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Greta Dunlap: People should not have to live this way in Santa Clarita

SCV Voices

Posted: February 4, 2009 11:35 p.m.
Updated: February 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.
We met over coffee to discuss the problems in our community - the Valle Del Oro community in Newhall.

My neighbors, now friends, from the Village and the Terrace apartments and I have been involved now for over a year in monthly meetings working with the city. We want to thank Hope Horner and Cynthia Lierenas from Community Services for their time and efforts.

We've worked to organize ourselves to develop important goals for betterment of the community. I've met some really wonderful people who are working very hard to make life better for themselves, their families and the community.

"People should not have to live this way," I said to them, though we have been stating this for over a year now.

They asked if we, too, had the recent problems with fires in the trash dumpsters and fire extinguishers being stolen.

We had, and they informed me it was a gang initiation.

"My neighbor saw three young men running away from the dumpsters after setting fire." My friend stated.

I guess after hearing incidents like this now for over a year, I am not surprised as much, but still saddened by what people will do to destroy a community.

I asked them to tell me more about what is going on where they live. "My neighbor cannot use his second bedroom because of the black mold," one stated.

I inquired why management did not take care of this, if it is coming from within the common walls. He said it is in their contract that the residents are responsible, and many people have this problem in their units.

Vandalism occurs weekly from resident break-ins, vehicle destruction, and there is shooting every weekend.

Naive as I am, but getting more educated, unfortunately, I ask, "What are they shooting at?"

My neighbors tell me, "They shoot in the sky most of the time." The families are in such fear, they tell me that they sleep on the floor or under beds so they will not get shot. "You can see the places on the walls where their heads rest at night," says my neighbor.

There is drug dealing, residents cooking in their apartments and selling food, and there is prostitution.

"I was in the gym when a man came in with a photo album asking me if I was interested in a prostitute."

He went on to say that the women are 13 to 19 years old, and there are certain apartments set up for this.

And the wash where the children like to play is becoming a tent city with numerous people now living there and doing whatever.

"Did you know they have found bodies down there?" my neighbor asked. I was not surprised to hear by now that they were dealing drugs.

My neighbor asked me if I wanted another cup of coffee. "No," I said. "I've had enough for one morning,"
People should not have to live this way in Santa Clarita.


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