Friday, September 29, 2006

Jack is Back: Time to be honest!

A short time ago, Sen. George Allen made a racial comment that he tried to explain away. His explanation was about as weak as you could imagine. He claimed he didn't know where the word came from and that he is not sure why he said it. Huh? How about just tell the truth George? Tell us that as a kid your Mom and Dad used that word all the time and you actually never understood what it meant. Now that you said it, and people have told you what it means you should tell them the truth. Your a dork and it should cost you your seat. As the commercial says, " People judge you by the words you use". You lose!

Having said that, how about the rhetoric from the Democrat's this election season. If we elect the Democrats we will have lower gas prices along with less dependency on foreign oil. How is that possible so soon? If we elect them they will fix Health care so that every American has coverage. How is that possible in a free market? They gonna force insurance companies to provide health care to anyone that applies to them at no cost? Or are they going to institute a Government run health care program? If so, then how do they intend on paying for it? Who is going to manage it? Imagine the cost to manage a program like that let alone the annual cost to maintain the health care rolls. Do you force Doctors to take less money, yet still have to pay huge insurance premiums for E and O coverage? As it stands now we are losing Doctors left and right because of the costs to run an operation and costs they incur to pay for litigation and malpractice insurance. Trial lawyers support the Democrat party, I wonder why? Seems like hypocrisy to me. ( I spelled it correct Chris. lol ).

How about the War's? They are going to bring all the troops home or as they now say position them "outside" the hostile zones and be ready to come in with-in a moments notice. Ok, so where ya put them? Saudi Arabia? Kuwait, UAE? According to UBL, having US troops stationed in their holy lands is why they are so damn mad at us to begin with. So where exactly is the " zone", Nebraska? Detroit? That's effective. Well, maybe the Detroit part is.

Lastly, as Robert Kennedy Jr. has claimed, George Bush has single handedly turned back the fight on global warming by 50 years. His crowd claim's that if in office they will sign the Kyoto protocol and start to reverse the damage he has done. How? Read that darn thing. We would have to close all refineries, coal plants ( read electric generating plants here ) and cut down on vehicle emissions. Do they understand that an economy runs on fuel? What exactly will we replace these sources of energy with? Nuclear? Well that would just bring out a whole new batch of ticked off people now wouldn't it! Or since they would be in power would that then be ok? Anyone but them attitude?

I am not a scientist, by far to be sure. But when I read all that I can on the subject I see one thing that no one discusses. Yes, CO 2 is a culprit in the greenhouse effect, but the largest culprit is water vapor according to every scientist. How do we fight humidity? What if we go to hydrogen vehicles? Isn't the by-product of hydrogen water? Seems like that would be the biggest threat to global warming.

Ok, so lets recap. If we elect the Democrats we will have No War, Health Care for everyone, Stop and reverse Global warming, and eliminate the need for foreign oil by making our own or doing something else they wont tell us about. Seems GREAT!!!! I'm a Democrat at heart for sure then. I want all the above and want it NOW! But, at what cost will this all be, if possible....................

How about some of the highest taxes in the history of the world. How about drilling for oil everywhere on US soil ( That's the only way to reduce dependence on foreign oil today ), how about building a wall around the entire USA and every time there is a problem in the world we ignore it and just tell the UN or whom ever that its "Not our Problem". How about another 50 nuclear power plants spread out all over the country. Net result would be the biggest depression in the history of the world. Imagine the unemployment rate if we where to do these things. There would not be enough people making enough money to pay all those tax's so they would have to raise tax's again and again and again. That would have a great impact on what's left of our economy don't you think?

Ya see, lies are lies. Whether its a goofy guy from Virginia claiming the unbelievable all the way to the talking heads from the Democrat party saying that George Bush and the Republicans are responsible for everything that's wrong with this world and by electing them they will fix it all and make us utopian perfect.

This is what is wrong with politics. Say ANYTHING to get elected. I think we are all smarter then these folks give us credit for. I'm voting for Steve Allen, not George Allen.

Jack Murphy

Update: Stevenson Ranch HOA Recall, What's the Motive?

The West Ranch Beacon has uncovered more facts into the Stevenson Ranch HOA recall petition. As you have read here, the recall petition was filed by Keith Pritsker, a property owner of The Arts, and David Harvey a resident of the Diamondhead Condominium complex.

Earlier this year The Arts sub association, which Pritsker is the delegate of to the master association, became embroiled in a dispute over The Arts corner monument (pictured above). At issue was the fact that the monument was apparently not constructed within the architectural guidelines of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association (HOA). The size of the lettering and the materials used were not in keeping with the design aesthetics of the community.

