Wine of the Week – Flowering…the Second Stage of a Grapevine

| Entertainment | May 10, 2018

By Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

Six weeks ago, I wrote about “the first stage of a grapevine.” At the winery this week, we are starting the second stage with our Chardonnay grapes, which is called “flowering.” It can take anywhere from 40-60 days, and with some varietals, it takes longer. The average daily temperature needs to be about 65 degrees from bud break. Our Chardonnay has taken about 45 days to flower the last two years. Our Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot are still in the first stage. If we had varietals that all were going through the stages at the same time, we would have a bottleneck during harvest. We have five varietals that all progress at different speeds.

After the first clusters come into sight, the flowers start to grow. Pollination of the grapevines takes place during the second stage, which causes the grapes to form. They generally have 1-4 seeds each, and the varietals that we have are self pollinators. Some grapes require another varietal that helps amp up the production. Many other fruits are the same way, like apples, peaches and pears. For instance, in order for McIntosh apples to grow well they need another apple to encourage production, like a granny smith or a pink lady.

This weekend, for Mother’s Day, I have created an Italian-inspired meal that is wine-infused. My marinara sauce has our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in it. This is my grandma’s recipe that has been handed down from her mother, my great-grandmother. I’m preparing a meal I would have made for her on Mother’s Day.

FC Santa Clarita 0, Valley United 2 | UPSL Match Recap

| Sports | May 25, 2015

FC Santa Clarita (0-3-0; 0 points) have a three match losing streak after a 0-2 lose against Valley United (2-0-1; 7 points) in Northridge.

NORTHRIDGE, California – Watching the team you coach give up ten goals in three matches to start the season while only scoring once in that span can be frustrating, even more so when the front office executives are pressuring you for results to see the team win now.

The match started off awful for Rubio and his talented men as Valley United’s Laura Garcia out coached Rubio from the start orchestrating the first goal of the game in the 9th minute.

The match started off awful for Rubio and his talented FC Santa Clarita men as Valley United’s Laura Garcia out coached Rubio from the start orchestrating the first goal of the game in the 9th minute.

FC Santa Clarita (0-3-0; 0 points) head coach Martin Rubio found his breaking point quick to start the season as they traveled to Northridge coming up short 0-2 losing against Valley United (2-0-1; 7 points) that saw his side complete a three game losing streak.

After their first three games into their inaugural United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) season Rubio had enough and began acting unprofessional during the first half of the match then started a fight with executives on the sideline while play was in progress.

Casey Phillips had another stellar game in the post as the Valley United keeper made a couple great saves while keeping a clean sheet for the match. This was Phillips second clean sheet of the season holding Santa Clarita Storm two weeks ago scoreless to open the season.

The match started off awful for Rubio and his talented men as Valley United’s Laura Garcia out coached Rubio from the start orchestrating the first goal of the game in the 9th minute when Simon Deeley received a pass through the shambolic FC Santa Clarita defense from Saragon Barkawi, then Deeley turned the ball into a rocket off his boot that zoomed past the keeper before anything could be done.

Martin Rubio’s rift with FC Santa Clarita front office a sad state of affairs.

Martin Rubio’s rift with FC Santa Clarita front office a sad state of affairs.

With the visitors losing 1-0 in the early part of the match, Rubio needed to take his frustration out while being out coached by Garcia and in the 30th minute his embarrassment finally bubbled over. Rubio walked over to FC Santa Clarita owner Gerald Brunner as he was standing with the team general manager as they were watching the game not far from the team bench then began yelling something at them before the General Manager and Rubio were in a loud yelling fight. Brunner broke up the heated exchange and Rubio returned to the bench to finish trying to coach the debacle unfolding.

Rubio’s unprofessionalism rubbed off on his team who managed to gather three yellow cards in the second half being booked in the 65th minute after taking down a Valley United player in the box, then in the 77th minute another yellow card for a dangerous play.

Rubio’s unprofessionalism carried over to his team who managed to gather three yellow cards being booked in the second half.

Rubio’s professionalism carried over to his team who managed to get three yellow cards in the second half, two for exhibiting bad sportsmanship.

The bookings did not help FC Santa Clarita as they were on their heels and discombobulated only to stand by as they gave up the final goal of the night in the 88th minute quickly followed up two minutes later by another yellow card. This booking was for unsporting behavior that became the prelude to a dust up and skirmish between the two teams. After the dust settled the referees called the game and put an end to FC Santa Clarita’s third lose in as many weeks to start the season.

Their may have been warning signs before Rubio’s in match breakdown starting with when Rubio and his assistant coach Oscar Moreno began having issues dealing with the local media a few weeks ago. Moreno began to refuse to answer any questions saying if he gave any information regarding the team, a player might read it and become unhappy pretending to be sick and not show up for a game. Moreno’s reasons in his alarming statements to a reporter from a coach of a professional soccer organization was shocking and perhaps the first indication of trouble.

Parting with Martin Rubio first of needed changes for FC Santa Clarita.

Parting with Martin Rubio first of needed changes for FC Santa Clarita.

The media began to bypass the coach getting information directly from the team owner and players who were more than willing to be helpful and seemed happy with the job the local media had been doing. For all of Rubio’s failures and leading a team that is a perennial underachiever the media were surprisingly soft on their criticism.

