Santa Barbara Parents Sue Over ‘Inclusivity Instruction’

| News, Uncategorized | February 7, 2019

Three people affiliated with the William S. Hart Union High School District said they had not heard of a Santa Barbara parent group’s lawsuit that seeks to void a contract between the local school district and an organization that allegedly discriminates against whites, males and Christians, among other groups.

These same people expressed shock at the suit, yet were confident it wouldn’t happen here.

A nonprofit called Fair Education Santa Barbara, whose website says its mission is to “advocate for fair, unbiased, transparent and non political education policies within the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD)” alleges that a nonprofit called Just Communities Central Coast uses policies and procedures for teachers and students that discriminates against eight majority groups including men, whites, heterosexuals, Christians and the wealthy.

“Under the guise of promoting so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘inclusivity’ instruction, JCCC’s actual curriculum and practices are overtly and intentionally anti-Caucasian, anti-male, and anti-Christian,” the lawsuit alleges.

Fair Education seeks to void the current $300,000 contract the district has with JCCC. The lawsuit alleges the district has paid $1.7 million since 2013 and claims the district has a conflict of interest with JCCC because at least seven individuals, including a current board member and an assistant superintendent, worked for JCCC and are major donors.

Eric Early, a former attorney general candidate, represents Fair Education and told the Gazette that JCCC violates the Constitution when it singles out one group as the cause for the country’s ills.

“You can’t single out one race as being the root cause of all the others,” Early said. “You can’t single out one gender as being the root cause of all the others. You can’t single out on religious belief as being the root cause of all the others. That’s what JCCC is doing.”

On its website, JCCC says it “offers cultural competency training to organizational leaders, education seminars for the general public, leadership training institutes for students and teachers, and customized consultation to local agencies for diversity and organizational change initiatives.”

Of its seven listed staff members, six are Hispanic and female, and three were born in either Mexico or El Salvador.

The right-leaning, pro-Trump newspaper The Epoch Times wrote that the JCCC has training materials that say the U.S. is a “profoundly racist” country. “Oppression based on notions of race is pervasive in U.S. society and many other societies and hurts us all, although in different and distinct ways,” the paper quotes the material.

Early used the word “indoctrination” when referring to the JCCC in his interview with The Epoch Times. It was that word that caught the attention of Hart district spokesperson Dave Campbell.

“That is a huge word,” Campbell said. “That’s not just teaching something. That is saying you are purposely going to change someone’s mind to your way of thinking, and that is clearly something that would not be going on in our district.”

Campbell said that he was unaware of any district contract, also called a memorandum of understanding, that is as large as the agreement the Santa Barbara district has with JCCC, a sentiment board members Steve Sturgeon and Joe Messina echoed.

“I’ve never seen anything specific to a magnitude of an MOU, other than potentially with our own union,” Sturgeon said. “It’s typically for services, and we may have an estimated value associated to it.” As an example, Sturgeon said there could be an MOU that allows a teacher to teach six periods instead of five.

Messina said the district already teaches diversity and equality in the social studies curriculum.

As for the possibility of a similar lawsuit happening here, Sturgeon said, “Not with his board, but who knows with future boards? I’ve been on the board for 20 years. Could it happen? Sure. Santa Barbara is proving that.”

Under Trump, It’s Easy To Like Ike

| Uncategorized | August 16, 2018

by John L. Micek

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – The golf clubs in the laundry room at the rear of Dwight Eisenhower’s farmhouse here are perched and ready, as if the 34th president of the United States might come and fetch them at any moment.

Eisenhower was a passionate golfer. His valet, Sergeant John Moaney, would be tasked with cleaning them after Eisenhower returned from one of his frequent rounds at the nearby Gettysburg Country Club.

To step into this 1950s vintage home, here on the edge of what may be America’s best-known Civil War battlefield, is to step back into another era of American politics; though it’s hard to miss the parallels between his time and our own.

It’s also nearly impossible to miss the contrasts between America’s last outsider, Republican president and the current, outsider Republican president: Donald Trump, between the Republican Party as it was, and it is now.

While fraught with its own unique complications and profound inequalities, Eisenhower’s America was a youthful and optimistic one, emerging from the tumult of World War II to take its place as a global superpower and leader on the world stage.

Compare that to an “America First,” that increasingly sounds like “America Alone.”
Like Trump, Eisenhower presided over a booming economy, contended with the threat of a nuclear armed rival in eastern Europe (the enemy in that case was crystal clear), and though Twitter was still decades away, technology was growing by leaps and bounds.

On the homefront, Eisenhower oversaw the construction of the interstate highway system; he sent federal troops to Arkansas in 1957 to ensure the desegregation of the public schools; he prompted the United States to take its first baby-steps in the space race, and he famously warned against the emergence of the “military-industrial complex.”

One of the clearest contrasts comes on the civil rights front. Yes, racism was rampant, but you could count on Ike to like civil rights, as The New York Times put it.

Ever the soldier bound by the chain of command, Eisenhower enforced the terms of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision desegregating American public schools. Eisenhower also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law, providing voting protections for black Americans.

Compare that to our current “both-siderism” on matters of race relations, and the seemingly undying push for “Voter ID” that critics believe will specifically disenfranchise black voters.

Overseas, before becoming president, Eisenhower served as NATO’s first supreme commander, where he helped forged an alliance that kept the peace for some 70 years.

“Like no one else, [Eisenhower] saw the challenges of maintaining an alliance, the egoes on different sides, just keeping it together,” Muhlenberg College political science professor Christopher Borick observed. “I can only imagine his thoughts on NATO today and [President Trump’s] perspective on it. They’re 60 years and light years apart.”

Indeed, during a rally in northeastern Pennsylvania last week, Trump groused about the alliance, and again falsely claimed that member nations were “delinquent” in their payments to NATO until he forced them to pony up.

Like Eisenhower, Trump loves golf, and has spent 135 days on the links since becoming president.

Trump has also spent a total of 170 days at Trump-owned properties since last January. Eisenhower spent just one year of his eight years in the White House at the farm, our tour guide told us.

Yes, there are similarities. Eisenhower believed in the power of personal interface, but not in a vacuum.

