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Always Advocating Alan – Carl Boyer: One of Santa Clarita’s Finest

| Opinion | June 6, 2019

Sadly, this week I start my column with a message about the passing of Carl Boyer, one of Santa Clarita’s first council members and mayors.

Carl leaves this life after playing a major role in founding the City of Santa Clarita, while also accomplishing a lifetime of helping children in need. To think, we almost missed out on knowing him. In his own words, from the forward in his book, he made us aware, “Had I not been fearful of losing a few hundred dollars that my wife Chris and I invested in buying our first home, I might never have become involved in community affairs and politics.” Fortunately for all our residents, the concern over losing a small amount of money brought out a man who would leave an indelible impression on how our city would be run.

He inherited a problem-solving mindset from this father, who was an electrical engineer, which not only caused him to analyze everything going on around him, but to document his thoughts as well. When it came to his book, simply titled “Santa Clarita,” the pages became his pallet to display his colorful views, and after publication, he distributed copies to concerned residents. Carl was not one to live in the past. He was always willing to have a conversation, sharing his opinion on what needed to be done today.

Carl Boyer was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was a caring man of action who was a pleasure to be around, and I will miss his charm, foresight and wit every day.

Ever Read the Paper and Wonder, ‘How Did That Happen’?

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This week, the City of Santa Clarita, in partnership with a local non-profit, Santa Clarita Archery, celebrated the opening of Santa Clarita’s first archery range. Reported in The Signal’s Sunday edition was a statement by Kieran Wong, chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission: “Ronnie and I spoke less than a year ago and we now have a fully operating archery range.” Ron Silos shared this thought by saying, “My vision is hosting the Olympic events in 2028. That’s my hope and dream … To say that Santa Clarita hosted an Olympic event would be a really wonderful impact.” Mayor McLean went on to announce that there will be “an officially sanctioned Olympic Day celebration right here (at the range),” and the public is invited to join.

The opening of an archery range in Santa Clarita represents a great addition to our city’s amenities, as it gives members of our community another recreational opportunity. Yet, I ponder, how did the archery range go from concept to reality in less than one year, in contrast to another group who has been championing and waiting for a Bicycle Motocross Track (BMX track) for over 10 years? It certainly has not been for a lack of land or funding from the Open Space and Parkland Preservation District or the Facilities fund. The BMX community has brought requests before the city council on numerous occasions. Leading the charge, Christian Gadbois has been a passionate advocate for building a BMX track here in Santa Clarita.

BMX competition is also an Olympic sport, and currently, Christian’s daughter Maya “was selected for TEAM USA to represent the U.S. (and Santa Clarita) at the BMX World Championships to be held in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium this July.” His Facebook page indicates, “like the U.S. Olympic Team, all funding for the athletes is based on private funding. Because of that, we are looking for corporate sponsorship for her trip.” Individual private donations are also greatly appreciated.

If there is a sudden interest in bringing world-class Olympic events to Santa Clarita, wouldn’t a world- class BMX track provide another genuine opportunity? So, what put the archery range on such a fast track, while the BMX facility sat in the shadows all this time? I heard a rumor that funding to create a BMX complex is being included in this year’s city budget. But budgeting the money and building the facility are two very different things. The community needs to stay on top of this issue. A paramount concern must be providing our youth with additional sports and skill-based activities in order to broaden their life lessons and raise their heads up from their cell-phone screens.

Relative to the discussion of the new archery range, Sunday’s Signal also indicated “The 1-acre (archery) range is tucked alongside the northernmost canyon in Haskell Canyon Open Space, just north of Copper Hill Drive and Haskell Canyon Road.” The article included a picture of Mayor McLean reviewing her marksmanship, after letting loose with her first three arrows. Marsha looks to be an archery “force to be reckoned with” as she recorded all three on target, with one arrow “in the center” yellow zone. I’ll have to remember to ask our mayor if her accuracy was due to good coaching, or pure natural skill. Good job, Marsha!

But looking at the picture, I started to think about range safety. For starters, what happens if an archer misses the target? What keeps the arrow in check? What keeps spectators out of harm’s way? Therefore, I took The Signal’s advice and brought up SCVarchery.com for more information. The action led me to the SCVArchery Facebook page, as seen in the picture below. As you can see, the Archery range appears to be a temporary activity, set up in the middle of an open field with no provision to contain arrows missing the target, or any barrier to prevent spectators from wandering into the line of fire. I just shook my head in disbelief. Knowing how risk-averse the City of Santa Clarita has been, it is hard to believe they approved the layout. Range safety must be the number one concern, no matter if this facility is a pistol, rifle, or archery range. Having a competent staff running the activity is only a part of maintaining a safe and fun atmosphere. The infrastructure needs to be there as well, and in this case, it appears to be severely lacking.

It seems I may have answered my own question. Is it possible that the reason the archery range went from concept to reality in less than one year is because the city allowed the range to be put in place without requiring any city financial investment? But since this activity sits on city-owned property, the city still bears the responsibility for public safety and will suffer the liability should something go wrong. While I’m still convinced that having an archery range in the City of Santa Clarita is of value to our community, I have my fingers crossed. City staff need to consult with experts in range safety and implement the necessary safeguards before one unfortunate accident puts an end to this great idea.

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