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Good Enough
December, 2020 - Issue #195
As the winter holidays approach, the virus is still very much on our minds. I expect to be feeling a lot of dread, apprehension and depression. Personally, I will avoid going into stores and crowded malls as much as possible. I won't be throwing any big, festive parties for my friends and family. So all in all, it's shaping up to be a pretty standard holiday season for me. But if this version of the holidays doesn't sit so well with you, rest assured that any extra efforts this year will be more than good enough. One string of lights over the garage? Good enough! Sitting by the fireplace in your Canyon Country home instead of a Tahoe ski lodge? Good enough! As 2020 draws to a close, good enough is great.

State of the City
The annual State of the City event is typically a luncheon, but restrictions on gathering meant no chicken and sauteed vegetables this year. City Manager Ken Striplin tried to put a positive spin on the format, saying, "The benefit of going virtual is the entire community now has the opportunity to view our State of the City project updates, community stories and learn about upcoming initiatives and projects."
Ken Striplin noted that Santa Clarita had been ranked as "the seventh best place in the nation to be stuck at home during a pandemic." City councilmembers took time to interview and thank first responders, medical staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and volunteers throughout the community. The new Canyon Country Community Center was highlighted, as was an initiative to assess and improve internet connectivity in the SCV. And the event theme of "staying connected, staying resilient" sounded far more upbeat than my proposed "SCV 2020: Our Lost Year."
It's safe to say the overall state of the city is good enough.

A Winter Wave?
Dissecting election numbers is fine (Congratulations, whomever!), but the real story this winter comes down to the COVID-19 numbers. By the start of November, there were over 70 cumulative coronavirus-related deaths in Santa Clarita. How much higher that number climbs will depend in large part on vaccines. The question is whether the combination of vaccine availability, vaccine efficacy and vaccination rates will be good enough to substantially slow virus transmission.
By fall, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac and many others had been advertising promising vaccine trial results, so it seems reasonable to assume that there will be one or more effective vaccines available. A reluctance to take the vaccine may be a bigger obstacle. In October, Governor Gavin Newsom said that California would independently review vaccine safety and efficacy. "We don't take anyone's word for it," he stated. That same month, the Public Policy Institute of California conducted a poll that found 57 percent of Californians would probably or definitely get a vaccine if it were available then. Forty percent said probably not or definitely not. As for Santa Clarita, any vaccine conversation quickly devolves into name-calling, link-sending and head-shaking, so your guess is as good as mine.

Make Merry, Not Meh-rry
Though good enough will most certainly suffice for holiday festivities and all the rest this year, there are those looking to go above and beyond. Coronavirus shmaronarvirus: The holiday spirit is still alive and well in Santa Clarita circa 2020. The Festival of Trees will be lighting up Westfield Valencia Town Center, benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita. A Soup for the Soul virtual event will help fundraise for Bridge to Home. Holiday boutiques will be available for shoppers and many local shops will be putting their unique twists on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
In a recent column for The Signal, Mayor Cameron Smyth made the case for continuing to eat outdoors on streets and sidewalks even as we leave warm weather behind. The City's "Eat Local" program has helped expedite the required permitting. It might be cold, smoky, rainy, windy or some combination thereof, but I'm game. It's good to grab a bite and watch people shopping for their loved ones - you can almost see smiles behind the masks. 2020 has been a rough one, and things may look different this winter, but for those who heart SCV, it's sure to be good enough.
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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