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Tim Myers: Contradictions abundant in local politics

Myers' Musings

Posted: October 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

My Nebraska bride possesses a tremendous number of fine qualities but cannot count consistency of political thought among them. For instance, she resents the ever changing and very complicated nanny state seat belt, phone usage and child restraint laws while also believing people who smoke cigarettes in any circumstance should find themselves subject to summary execution.

But my Nebraska bride owns her inconsistencies, with full self-awareness of apparent contradictions. Wish one could find the same with local political activists and elected officials in the SCV.

Consider the case of the typical suburban conservative in 2012. One can find them at the local Starbucks and in the letters to the editor espousing small government, liberty, fiscal rectitude, property rights and the power of free market capitalism. Setting aside the inconsistencies arising because some worry (I believe overly much) about what two men or women might be up to in their bedroom, once they shift to local issues they seem to quickly revert to a Stalinistic command and control government structure of all business and property activities. Woe especially to those that fall under the tender mercies of these individuals should they ascend to the high office of homeowners association board!

Consider three local cases, in chronological order. The city of Santa Clarita spent millions of dollars opposing the Cemex sand-and-gravel mine in Soledad Canyon during a time when 100 percent of elected council members claimed Republican affiliation. Some of the most shrill anti-Cemex voices belonged to folks who would otherwise count themselves in the small government, anti-environmental regulation camp, though they seemed to love regulation when they can utilize it to stop something in their neighborhood they find noxious.

Consider next the strange and curious case of the Santa Clarita Historical Preservation Ordinance, years in the making or un-making, depending upon one’s point of view. Local preservation advocates count among their numbers the most active of Republicans who would generally disparage the ability of the city to seize property (with compensation) for public use, but seem perfectly fine with placing strong restrictions on the use of private property without paying any meaningful compensation; the basic posture of the original ordinance some time ago.

But elected officials, when finding themselves confronted by upset property owners, including a whole slew of nuns in the first religious revolt in city history, told the city staff to go back to the drawing board. They did and recently came back with a ordinance so watered down that it meant nothing, leading to one council member making a “list” of 11 “must preserve” properties and another stating that perhaps the Republican-run city should get into private property ownership by purchasing the eleven properties outright.

And finally, consider the most recent case of the probable Wal-Mart “Market” at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. In what seemed a headline from The Onion that turned out true, Westfield will consider a long term lease to Wal-Mart to build a market at the mall. It would be a supposed grocery-type store with a smaller footprint than the normal Wal-Mart Superstore.

With this revelation the local Internet exploded with primarily Republicans screaming about the new store in the best tradition of statist mercantilism. Most asserted a hope and challenge that the elected politburo, er City Council, “stop” the building of the abomination for various reasons, including the overabundance of grocery stores in the general area and the general reduction in desirability of the mall upon the introduction of a (gasp) Wal-Mart!

These protests despite the fact the city can only weigh in on potential variances requested by the property owner for parking, etc., since this constitutes a private transaction between landlord and tenant. I found particularly entertaining a local flinty Republican who constantly posts links on Facebook regaling all with Obama plots to turn the nation socialist now espousing vocal assertions that Wal-Mart currently possesses “too many” stores in Santa Clarita. Give that man a direct line to Bentonville!

What to do? I learned long ago just to concentrate on my Nebraska bride’s legion good points. Perhaps the same holds true of local Republicans.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident.

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