Ike entertained Winston Churchill and Charles DeGaulle at the farm, and even deployed his grandchildren as secret weapons in a charm offensive against Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev, a National Park Service ranger told our tour group.

Like Trump, Eisenhower was a political cipher. At one point, he was courted by Democrats as their presidential candidate. Ike eventually revealed himself as a Republican.

Trump, who spent eight years registered as a Democrat and gave to Democratic candidates and causes, embraced his inner Republican for his 2016 White House bid, though he has little in common with the old-guard GOP of Eisenhower.

“I can’t see Ike tweeting,” Borick quipped. “He didn’t like to say a lot more than he had to.”

Indeed, Eisenhower embraced what some have referred to as “strategic patience,” preferring to wait until the right time to act on an issue.

It’s hard to imagine the brash and impatient Trump employing a similar approach.

Eisenhower’s actions were “defined by his willingness not to speak in a rash way, Borick observed. “His speech was always very measured and not one to change course really quickly. Or to throw out actions or ideas without considerable thought.”

In our whirlwind time, amid our breakneck politics, that almost seems a charmingly quaint notion; a relic of a simpler era.

It’s easy to like Ike. Especially now.

Copyright 2018 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at jmicek@pennlive.com.

Early Race for Fundraising

| News, Uncategorized | February 15, 2018

On Feb. 1, with 124 days until the California primary and 279 days until the general election, Jess Phoenix decided this was the time to tout her fundraising.

Jennifer Buonantony, Phoenix’s media manager, put out a release that trumpeted how Phoenix, candidate for the 25th congressional district, raised $102,143 in the last 10 days of 2017. Buonantony titled it, “Volcanologist and Congressional Candidate, Jess Phoenix, Ignites Fundraising Momentum with Grassroots Campaign in CA25.”

One week later, Duane Dichiara, campaign consultant for Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita), put out a release announcing that his man had outraised Democratic opponent Christy Smith by nearly $200,000 in 2017.

Smith’s response: “I’m happy for him.”

At this point, does it really matter how much money has been raised? Sure, more money means more ability to get out one’s message, whether by mailers, advertisements, commercials, social media or a host of other options. But nowhere does raising so much money guarantee election. Hillary Clinton raised about $468.2 million more than Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post. In 2014, Tony Strickland outraised and outspent Steve Knight by about 5-to-1, yet Knight captured the 25th congressional district seat.

In this cycle, nobody has raised as much as Knight (R-Palmdale), who is running unopposed and, therefore, won’t have to spend any money for the June primary. Contrast that with what six Democratic candidates have raised. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which obtained figures from the Federal Election Commission, it’s $1,675,753, yet only one of them is guaranteed to advance to the general election (Knight communications director Chris Jusuf said he can’t comment on campaign matters; Knight campaign consultant Matt Rexroad didn’t respond to an email request).

Katie Hill raised more money than Bryan Caforio, something she is proud to mention.

“We’re a grassroots campaign that’s effective,” she said, adding that raising a great deal of money indicates momentum and a campaign’s strength.

Hill also said she doesn’t have to pay a filing fee, because she got more than the 2,000 signatures required to place her name on the ballot, saving her campaign about $2,500.

“It shows the support we’ve got,” she said.

Caforio’s campaign manager, Nicole DeMont, seems unfazed that Hill has overtaken Caforio. She took aim at Knight, saying that who gives to a campaign is important because it could be an attempt to buy influence.

“(Knight’s) reports are filled with contributions from the Koch brothers, corporate PACs and the Trump Administration,” DeMont said. “It explains Steve Knight’s voting records a lot.”

Knight has received 266 PAC donations totaling $439,450, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Koch brothers PAC is not listed among them, but DeMont provided a link to the Federal Election Commission that showed Knight accepted $2,500 from the PAC on Dec. 22. DeMont also provided a link to two Los Angeles Times stories about Vice President Mike Pence and House majority leader Kevin McCarthy hosting a September fundraiser to benefit Knight and other vulnerable California Republican House members. One story showed Knight received $133,000 as a result.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the candidates who have raised the least amount of money are saying they want a campaign about ideas.

“It can matter, but we have candidates who are notoriously underfunded and then get elected and go on to be great leaders,” Michael Masterman-Smith said. “If ideas resonate, then (candidates) might not require (larger) amounts of funds other candidates require.”

Scott McVarish goes one step further by making campaign-finance reform a part of his platform. He has a plan, which he calls Citizens United Levy, so named after the Supreme Court decision that gave corporations First Amendment protection and unleashed ever-larger sums into campaigns.

In McVarish’s plan, every contribution exceeding $100 is subject to a 50-percent tax that goes into a pool. Every three months, each registered voter nationwide gets an equal share of the pool to donate to any candidate or group that does not accept donations of more than $100.

“The Koch brothers and their network spent close to $1 billion. Imagine $500 million of that being distributed to voters in America,” he said. “It’s a massive disincentive. You’ll see big money getting out of politics.”

McVarish said he wants to win without resorting to donations of more than $100. How’s he doing?

“I honestly don’t know,” he said, laughing.


Candidate        Raised              Spent            Cash on hand

Steve Knight    $908,127          $150,571             $794,748
Katie Hill          $693,079         $310,231             $382,848
Bryan Caforio  $663,637         $289,411             $377,203
Jess Phoenix    $281,491          $171,304             $110,188
Scott McVarish $23,120          $19,202               $3,918
Michael Masterman-Smith

$12,369             $0                      $12,419
Diedra Greenaway $2,057         $2,057               $0
Through Dec. 31; Courtesy of Center for Responsive Politics via Federal Election Commission


Candidate                Raised              Spent                 Cash on hand

Dante Acosta           $322,854.60    $177,380.43         $159,325.74
Christy Smith          $128,442.34    $106,901.64         $75,858.65
Through Dec. 31; Courtesy California Secretary of State (cal-access.sos.ca.gov/default.aspx)

Now and Then – A Tower of Treasures

| Uncategorized | August 10, 2017

A time machine stands silhouetted against the San Gabriel Mountains, towering above the houses and industries of Sylmar. Two solid cast-bronze doors weighing 1,500 pounds each and standing 15 feet high provide the entry for touring groups to step inside this time machine, which the Merle Norman Cosmetic Company calls “San Sylmar.”

