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Political Season
November, 2022 - Issue #215
The best part about Election Day is knowing that all the calls, all the requests for money, all the signs, all the mailers, all the self-righteous social media posts, all of it, really, is coming to an end. Unfortunately, the reprieve is short-lived. Mere weeks later comes Thanksgiving, when politics at the dinner table can be even more heated than on Election Day - and more high-stakes, too. Do you still get pumpkin pie if you disagree with Aunt Olivia's opinions about the president? Like it or not, November is inescapably political.

"In the Santa Clarita City Council race, he made an unusual request: 'PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR ME.'"
Smith vs. Garcia
Christy Smith is not one to be deterred by rejection. She spent the past special and general elections telling people all about who she is and why they should vote for her. The voters of the 25th District responded, "Pass." But now, it's a different game. California went through redistricting and Santa Clarita has become part of the 27th District. There are more Democrats than Republicans, plus a healthy share of independents. It appears the district could be claimed by either incumbent Representative Mike Garcia, the Republican, or by Smith, the Democrat.
As of my writing, Nate Silver's team at FiveThirtyEight has declared the 27th District to be a toss-up. The LA Times also rated the race a toss-up, calling it one of the 10 races to watch most closely. Garcia's website highlights his Navy service and his focus on jobs and economic issues. Smith's website highlights her work as a state legislator and her efforts securing investments in the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and College of the Canyons. There's a sense that putting in an extra push might be all it takes to swing the outcome, so your vote will definitely count.

Attention vs. Apathy
With national focus on how control of the House and Senate might change, the 27th District race is the one most often in our headlines. However, there are plenty of other races and issues that will be decided in November. In the Santa Clarita City Council race, Kody Amour made an unusual request: "Please do not vote for me." He dropped out of the race, leaving eight other candidates. Amour did note that his run had brought attention to the homelessness crisis, which was one of his goals. Now, the big story in the city council race will be whether a challenger unseats one of the three incumbents. Even getting close would be noteworthy.
California has a number of propositions up for voter consideration. Prop 1 would amend the State Constitution to include abortion rights. If you've watched any TV in the past few months, you probably already know about Props 26 and 27, which relate to sports betting. The remaining propositions relate to the arts in education, dialysis clinics, electric vehicle programs and flavored tobacco. There aren't as many propositions as in other years, but attracting attention and votes is a perennial challenge.

Man vs. Nature
As easy as it is to get consumed by political news, nature reminds us that there's a whole other world of happenings. In late September, a mountain lion attack jolted the community. One of the big cats bit a 7-year-old boy on the rear while he was climbing stairs in Pico Canyon Park. The boy's father scared the mountain lion away before it could inflict serious injuries. The park was subsequently shut down while authorities hunted for the cat.
Nature provided a little drought respite when Tropical Storm Kay brought unseasonal rains. ABC7 News devoted two minutes of air time to the story of a local woman who collected 35 gallons of rainwater in one of those collection barrels that the city has been subsidizing. Based on average water use statistics, that's half a day's worth for one person. So while not exactly watery salvation, the rain did mark a nice end to California's record-breaking late summer heat wave. Natural forces in the SCV may be chaotic, but there's at least as much to heart as there is to fear. A walk outside - preferably with a buddy, because "lions" - might be just the distraction we all need.
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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