Elections, whether they involve candidates running for student body office or president of the United States, should be based on three things - competence, social skills and an impressive track record. A candidate should possess the ability to intelligently make decisions, as well as measure conflicting demands of the constituents in a respectful, ethical and socially acceptable manner. This takes finesse, perseverance, fine-tuned listening skills and a deep regard for others.
I encourage everyone to vote in our City Council election on April 8. This election is a critical one because two of the five City Council seats are in contention and the challenges of the past will appear relatively easy compared to the difficulty and seriousness of the issues ahead of us.
While looking through an old copy of "Look" magazine circa 1958, I couldn't help but notice the number of cigarette advertisements so boldly touted in its pages. It was a different time and a different way of life 50 years ago.
It's a right, it's a hard-won privilege, and yet it's often taken for granted. Did you know that the government that actually impacts your life on a day-to-day basis more than any other is your local government? It's true!
Did you see the massive coverage of the five Santa Clarita City Council candidates splashed across The Signal's Sunday Opinion page last weekend? How could you miss it?
Yes, spring HAS sprung in the Santa Clarita Valley. The hills are a beautiful, beckoning green, wildflowers adorn the hillsides with a blaze of color. It is the most wonderful time of the year! Thursday marked the official start of spring, but we've been celebrating spring in the SCV now for a few lovely weeks.
Symphony's Family Concert
Because of the wide variety of friends that I have made over the years, I often find myself in the company of people who do not necessarily agree with my politics. Whether it is hanging out at a Super Bowl party or at fundraising events for elected officials, I always seem to attract people to conversation about politics. And many times these people are my political opposites.
During a recent trip to San Francisco, I accidentally discovered that a vast array of eager, pleasure-oriented female (and male) "dates" is easily available through that city's Yellow Pages.
Probably the most eye-opening aspect of the governor's 10 percent across-the-board state budget cuts is the immediate release of 22,000 dangerous felons onto the streets of California. If Gov.Schwarzenegger's intention was to scare our state legislators into action, let's hope the action taken doesn't initiate abject pandemonium.
Santa Clarita has an oak on its city seal and has long been a "Tree City, USA," holding annual arbor day events to promote local tree planting. This year's Arbor Day celebration will be held on April 12, and we hope to see you there again at our Friends of the Santa Clara River booth. It is wonderful that the city promotes this event and acknowledges the importance of urban forests. Now the city needs to be more proactive about protecting our native trees during the land-use process.
This past Friday, Carrie and I made a quick trip to Brooklyn to visit our two sons living in New York. Jon had kindly arranged for us all to see Patrick Stewart playing Macbeth at the incredible Brooklyn Academy of Music. So it was to be a wonderful weekend, full of fun with our boys and with seeing fabulous Stewart in that riveting Shakespeare play.
Another week of governmental inactivity in Washington D.C. has passed. Granted, 2008 is a presidential election year, and substantive legislation traditionally takes a backseat to politics, but the United States House of Representatives has literally fallen asleep at the switch.
As we heard in the debates, there are many "hot button" issues this campaign season. Having been elected twice by the voters to work on tough issues like water supply and the cleanup of the Whittaker-Bermite property, I respectfully offer that public office isn't about one issue, it's about handling everything so residents can enjoy their daily lives.
Quality of life is the key issue in this election for city council. My campaign is about not only maintaining but continually improving our quality of life here in Santa Clarita which is why I have earned the endorsements of Congressman Buck McKeon, Council member Marsha McLean and Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Ferry.
I had the honor of spending 25 years protecting the public as an LAPD officer. While serving in the San Fernando Valley I witnessed the deterioration of a place that had a strong sense of community to one that is now gang-infested, fear-ridden and in many areas lacking hope.
We tend to think of Earth Day as a physical thing - a time to celebrate Earth's beauty and provision and to recognize some of its needs for maintenance. This is a good thing.
Followers of this column know that five weeks ago my daughter, Katie, was struck by a motorcycle in Jaipur India while visiting with family and friends for what was to be a special Indian wedding and 14 day tour. Katie was hit on the 2nd day and suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI.) She required cranial surgery, was comatose two days, spent six days in the ICU, and subsequently required 16 days of hospitalization to recover sufficiently well for the 24 hour jet trip back home.
I imagine we're all caught up in the great paradox that is the current dialogue on health care. It seems to be everywhere, on every broadcast and Internet news show, with pundits and anchors analyzing every number and statement that becomes available.
It's no secret that, in Santa Clarita, we take our trees seriously. Our city is home to more than 50,000 trees, including the majestic oaks that have stood tall in our valley for hundreds of years.
We are often told that the public has a less-than-favorable opinion of its government representatives. Recent scandalous behavior by several California senators has only emboldened that sentiment.
Many years ago, Henry Ford famously said, "Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress.
The Signal last Friday published a "Right Here, Right Now" column in which Betty Arenson condemned American modernity while sentimentally praising an agrarian, pre-running-water, pre-electrified, limited-government America in which, somehow, suffering itself was its own virtuous reward.
Since my days on active duty, my career path has manifested in taking residence in 20 cities among five states.
I have come to believe if you say something outrageous loud enough and often enough people come to believe it.
Are you living in the America that you want? Do you think present-day America is what our forefathers intended it to be?
It's not easy saying goodbye to my seat on the City Council.
March is Women's History Month. Through the years, women have done everything imaginable, from raising children, caring for seniors, to teaching, running businesses and nonprofits, developing vaccines, and going to space.
The background to this column is that our family traveled to India three weeks ago for a 14-day wedding tour with good friends our son Jon had made from UC Berkeley.
The Democratic Party had a horrendous mid-term election cycle in 2010.
This evening the City Council of Santa Clarita will meet to approve Master Plan 13-184 to make zoning changes and amendments that will result in six LED digital billboard faces (14 feet X 48 feet) being placed along the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 freeways.