Sunday, July 29, 2007

Only in SCV: Two Treats in the Mail

Join me as I catch up on the literary treasures I missed when away from the SCV. It's time for vacation mail (at least the SCV-related stuff).

Holy Crap, We’re Spending $2M on Bus Stops!
or, The State of the City Newsletter

Did you know our city has a color scheme? According to Alisha Celestine, writer of “The New Look of Transit”, we do! It’s a “refreshing color scheme of rich greens and blues.” Cool! Literally! I can’t stop using exclamation points!

Refreshed? I am!

Application of this color scheme in new signs will be a fundamental component of a two-million dollar project to improve bus stops. The Bus Stop Improvement Program (BSIP) will apparently spiffy-up 51 existing shelters and put 40 new shelters into existence. That comes out to about $22,000 per shelter, for which we get “solar security lightning [sic], steel strap benches with backs and intermediate armrests, and trash receptacles with covered lids […and] a public art component at 25-percent of the bus stop locations.” The solar security “lightning” will doubtless eat up most of the budget.

The remainder of the newsletter consists of the City patting itself on the back. The words “vision”, “success” and “future” figure prominently throughout.

“…stories of Santa Clarita people who have accomplished success”
or, the August/September 2007 élite magazine

Pity Linda and Moe Hafizi: their computer must have a broken comma key! The publishers of the modestly titled élite magazine—an SCV bi-monthly that “takes it up a notch and invites you to come along”—certainly appeared to be victims of a busted keyboard in the newest issue.

Indeed, what but a broken button could explain the sentence “As will, our ‘Looking Back’ feature on Glen Blackshaw, married more than 50 years, the start to their union may have been a bit unconventional since neither could understand a word of what the other was saying”? Yes, that’s really a sentence from this issue’s letter from the publishers. Unsurprisingly, the fairer half of the publishing duo responsible for that gem is also editor-in-chief[1]. While the magazine’s rough edges aren’t easily overlooked, they are easily forgiven. After all, élite gives a glimpse into the lives of the privileged class that us common folk are rarely afforded. In this issue, for instance, I’ve learned how the president of the Bank of Santa Clarita stays fit and got a private tour of the home of the Hovsepians, an elite Claritan family! I was even introduced to General Hospital actor Rick Hearst, a man who has “overcome insurmountable odds in the competitive world of entertainment.[2]

But as fun as it is to read, the best part of élite magazine is the game I get to play in every issue. It’s called “Count the Flemings” because photos of Cheri, Don, Scooter, and Spark Plug are, to use one of the French phrases so beloved by the mag[3], de rigeur. To be fair, this is due in large part to the fact that they do a lot of charity work and go to many charity events--many heavily photographed charity events. Likewise, there is never a shortage of pictures of the Hafizi clan. The April/May issue included six photos for a total of ten Hafizis.

One Fleming (Don), two Flemings (Cheri), three Flemings ("Speed Bump"), ah ah ah...

Finally, every issue includes locals modeling clothes bought at the hottest, hippest SCV boutiques (e.g., Macy’s in this issue) and an amazing recipe. This month I enjoyed learning how to make Chef Olivier Quinn’s Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata Cheese. The secret is buying tomatoes and cheese and then putting them on the same serving platter. Très gourmet!

If you don’t receive élite, there’s a reason: only elite addresses get élite magazines. According to the website[4], it’s mailed to a “targeted” set of residences, “numerous upscale locations”, and “select local hotels.” How it arrived in the ghetto of Valencia I do not know, but I appreciate the mistake.

[1]That’s Linda, to be specific. Ati and Alex Hafizi are responsible for graphic design, and they do a remarkably good job.
[2]Based on the article, these "insurmountable odds" were the death of his grandfather and the separation of his parents. By these criteria, I too have overcome "insurmountable odds"!
[3]No, not even a title like élite is sufficiently pretentious for this magazine. They gush over houses in the “La Maison” section, and photos of important, event-attending Claritans are published under the banner “Crème de la Crème.”

[4]If I've sold you on the magazine (or, rather, if it has sold itself to you), click here. Try to ignore the clutching of jowls.


Leslie said...

