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Stopping what we Started
June, 2022 - Issue #211
My Santa Clarita book club was, perhaps, doomed from the start. Apart from the main issue, namely Santa Clarita's near-total lack of quality literature, was the issue of people presuming it was all a joke. It wasn't. The first selection was John Boston's "Naked Came the Sasquatch," a love story and exploration of reincarnation. The book is very, very Claritan, and pretty, pretty good. Yet at the first meet-up, all the pithy observations, dog-eared page-turnings and Trader Joe's snacks were to be mine and mine alone. Needless to say, the book club ended thereafter without much fuss. Other endings, however, are not so easy. Where many people are involved, the question of how to stop what we've started is trickier.

"A BUDGET DEFICIT of nearly $30 million is projected for the 2023/24 fiscal year unless major changes take place."
Save Water
Endless sun and beautiful, lush green landscapes are two of the best parts of life in Southern California. The only thing that makes it all work is water. With California's drought conditions, that water will be increasingly hard to come by. Santa Claritans and our neighbors have gotten used to gardening through sheer force of will and ready access to sprinklers, but the old ways have got to stop.
The Metropolitan Water District announced that, starting June 1, millions of people reliant on State Water Project water would have to cut outdoor watering to once a week. Those affected are just to our south in communities like Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. There simply isn't enough water. Santa Clarita has a somewhat better water supply outlook, but state-wide measures or worsening drought could always factor in. SCV Water's website provides the latest updates. They recently implemented "Stage 2" of their water shortage plan, asking residents to cut water use by 20 percent and to water three days a week or less. As for the spring flowers you just bought? I hope they are drought tolerant.

Getting Schooled on Budgeting
Since it's in the business of education, we're probably justified in expecting the Hart District to do a good job of describing its financial predicament. In late April, CFO Ralph Peschek did just that. He provided projections and budget numbers as part of an on-going discussion with the board. Student enrollment is expected to decline by hundreds each year, which means less funding. He said the district is "dipping into our savings account every year" in order to cover expenses. A budget deficit of nearly $30 million is projected for the 2023/24 fiscal year unless major changes take place. A cartoon of a stressed guy with empty pockets (Whoops!) was provided as a fun illustration.
How does the district stop spending it already started? Peschek highlighted some potential programs to cut, like Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction and Education. Based on my watching of high school life in "Euphoria," it's probably a lost cause, anyhow. More meaningful solutions likely include big cuts in staffing or elsewhere, barring a parcel tax or other new revenue. Let's hope the Hart District can stop its financial issues without too much collateral damage.

Starting to Stop the Stopping
Over the past couple of years, we started a lot of new policies and practices and restrictions in the name of public health. But with the lifting of many such restrictions, Santa Clarita's community calendar is starting to look much more full and, dare I say it, fun? "Party on the Pointe," held at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex this spring, hosted thousands of Claritans at a giant event featuring live music, a mechanical shark, zip-lining and exhibitions of all kinds of sports. City Councilmember Cameron Smyth wrote, "Party on the Pointe is the perfect way to say 'goodbye' to mandates and restrictions."
The sports complex event was described as a "one-time, all-out celebration," but some longer-term fun may be coming in the form of a roller rink at the Sports Complex. The city council approved spending over $300,000 for a project design. In materials provided by the company selected to complete the design, a "potential vision" rendering shows an open-air rink under a high canopy/roof in white and blue with some seating, landscaping and other amenities. With many restrictions stopping, more ways to heart the SCV may well be starting.
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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