What a shame that a brilliant front office executive and a team loaded with talent that’s under performing could be held back from being a contender due to a coach in over his head. You shake your head at what’s going on with FC Santa Clarita or purportedly going on and how they could not figure out how to get along for the good of the organization.

If a UPSL title is the most important thing to FC Santa Clarita owner Brunner, then how does a overwhelmed, unprofessional and media unfriendly coach fit in with making that goal a reality? There is no way anyone can say a terrible marriage between a coach and front office doesn’t affect the team, or at least any team that isn’t winning.

After the dust settled the referees called the game and put an end to FC Santa Clarita’s third lose in as many weeks to start the season.

After the dust settled the referees called the game and put an end to FC Santa Clarita’s third lose in as many weeks to start the season.

No one wants to be known as the coach who takes a team on their longest losing streak and a personality that wears downs players excitement.

No one wants to be known as the team who holds on to a coach to long as your top talent ages and the door to win a championship slams shut.

In the end it was unfixable, the General Manager looking to be the more mature man resigned his position effective immediately after Brunner took no actions of disciple against Rubio for his unprofessional behavior mid match.

FC Santa Clarita with many front office issues not seeming to be settled anytime soon hope the product on the field can improve when they try to stop the losing streak at three in a row next Sunday, May 31 against the Las Vegas High Rollers (1-1-0, 3 points).

STORM WATCH – Santa Clarita Storm soccer update

| Sports | April 30, 2015

Santa Clarita Storm Soccer

BY Malik Basurto

SANTA CLARITA, CALIF – As announced previously this month, the Storm will have an open tryout for the 2015 United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) season on Sunday, May 3rd, start time 3:00pm at Central Park, Santa Clarita. This rare day is for players looking for the opportunity to showcase their potential and follow in the footsteps of past Storm players who have moved up the professional ranks.

The Storm has helped players achieve their goals of reaching the pinnacle of American soccer, taking the field for the United States National Team. We also have had players move up to the league below Major League Soccer to showcase their talents.

Alex Harlley playing for the Atlanta Silverbacks

Alex Harlley playing for the Atlanta Silverbacks

A few examples are Alex Harlley who played three seasons with the Storm until March 5, 2014 when he was signed to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League (NASL) the second tier of the American Soccer pyramid.

Miguel Ibarra first cap for Senior National Team.

Boca Raton, FL – October 14, 2014: The USMNT tied Honduras 1-1 during an international friendly at FAU Stadium.

Also Miguel Ibarra a member of the United Stated National team played for the Storms before the team moved to Santa Clarita. Ibarra now is also playing in the NASL for club team Minnesota United FC.

The Storm will have an open tryout for the 2015 United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) season on Sunday, May 3rd, start time 3:00pm at Central Park, Santa Clarita.

The Storm will have an open tryout for the 2015 United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) season on Sunday, May 3rd, start time 3:00pm at Central Park, Santa Clarita.

The Storm coaching staff will conduct tryouts evaluating players for possible roster spot with the team, or to recommend them for other professional teams.Registration is $25.00 with application and $35.00 without. For an application email [email protected] or visit our the Storm Facebook page or www.SantaClaritaStorm.com

Santa Clarita Storm

Santa Clarita Storm

Band of the Week – Greatful Dudes

| SC Living | April 2, 2015

Saturday April 4, live at Vincenzo’s Newhall – Greatful Dudes Reunion call for more information 259-6733vincenzo busness card

Review of 2014 and Look Ahead to 2015 for Santa Clarita

| News | December 31, 2014

Big movement on progress towards a new Senior Center, an end to the billboard battle and a new congressman for Santa Clarita – all these things and more have made 2014 an eventful year for our valley. Here’s a recap of the big events that happened this year, as well as a look towards what to expect in 2015.

Major happenings in 2014:

1. The Billboard Battle

A continuing story in the pages of the Gazette, the controversy erupted last January after the city planning commission approved ordinance 14-02. The legislation called for the removal of a large number of billboards along the railroad right-of-way in Saugus and Canyon Country, land owned by LA Metro, the county agency that oversees the railroads.

Metro profited from the rent paid to them by the outdoor advertising companies who operated their billboards on the railroad. In exchange for Metro canceling its agreements with these companies, Metro would receive three permits from the City of Santa Clarita to construct digital billboards along the 5 and 14 freeways.
Community members raised several concerns about the proposal, including the effect of the digital billboards on the environment, the viability of small businesses advertising on them, and the fact that the ordinance was negotiated away from the public eye.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved the deal in February, but a successful referendum drive from citizen group CABB (Citizens Against Billboard Blight) forced the Council to put the measure to a vote of the people. Even though vastly outspent in its campaign against the measure, CABB prevailed, with the ordinance, termed ‘’Measure S’’ at the polls, getting defeated by more than 10 percentage points in the recent November election.

2. Steve Knight’s Victory

Former State Senator Tony Strickland (R-Ventura) seemed to have every advantage a Santa Clarita congressional candidate could need: the endorsement of outgoing representative Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), well-funded Super PACs in his name, and the endorsement of national political figures like former Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. But, it wasn’t enough to ensure victory.

Instead, State Senator Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), armed with a unanimous endorsement from the Santa Clarita City Council and a strong pro-veteran record in the California Legislature, won the 25th congressional seat. Strickland’s attempts to tarnish Knight’s electability by sending out mailers in regard to his strong pro-life stance on abortion and his past relationship with controversial Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) did not stick with the district’s voters, who have been represented by Knight on some level in each of the public offices he has held.

