Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
There's been a lot of talk about signs in the SCV recently, from outrage-inducing mobile trailers advertising businesses to Saugus' new grave-stone "Welcome to Saugus" sign that nearly had Petz in tears to my own post where I pledged myself to creating a Hollywood-style sign so everyone would know this is Santa Clarita.
In fact, signs are a very important element of our life in this valley: during local campaign seasons, people make a big deal out of how big political signs are, or they steal/hide/destroy their opponents signs, or go on stake-outs to catch the campaign sign thieves, or issue complaints about placing signs in the public right of way. There's also many unappreciated signs and plaques around town that remind us of our history (California Historical Designation signs) that are usually in places people rarely walk or view them.
And then there's the commercial signs and billboards, mostly along Railroad Avenue that local ordinances can't touch. Drive down Railroad and you'll likely see hot girls with beer mugs on the Tilted Kilt sign, a sign about the SCV's #1 Chiropractor, Realtor, and lawyer, and even, sometimes, religious or adult shop signage.
But there can be no doubt that the biggest and most gaudy signage is along the 5 and 14 Freeways, usually on the county side of the highway, signs that attempt to induce motorists 'just passing through' to stop and grab a bite, go shopping, or just stay awhile.
Psychologically, these signs represent the SCV in its most desperate and vulnerable state: we're practically begging people to come and spend time and money in our town, or at least in the unincorporated part of town. "Please!" the signs seem to shout, "Whatever your interest is, there's something at this exit tailored to meet it." Fiscalization of land use issues aside, it's always been like that in the SCV. We'd be nothing without those two freeways and the select few who (and you can always tell who the out-of-towners at Hamburger Hill or near Magic Mountain are) stop by for awhile. For the vast majority of those 300,000+ daily drivers, the SCV is just a place between their start and their destination; either they're heading to Los Angeles and points south, or Kern & the Central Valley or High Desert north.
They don't' want to stop here. And we know it. And it hurts us. No one has ever wanted to stop here, except for the Tataviam, who were driven here by snobbish coastal Chumash who made fun of the way they talked.
Recall that the very first European eyes that gazed upon our "little valley" didn't want to stay, but just pass through. Fr. Juan Crespi, the official diarist for the Portola expedition way back in 1769 says the party didn't intend to stop in Santa Clarita until the Tataviam peoples practically forced them to:
We entered the mountain range, the road having been already marked out by the pioneers who had been sent ahead very early in the morning. Part of the way we traveled through a narrow canyon, and part over very high hills of barren soil, the ascent and descent of which were exceedingly difficult for the animals. We descended afterwards to a little valley where there was an Indian village; the inhabitants had sent us messengers to the Valle de Santa Catalina, and guides to show us the best trail and pass through the range. These poor fellows had prepared refreshments for our reception, and, as they saw that it was our intention to move on so as not to interrupt the day's march, they made the most earnest entreaties to induce us to visit their village, which was off the road. We had to comply with their requests so as not to disappoint them. We enjoyed their hospitality and bounty, which consisted of seeds, acorns, and nuts. Furthermore, they furnished us other guides to take us to the watering-place about which they gave us information. We reached it quite late. The day's march was four leagues.A multitude of Indians came to the camp with presents of seeds, acorns, and honeycombs formed on frames of cane. They were a very good-natured and affectionate people. They expressed themselves admirably by signs, and understood all that we said to them in the same manner.
Bold emphasis mine. "Si, si, you have a fine valley here and your acorns are a delight, but we really need to get to the sea," Crespi seems to be saying. Indeed, later on Crespi writes about how they couldn't wait to get out of here:
Thus they gave us to understand that the road inland was very mountainous and rough, while that along the coast was level and easy of access; that if we went through the interior of the country we would have to pass over five mountain ranges, and as many valleys, and that on descending the last range we would have to cross a full and rapid river that flowed between steep banks.
Thus armed with the knowledge that the best way to get out of the SCV is via what is today's Highway 126, the Spaniards left town and built their famous missions all along the coast and the King's Highway. Just imagine yourself as a business owner along the I-5 today, watching all those cars drive by you, and you can imagine what the Tataviam must have felt as the Spaniards left.
But there was a time in the SCV when signage along the highway wasn't as important. A time when the beauty of the valley was all the advertisement you needed. John Boston relayed such a time in the early sixties, when he says the Signal's new owner, Ray Brooks, couldn't help but love how beautiful San Fernando Road & Sierra Highway (I know, right?) were every morning he drove into work. Let this vivid description burn into your mind and compare it with what's along the same roads now:
“I’ve fallen in love with the Valley of the Santa Clarita already. Each morning, with the sun at my back, as I leave the San Fernando floor and approach the hills, now spread with a velvety, green carpet, I am charged with a special thrill.“And as I top the rise and scoot down the slope to the stop sign and left turn opposite the cemetery, I anticipate the next two miles into Newhall because I believe that two miles is about as pretty and interesting an approach as any town in California can boast of.“To the left are green pastures, heavy with a record growth, with sleek horses grazing knee-deep, against the lush hillside dotted with live oaks, lupine and wild mustard.On the right are other horse corrals. Two mare graze contentedly as their frisky colts romp around in full abandon.”It's safe to say we'll never have that again, except perhaps in more protected areas of town (think Placerita & Sand Canyons). The mare and oaks and wild mustard have been replaced with Carl's Jr., Hampton Inn, WalMart, Albertson and Auto Row signage.
