Leon Worden

20 Predictions for the New Year

Leon Worden · January 1, 1997

Happy New Year! It can't come a minute too soon.

You don't need me to remind you how difficult 1996 was. This town lost a lot of great people who were near and dear to it. The dawn of a new year signals rebirth, and I for one am more than ready.

1996 did have its bright spots, though. Our representatives in Washington killed off a proposed mega-dump in Elsmere Canyon, while our representatives at City Hall dumped an overpaid Hussey. We reopened the pioneer oil town of Mentryville to the public. Our City Council embraced the wishes of local residents and adopted a revitalization strategy for Old Town Newhall. Again, ours was the fifth safest city in the nation.

The Newhall Land and Farming Company opened its power center on the west side of the freeway. Sure, three or four of The Signal's favorite letter writers might not put that in the plus column. But the thousands of people who vote with their feet every weekend think the Marketplace is just great.

As usual, Santa Claritans put Republicans in state and federal offices. We approved Prop. 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, and for the next four years, Bob Dole is President of the SCV.

What's on the horizon? A prestigious double-18 hole golf course is coming to Sand Canyon. An Edwards multiplex cinema will anchor a major new retail center in Canyon Country. A much-awaited central park is coming to Saugus, thanks to the cooperation of our city government and the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

Now, I'm not big on making predictions. I haven't made them in years past. But what the heck. Let's have some fun.

  1. Prop. 209 will be tied up in court all year. It will become law, but not in 1997.

  2. By year's end, it will look like state Attorney General Dan Lungren is going to be our next governor.

  3. Bipartisanship and consensus will become the watchwords of Congress at one level. At another level, investigations into individual improprieties will reach new lows and will bore and disgust the American people.

  4. Gold bullion prices will finish the year within 10 percent of where they are today ($371 an ounce).

  5. A grass-roots movement will rekindle the nation's war on drugs.

  6. Most people will have forgotten all about Ebonics by this time next year.

  7. The local economy will remain strong. Businesses in the Valencia Industrial Center will prosper, and the Commerce Center will attract more heavy hitters.

  8. Our City Council will formalize a redevelopment plan for downtown Newhall by the time the kids return to school next fall. The plan will comply with all laws, and all affected agencies will give it their blessing.

  9. No new landfill will come to the SCV.

  10. Multi-track year-round education will make headlines again locally. Parents will come unglued, and it won't happen.

  11. Thirteen and a half percent of eligible voters, give or take one percent, will cast ballots in local school and water board elections next November. And those who don't vote will still complain.

  12. Railroad Avenue will be improved, but no major new road will be built this year — or even started — to serve current residents.

  13. Debate over river, trail and road issues on the Newhall Ranch will fill space in these opinion pages.

  14. Hart's football team will take the CIF sectional title.

  15. Six Flags California will break its all-time attendance record.

  16. So will the Cowboy Poetry Festival at Melody Ranch. (First weekend in April; call 255-4910 today to reserve tickets.)

  17. The Signal will break its all-time subscriber record. (Call 259-1000 if you swiped your neighbor's paper this morning.)

  18. Whether or not he regains control of it, Norm Gray will come out a winner in the feud over his Ford dealership.

  19. SCOPE (the political group, not the mouthwash) will cease to exist. At least in name.

  20. John Boston will ride his horse naked in the next Fourth of July Parade.

Well, there they are, my 20 predictions for the new year. I think I'll use outcome-based education standards and give myself an "A" if I get 10 right.

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Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident. His commentary appears on Wednesdays.

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