I Heart SCV
Is it Worth It?
February, 2022 - Issue #207
My gratitude journal has been a bit sparse for most of the 2020s. I haven't appreciated mandatory enrollment in the two-year interactive course, "Evolution of respiratory virus epidemics, 101." Still, one skill that we've all sharpened in these early 2020s is deciding whether something, anything, is worth it or not. There are some hassles we'll put up with and others we won't. There are some risks we'll put up with and others we won't. As 2022 starts rolling, it's worth checking in on how others in Santa Clarita answer that simple, powerful question: Is it worth it?

"In December, she was VOTED TO BE MAYOR for an unprecedented sixth time, her city council career spanning the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s."
Job Security
The perks of being the mayor of Santa Clarita are modest. Mayors get to sign their name on the monthly updates written by city staff, they claim a better seat at the dais and they are rumored to get one favor from the SCV Illuminati that will be faithfully executed, no questions asked. Is it worth all the extra time spent at the job? For Laurene Weste, the answer is an unequivocal yes. In December, she was voted to be mayor for an unprecedented sixth time, her city council career spanning the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. Jason Gibbs was selected as Mayor Pro Tem, Latin for "maybe next year."
City Manager Ken Striplin received his own nod of approval recently, too. The city council voted to make it harder to fire him. An ordinance now requires four out of five council members rather than three out of five to give him the boot. Weste spoke glowingly of Striplin, and the hard work must be worth it for him: He's been working for the city for a quarter of a century now.

Built for Kids
If you want to build something in California, it better be worth it because it's rarely easy. The planning and review process often becomes a war of attrition between those for and against the project. Take Santa Clarita's Camp Scott. LA County shortlisted it as a potential site for housing violent juvenile offenders. Area residents and even city officials have been actively expressing concern and opposition. The decision between Santa Clarita, La Verne and Sylmar as home of the Secure Youth Treatment Facility is expected as early as this month.
Another youth-oriented project in the new Mission Village development may have a smoother path. The Newhall School District is considering a 10-acre site there for a new school. A 361 page "Preliminary Endangerment Assessment" found very small amounts of benzene and other chemicals of concern in soil gas samples, but indoor concentrations of them would be so close to nil that no special actions were recommended. A lack of environmental and health issues helps, as does the fact that the project is something as non-controversial as a school. But the lack of neighbors - at least for the time being - is often the biggest help of all.

Does Crime Pay?
In December, KTLA announced that Santa Clarita fell victim to the smash-and-grab "trend" that had been sweeping through the rest of California. Around three in the morning, a group of men used hammers to break into Undisputed Sole shoe store and make off with $40,000 in designer merchandise. A couple weeks prior, two women and one man stole an estimated $800 in video games from Best Buy and there was an arrest made for grand theft at Home Depot.
Similarly outrageous robberies have taken place elsewhere in LA County. Groups ransacked LA-area Nordstrom stores and Home Depot, and windows of Rodeo Drive retailers were broken as well. As for the question of whether the crimes are worth it for the robbers, some 14 smash-and-grab related arrests were made in LA in late November, but all the suspects were released from custody not long after. Numerous elected officials have committed to halting the organized retail thefts and robberies, including Supervisor Kathryn Barger. She pledged $1 million to boost law enforcement in our LA County 5th District. We heart the SCV's shops and spending some cash to keep them safe seems worth it.
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
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