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Santa's Naughty List
December, 2019 - Issue #183
On December 17, 2019, the City of Santa Clarita will turn 32 years old. She's really grown up. Her population is approaching a quarter-million people and her most recent budget approached a quarter-billion dollars. That's a lot more dependents and a lot more cashflow than most 30-somethings have. Unfortunately, not everyone here has their act so together. And there's no reminder quite like the impending holidays, when we have to decide which of Santa's lists we belong on. A lot make the nice list, but the news seems to be filled with more than a little naughtiness lately.

"Before we get a visit from Santa Claus, we usually get a visit from Santa Anas - those hot, dry, powerful winds that super-charge fires. This year was NO EXCEPTION."
Falling Down Hill
As a politician, it's never good to have your name in news stories that include phrases like "throuple," "iron cross tattoo," "affair" and "House Ethics Committee," much less all of them, all at once. Yet that's precisely where our US Congresswoman Katie Hill found herself this fall. A pile of embarrassing photos and messages were released, revealing intimate details of Hill's life with now-estranged husband Kenny Heslep. Some have speculated he leaked the material.

The couple had a relationship with a young female campaign staffer. Hill apologized for it, telling constituents that, "Even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate... For that I apologize." There were also suggestions that Hill was involved with a current staffer, which would violate House rules. A House Ethics Committee investigation soon got underway, and under all the pressure, Hill resigned. She painted herself as the victim of a smear campaign and said she will now work to, "defeat this type of exploitation that so many women are victims to." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was less sympathetic, saying of Hill, "She has acknowledged errors in judgement that made her continued services as a Member untenable." Naughty list? Safe bet.

Tick Hits
Before we get a visit from Santa Claus, we usually get a visit from Santa Anas - those hot, dry, powerful winds that super-charge fires. This year was no exception. Igniting just south of Santa Clarita near the Newhall Pass, the Saddleridge Fire led to the evacuations of tens of thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley, shut down freeways and led to a cancelled school day for Santa Clarita students. The Tick Fire hit Claritans even harder. It burned on both sides of the 14 freeway in the eastern part of the SCV. Homes were destroyed, the sky blackened and schools and athletic events were cancelled. COC and West Ranch temporarily sheltered many evacuees.

It's tempting to add Mother Nature's name to Santa's naughty list. She certainly doesn't help. However, the culprit behind the ignition of SoCal wildfires is usually us. Utility lines have been an enormous problem. SoCal Edison shut down power during high-risk periods to prevent this. Maybe it helped - the causes of the fires are still being investigated. But having no power when a fire is coming is pretty awful, too. It's hard to think of a solution. Consider asking Santa for an early rainy season.

Criming Like Claritans
Some criminals making the naughty list this season have done so in true Claritan style. Designer athletic clothes are part of the SCV mom dress code - and four women tried to steal over $10,000 worth of merchandise from the lululemon store in Valencia. By my calculations, that's about one pair of yoga pants each. They were arrested soon after. As for other crimes of leisure, a man was arrested in October for threatening pedestrians with brass knuckles when they passed him on the bike trail. He apparently felt threatened himself.

Other local crimes have been more alcohol-related. A 48-year-old woman attacked a gas station clerk who tried to keep her from stealing a beer. One 55-year-old woman was pulled over while driving and had a blood alcohol level of 0.28, and a 30-year-old man was brought into custody after threatening employees who wouldn't serve him a drink at 3am. Stealing trendy athleisure wear, being paranoid on bike paths and getting in trouble over booze... the deeds are naughty, sure, but they're also downright Claritan. Let's just hope that hearting the SCV lifestyle helps more people find their way than lose it.
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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