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John Boston: The origins of good legislation

How Beige Was My Valley

Posted: January 24, 2009 9:51 p.m.
Updated: January 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
- Anne Frank

Sometimes I worry about Cameron Smyth.

He's our assemblyman in Sacramento, that loony bin which not-so-safely houses California's duly-elected posers, self-aggrandizers, mooncalves and half-witted social scientists.

Dear Mr. Santa Clarita Valley:
You forgot "somnolent egg-sucking abbey-lubbers." Just trying to help.
Your pal,
Former & Disgraced Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D)

P.S. Know of any cool five-star out-of-the-country junkets coming up? I'm going through withdrawals.

Thank you, Fab-Fab. And as for the junkets, the only political safari on the horizon is Santa Clarita's annual Animal House bus trip to Sacramento in February, Fab. But you have to bring an entrée and pay your own gas money. In advance.

Anyway.

Cameron.

I miss torturing Cameron, mainly because our 38th District representative doesn't deserve it. One of the heartbreaks of journalism is that you write and write and can waste a career without influencing a single person.

Perhaps the high-water mark of my Columnist Life was coming up with the unasked-for nickname of "Allan" Cameron Smyth. For you neophyte SCV politicos, Allan Cameron is that bass-voiced influence peddler, wily lobbyist and collector of giant bongo drums who forged a career from playing both ends against a non-existence middle.

The youngish Mr. Smyth spent several years (third through eighth grades) serving on our City Council before turning to the dark side and joining the state Assembly.

After years of hammering away, calling him "Allan-Cameron Smyth," I finally culled one of the weaker from the herd. At a council meeting, Mayor Jo Ann Darcy slipped and publicly called Cam "Allan."

"Oh dear! I'm so sorry, Cameron!" she repented.

I did chimpanzee backflips.

Last week our plucky Canuck, Allan Cameron-Diaz Smyth, introduce Assembly Bill 110.

It proposes that Elsmere Canyon be added to Santa Clarita's crown jewel: the Rim of the Valley Trail.

"I'm excited that AB 110 would afford people greater access to parks, trails and wildlife," AC-DS said.

"Expanding the Rim of the Valley Trail is an important step in creating more outdoor recreational opportunities for our community."

I certainly agree with young master Cammykins. It's an inspired piece of legislation to replenish our quickly diminishing open space here in Santa Enchirito.

However, I do find fault with The Camster's choice of the word "excited."

Is there some underground discount clinic where press secretaries slink off to purchase political clichés?

How many offending bureaucrat will dully pose like they've just survived a high colonic and then utters the phrase: "I'm excited."

Or, in the case of Fifth District Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who has elevated himself to that nosebleed level of public service that he uses the royal: "We're excited."

I mean, if I'm Allan Cimarron Smyth, I'd be - excited - if I just won the $979 million California Lucky Lotto. I'd be so - excited - I'd hold a news conference in just a bath towel.

At the podium I'd wiggle my heinie toward the press corps and suggest just what they could do with this goofball state of cloven-hoofed ACLU whiners and union deviants. Granted. I'd wait before throwing my flip-flops at my constituents because with the state the state is in, that nearly $1 billion lotto pay-out could end up being an I.O.U.

On the other hand, politics being what it is, I could always hold a press conference the next day and, with feigned humility, mumble another political cliché: "I misspoke. ..."

Miss Poke.

Wasn't she the local hotsy-totsy beauty queen Cam took to his senior prom at Hart?

Excited? I'd be excited standing next to a sultry Jessica Alba at a Thursday fundraiser.

Dear Mr. Santa Clarita Valley:
Is that right? Did Allan - er, I mean, Cam - REALLY flirt with Jessica Alba when he told me he was at a Bowling For GOP Orphans potluck at the Mokelumne Hill (population 774) American Legion Thursday?
If that be true, after he falls asleep, I'll sew him inside the quilt and beat him with a skillet and see how excited that makes him. How come you're only writing twice a week? Lazy?
Vaya con Dios,
Mrs. Lena Smyth

As Lawrence Welk might say: "Uhhh thank you, uh-Lena ... "

After a calming sponge bath following so many thrown pies, we should take a moment to reflect. The mission to create a natural legacy in Santa Clarita is a long one.

In the 1920s, California signed a measure to extend Mulholland Drive and link it next to where Towsley Canyon is today, adding parks and trails along the way.

In the 1930s, the state and feds got together and actually passed a bill creating Placerita National Park.

Using part of the Placerita corridor and Sand Canyon, the government planned to divert water from the Owens Valley project and create a New and Improved Garden of Eden. A depression and a world war forever erased both bold plans.

Mr. Smyth's AB 110 is a wonderful and terribly important piece of legislation. I pray it passes. It will add to George Runner's old AB 339, which made Whitney Canyon (over there at the end of the former San Fernando Road by the Highway 14) a protected open space for generations to enjoy.

We all legislate. We are the authors of our own insanity. We are also the creators of our own tranquility.

There is a wonderful myth about Hercules battling Antaeus. The giant's mother was Earth, and every time Antaeus touched the Earth, he grew stronger.

In all good fable, there is Truth.

Our very cells cry for sanctuary. Parks are fine. Paseos just ducky. But we need to get away. We need surrender.

We need to put away the office, fear, that false appearance of problems and even loved ones - to meld into the solitary of Nature.

We need, like Antaeus, to physically touch Earth. AB 110 is a bill that replenishes the valley's soul.

Cameron Smyth has always been good medicine for this valley. I hope his bill passes. I hope he gets to take a moment - without even the company of family, staff or entourage - catch his breath and enjoy that re-inventing, invigorating gift of Santa Clarita Valley open space.

It's a source of good legislation.

John Boston's work appears Fridays and Sundays in The Signal.

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