‘I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.’ – Ronald Reagan

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

Mulling over the recent news, it is often hard to decide whether you should laugh or cry.

I am sorry if you happen to be a leftist, but if you look at all the accusations being made about the president and now AG Barr, they are laughable. They are tragic because the accusations represent abuse of power. I am finding it difficult to sort out who is saying things for political advantage, versus those useful idiots who believe what is being said. If President Trump removed Robert Mueller due to conflict of interest and the investigation continued with new, unbiased leadership, that would NOT be obstruction of justice. Guess what? Trump did not actually remove or interfere with any of the investigators. Talking about doing something and acting on it are two different things. Oh yes, do they really want to charge him with obstructing an investigation when no crime was committed? The only apparent purpose is harassment.

Currently, issues about the legality of abortion have dominated the news. Pro-choice advocates are always speaking to this issue. It is a human right of a mother to terminate her pregnancy at any time of her choosing. Of course, the counter argument is about the unborn being deprived of their Creator-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What the pro-choice advocates conveniently do not address, and the pro-lifers do poorly, is to argue the issue of unborn personhood. It has long been a subject for metaphysics. When does the soul enter the body? At what time does consciousness begin? For science, fetal viability keeps being pushed back further and further.

I like the argument that our current laws and historical examples of ecclesiastical and common laws support the idea that the fetus is already recognized as having personhood.

In the above examples, if someone attacks and murders a pregnant woman and the fetus is also killed, they are deemed guilty of murdering both. How do you explain that filicide is to be honored and praised, while a third party terminating the life of a fetus without the mother’s permission is murder? Personhood of the unborn is acknowledged financially. They can have property rights and be given assets in wills and other contracts.

It seems clear to me that under current law, the unborn have personhood. So, I ask, why is it not a violation of their Creator-given rights to be deprived of their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by means of abortion?

Did you notice that after President Trump parked a battle group off the coast of Iran, they stopped yelling “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”? Now they are crying “we want peace, we want peace,” to anyone who will listen. Our state department pointed out Iran has the state department’s number, and so far, the phone has not been ringing.

There is a report on the news that I have not yet been able to confirm. It claims that the nuclear agreement with Iran was not signed by the Senate, not signed by Obama and NOT signed by Iran. The press, the Democrats, and the EU have been criticizing President Trump for withdrawing from the treaty. Dear Democrats and the media, if true, there was no treaty. There was no agreement. We sent Iran $1.5 billion to fund their acts of terrorism and violence throughout the Middle East and got nothing in return. Nothing. That much seems clear, despite the rhetoric.

Muchos Gracias, Senora Pelosi

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

by Dale Paule

Dear Senora Pelosi:

I am writing to thank you for your invitation to me and my small family to come and live in your beautiful Sanctuary City of San Francisco.

Until we received your generous offer to become a citizen of your beautiful and “open-to-all” city, there was little hope that we might ever escape the ravages and poverty of our home country, (insert country here). We are very happy to receive your kind offer, but we must ask that several small considerations be met before we can accept.

We will coming one week from today, and would appreciate your arranging transportation from the U.S.-Mexico border to your fine city, and for a suitable place to live for me and my small family; something that would allow us to fit in with your elegant neighborhood, and not insult its beauty by having to live in a tent. It should be a large enough house for my small family, including my wife and myself, our seven children, our grandparents, one uncle and two aunts, and finally our favorite nephew and niece and their four children (three more will arrive later).

Oh yes, if the house could have a yard large enough for our four sheep and two goats, that would be so fortunate.

And, if it is not asking too much, perhaps a small, monthly amount of money could be arranged so as not to be necessary for us to obtain work and cheat any Americans out of a job.

Also, our grand-parents are very old, and it would be comforting for them to receive an additional small amount of money each month from, I think it’s called, Social Security. It would make them feel like they are also a part of, what I believe you call, “The American Dream!”

Oh yes, speaking of dream; our children are yearning to learn your ways and to become worthy of your gift, so perhaps you could arrange an education for them free of charge, including college: Harvard, or perhaps Yale would be preferred, but I don’t wish to impose, so any college of equal importance would be acceptable.

Surely your kindness will be repaid many times over; perhaps not by us, because of course, we are but poor people, and the generous American tax payers will be happy to pay, just as they have always done.

Muchos Gracias, Senora Pelosi.

Your new neighbors
MS 13 member in good standing since 1967

Always Advocating Alan – The Best Age to be is the Age you are Today!

| Opinion | May 23, 2019

This week, my wife and I decided to take a break from the Santa Clarita lifestyle and join some longtime friends in Pismo Beach. We do this in remembrance of when we used to ride up there each year on the first Sunday in December for the San Louis Obispo Toy Run. When my wife and I realized the date had almost arrived, we both reflected on what a good time we had, and how nice it was going to be interacting with friends we have not seen in several years. Suddenly, I recognized the fact that we were not sitting there wishing we were that age again, but instead, we were talking about events in our lives which made us smile. Plus, we continue to experience good times right up to today.

Then later, when I was alone, I started to think about the time long ago when I boarded an airplane for a business trip to McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis. To pass the time on the 5-hour flight, I had purchased an audio book to play in my cassette recorder. We were airborne when I pressed the play button and heard a man with a southern preacher’s drawl come through the headphones. “Oh no,” I thought, “What did I buy?” But I was a captive audience, at which point I had to listen or sit there in boredom for the remainder of the trip. That was the day a gentleman named Zig Ziglar, a remarkable motivational speaker, came into my life. Zig is no longer with us, yet he lives on YouTube where his message still gets out.

I’ve known people who continually reflect on bad things which have happened to them. But Zig helped me reshape my thought process for the better. Sure, I’ve have had my share of problems, frustrations and disappointments, but those instances are in the past, and they have helped mold me into the way I am today. When I think back about them, the negative occurrences do not consume my thoughts. Sometimes, they even provide me an inner feeling of strength.

If you were to visit my home office, besides it always being a mess, you would see I surround myself with memories which make me smile. I never knew my biological father very well. He, like many other men of his era, enlisted in the army to fight in WWII. Unfortunately he passed away shortly after returning home. Yet, even though he was not there to shape my adolescence, the picture of my parents taken before they were married makes me feel warm inside.

My mother, brother and I moved in with my grandparents, and as you might expect, money was an issue. So, my mother found a job in the city working for an art dealer. I never met him, but he must have been a good guy, because one holiday season he sent me a Lionel Train set as a present. For a 7-year-old, there was no greater thrill than watching those trains travel in a circle with smoke puffing out of the locomotive. I still have those trains today, and plan to put them in a display.

My grandfather was my father figure. He loved ocean fishing, and when I was about 8 years of age, he bought me a bright, shiny new fishing pole made from a Santelli fencing foil. Next, he started taking me on day fishing trips, and I loved going with him. Memories of those trips linger as that pole and reel hang on the wall of my office. It reminds me of what a great man my grandfather was.

My mother remarried when I was 12, and we ended up in California where my adoptive father’s family lived. But I was born with a skeletal birth defect which caused my heart and lungs to be displaced, hindering their development. By age 13, I was having trouble breathing. That is when my hero, a Kaiser surgeon named Dr. Winkley, located me and offered to perform surgery to correct the problem. His long-term strategy was to develop a new procedure to correct the issue as unobtrusively as possible, but I would be his first patient. Well, after having my chest opened for 14 hours, my sternum cut loose, all my ribs broken, and a metal plate inserted, I woke up 24 hours after going under with a scar from one side of my chest to the other. The doctors told me it was not a genetic defect, but later in life I worried I would pass it on to my children or their children. Thankfully, the doctors were right, and all my children are OK.

I met my beautiful wife Pam when I was 20, and we were married three months later. We have two children who have grown up to be terrific, self-sufficient, family-oriented gentlemen, along with five wonderful grandchildren. When we were married, I was already working for Litton Guidance who provided me with Kaiser Health Insurance, so I took my new bride to Panorama City to sign up. Well, in those days, Kaiser was so small, the employment office and the health insurance office were in the same room. When the employment department heard she was working at Queen of Angels Hospital, she left for home with health insurance, a new job and a raise. How fortunate we both were to work for companies who valued their employees and helped both of us improve ourselves. Pam earned her degree and became an RN, all while I was able to become a department manager and earn two college degrees of my own.

Family time was a fun time, particularly when we went on vacation. I chuckle when I think about loading up our truck and 8-foot camper, hooking up our boat and heading out for a month on the road. We would pick a place to go, such as Lake Powell, and drive straight there. After a while, when we got tired of staying in one location, we would open the map and find some fun place to visit in the general direction of home. We always ended our trips at Lake Success in Porterville, because in those days, camping was free and you could pull your camper right up to the shoreline. I had to laugh even more, when later in life my boys told me that all the neighborhood kids thought we were rich. “How did they get that idea?” I asked. And they responded with, “None of the other kids got to go on a month’s vacation!” While I loved taking the family on those discover the southwestern United States vacations, we did it because of its affordability. We would leave with $600 in cash, pay for everything, and typically have some leftover in the end. How times have changed!

Through the years, I raced motorcycles, coached my wife’s fast pitch softball team and my sons’ baseball teams, played softball in the Litton Industrial League and the City of Santa Clarita for 30 years, water skied, snow skied, ran for city council twice, and am currently on the board of directors for three local non-profits. So, I guess what I have been trying to explain is that my wife Pam and I have always liked being our age. Pam continues to work as an RN because she loves helping people, and I am still fortunate to ride my Harley and write a weekly column for the Gazette.

No matter what age you are, there is fun to be had when you concentrate on having a good time and smiling – something I learned from my friend, Zig. So, this weekend, we gathered with longtime friends in Pismo, remembering the good times we had riding up each year on the first Sunday in December for the San Louis Obispo Toy Run. We stayed at Dolphins Cove right on the beach, shared lunch at the end of the pier in Avilla, ate a gourmet dinner at the Oyster Loft, visited the world-famous Pismo Moose Lodge and generated a whole new set of terrific memories.