The tall, sand-colored building, visible from the I-5 Freeway, houses a treasure trove of collectibles which had been purchased, restored, and used by cosmetic company founder J.B. Nethercutt and his wife, Dorothy. The Nethercutts believed that their art should be functional and enjoyed – `and everything in San Sylmar is in working order and is displayed openly so visitors may study each object closely. Guests, who make reservations in advance of their visit, have enjoyed this privilege since the doors to The Collection opened in 1971.

Once inside the towering bronze doors, modeled after 19th century iron doors from Scotland, visitors enter the grand salon showroom specially designed to house classic and antique automobiles. The room takes the viewers back almost 100 years to an era of opulence and style. An automatic piano plays a 1926 George Dilworth recording while guests traverse dark marble floors between coral marble colonnades, and blink back at a gleaming array of chrome and dazzling colors.

(During a 1976 tour, groups marveled at a 1934 model J. Duesenberg, a 1933 Bugatti, a 1930 Marmon, a 1923 McFarlan, and a 1912 Premier — just a few of the highly polished automobiles reflecting the images of mirrored walls and crystal chandeliers which grace the room.)

During the tour, a guide points out unique fixtures found in each car and explains that almost all the cars are taken out of the showroom, driven around town, and enjoyed. Most guests wonder if they’d want the responsibility of driving one of the flawless cars in today’s traffic.

When the piano selection ends, everyone gathers at the base of a stairway and reluctantly walks out of the Gatsby-like setting and mounts the stairs leading to an 18th century display.

On the mezzanine balcony, a nearly 200-year-old Belgian rug cushions two copies of French roll-top desks. The larger bureau au cylinder is a copy of a desk made for Louis XV in 1760. The desk is all inlaid wood and 12 different veneers depict scenes of French culture, education, and battle. Adjacent to the furniture grouping is a wall of display cases housing a variety of radiator ornaments (also called radiator mascots — today, most of us refer to them by their modern function as hood ornaments).

A spiral staircase with musical notes painted on its walls (musicians recognize the arrangement as “Stairway to the Stars”) leads to a floor that the Nethercutts designated as their “Cloud 99.”

Cloud 99 is somewhat cooler than the rest of the building and opens into a room of recording pianos, large orchestrions, a 1926 Wurlitzer theater pipe organ, a showcase of musical clocks, and a Louis XV dining room.

Guests walk across a plush carpet, designed to resemble a field of clover, to an alcove of musical instruments. Here, an 1878 Italian carved orchestrion can be activated to play “A Bicycle Built For Two.” The grouping also contains a Wurlitzer orchestrion and a 1912 “nickelodeon” with a self-playing violin and piano. Several wall-length orchestrions fill the room and are fully restored to play. They are decorated with small statues, Tiffany lamps, marble inlays, and stained-glass mirrors.

In one corner of the room is the oldest piano in the collection. The instrument is a nine-foot concert grand piano crafted in Vienna from 1894 to 1898 and presented to Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1898.

A final musical demonstration is given by a computerized Wurlitzer theater organ. The organ plays a number of selections from a computer memory bank as curtains are drawn back from large glass windows to reveal its 1,700-plus pipes “inhaling and exhaling” along with the melodies.

This free, guided tour of The Collection is by advanced reservation only, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (excluding some holidays). Children under 10 are not allowed. Check the website for directions to San Sylmar and available tour times: www.nethercuttcollection.org

Free self-guided tours of more antique vehicles are available at the museum across the street from San Sylmar. Sitting on tracks behind that building is a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and 1912 Pullman private car. Fifteen-minute tours of the train are given Tuesdays and Saturdays, at 12:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. The museum staff advises that no tours of this attraction are given on rainy days and the train is not walker, stroller or wheelchair accessible.

There are no picnic or eating facilities at either location and food and beverages (except for bottled water) are not allowed. Aside from the tours, there are various special events scheduled during the year. A calendar of these events can be found on the website.

Hero of the Week: Tom Iland

| Uncategorized | June 24, 2017

Tom Iland has been a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley for 24 years. He is a graduate of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the age of 13. Since that time, he has worked hard to achieve many of his personal and professional goals: full-time employment, driving, living in his own apartment and having a girlfriend.

He has extensive, first-hand experience working for companies including Calavo Growers, Tetra Tech, Princess Cruises, Deloitte, The Walt Disney Company, Blockbuster Video, Regal Entertainment Group, and Hollywood Video.

Leaving his career in accounting behind in November 2015, Tom now dedicates himself full-time to public speaking, offering unique insights with heart and humor in his engaging presentations. Tom has presented several keynote presentations on his mantra: Know Yourself. Love Yourself. Be Yourself. Other topics include interacting safely with law enforcement, and telling your child about his/her disability. His first book, “Come to Life: Your Guide to Self-Discovery,” will be available to the public beginning Saturday, July 1, 2017.

An active volunteer, Tom serves on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations, including The Art of Autism, The Santa Clarita Valley Mayor’s Committee for Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, and Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides. He is also a division director for District 52 of Toastmasters International, and is nearing completion of the Distinguished Toastmaster Award, the highest award in the organization, indicating an outstanding level of achievement in both communication and leadership.

Currently, Tom serves Junior Chamber International (JCI) Santa Clarita, more affectionately known as the “Jaycees,” as the executive vice president, taking care of the non-profit’s business and ensuring that members and the executive board have the support they need to serve the community. Tom joined the Jaycees after being honored with JCI Santa Clarita’s “40 Under Forty” award in 2012 for his work with SCV Safe Rides. One of his favorite activities with the Jaycees is Christmas caroling in Charles Dickens era clothing during the annual Christmas event, Santa’s Helpers. Tom has held the roles of secretary, treasurer, manager-at-large and executive vice president.

You can learn more at Thomasiland.com.

