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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - 9:07pm
Citing Knight's no-exceptions stance on abortion, recent no vote on AB 2444, and his association with Tim Donnelly, Dr. Lee Rogers has announced tonight that he's no longer supporting Steve Knight's candidacy. But instead of backing Strickland, he's urging Democrats to abstain from the race.
Here is Rogers' statement:
“I consider Steve a friend, but I’m just appalled at what appears to be his tone-deafness in regard to what our neighbors find appropriate.  In a district where Democrats will decide the next representative, Knight has given Democrats nothing to vote for, and instead, everything to vote against.  His rigid stance against abortion without exception has rankled me and many of my Democratic colleagues.   But his recent vote supporting the sale of paraphernalia bearing the Confederate flag in California state buildings shows an insensitivity that is far out of touch with our district and California.  He was one of only 3 legislators in the state to support the sale of these items.  One of the others who believes the Confederate flag is free game on state property is assemblyman and former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly.  Wherever Donnelly goes, he leaves behind a wake of racially-fueled or xenophobic statements and he’s too extreme for even most Republicans.  According to Donnelly and the LA Times, he and Knight are campaigning together.  I’m happy that Knight has subsequently distanced Donnelly as a surrogate, but it still doesn’t change the fact that they both publicly cross-endorsed and they support the same awful measures in the state legislature.”
“Some Democratic leaders in our district have been advocating for abstention in voting in the congressional race for 2014.  Initially, I rejected this plea, because I thought that one of the two Republicans had to be better than the other.  Plus, it just seemed undemocratic not to vote for either.  But recent events have proven me wrong.  To Democrats, I can’t in good conscience recommend either candidate for the office and now, I will also abstain from voting in the congressional race.  Democrats didn’t expect much from either Republican in this race, but we certainly didn’t expect to be slapped in the face.”

Posted by Mike Devlin   |   Post a Reply »
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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - 12:52pm
  • Digging Deeper: Perry Smith followed up on the audit of the troubled Acton-Agua Dulce school district, and spoke to the district superintendent, who said the district's approval of charter schools as a revenue source is a model for success. KHTS
  • A Mixed Bag: There have been mixed reponses to the idea of running California's bullet train through the San gabriel Mountains. The Signal
  • Earle Takes the Stand: "She fell down the stairs, I picked her up, brought her to bed. I woke up and she was dead.” Accused of killing his girlfriend, Eric Earle took the stand and was questioned by the prosecution this week. The Signal
  • Time for a Makeover: Officals broke ground on a four-year renovation of LAX's Terminal 1, part of a more extensive $7.4 billion overhaul of the tired airport. LA Register
  • The McKeon Amendment: "As I said from the start, this ISIS hysteria is all about regime-change in Syria through the back door. If ever there was a time to call your congressman, and urge a no vote on the McKeon amendment, that time is now." Justin Raimondo on the move to arm Syrian rebels. Antiwar.com
  • The Signal is Concerned: The Signal's editorial board is questioning whether it's a good thing for City Councilman Dante Acosta to be working for Sen. Steve Knight. Actually, they said they're "disappointed." The Signal
  • Oz Comes to Newhall: Senses rolls into downtown Newhall tomorrow, with an "Emerald City" theme. Fun fact: the band Skinny Little Twits played a role in my foray into journalism. One of the first pieces I pitched as an intern was about them, back when they were a regular act at Java n' Jazz (RIP). City Briefs
  • Talking About Health: “As an employer, a manager or a supervisor, it’s not your job or your responsibility to diagnose a mental health problem in your workplace. However, being aware of the signs that suggest someone might be experiencing a mental health illness is important.” Yesterday's Valley Industry Association luncheon featured a presentation on mental health. The Signal
  • The Really Deep End: In case you were wondering, the deepest swimming pool in the world is really deep. Sploid
  • Have an iPhone 4S? Don't Install iOS 8: The latest iPhone operating system is out, but you might want to pass on upgrading to it on your older phone. Slate

