Leon Worden

1999: My worst year yet for predictions

By Leon Worden
Friday, January 7, 2000

ooking back, 1999 was a rather full year. A lot of things happened that the old crystal ball didn't reveal at the end of '98. If you had told me I would remarry during the year, or that we'd be expecting a child (never after 35, I always told myself), or that my father wouldn't live to see either Y2K or the birth of his grandson in a few months, God willing, I wouldn't have believed you.
    I'm a week late in making my annual predictions for the New Year, which is unfortunate, because my first one— that Councilwoman Jan Heidt wouldn't seek re-election— already came true this week.
    Here's a look at the screwy predictions I made for 1999. Each one is worth a maximum of 10 points, and bonus points would be worth 5, but I don't think I earned any.
    1. The Senate will not remove Bill Clinton from office. 10 points.
    2. The Dow Jones industrial average will top 10,000 by June. Contrarily, high-flying Internet stocks will see a correction. The Dow topped 10,000 early in the year and marched on to 11,000, but the techs never lost their luster. Half credit, 5 points.
    3. By year's end, a Republican woman will be a real contender for president. Liz Dole let us down. 0 points.
    4. A Nordstrom deal will be signed. Bonus points if it's for less than $20 million. The Newhall Land and Farming Co. has signed a deal with Nordstrom to bring a department store here that would include a $20 million kick-back in sales tax revenue, but that's not what I meant. I meant a deal would be signed with the city of Santa Clarita. And now that those talks have stalled, the whole deal is on ice. 0 points.
    5. Auto Row will capture a higher percentage of SCV car buyers. Hopes were high at the end of last year, but they haven't materialized. I haven't seen any new numbers, but my gut tells me Creekside Road isn't doing as well overall as it was a few years ago. 0 points.
    6. Whittaker Corp., the (former) proponent of the Porta Bella housing project, will be bought out. 10 points.
    7. No new landfills or crosstown roads again this year. No-brainer. 10 points.
    8. Frank Ferry will be appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. In what was a surprise move to some, the City Council voted 3-2 to nominate Ferry to the MTA board. But as loyal Signal readers know, Councilwoman Jill Klajic sabotaged Santa Clarita's chances for direct representation when she opposed Ferry's nomination in writing and broadcast it to other nearby cities. Santa Clarita looked foolish, and the seat went to Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts, my step-uncle. 0 points.
    9. At least one of the two 18-hole public golf courses in Canyon Country will open. Still waiting. 0 points.
    10. The Santa Clarita Repertory Theatre will stage performances in downtown Newhall. The Canyon Theatre Guild will have a new home there, at least on paper. Bonus points if they're already performing in Newhall by then. Boy, talk about lucky wording. The Rep “staged” a College of the Canyons performance at the Rep's new home in Newhall, although the Rep hasn't yet put on a performance of its own there. The Canyon Theatre Guild has a new home in Newhall on paper. 10 points, no bonus.
    Finally, this bonus question didn't count against me if it was wrong:
    11. SCOPErs Mike Kotch and Lynne Plambeck will marry. They traded seats on the Newhall County Water Board, but so far they haven't traded marriage vows.
    So... the tally is 45 points on a scale of 100, which would put me in the Hall of Fame if this were baseball. But it isn't. It's my worst set of predictions yet. I scored 70 points for 1998, and 68.5 for 1997.
    Here, then, are my 10 for 2000:
    1. Al Gore will not be the next president of the United States.
    2. The Newhall Land and Farming Co. will announce plans for a major commercial project next to Magic Mountain, west of I-5. It will be sort of like Universal CityWalk.
    3. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital will be purchased and service will improve, thanks in part to the nurses' new decision-making powers.
    4. The nation's unemployment rate will inch back up to 4.5 percent.
    5. Gold will pass the $340 mark sometime during the year.
    6. Golden Valley High School won't happen as planned.
    7. Cameron Smyth will be elected to the Santa Clarita City Council.
    8. Perennial candidate Lynne Plambeck, who has run for everything from water board to county supervisor, will throw her hat in the City Council ring.
    9. Ex-councilman Carl Boyer, who has toyed with the idea of running again, will not.
    10. I will seriously consider running for City Council myself.
    Leon Worden is The Signal's business editor.

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