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Keeping Count
March, 2020 - Issue #186
One of the most efficient ways to get to know your fellow Claritans is by noticing what they count. The friend who counts reps and personal records is in a very different place than the friend who counts calories and daily steps. Likewise, the friend who counts each penny and budgets every purchase is a very different person than the friend who pulls out a credit card and hopes for the best. This March, amid counting clover leaves and pints of green beer, you'll find plenty of other reasons to think about counting all the things that really count for us.

"Using US Census Bureau figures, an insurer recently determined that Palmdale has the worst commute in the nation with an average round-trip over 85 minutes. Santa Claritans endure the sixth worst commute at nearly 70 minutes. There's no shortage of MISERY on these roads."
Counting Votes
When Katie Hill resigned as Representative of California's 25th Congressional District, she made voting substantially more complicated. On March 3, two elections are happening at once. The first is a special election to pick the fill-in for the remainder of Katie Hill's term with the 116th Congress. The second is a primary to narrow the field for the election this November, when the representative for the 117th Congress will be decided. Odds are good that you'll pick the same person for both votes.
Who will win the most votes? There are a number of colorful characters in the race, but conventional wisdom gives the edge to State Assemblywoman Christy Smith. Turn-out of Democrats is expected to be high on March 3 because of the presidential primary and Smith has all of the big endorsements. The seat only recently flipped from red to blue, though, and multiple Republicans want to flip it back. This includes Steve Knight, who lost to Katie Hill. If you find this all a bit confusing, you're not alone, but don't be confused about one thing: Your vote will definitely count.

Counting Claritans
While this March's election will decide who represents Santa Clarita in the United States House of Representatives, results of the 2020 Census could bring even bigger changes. Beginning in mid-March, mail from the Census Bureau should start arriving at your home. The Census determines how seats in Congress are apportioned, so it's very important that you respond. I will be declaring my household size at 999,998 people to ensure adequate funding and representation - an even million would be too suspicious.

The 2010 Census pegged the population of the City of Santa Clarita at 176,320. That number should have easily surpassed 210,000 over the past decade. Included among these are the homeless, who are censused during a special effort beginning March 30. Santa Clarita recently participated in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, and though official results aren't available as of this writing, past results suggest a homeless population of at least 200 or 300. In a recent city survey, Claritans identified homelessness as one of the most important local issues along with related matters of affordable housing, senior housing and homeless services. There's much to figure out, but it all starts with a count.

Counting Petals
March may be the best month to look at wildflowers in Santa Clarita. Along most any trail, dozens of species bloom, many in substantial numbers. The problem is, most people don't notice even when they're right in front of them. The classic California wildflowers are small herbs that sprout in the rain, produce an abundance of small blossoms a couple months later, then quickly brown and shrivel as spring heats up. Sure, there are big drifts of Cheeto's-orange poppies, but far more wildflowers are subtler and easy to miss.

To make our local wildflowers count more for your springtime experience, try literally counting them. Hit a trail (hikesantaclarita.com, placerita.org, communityhikingclub.org). Every so often, stop, crouch down and really look for what's in bloom. Take a photo and see how many unique species you can find. Tell your kids not to pick the flowers because doing so would make them awful children and you an unredeemable parent. Enjoy the blooms knowing that roughly one in three of the native plants you see occur in California and nowhere else on Earth. If you're counting reasons to heart the SCV, that makes for a particularly unique one.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions and catty comments intended for the author can be e-mailed to
iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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