But our signage explosion isn't all bad; there's a lot of people here now and we need signs. And I like some of them, namely the ones on the left below:
In the last five years, the City has put forth a huge amount of effort to re-brand this "little valley" as Santa Clarita. Not Valencia. Not Saugus or Newhall or Awesometown or Canyon Country or the place by Magic Mountain (though that, I suspect, will always be the case), but as Santa Clarita. Every street sign in the City was replaced in 2010 with attractive signs with the City seal on the top. Nearly every freeway exit ramp now has an attractive Welcome to Santa Clarita Sign that looks like it was built by top-tier masons. Whereas Awesometown signs are gaudy, loud, bold and obnoxious, the City's effort to rebrand this place is subtle, clean, earthy and strategic.
And I think it's working. The plural of anecdote does not equal data, but working in the LA area, I've noticed the change. People now know what Santa Clarita is. They may still think it's way way out there, but when you talk to them, they know of the place. When you watch weather reports on TV, they don't usually show Valencia anymore on the weather map, and even crime stories by on-the-spot reporters are described as being shot in Santa Clarita. It's taken decades, but I think "Santa Clarita" is ascendent and "Valencia" is descendent and it's thanks in no small part to the City's immense efforts to re-brand this old and fragmented place through signage.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
- Between 2011 and 2012, Santa Clarita's population only grew 0.7% according to a new study by the Census Department. That's only about 1,208 new Claritans in one year! Astonishing how badly the recession hampered growth here, or maybe the Awesometown campaign failed spectacularly by actually discouraging people from moving here. Meanwhile, our much larger master-planned rival in the OC, Irvine, grew by 4.2%, or about 10,000 people in the same time. Mayber Myers is right to head to what Irvine officials say is the "safest, smartest, greenest city in America." Of course Irvine also has a real University which is the main driver of economics there. LA TIMES REPORT, MAP
- On the other hand: Terri Cain, president and CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, pens a strongly worded editorial accusing SCOPE and other "no growthers" of hampering job growth in Santa Clarita. Crain praises Newhall Land's Newhall Ranch project as the most reviewed and ecologically-sensitive project in California and says the recent setback for Canyon Country's Vista Canyon project (which SCOPE & Friends fought in court) is going to cost us 4,000 permanent jobs. Crain hopes CEQA will be reformed so SCOPE can't abuse it so much. A commenter on the column asks the obvious question: what kind of jobs? You can't build a family working at Juice-it-Up, or are we all supposed to open dry cleaners and nail salons? SIGNAL
- Finally some justice for Karla Brada: It's been a long time since we've heard an update about the murder of 30 year old Karla Brada, who was strangled to death in a Newhall home in early September 2011. Her live-in boyfriend, Eric Earle, who was released from custody early in the case due to "insufficient evidence" is now being tried for her murder. The medical examiner testified yesterday that she died of asphyxiation and a neighbor heard shouting all night long from Earle. SCVTalk did some background on Earle back in 2011; Jim Holt reports from the Court SIGNAL
- KHTS' Perry Smith explains why it took so long for Earle to be tried KHTS
- Just wow: Daily News with a great write-up about a "revolution" in the way the County -in league with CalTech engineers- has transformed Camp Joseph Scott, a juvenile girls' Saugus probation camp surrounded by a 20 foot barbed wire fence. The girls come from tough backgrounds, but after the County reformed the camp's structure and education, they're building robots and tending to gardens and aspiring to go to college. Camp Scott has now been renamed "The Road to Success Academy." DAILY NEWS, PHOTOS OF CAMP
- Speaking of schools, Albert Einstein organizers are rushing to stand up a new Albert Einstein Elementary School in the SCV in time for the fall, thanks to Acton/Agua Dulce's approval of a charter petition for them. The organizers held an informational meeting last night and will hold one next week, and they say there's a deadline to apply to the school of May 31. FACEBOOK
- Twitter user and education advocate @JuicyValencia talked to some parents who went to the AEA informational meeting. Hearsay at this point but she says the parents told her AEA has chosen a principal for the school. Read some of her tweets from yesterday HERE
- It's been nearly four years since Disney proposed building a new Studios at the Ranch project on its property in east Placerita Canyon, but the project is moving forward and will be "reviewed at a public hearing held by the LA County Department of Regional Planning" on June 19th. The project includes a dozen sound stages and Disney has been aggressive in selling it to locals, even sending flashy mailers to SCV homes in 2010. At build-out, the Signal says it is expected to generate 2,854 full or part time jobs. The City likes the project even though it's in unincorporated County area. SIGNAL
