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Working Through the Holidays
December, 2021 - Issue #206
People who are able to genuinely relax and enjoy the holidays may be oblivious to a cruel truth. The reason they can unwrap thoughtful gifts, mingle casually at parties, marvel at decorated neighborhoods and eat delicious food is because someone else has stressed and suffered to make those experiences possible. "Holiday magic" is just a euphemism for "somebody else did it." And that somebody was often doing their day job in addition to their holiday jobs. As the year draws to a close, there's still a lot of work to be done.

"The lab benefits Santa Clarita's job market and economy, but he wants to ensure that it's also serving residents. He asked that the lab's no-bid contract, worth well over $1 billion dollars, be CONSIDERED CAREFULLY before renewal."
A Lake of One's Own
Most people with far-fetched ideas never act on them. But as the year draws to a close, John Pramik has been putting in the work to make his idea a reality. Pramik wants to build a large lake in the Santa Clara River wash. He believes the lake could help "harvest" rainwater. As a pianist, not a hydrologist or engineer, Pramik has sought expert help to hone his vision of a lake in the middle of Santa Clarita. In an SCVTV "SCV 101" interview, Pramik described spending three months on carving a scale map to visualize the project. "John has worked on this project incessantly!" beamed Mayor Bill Miranda, Pramik's interviewer, adding, "I salute you for that!"
Santa Clarita's mayor showed further support of the idea by helping Pramik announce a November event to pitch the project to the community (Search "santaclaritariverlake."). Very quickly, officials like SCV Water President Gary Martin issued statements distancing themselves. "We absolutely in no way endorse the project," Martin told KHTS. Since a lot of rainwater in the Santa Clara River recharges groundwater supplies already, no lake required, perhaps it's best to let nature keep doing the work.

Testing...Testing?
Working through the holidays is all but certain for health and medical professionals. This includes many Santa Claritans who process the COVID-19 tests that Californians take to know why they're sick or whether they can hop on an international flight. This time last year, Governor Newsom came to
Santa Clarita to visit the PerkinElmer lab that he said would help double testing capacity. Unfortunately, the lab hasn't lived up to the hype. Testing capacity and turnaround times have been lower and slower than expected. CBS reported that the lab had produced many inconclusive results, had technicians sleeping on the job and even had test swabs in lab restrooms. The California Department of Public Health investigated "significant deficiencies" at the lab. State Senator Scott Wilk has demanded more oversight and accountability.
PerkinElmer is headquartered in Massachusetts, but Wilk's position is still an uncomfortable one. The lab benefits Santa Clarita's job market and economy, but he wants to ensure that it's also serving residents. He asked that the lab's no-bid contract, worth well over $1 billion dollars, be considered carefully before renewal and he has continued to ask that an investigative report be released. Clearly, there's much work to be done.

Make the Party Happen
Of all the holidays that fall at the end of this year, I think we can agree on the most important, the one that will unite us all and bring the most peace, joy, and magic: Santa Clarita's 34th anniversary of cityhood. Born on December 15, 1987, the City of Santa Clarita is a Sagittarius - independent, prophetic, restless - sharing a birth year with Zac Efron, Blake Lively, Cynthia Erivo and Kesha. If Santa Clarita were a person, she would be just one year away from being old enough to be president. If she lived in her eponymous city, she'd probably have a couple of kids, a pet dog with arthritis and a recycle bin that clatters with empty glass bottles every trash day.
It took a lot of work to make Santa Clarita a city back in 1987. Now, we can celebrate without much extra effort at all. But isn't it worth putting in a little work to make this anniversary, obscure as it may be, more special for our families, friends and neighbors? Go buy a $14.99 cake with sprinkles, 34 candles and invite everyone over. When they ask why, reply, "I heart SCV... don't you?"
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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