Hey Little Bird, Fly Away Home

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

by Harry Parmenter

When do you give up on your child? When do you ever say, enough? Enough of your bad choices, enough of your derelict, sometimes criminal behavior, enough of your doing whatever you want to do despite everyone’s good intentions to save you from yourself? When is enough, enough?

I face that decision as I sit here on the 37th floor of a Manhattan hotel, sirens and the wail of a fire truck in the distance, a beautiful spring day with clear blue sky as the city’s denizens emerge from a cocoon of raw, rainy days to hit the streets and enjoy the wonderful world and its infinite possibilities. Here on business for eight days a week, it takes only a few adventures on the crowded sidewalks of midtown, uptown and downtown to miss the 14 freeway, Canyon Country and the annual May ritual we have at our home.

Every year in the same nesting place under a backyard eave just outside our living room doors a robin lays her eggs, and then guards them religiously as she awaits the miracle of birth. When I left town a few days ago the three eggs were that sweetly unique and unmistakable shade of blue created weeks before, but are now fully formed symbols of nature’s indefinable beauty, power and meaning.

Stepping onto the backyard patio inevitably sends mama robin fluttering away in a brief spasm of fear to a vacant chaise longue ten feet away. When the coast clears, she swoops back to her perch atop a nest that has been built and rebuilt year after year with tree twigs, palm frond strands, anything these intrepid creatures can find, put in their beaks and transport to weave a temporary home for their pending offspring. (Hard to describe a nest without thinking of Albert Brooks’ classic description during his hilarious meltdown during “Lost in America: The bird lives in a round stick.”).

Vestiges of the bird’s nest, and several others like it also under the eaves, remain intact year-round, as we await the return of a mature creature surely hatched in the very same place to repeat the cycle of nesting, birth and finally, flight. Naturally this parallels the same path we humans take. As I write this on Mother’s Day eve, we prepare to celebrate and honor women who carried their own unique creations, bringing them to term and then, after about nine months—a tad longer than the robins’ gestation period of 12 to 14 days—the miracle of life. And so it begins.

Whereas the robin, like all animals, learns to live to eat, protect and survive, it’s a lot more complicated with a kid. They grow up, slowly at first, then the blur of childhood and suddenly they’re 18 and they don’t know what they want. Some of us never figure that out. Some of us go down the wrong road.

Like Robert Johnson at the crossroads, my daughter has made her decisions in life. Hamstrung by certain issues but none so severe as to render her incompetent, she has nonetheless chosen an unfortunate, recurrent path spanning a troubled decade that has made parenthood go from walking barefoot in the park to a park paved with broken glass. “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” sang Dr. John, his eminence gris gris, and I have come to appreciate that song in an entirely new, painful way.

Children require love, understanding, patience and support. It’s a lifelong commitment, the beginning of a great adventure from day one. When the robin hatches her eggs, she finds and delivers nourishment until her baby chicks take off and find their own way through the light and dark skies of life. Our children must do the same.

The question becomes, when do they provide their own nourishment? Take their own flight to fly straight and find their own direction? When does a parent cross over into a rinse repeat churn of rescue, forgiveness and ultimately, enabling? When must the bird go free?

Back in Canyon Country those eggs may be hatching at this very moment. Meanwhile, more sirens scream and fade away and radiate on the streets of the city. I can hear those sirens encircling my nearly 30-year-old child—and her future. What can I do? What will I do?

I walk on gilded splinters at the crossroads of parenthood. Fly straight…

Biological Denials and Religious Discrimination

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

by Gary Curtis

Last month, Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) introduced H.R. 5, the so-called Equality Act. This bill’s biological denialism would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) as protected classes under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In so doing, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives would establish radical, sexual ideology and practices above religious liberties and First Amendment rights.

This unprecedented law would sanction government discrimination against traditional values and doctrines of conservative religious faiths and the deeply held religious principles of private business employers and their employees.

This week, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R.5. The intended consequences of this bad law will restrict religious freedoms, chill religious expression and ultimately criminalize sincerely held Judeo-Christian views and values.

Take action now by sending your U.S. representative a message to vote “no” on the Equality Act.

According to the American Family Association, by this so-called “Equality Act,” business owners, employees and customers alike will be subject to a radical social experiment and LGBTQ appeasement:

  • Female business owners, customers, and employees would then be forced to share their privacy in restrooms and dressing rooms with men who claim to be women.
  • Health care providers and professionals would be forced to perform gender transition procedures (sex changes) and provide medical services (hormone therapy) that would violate their moral and religious convictions.
  • Amusement parks, recreation centers, skating rinks, and daycare centers, etc. will be forced to employ people whose values on sexuality deviates from those of the employer.
  • Adoption and foster care agencies will be forced to place children into same-sex households and into homes of individuals suffering from gender confusion or biological denialism.
  • College and professional sports stadiums would be required to open its restrooms to either sex.

The Democratic Party, in 2012, rejected the mention of God in their party’s platform. Then, when it was reviewed in the convention by a voice vote and re-established by manipulation of the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villariagosa, loud “boos” exploded across the arena.

Now, H.R.5 seems to show that Democrats are prepared to continue to “boo God” and discriminate against people of faith by forcing them into subjugation to radical sexual deviancy. The Party’s platform states, “We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”

Again, the American Family Association has documented the “progressive vision” of religious liberty for Democrats when it reminded conservative people of faith what Chai Feldblum, the former commissioner of Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, clearly said:

“I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win… Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.” (Emphasis added.)

Take action now for religious freedoms and the moral principles of conservative people of faith, by sending your U.S. representative a message to vote “NO” on H.R.5, the “Equality Act.”

Do it now, before it is too late!

Remember Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop?

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

The hall has been rented. The orchestra has been engaged. The “Corps de Ballet” is stretching in the wings. The chorus of perpetually angry Democrats is lined up waiting for their single file entrance. The maestro is about to make his “Q” and the Opus Magnum is about to begin. The Caucus Chorus will begin singing about Trump’s collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice and the dark messenger Attorney General Barr being worthy of “Contempt of Congress.” I hope Barr wears his badge of shame proudly. Presumption of innocence and lack of chargeable evidence be damned.

At last the lights dim, Chuck Schumer steps out to center stage, followed one by one, by his fellow Harpies and Sirens. He begins to sing.

“This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because … This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because … This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because… This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because… This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…”

Days, months and years later, the song goes on and on. Die-hard “useful idiots” are still enthralled by the performance and cannot wait for the encore, “Little Johnny One Note.” Purists complain that the text really is “the song that never ends.”

R.I.P Shari Lewis and Lamp Chop. We still remember and love you.

Letter to the Editor

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

Jonathan Kraut wrote an article in the opinion section of The Signal on Tuesday, April 23rd that was titled “Santa Claritans should choose our own mayor.” This matter has been brought up before and it is good to bring it up again. He writes in part, “A petition drive could place a ballot measure to change this. But it would be expensive and almost impossible to meet the requirements of a petition drive to enable a public vote authorizing mayor as a new elected position. On the other hand, it would take little effort for our current city council to place a choice on the ballot that would allow voters to determine if electing a mayor versus continuing the practice of allowing the council to pick among its own is appropriate.”

He continues, “I call upon our city council to do the right thing and place on the ballot a new mayoral position of two years per term. Let’s give the voters the option of whether we should select our own spokesperson. I would like the mayor to be our mayor, not the council’s mayor.”

This is good food for thought. However, Mr. Kraut neglected to mention two other major issues that our city needs. Both of which should be the first issue to address. First, we need district voting which comes down to fairness to citizens through out the city. Second, we need term limits. However, we need to face facts. And that is that there is no way that the city council will now or at any time in the future put any of these on at least the agenda, if for nothing else but public discussion. This also is only fair for the citizens to voice their opinion and their feelings.

Ken Dean

And the Winner is …

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

by Dale Paule

Well, the Academy Awards have come and gone, and it appears even fewer people tuned in to watch it than in any previous year since it all began back in 1929.

So that got me to thinking; what would it take to regain that lost audience?

The answer was obvious – fresh talent!

But where to find it?  By the look and sound of some of the “stars” topping the Academy’s criteria for excellence, they’ve already scraped the bottom of the talent barrel.

Maybe the answer could be a bigger barrel, or maybe a different one?

What do you suppose would happen if they combined the Motion Picture Academy Awards with some other entertainment group? Who could fit in?  The answer came to me like a flash. “Politicians!”

I mean, what the heck? They’re already darned close to being in the same business anyway, right?

Actors and politicians share a common goal of displaying their gift of emoting dialogue; the actor, by reading lines from a script written by someone else, and the politician from a playbook, also written by someone else.  Both exhibit this talent by giving the impression they’re mouthing original thoughts, when actually they have little or no idea what they’re talking about!

It would be a perfect match when you think about it, because like actors, politicians love being in front of a camera, which makes them a natural for it! I’m sure some even already have a S.A.G. card.

There may be a small problem concerning money, however. Everyone knows that Hollywood “stars” make a fantastic amount of money performing for the public, while the political “star” makes an even more fantastic amount of money for their performances.

It’s a sure bet they wouldn’t be all that willing to take such a drastic cut in pay. Luckily though, there’s more than one way to reward a politician. Then there’s that coveted prize, the gold-plated Oscar to consider. Actors would never be willing to share it with anyone not of their profession.

A new symbol of achievement would have to be created for the politicians. What about a platinum statuette of similar size, and of gender-neutral appearance, in keeping with prevailing norms?  It would definitely require a new, unique title. How’s this one sound?

“Community Recognition and Appreciation Presentation.”  C.R.A.P., for short!

And finally, we come to the categories.

First Category:

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

Second Category:

“Blowing with the wind.”

Third Category:

“Making fiction appear as fact, and vice-versa.”

“The envelope please.”

“And, the winner is…”

Category one:

Nancy Pelosi for her refusal to allow the lowly Geese to mingle with her gifted Ganders.

