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Tipping Points
September, 2019 - Issue #180
If you took a road trip this summer, you know firsthand how quickly fate can change. Freeways go 80 mph - or 20. There's very little in between, and a semi-truck in the wrong lane is all that's needed to tip the balance. The road trip itself can suddenly go from fun and full of endless potential to exhausting and full of endless bickering. There's very little in between, and your co-pilot's sixth bag of salt-and-vinegar chips is all that's needed to tip the balance. Life is usually shades of gray, but tipping points remind us it can also be black and white.

Do we Want to Know?
There are few things Claritans relish more than bragging about their earthquake experience. When the first Ridgecrest earthquake rolled through, a whole crowd of onlookers at the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade got their chance. Eyebrows were raised and children were patted reassuringly, but no one got ruffled enough to risk losing their SoCal quake cred. The parade marched shakily on and parade watchers tried to outdo each other in under-reacting. What a fun little one! Nothing compared to Northridge! Still, a few people wondered why ShakeAlert LA, the earthquake early-warning app, hadn't sent an alert. Why weren't we warned in time to take video for our tectonically-deprived friends?

After a substantially-bigger earthquake the next night, concerns were voiced more insistently. ShakeAlert seemed all shake, no alert. Lucy Jones, seismologist and no-nonsense media darling, explained that the system had worked as designed. Sensors had detected the events and transmitted signals within seconds. It's just that neither of the quakes were big enough to warrant a warning; the tipping point hadn't been reached. The debate to lower the threshold may not matter. The really important quakes are the really close ones - and they're hardest to warn about.

Katie Wait-y
Should President Donald Trump be impeached? Some might respond with a, "Yes, but..." or "No, but..." - but as a rule, people have definite opinions. We've had years of getting to know Trump, the Mueller Report is freely available to read and it's not that hard for most people to make up their minds one way or the other. Representative Katie Hill isn't most people, though.

After Robert Mueller testified before Congress this summer, she posted a video in which she called Trump a "criminal." Yet she explained that she was waiting on yet more court and committee decisions before she felt it was the right time to finally weigh impeachment. She said, "If you believe that you have somebody who's a murderer, for example, but you have only the evidence for convicting them or bringing them to trial on something like breaking and entering, you're not going to bring them to trial on breaking and entering. You're going to wait and make sure you have the evidence to bring them to trial for murder." Only in politics can someone be so clear about where they stand yet so far from their decisive tipping point.

A Concerted Effort
To those who say there is nothing to do in Santa Clarita, the City of Santa Clarita says, "Concerts in the Park!" And the annual concert series does check a lot of boxes on the summer fun list. It's summer. It's nighttime. It's live music. It's family friendly. Mom and dad can try and get away with bringing a thermos of vodka cranberry or some edibles, even if that's not at all permitted. It's close. It's free. Many boxes get checked.

In some ways, they're a victim of their own success. People claim their turf hours before the music begins, parking can be a nightmare and some Claritans can act less than neighborly - but this could be a good start to better things. The bigger the concerts get, the better chance we have of attracting some better bands. There's obviously a limit - we're only Santa Clarita, after all. But we heart our summertimes together in the SCV, and anyone who needs proof need only visit Central Park.
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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