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Always Advocating Alan – Happy Valentine’s Day

| Opinion | February 13, 2020

There are scholars who tell us that 270 A.D. was the time the populace started commemorating Valentine’s death. By the middle ages, St. Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in England and France, bringing on a celebration for those in love to share cards, presents and good times. For me, after being hit with Cupid’s arrow, I have been fortunate enough to offer a Valentine’s Day card to my wonderful wife Pam 56 times, one each year since we were wed; and to my good fortune, she has accepted my offering every time.

While Valentine’s Day is not a public or religious holiday, it is widely celebrated by all ages. You might remember when you were very young and handed out “be-my-valentine” cards, hearts, or candy to many classmates, hoping to receive a few yourself. Then, as you became more mature, the giving and receiving became more serious and more meaningful, culminating with most of us putting a ring on our favorite Valentine’s finger, promising to love and honor that person “until death do we part.” Plus, there are many of us who believe we will be together again even after our days on this earth have passed.

So if you are reading this on the 14th and are thinking, “Oh my God, I forgot to get my Valentine a card,” or you are reading this after the 14th and are thinking “OMG, I forgot altogether,” I strongly suggest you get your tail feathers in gear, get to your favorite store as quickly as you can, and right your wrong. Because if you do not – and even if your Valentine says, “it is no big deal” – believe me, as someone who has done this 56 times, forgetting is a big deal, which will not fade from your Valentines’ memory any time soon.

There are so many of us who celebrate Valentine’s Day. The day has been heavily commercialized, and I am sure you noticed all the stuffed animals, heart-shaped boxes of candy, and card displays seemingly in every store. I think it’s still all great, but as I have matured, I have moved away from thinking of Valentine’s Day as all about me, and have started thinking the day should be a time to celebrate the love between family members, and the companionship of friends. Now it does not mean you should start buying Valentine’s Day cards by the box. I just take the time to reflect how fortunate my wife and I are to have children, now adults, and grandchildren who are happy and doing well on their own. In addition to brothers, cousins, and in-laws whom I have shared my life with, alongside my 98-year young mother Jean, who lives close by in Friendly Valley. I think about how lonely life would be without the help and companionship of friends.

Maybe those thoughts are the reason I have been so concerned about the plight of Santa Clarita’s senior population living alone on Social Security. When I think of a senior being put out on the street, I realize they were wives, husbands, and possibly mothers and fathers, who are in the fourth quarter of their lives, and have lost the support structure required to maintain the most basic survival needs. While no one has ever rightfully accused me of being a bleeding heart when it comes to the senior population, I realize seniors are a group who have already given their all, and I do not understand why so many of our governmental agencies have given up on them. We need to stay focused and help as much as we can.

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At 77, some might also call me a senior, but I am not ready for a rocking chair yet. My Harley’s seat is just fine, and I plan to keep twisting the throttle for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, both Pam and I worked at companies which helped their employees improve, while at the same time we both understood and embraced the concept of “lifelong learning.” Many a time I have sat back, thinking about the problems some of our less fortunate seniors face, and have thought, “There by the grace of god goes me.” So I made sure to plan for the future so all will be OK should I be first to leave this life behind, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to do so.

Yet today is a special day, and you would be at your best with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Pam and I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day. May the person you offer a Valentine’s Day card, accept it the same way Pam accepted mine and make your day very special.

L.A. County’s New Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP)

It is always amazing to watch our local governments come up with the most convoluted methods in order to fix a problem by making the solution more complex and potentially more error-prone. L.A. County’s Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), our new voting system, is the latest example. Which, after the March primary, could make the Iowa application developers seem like geniuses in comparison. Starting February 22, this new system will allow any citizen to register, change party affiliation and cast their ballot at any location, without having to show identification. Duplicate voter entries are supposed to be avoided by the poll workers addressing ePollbooks, a county-wide database. But what happens if the data base says you have already voted? What if ePollbooks goes down? How does the votes get counted and the count verified?

The new L.A. County Voter system will be discussed at the February Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting, (a division of the Santa Clarita Community Council), Wednesday, February 19, 2020, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge Banquet Room, 18000 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country, 91351. There is no admission charge and all residents are invited to attend.

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