Be a Smart Shopper about Annexation
When I go shopping for anything, big or small, I tend to be a comparison shopper. If I’m in the supermarket it usually entails comparing ingredients or nutritional information from two different brands of the same product. For instance, are the Vons Pop Tarts really the same as the Kellogg’s brand but just less expensive?
Generally the amount of time spent doing comparisons is in direct relation to cost of the particular product. For example, I don’t spend a lot of time comparing milk but I will spend an awful lot of time researching and comparing cars. Part of that research involves asking lots and lots of questions and sometimes questioning the answers to make sure that I understand all the information that is being disseminated. Basically I am educating myself on whatever topic or product that I am interested in learning about.
For the past several years I have been doing just that in regards to annexation or the other options that may be available for the west-side communities. I’ve read government documents, visited our elected officials, question members of LAFCO, and yes, even gleaned an occasional fact out of the local newspapers.
The one thing that I learned when I was a teen is that if you ask the right questions you’ll eventually ferret out the truth. If during the course of asking questions the person your questioning starts to get agitated and doesn’t want to give or validate their answers there is a good chance that they are hiding something. That becomes a red flag and usually makes me quite suspicious.
In my opinion, that’s exactly what is happening right now with the issue of annexation in the Santa Clarita Valley. Members of the community, myself included, are asking questions, sometimes very tough questions, of the City. These are legitimate questions as they involve comparing the unincorporated areas of the valley with those of the City. Question about parks, recreation, taxes, road maintenance, etc. These are questions that need to be asked so that the community can make an intelligent and informed decision at some point in the future as to the governmental status of our neighborhoods on the west-side.
This is why I have been writing these commentaries so that some of those questions can be asked publicly and also to point out when the questions are not being fully answered. It is clear from the response to my last commentary that I am asking hard questions that are making some people squirm because they seem not to want to talk about the whole truth. We should all be suspicious of this type of behavior.
Recently my suspicions were validated in several articles that appeared in the local papers. Both articles pointed out the that the City of Santa Clarita in fact is trying to circumvent the Castaic Town Council on the question of annexation. The proof is in the pudding as they say!
So there we are, we are doing some comparison-shopping and asking lots of tough questions that some in the City don’t want to answer. Instead the City has chosen to try and bypass the elected town councils, or not give a complete answer to questions. Further, they have gotten a former Mayor of Santa Clarita, a “use-to-be”, to try and defend the City and it’s bizarre behavior.
It begs the question, why doesn’t the City want to be forthright with all the information being asked for? Why have they attempted to dodge the Town Councils so many times? Why is the City giving vague and misleading answers?
It’s time that the City starts to show transparency in its quest to annex neighboring communities. Trying to cherry pick the Valencia Commerce Center or other areas is inappropriate and is a divide and conquer tactic that will short change the residents of the Castaic and west side communities.
Most people in this valley can think for themselves and can make intelligent decisions. If they are presented with all the information that is being asked for, they can then make clear well thought out comparisons.
Don’t be “bamboozled” by people who don’t want give you the entire answer to your questions. And certainly don’t be bamboozled by a former City of Santa Clarita Mayor, a use-to-be, that tries to brand any questioning as “anti-city rhetoric” as that person doesn’t have the best interests of the unincorporated communities in mind.
It will pay dividends to be an informed and smart comparison shopper!