I Heart SCV
Tough to Build
April, 2023 - Issue #219
I've been impressed with ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence app that lets you ask almost anything. Naturally, I asked Chat GPT what Santa Clarita would be like if it were personified into a 35-year-old woman named Clare. The first answer sounded like something from City spokesperson Carrie Lujan: Clare would be a business woman who loved her family and hiking. After five minutes' further coaching and cajoling, though, ChatGPT revealed that Clare was exhausted and screamed into her pillow when life got tough. Better. Clearly, the app's character-building functions are imperfect, but building technology or anything else is always tough. The lesson is borne out by many of the SCV's recent headlines.

"Sometimes, all it takes is a storm to remind us of the GEOLOGIC PERILS of building in the hills and by the river."
Not Built for Rain
2023 has been a wacky year of weather, with snow on the mountains in April (Plus, a little in the SCV in February!), a rolling river through the heart of town and patios full of frost-damaged plants. That's all mostly passed now, but damage from storms will take longer to recover from. One particularly terrifying incident happened at Valencia Travel Village RV Park off CA-126. On February 25, just after midnight, an embankment gave way and at least two RVs, a car and parts of the park's infrastructure fell into the Santa Clara River. Thankfully, there weren't any reported injuries or fatalities.
Several homes in Canyon Country came dangerously close to a similar fate. Boulders, backyard fences and tons of mud slid down a hillside in the Skyline community after heavy rains. There were no injuries or fatalities, but residents of six homes had to evacuate. There has been a lot of construction and earth-moving in this area in recent years, and Mother Nature's decisive rebuttal worried many neighbors about their own homes. Sometimes, all it takes is a storm to remind us of the geologic perils of building in the hills and by the river.

A $2 Million Gift
There's a lot of pressure on Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to provide healthcare in our region. Right now, it's the only option unless you're ready to go to a hospital in the Valley or LA. At a recent meeting, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to donate $2 million to a fundraising campaign that will build or improve on hospital facilities, including surgical suites. The money won't come all at once, and there are some stipulations about how it should be spent.
The "gift" wasn't without controversy. Some residents were happy to see support for a facility that cares for hundreds of Claritans every day. Others suggested spending the money to incentivize or support construction of another hospital on the east side of town. After all, it's a long slog from Canyon Country, and not everyone can arrange for their medical catastrophe to befall them when they're hospital adjacent. The HMNH Foundation's own Marlee Lauffer agreed to an extent, saying "competition is good." However, she reminded naysayers that a new hospital would take a lot of time and vastly more than $2 million to build. As Santa Clarita continues to build and grow, this discussion will surely rise again.

Living at COC
Some call College of the Canyons their school, their community hub, or their alma mater. Others call it their backup plan. But until now, no one has called it home. That's about to change thanks to a $62 million grant to build housing for low-income, full-time students. Dorms at COC? That's right. The vision is far from crystallized, but a recent presentation projected some 100 beds. A spot near Parking Lot 6 on the Valencia campus, which is near the upper field and tennis courts, has been suggested as the project site. The funding comes with a number of requirements, and it's unclear when construction would begin, but momentum is building.
It's been a while since I lived in a dorm, so I thought I'd turn back to the artificial intelligence engine of ChatGPT to get some insight about what life would be like in COC student housing. What's a good name? ChatGPT suggested Pioneer Place or Canyon Crossing. What would be a student tradition? It was insistent on a hike-a-thon (Artificial intelligence seems to think the only thing Claritans do is hike.). Most importantly, would students heart life in the SCV? Its answer? 70 to 80 percent. Not too shabby.
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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