Category two:

All politicians of both parties excel at this skill; so a special C.R.A.P. award, in the form of a small, brass, tie-tack will replace the usual trophy, and will be awarded to all politicians in the spirit of being “Fair and Balanced!”

Category three:

CNN, MSNBC, ABC, et al.

Well, that should do the trick. I’m sure next year, we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of C.R.A.P.!

Note: This site is monitored by the government and secured against Russian tampering.

Always Advocating Alan – Sierra Highway, the Gateway to Newhall and Canyon Country

| Opinion | May 16, 2019

The first time I took a trip on Sierra Highway was in 1956. I was a junior high school student living in Studio City. My best buddy lived down the street, and his dad was in process of homesteading a parcel of land near Victorville. He was a contractor and very capable of putting in the improvements required to take possession of the land. On Friday nights, for almost a year, his dad’s pickup would be loaded with supplies. Then, father, son and I would leave early Saturday morning for a ride to Apple Valley. The Highway 14 freeway had not been built yet, and the best way to get where we were going was north on Balboa Blvd to San Fernando Road and then Sierra Highway. We would typically stop for breakfast at the Halfway House before proceeding on the final leg of our weekend journey out onto Highway 138. Little did I know then, less than 10 years later, Sierra Highway would become the pathway to my own family’s home.

By 1965, my wife Pam and I had been married for two years, and our eldest son Ernie was an infant. I have always had a love affair with motorcycles, which led me to join the 4 Aces MC, an American Motorcycle Association District 37 Competition Club. Motorcycle racing was the focus of the group and something was happening every weekend. We typically competed in TT Scrambles in the summer and Desert Races in the cooler months. For those who are unfamiliar with the terms, TT races, or Tourist Trophy races, were done on a smooth dirt track, with more left-hand turns than right, including at least one jump. Corner banking was optional. When all this got going in the ‘30s and ‘40s, it was customary for competitors to ride to and from the race; Hence the name “Tourist Trophy.” But by the time I got started, we were all trucking our competition bikes to races. Desert Racing was a whole different story. Hare and Hounds were typically around 100 miles of off-road terrain, with riders never passing over the same ground more than once. Hare Scrambles were also the same distance, but over a course which was completed multiple times. Lastly, European Scrambles was a much shorter racecourse, completed as many times as you could in one hour.

About half a dozen members of the 4 Aces lived on Dewdrop Street in what is now Canyon Country. And, as my wife and I found ourselves in the area often, we decided to move here. It was a wonderful rural setting close to a grammar school, and a junior high school was staked out only three blocks away. In those days, the 405 ended at Rinaldi and did not pick up again until Sand Canyon. Sierra Highway was one lane in each direction and provided the link between the two freeway sections. We both traveled Sierra Highway going to work and back every day. Never could we have imagined that the future would put us back into a big city, but that is another story. Today, Highway 14 is directly connected to the 405, and Sierra Highway has been widened to two lanes in each direction. Since Santa Clarita has become a city and Sierra Highway is within its jurisdiction, Caltrans has wanted the city to take ownership of the road. Santa Clarita has declined the offer, indicating their desire for Caltrans to upgrade the road to Santa Clarita standards before the city would take possession. So, with the two jurisdictions at an impasse, the majority of Sierra Highway today looks very much like it did in 1965, with exception of it being widened.

Yet, there have been some missed opportunities for improvement. You may recall, on April 19, 2019, KHTS reported, “The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to … discuss the proposed Newhall Gateway development.” The article went on to say, “The City Council is also expected to receive a conceptual plan for the Newhall Gateway project, a commercial development proposed near Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway … In 2008, a similar project, Sierra Crossings, was proposed at the same Newhall intersection, but it was later withdrawn in 2010.”

While what was reported is interesting, a lot of pertinent details were left out. As it turns out, the applicants and owners of the property at the southeast corner of Newhall Ave and Sierra highway did not just propose a project, they spent almost $250,000 putting plans for the project through the city’s planning process. According to the April 23, 2019 Staff Report, “The project consisted of approximately 99,000 square feet of commercial space in five buildings including a drive-through restaurant, and a hotel.” The resulting plan was approved by staff and the Planning Commission, as it complied with all of Santa Clarita’s codes and requirements. Normally that would have been enough to put the project on a path for development, except in this case, a city councilmember decided to call the project up for a special City Council Review, “citing design aesthetics and environmental aspects.” I wondered then; how could the project meet all the city’s codes and requirements and have these kinds of issues remaining? Would the city staff be proposing code changes to prevent another project from meeting the same fate? Plus, if you as a citizen want to protest a project and have a special City Council Review, you get to front a hefty fee, but if you are a city council member, you can do it at a whim.

I remember sitting in the audience, listening to Council members Mclean and Weste redesigning the project from the dais. None of the changes were required because the project failed to meet current Santa Clarita codes. Instead, the changes were included because of their personal preferences. In addition, they wanted the developers to include property within the project the developers did not own. Also, there were questions about the economic viability of what was being demanded. Councilmember Ferry suggested the city fund a $200,000 study, which would be repaid by the developer at some point in the future. KHTS reported about it also, stating, “The City Council directed staff to enter into an agreement with Poliquin Kellogg Design Group (PKDG) to conduct a conceptual design and economic analysis for the entire southeast quadrant at the Newhall and Sierra intersection.”

Now, almost 10 years later, the city council again discussed the project on April 23, 2019. But redevelopment agencies have been dissolved, which the April 24 Staff Report indicates “eliminated the city’s ability to assemble parcels and … it’s options to participate in future projects as a funding partner or lead applicant”. Plus, “the City adopted a new General Plan and Zoning Ordinance which increased the site’s development potential,” meaning a larger development could be proposed today, as opposed to the 2010 plan. I would like to cap this narrative with an indication of what the city council decided to do, but minutes of the April 23, 2019 meeting have not been put on the city website yet, as the minutes will not be approved until the May 14 city council meeting.

But one thing stands out. Santa Clarita has been a city for over 30 years, and Sierra Highway, “the Gateway to Newhall and Canyon Country,” is far from what it could and should be. When I look at what the county did on the Old Road, as it borders our city, it is past time for Sierra Highway to get a similar treatment.

Raging Moderate – Impeachment Short Form

| Opinion | May 10, 2019

by Will Durst
For all those who keep saying it can’t get any weirder, this is on you. Haven’t we learned not to taunt the gods? Like those good people whose only motivation for voting for Donald Trump was to shake things up. Are we shook up enough yet?

But who would have thunk the new man in charge of the Justice Department could establish a world record for shameless obsequiousness this fast? He’s put the “ole” in grovel and makes Rudy Giuliani look like a blundering, bumbling bungler. Well, he is, but in contrast, the distinction is even more acute.

In less than 10 weeks, Attorney General William Barr has defied subpoenas, Congress, the Constitution, common sense, good practices, good grammar and good grooming all to protect the president of the United States from being held responsible for his actions.

Appearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Donald Trump’s handpicked replacement for Jeff Sessions proved to be such a presidential lapdog, he should be recognized by the American Kennel Club as the 194th breed.

Listen close and you can hear the wailing from Hollywood publicists who realize Barr has lowered the bar and they’re going to have service their clients with even more excessive sycophantic subservience. The phrase “bow and scrape” will take on asphalt-scuffing connotations.

A problem with this new breed of cur is they’re not very housebroken, as he’s refused to appear in front of the junior chamber’s version of a Judiciary Committee, objecting to having committee staff lawyers interrogate him. Answering questions from Congress members is one thing, but actual lawyers? That’s another. Some of those people are smart.

He said when the president told former White House counsel Don McGahn to tell Sessions to fire the special counsel that didn’t mean Trump wanted to fire the special counsel. He also believes a president can terminate any proceeding he wants. Because he is The Law. Sylvester Stallone would be so proud.

Barr has effectively created a Catch-22: implying that the president cannot commit a crime, hence he can’t be subject to a criminal investigation. Funny, he doesn’t look like a Norman Mailer fan.

Under questioning by California Senator Kamala Harris, Barr then claimed he couldn’t remember if the White House ever asked or suggested that the Justice Department investigate anybody, you know, like an enemies list. Dodging Richard Nixon’s playbook he stole a page from Bill Clinton’s, saying he was confused by the word “suggest.” He seems perplexed by quite a few words like “truth,” “justice” and “the American Way.”

The House plans to initiate contempt proceedings unless Barr hands over the full unredacted version of Mueller’s report, but enforcement of a contempt charge is the purview of the Justice Department. Headed by the aforementioned William Barr. So chances of him throwing himself in the hoosegow are somewhere between less than none and dream on big river.

Now, calls for the attorney general to resign or threats to impeach him are competing directly with the president’s sticky situation. Maybe the Democrats can set up an abbreviated process. Impeachment: The Short Form.

What the hell, throw Mike Pence on the fast-track as well. Get some Silicon Valley venture capitalist to fund a start-up. Launch an Impeachment IPO. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

A Very Foul Ball

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

by Dale Paule

Most sickness is contracted either from airborne contact or through the skin’s pores. The sickness of greed, however, is inflicted through the victim’s wallet.

Such is the case with the New York Yankee’s owner, Mr. Steinbrenner, who bowed to pressure demanding he discontinue allowing Kate Smith to sing – are you ready for it – “God Bless America” at all future Yankee ball games! Let that one sink in for a minute!

Those behind that pressure must have gone into shock when they realized that, in one shot, they’d managed to place an indelible stain upon not one, but two iconic images that typify the American spirit – Kate Smith and the New York Yankees!

Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” is offensive? Are you kidding me?
What horrendous threat must it have taken to make the guardian of these two American treasures blacken their image?

The excuse, we are told, is that the Yankee fans would be “offended” upon learning Kate Smith had sung arguably inappropriate and “racist” songs. Not at any recent games mind you, but 80 years ago, during the Great Depression!

