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Steve Lunetta: Uncle Earl stumps for Joe Messina

Posted: September 6, 2009 9:07 p.m.
Updated: September 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Some folks in our community claim to know my Uncle Earl. I wouldn't be surprised - he is often loud and abrasive in public places. Why, just the other day he was confronted by a group of pro-Obama protesters.

They screamed at Earl that they could outlast any conservative in a demonstration. Earl yelled back, "Let's see if you are willing to pay overtime!" Sure enough, at 5 p.m., all of them left. The union doesn't pay time and a half, even for Democrats.

The other day, I was over at Earl's house helping him clean his gun collection when the subject of local politics came up.

Earl: My boy, I cannot believe the lack of talent we have that is running for local offices. Not one person named Smyth or Runner or Lunetta is running for anything!

Me: Well, that's not really true, Earl. There are some very good people running for the William S. Hart Union High School District board.

Earl: Hart district board? I graduated from Saugus! Do you know how offensive it is to hear "Hart board"? Why don't they call it "Saugus board"? Or "Tom Mix board"?

Me: Let's get back to the point. While there are some good folks running, there is one that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. His name is Joe Messina.

Earl: Joe Messina? I think I know him. Didn't he play quarterback for USC in the 1970s?

Me: I don't think so, Earl. But I do know that Joe is a man we can trust. Joe founded and ran his own business in the SCV for many years. His specialty is computer networks, so you know he is a pretty sharp guy. He's also a recognized community leader.

Earl: Son, you can say that about most of the politicians in the valley including the Dem-o-crats.

Me: Maybe. But Joe is a good man. I've known him personally for a long time and I can say that Joe is a hard worker, honest, respectable and trustworthy. Joe teaches ethics through Junior Achievement to our local high school students. He's a board member of the SCV youth project. On top of that, he's an excellent husband and father.

Earl: Hmm. You're starting to interest me, boy. Tell me more.

Me: Joe understands the needs of our community. He has been fighting for a Castaic high school for years. He knows that the good people of Castaic need and deserve their own facility. The kids of Castaic deserve better.

Earl: Didn't the Hart board waste a ton of money in construction cost overruns? Something like $400 million?

Me: Er, no, Earl. Not anywhere near that but still a sizable chunk of change. Joe is a businessman and understands accounting and accountability. Joe believes in fiscal transparency and will hold the district to that high standard. He's smart enough to keep us out of trouble and honest enough to tell us when things have gone wrong.

Earl: Sounds like Joe has his head screwed on right.

Me: You'd better believe it. Joe also recognizes the value of vocational training. Let's face it - not all kids are destined for college.

For our school system to tell all kids that they should go to college does a disservice to the kids and all of the trades that desperately need skilled new workers. Trades are honorable and worthy of respect. Joe understands that kids need other avenues to be successful in our economy. Technical and vocational training are weak in our schools and Joe aims to change that.

Earl: Wait a minute. Hasn't this guy run before?

Me: Yes, he has. But this is a measure of Joe's character. Joe will not give up! He is passionate about making our schools a better place and is driven to accomplish this goal. Many people give up if the polls do not favor them on election night. Not Joe. Joe is not a quitter. This tells me that when things get tough on the board, he will not run away and hide. We can count on Joe to be there when we need him.

Earl: You've convinced me. I'm voting for Joe.

Me: That's a wise choice, Earl. So am I. But, better yet, why not help Joe in his campaign? Go to and click on the volunteer link. Good candidates like Joe are rare. Let's get behind him and change education for the better in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.


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