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Two Different Years
February, 2023 - Issue #217
Though we've only had a few weeks to try it on for size, 2023 is different than 2022. Keenly observant astronomers note that the moon moves almost two inches farther away from the Earth with each passing year. Keenly observant
demographers estimate that 2023 is the first year to begin with over 8 billion people on Earth. And keenly observant Santa Claritans have noticed that new restaurant down the street that's been open for months now; maybe it's time to try it. We all notice different things. Between the picture that was 2022 and the picture that is 2023, here's what has shifted.   
"For what better way to spend the most romantic day of the year than with someone you love, 15 random couples and the SCV WE ALL HEART so dearly?"

Leaders Old & New
Even if the people holding political office are the same this year as last, at least the terms are different. On the Santa Clarita City Council, Councilmembers Laurene Weste and Bill Miranda won re-election handily, each taking over 32,000 votes. Marsha McLean also won re-election, albeit a little more narrowly. 
Other races provided additional reminders that every vote counts in Santa Clarita. Suzette Valladares lost the 40th District Assembly seat to Pilar Schiavo by a mere 522 votes. Some school and water board races were decided by just a few thousand votes. One race that was not close, however, was for US Representative of California's 27th District. Despite no major "red wave" for Republicans and a more Democrat-leaning new district, Christy Smith lost to Mike Garcia for the third time. Incumbent Garcia took 53.2 percent of the vote and Smith 46.8 percent. Smith, who is active on Twitter, did not immediately indicate if she planned to run again, instead making book recommendations and bemoaning the state of the social media platform in the weeks following her loss.   

There's a Law for That
Covering new laws when they take effect in the new year is a staple of the news cycle. All the stories usually sound about the same. But this year was different. With so many new laws, everyone has focused on different ones. Governor Gavin Newsom's office highlighted a law that will fund a program with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which provides books free of charge to young kids. It will be easier for street food vendors to get health permits and harder for music lyrics to be used against artists in trials. The governor also highlighted official new state holidays for 2023: Lunar New Year (date varies by year), Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24) and Juneteenth (June 19).
That's just the beginning. In the realm of labor laws, that state minimum wage jumped to $15.50, fast food worker pay may be decided by commission (That's likely heading to voters, though.), and pay ranges must be provided by companies with 15 or more employees. Jaywalking will be tolerated so long as the person crossing the street isn't creating an immediate hazard and cars must switch lanes when passing bicyclists if they can. 

Weddings by City Hall
The City of Santa Clarita has proven itself an efficient planner of roads, parks and public transportation. So why not let them plan your Valentine's Day wedding? That's not the exact pitch that City Hall has been using for its "The Big I Do" event, a first for this year, but planning your wedding is exactly what is being offered. According to a press release, City Hall Ceremonies will handle all the details, from champagne and brunch to flowers and cake to the DJ and photographer. You supply yourself, up to six guests and a modest fee. You'll also need someone willing to marry you; there's always a catch, isn't there?
At $600 for a wedding party of eight, the festivities won't break the bank. Perhaps that's why we've already been promised that at least 15 couples will tie the knot on the big day. Clearly, someone at City Hall is living their wedding planner fantasy, but I support it. I'd buy a general admission ticket if only they were available. For what better way to spend the most romantic day of the year than with someone you love, 15 random couples and the SCV we all heart so dearly?  
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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