The two most frightening and effective words used in recent years to instill fear in enemies of the offended are “bigot” and “racist,” and to date, there seems to be no effective antidote for either. So “racist” Kate Smith and her singing of “God Bless America” was immediately banished from all future Yankee games so that no more harm may fall upon the offended and usual suspects!

Any and all connections between the repentant (cowardly is a better word) Mr. Steinbrenner and Kate Smith have been safely erased, and he now seeks forgiveness from those “offended.”

Who does he think he’s B.S.-ing? In reality, Kate Smith’s questionable acts from decades back have little to do with his cowardly decision, and you don’t need a trail of breadcrumbs to lead you to the real reason.

His actions were simply motivated by the same reason safe crackers crack safes, and bank robber’s rob banks, and politicians take bribes – money! In Mr. Steinbrenner’s case, it was fear of losing the “Golden Goose” of Yankee box office bucks through inferred threat of boycotting New York Yankee games. So he caved and decided to “play ball” their way!

If it were truly a matter of wanting to make amends for “offending” Yankee fans, then all he would have to do is give back the money fans had forked over to watch the Yankees play since Kate Smith first began “offending” them in 2001! And as long as we’re at it, he may as well remove another “offensive” blot from the Yankee image; that other “offensive” American icon, Babe Ruth!

If Kate Smith’s actions can be deemed “offensive” to her fans, then The Bambino is surely guilty of the same charge, having no doubt “offended” many of his young fans way back during the same Great Depression by openly indulging in a drop or two of demon rum. It’s also been rumored he was known to have uttered some pretty raw curse words on numerous occasions.

Who knows, they too may have been racist in nature? Oh, the humanity! No, Mr. Steinbrenner, we don’t need an umpire to make this call; you just struck out!

Katie Hill Blames ‘Outsiders’ For Town Hall Chaos Recognizes Need for Border Enforcement for Herself, Yet Opposes It For Others

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

By Greg Aprahamian

On April 27, 2019, newly elected California Democrat Rep. Katie Hill Held her first town hall in Santa Clarita, California, and according to news reports, the California Democrat experienced:

“Angry Voters” – CNBC
“Boisterous Crowd” – KHTS
“Disrupted By Unruly Attendees” – Santa Clarita Gazette

The media’s accounts of the town hall were unanimous, claiming that it was loud and unruly. But I would call the town hall chaotic and confrontational.

No doubt Rep. Katie Hill had hoped for and envisioned the town hall to be a venue for a thoughtful and supportive public to quietly listen to her statements, and then listen to her guests discuss the importance of Democrat legislation that spreads more California-style chaos into our elections nationally, and puts more limits on our First and Second amendments, H.R.1 and H.R. 8.

Unfortunately for Rep. Katie Hill, that didn’t happen, and the type of town hall that she envisioned fell into chaos, because some members of the public didn’t share her vision, or follow the customs and courtesies that she probably believed were stereotypical of the party that she opposes.

Katie and her spokes people blamed:

“Mainly out of district people” – Facebook video statement by Katie Hill
“Not from our district” – Facebook video statement by Katie Hill

“Kassie King, a spokesperson for Hill, claimed Monday the majority of those disrupting were outsiders.” – CNBC
Then Hill dropped the bomb shell and called the out of district disruptors: “Trolls” – Facebook

Now that Rep. Katie Hill has personally been negatively impacted by what she calls “out of district people,” Katie and her staff have decided it would be advantageous for them to craft measures to help maintain their quality of life in CA25.

“King said they have considered asking for proof of residency and barring people who don’t live in the district.” – Santa Clarita Gazette

All I can say is: If only Americans could have the exact same thing?

Katie Hill is fine with open border interference when she is receiving $5 million from former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But now that Katie Hill has been negatively impacted by what she is claiming are “outsiders” coming into her district, she recognizes the value and importance of borders and border security to protect her quality of life.

Californians have long been negatively impacted by illegal immigration (“out of district people”), and whenever we complain about the negative impact that it has on our lives, not only are we typically ignored, the illegal “out of district people” are constantly offered amnesty, work permits, sanctuary, chain migration, deferred action, drivers licenses, state-funded student financial aid, in-state tuition, free legal aid for those facing deportation, and in some cities placed on city commission seats and given actual voting rights. These illegal “out of district people” are also constantly paraded through the halls of Congress by the party that Katie Hill belongs to.

Rep. Katie Hill referred to the “out of district” people that she claims caused chaos at her town hall as “trolls.” I’m wondering if we now have Rep. Katie Hill’s blessing to label illegal aliens as: “Trolls.”

Just for laughs, can you imagine what would happen to a Republican member of Congress if they called an illegal alien, “Troll?”

I shudder to think.

I’m not going to debate the credibility of Katie Hill’s claims about what she calls “Outside people” attending the town hall. Perhaps she should just embrace the whole situation, and call them undocumented attendees. Call it migration, and no human is illegal. After all, that’s what they expect out of us.

Katie Hill and her colleagues are perfectly happy to allow millions of illegal aliens (“out of district people”) to flood our borders annually, without any regard to the negative effects it has on the lives, jobs, safety and health of Americans. But the moment Katie Hill and her supporters and staff are negatively affected by what Katie and her staff calls “out of district people,” watch how quickly she calls for defined borders and border enforcement.

Does Katie Hill understand the meaning of hypocrisy?

After the town hall and in an interview with KHTS, Katie Hill stated: “This is unfair to the folks I
represent — especially those who want to have a thoughtful discussion about the issues that impact the safety and well-being of our family, friends and neighbors,” Hill said.

If Katie Hill really wants to have a thoughtful discussion about the issues that impact the safety and well-being of Americans, let’s start with the chaos that Californians face every day coming from the “out of district people” known as illegal aliens, as they negatively affect our schools and hospitals, overburden our city services, as their gangs and criminal element prey on our people.

Enroll your children in a public school in the San Fernando Valley or almost anywhere in Los Angeles and you know what I am talking about.

Go to the LAPD’s web site and browse through their Most Wanted list and look for yourself, and you will see the chaos that Americans face.

Go to an emergency room almost anywhere in California and you know the chaos.

How about the California DMV admitting that they registered illegal aliens to vote. How about that chaos?

Proof of residency? If Katie Hill wants to require that for a town hall, can we also get that for voter registration?

Go to The Remembrance Project web site and look at page after page, image after image of innocent Americans killed by illegal aliens through open borders. And Americans in California live through this chaos every single day, because illegal aliens (“Out of district people”) are allowed in, enabled, funded and given sanctuary.

Rep. Katie Hill, if you want to protect your quality of life by requiring proof of residency and to bar people who are not from the district, great! Because the people who heckled at your town hall want the exact same thing. Perhaps that’s why they were chanting, “Build the Wall”!

Always Advocating Alan – Anonymity Does Not Allow a Person to Act like a Wall

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

I am convinced that most of you – at one time or another – have called a customer service hotline, only to have a conversation which made you think it might have done just as much good to have shared your concern with a wall. Plus, it wouldn’t matter if it is a stone wall, a block wall, a wood wall or drywall, because no matter how much you share your story, concern and frustration, you will never hear anything in return.

The most humorous time I experienced with a customer service call was after assuming responsibility for paying my 98-year-young mother’s bills. I called one company wanting to settle an account and just needed to know the outstanding balance. I could answer all the security questions, but was told they could not talk to me, which made me wonder; how many times do they reject talking to someone who just wants to send them money?

Fortunately, it is somewhat better when asking questions at City Hall. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution gives “people the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Yet, many times, our residents address the city council simply to ask a question or obtain further clarification. If you choose to attend a city council meeting, you will find copies of the meeting agenda with a special cover sheet attached. Quoting from the section “Your City Government,” it reads, “The regular meeting of your City Council is a vital part of the democratic process … The Council appreciates your interest and urges participation in government affairs.” On the back of the cover sheet, under “Public Participation,” it further states, “When addressing the Council, please state your name and city … before you begin your comments. The Council will take no action other than referring the issue to staff.”

While it is important the council knows who is speaking to them, make no mistake; they reserve the right not to answer questions you ask, or even acknowledge they heard what was put before them. As an example, a few city council meetings ago, I addressed the council on the Sanitation District’s decision to stop work on the Recycled Water EIR. Since the SCV Sanitation District Board is comprised of a majority of Santa Clarita City Council members, I asked that they agendize the issue to discuss sending a recommendation on recycled water to the Sanitation District. Councilmember Weste replied that the Sanitation District was waiting for California Fish and Game to get back to them and describe how much of the 20 million gallons a day could be diverted to supply recycled water.

After the meeting, I did some more research, made a few phone calls and obtained a copy of Fish and Game’s letter to Sanitation District staff. As it turns out, the letter indicated what Fish and Game expected to see addressed in the Sanitation District EIR and did not indicate that they themselves were doing any further analysis. At a subsequent meeting, I was made aware that SCV Water already had a contract with the Sanitation District to supply 1,600 acre-feet of water per year to be used for landscaping irrigation. I wondered why the contractually available maximum could not be increased with new Sanitation District customers coming on line. Therefore, I went back to the podium at the last city council meeting and asked if they could agendize a discussion relating to a recommendation on increasing the size of SCV Water’s contract as new Sanitation District customers connect to the system. The silence was deafening, as no answer came forth from the dais.

I know Santa Clarita residents are sharp and must have been aware that I was asking the city council members to basically have a discussion and come up with a recommendation for the two Sanitation District’s assigned city council members to follow. That could make them uncomfortable, but we are talking about a decision which should be in the best interest of the city as a whole. So, last week I shared the recycled water story in more detail in my column, and guess what? Up pops a “Clarification from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.” I don’t mind if the city, the Sanitation District, or anyone else comments on what I write. I don’t expect everyone will agree with every one of my columns, and good dialog is important if we are to come up with solutions which work for us all. But, at the same time, putting in a “Clarification” without the author attaching their name is unethical and cowardly.