- 19 year old Canyon Country man arrested and accused of attempted murder after stabbing a 20 year old man in what is thought to be a gang-related dispute. SIGNAL
- 56 year old Acton man who allegedly shot a prominent 39 year old Acton will face formal arraignment charges in June. The victim, Christopher Demyen, leaves two kids and a pregnant wife behind; he was also owner of a local water delivery company and was studying law. The shooting resulted from a dispute over parking KHTS
- A Canyon Country man stands accused of donating stolen and inactivated Disney park passes to a charity raffle. But that's not all; Deputies say he posed as Stephen Disney, a member of the Disney family when he donated the passes, when his real name is Stephen Urquiduez. When the winner of the charity raffle went to the park and found the Disney pass was invalid, she called Deputies and reported the fraud. But Urquiduez told CBS2 it's all a misunderstanding, that someone named Stephen Disney lived at his home before he did. CBS2, SIGNAL
- Newhall woman found guilty of two counts of second degree murder in drunk-driving crash that killed two children in August 2011 near the California/Arizona border SIGNAL
- Eric Garcetti is the new Mayor of Los Angeles. He won by having a surprisingly strong show of support in the Valley and South Los Angeles reports the LA TIMES
- I was just joking around, but Buck McKeon actually asked kids at the Boys and Girls club if they wanted to grow up and build drones/airplanes during his visit there last week. SIGNAL
- Gotta love it: Southern California Congress members call the new Delta/Jerry Brown water plan a great way to supply "reliable, high quality water" to population-dense southern California. But Northern California Congressmembers call it "reckless and dismiss it as an expensive plumbing system." SACBEE
- My friend, co-blogger and BBQ enthusiast Mike Devlin with a great piece on how he and a few other BBQ artists chopped up the toppled Valley Oak tree at Bridgeport to make some great BBQ. SCVTALK
- Pure Time Ranger: Big John Boston tells us the names of Tataviam villages in the Castaic area, talks about an awesome tale of drunk bootleggers who, during prohibition, were smuggling spirits on an airplane from SF and became so ornery that the pilot made an emergency landing at Newhall Airport (Granary Square as you well know). Finally, did you know that a Santa Claritan starred as an Ewok in Return of the Jedi? TIME RANGER
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Here's the thing about oak trees, the Valley oak in particular. Our Valley oaks. It's the grandest of the American oaks, a California exclusive. The SCV is one of the southernmost regions for the valley oak, setting us apart from much of the LA area. So much so, it's the centerpiece of our city seal.
Our valley oaks are big, distinctive, centuries-old and slowly disappearing. Despite our best efforts, these trees aren't around like they used to be. As years go on, we'll see fewer still – the grand, old ones at least.
The majestic Valley oak enveloped by the Bridgeport Marketplace was especially remarkable (pic
). It was tangled and expansive. Its limbs would host the big oblong beehives you'd only see in a storybook. I lived across the street, with a clear view of the tree, before the shopping center and church were built. I remember when it was first cordoned off with orange fencing – a sign that said, "hey, we're not gonna touch this tree, but things are about to change."
A few weeks ago, its three scaffolding limbs collapsed overnight. The old tree fell apart, just like that
Long before we met formally, Jim Farley and I kicked around the idea of starting a barbecue team. For years. Despite its winning name (Down Low, Too Slow) and bipartisan spirit, it never came to be. But we still talk barbecue.
While solemnly acknowledging the loss of his neighborhood's finest oak, Jim suggested to me that lemons should be made of lemonade. From the fallen limbs, we could have oak for years.
Jim would later confess that he was joking, but the genius of the idea was self-evident. A few days later, he secured permission of the tree's owner: anyone who wanted some of this old tree was welcome to it.
Here's the thing about oak wood. It's strong. Solid. Trustworthy
And there's nothing better than an oak-fueled fire for barbecued beef. Be it Texas brisket or Santa Maria tri-tip, oak is the wood of choice among those who know better. It's pungent where hickory is sweet. It doesn't smell like bacon. It smells like work.
The problem here in Santa Clarita is there isn't (to my knowledge) a convenient source for oak chunks. Barbecues Galore gave up on them a long time ago, appeasing us with oak chips and chunks of lesser woods.
Along with Larry and Todd, we spent the hottest hours of Saturday sawing, splitting and chopping this stubborn oak, yielding hundreds of pounds of barbecue-ready chunks. Jim, ever the gracious host, split the day with a lunch of pulled pork sandwiches from pork shoulders that he smoked overnight with some hickory and cherry (again, pork, not beef).
The work ended with a satisfying sense of accomplishment, a tinge of shame (after all, what kind of fool labors for hours for an improved wood smoke flavor?), and a nagging impatience. I needed to use this oak and I couldn't wait.
