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Timothy Myers: What I like about the SCV

Posted: April 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The die for the Myers clan is finally cast. This past week we made an offer on a home in Irvine, California.

While we may or may not procure that home, we will eventually find a residence and myself and my Nebraska bride, with all our children out of high school and no reason to endure the grueling daily commute to my employment in Newport Beach, should by this fall have completely decamped the SCV after more than 17 years of residence.

Only two things will we NOT miss about the SCV, where we lived and raised three of our five children to (young) adulthood.

The intemperate summers with 105-plus days streaming end to end through the months of July, August and even September; and the relative remoteness from all things cultural, separated by a mountain range and seemingly entire hemispheres of attitude. (I must admit, however, that Irvine in particular and Orange County in general do not really fit in the same sentence with "edgy.")

Some will state that we will escape from things they complain about daily in the SCV, from the traffic to the "crazy" drivers.

Well, after spending some time in Ventura County and Orange County, I can state with conviction that traffic gets bad all over Southern California, and parking lots exist in all these venues where one will with mathematical certainty find oneself run down in one’s lifetimes.

Now one might say we will miss the community spirit and civic mindedness of the SCV, particularly the flinty and frothy politics inside the city itself. Well, truth would state that while civic-minded activities and community spirit do indeed exist, a sliver of the community actually does participate in community betterment, a fraction of the fraction of residents who actually bother to cast a vote in municipal elections.

But what does and did set the SCV apart from any other community in which we resided? The ease and ability to penetrate that fraction of a fraction that "moves and shakes" within the community, and how they welcome with open arms newcomers who sincerely want to help with their yeoman’s community work.

And how did we personally penetrate that group? In November of 1996 I wrote a scathing and sarcastic letter to the editor of The Signal upbraiding Tim Whyte, then editor of the Signal, about three brushes with the (traffic) law that he encountered in the previous week.

The letter included fiery language accusing Mr. Whyte of reveling in lawlessness and hoping for the untimely deaths of dozens. The letter wounded Mr. Whyte so deeply that he actually used the phone number included to call me and explain himself, wherein I reported that I did not have a big bug up my butt, instead meaning to goof on his travails.

That phone conversation resulted in my offer to provide periodic columns to Mr. Whyte that he "might" publish. The Signal possessed a tradition of community columnists including Dan Hon and Richard Rioux, both of whom tragically died within a year of my family’s arrival in this valley.

To the delight, chagrin and/or ambivalence of many, this conversation mutated into a weekly opinion column these last 17 years, which finally — for some not a moment too soon — will reach its denouement later this year.

I cannot count the number of committed folks I met through various columns, primarily because they wanted to set me straight on some factual ignorance. I can say with conviction that I met many people through this avenue that I would otherwise not know even at this late date.

And that is the unique aspect of the SCV: A daily newspaper that not only covers local events but acts to allow those (somewhat few) that care about the community a venue to share their ideas and opinions, resulting in an exchange that actually changes minds and provides an education to those less knowledgeable.

Unfortunately, Irvine possesses no unique daily newspaper, so no direct entre into community affairs that the Signal provided. My bride and I will not enjoy the entry points provided by school and athletic leagues, since no minor children will reside with us.

Our only hope arises from an as-yet unidentified church community and events centering around the HOAs of Irvine, so what seemed quite easy in getting plugged into the SCV will seem like a chore there.

And we will miss that ease of access the most.

Timothy Myers is a Valencia resident. "Myers’ Musings" publishes Saturdays in The Signal.


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