As was reported on David Harvey, he apparently has had problems with The Stevenson Ranch Community Association over the past several months. The HOA minutes indicate that Mr. Harvey was called to an HOA hearing, a week before he signed the recall petition, for making threatening statements to a private HOA security officer and the contracted security company.

It is clear that both Pritsker and Harvey have had their issues with the Stevenson Ranch HOA this year. For those who attend the regular HOA meetings it appears obvious why these two individuals have spearheaded the recall of the entire HOA board. This is an action that apparently has caused confusion and anger among the master associations delegates which echoes Pritsker’s tenure on the HOA Board. It is worth noting that neither Pritsker or Harvey have attended a meaningful number of Stevenson Ranch Community Association HOA meetings over the past several years.

However, Mr. Pritsker was on the master association board up until November 2001. He was partly responsible for the hiring of the previous property manager, The Management Company, in Stevenson Ranch. He was also involved with the community fence painting project which started, no surprise, with his own neighborhood of The Arts.

The Management Company, while Pritsker was on the board, entered into a painting contract with a painter but did not use the associations painting contract as written by the HOA attorney. The painter hired under this contract did a terrible job and actually caused damage to the fences. Apparently, the painter was paid for fence lines that were not even painted! The painting contractor was fired in late 2001 and was not paid for the remaining work.

After Pritsker left the Stevenson Ranch Community Association board in 2001 The Management Company was terminated. The association’s books were left in a shambles which required the new management company to hire an extra full time person to straighten out the accounts receivable. Ultimately the association had to write off tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid receivables and appointed a committee to oversee the association’s finances.

Now, Keith Pritsker is running for a board seat on the Stevenson Ranch Community Association board. It is no wonder why some of the delegates are angered by the recall petition. There is much more to this story than meets the eye.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Exclusive: Newhall Land to Unveil New Office Buildings

Next Wednesday October 4th, at the West Ranch Town Council meeting, Newhall Land and Farming Company will unveil a proposed new office building project. The project is to be developed on an approximately 9.95 acre site located at the northwest corner of the intersection of The Old Road and Magic Mountain Parkway. The proposed project would consist of two buildings (pictured above), each with approximately 100,000 square feet and four stories high and associated parking. Access to the site will be provided from The Old Road and Magic Mountain Parkway.

The project site is currently graded and vacant. The proposed project represents a modification to an already approved project for this property. Specifically, the County of Los Angeles has already approved the development of up to 200,000 square feet of office and hotel. The hotel is not proposed to be built at this time.

West Ranch Town Council October Agenda

The West Ranch Town Council will holds it's regularly monthly meeting on Wednesday October 4, 2006 at the Southern Oaks Community Center. The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM and will feature guest speaker Carl Boyer. Mr. Boyer will give a brief overview of his book on the formation of the City of Santa Clarita followed by question and answers.

West Ranch Town Council Agenda Wednesday October 4th

A. Call to Order/Roll Call

B. Approval of August Minutes

C. Treasurer Report and Banking Update

D. County Updates
1. Doug Newell Parks and Rec
2. Sheriff's Liaison
3. CHP Liaison
4. Bob Haueter LA County- Good Guys Update, La Quinta Update
5. Lennar/Newhall Land- Update

E. Carl Boyer/ City of Santa Clarita Book

F. 1.Discuss Castaic Vision Committee position
2. Discuss potential appointment to vacant council seat
3. November -Attorney Scott Campell on the Brown Act, December Larry
Mankin/Chris Fall SCV Chamber
4. Update to organize a Town Hall meeting with Castaic TC, Aqua Dulce TC, and
Supervisor Antonovich. Date, time, location TBD

G. Committee Reports

1. Election 2008
2. Security/Public Safety
3. Governmental Relations
a. Homeless Shelter Task Force
b. Westridge HOA and TPC issues Update
4. Westridge and Southern Oaks Liaisons
5. Sunset Point Liaison

H. Old Business

I. Public Comment

J. Adjournment

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update: West Ranch Power Outage

The outage in Stevenson Ranch, as reported here, was caused by an underground equipment failure last Saturday evening. Southern California Edison responded by switching circuits and getting customers power restored.

The extend of equipment damage is currently being reviewed. Edison may have to have a planned outage to repair some of the underground equipment within the next few weeks. More information will be posted when it becomes available.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Apostles of the Blogosphere

In today’s Financial Times there is a terrific article in the commentary and analysis section entitled “Apostles of the Blogosphere” by Gideon Rachman. If you click on the headline above it will link you to the article on the Financial Times web site.

