Sunday, August 26, 2007

Only in SCV: Who Needs P.R. When You Have The Signal?

I read a large portion of The Signal today, a mistake I do not intend to make again. This most uncharacteristic behavior was motivated by the paper’s 51 Most Influential People in 2007. I'll discuss the special supplement after touching upon coverage of HMNMH.

Today’s Opinion Section: The Rapidity is Quickening!
“With the rapidity of medical and technological change quickening on a daily basis, we erred on the side of boldness,” writes Roger Seaver, Henry Mayo CEO, of his original master plan[1]. His piece was part of Sunday Opinion’s in-depth treatment of the hospital expansion issue under the banner “Time for a Bigger Hospital?” Based on their “Question & Answers” section, I’m not sure why the editors included a question mark.

Indeed, questions were not ones like “Why are so many people opposed to this project?”, “What are the alternatives?”, or even “How will the 15-year construction project impact local residents?” Instead, the paper asked “What are the benefits of a master plan?” and “What would be the first improvement to occur from the master plan?” David Gauny of SmartGrowthSCV countered[2]. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pull out dazzling quotations like Seaver’s gem from Thomas Jefferson: “A good neighbor is a desirable thing.”

Which way do I go to get to a decent hospital?

Much Love for 51 Claritans-of-Consequence

Jay C. Harn’s introductory note sets the tone for Santa Clarita’s 51 Most Influential People in 2007 List: “I would like to personally congratulate all those who have been named to this list, and a special welcome to the 25 of you who are new to this exclusive list this year.” Indeed, Harn’s publication does not just pick and describe the 51 Most Influential Claritans[3]. It congratulates, celebrates, and lauds them.

By the law of averages, one would imagine that at least one of the Influential 51 might be exercising a negative influence. With the exceptions of mentioning controversy surrounding Roger Seaver and TimBen Boydston, however, I didn’t find a single person on the list who wasn’t having a positive impact on the valley called Clarita.

Of #5, for example, the writers gush “With an unprecedented passion for her job, College of the Canyons superintendent-president Dianne Van Hook has led the college by example for the last 19 years. Her efforts have turned a small community college, one of many in the state, into a hothouse of innovative ideas.” A “hothouse of innovative ideas”, you say? Must…suppress…urge…to laugh…

Don & Cheri Fleming (FLEMWATCH ALERT!) made the list, of course, sharing the number 16 spot. They were in the company of a number of other Claritans active in charity, but the developers and planners dominated the list. They included Larry Rasmussen, local leveler of hills, who was called the most influential Claritan for his Centre Pointe business park and other developments. Local politicians, educators, and men (44 of them compared to just 15 women) also showed well.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the best picture in the whole supplement. It was, without a doubt, that of Paul Brotzman (#22). The photo brings his uncanny resemblance of Peter Brady—Christopher Knight—to dizzying new heights.

[1] In today's Siggie, link here
[2] David Gauny's opposing commentary here
[3] I’ve seen 13 of the Influential 51 in person and spoken with a grand total of four of them.

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