Dia de Los Ninos/Dia de Los Libros at Library

| Uncategorized | April 28, 2017


An annual event at the Santa Clarita Public Library celebrates children and international cultures while also promoting reading. The community is invited to Día De Los Niños/ Día De Los Libros on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library, located at 18601 Soledad Canyon Road.  This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required to attend.

Throughout the day, various events will emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The free event will begin with a performance by Ballet Folklorico at 11 a.m., followed by Pete the Cat at 12 noon. The event concludes with a dance performance by the SCV Chinese School at 1 p.m.

Participants can enjoy live music, crafts, such as creating paper bag puppets and watercolor painting, free face painting, an opportunity to read to dogs, and other family-friendly activities. Every child participant will also receive a free book while supplies last.

For more information on Día De Los Niños/ Día De Los Libros, contact the Santa Clarita Public Library at (661) 259-0750, or visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.



Student Art Exhibit on Display Through May 25

| Uncategorized | April 23, 2017

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery has a new display featuring a range of student artwork. The 21st Annual Student Art Exhibition opened Tuesday and will be open to the public through Thursday, May 25, 2017.

The works on display include sculpture, photography, printmaking, painting, graphic design, illustration, film, and animation.

“The Student Art Exhibition gives our talented art students the opportunity to share their work with the community,” said Larry Hurst, COC Art Gallery director. “This year’s exhibition is especially dynamic and inspiring.”

The annual showcase exhibition also acts as an educational and professional experience for students. Works are submitted for review and a guest juror selected from the greater Los Angeles arts community traditionally curates the Student Art Exhibition. Some works then become part of a permanent visual art collection, spanning all disciplines, which is displayed at the college’s Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

This year’s juror is Sue Tuemmler, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently works from her studio in downtown Los Angeles. A former arts educator, her work has been shown in the Cincinnati Art Museum, Barnsdall Art Center, Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Gallery 825, and the COC Art Gallery.

College of the Canyons’ Art Gallery is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.

All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the College of the Canyons Art Gallery or the 21st Annual COC Student Art Exhibition, please visit www.canyons.edu/artgallery.

Digging Deeper: The Syrian Gas Attack and Cruise Missile Party

| Opinion, Uncategorized | April 14, 2017

by Robert Patrick Lewis

It’s been quite awhile since most of you have heard from me and there may be some new readers who aren’t familiar with my work, so let me start with a disclaimer: I am a Special Forces combat veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but I’m not one of those “vets against the war.” I believe, probably more strongly than most, that at a certain point war is the end-all be-all when politicians and diplomacy have failed.

I sit on both sides of the potential outcomes for last week’s events in which a town in Syria was gassed, killing dozens of civilians, and our response with Tomahawk cruise missiles. If we go into all-out war with Russia copies of my book, “The Pact,” will surely fly off the shelves, as Russia is a main aggressor in that series of books (and with number two in the works, it would be a great PR opportunity as well).

On the other hand, as a former Green Beret, with many friends still in service, as well as a father to children who I would do anything in the world to save from growing up in a warzone, I believe war should only be the option when there are no others left. But, it’s always an option.

That is why I’m paying such close attention to the events of last week, and am imploring you to dig a little deeper. From my vantage point and experience, I see some glaring contradictions in the stories going around, and that terrifies me.

Let’s take a moment to run down the possible scenarios which led to the events, and why some of them may not be the whole truth:

1. Assad did it. While this is possible, it doesn’t seem plausible, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Syrian military was on the offensive (as they have been for a number of years) and had the rebels surrounded. Any general or advisor would see the use of chemical weapons at that point counterproductive, at best. With UN watchdogs in Syria, this would be known to tip the international community’s hand to action. Some will argue that Obama set a precedent, which led them to believe this wasn’t a likely scenario, but I don’t give that too much credibility now that he’s gone. And let’s not forget that Obama, Clinton & Kerry assured us that Syria had no chemical weapons left at all.

2. Russia did it. The same reasons above make this highly unlikely, coupled with the fact that Putin isn’t beating the war drums or retaliating to the US strike. Furthermore, Russia had air defense systems employed in the area, and with the 90-minute advance warning we gave to Russia, they would have likely employed them if this were setting the stage for war. We decimated approximately 20 percent of the Syrian Air Force with the strike, not something he would want to see happen to his comrades if his plans were war with the U.S.

3. Rebels did it to draw us in to fight. While this may be labeled as conspiracy talk, it follows many war doctrines, especially if you follow the ancient Eastern teachings of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” or “The Thirty-Six Stratagems.”

4. American or Western intelligence did it as a false-flag to draw us into war. Another conspiracy theory, but if you pay attention to certain defense stocks immediately following this event you would have seen a significant bump in share prices.

5. It was meant to send a message to North Korea and the world. Much like 9/11 was used as part of the reason to take us into Iraq, this story has the feel of being attached, although not directly connected. The idea that this was used to send a signal to Pyongyang instead of the carrier strike group we currently have heading for the West Pacific Ocean has some merit, but the timing and connection give reason for pause.

This article isn’t meant to paint a narrative or send you to any one conclusion, but rather to open your eyes to forces at play and numerous possibilities besides the ones we’re hearing in conjecture from talking heads with no military experience. A few glaring errors have served as red flags in my mind, namely that many publications, even the New York Times, have misquoted that President Trump authorized a 59 missile salvo, when in fact 60 were authorized, one misfired and one fell into the ocean leading to 59 hitting the target.

Also, the “proof” of a Russian frigate heading to a regular port (but reported as heading directly to the U.S. ships which launched the attack) and a U.S. strike group heading to North Korea (again, regular procedure for them) seem to indicate a narrative is being built to sell media rather than report the truth.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A) and is an award-winning author of “The Pact” and “Love Me When I’m Gone: the true story of life, love and loss for a Green Beret in post-9/11 war.” Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Summer Lifeguard Tryouts for Residents Age 16 and Older

| Uncategorized | March 10, 2017

The last chance for local men and women to be a summer lifeguard is this Saturday, March 11. The City of Santa Clarita’s final lifeguard tryouts and interviews will be held from 9-11 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, located at 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway.