It is an interesting article that comments on how “bloggers are…….holding the Goliaths of the Media and the political world to account", which was right on the mark. The article discusses how some world political figures are now using blogs including Sen. Hillary Clinton, Tory Party Leader David Miliband and President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran.

Some of these political bloggers have been successful and others have not. A great example of what not to say on a blog was a posting by the Prime Minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsary, who “confessed to lying constantly to get elected; a revelation that prompted riots in Budapest.”

Imagine that, a Politian lying to get elected! Check it out; the article is a great read.

Lennar quarterly profit, outlook sharply lowered

Reuters is reporting, on Yahoo Finance, that due to a steeper-then-expected drop in the U.S. housing market Lennar Corp.'s quarterly profit was pushed down 39 percent and prompted the home builder on Tuesday to slash its fourth-quarter forecast. Responding to a deteriorating market, some large U.S. builders have pulled back on the number of homes they build to protect their gross margins. But Lennar has pursued a different course -- trading margin for volume.

The larger publicly traded builders, which comprise about 23 percent to 25 percent of the new home market, are suffering along with the rest of the sector. According to the U.S.Commerce Department, home starts fell 19.8 percent in August compared with a year earlier to their lowest level in more than three years.

Click on the headline above for the complete story at Yahoo Finance.

Update: West Ranch Council Meeting

The West Ranch Town Council will have their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday October 4th at 6:30 PM. The council meets at the Southern Oaks Community Center in the heart of the Southern Oaks neighborhood off of Pico Canyon.

Carl Boyer will be the guest speaker at the October meeting. He’ll discuss his book on the formation of the City of Santa Clarita. Mr. Boyer’s presentation will be followed by a brief question and answer session.

The meeting will also have regular updates from the County, Sheriff’s department, Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Fire as well as Parks and Recreation. The full agenda for the October meeting will be posted on this blog site soon.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Yes, I’m an Awful Speller!

If you have been reading this blog for sometime you’ve no doubt noticed that there are occasionally some misspelled words. Simply put, I am an awful speller; always have been, always will be! Sadly though, that is something that some of the snarky idiots in the valley just love to jump on and pound.

I view people who want to harp on something like a misspelled word as small minded. They are missing the point of an article because of a misspelled word, a kink in the armor to attack. These are the folks that don’t have much in the way of intellectual depth. They have to go after you on something as simple as a misspelled word or show off their academic prowess at cutting and pasting a definition.

Better yet, if they read what you wrote they’ll respond to it by bringing up something that isn’t even in the article. Their not interested in acknowledging that they agree with you, they’ll dredge up something that you wrote in another piece and keep twisting on it. That is the sign of someone that can’t move on. They can’t just agree to disagree.

Sure I use spell check all the time, but even then a word or two slips through. String me up at the nearest tree! By the way, the Blogger spell check is just terrible. Even I can tell that it is bad!!!

But guess what? I have always acknowledged that I’m a terrible speller. So what! If you continue to read this blog be rest assured that, from time to time, there will be misspelled words. Get over it!

Dave Bossert

Power Outage in West Ranch Saturday

There was a major electrical black out on Saturday evening which affected a large portion of West Ranch. All of Southern Oaks, The Stevenson Ranch Market Place and a large swath of Stevenson Ranch were without power for hours.

Apparently a transformer blew out in one of the underground vaults in the community. Residents were using flashlights to get around their homes and made the best of the outage. Others took advantage of the situation by un-corking a bottle of wine and having a romantic evening by candlelight.

Traffic lights were out at major intersections including Pico Canyon and The Old Road, Constitution and Pico Canyon, Stevenson Ranch Parkway at Pico and at Poe Parkway. Some of the signal lights were still out on Sunday morning but were back to normal by Sunday afternoon.

Naked Woman in JK Park

Last Thursday, September 21st, a homeless woman apparently disrobed in order to change clothes. The nude woman was spotted in the Jake K. park by yard duty personnel from the nearby Pico Canyon Elementary School.

Although it was in the morning prior to school beginning, there were children being dropped of at the elementary school early. Typically the children arriving early would head out to the playground for fun and games before school started. However, because of the naked homeless woman, the school personnel had all the children go into the multi-purpose room instead.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Total Jackasses: The Signal Blows it Once Again!

