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Second Best
June, 2024 - Issue #231
One of the best parts about living in Santa Clarita is that no one expects it to be the best. Everything is pretty good, but there's usually something better; we're the Kirkland Signature of SoCal living. This takes an immense amount of pressure off us. Without sky-high expectations, Claritans and visitors alike can take real pleasure when they do find the occasional amazing restaurant or stunning hike or fun community group. There's no shame in coming in second, and we're often in good company when we do.

"Are these bills bland? Yes. Are they also HELPFUL? Yup."
Second Best Term
There aren't many grains of sand left to run through State Senator Scott Wilk's proverbial hourglass. He's serving the last year allowed by term limits. Without the drain of a re-election campaign, and drawing on his years of experience, this is a chance for legacy building. What makes this a second-best opportunity, rather than the best one, is that he's a member of California's second-place political party. So instead of classically-Republican bills, which would be dead on arrival, Wilk is throwing his energy behind legislation that's more middle of the aisle.
In recent months, a bill targeting illegal dumping (SB 1359) has moved forward. It's aimed at increasing fines for dumping and making it harder to turn private lands, like in the high desert, into landfills. He's also behind a bill (SB 1233) that would support a certification program for high-volume spay/neuter, which is needed to get more dogs and cats ready for adoption from animal shelters. Another bill would make wildfire settlements tax-free (SB 1004). Are these bills bland? Yes. Are they also helpful? Yup.

Second Best Destination
The LA Times runs a human interest series called "L.A. Affairs." A recent installment described the budding romance between writer Holly Yeo, who moved from Canada to Santa Clarita, and a man who lived in Fountain Valley. I sighed in preparation, knowing that Santa Clarita was going to be pilloried as a distant second to LA or Orange County, but I was wrong. Yeo said Santa Clarita was "the perfect springboard for exploring SoCal on weekends." She said it made for relaxing dates with wine, hot tubs and Thai food. The time was so idyllic she wondered, "Is this real life?"
The end of this SoCal love story was marriage and building a home together in Santa Clarita. Surely, I thought, this must be some fan-fiction fever dream concocted by Carrie Lujan and the City of Santa Clarita's communications team. The SCV was appreciated, not lambasted and mocked. People raised in Santa Clarita learn about our second-place status as an integral part of growing up. That's why it's so jarring to realize that outsiders can come to the SCV and think, hey, this place is pretty nice. Brave, Holly. Second choices for some are first choices for others.

Second Best Beach
With summer around the corner, I recently asked some friends if they had been to Castaic Lake yet this year. "We're not lake people," was the quietly-withering response. Perhaps it stung me because both of my parents worked at the lake when they were in high school, lifeguarding and kiosk-ing. The point remains. Our dusty inland reservoir simply can't compete with Malibu or Santa Monica or even Ventura. People can't even be bothered to pronounce this second-best beach the right way.
Now, Castaic's stock June be on the rise. It was the scenic backdrop for Sabrina Carpenter's music video, "Espresso," which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April. In the video, she tans, she beaches, she swims, she steals some guy's boat and gets arrested - all clear endorsements. Castaic is not canceled. Some June argue that Sabrina Carpenter is, herself, a second-best sort of artist. She opens for Taylor Swift, not vice versa. But there's a lot to like if you give her a chance, just like you June find a lot to heart about a beach day in the SCV, if only you'll give it ago.
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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