Our little valley seems at times to be such a tranquil and civil place, but beneath the
surface things are ready to bubble up into geysers of smoke and sensation. Expect
headlines to flow before Halloween from the whispers and rustlings:
The directors of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment (SCOPE)
have so irritated the residents of Sand Canyon and Stevenson Ranch for interfering in their
private affairs regarding bridges that said residents are petitioning the manufacturers of the
mouthwash SCOPE to ask the Santa Clarita organization to stop suing everybody because
they're giving the mouthwash a bad name.
Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy might run for another term. If she does, the campaign
posters will depict her lovely Betty Grable legs with this election slogan below: "Jo
Anne can still go the extra mile for you!" Councilwoman Jill Klajic has asked her friend,
Skip Newhall, to take the picture. Skip's an authority on pretty legs.
Tom Lee of Newhall Land and Farming called Keith Pritsker recently. Keith is a self-appointed
nemesis of all projects proposed by the Land Company and is presently reviewing
the 40-pound document the company issued as the EIR for Newhall Ranch. Tom offered
to purchase Keith a new home in New Mexico and get him a job exploring lost canyons
searching for the ghost of Che Guevara.
City Manager George Caravalho finally came up with a workable definition of
"eminent domain" that should please the merchant owners in downtown Newhall
who fear what revitalization might do to them. "Eminent domain," George says,
"is the process a government entity has a limited but absolute prerogative to consider
using when groups and people, who must move at some point in the distant future, have
not voluntarily agreed to do so by date certain when the City Council has defined 'voluntary'
and established a long-term but indefinite schedule for relocation." George has asked
Assistant City Manager Ken Pulskamp to meet with merchants to explain the city's
Signal columnist John Boston promised to give Senator Dianne Feinstein my expensive
black Stetson hat with a silver band around it if she would stop accepting campaign
contributions from proponents of the Elsmere Dump. Congressman Buck McKeon, who is
a Republican and whose brothers currently operate Howard and Phil's Western Wear store
at no net profit, promised John that he could even throw in silver spurs and some free
donkey riding lessons if the senator, who is a Democrat, began to promote his bill to
prevent the Forest Service from turning Elsmere Canyon into the biggest, smelliest dump in
the United States.
Ron Winkler of the Newhall School District Board of Trustees stopped by Monday night
to scold me for writing last Sunday's satirical column on a recent board meeting I attended.
"It was too personal," says Ron, "and it was not entertaining. You've got to
stop picking on Mike McGrath." I tried to explain that my role as a political and social
columnist is to poke at, provoke, promote, confront, affront, vex, annoy, champion, defend,
energize and otherwise tell stories and make clear. Some readers cheer while others sneer.
And so. . . .
The Lombardi Pumpkin Festival opens this weekend. We understand that Newhall
School District bureaucrats, angered over the fact that parents from Stevenson Ranch School
hold the district responsible for overcrowding the new school, have submitted an entry for
the scarecrow contest that depicts the superintendent, Mike McGrath, dressed as Henry III
holding up an ax over the neck of some cowboy wearing a black Stetson who looks like
me. The caption reads: "This is how NSD deals with upstarts and rabble
Leaders of the Valencia Summit have petitioned the Stevenson Ranch Town Council to
annex into The Ranch. The Summiteers said they would do anything to secure approval
from annexation. Alan Zada, Steve Tannehill and Loren Goetz even agreed to pay Mello-Roos
taxes. Vice President of the Town Council, Rainette Lyon, said that "Chances of
approving the petition appeared likely, if the Summiteers also agreed to eat Spam and tacos
with their quiche, caviar and English tea."
My wife Suzanne was with me last Saturday when I went into Sears to buy jeans. After
I tried on ten pairs that didn't fit just right, she asked: "What's wrong, couldn't find a
pair of 32s that you fit into? Why don't you admit you're a 34 and get out of denial?"
I didn't buy any. I said I was going to lose some weight. Suzanne then observed:
"Yep, when pigs fly! You'll first have to stop eating bacon and potato chips with your
Cream of Wheat every morning."
Well, while these disquieting tales of Stepford continue to bubble up on the valley floor, we
can somehow take comfort in knowing that Randy Wicks is at his desk someplace in heaven
drawing cartoons about all of us and our unending foibles. Don't you wish you could see
his pictures? And everyone said: Amen!
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Dr. Richard Rioux is a resident of Stevenson
Ranch. His commentary appears on Sundays.