To start, the “Clarification” author did catch a mistake in my column. When I included it would “cost $100 million a year to operate,” I should not have fat-fingered in “a year.” What I intended to portray was the amount required to operate over the first 20 years of the project. Why 20 years? Because when the project was first proposed, it was the timeframe the Sanitation District staff projected necessary to pay off the construction loan and the duration shown in the overall financial analysis. When I saw the author’s statement indicating, “the chloride compliance project (operating cost) is estimated at $5.9 million per year,” it would have been productive if I could have called the author and asked where that estimate came from. Why? Because $5.9 million per year over 20 years equals $118 million, which is 18 percent higher than the estimate I used. Plus, $118 million does not include inflation, so the actuals will cost taxpayers even more. Hopefully, the “Clarification” author will “come out from behind the curtain” this week and explain why the cost of operation is escalating and provide a budget projection over 20 years which includes the additional amount caused by inflation.

Looking at the 2019-2020 SCV Sanitation District Budget straight from the SCV Sanitation District’s website, it shows our residents will be paying $36.4 million in service charges on this year’s property tax bills, and $10.6 million in other Taxes and Grants, which simply comes out of their other taxed pocket. All while the SCV Sanitation District reserves will increase from $118.4 million to $141.9 million this coming year, indicating their revenues are exceeding their Operational and Capital needs. A clarification in this area would be helpful also.

Meaningful, polite and open dialog is important. I firmly believe we will never learn anything by only having conversations with people who share our same views. The Gazette and I are asking for your opinion. “We encourage our readers to write, email and share their thoughts, concerns and criticisms.” Plus, I will take it one step further. Feel free to contact me anytime. My cell number is 661-713-9344. Now I will admit, with all the spam phone calls we are getting as of late, I do not directly answer calls from numbers I do not recognize, so text me or leave a voice mail with your name and number and I will call you back. You will not be talking to a wall, and when we share what we know, we will all profit from the experience.

The Emperor’s New Threads

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

Many years ago, there was a Party of Mules so exceedingly fond of the idea that The Orange Emperor was an agent for the Country of the Bear, that they spent two years and $30 million of the citizens’ dollars to prove it to the citizens. They did not care about funding their soldiers or protecting their borders. They forgot about doing the people’s business. All they seemed to want to do was go on a thing called “the media” and proclaim that The Orange Emperor was a traitor. A Schiff was especially bold in his proclamations against The Emperor. They were all waiting for a report from the Wizard of Investigation called The Mueller. The Party of Mules accused The Emperor and his family of doing the vilest things every hour of the day. The Emperor’s council always said, “Give The Mueller everything he asks for, and do not interfere with him!” The Orange Emperor followed their advice.

The story begins in the great capitol city of the Mule Party where they always seemed to be angry. Among them dwelled swindlers. They were weavers of lies, and they said they could weave the most magnificent lies imaginable. Not only were their prevarications uncommonly fine, but they seemed to be true to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the lies for me,” thought the Almost Queen of her party. “If we told them we would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts, and I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get that Dossier written for me right away.”

They paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once. The Almost Queen, her party and their deep state henchmen knew it would destroy The Orange Emperor and his family.

They used a thing called “The Web.” They created the finest and purist threads ever seen. They worked far into the night.

An honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty threads.

“Heaven help me,” he thought, as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see any facts at all.” But he did not say so.

He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the threads.” So, he recused himself.

All the people in the city proclaimed that these threads written by the weavers of lies were the finest they had ever seen. All the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

So, off went the Party of Mules in procession to the thing called “The Media” and proclaimed the guilt of The Orange Emperor. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the words of the swindlers! Don’t they fit him to perfection?” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No accusations against The Emperor had ever been such a complete success.

Two years later, the Mueller came out of his cave and gave his judgment to The Barr, who proclaimed that The Orange Emperor was without guilt.

The Party raged at the Barr and declared that, “This procession of threads has got to go on.”

The End.

Why You Should Take the Time to Read the WikiLeaks Emails

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

Now that we’ve reached a new level of lunacy in the Russiagate and Spygate controversies, it’s important to take a moment to step back and reflect on the most important part of any investigation: the beginning.

The lunacy has been the events that we’ve seen play out over the past two weeks. First, we had Attorney General Barr verbally assaulted last week by senate Democrats regarding the summary memo he released based on his interpretations of the Mueller report. Note that while the Democrats attacked his summary, he had released the entire report (lightly redacted) before his hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary.

Shortly thereafter, Congress subpoenaed Barr to both attend another session with them and to release the fully-unredacted Mueller report. The lunacy here lies in the fact that a release of the fully-unredacted report would require him breaking the law.

It should be quite telling that the same people yelling obstruction in regards to the president are currently trying to directly obstruct AG Barr’s investigation into themselves and their colleagues.

One of the most significant parts of his testimony came from an exchange between Barr and Senator Kamala Harris, when she asked Barr about Deputy AG Rosenstein’s conflict of interest to be both the DAG overseeing the Mueller investigation and a witness to the cases that have sprung from Mueller’s findings. It is unsurprising that the media has not widely reported that surprising exchange, or that many more investigations will come to light very soon – namely, investigations against the true colluders, leakers and potential felons, the Democrats.

But in order to really understand this case and the circus it has become, we should go back to the very beginning: the WikiLeaks release of the Hillary Clinton, DNC and John Podesta emails.

In case you forgot, that’s the story for how all of this began. The official narrative was that Papadopoulos bragged over drinks to Alexander Downer that he was approached by people claiming to have dirt on Hillary via hacked emails. Proof points have come to light showing that to be fully untrue, but that is for another article.

What is the most important point to focus on here is that nobody has ever claimed those emails were inauthentic. Perhaps you didn’t notice, as the entire narrative has shifted the focus from the content of those emails to how they were acquired.

Why is this important? I would highly implore you to read the emails yourself and find out. If you have taken the time to do so, you understand why this entire circus has been formed to keep the attention of the American people as far away from them as possible, because they are absolutely damning to Clinton, the DNC, John Podesta and their entire political apparatus.

If you do take the time to read them, you’ll see a familiar pattern arise: emails from Clinton showing just how much disdain she has for the minority groups she panders to for votes, just how little she thinks of the American public, and just how crooked she really is in her willingness to do anything for power.

A great way in politics to tell if someone is lying is to watch for their answers to questions. If they immediately try to redirect and reframe a question to a completely unrelated answer, you know they are hiding something. The fact that the DNC and media were so quick to do everything they could to divert all attention away from the Clinton email archive should be enough to tell you just how much they will sacrifice to keep you from knowing what they contain.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Letter to the Editor

| Opinion | May 9, 2019

I want to thank the Santa Clarita Gazette and reporter Lee Barnathan for the coverage of legal fee reimbursement to Chancellor Dianne G Van Hook from public funds.

There are a number of suspicious circumstances that require an independent investigation of this reimbursement to determine whether it was justified by Dr. Van Hook’s employment contract, and whether policy and procedure was followed by the District Trustees and the college’s administrative staff.

The true reason for the Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders (CH-100) was suspect in and of itself. The filing for case (PS018322) in Los Angeles Superior Court was ostensibly to protect Dr. Van Hook from “psychological stress and anxiety as a result of his (Steve Petzold) actions.

However, the filing had many elements of a SLAPP suit (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation). Dr. Van Hook engaged Brian Koegle Esq. as her attorney. At the time, Brian Koegle was the Co Chairman of the Yes on Measure E Committee.

In addition Brian Koegle and Chancellor Van Hook served on the COC Foundation which donated $150,000 to the Yes on Measure E campaign.

It was in the strategic interest of the Yes on E Committee and the COC Foundation to file the suit, and silence me with an emergency restraining order one week before the election.

It is noteworthy that on June 22, 2016 Judge Loomis determined that the video which I placed on Facebook and supposedly caused “psychological stress and anxiety” for Dr. Van Hook was informational in nature and not cause for extending the temporary restraining order.

The question on the table now is whether Dr. Van Hook was entitled to reimbursement from the District for the legal fees paid to Brian Koegle’s law firm Poole & Shaffery.

There is no evidence on record that the Trustee’s prior approved her legal action, and her contract limits the District obligation to indemnification for actions taken against the college or Dianne Van Hook acting in the capacity of the Chancellor.

If Chancellor Van Hook feels that the District was responsible for the legal fee, why didn’t she have Shaffery & Poole submit the bill for $15,099 directly to the District?

Instead Chancellor Van Hook wrote a personal check six months after the billing and applied for reimbursement.

On the Direct Payment Voucher there is a cryptic message Jonathan, “Pls use this as invoice for req. # 0075826 & process ASAP. Thank you. Rosie.” One questions whether this is within the policy and procedure of the college.
It is understandable that someone would not want the billing from Poole & Shaffery scrutinized because it devoid of detail regarding dates, services provided, individuals providing the service, time worked or the billing rate. In my opinion, the amount charged is grotesquely excessive. Poole & Shaffery should have been asked to document the amount charged to Dr. Van Hook and paid by the college.

On July 12, 2017 the reimbursement to Dr. Van Hook of $15,099 was placed on the consent calendar for approval by the Board of Trustees and categorized as “General Institutional Support Services,” seemingly to avoid scrutiny by the Trustees or other interested parties.

The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for expenditures made by the Santa Clarita Valley Community College District.

The taxpayers deserve an independent investigation of this expenditure and the particular circumstances that led up to its approval for reimbursement.

If it is determined that Dr. Van Hook was not entitled to reimbursement for this personal legal expense, and/or that normal procedures for reimbursement were not followed, Chancellor Van Hook should reimburse the District.

Steve Petzold

Think Small

| Opinion | May 4, 2019

By Dale Paule

The airwaves are constantly awash with cries of “bombshell,” “blockbuster” and that old reliable, “alert; this just in!” All of which are meant to keep you tuned to that channel or station, listening to a few more commercials before the “Bombshell” event is finally revealed. As long as you stay around for those commercials, it doesn’t matter to them whether the big event will thrill you or send you into a state of political depression, as long as you hang around long enough to catch those commercials and pump up ratings!