3. Progress Towards a New Senior Center

Late in the fall, the Santa Clarita City Council appropriated $3 million in funds for a new Senior Center in town, matching the amount of money currently put up by L.A. County. The project, spearheaded by the Committee on Aging, a local non-profit, is headed by Patti Rasmussen, wife of Larry Rasmussen, a prominent local developer. According to sources with knowledge of the project, a conceptual drawing for the new center has already been completed and the committee is in the process of choosing a site for the new center.

“I believe the Senior Center is a very important aspect of the city, it performs a very valuable service for our seniors,’’ said Alan Ferdman, president of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and a community activist.

However, Ferdman argued that the new funds should not go towards a replacement of the current Senior Center in town, but towards the construction of a second senior center to fit Santa Clarita’s immense population.

4. Seven-year Plan to Clean Up Whittaker-Bermite Site is Finalized

This year, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control unveiled a seven-year plan to clean up the ‘’Whittaker-Bermite’’ parcel of land in the middle of Santa Clarita.

The area, 996 acres in total, was owned by Whittaker Corp., Bermite Power Co. and other corporations during the 20th century for the purpose of producing munitions.

A weapons plant was built there, and while the plant was in operation, contaminants seeped into the ground, polluting local water aquifers that served the residents of Santa Clarita.

Two types of contaminants are on the land, according to Jose Diaz, project manager for the Department of Toxic Substance Control. One type is perchlorates, a chemical that experts say is a harm to the thyroid gland; the other chemicals causing concern are volatile organic compounds.

5. Positive News for SCV’s LGBT Youth

Santa Clarita’s gay community had two positive reasons to rejoice this spring. The first was the successful resolution of student protests at last April’s William S. Hart School District Board meeting. Students wore red shirts as a way of demonstrating against the District’s failure to comply with California’s fair education act, legislation passed in 2011.

According to non-profit Equality California, an LGBT advocacy group, the bill requires schools to include information about ‘’social movements, current events, and the history of people with disabilities and LGBT people into existing social studies lessons.’’ It also prohibits the California State Board of Education from advancing any curriculum that discriminates.

At the Hart School Board meeting the following month, Board Member Gloria Mercado-Fortine called on the Hart District’s Assistant Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht to develop a concrete proposal to bring the Hart School District within compliance of the law.

Secondly, late May saw the success of a BBQ celebrating the birthday of gay rights advocate Harvey Milk and LGBT Youth. The event, held at Stevenson Ranch Park, was attended by more than 500 people, according to members of PFLAG, the non-profit that organized it. The BBQ received sponsorship from KHTS Radio, Nissan of Valencia, and many other local businesses.

Things to look for in 2015:

1. Councilman Boydston to Call for a Traffic Study

Councilmember TimBen Boydston is voicing concern about the potential effects currently planned housing developments may have on city traffic. According to the City of Santa Clarita’s current general plan, an acceptable grade for city roads from Los Angeles County is “E,” one level above the failing grade of “F.” This is in stark contrast to the old general plan for the city, Boydston said, which set the target for roads to be graded at a level of either “B” or “A,” the two highest possible scores; although a grade of “C” was also considered acceptable.

According to Boydston, an “A” intersection, for example, is one where drivers who were going the speed limit can approach the intersection, stop and pass through after one green light. In comparison, an “F” intersection is one in which drivers who go the speed limit must sit through several cycles of the stoplight.

“The more housing you build, the more cars you put on the road,’’ Boydston said. “What you have to do is make sure your road infrastructure is keeping up.’’

2. A Potential Snag in California Voting Rights Act Lawsuit

A 2014 agreement between the City of Santa Clarita and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the City, who are alleging violation of the California Voting Rights Act, may not come to fruition, due to concerns in Los Angeles County and the State Government.

The solution to the suit, which alleged that Santa Clarita’s current election system diluted the vote of racial minorities, called for two changes. One, the City was to move its elections to the same day in November and year as elections for state and national offices.

Additionally, the City was to employ cumulative voting, a system which gives voters more flexibility in how they use the votes available to them.

For instance, if a city council election occurs in which three seats are up for grabs, voters may cast three votes for one candidate, two votes for one candidate and another vote for a different candidate, or cast a single vote for three different candidates.

Los Angeles County must approve the change in election date. County government officials have shown resistance to the idea, according to sources, who say that the County is concerned about not having enough room on the ballots to include Santa Clarita’s elections.

The cumulative voting change is facing resistance from California government officials, who are the means of approval for that solution. Santa Clarita would be the first municipality in California to use cumulative voting in its elections.

3. Steve Knight to Begin Anew Efforts to Stop Cemex Mine

In one of his last acts as Congressman, Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) introduced legislation mid-November to prevent the controversial Cemex sand and gravel mine from being constructed in Canyon Country.

The mine, which would remove enough sand, rock, and gravel from the area to fill the Rose Bowl 127 times, has long been a concern of Santa Clarita citizens. Residents have worried about its effect on air quality and the fact that it would be built within proximity to local residents and businesses.

Per terms of the bill, the Federal Government would buy out Cemex’s contracts to build the mine. As a way of offsetting the cost of the buyout, the government would sell Cemex 10,000 acres of federal land in San Bernardino County. The bill failed in the Senate after Senator Mark Heinrich (D-NM) protested the idea of the federal government using the sale of federal land to offset the cost of a piece of legislation.