Sunday was the going-away picnic for Jeremiah Perez, who is moving to Florida for his next assignment. Some brisket was in order. I tried an experimental technique, cooking it sous vide at 131°F for 60+ hours, followed by a couple of hours in the smoker (the goal: medium-rare brisket). It was a fitting tribute to SFC Perez to send him off with some Valley oak barbecue.
COC Farmers' Market beef cooked over our local oak. Can you be more Claritan?
So how was it? The brisket was more medium than medium rare, but it still had a steak-like texture that made you go "whoa."
The oak was oak – exactly what we asked it to be.
Top picture ©2007 Jeff Wilson
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
- The poke heard 'round the valley: Following my posting of a false rumor that a City Councilperson had been involved in some kind of altercation, the City & Sheriff's Station issued a joint press release explicitly denying any Council or staff involvement in the "poking" incident. What actually happened was a dispute between a man and a woman over the AT&T cell phone towers, which was a hot item on the Council's menu last week. Mea culpas all around. SIGNAL, KHTS
- Assemblyman Steve Knight, who represents a portion of the SCV, has asked the State's Regional Water Quality Control Board for an extension of the deadline facing the SCV over the four options we have on the chloride problem. KHTS And Ray Kutylo over at SCV LTE says Assemblyman Scott Wilk and Steve Fox will hold a town hall meeting about the same issue on June 15. LTE GROUP
- Colt Doherty and Thomas Vensko were racing each other down Sand Canyon road at over 100 mph and driving on the wrong side of the road the night that Doherty's Mustang crashed into an oak tree, killing his passenger and friend Dakota Demott. Also revealed in the indictment against the alleged speed racers is that Doherty was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. SIGNAL
- Castaic resident and LAPD officer Miguel Schiappapietra pleads not guilty to two counts of child molestation. The officer is married and has children and allegedly lured two girls under the age of ten into his home on Saturday. SIGNAL
- The VIA business group held a luncheon with 120 "movers and shakers" to talk about the importance of water in the SCV. No real description of what went on but Ed Colley, board member CLWA, fielded "questions about current controversial issues such as the agency's recent purchase of the Valencia Water Company. " SIGNAL
- Wow, I didn't know we had an authentic SCV-based Motorcycle Club, ala Sons of Anarchy (which by the way is shot in large part in the SCV). The Boozefighters MC, based out of their clubhouse on Sierra Highway (where else?), was established in 1946 and aids military veterans. Warm Signal coverage of a recent $2500 donation the MC made to a disabled Marine Corps veteran who suffered multiple "after-effects" of his 2005 tour of Iraq. SIGNAL
- HikeSantaClarita.com becomes a real resource: The City is well known for finding a verb or adjective and placing it before SantaClarita.com, and most of the time Verb/AdjectiveSantaClarita.com are snooze-fest websites, the digital equivalent of pamphlets handed out at city events. But HikeSantaClarita.com is actually interesting, with Dr. Norman Herr from CSUN answering questions in blog-style format about SCV wilderness areas. In a post last week he talks about the different types of oak trees and how old they may be (some in excess of 600 years old!). Also the City's maps of open space areas have been greatly enhanced with both big PDFs and zoomable, interactive maps. HIKE SANTA CLARITA.COM
- Schism on the LTE Facebook page: Following the banning of a well-known member of the first SCV LTE group, some two dozen Facebookers have broken off and set up a rival REAL SANTA CLARITA LETTER TO THE EDITOR group that plays a little more to the under 60 crowd of SCVers who have a sense of humor and/or irony.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
My source was wrong, and I ran with it anyway. I'll own the failure. No city council member was charged with an assault or battery last week. After asking the Sheriff's Department directly they've released an official version of what happened near City Hall last week (referencing the incident number that I ran with in today's Daily Brief):
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are looking to clarify concerns raised by local residents regarding a battery that allegedly took place at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Boulevard, during a City Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at approximately 7:30pm.
The reported incident did not involve a city of Santa Clarita official, a Santa Clarita City Councilmember, or anyone employed by the city.
A 57 year-old male, resident of Santa Clarita, became agitated after public comments were made by a 41-year old female, resident of Santa Clarita, during the public comment segment of the City Council Meeting.
The male allegedly confronted the woman after the two parties gave differing opinions regarding the proposed location of potential new cell phone towers in Santa Clarita.
After making a remark to the woman, the man allegedly “poked her” aggressively with his finger several times on her left arm. The victim later contacted the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and filed an incident report (ref -06742).
The names of the parties involved are not being released at this time due to an active investigation and the fact that no arrests have been made. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration at a later date.
No further information is being released at this time.
