Happy Two-Days-Into-The-New-Year, everyone! After all the partying and relaxing over the holiday season, I think it’s about time that I start getting productive again. Towards this end, I’ve done Santa Clarita the courtesy of writing it some New Year’s Resolutions.
Resolution 1: REALISTIC GOAL
Let Santa Clarita resolve to host the 2016 Olympics.
Santa Clarita is widely known as one of the Great Cities of the world. To keep this status, we need to do something impressive, important, and big—nay, enormous. I think the most feasible option is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the greatest realization of sport and sportsmanship on earth.
Someone at City Hall needs to get on this fast, however. We only have until January 14th to place our bid as host city for the 2016 games! According to Wikipedia, the following cities have already filed official bids: Chicago, Prague, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Baku, Doha, and Madrid. We already have Baku beat because no one has ever heard of it. This means our only real competition comes from Chicago, Prague, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Doha and Madrid. The list seems a bit intimidating, sure, but don’t forget all the great things we have going for us.
1. Security. We’re consistently in the top ten safest cities in America. If you want your Olympians to get killed, Olympics Committee, maybe you should go to Chicago. They had 448 murders in 2004 and 2005. That’s called a trend, and it means that precisely 448 people will be killed every year in Chicago, even in 2016. Where I grew up (a little place called Santa Clarita), we don’t call 448 homicides every year “safe”. If you want your Olympic Games to be secure, you want them in Santa Clarita.
2. Experience. Yeah, we’ve got a little bit of experience with sports—and by “a little bit” I’m being very, very sarcastic in an understating kind of way. Each year, Parks & Recreation coaches thousands of kids in everything from basketball to gymnastics. We sponsor an annual marathon. We even host those crazy Amgen bicyclists! Basically, we’re experienced at hosting lots of sporting events, and that’s exactly what an Olympic Host City has to do.
3. Facilities. Happily, most summer sports require only fields, and we have plenty of them (Central Park, the high schools, some of the larger backyards in the wealthy part of Saugus). We boast fine aquatic facilities as well. Bridgeport Lake could certainly accommodate some of the shorter rowing events, and Castaic can pick up the slack.
4. Culture, History and Charm. The Olympics can’t happen just anywhere. The Host City should be beautiful with a history and culture vibrant enough to allow for a dozen or so of NBC’s “A Closer Look At [insert city name here]” clips. This is where Santa Clarita can really shine. The Walk of Western Stars, the historic Oak of the Golden Dream, and the three beautiful murals installed in the recently revitalized Old Town Newhall are sure to dazzle the media and visitors.
5. Hotels and Dining. Finally, athletes, heads-of-state, officials, and spectators need to be comfortable while they’re here. With the Hyatt for power players and Motel 6 for the everyman, I don’t think anyone will have trouble finding a place to sleep in SCV. As for dining, we are essentially a microcosm of global cuisine. Those wishing to sample authentic American fare can eat at McDonald’s, Coco’s, or Saugus Cafe. Those craving a taste of home will also be in luck. China’s athletes might dine at Panda Express (did somebody say orange chicken?). The Promenade’s Olive Garden is certain to appeal to visitors from Italy. Even the finicky French can enjoy a croissant from the Ralph’s bakery—they’re very good.
Before I started writing this list, I admit that I was a little nervous about our chances against some of the other cities vying for the 2016 Olympics. But now that all we have to offer is laid out, I am more confident than ever that our resolution to host the Olympic Games is attainable. All we need is some hard work, a bit of luck, and a City Council that’s willing to think big. Mayor Kellar: can you help us make this resolution a reality?
Resolution 2: KICK A BAD HABIT(S)
2a. Let Santa Clarita resolve to not allow the construction of anymore houses with non-functional shutters (You know, the ones glued outside windows like they’re open; they’re stupid. Leave the shutters off or put on ones that work).
2b. Let Santa Clarita resolve to not cut ribbons every time something opens. Cutting a ribbon and/or having a grand opening for every road realignment (e.g., downtown Newhall) and fence building (e.g., Central Park Dog Park) is too much of a good thing. The reward of cutting a ribbon needs to be reserved for grander accomplishments, like completion of the cross valley connector. Santa Clarita is like the kid who buys herself a candy bar every time she passes a spelling test; both get fat on self-administered praise.
2c. Let Santa Clarita resolve to stop having fires. I think this one is self-explanatory.
More information is available here
Learn about Chicago homicides on page 5