Posted by Josh Premako   |   1 Comment »
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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - 6:53am
Let's begin with a little (rough) math. This June, 42% of primary voters didn't vote for either Knight or Strickland, and somewhere between two and three times as many people will vote in November than voted in June. This means that only about 20% of voters in November would have voted for either Knight or Strickland. And of that remaining 80%, over half would rather be voting for a Democrat. 
With that in mind, imagine my surprise this morning when I see that Jean Merl of the LA Times reports this morning that none other than Tim Donnelly, the Minuteman-turned-Assemblyman who was nearly the GOP gubernatorial nominee, will be knocking doors with Steve Knight on Saturday right here in Santa Clarita. 
It's timely, as Tim Donnelly has the distinction of being the only member of the Assembly to vote against AB 2444, the bill that, if signed by Gov. Brown, will prohibit the state from displaying the Confederate battle flag or selling items depicting it. When that bill came to the Senate a few months later, Steve Knight voted with Donnelly, to the astonishment of many, myself included.
Knight also endorsed Donnelly for Governor in this year's primary. Despite being the frontrunner for much of the race, Donnelley's website only claimed the endorsement of four members of the State Assembly, and just two State Senators: Steve Knight and Joel Anderson – who happens to be the other guy who voted no on AB 2444 (and the lone member of the Legislature who voted to keep homosexuality classified as a mental illness).
Then there's this: rumors have been circulating that Donnelly has his eye on Steve Knight's Senate seat, should Knight win in November. 
Apart from being one of the most rightward politicians in Sacramento, Tim Donnelly is a little nuts.
In April, Buzzfeed got their hands on a 2006 speech of Donnelly's which contained the following gems (follow this link for the full audio):
“In the name of diversity, we are bringing millions of people into our country who want nothing to do with diversity,” he said. “Their creed is for anyone in the Hispanic race: everything. For anyone outside it, nada. Nothing.”
“I am a decedent of Jim Bowie, who died at the Alamo,” Donnelly said. “It is rumored that he took a dozen Mexican soldiers to their deaths before they finally killed him. How many of you will rise up and take his place on that wall?”
He said there was “a growing insurgency, right here in Los Angeles” and other cities, and compared it to insurgencies in cities like “Baghdad, Samarra, and Tikrit.” 
Oh boy.
More recently, Donnelly accused his primary opponent Neel Kashkari of "submitting" to Sharia law, which was an especially odd charge as Kashkari is not a Muslim, but a non-practicing Hindu.
This led Darrell Issa to rip him to pieces: "As far as I'm concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere. Donnelly is no longer a viable option for California voters."
I'm unsure why Knight would endorse a fringe character like Donnelly, much less trumpet his endorsement. But I'm completely stumped as to why he'd actually invite Donnelly to town, at this point in an election which will likely be decided by as-yet-undecided Democratic voters.
Update: Here's a screenshot Donnelly's email:

Posted by Mike Devlin   |   12 Comments »
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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - 8:30am
  • The Depths of Drought: Need to be reminded just how serious this drought is? Seeing the change in Castaic Lake between May and August might do the trick. KHTS
  • There's Always Time for More Studies: The county is continuing to do studies as it tries to figure out a way to deal with its Bouquet Canyon creek problems. What will solve the issues? Cleaning out debris? Realigning the creek? Time will tell. KHTS
  • Trying to Uncover the Suspect: Deputies are on the lookout for a suspect in the second indecent exposure reported in the past week near Newhall Elementary School. The Signal
  • Cleaning the Santa Clara: The city's 20th annual River Rally is coming up this weekend, and there's still time to volunteer to help clean up one of the last wild rivers in the L.A. region. City Briefs
  • Chew on This: "Start with a simple rule that everyone has to follow: No outside food on campus, strictly meaning no outside food is allowed into the school without board permission." Already very focused on sustainability, a school in Calabasas is changing how they do lunch. LA Register
  • Get Out Your Yardstick: The new law mandating you allow three feet of space when passing cyclists goes into effect today. SCVNews
  • The Slow Wheels of Justice: The trial has finally started in the case of a Good Samaritan shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery nearly three years ago. The Signal
  • The Death of Adulthood: "The elevation of every individual’s inarguable likes and dislikes over formal critical discourse, the unassailable ascendancy of the fan, has made children of us all." A long but worthwhile read from A.O. Scott on the cultural shifts we've been seeing. NY Times

Posted by Josh Premako   |   Post a Reply »
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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - 7:09am
Awesometown is so 2010. It's a name that's gone through the wash a few too many times that some even use it unironically. Imagine that. 
And good luck explaining to the kids of today how the slogan came about and its self-aware 70/30 mix or irony and sincerity; or the difference between Valencia and Valencia® and the conclusion of the Valencia project and the looming question of Newhall Land's intent in enforcing the restrictive covenants in Valencia that were in place so that the Valencia® name would command a premium. 
It all belongs to another time. A different set of players, different hopes, different dreams.
So what's left? A decently-planned set of neighborhoods with some mighty fine paseos and comfortable homes. And skunks. 
I had never seen nor smelled a skunk before moving to Valencia. There is nothing like that olfactory continuum from "musty" to "funky" to "pungent" to "noxious" to, basically, "I'm going to die." 
Since I've lived in Saugus, where the skunk is never seen and rarely smelt, the whiff of the skunk is the first thing I notice when I'm in Valencia in the evening. As much as anything else, it reminds me of my former hometown. 
So as we move into the post-corporate era of Valencia, I offer this flag as a gift. Do with it as you will.