Congressman-elect Steve Knight has pledged to begin anew the effort to stop the mine this January when the new congressional session begins.

‘’That’s our top priority right now: to jump on this quick,’’ Knight said in an interview with the Signal. “I’m going to pick up this torch and run with it.’’

Time is running out for legislative leaders to prevent the mine from breaking ground. After the failure of McKeon’s bill, Cemex released a statement saying that because of the ‘’uncertain political climate,’’ the company would ‘’continue to pursue implementation’’ of the mine while still holding deliberations with the City of Santa Clarita in regards to possible solutions.

Some federal officials, such as Steven Ellis, deputy director for the Bureau of Land Management, argue that the mine is necessary. In Senate testimony last spring, Ellis said that the raw materials CEMEX would be able to produce from the mine are needed to meet current needs in Northern Los Angeles County.

4. Major Developments in the Construction of Castaic High School

According to Hart School District Board Member Gloria Mercado-Fortine, several significant developments are expected in 2015 in regard to the construction of Castaic High School. Among them are the completion of the primary and secondary access roads to the school site, the completion of the pad, or ‘’skeleton’’ on which the actual school will be built, the completion of the bidding process to find a company to construct the school facility itself. Once a company is selected, actual construction of the school should begin in 2015 as well, Mercado-Fortine said.

‘’[The beginning of the school’s construction in 2015] looks realistic and it’s what we’re pushing for,’’ Mercado-Fortine said. ‘’However, I’ve been around several schools now. I thought building Golden Valley was challenging. But this was much more challenging.’’

Mercado-Fortine expects the school’s construction to take 15-18 months, all leading up to an anticipated official opening of Castaic High School in the fall of 2017.

Canyon Country Gets Downtown – Legal Win for Vista Canyon – Plan to Break Ground in April

| News | December 31, 2014

After more than three years tied up in court, JSB Development got the ruling in mid-December that the firm had been

Vista Canyon

Vista Canyon

seeking. The Canyon Country development known as Vista Canyon is free to break ground, as early as April of 2015.

Located on approximately 185 acres on a site near Sand Canyon, Lost Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads, the development would create 1,100 homes plus retail establishments, restaurants – even a new Metrolink Station.
There were three groups opposing the development, including the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE), Friends of the Santa Clara River and Homeowners of Neighborhood Preservation, according to court documents obtained by KHTS AM 1220.
Vista Canyon received approval by the Santa Clarita City Council, regardless of the groups’ objections that the revised Environmental Impact Report (EIR) did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, according to court documents. The trial court granted the petition, supporting the objections to the project.

It was overturned a few weeks ago.

“Absent the California Supreme Court hearing the matter, the litigation is effectively over,” said Glenn Adamick, a partner on the project. “It’s like getting a project approval, but in the legal process. We and the City felt all along that the project complied with the laws and requirements.”

Groundbreaking for the project is expected in spring of 2015.

“We are excited to get started on the project,” said Adamick. “With any project of any size there are a lot of other permits necessary before you can start construction. We spent the last three years securing those permits.”

Rendering of Vista Canyon

Rendering of Vista Canyon

JSB plans to begin “land development activities” in April, which primarily involves grading of the project site and installation of utilities and roadways to serve the initial project phase. The latter part of 2015 should bring about the “vertical construction” phase, and completion of the first phase of Vista Canyon is targeted for the middle of 2016, at the earliest.

What does it mean for Canyon Country residents?

“We spent a lot of time out in the community before the project was approved. They really wanted an upscale project, a place to go to dinner, go to a movie without having to travel across the Valley,” said Adamick. “From my perspective it does nothing but improve values, because jobs and amenities are close by.”

Adamick compares it to the value of living near the Valencia Town Center, for example. It would create a “downtown” for the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The retail is not your standard commercial or big box commercial project,” said Adamick. “It’s a Main Street design.”

11 Basic Steps to Get Your Website to Work for You

| Uncategorized | December 23, 2014

Eleven Basic Steps to Get Your Website to Work for You

By Warren Schultz, Tap Solutions Http://www.TAPSolutions.net

As a business person you know you need a website. Done. Check it off your list of must-dos. But wait, did you know you should update your website, regularly, check for broken links, use correct meta tags, and do several other “housekeeping” items to keep your website working well? Here are 11 basic steps to check off your list of website must-dos:

1) Make sure your site looks good on all browsers. Use different browsers to access your website. Browsers are like interpreters. Let’s say you have a document you need translated into another language. If you give the same document to three people, each person’s translation might be ever so slightly different. Browsers work the same way. If they interpret the website code differently, your site may look great on Firefox and look very different on Internet Explorer. So, make sure your site looks great across different platforms and systems.

2) Keep your content current and pertinent. An updated site makes your site look fresh, more attractive to prospective customers and gives them reasons to return. Plus, your search engine rankings are higher when the site is current. So, here are some things to do to keep your site updated:

a) Make sure all links go to where they’re supposed to. Links to websites don’t last forever, so at least once a month you should click on every link and ensure it’s still working. If it’s not, fix or delete it. If a potential client tries a link and it fails, it could give that person a negative opinion of your site, and bye-bye business!

b) Insert new content frequently. You don’t have to rewrite a page/website each time. If you simply change the wording, or even a graphic element or two, your site will continue to look fresh and stay at the top of search engines’ lists. Adding a new page also is a great idea. But make sure what you add is relevant to your site and your subject matter.

