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Our View: Future looks bright for Santa Clarita

Posted: October 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Following the annual State of the City presentation, the Santa Clarita City Council gave everyone in attendance quantifiable proof that this really is a great place to live.

While most other cities are treading water or making drastic cutbacks to public projects and law enforcement, ours has been flourishing in a variety of ways.

The city posted the lowest crime numbers in its 24-year history due at least in part to the leadership of Capt. Paul Becker, who’s taken on crime in new and innovative ways.

Among his other improvements, Becker has divided up our valley’s 250,000-plus population into eight regions to better recognize crime trends and take a more proactive approach to fighting crime.

Besides a low crime rate, our local economy is strong, especially when compared with the rest of the state.

Santa Clarita currently has an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, which everyone wishes was lower, but it’s far below the state average of 12.7 percent, and retail sales are strong.

The city’s film office issued 20 percent more filming permits than the year before, bringing in some $19 million to the area through a wide range of businesses patronized by production companies.

And, keeping true to its goal of being a recreation-rich, family-friendly environment, the city has several parks projects lined up in the near future, including renovating the Meadows Park pool and adding a shade cover at the Newhall Community Center playground.

There have been and will continue to be extensions of horse trails and bike paths throughout the community to ensure safe places to ride and get exercise.

But, as Mayor Marsha McLean and Councilman Frank Ferry reminded those in attendance at the luncheon, the city is not without its challenges.

The truly heinous and dangerous issue is one that the Sheriff’s Department has been cracking down on: heroin.

Ferry reported that dealers have been giving away free samples of the ultra-pure narcotic to our local teens, leading to almost immediate addiction, or in some cases, death. We’ve had roughly 10 overdose-related deaths in the SCV in the last year alone.

Another issue that needs our collective attention and action, as McLean said, is the proposed Cemex mine slated for Soledad Canyon.

As we’ve written in the past, it will negatively affect our quality of life, with large gravel trucks traveling up and down our local freeways and constant dust blown all over the valley from our consistently high winds.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has been pushing Senate Bill 759 to establish essentially a land-swap solution to prevent the mine from winding up here, and at no cost to taxpayers. But it’s been struggling to gain traction because our Congressman
Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, has failed to produce a companion bill in the House because of a Republican ban on special spending provisions.

But, all things considered, Santa Clarita is still an ideal place to live, and we look forward to seeing more projects and progress in the future from a city that handles its money well and keeps its residents in mind when making important decisions.

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