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Thankful to live in a community that cares

Our View: Santa Clarita

Posted: November 29, 2008 9:16 p.m.
Updated: November 30, 2008 4:55 a.m.
As another Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, we take this opportunity to reflect. The news of doom and gloom in the economy has put many people on edge, and if California's climbing unemployment rate is an indicator, then rightly so.

Add to that the anxiety over the incoming Obama administration, the nation divided between hopeful anticipation and fear of the unknown, and you've got a recipe for disappointment or distress.

But look around you here at home and you see that we Santa Clarita Valley residents have much to be thankful for, not only on Thanksgiving Day or the Sunday after, but 365 days a year.

We've got each other. And we care.

We Santa Claritans care deeply about our community. When we say "Santa Claritans," we mean everybody in the Santa Clarita Valley, incorporated or not.

We are, after all, one valley, and while we might differ individually in our outlooks, our vision and our passion translate into positive change - all the time.

If Santa Claritans didn't care, we would already have a giant gravel mining operation in eastern Canyon Country. We would have 3,000 homes atop a toxic nightmare in the middle of our city. For the past decade, we would have had a huge, smelly garbage dump in Elsmere Canyon.

If people didn't care, we wouldn't have our own community-owned hospital that will be adding services in the coming years. We would have lost our hospital to bankruptcy.

If the hospital's neighbors didn't care, those additional services would have brought more and bigger medical office buildings to their residential neighborhood. If the Santa Clarita City Council didn't care, well - who knows what might have happened?

The concern and participation we see from so many Santa Claritans is particularly remarkable when you consider that most people came from somewhere else and haven't lived here too long.

We treat Santa Clarita as if it were our hometown. We embrace its history and adopt its heritage as our own. We even argue about it.

Witness the debate over an old school bell that rang in Saugus a century ago and now hangs high in the heart of Newhall. Saugus residents want the bell back - even if their forebears never heard it call them to class.

We rally for our kids, regardless of whether we've got any of our own in school. Voters with school-age children weren't the only ones to put Measure SA over the top when the William S. Hart Union High School District came calling earlier this month.

It was the majority of voters who did that, some with teenagers, some without. They know a healthy community requires well-educated youngsters, and they know from the test scores that here in Santa Clarita, their investments pay off.

We see the pride of parents and peers on the athletic field, as well. Santa Claritans are wild for high school football and set the bar high, driving our young athletes to meet the challenge.

The rivalry is bitter, but when our already-lofty expectations are exceeded, we rally together. Who in Valencia or Canyon Country doesn't feel just a twitch of pride in Ryan Zirbel and Saugus High this year, as we did when Harry Welch brought back the Canyon Cowboys?

Let's not forget the bands. God, don't forget the marching bands. And what's the deal with "silent soccer?" Good luck trying to bottle Santa Claritans' enthusiasm for their children.

What of our frail, elderly, sick, infirm, underinsured, homeless? Do we sit back on our good graces and wait on the federal government for a bailout?

No. We roll up our sleeves and raise the money to support more than 100 local charities. You name the problem and Santa Claritans will find a way to fix it.

We've even got a charity to fix low-income kids' teeth. It was started by some folks at City Hall. That's not a quirk. We've got a local government that we built from the ground up in 1987, and we staffed it with local people who not only listen to the public but actively volunteer their time to improve this community, just as so many other Santa Claritans do.

Yes, City Hall certainly does listen to the public. Otherwise our city leaders wouldn't be nearly as willing to try one thing, then another and another, every time a neighborhood packs the council chambers with people who do or don't want a road cut off.

Perhaps you can fault them for listening a bit too much, but they wouldn't listen if they didn't care.

We could go on forever, but let us close by counting our own blessings here at The Signal. We are proud of our talented crop of journalists, whether brand-new or old veterans, or even older veterans who took some time off and have returned.

We're proud of our editors and advertising executives and accountants and press operators and everyone else who puts his or her blood, sweat and tears into this newspaper every day.

Goodness knows you don't go into community newspapering for the money. You do it because you care, and because you have something to contribute.

Above all, we are thankful for you, our readers, our subscribers and our advertisers. It is you who make this journey possible and bless us with the opportunity to carry on a tradition whose roots date back to 1919 and whose future is yours for the making.


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