I Heart SCV
Holding Up a Mirror
July, 2022 - Issue #212
You don't have to leave Santa Clarita to leave Santa Clarita. While watching season two of "Hacks," the shopping center at the corner of Valencia and Bouquet came on screen. The show's characters were on a comedy tour and the tour bus stopped right in front of Dollar Tree. Geographically, this patch of Santa Clarita was portrayed as somewhere on the winding path between Sedona and Oklahoma City. Culturally, it was portrayed as a place where the diners don't have organic cottage cheese, but nearby supermarkets do. All in all, not the city's worst cameo. And seeing how someone else views us is always invaluable. It's almost like looking in a mirror. Who do we see looking back?

"Come Monday morning, don your PATRIOTIC BEST, throw some water and sunblock in a bag and head to Newhall for the almost-annual Fourth of July Parade."
For the Kids
As summer of 2022 kicked off, good news was in short supply. The big national stories were mirrored in Santa Clarita, and the ones involving kids hit especially close to home. Baby formula shortages made life rough for the parents of infants. Several major retailers in Santa Clarita reported very limited supplies and placed limits on how much shoppers could buy. The Signal interviewed a small baby-specialty retailer and quoted the owner's appraisal of the shortage: "I haven't seen anything like this."
The impossibly-tragic school shooting in Uvalde shook us, like all of America. Nowhere in the SCV was the reaction stronger than at Saugus High School, where two students were killed in 2019. Students left class to protest and to show support for the victims from Texas. In a TV interview with ABC7 news, Mia Tretta, a student who was wounded in the 2019 Saugus shooting, said, "This can't keep happening to us!" Families live in Santa Clarita with the goal of providing their children with a good place to grow up and the news is a reminder of how fragile and vital that goal is.

The New Burbs?
One of Santa Clarita's most important roles isn't just being Santa Clarita - it's being a case study or petri dish for close examination. That's what the SCV was for Emily Witt in her article about sustainable suburbs in the The New Yorker. Amid Southern California's housing crunch and long history of suburban sprawl, she wondered if eco-friendly suburban developments arriving in Santa Clarita and Tejon Ranch could be part of the solution. New homes with solar panels, electric car plug-ins and other technology to reduce carbon emissions must help, right?
Witt didn't seem convinced. She thought the new suburbs looked a lot like the old suburbs. And today's laser focus on carbon-neutral development could mean overlooking other environmental concerns, like saving important wildlife habitats. Wildfires were mentioned as a constant threat - yes, we know. The image of Santa Clarita reflected in the article was full of suburban cliches, many perhaps deserved, but one was notably absent. Santa Clarita's new home shoppers were described as "a steady stream of racially diverse prospective buyers in luxury cars." We may be sprawling, fire-prone and environmentally questionable, but at least we have diversity and nice cars.

I Heart a Parade
Adjusting for the current rate of inflation, gas will be approximately $29 a gallon by the time you're reading this. So instead of driving out of town for this year's Independence Day long weekend, why not stay home? Spend the gas money on beer and briquettes. Then, come Monday morning, don your patriotic best, throw some water and sunblock in a bag and head to Newhall for the almost-annual Fourth of July Parade. It's been going on since 1932, pausing only for WWII and COVID-19.
The theme of this year's parade caps off a rough couple of years with celebration and gratitude: "Celebrating America's independence and honoring our front-line personnel." That's CAIAHOFLP for short. It's meant to be inclusive, acknowledging everyone from first responders to medical personnel to essential workers. I have sincerely missed the parade for the past two years. Admittedly, it is always something of a fever-dream - sweating and hot with unusual sights that don't always mentally compute. Embrace it. The parade is a mirror reflecting Santa Clarita past, present and future, and surely, it's an image of the SCV that we heart.
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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