3) Make sure your site has been submitted to search engines and directories. Do you really want to be a well-kept secret? Sometimes the search engines and directories find you, but it is better to tell them your website is there. Think of it as a first date. By submitting your website, you are letting search engines and directories get to know who you are and what you’re about. First dates don’t have to be expensive, either. There are free submission sites that will introduce your site to several engines at once. There also are sites that will do it for a minimal fee. Be sure to also submit to sites that are local or within your industry.

a) When submitting, use meta tags and make sure they’re correct. A meta tag is the information about the website page that search engines and directories use to help index your site. The most basic meta tags are your site’s title, description and keywords. Make sure you have meta tags for each website page, and make sure they’re spelled the way you intend and are customized for that specific page. Improper spelling could mean a would-be customer misses your page because he spelled the keyword right and you didn’t.

b) Make your site is spider-friendly. We don’t mean those (sometimes) cute little arachnids. We mean software that “crawls” down your website to collect information on your pages. If not, all of your pages are showing up on searches, then you’re probably not spider-friendly, and your friendly neighborhood web designer can resolve this.

4) Identify your target market and design your website to fit it. Someone advertising football-related items or services should not have a website whose primary color scheme is pink and flowery. Similarly, the words you use should reflect your target market, so a football site would have words such as “linebacker,” “touchdown” and “quarterback.” It would not have words such as “roses,” “frilly” and “dainty.” Remember to write your content to your target market. Use words your target market would use and understand, and you might find customers and potential clients staying on your website longer, which means they are finding out more about you which in turn could help your bottom line.

5) Identify your keywords and repeat them. What you choose as keywords (descriptive words/phrases) depends on what descriptive words you think/know your customers will put into search engines to find you. There are tools online to help you with this process and pick which words/phrases you should use. Another useful method is to see what your successful competition is going after. Remember, include these keywords in your meta tags as well as your content. If you target a geographical area, make sure those cities within the area are also keywords.

6) Get referrals. If your business has a retail supplier, ask if you could be placed on its site as a trusted partner or preferred vendor. That way you get additional exposure. Put a link to the supplier’s site on your website. This will give your site partner one more avenue to sell its products or services. It’s a win/win situation. Also, ask clients if they would put you on their sites as a trusted person.

7) Get reviews of your site from friends who will tell you the “truth.” Everybody has trusted friends or business associates. Why not use them? Have these people look over your site and provide feedback. Be sure to cross gender, age and generational lines, because everybody will see your site a little differently, and their comments and suggestions could provide insights you weren’t aware of, which can lead to new business if you take that information and run with it.

8) Check your competitors’ sites. They invariably have different ideas, and one or more of them might give you an idea of how to improve your site. But be careful not to just copy their ideas verbatim. You don’t want to be seen as unoriginal or be sued for plagiarism.

9) Let Google do the work. Google offers a free service called Google Analytics. It generates detailed statistics about visits to your website, such as tracking visitors from search engines. It also can tell you which pages are most popular and what’s not working, which will help you target your market. Without Google Analytics, you can’t tell what kind of activity your site is getting.

10) Use alt text. This one has been mentioned so many times by others, yet web designers and developers still fail to heed it. “Alt text” refers to words (usually one sentence) that describe something on your website, such as a photo or graphic element. Putting alt text on your images allows search engines and disabled users to make better use of your site.

11) Include a call to action. So visitors are on your site, but they’re not calling you. It could be because you aren’t telling them to. It might seem silly, but many would-be customers need their hands held through the entire process, so make sure that, at least at the bottom of each page, you tell them to contact you. And make it creative. Everybody has “Click here” or “Contact me” but most don’t have “Call us to find out what the IRS isn’t telling you” or “This can be yours if the price is right.”

These are only a few of the steps that will help you maintain a website that is relevant, search engine-friendly and will get your clients to ultimately contact you. To discover what else can be done to improve your online presence, contact Warren Schultz at [email protected] or call him at 818-281-7628. Website: www.TAPSolutions.net

Petition Wars: What People Were Saying at City Council Meeting

| Gazette, Tell Me More | April 29, 2014

Patti Sarpizio at City Council – Just wanted to make sure that all of you got copies of these photographs. Alright, I’m here tonight because I’m a very concerned resident of the city of Santa Clarita. I’m sure you’re aware that people are collecting signatures for a referendum against City Ordinance 14-02 the now Metro billboard agreement. I’d like you to know what’s happening since the beginning of the referendum process. There is illegal activity going on in our city to prevent citizens, voters, the right to exercise to petition their government. The laws regarding a referendum are clearly spelled out in California Election Code section 9241. There are people in the city who have the lawful right to collect signatures. Who are paid to do such a thing and it is totally legal to do that. There are also people here who have been paid to block the signature gathering process. The blocking activity stepped up after the Metro executive committee meeting in which the Metro executive committee extended this issue for 30 days. Residents, multiple residents, have observed incidents where petition blockers have started arguments with shoppers, signature gatherers, people who have registered, many people have registered unsubstantiated complaints to store managers against people who are properly behaving and collecting signatures. I’d like for you to take a moment to look at the pictures I’ve provided with you tonight. The first picture is a photograph taken at Carl Boyer Dr. Wal-Mart. The woman in the black hat, I’m going to call her Black Hat Lady because I don’t know her name and the black woman there. The Black Hat Lady is a petition blocker. The black woman was falsely accused of batter, she did not touch the Black Hat Lady who was exercising her right to collect referendum signatures.  Picture number 2, same woman, Black Hat Lady, different blouse, different day. Man standing beside her, All Vision executive who is involved in the 50-year contract with the City of Santa Clarita. Picture number 3, a swarm of blockers who are blocking the petition gathering process, this happened yesterday at Target on Golden Valley. Picture number 4, Black Hat Lady again, happened today at Stater Brothers Market, blocking a petition gatherer’s lawful right to gather signatures on this referendum. The sheriff of Santa Clarita has been called several times and several times, many times, check their log, since Saturday, the day before Easter. We’ve collected names, and phone numbers, photographs and videos, of petition gatherers, shoppers, and other residents who have observed the unlawful obstruction of the Democratic process to sign a referendum and to collect signatures on the referendum. We can verify that blockers have been hired by Citizen’s Solution. Blockers have refused to show their petitions which is against the law. I would like to know what our City Council is going to do about this. I would like to know what the sheriff of Santa Clarita is going to do about this?