I regret misleading people with my blog entry and will be more careful in the future.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
- Still working to get details on the rumored assault or battery charges made by someone against a City Council member. There definitely was an incident last Tuesday night at/near City Hall as multiple crime-mapping sites show, and it occurred after what was a brief City Council meeting. Interesting that the Signal's crime blotter page, which lists arrests of locals, has no entries from May 14, isn't it? SIGNAL. The Facebookers chide me for posting a nasty rumor with no source and then speculate themselves.
- LAPD officer and Castaic Resident arrested on charges of child molestation. The LAPD Officer was arrest by LASD Deputies at his home Saturday night and is being charged with lewd acts upon a child, two girls in fact, both of them under 10 years old. KHTS, SIGNAL. CBS 2
- Colt Doherty, and Thomas Vensko, both of Canyon Country, plead not guilty yesterday on charges of second degree murder in the street racing death of their friend, Dakota Demott, who was the passenger in Doherty's Mustang when it slammed into a giant oak tree on Sand Canyon last February. SIGNAL
- Juan Dubon, the 30 year old man who allegedly shot his father dead last Thursday night, was arraigned yesterday at San Fernando Court. KHTS
- Invsetigators believe they know the identity of Jane Doe 23, the Guatemalan woman whose body was found wrapped in a tarp off San Francisquito Canyon road last month. A cororner official told the Signal they found the 30 year old woman's nephew and are trying to match dental records. For whatever reason Jim Holt doesn't give us the name of the woman and cops still say they think no foul play was involved in her death. SIGNAL
- White Ribbon week begins as High School commencement ceremonies are underway. Hart's is on Wednesay, Saugus' is on Thursday and so on and so forth. Amidst all the celebration and hollering that occurs near Cougar Stadium and especially the mall area over the next week, officials hope the White Ribbon will remind former high schoolers of the kinetic consequences of careless motoring. KHTS
- COASTER GUY blogger excited as first Full Thottle cars are placed on new super-coaster tracks. He speculates that a full test-run will happen soon; right now they're probably just doing a "pull through, where they literally pull the car very slowly along the entire track checking for clearances and make sure all of the sensors line up where they are supposed to." COASTER GUY
- Future Drone Drivers of America: great City Briefs pic of Buck McKeon, a Northrop Grumman suit, and a giant novelty check surrounded by dozens of smiling boys and girls at the Boys and Girls club last week. CITY BRIEFS
- iTax Cheat: Apple has successfully avoided pay $76 billion in federal corporate taxes by using shell companies with no employees in many different countries to hide their funds. The scale and cleverness of the tax cheat "went beyond anything most experts had ever seen," says the NY TIMES
- Landmark days for equality: An LTE encouraging the Boy Scouts of America to accept gay children and adults into the ranks of the famous character-building organization? In the Signal? Indeed! LTE
- "Please send us your prayers," an official for the City Hall of Moore Oklahoma tells the NY TIMES
Monday, May 20th, 2013
A crazy weekend! Let's jump in
- An intoxicated 31 year old man came home Thursday night, got in an argument with his father, and allegedly shot and killed him. Detectives suspected the son immediately and put out a warning to the public to be on the lookout for him, but all was taken care of by Saturday afternoon, when an LASD Deputy conducted a traffic stop and arrested Juan Dubon after a public tip. DAILY NEWS, CBS2, SIGNAL
- The Signal identified the slain father. He was 53 year old Juan Mejia of Canyon Country. SIGNAL
- No details yet but I hear a certain City Council member has been charged with battery after touching/poking someone. When I learn more, you'll hear it.
- Seemingly out of nowhere, a national group called Critical Resistance staged a protest near Pitchess Detention Center to protest expansion of the facility. But the County has no plans to expand the facility. SIGNAL
- Luke On the Money with more details about the Hart District's desire to dissolve its Facilities Foundation. But curiously few quotes from FF people, though there is hope they would cooperate. One FF official says the FF is its own private corporation. SIGNAL
- Local economy: Employment Development Department of state says jobless rate in Santa Clarita fell to 5.7 percent in April. City Manager Ken Striplin attributes it to "a strengthening local economy" and "more activity in real estate." SIGNAL
- As if to confirm, Jana Adkins at the Signal reports on KB Home's opening of their new "Charleston At River Village" subdivision. It's part of the Master Plan even though NL didn't build it. SIGNAL
- Fun quotes from Kellar and the like on the state legislation they were voting on last week. Of the Homeless Person Bill of Rights, Kellar called it "Nuts, just nuts." SIGNAL
- Speaking of nuts, Mayor Kellar and drug rehab expert Cary Quashen "are adding their voices to a growing outcry about retailer Urban Outfitter's "Rx" line of drinking flasks, glasses and accessories designed to look like prescription pill bottles." KHTS
- CalArts hosts wild commencement ceremony. SIGNAL. But words don't do it justice. Head over to local photog and Cal Arts alum Scott Groller's site to check out pics from the wild graduation. GROLLER
- Going to be windy today- up to 45 mph gusts expected DAILY NEWS
- Savia, the mission church by Real Life Church in Valencia, opened its doors to the public on Saturday. An executive pastor describes Savia's mission: "The original vision was to be a hub where people could find help. Someone could walk in here and have several types of needs. It's a one stop shop, they can get help and get healing." And free WiFi and coffee. KHTS
- Bossert likes when the City Council votes unanimously, as it did when it said it supported CEMEX. BEACON
- Signal wonders what's wrong with Main Street (not the Newhall one), which it calls America's vital economic engine. It blames everyone, Democrat and Republican, and says government needs to loosen regulations, and do more financial and tax incentives. SIGNAL