I don't get "elite", (not in the right zip code), but I do play the Count the Flemings game with my Magazine of Santa Clarita.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, all of these "magazines" are ridiculous. They are desperately trying to push Santa Clarita as an upscale community instead of the tired surburb that it is. A perfect example is all of the people who claim to want "upscale dining" and then mention that they would bring their toddler with them! It would be much more entertaining if they would publish the truth about those residents that they try and glorify as "elite". Such as a gambling addiction (a certain beauty shop owner), alcoholism (just check out the broken blood vessels and enlarged noses and you can guess for yourself who these are - one Man of the Year was puking and falling down drunk at the last event he co-chaired), philandering husbands (too many to count, but one particular jeweler is always featured at the events), etc.

Linda Slocum said...

Too funny on the bus benches! Even funnier was the last City Council meeting, where they had a long diatribe on how the City Manager ordered the "wrong green" for these new benches.

A Santa Claritan said...

Leslie: I'm glad to hear someone else is on FlemWatch.

Anonymous: Awww, revelations like that are no fun without names attached. I'm pretty sure I know who you're talking about with the booze problem, but I only have a sneaking suspicion on the philandering jeweler. If you email me particulars, I promise complete anonymity ;-)

Linda: I know--I hate getting an insufficiently rich shade of green. If only we spent the $2M on buying open space rather than making color coordinated bus stops.


I enjoyed the transit article even though there wasn't one exclamation mark as "promised" in I Heart Santa Clarita's blog. You must have missed the great articles about what's coming business-wise to the city, the amazing $250 million cross valley connector, and the much-needed new sheriff/city business alliance program. Why so negative I Heart Santa Clarita??

A Santa Claritan said...

Dear, dear "Voice of Reason":

1. I'm glad to see someone from the City is reading this blog.

2. There is nothing "reason"able about spending $2M on perfectly functional bus stops for purely aesthetic purposes. That could buy a nice chunk of open space.

3. I did not promise that the article to which I refer contained exclamation marks; 'twas I who could not resist the urge to "!" compulsively.

4. The $250M cross-valley connector is not "amazing". When you have large amounts of money, you can do things like hire people to lay asphalt onto a prepared dirt service. I would call the construction of roads a decidedly normal event.

5. As for "why so negative?": I'm guessing you haven't lived here long.

Anonymous said...

What is with this town? I thought certain money was allocated to certain projects in this city!! What is wrong with making our buses and bus stops more up to date,safer and beautiful that's what the money is there for? Thank you for the great articles and for keeping Santa Clarita in the know!!

mike devlin said...

We need more people calling out those horrendous rags. Every time I get one in the mail, I'm embarrassed more and more to live here. There is one that's half way readable, Inside SCV or something like that.

I'm a little late to the party, and I may be confusing things, but the improvement to the bus stops seems like a big deal to me. I've seen dozens new, nice-looking and modern bus shelters popping up over the last year, replacing uncovered benches but more often going where there was only a bus sign before. This strikes me as an important step in modernizing our transit system and one that treats the rider with greater dignity.

Anonymous said...

It would have been nice if someone had asked one of the existing Bus Bench vendors for "New" city bus benched, i'm know we would have provided them free so long as we were alowed to keep the majority of them advertising based.

Anonymous said...

Alex is a homo

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but what does alex being a homo have to do with anything?? he is probably one of the nicest young adults you will met!

Anonymous said...

I get Elite magazine and I too, count the Flemings (who doesn't)!...3005,3006,3007

Anonymous said...

I get elite and I love it. It is the greatest magazine in the scv! Inside SCV is a horrible magazine and when I mean horrible I mean RIDICULOUS! What is with the name Inside SCV. What are all of the other magazines like elite Magazine, or Canyon Country Magazine or 661 Magazine or The Magazine of Santa Clarita. I feel as though those are way more inside the santa clarita valley then Inside SCV will ever be.
I believe the Hafizi's have done a very nice job in this valley with the two wonderful publications that they provide. The Magazine of Santa Clarita has been around for a long time and people in this valley can rely on and enjoy it each month and elite Magazine is exactly what this valley needs to keep it from loosing it cool. Thank you!