Alan Ferdman at City Council Meeting – …I would like to talk to you about the oath the majority of you took just this evening. In it you pledged to protect the Constitution of the United States and California so I ensure you would tell me you will protect the rights of our citizens to make their voices heard through use of the lawful referendum process. Unfortunately, California Law sets the bar so high it takes a team of lawyers to put it together and a staff of workers to obtain a required number of signatures equal to a number larger than the number of residents who voted in the last City Council election. As with any issue there will be people opposed and they have the right to voice their opinion as well providing that they do so in a lawful, reasonable manner. Yet today we see paid blockers who harass those individuals collecting signatures, harass our residents, and hamper the Democratic process. This is not the atmosphere Santa Clarita needs, wants, or deserves. You as our Councilmembers can quickly remedy the situation with a simple letter addressed to All Vision indicating your dissatisfaction with this method of doing business and demand they discontinue the process of blocking our citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. I think it’s a very important issue and I hope that you take action extremely quickly. We need to and must keep Santa Clarita free of practices to trample on our citizen’s ability to exercise their rights as so indicated by law. Thank you very much and I hope you take action very quickly.  

Steve Petzold – I speak to the same concerns that Patti and Alan had. You may have seen the email I sent you on Monday morning very concerned about the harassment that we’re been having out with the petition gatherers at the various locations here across Santa Clarita. I personally feel that it would be helpful if the city issued a statement or a press release saying that the petition gatherers are acting in a legal fashion and that they should be given protection by the county sheriff. We don’t have a lot a lot of detail about what happen during the arrest on Saturday. Today I got a report that there was blockers down at Trader Joes so I went down there and in fact there  are 3 individuals who are blocking the petition gatherers at Trader Joes. It was up to a private security guard from Copper Hill to hold back and restrain the blockers from harrassing the petiton gatherers. I called the non-emergency number at the Sheriff’s office and then told that officers were responding to the Trader Joe’s location yet during the 15 or 20 minutes I was there, there were no officers that came. I’d like Sherrif Johnson here to take the opportunity to address the coucnil and let them know exactly what the policy is of the Sheriff’s department relative to the harrassment of petition gatherer’s at Trader Joe’s. thank you for your consideration of this issue and I think it’s important especially with the upcoming Cowboy Festival I think the petition gatherers should be given a place and guidance as to where they can locate themselves outside this highly attended location.

Joe Montes City Attorney: With regard to the Cowboy Festival, the United States Supreme Court, in a similar situation involving a county fair has outlined the rules appropriate for signature gathering activity at an event that is a paid admission, city sponsored, event. the city is able, for purpose of safety and traffic flow, is able to designate an area where individuals who are interested in doing that activity can undertake that activity. City staff has looking at appropriate areas, one has been in the parking field and one in the event itself. Anybody going into the event itself will have to buy a ticket but there will be a designated area within the event and also in the parking field. It is important that the signature gatherers understand that they need to stay in those areas because this year especially we do have a slightly different layout at the Cowboy Festival there will be different traffic concerns in terms of moveemnt of people and there are a lot of buildings constraining the site. So we want to make sure that the traffic flow continues to move and the areas that will be designated will be areas where lots of people will be moving past so that shouldn’t be a concern. With regard to the blockers, the cases I’m familiar with regard to collecting signatures for referenda are on private and shopping centers all deal with the situation of the store tryin to restrict the activities, not dealing with other individuals who may be advocating not signing the petition to the extent there is a physical altercation between individuals out there and it rises to the level potentially of a criminal concern and that would be within the perview of the sheriffs to address.

TimBen Boydsten: Mr. Montes, with regard to the signature blockers, you are not aware of any state law or any city law that has any penalty for people that would be interfering or trying to stop people from signing signatures for a referendum or petition?

                Joe Montes (in response): I am not, I am aware that with regard to the Penal Code there are certain provisions that deal with blocking pedestrian traffic on public property, I’m not aware of a similar rule with regard to private property. Again it might be the Sheriff has some insight into exactly what level of interference constitutes a violation of the Penal Code to their policy, but I’m not aware of a specific Penal Code section or City Ordinance that would deal with this situation.

                TimBen (response) : Is it possible for your office to look and see if anything from the state with regard to that you may not be aware of since you got this at the last minute?

