I believe I attended my last State of the City meeting in 2004. These luncheons constituted an opportunity for local elected officials to "speechify" concerning the many predictable accomplishments of the year, from new roads to shiny new recreation facilities.
"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."
As politics go, I have almost always been my father's son. Aside from a brief dip into liberal waters as an undergrad, I have uniformly adopted the conservative positions of the Protestant-raised, small-business-owning West Point graduate who reared me.
We met over coffee to discuss the problems in our community - the Valle Del Oro community in Newhall.
During these challenging economic times and the downturn in the housing market, residents, business and community leaders are seeing an increase in the number of vacant houses and other structures throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Two weeks ago, my wife and I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready for a 45-minute train ride to Federal Triangle Station, Washington, D.C., - about five blocks from the Washington Monument and three blocks from where we would stand to watch Barack Obama be sworn into the presidency.
In the summer of 1863, the Union Army was chasing Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces that had slipped into Pennsylvania. Lee intended to draw the Union into a final battle that would end the Civil War and divide the nation.
I serve various Boy Scout troops in the Santa Clarita Valley instructing Scouts on the Eagle required merit badges of Citizenship in the Community, Nation and the World.
Last week, the state's Employment Development Department released data showing that California's unemployment rate stood at 9.3 percent for the month of December - our highest in almost 15 years.
As the design, appeal and overall atmosphere of Old Town Newhall develop into a beautiful pedestrian-friendly development, new businesses continue to emerge and existing businesses continue to thrive despite current economic challenges.
In recent days, I have heard the two most popular conservative radio hosts, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, take criticism from Democrats for what they have said - or not said - on their radio shows. Yet, in both cases, these hosts are only echoing Democratic sentiments during President Bush's eight years in office and giving Democrats a bit of what they gave to the former president.
Like many organizations, here at the Castaic Lake Water Agency we view the end of one year - and the beginning of the next - as a time of transition and an opportunity to take stock of where we've been and where we're headed.
When three of the top policymakers in Washington voice explicit support for a particular viewpoint, it merits notice.
While Washington and Sacramento Republicans continue to vote against stimulus packages and budgets, we have been putting on our thinking caps about where such money should go, when and if we get it.
If ever there was a time for all of us to participate in philanthropy, this is it.
You're familiar with the noise America has heard for a long time. It will continue, but it's easily unmasked.
The official arrival of summer is just weeks away. If you listen closely, you will soon be able to hear kids all over town chanting that classic phrase: "school's out for summer!"
Pulled out the paper this bright Monday morning and started reading. Of course, I have my bagel with strawberry cream cheese, oat bran cereal and tall glass of orange juice at the ready. I know how to start my holiday day.
While I was not yet living when it was fought, World War II has shaped so much of the world in which I have lived. It framed the whole idea of valor and courage and sacrificial service. And it wasn't only those who served in uniform who experienced the war, and felt that they played a vital part in bringing about a good and swift conclusion to it. In truth, we were a nation at war. Soldier and civilian were on the same team, working for a common goal, with mutual respect and honor.
I have watched helplessly in recent weeks and months with a growing sense of alarm, fearing that our generation is witnessing the death of one of the most vital pillars of liberty: the freedom of individual thought and the free exchange of ideas. While it's true that the First Amendment only protects people from government reprisals for speaking freely, social media and mass media lynch mobs are just as much a danger in a free society as any oppressive government.
Memorial Day is almost here and that means a three-day weekend for most Americans. The annual holiday in honor of the brave men and women who've died serving our country to keep us safe and free is also considered the unofficial start of summer! Flags will be raised in honor of those we've lost, while families and friends will gather for backyard barbeques, lawn games, and poolside fun.
Followers of this column know that five weeks ago my daughter Katie was struck by a motorcycle in India. Katie suffered severe traumatic brain injury; required emergency cranial surgery, was comatose two days, spent six days in the ICU, and subsequently required 16 further days of hospitalization to recover sufficiently well for the 24 hour jet trip back home. Landing at LAX, Katie immediately spent two days at UCLA for a thorough work up, followed by one month of outpatient cognitive and occupational rehab. Five days ago, virtually fully recovered,