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What are You Trying to Tell Me?
February, 2021 - Issue #196
Santa Clarita can be a confusing place. Do you live in Valencia, Saugus, Santa Clarita or Awesometown? Yes. What's a cowboy festival? No one actually knows; wear some boots and you'll be fine. If Claritans say they're so busy, how come they wait an hour at the In-N-Out drive-thru? That's what they mean when they say they're so busy. What a relief it has been to not have to explain all of this to out-of-town visitors. Yet even for Claritans, life in the SCV can be bewildering. What are current events trying to tell us?

"Perhaps it was a statement about man's imprint on the natural world. Or, perhaps, SOME FOLKS GOT BORED and and figured they'd give the SCV, which they clearly heart, something to do for an afternoon. We may never know."
Political Landscape
It was days before anyone called the 2020 presidential election, but it took even longer to call some races in Santa Clarita. The race to be the 25th Congressional District Representative was particularly close. It took weeks to finally determine that incumbent Republican Mike Garcia had the edge over Democrat Christy Smith. His margin of victory was just over 300 votes. Smith has already filed to run again in 2022. Her exceptionally narrow-loss means the seat is clearly up for grabs, right? Possibly. But mid-term elections usually see less enthusiasm for the president's party, lower voter turnout and advantages of incumbency. Conventional wisdom holds that those factors work against Smith, who has now lost to Garcia twice. Is the third time the charm, or is she missing the message?
A contest that delivered a clearer message was the Santa Clarita City Council election. Cameron Smyth kept his seat with nearly 57,000 votes, nearly double what Jason Gibbs earned to take the seat left by retiring Councilmember Bob Kellar. These results say people like familiarity at City Hall. There is a little room for change, though, as Bill Miranda is mayor for the first time. Mayor Miranda: say that three times fast.

Shot in the Arm
If all goes well, 2021 could be 2020 in reverse. Instead of starting the year as normal and ending it in pandemic-mode, maybe we start the year in pandemic-mode and end it as normal as possible. We've been told vaccines are a major step towards normalcy and they're here. Kathy Brady was the first person at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to be inoculated in December. She is an ICU nurse who has been working with COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic and she reported no side effects from her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. But don't ditch the mask just yet. Most will have to wait until spring or summer for their shot in the arm.
While health guidance has been clear throughout the winter, it's been far less clear how to support restaurants. They have shut down and re-opened and changed hours, often with little advance notice. Outdoor dining, which came to resemble indoor dining with elaborate plastic tents, was the subject of public health orders, lawsuits, and debate. It's confusing, but Claritans want to help - and eat. A GoFundMe even raised $12,000 to keep the historic Saugus Cafe afloat. As for me, my February's resolution is more takeout.

Monolith Meaning
Santa Claritans were briefly held in thrall by a large, shiny object on a hill in Canyon Country Park. It was a monolith, much like the beautifully-abstract metal structure that popped up in the middle of the Utah desert, creating international buzz about art, conspiracy theories and aliens. We appear to have gotten the budget version. The Signal's Perry Smith reported that the object was made of metallic-painted cardboard, not metal. It was only 5 or 6 feet tall, there were some holes and scratches and a crudely-torn sign written in sharpie marker was left behind. If extraterrestrials made the monolith, they were clearly outer space under-achievers.
Still, Claritans were confused. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that children wept as their parents tried to make them pose for pictures by the unfamiliar object. What was the monolith trying to tell us? Perhaps it was a sculptural critique of the absurdity of trying to document and remember the unusual before we understand it. Perhaps it was a statement about man's imprint on the natural world. Or, perhaps, some folks got bored and figured they'd give the SCV, which they clearly heart, something to do for an afternoon. We may never know.
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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