I was originally going to title this commentary “The Signal: Jackass 3” but I didn’t want to disparage the Paramount Pictures movie franchise that was debuting this weekend. Non-the less, the editors and managers (if you can call them that) are complete and utter jackasses for the front-page article that was printed in the Saturday, September 23, 2006 edition of the Signal.

It was the West Ranch Beacon, this blog, which first reported on the recall of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association Board. The Signal does not even have the decentcy or the integrity to acknowledge sources for stories that they run. In fact, when the reporter from the Signal called to get more information (yes, the reporters call on a regular basis) about my blog posting on the HOA recall I specifically requested that the Beacon be sited as the source for the story.

I have no doubt that the reporter put the Beacon as the source into her story only to have it edited out by the dirt-bags running that inked stained wad of recycled garbage. Further, the final article appears to be so edited that it is factually incorrect for the most part and heavily biased to one side. As history has shown this is typical of that local rag, which over the years has continued to get the facts wrong, and regularly misquotes local individuals.

What is shocking is the level of wrong information and outright lies that are peppered throughout the Signal article. It refers to Lynette Finley as the property manager for the Stevenson Ranch Community Association, which is completely false. Ms. Finley is a resident and board member of the association. Euclid Property Management is the current manager of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association (HOA).

The article goes on to blame her for raised dues and fewer services, which is false. Lynette was part of a board of directors that voted collectively for any increase in dues. For the most part, the board has voted unanimously on almost all proposed dues increases. The Stevenson Ranch Community Association dues are among the lowest in the area at only $33 a month paid quarterly.

As far as services are concerned, the association seems to have increased services and benefits to the community since Mr. Pritsker’s tenue on the board. One thing for sure, the legal expenses for the association have declined since Pritsker’s involvement ended.

Mr. Pritsker is quoted as complaining about the fences in the association “rotting” when in fact the fence maintenance was started under his watch as an association board member. During which time the board, including Pritsker, and the previous managers from The Management Compamy appear to have mishandled the entire project costing the association members thousands of dollars. Mr. Pritsker needs to take as much responsibility for the failures to properly maintain the association fences as he is freely hoisting on Ms. Finley.

As for David Harvey, he apparently has had problems with The Stevenson Ranch Community Association over the past several months. The HOA minutes indicate that Mr. Harvey was called to an HOA hearing, a week before he signed the recall petition, for making threatening statements to a private HOA security officer and the contracted security company. It appears that his motivation for the recall may be different then he stated in the Signal article .

The article goes on to claim it could not reach Lynette on Friday afternoon for comment. This is an outright lie! The Signal called Ms. Finley and myself to get comments on the recall. Lynette actually called me after speaking to the Signal reporter mid-afternoon on Friday, September 22nd!

The Signal article is so incomplete it should be considered fiction, and bad fiction at that. Once again, the local paper drops the ball on getting the facts straight for a relatively simple story. The Signal is a complete disgrace as a local paper as it continues to short change our community on factual information. One has to ask, that if the Signal blatantly lied and misrepresented the facts in the article on the recall, how can you trust anything that they print?

Dave Bossert
Rooting out facts and Exposing the Frauds

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mike Cruz: A Veiw From D.C. Memorials

I recently visited our nation's capitol, with a large group of people from Santa Clarita. Prior to meeting with congressional staff, we were able to have a day to do some sight seeing. I have never been to Washington, D.C., and was impressed, when I saw with my own eyes the various memorials, the Capitol and the Supreme Court. I didn't get a chance to walk by the White House- maybe next time.

During our tour, we walked over to several of the War memorials. After reading some of the quotes at the World War II memorial, I observed a veteran in a wheelchair, surrounded by loved ones. At this time, I began to wonder what he was thinking, which then got me thinking about several veterans in my family.

My grandfather Samuel Mendoza (who lived in the Santa Clarita Valley, during the 1940s and 1950s) served in World War II. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was only three years old. I asked my Mother, if he ever spoke about the war. She replied that she could not recall a specific conversation with him.

My wife's grandfather Jack Stephenson also served in World War II and he stormed the beaches on D-day. During the several years that I knew him he never spoke about his experiences in the war, instead he attempted to teach me without success, how to eat spaghetti and meatballs, in which you wrap the pasta around the meatball, he learned this well while he was stationed in Italy.

My Uncle Mike Upton served in the Vietnam War, During my entire life, he has never spoken about the war. However, if you look in the den of his house, you will see that he pays homage to those he served with.

