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Not What You Signed Up For?
April, 2021 - Issue #198
Just east of Santa Clarita proper sits Sweetwater Bar and Grill. The owner of the Agua Dulce watering hole recently got a call from someone claiming to work for the power company. They demanded he pay $800 to keep his lights on. Curiously, they requested that he use a cryptocurrency ATM. He complied and was then told he had to pay $6,000 more. And he did. Believe it or not, the phone calls were actually a scam (!), and now he's out a lot of cash and had to file a police report. You may be shaking your head, but the owner is not alone. In Santa Clarita, we often think we're agreeing to one thing when the reality is quite another.

"More whimsical PLANS include one to, 'research how to become a venue for the 2028 Olympics' and to 'create a Zen garden as a tourist attraction.'"
Reformer or Reckless?
The effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom is contentious, but an effort to recall LA County District Attorney George Gascon may be even more so. The notice of intent to recall came mere months after Gascon took office, led by people outraged with his new policies, which include not seeking the death penalty and pursuing fewer sentencing enhancements. These changes weren't too surprising - he campaigned on reform. Still, some family members of murder victims have said they feel like Gascon isn't adequately pursuing justice for their loved ones. Part of his statement to Fox News proposed that, "Most survivors don't find healing by putting another person in a cage."
In Santa Clarita, The Signal excoriated Gascon ("his priority is not public safety"), and the city council unanimously voted "no confidence." One resident, Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, is suing Gascon for defamation. After Hatami criticized his new boss, Gascon criticized Hatami for seeking the death penalty when he prosecuted the Gabriel Fernandez case, claiming he was motivated by ego. Clearly, Hatami didn't get the DA he hoped for. Did other voters? More controversy seems assured.

Out of Power
No one signs up for the "give us a blackout every once in a while" power plan, but that's certainly what it has felt like for many Santa Claritans. Last year, high winds meant my sister's electricity was cut off on Thanksgiving to help reduce fire danger. The family improvised a barbecue and stovetop-cooked meal eaten by candlelight: thanks, Southern California Edison. Many residents from Canyon Country to Stevenson Ranch have similar stories. The California Public Utilities Commission president criticized Southern California Edison for failing its customers and for sending "confusing" notifications about the public safety power shut-offs. Finally, Edison felt compelled to have public meetings to reach out to Santa Clarita customers.
Shut-offs will continue through at least the near future, but the Southern California Edison
spokesperson said that they were working to reduce how many shut-offs there would be and how many residents would be affected. To accomplish this, old electrical infrastructure is being replaced with insulated wire and the like. Some forms of compensation, like hotel reimbursement, were mentioned as possibilities in certain circumstances. So don't expect miracles, especially during high winds, but infrastructure is set to improve.

Five-year Plan
City Hall recently released its 2025 strategic plan. After skimming all 10 pages - in one sitting, no less! - I found some noteworthy inclusions. Older parks are set for revitalization. The strategic plan re-commits to offering transitional housing on Newhall Avenue and a permanent homeless shelter on Drayton Street. The City Store is set for a re-launch. If you're an at-risk teen, first of all, straighten up, and second of all, there will be more programming aimed at you. More fiber internet connectivity is arriving for businesses. The city will support a library-based homeschooling program. On the roads,
50 percent of new buses will be emissions-free and the sheriff's department will acquire automated license plate readers.
More whimsical plans include one to, "research how to become a venue for the 2028 Olympics" and to "create a Zen garden as a tourist attraction." How's it all sound? Maybe this isn't exactly the vision you signed up for when moving to Santa Clarita. If so, the bad news is this plan lasts through 2025. The good news? That's plenty of time to show you heart the SCV by working to shape her next big plan.
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