On and on it goes; one gigantic “bombshell” after another, begging for our attention.
Unfortunately, the “bombshells” are never followed by any good news which might offer a brief escape from the chaos and misery. Luckily, we, the loyal watchers and listeners, have our own method of escape from the chaos and misery; we simply turn that little knob, or push that little “off” button, and voila! Bye-bye chaos, bye-bye misery!

Unfortunately, while we can escape these big annoyances, there is no escaping the effects of another kind; one impacting an even larger part of our life – the little things.

If you’re somewhere around the middle of life’s yardstick of age, you’ll understand what those little things are that we must endure every day.

It’s those little things, like that little stabbing pain in your back when you try to get up from your easy chair too quickly; or that little four-digit password that you need to access needed information, but you seem to have forgotten three of them.

How about that little print they use now on prescription bottles that you have to see to make sure you’re taking the right pill, at the right time?

And what’s up with those instruction manuals that came with that great new gadget you’re dying to try out, but the print in the assembly manual is too little to read without your glasses? (Which are upstairs—some place!)

Or that strange phenomenon that follows every Thanksgiving dinner, when your pants seem to have mysteriously shrunk a little.

Oh yes, and one of my favorites is shelling $36 bucks for that little parking ticket when my car’s front tire was only a little in the red.

And finally, on a scale of 1-10, my vote for the biggest little annoyance rings ten bells for the Sunday newspaper’s blatant disregard for old eyes.

When I was a kid, a treasured ritual of every Sunday was reading the newspaper, especially the funnies, which, like dessert, were always saved for last. Now, we have to add the new ritual of finding our glasses before beginning the old ritual of reading the newspaper, because the print has grown so darned little.

They’ve added more cartoons, which is great, but instead of adding a page, they shrunk them down to the size of a little postage stamp to fit in the same space. I’m still wondering just what Blondie was telling Dagwood about how that dent got in the family car’s fender.

Now don’t get me wrong; I have no argument with the newspapers wanting to save a little money on ink, considering the rising cost of everything and all, but I wonder what their reaction would be if I suggested they might want to consider charging a little less for their newspaper?

I’m guessing they might have a little problem with that!

Always Advocating Alan: Singing the Praise of Earth, Wind and Water!

| Opinion | May 2, 2019

Did you read last Wednesday’s Signal Newspaper, which included a column titled, “We’re creating community at Earth Arbor Day Festival,” along with a picture of Mayor Pro-Tem Cameron Smyth? I thought it a little odd. It did not say it was written by Cameron Smyth, as I have often wondered if the council members actually write the columns themselves. But putting all else aside, the writing revealed, “The (Arbor Day) festival will kick off with the city celebrating its 29th consecutive year of being awarded the “Tree City USA” designation.”

I could not agree more; the City of Santa Clarita’s efforts in planting thousands of trees all around our community greatly improved our municipality’s look and quality of life. So, if you had been thinking of providing a young tree a place to spread its roots, I hope you had the foresight to pick up one of the free 1-gallon trees at last Saturday’s Earth Arbor Day event. If you missed the event and still long for a tree to hug, young trees are available at our local nurseries at a very reasonable cost. Over 40 years ago, I myself planted a tree in the front yard which was no larger in circumference than a broom handle. Now a very large Fruitless Mulberry, in the summer heat, you can feel the temperature drop when you walk out under it and take a seat in my front atrium.

The second thing which caught my attention was, “The festival also offers residents the tools and resources needed to recycle, compost, and conserve water.” I favor the prospect of recycling. Maybe it is because I am from a generation who fixed things when they were broken, saved leftovers for the next project, and did not believe in discarding usable items. Composting, on the other hand, is another question, because it doesn’t seem like something which will work out too well for those living in apartments, townhouses and condominiums. Yet, when I hear about providing instructions to our residents about water recycling, the hair on the back of my neck begins to rise. Surely, the majority of our population does not believe in wasting water, and we are all aware of the problems which have been created in getting water down from the north, but if our city continues to grow at the current pace, it is highly unlikely individual residents conservation will provide long-term sustainability. In fact, if you look at our water agencies current five-year plan, the only way they can assure an adequate supply over the next five years is for current users to use less. Plus, if the situation was not frustrating enough, every time the community uses less, the water companies want to charge more in order to maintain their infrastructure, because they have no other way to deal with it.

Ok, I’ll admit, I was out of town last Saturday and did not attend Earth Arbor Day. So, maybe you could help me. Did the experts talk about water conservation from the standpoint of using washing machine and shower grey water for residential landscape irrigation? Was information provided in support of rebates to retrofit older homes, where residents need to run their water for a period of time before it becomes warm enough to bathe? Were examples on how to capture and use rainwater provided? Probably not, because creative solutions which take effort do not fit their narrative.

Yet, a very large resource enabling water conservation exists in Santa Clarita today. Several years ago, back when the Regional Water Quality Board decided the chloride level of water coming out of our two wastewater treatment plants was too high, with a stoke of a pen, they decided to require us to lower the level to 100 mg/ltr or less. Think about it. The Chloride standard for water you drink is allowed to be over twice that number. This started the debacle about adding another level of treatment to our wastewater treatment plants, at the cost of over $130 million to build, and $100 million a year to operate. Who will pay the bill? You are. The plan was to ramp up the SCV Sanitation District property tax assessment from 2014 to 2019 in order to reach the level necessary to build and sustain this new proposal. But in order to sell this project to the public, the sales staff was out in full force. They asserted, while our community is rightfully unhappy with the project, lowering the chloride level would make the water also useful for landscape irrigation, and with our treatment plants producing 20 million gallons a day, it was estimated 7 million gallons a day could become immediately available. Be aware, two members of the Santa Clarita City Council also have majority control of the SCV Sanitation District. Their votes alone can raise your property taxes and put the project plan into action. Therefore, the project was easily approved. Planning the additions to the treatment plants was initiated, along with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to determine how much of our wastewater treatment plant output needed to be put in the river to maintain endangered species habitats, and how much could be diverted for recycling. Then, along came the lawsuits. The Signal reported, “Judge James C. Chalfant agreed with ACWA (Affordable Clean Water Alliance) lawyers and called for more studies on the effects of recycled water on an endangered species of native fish.” The Sanitation District lawyers indicated, “they would respond specifically to those concerns.” Judge Chalfant, “wanted district officials to explain in greater detail how they will protect the unarmored threespine stickleback – an endangered species of native fish.”

In order to get the project moving forward, the SCV Sanitation District broke the project off into “two separate tracks,” one for the treatment plant improvements, and the other track for the recycled water project. Then, much to the public’s surprise, on February 26, 2019, the SCV Sanitation District reversed course and declared they had “formally ceased its own efforts to reduce discharges to the river in favor of recycling water.” They claimed to take this action to protect the Santa Clarita ratepayers and help “clear the way for regional evaluation of all water resources, which will lead to better solutions.”

Really? The SCV Sanitation District is the only major source of recycled water in the Santa Clarita Valley. Knowing the EIR work stoppage had to have the approval of Santa Clarita Mayor McLean and Councilmember Weste, who represent a majority of the SCV Sanitation District Board, I approached the podium at a city council meeting and asked the Council to agendize a discussion on the Sanitation District’s decision. I suggested the city council provide a recommendation to the SCV Sanitation District, which is in the best interest of the city’s residents. Both Mayor McLean and Councilmember Weste indicated their support and understanding of the need to make recycled water available. Councilmember Weste went on to indicate that the SCV Sanitation District was waiting for California Fish and Game to tell them how much of the 20 million gallons a day could be recycled.

Following up and making a few phone calls, I was able to obtain a copy of a letter from California Fish and Game to the SCV Sanitation District. The correspondence outlined studies and methodology they deemed appropriate, to determine the effect of reducing the amount of water into the river would have on endangered species. Then a few days later, I attended a meeting were Steve Cole presented elements of SCV Water’s “Next Drop” water recycling strategy. As it turns out, SCV Water currently has a contract with the SCV Sanitation District for up to 1600-acre-feet per year of recycled water. Today, SCV Water only uses 400-acre-feet per year, leaving the remaining 1200-acre-feet available to satisfy the current new pipelines being put in the ground to bring recycled water to Central Park.

Getting recycled water to where it is needed is expensive, and I applaud SCV Water for implementing sections over time. But what happens when SCV Water needs to increase use over the 1600-acre-foot contractual limit? Why not increase the amount of recycled water available whenever a new user is added to the SCV Sanitation District service roll? In other words, add capacity as it becomes available. Santa Clarita has a number of large projects under construction or in the works. Therefore, without fighting the “endangered species windmill,” why not capture the increase in flow, rather than just add it to the current outflow and aggravate the problem?

Therefore, it was back to the city council podium, asking them to agendize the issue to discuss a recommendation on how to use the additional user flow. They could have water to fill all those purple pipes the city is putting in the ground. But the silence was deafening, as no words on the subject came forth from any member of the council.

No other organization or agency will be able to implement a long-term water recycling strategy, unless the SCV Sanitation District agrees to provide the raw materials, which in this case is the output of their wastewater treatment plants. It is time for the SCV Sanitation District to start getting creative and take action, which is in the best interest of our valley’s residents. The next time an elected official tries to convince you to take out your lawn to save water, tell them you will consider it as soon as they do their job, and recycled water is flowing through all those purple pipes taxpayer dollars bought and buried in the ground. Because at that point, we will be able to cheerfully recognize that the SCV Sanitation District, SCV Water, the new Groundwater Sustainability Agency, and the City of Santa Clarita have finally found a way to work collaboratively.


Clarification/Response from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

The Sanitation District wishes to clarify a couple of statements in the article written by Alan Ferdman titled, “Singing the Praise of Earth, Wind and Water.”