                Montes (response): That’s at the pleasure of the council, we can certainly do that.

TimBen (end response):The other thing, for me, whether there is you know, the billboard referendum is successful  or not has become a secondary question as far as I’m concerned. It is very disturbing to me that we have people coming in from out of town that are seeking to block people from signing a referendum at all. I think the Democratic process wherein we have the right to petition our government is sacred and it is unfortunate that it is taking place within the City of Santa Clarita. I know it is taking place within the City of Santa Clarita because I have a firsthand experience with people who are paid to try to stop people from gathering signatures and my wife equally was harrassed by someone who, that is appaently their job because they are seen around town. Whether you’re for or against the billboard deal i think we’re past that with regard to this. This is, this is where people are just trying to put their right down, people should have the freedom and the ability to go and sign a petition for anything. This is Amercia and it disturbs me a great deal and I don’t know is there any way that the city has a legal right Mr. Montes, to address a letter to the All Vision company who is a possible future business partner to tell them that we do not approve of this?

                Montes (response):well in terms of a legal right certainly the city can send any letter the city would like to send. If the council is going to give direction to send that letter I think that may have an agenda issue, that’s not an agencised topic for tonight but certainly if there were some violation of the law that were discovered I think that all the parties would be put on notice

                TimBen: Would my fellow councilpeople be amenable to putting this on the agenda for the next meeting. (silence) Do I have any support for that from anyone? Putting the, a discussion of a letter to a possible future business partner with regard to how they’re conducting business at this time in our city.

                Councilmember in response: I believe I heard the City Manager indicate that there’s going to be a follow up with our Sheriff’s department on this matter and I think we ought to leave it at that.

                TimBen (in response): I’m not hearing enough support from the council to put that on the agenda then I cannot do so.

Later in the evening:

Berta Gonzalez-Harper: Okay, this time around I have to be a little less nice. I am responding to people who were here regarding the “so called” (hand motions) blockers of petition gatherers. Okay, I can’t speak for every person at every location but the woman in the black hat is a local resident. I met her for the first time on Saturday when I arrived at the Wal-Mart in Canyon Country while they were loading a woman who was screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘I ain’t done nothing!’ And I asked her (woman in the black hat) what had happened, she told me what had happened, another woman standing with her, also a local resident told me she had a shopping cart pushed into her the day before. I personally, I’m a local resident, I’m not paid by anybody to do anything, spoke with nine, nine, petition gatherers. Out of the nine, one was civil and respectful when I declined and said why I was declining. Every one of the other ones provided incorrect information such as, ‘sign this and the billboards will come down,’ ‘sign this because they made a backroom deal and you guys were aced out of it and they’re going to do this whether you like it or not,’ and tons of comments like that by people from Kentucky, I ask! Florida, Illinois, two brothers from Missouri so don’t tell me that this is a pristine, local grassroots effort because it’s not. And just as you Mr. Boydston say that they have the right to gather those petitions, I as a resident, have the right to say, you are not telling people the truth  and this is why and you don’t have to like it so it’s not as one sided as you are trying to portray this. These people are lying to people and trying to get people to sign these petitions under false pretenses. As a matter of fact this reminds me an awful lot of that whole library 30,000 petitions that all these people signed that included my name, the one person that really was never going to sign that petition. So I caution you, be careful of who you guys lay down with because you’re not only going to come up with fleas you’re coming up with mange.

Calling All Creatives!

| Gazette, Tell Me More, Uncategorized | March 5, 2014

You have some upcoming opportunities…

The ARTree has a heavy hitter coming to speak to attendees at its upcoming meeting on March 19. Glenna Avila, artistic director of CalArts Community Arts Partnership, will be guest speaker at the meeting, held at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Town Newhall Library.

Glenna Avila created one of the highly visible murals created in Los Angeles for the 1984 Summer Olympics. She now shepherds arts education programs that reach thousands of youth in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.theartree.org.

NAME THE STAGE at SummerFest!

L.A. SummerFest at Rivendale is the home of the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, and they are building a new outdoor stage. Community members have the chance to sponsor the stage.

 The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival has received a grant from the City of Santa Clarita to assist in securing a new stage of the growing festival. The new stage will be a temporary and portable stage. The new stage is expected last for the next 5 years or so until a more permanent performance space is built. Contact the organization for more information:email [email protected]



Decorate Recycling Bins for the Chance to Win Cash Prizes

Community members are invited to use their imagination and creative flair to transform an everyday curbside recycling cart into a work of art for the City’s cArt aRt Competition, which promotes reusing and recycling household items. Residents, families, school groups, clubs, teams, church groups and other organizations are encouraged to participate in the competition, which is open now through Monday, March 24, 2014. 

All cArt aRt submissions will be on display at Earth Arbor Day on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Winners will receive cash prizes in the following categories: Grand Prize $200; Most Creative $100; Best Local Flair $100; Best Green Theme $100; and Fan Favorite $50. 

Artists must provide everything used in the art project, with the exception of the recycling cart, which can be painted or left natural. 

Participants must complete an entry form before receiving a FREE container from Waste Management.   Containers that once held hazardous waste products cannot be used in the competition, including used containers of paint, oil pesticides, cleaning products and chemicals.

All entries must be submitted between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. at the Environmental Services booth at the City’s Earth Arbor Day event. The 2014 Earth Arbor Day celebration will be hosted at Central Park on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Contact Laura Jardine in the City’s Environmental Services Division at (661) 255-4376 for information.