Interested applicants must be 16 years old by June 1, 2017 to apply and must provide identification with proof of age on the day of the tryout. If applicant is under the age of 18, a parent/guardian must be present on the day of the tryout.

The tryout portion will consist of a 400-yard swim in less than 7.5 minutes. Applicants will also be required to tread water with a 10-pound brick for one minute. If applicant passes the tryout portion, an interview will be held on the same day. Time will be provided between the swim tryout and the interview, so that applicants can shower and change.

All applications must be completed online prior to 11:00 a.m. on March 11, 2017. Computers are available at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. No late applications will be accepted.

To apply, visit santa-clarita.com/Aquatics . For more information, call the Aquatics Center at (661) 250-3740.

One More Weekend of Comedic Shakespeare at Canyon Theatre

| Entertainment, Uncategorized | February 23, 2017

The Canyon Theatre Guild has brought a hilarious and unusual parody of Shakespeare to the stage once again. It doesn’t take a seasoned student of The Bard to appreciate “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged Revised.” In fact, even if you never saw a Shakespeare production in your life, it’s funny just to watch three men try to portray 30-plus characters, all in a two-hour show.

At last weekend’s show, the actors at the Canyon Theatre Guild production brought irreverence to a new high, bantering with audience members (be careful if you’re in the front row!) and making every audience member laugh. The three men in tights moved swiftly on and offstage, removing layers of colorful costumes and changing the pitch of their voices.

If you’re asking, “To go or not to go,” the answer is yes, but call for tickets soon, because the show closes on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.

The Canyon Theatre Guild is located at 24242 Main Street in Newhall. Tickets can be reserved by calling the CTG Box Office at 661-799-2707.

Coming Soon to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center

| Uncategorized | February 21, 2017

Magic, Comedy and Cheer

The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons has three shows lined up for the spring that will feature magic, comedy, and plenty of cheer.

Considered America’s longest-running all-star magic revue, “It’s Magic” will engage audience members on Sunday, April 9.

Called “a must for magic buffs of all ages” by the Los Angeles Times, “It’s Magic” features a cast of award-winning performers from around the world. The audience will watch magicians who have experience performing at such venues as Magic Castle in Hollywood and Las Vegas, including Jody Baran & Kathleen, Charlie Frye & Company, Kyle and Mistie Knight, Dana Daniels, and Dan Birch.

The performance is presented by Terry Hill and Milt Larsen, creator of The Magic Castle, and will include spellbinding sleight-of-hand illusions, stage tricks, comedy and variety acts that are appropriate for the entire family.

Tickets for “It’s Magic” range from $17 to $40 per person.

Looking for some laughs? After performing at the PAC in June 2013, Lily Tomlin will return to the PAC with an encore performance show on Saturday, May 20.

Tomlin has been delighting audiences ever since she first appeared on the sketch TV show “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” Her one-woman show will include all the timeless characters that have made the Grammy Award and Peabody Award winner famous, such as Mrs. Beasley, Edith Ann, and Ernestine.

Most recently, Tomlin received the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Life Achievement Award at the SAG Awards ceremony held in January.

Tickets for “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin” range from $63.75 to $95 per person.

Tickets for the Lily Tomlin pre-show artist meet-and-greet will be sold separately for $50. The “date night done right” themed pre-show reception will also include cocktails and dinner.

Some high-octane cheer will be brought to the PAC from April 28-30 and May 5-7 when the cast of “Bring It On: The Musical” gets in formation.

Based on the 2000 film of the same name, “Bring It On: The Musical” tells the story of two cheerleading squads in competition to win the National Cheerleading Championships and the unexpected bonds they create along the way.

The musical’s music and lyrics were written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton” and “In The Heights”), Amanda Green, Tom Kitt and Jeff Whitty.

Tickets for “Bring It On: The Musical” range from $5 to $10 per person.

Located at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus, the PAC has been delivering high-quality entertainment to the Santa Clarita Valley since it opened its doors in 2004.

For more information about It’s Magic, An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin and “Bring It On: The Musical,” or to purchase tickets, contact the PAC Box Office at (661) 362-5304 or visit www.canyonspac.com.

Non Profit of the Week – 2nd Chance Dog Rescue

| SC Living, Uncategorized | September 30, 2016

Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic Partners With
2nd Chance Dog Rescue

Two of the Acton/Aqua Dulce area’s most devoted animal care entities, 2nd Chance Dog Rescue and Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic, established a strategic partnership that will ensure that the area’s longstanding animal rescue source continues in its mission of serving needy animals and animal owners in the Acton/Aqua Dulce region. The partnership was recently formed in response to the departure of longtime 2nd Chance Dog Rescue founders and operators, Kevin and Jill Parnham. After diligently serving the community for the past 14 years, the Parnham’s are relocating out of the area.

The new partnership will see Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic assuming a variety of the functions of 2nd Chance Dog Rescue in collaboration with new 2nd Home Dog Boarding owner-operator, Joe Altieri. Altieri recently took over management of the Parnham’s dog boarding operation after serving as an assistant/volunteer to the Parnhams for the past two years.

“Kevin and Jill’s presence, passion and impact on the animals and animal owners in the area will be sorely missed, but we are proud to be preserving the mission that has been their labor of love for so many years,” said Jim Schmitt, practice manager at SVC. “We look forward to collaborating with Joe and 2nd Home Dog Boarding, to ensure that the community continues to benefit from our collective passion and commitment to animal care.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kevin and Jill over the past two years and the experience has been nothing short of inspiring,” said Altieri. “I’m honored to be a part of something so worthwhile and valuable to this community and am excited about the expanded resources that SVC can bring to bear through their expertise and commitment to animals and animal owners.”

Through their many years of hard and selfless labor, the Parnhams have built and maintained an organization that has helped countless dogs and cats through rescue, adoption and veterinary care. As they step back from their efforts, SVC will now step forward in partnership with Altieri to help continue the legacy of 2nd Chance. SVC and Altieri will maintain the efforts of 2nd Chance, while making some changes in the mission necessitated by now being officially associated with the veterinary clinic.

