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How are things with SCV’s ‘other’ local government?

Posted: May 23, 2009 10:16 p.m.
Updated: May 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

With a single City Hall and one set of council members to represent the majority of the people in the Santa Clarita Valley, some folks forget that there are actually two municipal SCV governments.

One, of course, is the city of Santa Clarita. Can you name the other?

If you said, "County of Los Angeles," you're correct.

The county is the local government for about one-third of SCV residents and is responsible for providing all of the same municipal services the city of Santa Clarita provides to its inhabitants - police protection, fire suppression, roads, parks and so forth.

It's no small feat. Stack the SCV's "unincorporated" residents end-to-end and they'd stretch to Santa Barbara. Cram all of them into their own city and they'd be more populous than most cities in greater Los Angeles.

Draw a line around their property - from Sunset Pointe and Stevenson Ranch on the west, up through West Ridge and Castaic and Tesoro on the north, to Fair Oaks Ranch and Agua Dulce on the east, and - well, you get the picture.

Making sure they've got enough roads and parks and cops and firefighters is a tough job, and it's compounded by the fact that our county Supervisor, Mike Antonovich, represents 2 million other people, too.

Add the county's responsibility to provide health and human services not just to the residents outside of L.A.'s incorporated cities but inside as well - and it makes you wonder.

How does the county do it? How well does the county do it? And just who is the "county," anyway?

We get a good snapshot of life at Santa Clarita City Hall every year when the council members and city manager stage a big "State of the City" show. We get to learn their priorities, achievements, challenges, find out how they're spending our money and learn about the overall fiscal health of the city.

If you live in the unincorporated areas you don't have the same opportunity. Sure, you could attend a local town council meeting, and while a county representative may be there, Antonovich rarely can be ... with 2 million people in his jurisdiction alone, how could he?

Here at The Signal, we thought it would be a good idea for Santa Clarita Valley residents to get a better handle on how the SCV's "other" municipal government is doing. So we pitched the idea of a "State of the County" event to the SCV Chamber. From there the SCV Chamber contacted the Castaic Chamber and together they agreed to be the hosts.

From that humble beginning and after months of planning, the inaugural SCV "State of the County" event will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Valencia Hyatt Regency. As the keynote speaker, Antonovich will be discussing the "One Valley, One Vision" plan, as well as transportation, law enforcement, health and human services issues and the overall financial condition of Los Angeles County.

Seats have gone fast, with 260 seats out of a 300-seat capacity already sold. To get any of the remaining seats, reservations can be made two ways. You can wait until Tuesday and call either the SCV Chamber at (661) 702-6977 or the Castaic Chamber at (661) 295-8303. Or you can register online by going to www.scvchamber.com/event-register/371.

Governor, get back here
Kudos to the voters of Santa Clarita and the rest of California who participated in Tuesday's sham election. You said no to the wags in Sacramento who fell down on the job.

Now it's time for the governor and all state legislators to do what Antonovich and others have demanded: a plebiscite of business leaders and others with more than half a brain to fundamentally restructure our state government.

Two-year budget cycles; no more new programs without an identified funding source; death to state programs that aren't producing results; and a rainy-day fund.

Not like the one proposed in Proposition 1A, but a real rainy-day fund where excess revenues during boom times (such as the dot-com bubble) are automatically set aside and used when the bubbles go bust, as they always do - a fact that seems completely lost on California's Senate and Assembly members.

Schwarzenegger might be a waffler, but we don't think he's a dummy. He bowed to the Legislature last week. Now they owe him.
He doesn't want to go down in the history books as a failed governor. It's now-or-never time for him to flex his muscles. We need him to "be back" for real and kick some butt.

For your to-do list
Looking for something to do this holiday weekend?

Throw the kids in the car and check out the new Terminator Salvation: The Ride coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. That's the ride with the non-Schwarzenegger "Terminator" movie tie-in. (He's not in the movie. He's not in Sacramento. Where is he?)

But on Monday morning, remember why this is a holiday weekend, and head to Eternal Valley Memorial Park.

While there, give a salute and heartfelt thanks to the men and women who laid down their lives in order for all us to live the life we do.

The annual Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans - complete with a C-17 flyover and an ROTC demonstration and American flags planted yesterday by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts - starts at 10 a.m.

Be sure to bring the kids.

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