First, the cost to operate and maintain the chloride compliance project is estimated at $5.9 million per year, not $100 million per year as stated in the article.
Second, the recycled water component in the original chloride compliance EIR (and all subsequent environmental documents) was independent of the chloride compliance project. The recycled water component was about making more recycled water available for community reuse and not about improving the quality of river water or recycled water. Today, the treated water from the plants is suitable for a wide range of uses including landscape irrigation.

Due to the adverse court ruling mentioned in the article, the recycled water project was separated from the chloride compliance project in 2018. This separation enabled the chloride compliance project to move forward and minimize the risk of fines to ratepayers.

Biden is Right!

| Opinion | May 2, 2019

On April 25, Joe Biden declared his candidacy for the President of the United States. In his opening salvo, he declared that we are in a great battle for the soul of America. I could not agree more. I am sure that I have a very different view as to which side conflicts with the accumulated values of Western Civilization.

The Ten Commandments or Decalogue are in direct conflict with statements made by the 20 Democrats running for President.

“Do not bear false witness.”

In his announcement, Biden charged President Trump with saying there were good people among the racist white supremacists at the daytime violence in Charlottesville. The president castigated those vile people. He said there were good people at the peaceful statue protests the night before. Look up the transcripts. Most of the press and many Democrat talking heads keep repeating this lie. The number of times they have repeated the lies about Trump being a traitor and colluding with the Russians is in the thousand by now. Despite two years of investigation, Mueller found no evidence that this assertion is true. They still have not stopped the accusations. Those who have been claiming that the president is innocent have been reviled and called liars by Trump’s accusers. Leftists should fear for their souls. He charged Trump with causing division, when in fact it is the misrepresentation of his words and actions by Democrat talking heads that is the real source of division. The Democrat talking heads remain committed to constantly dividing us by race, class and gender. Creating division is the province of the Democrat Party and Socialism. While professing support for the middle class, they put in regulations and taxes on business that are so onerous that only the wealthy can comply, leaving the poor and middle class unable to lift themselves up. Or is that the idea?

“Do not Covet, Do not Envy.”

Encouraging the masses to resent the successful is at the heart of Democrat policy. Inspiring the people to aspire is not part of the formula. We have constantly heard that the rich do not pay their fair share and therefore the majority must take more of their wealth for the sake of social justice. Currently, the upper 20 percent of wage earners pay 84 percent to 91 percent of all income taxes collected. Despite their significant contributions, Democrats want even more in the name of the people. That is the tyranny of the majority. It’s Democratic Socialism at its worst.

“Do not Steal.”

Once they put value on envy and coveting, then they justify taking more of our personal treasure. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for 2 cents on the dollar confiscation of the assets of high wealth citizens. Not just tax their income. I have lost count on how many times I have heard a leftist say, “They do not need that money.” Notice that Democrat Socialist like Bernie Sanders give very little to charity or are willing to pay more of their fair share to government. Rationalizing theft from the minority is at the very core of their political philosophy.

“Honor your Father and Mother.”

The shameless 20 are against returning control of K-12 education from the leftists, to those who care about our children the most, their parents. They do not honor the fathers and mothers of America’s children.

“Do not Murder.”

What else can you call late term abortions on the viable unborn? Be honest.

These have been but a few examples of leftist Democrat policies representing the dark side while professing social justice.

The people now proclaim, “Malum est malum quod facit.”

Ballsy Biden: Basing a Campaign on Lies

| Opinion | May 2, 2019

Joe Biden started his presidential campaign off strong last week, coming right out of the gate with his attacks on President Trump. The only problem is that most of his attacks are based on old and fully-debunked lies, as are many of his claims.

Why would a former Vice President commit such an egregious attack on the truth? I can see only three possible reasons for him to follow this strategy: he has either been told that “the fix was in” and the media wouldn’t call him on it (but CNN’s Jake Tapper immediately did), he thinks that Americans are just too stupid to remember something that happened less than two years ago (and won’t bother to look it up) or an insider is trying to force a massive intentional error from his campaign.

Firstly, to be called out for a lie by a CNN commentator in this day and age, if you’re a Democrat, means that you must have told such a whopper that the pigs are flying and the devil needs a warm coat in his home downstairs.

So let’s start off with that very first lie that even CNN couldn’t allow to proceed: that President Trump called the white supremacists from the Charlottesville Rally “fine people.”

The reality, as was discovered long ago, is that the situation is eerily similar to the “animals” controversy. If you forgot, during a press conference between President Trump and a group of sheriffs, one of the participants asked President Trump specifically about MS-13.

When the president responded by calling them animals, the media deceptively removed the initial question, took the statement out of context and tried to convince people that the president was calling all Mexican immigrants animals – completely leaving out that the comment was in response to a question about MS-13, who I think we can all agree are vile animals.

The Charlottesville hoax controversy is almost exactly the same: in a statement about the protests in Charlottesville, President Trump set the foundation by saying, at the very beginning of his statement, that:

“You have people, and I’m not talking about the Neo-Nazis and the White Nationalists, because they should be condemned totally…”

So what did the media immediately do (and Joe Biden lie about in his VERY FIRST campaign video)? They again deceptively edited the foundational aspect of the statement (“…and I’m not talking about…”) and tried to pass it off, out of context, to make President Trump seem like something he’s not.

Biden is also parroting the good old “not even a whisper of scandal in the Obama administration” line, which would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic for our nation.

I guess Biden is taking the Hillary Clinton line of “what does it matter” when thinking back to Benghazi, Solyndra, Fast & Furious, Uranium One, the Bergdahl prisoner swap, giving billions to a nation that screams “death to America,” wiretapping the Associated Press, hacking journalist Sharyl Attkisson, reserving White House administration seats for Muslim Brotherhood, the IRS targeting conservatives, weaponization of intelligence against political opponents, the Hammer program spying on regular Americans and breaking into their financial records and the worst of all of them, Spygate and Russiagate which will make Whitewater look like a jaywalking ticket when all is said and done (and the recently released Stroczk/Page texts confirm the white house was “running” those operations).

Biden is also running on the statement that “Americans aren’t feeling any difference from the Trump tax cuts,” which has been utterly disproven many times. If you don’t understand, getting a tax refund is a bad thing – it means you gave the government an interest-free loan by overpaying on your taxes in the first place. But, that won’t stop a career politician from using a cheap shot to pander for votes.

We’ve seen this before, and it’s fitting that Obama’s VP has chosen to build his entire platform on a web of lies. But the fact that each of them have already been utterly disproven, and that he thinks we’re too stupid to remember … well that’s just disheartening, but it lets us know what career politicians like Biden really think of Americans.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

The Justice Democrats

| Opinion | May 2, 2019

By Eric Goldin

In the far-left’s madness and desperation to bring down Donald Trump, the Justice Democrats has splurged into existence. If I hadn’t seen the reality of it for myself, I would’ve thought the Justice Democrats were just a fictional super hero faction in a corny Marvel movie; but sadly, they really do exist. The Justice Democrats run/officially endorse candidates for political office who are willing to tow an extreme leftist line. This organization was founded on January 23, 2017 by Cenk Uygur and Kyle Kulinski. Cenk Uygur has been the tsar of the far-left movement for over fifteen years. He founded The Young Turks in 2002, the biggest independent political commentary show in the United States. Cenk has run wild during his career, constantly getting facts wrong, coming to erroneous conclusions and falsely accusing innocent people of racism, sexism and bigotry. Kyle Kulinski first became prominent in the year 2008 when he started his YouTube channel called Secular Talk, which is part of the larger Young Turks network of shows. Both of these men speak like Neanderthals, with a combination of obnoxiously loud voices, foul language, wild histrionics, and nonsensical, riled-up deranged tangents.

The Justice Democrats have distanced themselves from regular and centrist Democrats by advocating for extreme leftist propositions and ridiculous political correctness. The full absurd vision they have for America can be viewed on their website – much of it is absolutely idiotic and detrimental to the United States.

But the worst part of the Justice Democrats is how totalitarian they act. You must have a 100 percent squeaky-clean record as a life-long far-leftist to be a member. If you’ve ever done a single thing in your life that is not in line with extreme political correctness, the Justice Democrats will not accept you into their clique. Actually, that’s putting it nicely – they act like total Stalinists! Remember how I said that the Justice Democrats were founded by Cenk Uygur and Kyle Kulinski? Well, both men are no longer affiliated with them. Why? Because they were unfairly kicked out. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would’ve thought the events that transpired was something out of a George Orwell novel. Almost twenty years ago, Cenk Uygur wrote humorous remarks about women that some people regarded as “sexist.” These jokes surfaced on December 22, 2017. I’m not going to argue whether or not his comments were truly sexist, but I do find it absolutely insane that any liberal would hold this against Cenk. He profusely apologized for his words (made almost two decades earlier) and explained that he is not the same kind of person who would make those jokes anymore. Cenk has been the figure-head of the far-left movement for over fifteen years, yet his body of work and reputation wasn’t good enough for the other members of the Justice Democrats. In a Stalinist move, they demanded that Cenk be removed as one of the leaders of the Justice Democrats. Cenk bowed down to their wishes and stepped down. Kyle Kulinski, in an act of protest of how his friend was being treated, also left the Justice Democrats. The two men who put together the Justice Democrats were, in essence, sent to the gulag and exiled from the organization they built from the ground up. Even though I don’t like either of these men, I really do feel sorry for how they were treated.

But despite all of the despicable actions of the Justice Democrats, they’ve had a lot of success. Out of the 79 candidates who they ran/officially endorsed during the 2018 midterm elections, 26 won their primaries; seven of them won their general election (including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and llhan Omar). For a group that has only been around for a very short amount of time, they’ve made huge gains.

This is how crazy political correctness has made society. This treachery must be squashed quickly! We must recognize the problems that political correctness and the Justice Democrats pose on society, and we must do what we can to defeat them!