What am I getting at? I don't want to say that I found respect for veterans, because I already have the highest admiration for those who served and to Quote President Lincoln for those who "gave the last full measure of devotion." I experienced a deeper feeling for all those who have served in our military. I cannot begin to understand the experiences they must have lived through or the horrors of war that they witnessed. I can only thank them for answering our nation's call.

I was also deeply moved by the following quotes, which were inscribed in the World War II memorial:

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."

President Harry S. Truman

"They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation."

Admiral Chester A. Nimitz.

It doesn't seem possible, but come March 2007, the military will have been in Iraq for four years. In addition to The Signal, I read another newspaper, which publishes a list of soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq. After reading their names and their obituaries, I say a special prayer for them and their loved ones.

Based upon my experience in Washington, D.C., I can honestly say that Memorial Day and Veterans Day will take on a new meaning for me. It will no longer be about a three-day weekend or an excuse to barbeque, but instead I will reflect on our nation's military and the sacrifices they made on our behalf with a newfound feeling that words alone cannot express.

Michael Cruz
Santa Clarita

Thursday, September 21, 2006

West Ranch Council Shows Support in Castaic

There was an overflow crowd for the regular monthly Castaic Town Council meeting in Castaic last night. The hot agenda items were a presentation by the Hart School District regarding the proposed Castaic High School and a presentation by developer Sun Cal on the North Lake housing development which would include the new high school.

In attendance to show their support were members of the West Ranch Town Council including Vice President Ron Mechsner, Treasurer James Zimmerman, liaison to the Castaic Vision Committee Randall Winter, and newly installed Council President David Bossert. The West Ranch Council voiced its support for not only the proposed new high school but also for the Castaic Town Council and vowed to lend their help in anyway possible.

At the conclusion of the Hart School District presentation various Castaic Council members asked some pointed questions regarding the recent delays in moving the new high school project along. Clearly a number of the council members were annoyed and frustrated with the delays. There was some finger pointing but all agreed on the urgency of getting the project back on track.

Several members of the school district and the developer emphasized looking towards the future and driving toward the goal of getting the new high school opened by August of 2010. Sun Cal, the developer, was committed to doing whatever was needed to get a construction ready pad ready to turn over to the school district by March of 2008. The proposed Castaic High School will cost approximately $130 million to construct.

Update: Magic Mountain Parkway / I-5 Interchange Improvements

The construction for the Magic Mountain Parkway/I-5 interchange improvements is underway! The general contractor, Security Paving Construction, is currently constructing a rectangular shaped storm drain box, which is located west of The Old Road. The completion of the entire storm drain box and the outlet structure should take about 12 months.

The improvements involve various construction activities in the City, Los Angeles County, and Caltrans' jurisdictions. Soon, we will be constructing retaining walls along the southbound I-5 on and off ramp at Magic Mountain Parkway, to be followed by widening of portions of the ramps. The work should take about 12 months to complete. In addition, we will be constructing retaining walls at the corner property of the northbound I-5 off ramp to Magic Mountain Parkway, which will take place in the summer of 2007.

There are a total of 11 phases for these improvements. Currently, we are on Phase 2 of the construction and this phase alone will take approximately 12 to 15 months to complete. During this phase, existing ramps, at least one lane, and local roadways (Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road) will be open for vehicular traffic.

Please check the City of Santa Clarita's website at or the project hotline (661) 290-2297, for any extended major lane closures, detours, or news associated with this project.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WM/Blue Barrel Temporarily Suspend Food Waste Recycling Program

Santa Clarita, September 20, 2006 - Waste Management/Blue Barrel has temporarily suspended the new food waste recycling program in the City of Santa Clarita program because of permit issues.

The County of Los Angeles has informed our local processor that they can no longer accept greenwaste that has been co-mingled with food waste. The company had been taking the material and composting it and processing it into soil and mulch. Residents are encouraged to continue to recycle green waste.

Recycling has always been a major priority for Waste Management. Not only does recycling help save valuable landfill space, it also helps protect the health of the environment and surrounding community. Waste Management and the City of Santa Clarita are continuously working together to increase the recycling efforts in the community. We strongly encourage residents to participate of all our or recycling programs.

Residents can continue to contribute to the recycling circle by placing loose yard waste materials in the charcoal gray 96-gallon greenwaste container alongside their trash and recycling carts, which will be picked up on the regularly scheduled service day.

