Leon Worden

A little bit of weirdness is OK

Leon Worden · January 15, 1997

Sappnin, holmes? I be flyin to Oakland on Friday, so ah's brushin up onda jive. Er, Ebonics. Whatever.

If the first two weeks are any indication, 1997 is going to be one really weird year.

We've got little kids getting their heads munched on by Cabbage Patch Snack Time Cannibal Dolls from Hell. We've got gender-sensitized Pirates of the Emerging Caribbean Nations. We'll soon see Superman shed his red, yellow and blue superhero cape in favor of the latest in nouveau Rainbow Coalition chic.

The whole country has gone berserk. And that's a good thing.

It's good on two levels. One: It's clear that the public has had its fill of political correctness. No longer can school districts or other governmental entities get away with doing stupid things -- like punishing a little boy for innocently kissing a little girl -- without provoking a huge public outcry.

Two: It's good that we don't seem to have anything better to talk about than the ridiculous and the sublime. Things could be a lot worse, and we could have some really serious stuff to discuss. But they aren't, and we don't.

We're not at war. We're not in a depression. Quite the opposite. We're not in the midst of a presidential crisis. True, our President is involved in a variety of illicit affairs, our House Speaker is embroiled in controversy and our First Lady will likely be indicted this year on charges stemming from the mishandling of confidential FBI files. But those things don't directly affect most people.

Here in Santa Clarita, things look downright rosy. We've got a flurry of new hotels and golf courses and a host of other economic development projects on the horizon that will surely usher in a whole new wave of growth and prosperity to our valley.

Yes, there are specific concerns with the planned Newhall Ranch development on the west side of the freeway that must be addressed. But those issues can be resolved by reasonable people through forthright negotiations, and they won't impede the ultimate build-out of the area.

An aside: Today is the 122nd anniversary of the day Henry Mayo Newhall purchased the Rancho San Francisco, so you might say today is the Farming Company's birthday. Happy b-day, ranching dudes.

We've even seen another dip in our crime rate -- perhaps the single strongest selling point for local real estate agents.

While it would be nice for us to become the number-one safest city on the planet, we must be careful not to take too much for granted in that respect. Sources close to law enforcement in this city say the incidence of prostitution and drug running in Canyon Country is fast approaching that of Palmdale, and that the problem is underreported and inadequately addressed at present.

But overall, we've got every reason to believe we'll continue to enjoy safe streets, award-winning schools and the kind of accountability in local government that we lacked 15 years ago when the last major growth wave started. Good planning and local decision making are what will make the coming growth tolerable -- even desirable.

We are on the verge of an exciting time. We are about to see a lot of changes in this valley. Did you know that right now, almost half the population of California, and five percent of all the people in the United States, live within an hour's drive of Santa Clarita? We are strategically poised to take advantage of unbridled economic opportunities, the likes of which we have never seen.

Which, of course, is not to say we want the rest of the country moving in and marrying our daughters. The rest of the country is nuts.

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

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