A High Schooler’s POV

| Opinion | May 2, 2019

By Analyn May

As the school year draws to a close, I find myself once again reflecting on the state of the school system. Those of you who have been reading my articles since the beginning will know that the very first article I ever wrote was on a similar topic, and that as both a student and the daughter of a teacher, I feel rather strongly about some of the current educational policies. But there’s one policy that I think, if implemented, would immediately eliminate 90 percent of all existing problems with the system. And it’s not a foreign concept, either. It’s simply this:

Smaller. Class. Sizes.

You know I feel strongly about a subject when I break the rules of grammar to make my point. Currently, the legal “limit” of students per class is based on district averages, meaning some schools may have much higher class sizes than others. To make matters worse, sometimes the limits placed aren’t even enforced, negating the whole purpose of having a limit in the first place. Due to “budget restrictions” (which, in my opinion, are the result of a mis-prioritized budget), most schools cram far more students into a class than the legal cap allows, instead of hiring one or two more teachers and simply letting many other classes enjoy a population below the limit.

Some of you may be wondering why smaller class sizes are such a big deal, particularly if you never had to deal with a 30-something-student class as a kid. There are practically countless benefits, but I’ll list a few. First, teachers are actually humans (unbelievable, right?) and therefore have limited reserves of both time and energy. Simple division means that the more students in the class, the less time and energy they have to spend on each one. Second, kids who are shy or have anxiety are overwhelmed by a large group of peers and will shut down into “quiet mode” if they have a question, instead of asking the teacher for help (and thus stealing time away from the other students). Third, not only do teachers have less time to bond with their students, but students have less time to bond with each other, which makes it difficult in certain situations such as group projects. This may also lead to students forming exclusive “cliques” within the class, due to the psychological need to belong to a “pack.” This in turn leads to a higher chance of outcasts than in a class which is small enough to be a functional “pack” on its own.

I’ve just listed three reasons why smaller class sizes would be beneficial to students and teachers alike, but it isn’t difficult to figure out others. The only thing that’s difficult for me to figure out is why on earth this wouldn’t already be common practice. Sadly, as I mentioned before, it probably all comes down to bottom line. But when the very point of school is to educate the next generation, is sacrificing the actual quality of the education students are receiving worth a couple dollars? I think not.

But as always, that’s just my POV. Until next time, this is Analyn May, signing off.

Nudist Colony to Open in Santa Clarita

| Opinion | April 27, 2019

by Harry Parmenter with a bit of satire

When the foolishness of April springs into the first and then last days of May, June arrives, and with it, Summer. And this year, Santa Clarita will raise the heat index by welcoming its first ever nudist camp!

“Grin and Bare It” will open its kimono Memorial Day weekend to create mamm, er, memories for the young at heart of all ages. Embracing diversity and inclusion in a big way, the camp will be staffed by craftsman, servers and entertainers spanning the hottest gender trends, from cis, cishet, trans, non-binary and, of course, yahoo (see Travels, Gulliver’s). However, those who identify as simply “man” or “woman” will also be encouraged to join the fun and take a bite out of Adam’s apple at the camp’s own Garden of Eatin’, among other attractions.

“It’s going to be a safe place for anyone who can leave their inhibitions, not to mention their clothes, behind,” says Elke Winter, co-owner of “Grin and Bare It.” Her business and life partner, Pierre Cellars, concurs: “We decided to take a shot in the dark and open our doors, minds and bodies to the inviting Santa Clarita Valley, from Generation A to Z.”

“Grin and Bare It,” (or GABI, as Elke and Pierre like to call it), will be nestled deep in the rich foothills of Haskell Open Space (or HOS, as Elke and Pierre like to call it). The 35-acre compound formerly known as Spawn Ranch, home of the legendary 19th century Manzin Clan, will feature a dining room, a common room, an uncommon room, a meditation room, a pool, a pool room, a bool room (where people can bare their souls and shoot the bool), a fire pit, a picnic area, and a wide assortment of outdoor activities including ping pong, pickleball, chess, checkers, horseshoes and Erica’s Mahjong corner.

The sprawling grounds will also feature special sections devoted to various demographic groups such as Gen Z’s “We’re Kind of a Big Deal,” Millenials’ “We’re Kind of a Bigger Deal,” a unique gender sing-along room called LGBTQRXSTUPALLADOCIOUS and a very special Baby Boomer sanctuary, “It’s Definitely Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

“We just want everyone to feel they belong, to get in touch with themselves,” said Pierre, “but preferably not others,” interrupted Elke. “Me too,” Pierre quickly added, speaking from his stand-up desk at GABI HQ. “Everything we are doing will be designed to amplify the message of inclusion and diversity, even down to the music that plays in the park. Pierre is the DJ,” Elke added, beaming. “I am what I play,” he said.
Pierre’s privates, as he likes to call the camp’s rotating soundtrack, will include a song mix sure to leave a trail to the camp, including Puffy Daddy’s “Locker Dem Clothes Up,” “Nekkid Came the Yeti,” by John Boston and the Honby Hogs, “Nude, Noodge, Nod Off,” by the Jewish Muthas, The Kardashian Sistahs’ “Unlike a Virgin,” and absolutely nothing by Kate Smith.

Naturally, news of “Grin and Bare It’s” opening has sparked controversy in the SCV. Saugus resident Seymour Evitall commented, “I just think it’s wrong, getting naked and such. The birds and the bees stick together, or nest, or whatever, by themselves, I think,” he said. “A ‘meditation room,’ really?” said Lord of the New Church pastor Hans Reenging. “And I’ve heard about ‘pickleball’ thank you, no. It’s the devil’s dill-iberate attempt to spread this Green Plan I’ve heard so much about. Next thing you know they’ll be pairing off for Yahtzee.”

“Look, we know a lot of folks aren’t comfortable in their skin,” Elke said decisively, clad only in a pair of flip flops. “Clothes make the man, but when nature calls, everyone answers,” said Pierre, thumbing through a copy of Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

“Grin and Bare It” will have a soft opening the week before Memorial Day but the owners expect word of mouth to spread like suntan lotion as the temperature rises. “Some like it hot,” said Tony Lemmon, GABI gender general, “and we expect folks from Calgrove to Canyon Country to put on their happy birthday suits and come on down.”

The camp will have an age requirement of 21, with a senior discount, ample parking and therapy dog access. Tobacco smoking is verboten, but medicinal marijuana will be available at “The Roundup Weed Canteen,” which is apparently a killer. BYOB is left to your imagination.

“We wanted to launch the first of April but ran into local politics,” said Pierre as Elke shushed him. “Oh never mind that, Pete,” she said, winking at a writer who averted his eyes throughout the interview. “Let’s just say a little Indian with a big Tomahawk named Doug got his bow bent when he heard about us … that rant of his gets people all lathered up!”

“We got to know the City Council on a first name basis,” added Pierre. “We extended them a free pass for Memorial Day weekend,” said Elke, slipping her sunglasses on. “That would certainly send a Signal to the local community, now wouldn’t it?”

On Impeachment, Will Democrats Put Country Over Party?

| Opinion | April 25, 2019

by Dick Polman

Just suppose, for the sake of argument, that a Democratic president had acted as a doormat for Russia, indulging and amplifying an unprecedented soft invasion of America via its electoral process. Just suppose, after having benefited from the cyber-invasion conducted on his behalf, that same Democratic president had sided with Russia against his own intelligence agencies, and had systematically lied and obstructed a years-long federal investigation.

If that were ever to happen, what are the odds that an aggrieved and unified Republican party would be demanding the president’s impeachment and removal, hammering the public 24/7 with hearings and hashtags?

As if we need to ask.

See, here’s the asymmetric difference between Republicans and Democrats: One party (guess which one) instinctively revels in the exercise of power, busts boundaries without apology, and triples down on what it believes, even if it means defending a cult leader and trashing the rule of law. The other party (guess which one) instinctively quakes in its shoes, fearing that if it stands up for what it believes, the opposition and some of the voters will get very mad.

That’s what we’re seeing now. Robert Mueller has teed up the House Democrats to do their job – to act on a report that has exposed a breadth and depth of presidential perfidy that dwarfs Water-gate – and yet they hesitate. The swing voters in 2020 swing states might not support an impeachment process, they say. The House process would be futile because the Republican Senate will never remove Trump, they say. So their instinct is to unilaterally disarm, to abet the normalization of authoritarian lawlessness.

This is no time for dereliction of duty. Instead of fretting about an anti-impeachment voter back-lash in 2020, they should heed what Mueller wrote in his report about Trump’s multiple obstructions of justice: “The Constitution does not authorize the President to engage in such conduct, and those actions would transgress the President’s duty to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’” If House Democrats flex the power that voters granted them in 2018 – if they hold hearings and move toward impeachment if and when the evidence warrants – they can move the needle on public opinion. It’s called leadership. It’s about standing up for American values and the rule of law.

And if the Republican Senate refuses to convict and remove Trump, fine. Put the GOP on record. Make the GOP own their amorality. Make that an issue in 2020 – along with health care and other kitchen-table fundamentals. Democrats should be fully capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope that House Democrats might be strengthening their spines. Last week, Elizabeth Warren called on the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump, by far the strongest comments of any 2020 candidate.

The impeachment standards were firmly established in 1974, by the House Judiciary Committee’s legal counsel, six months before Richard Nixon quit. John Doar, a registered Republican, outlined a wide range of impeachable offenses, including many that resonate today: “…undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the government process, adverse impact on the system of government…conduct seriously in-compatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government, or the proper performance of constitutional duties.”

And we can add serial lying to that list: “Lying to the American people is a betrayal of trust. The pattern of deception and dishonesty that acts as a bodyguard to this president strikes at the very core of his ability to lead. Either the president chooses contempt or complete disregard – or his conscience is so diminished as to leave him unable to discern the truth from his lies.” So said Re-publican John Thune, on the House floor in 1998, citing his reasons why Bill Clinton should be impeached.

Today, Thune is a high-ranking member of the Republican Senate – one of the craven Trump enablers who refuse to put country over party. It’s up to the Democrats to put country first and act in the national interest.

Copyright 2019 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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