At one point, Segura walked into the home or stretched his arm over the threshold - testimony differed. The officer then pulled a gun on Segura and called to have him arrested. A case was built around wrongful detainment and the jury recently awarded Segura $750,000.
In a different case, a man named John Warner was staying in his camper in an SCV Walmart parking lot. Walmart security said that Warner was causing trouble, told him to stay away and called Santa Clarita Sheriff's deputies when he didn't. Warner was arrested for trespassing. He alternated between cooperative and combative. While in custody, he allegedly threw his socks at a deputy. The deputy then tackled Warner because he had felt threatened. Another deputy joined in and Warner was struck and injured. The LA County Board of Supervisors voted to settle the matter for $150,000.

Which Lockdown?
This winter, there was the unusual need to ask, "Which lockdown?" when discussing the news. After all, there were three in a matter of weeks. First, David Luis Bustamonte escaped from Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. He was noticed as missing from his bunk in the morning. The search for him grew until the whole facility went into lockdown. Finding Bustamonte, who was serving time for burglary, became an all-day affair requiring the help of special teams and dogs to sniff out his trail. Then finally, after eight hours, he was found hiding along an underpass.

The other lockdowns happened at schools. College of the Canyons went into lockdown after a call about an armed person on campus. Thousands waited anxiously for over an hour. A thorough search found nothing suspicious. Investigators came to determine that an elderly woman had mistaken the sticks someone was carrying for a wooden-stock rifle. Whoops. Rounding out the lockdown trio was one declared after a man with a gun escaped from a parole compliance team. He was in the vicinity of Seco Canyon Road neighborhoods and schools, so deputies put the schools on lockdown to be cautious. Who knew safe cities had so many lockdowns?

Which Storm?
On the news, it's normal to talk about disasters and storms as discrete events. Some even get their own names. But for most Claritans this winter, all the rain and flooding and mudslides eventually blurred together. The ground got waterlogged and new rainfall stacked right on top of the old. At a certain point, parts of Santa Clarita just become generally ravaged - it's too hard to point the finger at any one storm. This was seen in Sand Canyon, where roads became impassable from mud. On Terri Drive in Canyon Country, backyards literally vanished, creating sinks eight feet deep. As of this writing, more rain is still forecasted to be on the way.

It hasn't all been bad, though. Aquifers have made gains, snowpack is deep in the Sierras and reservoirs have reassuringly-high waterlines. And perhaps least-bad of all, there was that one storm that the Southland will remember for years to come. Which storm? The one with the snow! In late February, it snowed in Santa Clarita and throughout parts of LA. Spoilsports will call it mostly hail or point out that the true snow was minimal, but for a moment, we all hearted Santa Clarita under a blanket of white.
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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