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After the Milestone
May, 2024 - Issue #230
Most of Santa Clarita's high school seniors will be graduating this May. The whole ceremony is full of tradition: the march to Pomp and Circumstance, gowns and tassels and speeches about reaching such an important milestone. It's comfortingly formulaic. The discomforting part comes a little after all those well-deserved celebrations. There's still a whole lot more living to do. That may be with the parents in Santa Clarita, at a dorm at some fancy East Coast college or in a first apartment somewhere exciting and new, say... Pacoima. Reaching a milestone is a graduation cliche, but it's one worth taking to heart. For all a milestone really means is a fresh new mile ahead.
"Nevertheless, the project plan is a real milestone. Developing housing is a major focus in the current political climate, so perhaps this is the time that the MULE RANCH trots into the sunset."

Focused Races
If Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and no one thinks about politics during summer and ballots are mailed in early fall... then May is one of the last chances for politicians to win support. After the important milestone of securing a top-two finish in March's primaries, a much more focused set of races has materialized. Democratic Representative Adam Schiff got what he wanted - a face-off against Republican Steve Garvey for Senate. That's very likely a strategic advantage over facing another Democrat, like Katie Porter, who came in third. Republican Representative Mike Garcia won more votes than both Democratic primary challengers combined, so he'll face George Whitesides with momentum on his side.
At the state level, we'll watch Suzette Valladares (R) versus Kipp Mueller (D) for State Senate. Based on the primary, Valladares had the advantage. The 40th Assembly District race had a very slim margin separating incumbent Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo from challenger Patrick Gipson, though she had the edge in the unofficial results. (Notice how long counting takes these days?). Thus, things are leaning red + blue for DC and blue + red for Sacramento, so consider Santa Clarita downright purple.

Mule-ing Over Options
Can a site that used to house 24 mules be transformed to house hundreds of people? Santa Clarita's Planning Commission and the community are studying a proposed Wiley Canyon Project that aims to do just that. For many years, the project site was home to the Reninger family and their all-female mule team. Haven Reninger once informed the LA Times that mules could haul over two times their own body weight, but sadly, this skill is not much in demand now, whereas housing is.
As currently proposed, the project is mostly residential, with hundreds of apartment units and a facility for seniors, plus a little under 10,000 square feet of commercial space. People have been trying to do something with this site for decades - the mules have been gone for quite some time - but objections inevitably arise. Some residents are concerned that 966 parking spots wouldn't be enough for 509 residential units. The problem is heightened by the site's isolation, which makes parking "nearby" difficult. Nevertheless, the project plan is a real milestone. Developing housing is a major focus in the current political climate, so perhaps this is the time that the mule ranch trots into the sunset.

All Uphill
In our meditation on milestones, perhaps it's fitting to close with a milestone that's quite literally about rocks - or at least polyester resin climbing holds. NBC News covered Brian Witmer's preparation to set a new record in indoor rock climbing. The Guiness World Record for "greatest vertical distance climbed on a climbing wall in one hour (individual)" stood at 3,325.75 feet when Witmer began preparing for his goal, part of his focus on sobriety. To put the distance in perspective, that's well over half a mile of pulling and pushing oneself straight up, or 300+ stories - and all in one hour.
A Santa Clarita climbing gym was the venue for the record attempt. Obviously, they don't have a mile-high wall, so the attempt consisted of repeatedly climbing a vertical wall, descending and climbing again. The crowd cheered as Witmer broke the record, climbing some 3,648 feet. At the risk of one-too-many climbing equivalencies, that's like climbing LA's tallest building, the Wilshire Grand Center, over three times in 60 minutes. In an Instagram message from non-profit Dry Rock Inc., Witmer showed his heart was truly invested here, thanking "my recovery community and the SCV community at large!" Well done.
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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