Going forward, the organization will be known as 2nd Chance Animal Care. 2nd Home Dog Boarding will provide temporary housing of stray and/or needy dogs, prior to finding them permanent homes, and SVC will primarily be involved in the provision of veterinary care. Both sides will be actively involved in fundraising activities for the organization, and Kevin Parnham will remain on the board of directors during an initial period of transition. The non-profit’s board of directors will also include Jim Schmitt, practice manager at SVC; Dr. Mark Williams; Jeannine Sullivan (Dr. Mark’s wife); Joe Altieri, owner of 2nd Home Dog Boarding; Marc Altieri, (Joe Altieri’s brother and business partner); and one other individual still to be named.

The expanded mission statement of 2nd Chance Animal Care will be:
To pursue fundraising to benefit animal rescue and animal veterinary care
To financially aid local animal rescue groups and provide the economically challenged relief for the costs associated with veterinary care
To promote educational efforts in regards to responsible pet care and ownership
To continue community outreach programs such as the Share and Care Animal Fair

2nd Chance Animal Care will be recruiting volunteer individuals to help pursue the above efforts. Inquiries from those interested in volunteering can contact Jim Schmitt at svcmanager@sbcglobal.net.

Hero of the Week

It’s never easy to say goodbye to local heroes. But that’s exactly what Acton dog owners and animal lovers had to do with the departure of long-time 2nd Chance Dog Rescue owner/operators Kevin and Jill Parnham. After more than a decade spent rescuing and placing dogs with loving families, and offering dog-boarding services with a heartfelt level of personal care, the couple made the difficult decision to relocate out of the area.

But in this case, departing heroes are giving way to new heroes, with the recent announcement of the collaboration between Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic and Joe Altieri, the Acton-area newcomer who’s taken over ownership and management of the dog boarding operation, 2nd Home Dog Boarding.

Altieri assumed the role after serving as an assistant at the facility over the past year. For Altieri, the dog-rescue and boarding operation provided a unique home away from home, after relocating to Acton after more than a decade living in San Diego. Altieri has been rescuing strays since his childhood in the suburbs of Los Angeles, when he’d frequently arrive home toting a needy stray he’d befriended in the local neighborhood.

He would post fliers and go door-to-door in hopes of finding the dog’s owners. Oftentimes the door-to-door efforts continued, when he’d sell greeting cards to neighborhood residents to earn money to cover the veterinary and licensing costs for the strays. After a childhood spent amassing a considerable “pack” of his own, Altieri now finds his purpose caring for the dogs of others.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to make your passion your profession,” said Altieri. “Kevin and Jill poured their heart and soul into their work, and it’s an honor to continue their legacy in this great community.”

But Altieri will have help from Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic’s Dr. Mark Williams and business manager Jim Schmitt. With Altieri taking over 2nd Chance Dog Boarding services, Williams and Schmitt will assume management of the rescue component of the operation under the new name, 2nd Chance Animal Care.

Rescue will only be one component of the new entity’s collaborative mission. The group plans to expand the scope of the non-profit to include fundraising to benefit animal rescue, animal support services and veterinary care, financial aide to other local animal rescue groups, relief to economically challenged individuals in need of animal care, and unique social and educational events for animal owners in the local area.

“There’s strength in numbers, and we’re excited to work with Joe and expand what Jill and Kevin established over the past 10 years,” said Schmitt. “This region is unique in the valuable role that dogs, horses and other animals play for so many families in the area, and we want to be a source of support and advocacy for this very special aspect of the community.“

2nd Chance Animal Care will be recruiting volunteer individuals to help pursue the above efforts. Inquiries from those interested in volunteering can contact Jim Schmitt at svcmanager@sbcglobal.net.

Local Students Invited to Experience Free Shows with ARTstART

| Uncategorized | September 8, 2016

For the third year in a row, the College of the Canyons ARTstART program will provide local elementary, junior high and high school students with complimentary access to select shows at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center, or PAC.

The PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program, in partnership with the COC School of Visual and Performing Arts, launched the ARTstART program in an effort to introduce students to the wide variety of cultural arts events available at the college, and help nurture an early appreciation for music, theatre, dance and the fine arts.

During the 2016-17 PAC season, the following six ARTstART performances will offer free admission to eligible students:

Symphony of the Canyons — Bravo Beethoven! – Saturday, Oct. 22
COC Theatre — “The Winter’s Tale” – Nov. 11-13, 18-20
COC Music — Annual Holiday Jazz Band Concert – Friday, Dec. 2
COC Theatre — “Bring It On: The Musical” – April 28-30, May 5-8
COC Music — Annual POPS! Jazz Concert – Friday, May 12
Symphony of the Canyons — In Celebration of Nature – Saturday, May 13

“ARTstART provides our community’s K-12 students with the opportunity to attend and learn about the arts programs we have on campus,” said Carmen Dominguez, dean of the college’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. “At no cost, they are able to attend select main stage concerts and plays in our Black Box Theater.”

To become an ARTstART patron, students must be between 5-18 years old and possess a valid school ID. Students will receive a complimentary ticket upon presenting a valid school ID at the PAC box office for any ARTstART show that features the program’s logo.

All tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Students are also invited to visit the COC Art Gallery to experience one of the four scheduled exhibitions taking place in 2016-17:

“Avenues & Turnabouts” — Ed Flynn — Aug. 30 – Oct. 6, 2016
“Roudels” — John Eden — Oct. 25 – Dec. 8
“Site Specific” — Lisa Adams — Feb. 21 – March 23, 2017
21st Annual Student Exhibition — April 18 – May 18, 2017

The COC Art Gallery is open on Mondays from 11 a.m.-4 pm. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to call (661) 362-3612 to schedule a viewing appointment. All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the College of the Canyons ARTstART program, visit www.canyonsPAC.com or call (661) 362-5304.

‘Walk of Remembrance’ Draws Attention to Safe Driving

| Uncategorized | September 2, 2016

The City of Santa Clarita invites local residents to attend the Walk of Remembrance to promote safe driving and show support for families who lost loved ones in traffic-related incidents. The community walk will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, prior to the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Evening of Remembrance at the Youth Grove at Central Park.