College of the Canyons will host “Indie Saturday,” celebrating independent filmmaking. The public is invited to the film event this Saturday, March 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Besides the screening of films created by COC students and K-12 students, “Indie Saturday” will also screen Ramon Hamilton’s powerful film “Smuggled” and Sheila Sofian’s animated documentary “Truth Has Fallen.”

The location for the film fest is in Hasley Hall, Room 101, on the college’s Valencia campus. For information, contact Jennifer Brezina at (661) 362-5919 or at [email protected].


Sierra Hillbillies Square Dancing

| Tell Me More | February 27, 2014

Started in 1967, the Sierra Hillbillies took its name from the Sierra Hills housing tract in Canyon Country. The group has remained active for decades, sharing vacations and even an appearance in the Pasadena Rose Parade! They are currently a group of about 50 participants, many of whom love to go camping.

The non-profit organization promotes Western Square and Round Dancing, and accept participants — single or couples. The group meets regularly, the first Sunday of the month from 2-5 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. They begin with round dancing, from 2-2:30, then “square up” until 5 p.m.

The group visits other square dancing groups as well, and they accept visitors from other clubs. To find out more, visit sierrahillbillies.org.

Sports Capsule

| Gazette, Sports | April 9, 2012

I root for the Dodgers. I root for the Kings and the Lakers, too. I prefer UCLA over USC and I like NASCAR, Indy cars, dragsters and motocross.
I went to Hart when the Canyon football team was one of the best teams in the country, when Harry Welch won three CIF championships in a row and the team had a 46-game winning streak. I was at Hart when Canyon was the only other high school in Santa Clarita. I remember when Canyon and Saugus played in the Golden League and Burroughs and Burbank battled Hart for the Foothill League title in football.
When it comes to the Dodgers, Kings and Lakers, this will be a place to praise their successes and criticize their shortcomings. It will be a place to complain about how the UCLA football team has no chance to beat USC and how the UCLA basketball team should expect better than an NIT invitation.
This will be a place to celebrate the accomplishments of high school athletes throughout Santa Clarita. I have a soft spot for Hart, but I recognize every school has great athletes.
I miss Saugus Speedway.
It looks like Augusta National might have to admit a woman as a member. The CEO of IBM, one of the title sponsors of the Masters Golf Tournament, is Virginia Rometty. IBM runs the Masters.com website and is one of only three sponsors on the Masters telecasts. The four previous CEOs of IBM, all men, were granted memberships to Augusta National, but the golf club does not admit women as members.
I have only three words for Augusta: Stand your ground.
In case you didn’t notice, the Major League Baseball season started in Japan with a series between the Mariners and the A’s last week. That’s right, two teams nobody cares about played two games in a country halfway around the world. It was like opening day in the WNBA.
The Dodgers have new owners, young players, the Cy Young award winner and the National League home run and RBI champion. Magic Johnson, Dee Gordon, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp are nice pieces, but the Dodgers still need a third baseman, a closer, a left fielder and fifth starter. The trade deadline can’t come soon enough.
Remember when New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes bunted for a single in the last game of the season to win the National League batting title?
Jamie Moyer, the 49-year-old lefty,  will be in the starting rotation for the Colorado Rockies. He was invited to spring training and earned a spot on the team’s pitching staff. Good news for Moyer, but he has been in major league baseball longer than the Rockies.
Remember when Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari took Memphis and Massachusetts to the NCAA Final Four? Neither does the NCAA.
Two athletes to keep an eye on this spring: Abbey Weitzeil at Saugus High and Chris Low at College of the Canyons.
Weitzeil, a freshman swimmer at Saugus, broke the Foothill League record in the 100-yard freestyle in a meet last week. It is still early in the swim season and she should continue to lower her times as the CIF prelims and finals draw near. She set the record in 51.02 seconds, breaking the mark of 51.83 seconds held by Hart’s Chelsea Griffiths in 2009.
Weitzeil broke her own record at the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Invitational on Saturday, winning the 100 freestyle in 50.91 seconds.
Low, a runner on the COC track and field team, has already set the fastest time in the nation in the 800. It has since been broken by Michael Preble, a runner from Texas A&M, at the USC Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium.
To think a runner from COC could have the fastest time in the 800 in the nation – that includes NCAA runners – is, well, unthinkable.
The first round of the Foothill League baseball season is in the books. West Ranch, as expected, is in first place in the league standings.
Valencia, on the other hand, is not in the mix. Hart and a surprising Saugus team are tied with West Ranch in first place in the Foothill League standings. All three teams have 4-1 records in league.
Hart is young and playing a little bit above expectations. West Ranch has talented senior leadership in J.C. Cloney, Justin Hovis and Josh Heinz.
Saugus is the hottest team in the league, though. After losing its first Foothill League game to Hart, the Centurions have rattled off four wins in a row. The most impressive came against West Ranch last week.
Justin Donatella pitched six strong innings and kept the explosive West Ranch bats in check in a 6-4 win at West Ranch.
Saugus, Valencia, Canyon and West Ranch are in the La Palma Kennedy tournament this week for spring break. Hart is in the Anaheim Lion Club Tournament. Golden Valley is in the Coachella Valley Rotary Tournament.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM-1220 and writes for the ESPN Los Angeles web site. You can e-mail Tim Haddock at [email protected]  Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.

Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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