- Apparently Myers had a column this weekend calling out the hypocrisy of local Republicans who want to slash and burn entitlements at the federal level, but are first in line when it comes to handouts from the City or County. The article was so spot-on it made Petz lose sleep and it looks like the Signal pulled it. FACEBOOK LTE
Friday, May 17th, 2013
- They're building a private school with our money: After years of denials and defeat, the Einstein Academy won approval from the Acton/Agua Dulce Unified School District to operate an elementary charter school in Santa Clarita last night. AEA supporters were jubilant on FACEBOOK. Perry Smith had a good write-up before the vote was taken; it looks like AEA has promised AAUSD to build a school in their District as well as the SCV, within one year, and AAUSD will get 1% of the funding that goes to Einstein's elementary school. KHTS
- And Smith has a write-up from early this AM, describing the Board's decision-making process. The vote was 3-2 in favor of Einstein and one board member accused SCV Districts of stealing kids and "a million dollars a year" from AAUSD, while another Board member said he wouldn't appreciate an SCV District approving a charter school to operate in the Acton/Agua Dulce district boundaries. KHTS
- In other school news, the once-controversial land acquisition/speculation entity known as the SCV Facilities Foundation may be dissolved now that the Hart District has broken ground on Castaic High. The FF as you may recall would buy/sell/swap and invest in land around the SCV in partnership with the Hart District. It acquired several properties for Cataic High, and now the District wants two of them back as the District doesn't see a need for new high schools "in the next few years." So what does the Facilities Foundation say about this? Vague lawyer-speak; they're happy to take input from the Hart District and what's best for the District. Adding to the uncomfortable mix is that Hart Board Member Joe Messina is President of the Facilities Foundation KHTS
- San Fernando Valley Business Journal says Amgen Tour of CA stage that ended in Santa Clarita drew some 10,000 spectators along the route, 5,000 of which crowded the finish line. As for local economic impact, a City spokesman says 700 hotel rooms were booked during the event (all or nearly all available hotel rooms in the SCV), Teams stayed overnight in Palmdale too. SFVBJ
- This is what Boydston is good at: The link from the Signal's coverage of Wednesday night's chloride meeting in which Sanitation officials got Boydstoned is finally up. I love how Jim Holt paints the scene, showing Boydston's flair for the dramatic as he held up the "binders of science" and then read from them about chloride's impact on crops down river, prosecuting the bureaucrats until they "tapped out" as MMA fans would say, admitting the binders of science proved nothing whatsoever about crops downstream and our wastewater. SIGNAL
- That other water issue: An Administrative Law judge from the Mighty Public Utilities Commission came down to the SCV to adjudicate CLWA's rapid holiday takeover of Valencia Water Company and VWC's subsequent (although completely unrelated the company alleges) rate hike on ratepayers. On one side you had Maria Gutzeit, Lynne Plambeck, and Friends of the Santa Clara river, on the other, corporate execs and CLWA officials. The Judge told attendees he appreciated their passion but really, "What we want to do is focus on what does or does not get into the PUC bucket," meaning the admin law judge wants to get the hell out of town quickly and pass the complaint to the Courts. SIGNAL
- Signal reporter Jana Adkins has had a few good pieces this week on local business and the real estate market. She concludes today with a piece about the home improvement industry in the SCV. She talked with one electrician who says business is up 10% this year. SIGNAL
- The suspect in the shooting death of an Acton man on Wednesday has been arrested and named by the LASD. 56 year old Acton man Scott Shipley has been booked on murder charges at the Palmdale Sheriff's Station. The LASD reports that the argument the two men got into was over parking. Of all things. Parking. SCV BEACON
- New TNT reality show to feature two attractive 20-something females from Santa Clarita. KHTS
- When will the canis on canis violence end? First it was a brazen daylight coyote attack on a dog being walked on leash by a six year old girl, and now, in Sand Canyon, an unleashed Pit bull attacked a dog through a fence, biting its leg off. The pit bull has been captured by Animal Control and will be euthanized. SIGNAL
- Speaking of animals, a year or so ago, Congressman McKeon curiously teamed up with Democrat Rep. Loretta Sanchez to craft a new law prohibiting individuals from owning big cats, like lions and tigers and such. That bill is now being debated in Congress and McKeon explained his reason for pushing for the law. "No matter how many times people try, big cats such as lions, tigers and cheetahs are impossible to domesticate for personal possession," he said. Always remember that behind his hawkish views on foreign policy, his immense power as chair of the HASC, his Godfather-like role in SCV politics, and his impeccable suits & personal style is a man who holds an Animal Husbandry degree from BYU. So he knows that of which he speaks. AGENCE FRANCE PRESS
- McKeon also talked about the House GOP's unending push to investigate the Benghazi disaster, the IRS scandal ("it's causing a huge reaction turmoil here in Washington" McKeon said) and of course sequestration, which he said Republicans and Democrats are no closer to finding a resolution. SIGNAL
- California's forthcoming health care exchange -the integral free-market component of Obamacare- may also serve as a voter registration hub for Californians, similar to the DMV's Motor Voter program. The exchange, which will operate as a marketplace where individuals can shop, compare and buy health care coverage, goes into effect next year. Republicans don't like the idea, with State Senatore Bob Huff essentially admitting that it would assist poor people to vote for Democrats. "It's a systematic attempt to empower people more predisposed to vote their way," he told the BEE.