Posted by Mike Devlin   |   9 Comments »
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Monday, September 15th, 2014 - 8:30am
  • Difficult Times: Luke Money takes a look at some of the challenges facing the Acton Agua Dulce School District, after an audit of the district was wrapped up. Among the study's findings was that the district has taken the "unusual" step of approving charter schools as a strategy for raising revenue. The Signal
  • Crash Victims Identified: The three people killed in a truck crash at Rowher Flats last week were 19-year-olds from Burbank, who apparently were off-roading late at night before the truck they were in plummeted down a 200-foot embankment. KHTS
  • Cycling Through Options: In a move sure to upset non-cyclists (Decoro bike lanes, anyone?) part of the city's updated non-motorized transportation plan calls for bike lanes along Whites Canyon Road. The Signal
  • Bueno News: Vallarta, the store that struck fear into the hearts of so many Old Orchard residents before opening up shop on Lyons several years back, is opening a second location in the SCV. The Signal
  • Signs of Help: "Shirley is like many autistic children from poor families: She hasn’t gotten much outside help. The parents often lack the know-how and means of middle-class families to advocate for their children at schools and state regional centers for the developmentally disabled." Help is coming for poor children with autism, as Medi-Cal begins to cover behavioral therapy for thousands of children on the autism spectrum. Daily News
  • Meet the Candidates: Mark your calendars, the Canyon Country Advisory Committee is hosting a free meet-and-greet with Congressional candidates Steve Knight and Tony Strickland this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge on Sierra Highway. Facebook event page
  • The Spreading Problem: The Castaic Lake Water Agency is planning to build a treatment plant to remove perchlorate from Valencia groundwater supplies, where it has spread from the Whittaker-Bermite property. The Signal
  • Addressing the Issue: "Without a doubt the United States was built on the successes of immigrants, but as times change, our government’s approach has become inadequate." Entrepreneur Tina Aldatz on the challenges faced in the midst of an immigration crisis. Fox & Hounds

Posted by Josh Premako   |   1 Comment »
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Friday, September 12th, 2014 - 12:26pm
  • The Biggest Story of the Day: While not exactly surprising, it's likely that no one saw this coming. But there it is: Marc Winger is retiring as superintendent of the Newhall School District, after nearly 20 years at its helm, announced in a news release today. From bond measures to school modernization, Winger has guided the district through a number of challenges, and its schools continue to be top performers. There’s also a reason he’s for a long time been considered a friend to the press here in town: He’s approachable and provides answers. But don’t just take my word for it. For more, I reached out to former Signal superstar education reporter Tammy Marashlian (while I salute her foray into social work, our local media lost one of its best schools reporters when she left The Signal). “He made every effort to return my calls, and he really did take the time to explain policies to me as a reporter and for a general audience. And if he didn't know the answer, he would help me get it,” she said. “He is a tireless advocate for his school district because he takes the time to craft, critique and carefully apply countless policies, regulations and trends.” KHTS
  • Sorting Out the Numbers: A Newsweek report on great schools didn't exactly include some great numbers, according to the Hart district. In addition to listing incorrect graduation rates for Hart High and Valencia High, the district says the Newsweek report exaggerated the numbers for the Albert Einstein Academy's high school, listed as number 2 on Newsweek's "Beating the Odds" list. Einstein Academy is reportedly holding a news conference this morning to discuss the Newsweek ranking. KHTS
  • Three Dead in Truck Crash: Once again bad news comes out of the Rowher Flats recreation area, with three people dead after a truck went over a hillside. KHTS The Signal
  • Second Home Invasion Under Investigation: Deputies are on the lookout for the three suspects, after a second home invasion robbery this week, this time in Valencia. Officials have yet to release any description of the suspects so, uh, be wary of men in groups of three? The Signal KHTS
  • Two Hart District Students Arrested: Two Saugus High students were arrested for posting inappropriate photos to social media, and while deputies are saying little the speculation is that it's connected to the "SCV Purge" incident earlier this summer. KHTS The Signal
  • Get Ready to Bake: After a summer of relatively mild temperatures, we're in for a heat wave. Fortunately my care is equipped with a 4/50 + Turbo A/C system (4 windows down at 50mph plus an open sunroof). LA Register
  • Drugs Didn't Do It: While Karla Brada had four different drugs in her system, a medical examiner says that's not killed her. Her boyfriend is on trial, facing murder charges. The Signal
  • If You See Something, Say Something: Tip of the hat to the woman who noticed a Saugus house was on fire, and told the resident to get out, as well as alerting a neighbor. The Signal
  • Buck Wants to Go in Heavy: In a Q&A session with reporters and members of the American Enterprise Institute, Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon said key to the strategy of dealing with ISIL is "wipe them out." OC Register
  • There is Always Hope: "If you’re going through hell, keep going. The impermanence and temporal nature of existence only contribute to its need to be treasured." In light of this being National Suicide Prevention Week, my friend Diana wrote something very powerful. Pathways in Music
Full disclosure: The company for which I work has a working relationship with the Newhall School District.

Posted by Josh Premako   |   2 Comments »
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