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One valley, double vision?

Our View

Posted: July 6, 2008 1:16 a.m.
Updated: September 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.
We believe it's fitting that the Santa Clarita Valley's west side took another step toward self-determination last week, just before Independence Day weekend.

On Tuesday, the county's chief executive officer released financial data to consultants who are preparing a study aimed at helping west side residents decide if they want to remain an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, annex to the city of Santa Clarita or attempt to form their own, separate city.

We applaud west side residents for the democratic spirit with which they set out to plot a course for their futures.

But we also note that those residents had to wait several months longer than originally projected for that financial data, and that they are still awaiting the study's conclusions, which were also projected to be delivered months ago.

Meanwhile, some unincorporated communities such as Hasley Hills have moved ahead with plans to annex to the city of Santa Clarita - much to the chagrin of those who wanted to maintain the status quo until the county released the studies that would help them plan their futures.

But "status quo" is impossible to maintain when dealing with people.

And it's a pretty safe generalization that the bigger and more distant a government, the less likely it is to move quickly on a localized issue. Just look at FEMA and Hurricane Katrina.

A little more than 20 years ago, Santa Clarita Valley residents took a giant step toward self-determination by forming the city of Santa Clarita.

Original plans called for the city to encompass the entire SCV. But that plan was thwarted.

We think the original plan is still a good one.

Remaining with the county means the west side will continue to be a small fish in a big pond. In 2006, the county's population was about 10 million. Five supervisors govern this monolithic entity.

Our Fifth District Supervisor, Michael D. Antonovich, works hard to meet the needs of the west side. But he has about 2 million residents to represent. How high can the concerns of a Stevenson Ranch or Castaic neighborhood rank?

On the other hand, there are many reasons why a two-city Santa Clarita Valley isn't a good idea. A united Santa Clarita Valley can do a better job of planning land use; can unite, rather than divide, in applications for grant funds and proposals for revenue-generating events; can have a bigger budget with which to address the needs of the community.

We urge west side citizens, as they plan their futures, to keep an open mind about the prospect of annexing to the city of Santa Clarita.


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