- Great BEE article on how Woodlands, a city near Sacramento, is planning to dissolve their at-large voting system and move to District-based elections to avoid lawsuits. Slightly under half of the City's 55,000 residents are Latino, yet none of the current five Councilmembers are Latino. The BEE report also shows that four of the five Councilmembers live within just a few blocks of each other in less dense, more rural areas of the town where Latinos make up fewer than 20% of the population. Kind of reminds you of the City of Santa Clarita, doesn't it? The City Attorney told the Council in March that Woodlands is vulnerable to a lawsuit under California's Voting Rights Act for its at-large system. BEE
- Larry M, prominent Facebooker and gourmand, gets a sneak peak inside Newhall Refinery, the new gastro-pub opening in Old Town Newhall that has all the local foodies abuzz. "Word is that they are opening no later than June 1," Larry says. FACEBOOK
- Lady Ducayne reviews Rita's Italian Ice, just in time for summer. LADY DUCAYNE
- Petz snaps a pic of a new landmark City of Santa Clarita sign with "Welcome to Saugus" note underneath. The new landmark is at Bouquet Canyon near the Methodist church. Reaction to the sign is mixed; Petz seems to love it, our own Mike D.(who has posted many times about mental maps of the SCV) says it's significant in that it establishes where Saugus officially begins (cf Where in the SCV? Saugus Cafe), and others are glad that the vacant dirt lot has been beautified. I give props to the City; these little beautification and signage projects are cheap and effective. Thumbs up to Saugus, the SCV's sleepiest community. FACEBOOK LTE
- Begging your pardon for forgetting to link to yesterday's TIME RANGER, it was a decent one. On this date in 1933, an archaeologist from the LA Museum, and AB Perkins, the first SCVer to really chronicle and explore and write histories about the SCV, discovered the Mission San Francisco granary near Magic Mountain. The granary was used to store grains and such and was sort of an outpost of the San Fernando Mission. Sadly what was left of the outpost was bulldozed decades ago; now a sign sits along the Old Road across from the CHP station explaining the history of the area. Finally on this date in 1983, President Ronald Reagan rolled up in a convoy of black cars to Cal Arts during commencement ceremonies. Go find out what happened at TIME RANGER
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
- A 39 year old male was shot and killed yesterday afternoon in Acton following a verbal & physical dispute which escalated to the point at which "the suspect produced a handgun and shot the victim once in the upper torso." Deputies have a suspect, a 56 year old white male, but he's not in custody at this time according to the LASD press release. Not many more details at THE SIGNAL
- A 59 year old Newhall woman is on trial in Arizona with two counts of second degree murder against her. Rebecca Loya allegedly was driving drunk when she collided with a minivan. The collision claimed the lives of two children SIGNAL
- City Council meeting wrap: The City Council voted symbolically to embrace the Feinstein/Boxer CEMEX bill, rejected the Homeless Person's Bill of Rights Assembly bill (Boydston saying it would be "very good for lawyers")& the green-waste recycling assembly bill, and voted to support Enterprise Zone reform. All symbolic votes really; it turns out the real action on Tuesday night was about a new AT&T cell phone tower. Residents in the neighborhood of the tower protested at the meeting. BEACON
- Speaking of symbolic votes, County Supes have voted to support SB 405, a state senate bill that would ban "single-use plastic bags across California." I'm sure Antonovich opposed, but sooner or later, the City's retailers will have to comply just as retailers in unincorporated County areas do now. SCVNEWS
- The Hart District has decided appoint a board member rather than hold an expensive election to replace Paul Strickland. So let the jockeying begin. Who wants to become an official Board Member, with title, status, fame, for at least five months? Step on up; Mike speculated on this late last week. SIGNAL
- Councilman TimBen Boydston called the chloride issue hanging over the SCV like a dagger "a scam" last night during another Sanitation district information meeting. Boydston even got a Sanitation official to admit that downstream crops aren't being harmed by the excess chloride in our water. No Signal link but Petz was there and called the turnout disappointing. FACEBOOK
- The taxpayer-funded SCVEDC is actually producing some interesting stats these days on the local real estate market. Did you know during the SCV boom years, some 4,029 residential units were permitted to be built? A "healthy" SCV real estate market would see 2500-3000 new homes per year, and California at large would see about 200k homes built per year. But only 300 homes were built in 2012, and 2013 is expected to be "far under normal levels." Good details on office & retail vacancies as well SIGNAL
