I know, I know. On August 1, the light was supposed to go on the machine. It didn’t. At first I wanted to make a joke about Dr. Dre’s broken deadlines for his long-promised 3rd album. We’d beat Dre, at least, right? Yeah, so much for that.
Old electronics don’t always work like they used to. They get dusty. They don’t get along with new technology as well as you’d expect. But after a few knocks upside the head, it’s working just like new.
I got an NES for Christmas in ’88, just a few weeks after my family moved to Santa Clarita. Although we missed the city’s birth by a year, after a while, it’s a rounding error. It feels like I’ve been here the whole time, exactly. Not a minute before, and scarcely a moment after.
The early days were exciting: a fresh city with fresh streets, wide paseos and big plans. My neighbor was a planning commissioner, my friend’s older brother got a job at city hall. I loved getting word of the next thing around the corner, or stories of the names I’d see in the paper.
But it was still a disjointed city. The trek from Valencia to Music Plus in Saugus involved crossing a dusty plain where tumbleweeds chased coyotes (or so it seemed). I hardly knew a thing of Canyon Country. Even though I went to school in Newhall, it was years before I saw what we now call Main Street. It seemed so alive, yet you felt like it was about to expire. It wasn’t old so much as dated; not forgotten so much as lost.
Today I think of Main Street as emblematic of the purpose of citihood and our quest for a civic identity. The City has tried for decades to rebuild a core that had would have been hopeless under County rule. And while the notable additions have a modern sensibility, the project’s motivation and asthetic has been nostalgic.
Maybe we’re holding on to an idea – the memory of someone else’s memories. We’re yearning for the old west, when we’re really chasing a time and place where they made movies about the old west. It’s fitting, because when just about anyone thinks of the old west, their conception owes more to Hollywood than history.
And our history is, as local historian-types would say, quite swell. But for many, it’s not the story of where we came from, but a story of what and who used to be in the place where we recently landed. I have as much in common with the oilmen and ranchers of the 19th century as they did with the Tataviam who lived here longer than any of us.
(Just last week, I had a conversation with someone who is about to move to Santa Clarita after a brief stop in the San Fernando Valley. He’s from the Boston area. Where exactly? Saugus.)
So who were they? All of them. Let’s ask those questions and find those answers. Let’s strike up conversations with people who have been around long enough to remember this place for what it was, and yet are happy to accept it for what it is.
And who are we? The answer doesn’t matter as much as it does that we answer it. It’s important that we talk with one another. Take the day’s news as a leaf that needs to be turned over a few times. Let’s shine some light on the darker corners of power, because our leaders lead a little differently when they know we’re watching.
But also, we need to leave something for the curious minds of tomorrow. So much of today’s news and conversation is happening behind paywalls and in the realm of Facebook. How much will 2025 know about 2015 if so much is tucked away?
Blogs aren’t what they were, and that’s OK. Like SCV, we’re a little bit past, a little bit future. Conventional, yet peculiar.
So what’s it gonna be?
To paraphrase the former Speaker of the House, we have to do it so we know what’s in it. I have a ton of ideas, and I’ve gathered some of my very favorite local writers who have even more. But at our core, we’re about Santa Clarita. The towns that are trying to be a city, and the city that’s trying to be a town. We want to speak to anyone who’s decided to make this their home, no matter the reason.
We’re going to try really hard to bring context and texture to life and news in SCV, without being too inside. Except when we need to. Or we want to.
Most of all, if you made the decision to make SCV your home, in spite of the commute, the summers, the lack of preferred chain restaurants, and/or the abundance of nonprefered chain restaurants, then you’re going to care. It’s OK that you don’t watch the city council meetings or vote in off year elections. But aren’t you glad that we do?
We’ll also have jokes. You need a sense of humor to make it this long in the SCV.