The city’s half-acre Youth Grove memorial is dedicated to educating the community about safe driving and offers a place for reflection. Each year, the City of Santa Clarita and the Blue Ribbon Task Force host the Evening of Remembrance to help local families honor youth ages 24 and younger who lost their lives in traffic-related incidents.

“This powerful event helps to raise community awareness about the importance of responsible driving,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar. “Reckless and distracted driving is not just something that needs to be reinforced in teens, but in all residents, and the Walk of Remembrance brings much needed attention to the issue.”

The Walk of Remembrance will begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by the Evening of Remembrance ceremony at 7:15 p.m. Both events will be held at the Youth Grove at Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.

The Youth Grove at Central Park is now home to 102 individual pillars, each bearing a plaque with the name of a young life lost to a traffic-related incident. The pillars mimic cut tree stumps to symbolize young lives cut short on the road and they surround a central monument urging the community to “Know More” about safe driving habits and pledge that “No More” young lives will be lost behind the wheel.

For more information on the Youth Grove and the Walk of Remembrance, contact the City’s Arts and Events Office at (661) 250-3708 or visit santa-clarita.com/BlueRibbon.

Bankruptcy: Do You Need a Financial Lifeline?

| Uncategorized | August 6, 2016

By Ray Bulaon 

Contrary to what some people may think, most individuals who file bankruptcy are honest, hard-working people who are doing their best to pay their bills, but have reached a point where they can no longer do it on their own. Debt problems can have a devastating effect on families, especially those who are raising children.

Bankruptcy laws have been an important part of our legal system for many decades and will continue to be. There is nothing illegal or wrong about wanting to get your finances back in order, although some bill collectors will make you feel like a “criminal” if you tell them that you are considering bankruptcy as an option. They know that once you’ve applied for bankruptcy protection, whether you are filing a Chapter 7 to wipe out your debts or a Chapter 13 to consolidate your bills, they can no longer continue to harass you for payment.

Anyone who has fallen behind on debt payments understands the stress of trying to play “catch up,” especially when financial resources are limited. Debts immediately snowball and with each passing month, late fees and additional interest accrue, making it impossible for you to ever get ahead. This can be a frustrating experience for a lot of people.

Bankruptcy is not for everyone, but when right for your situation, it may be just what you need to get a fresh start. If you need a financial lifeline, consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you decide if it’s right for you.
Atty. Ray J. Bulaon has been a debt relief attorney since 1998 and has helped more than 5,000 clients get out of debt and solve tax problems. For a free consultation, call his Valencia office at (866) 477-7772.

Law Requires Seventh Grade Vaccination

| Uncategorized | August 5, 2016

California state law now requires that all students entering junior high as seventh graders must be vaccinated. Families will no longer be allowed to submit a personal or religious belief exemption.

Registration for the William S. Hart School District begins next week. Enrolling students who cannot prove they have met immunization requirements will not be allowed to register as seventh graders in the Hart School District.

If your student has received the appropriate vaccinations and you would like to avoid any possible confusion on registration day, you can submit your up-to-date records in advance. Take a picture of the front and back of the records form and email those pictures to the Hart School District Supervisor of Health Services, Christine Amstutz, at camstutz@hartdistrict.org. Or, if you prefer, you can take the record to your junior high school to have health services approve the record ahead of registration day.

For a list of required vaccinations and resources, go to our website at www.HartDistrict.org. Then under “Departments” click Health Services.

Now and Then – Boys and Girls Club Auction

| Uncategorized | June 10, 2016

Boys and Girls Club Auction – The Beginningboys and girls logo

Explaining the impact that the first Boys & Girls Club Auction had on 1970s SCV culture is like trying to describe Liz Taylor’s beauty or John F. Kennedy’s charisma to 21st Century teen-agers. Last Saturday evening, the club hosted its 45th annual Auction – it was all corporate hotel glamour, computer logistics, and what has become a familiar format in fundraising. However, there are many who remember how the first auction in 1972 broke new ground and set a rather high bar for future community fundraisers. Up to that point, the fundraising menu had become a bit routine, consisting of low-grossing luaus, Las Vegas Nights and dinner-dances.

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, the necessity was a financial crisis facing SCV’s newly formed Boys Club, and “mother” had nothing to do with it. Instead, the solution was a fundraiser fathered by the creative mind of The Signal Newspaper’s publisher and Boys Club board member, Tony Newhall.

“I really didn’t come up with anything original,” says the retired newspaper publisher who now oversees a number of business ventures with his wife, Reena. “I got the idea from a fundraiser put on by San Francisco’s Public Broadcasting Station, KQED. I saw an ad for one of the benefit’s auction items, a ride in the Goodyear Blimp, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to hold a similar auction — an event where we would ask for donations of items or services rather than money?’”

The idea may not have been unique, but Newhall’s spin on it was. A careful survey of the community make-up resulted in a selection of hard to get items that could not easily be purchased outside the auction venue. Dubbed “The Auction of Thrills,” the 1972 event offered bidders a chance to drive a car in a demolition derby at Saugus Speedway, to quarterback a College of the Canyons football scrimmage, to star in a family movie done by an award-winning CalArts film teacher, and, perhaps the most coveted item, to dine at the elegant Piru Mansion owned by Ruth and Scott Newhall.

On the non-local scene, Newhall’s auction committee also secured such “hot ticket” items as a ride in a hot air balloon and a lunch with then Supervisor Warren Dorn. Solicitations of the original 50 items took 5 weeks. To help sell the idea, the committee made up a prototype of a catalogue that could be circulated at businesses and organizational meetings.

That first auction debuted May 13, 1972, at the largest venue available in the valley, the banquet room of the Ranch House Inn (which is, sadly, now just a patch of asphalt). The after-dinner affair was attended by 300 guests and included dancing and a buffet of tasty hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Women’s Auxiliary. The anticipation and excitement was palpable. Chatter and laughter filled the room as groups of guests sipped their cocktails and gathered around hand-painted auction posters; and organizers held their collective breath waiting for the lights to dim and the auction to begin.