- Squeaky wheel gets the grease, but only during certain hours: The Old Road north of Rye Canyon Road is finally being repaved after years of neglect by the County's Public Work Department, but DPW is doing the work during daylight hours and merchants are complaining its cut their business by 75 to 80%. So Supervisor Antonovich put a halt to that; I guess the road crews will have to repave at night earning time and a half or something? SIGNAL
- Bye bye Amgen ToC, thanks for the visit. SIGNAL, KHTS
- Blogger unearths ancient (1974) map of Magic Mountain COASTER GUY
- Why is Assemblyman Scott Wilk hosting a "Facebook Small Business Roadshow" to teach entrepreneurs how to leverage Facebook and other social media technologies to enhance their businesses? The ad for the event says attendees will learn "best practices for Facebook advertising for small businesses" and "best practices for posting to your page." Am I missing something here? Why is our Assemblyman -an officer of the state government- pitching for Facebook, lending his name, title and even the Assembly's Seal to the ad? I'm sure there's a ton of SEO consultants out there who don't appreciate having to compete with Assemblyman Wilk in the small business social media marketing sector. FACEBOOK
- Hilarious Facebook thread about yet another misspelling or grammatical boo-boo in Old Town Newhall. LTE
- Is Gary Horton becoming a Republican? The Valencia columnist compares the Golden State with the Lone Star State and says, all things considered, he could live in Texas. He'd love to save money as they have no income tax in Texas and running businesses is easier there. BBQ is obviously superior in Texas. But being super-friendly to businesses comes with a cost, perhaps not on business owners, but on regular folks. For instance, Texas also leads the nation by having more uninsured people (24% of the population, or about 6 million) than any other state SIGNAL
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
If this Facebook screed
[link since removed]* is to be believed, the Valencia Cold Stone Creamery is feeling some yog-hurt from the neighboring frozen yogurt spot, Planet Yogurt. So much so, that they've allegedly taken to vandalizing Planet Yogurt's temporary signs around the strip mall they share, the Valencia Promenade.
The full text is not for the feint of heart: "terror-tactics," "vandalized and kicked in the dirt," "under attack," "arrests will be made," and worst of all: "Santa Clarita Magazine."
Cold Stone's product is pretty odd as far as ice cream goes. Their gimmick is mixing candies and/or baked goods into a gob of ice cream, to order. What their ice cream lacks in flavor, it makes up for in elasticity. A wonder of science. They've also been serving frozen yogurt for the past few years.
Planet Yogurt sells Dannon's YoCream frozen yogurt and if you can't tell, the owner is evangelical about his product. But he too is known to serve up his frozen dairy desserts with a heavy hand (e.g. Larry M's yelp
Formed of strip malls and paseos, Valencia isn't used to this level of suburban disruption. Usually the big corps mange to squash the dreams of quasi-competitiors in the same strip mall long before a lease is signed. It's also unusual to see a manager of a national chain take it to the streets like this (allegedly).
I can't imagine what might come next. Temporary street closures? This isn't the Valencia I know.
UPDATE: it appears that the Facebook post have since been removed. It was fun while it lasted.
I'll make sure Rick Chambers gets that changed.... full comment »
Greetings I am so delighted I found your webpage, I really found you by error, while I was
... full comment »
Alison | a girl defloured writes:
Um...hello! That looks fantastic. We're getting ready to break in our new smoker this weekend. I... full comment »
Don Ricketts writes:
Channel 5's weather maps show "Valencia" not Santa Clarita.... full comment »
And just imagine when the cycle completes, and Devlin and his friends flush the toilet, the... full comment »
Mr. J-to-the-Wilson: one of the handful of poems written about Santa Clarita also involves signs. ... full comment »
Indeed, the overtones of carnal communion with the very Stuff of Clarita are not lost on... full comment »
Fallen and decaying oak can be the new reclaimed wood. A hipster oak, if you will.... full comment »
Think of it like this. Mike and his fellow meat-eaters just consumed a bit of the SCV itself, as... full comment »
I personally think that allowing oaks to slowly and gracefully decay--supporting birds and insects... full comment »
Joking about drones! So why hasn't Congressman Howard McKeon, as Chair of the House Armed... full comment »
So, what were you banned for this latest time?... full comment »
Right that was the first time I was banned. I have now been banned a second time.
Whatever... full comment »