The excitement built to a crescendo as professional auctioneer and local Rotarian, Jerry Holland, took the microphone. Holland’s hypnotic chanting and sing-song chatter mesmerized the audience and was the key to many enthusiastic bidding “wars.” Holland drove up bidding prices using a mixture of jokes, songs, and double talk on his audience. He instantly became one of the auction’s most popular attractions, and would serve as auctioneer for the event’s next nine years.

The 50 items, along with a few last minute additions, brought in $5,000 – an unprecedented amount of money for that time.

“We knew we had accomplished something quite extraordinary by our community’s standards, and we immediately began planning next year’s auction,” Newhall explains. “We figured the sky was the limit. We could raise even more money by adding more live auction items, a silent auction, and switching to a larger venue.”

The rest, as they say, is history. The auction was moved to the grand ballroom of CalArts, the club’s name was changed to incorporate girls in the membership, event themes were introduced, the number of items continued to grow, decorations became more elaborate, dinners were added, and the local paper made auction fashion as popular as the auction items. The Boys and Girls Club auction was now THE social event of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Next Week – how the growing community and social scene have impacted the auction.

Brandon Chandler Foundation to Host Carnival Sunday

| Uncategorized | May 19, 2016

In memory of a former Valencia High School student who valiantly fought cancer, an annual carnival will be held this weekend at the Bridgeport Clubhouse in Valencia.

There will be food and games for the entire family, including a pie eating contest and a Twinkie eating contest. ThereBCF Carnival 4 will also be prizes awarded and a silent auction for bidding.

The 2nd Annual Brandon Chandler Foundation Carnival will be held on Sunday, May 22 from 3-7 p.m. at the Bridgeport Clubhouse, located at 27002 Edgewater Lane in Valencia.

For more information on the foundation, go to BrandonChandler.org.

Hero of the Week: Dr. Mark Elfont

| Uncategorized | April 7, 2016

Santa Clarita Philharmonic president Mark Elfont, Ph.D. is a retired CIO of a large research and development company and lifelong musician. He is a native of Philadelphia, who experienced outstanding music programs offered by the public school system. He learned to play the trumpet in third grade and continued playing through his second year of college. Several years into his professional career, Mark discovered he could continue to play by joining a community orchestra. That led to more than 30 years of satisfying performances, as well as service on the board of directors for three community orchestras.

Mark and his wife, Susan, a former teacher and reading specialist, relocated to Southern California to be close to their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. They also have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in the Boulder, Colorado area.
Members of the Santa Clarita Philharmonic saw their president’s talents up close at the February concert, when a trumpet player canceled at the last minute.

“Dr. Elfont did not hesitate and sat in on the piece and played beautifully,” explains Terry Mitchell Collier, head of publicity for the organization. “That is what makes him the ultimate leader. He does not ask anyone to do anything that he would not do himself … you will see him hauling chairs and music stands onto the stage, setting up fundraiser items in the lobby and chatting with parents before the concert during the Musical Instrument Petting Zoo. He is very passionate about bringing classical music into the lives of the community.”

The ‘Why’ Behind the Sale

| Opinion, Uncategorized | February 11, 2016

Did you enjoy watching the Super Bowl this year? With estimates of 111.9 million people watching (making it the third largest audience in television history), chances are you did. For many Americans, especially those who aren’t really football fans for any other games during the year, the commercials play a larger role than the actual game.

Being that I’m currently with a marketing agency who had a hand in five commercials that were played during Super Bowl 50, they were by far the largest part of the event for me – but not for the humor or celebrities in them. I pay attention to the science.

The “Mad Men” era of marketing and advertising is long gone. It was a much simpler time in our industry back then, when sex and celebrities were pretty much the go-to for any ad campaign to sell just about any product.

But a new science has emerged that we marketers have been paying very close attention to, and so should you – no matter what industry you’re in. When I went through my undergraduate program in marketing, I constantly heard about the psychology that went into marketing and advertising, but once in the industry, I rarely found agencies actually integrating it.

The first book that turned my attention to how we could use science to understand how people think was written by Daniel Kahneman, a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. His book was called “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

It breaks down the ways in which the human brain works and how we make our decisions, be it an instant “gut” decision or a long decision that we must “sleep on.” Perhaps most importantly, he breaks the process of thinking into two different systems, aptly named “System 1” and “System 2.” Each is responsible for a different function of thought, and when you begin to fully grasp the vast amounts of information our brains must process every day, you begin to understand why. One system is made to quickly process data and variables based on “heuristics,” or making decisions based on other events or things that are familiar to our experiences.

The other actually thinks, but as Kahneman points out, this system is rather lazy, and is quite happy to pass up being forced to “think” in favor of allowing the first system to make a snap decision based on past experience or beliefs.

This work fundamentally changed the way we think in the marketing industry. The popular opinion used to be that if we made people laugh, if we made them happy, cry or emotional, that would directly associate to the brand and people would feel good when they thought of the brand, nudging them to choose it over another.

But what Kahneman and a few other works have shown us (Hugh Mackay’s “What Makes Us Tick” and “Decoded” by Phil Barden, to name a couple) is just how wrong that assumption is most of the time.

The field of behavioral economics emerged to teach us that, while a person may indicate in a focus group that they favor a particular brand or say they favor a certain action (buying Brand X), they actually take a different action when the time comes.

There are far too many principles to name them all here, but I highly suggest you have a look at the books mentioned above. If you ever want to know why you do the things you do, make the choices you make or feel a strong urge to do something you don’t necessarily understand, chances are, one of these books will explain why.

And don’t be surprised as you see the landscape of commercials, even at the Super Bowl, changing over the next few years. Sure, there are some brands and agencies who will try to stick with the good old fashioned humor or scantily clad women, but like with everything else in business, they will watch as those harnessing innovation surpass and leave them in the dust.

Robert Patrick Lewis was a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), is an award winning author of “The Pact” and “Love Me When I’m Gone: the true story of life, love and loss for a Green Beret in post-9/11 war” and the host of “The Green Beret MBA” and “Center Mass with Rob and Silent J” programs on Vets on Media. In addition to its own editorials, Vets on Media publishes diverse opinions from outside writers.


| Uncategorized | January 21, 2016


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