Each Santa Clarita household is provided with one gray cart with a green lid for proper disposal of recyclable materials. We ask residents to participate each in recycling by placing glass, aluminum, and plastics in the container provided and place it at the curb on the regularly scheduled service day. If residents have more recycling than will fit in your cart, it's okay to place an extra container of your own or extra bundles of cardboard and newspaper along-side your carts. "Recycle" stickers to place on your own container are available for free by calling our Customer Service center at (661) 259-2398 to request them. Cardboard and newspaper must be cut and bundled no larger than 4'x4' in diameter and placed next to your bins.

Reminder: Meeting Regarding New High School Tonight

The Hart School District Board will be meeting regarding the proposed new High School in the Northlake area of Castaic. The meeting tonight, Wednesday September 20th, will feature Paul Strickland the President of the Hart School District Board giving an overview of the proposed plan. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the Castaic School Board offices, 28131 Livingston Ave, Castaic.

Poll Shows Growing Support For Nuclear Energy Use

(NewsUSA) - Summer days bring high temperatures and expensive electricity bills, and often the electricity grid is pushed to the point of rolling blackouts. Winter's cooler temperatures can put stress on the system as well.

It's apparent that the demand for more electricity is growing. Part of the solution for meeting that demand is nuclear energy.

A new public opinion poll conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates on behalf of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition shows strong national support for nuclear energy. However, the survey reveals that many Americans don't know enough about the country's future energy needs or the benefits of nuclear energy.

"There is a need for education to inform people that nuclear energy enhances security and, as the only major electricity source that does not emit greenhouse gases, protects the environment," said Patrick Moore, CASEnergy Coalition co-chair and co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace.

Americans see a need for electricity production solutions that focus on affordability, energy independence and environmental stewardship, the survey found. According to the poll, 76 percent of Americans do not believe enough is being done to increase affordable electricity supplies for the future. In addition, 69 percent do not believe enough is being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution associated with electricity production.

Nuclear energy's attributes - protecting the environment and enhancing America's energy security - address people's concerns about electricity production in the future. Support for nuclear energy grew 40 percent after people learned that nuclear plants emit zero greenhouse gases or controlled air pollutants.

"I am convinced that as people learn more about nuclear energy, they will come to share my certainty that increasing America's supply of nuclear energy makes sense from an environmental and an economic standpoint," said Christine Todd Whitman, CASEnergy Coalition co-chair and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New High School for Castaic

The Hart School District is planning on adding a new High School to the Castaic area by 2010. On Wednesday night September 20th, Paul Strickland the President of the Hart School District Board will be giving an overview of the proposed plan at the Castaic School Board offices, 28131 Livingston Ave, Castaic.

The plan has finally gained the support of all parties including the developer in the area SunCal, the Castaic Town Council, the School Boards and The West Ranch Town Council. The proposed new High School will alleviate the potential future overcrowding of the West Ranch High School on Valencia Blvd. in Westridge.

Currently, high school students from the Castaic area are attending the West Ranch High School. With current growth trends, there is a potential of 800 more students flowing into the West Ranch High School in the coming years if plans for the additional High School in Castaic were nixed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

HOA Combines Recall and Annual Meeting

The Stevenson Ranch Community Association has combined the recently petitioned recall of the board and the annual meeting. The recall of the board is now scheduled to be addressed at the beginning of the annual meeting and the outcome of the recall will dictate the remainder of the meeting.

The annual meeting was to originally be held in October but was moved to November because of procedural issues. At the October meeting there was to be an election to fill three board seats that were being vacated by the developer. That changed when a recall petition was filed by Keith Pritsker and David Harvey, two of the master association delegates.

The bylaws allow for a recall of the entire board if 5% of the homeowners petition for it. Apparently, Pritsker and Harvey represent enough homeowners in The Arts and Diamondhead neighborhoods to make the 5% requirement. Some delegates are questioning the validity of the petition and whether or not Mr. Pritisker was an actual delegate or an alternate at the time the petition was submitted.

The general sense around the community is that a move is a foot to grab control of the Stevenson Community Association. Some current delegates are questioning the motivation of Pritsker since he is only a property owner and no longer a resident of Stevenson Ranch.

Many may recall that Pritsker was a member of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association some years ago and was one of the board members responsible for bringing in The Management Company to manage the master association. That was apparently a very dark period for the HOA in which there were accusations of mismanagement and incompetence. It took the current board and new management company a number of years to clean up records, accounts and various issues in the wake of that period.

This will no doubt be a developing story over the next few months. The process and outcome is being watched widely by many both inside and outside the Stevenson Ranch community.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pulskamp to Speak About Canyon Country

On Wednesday September 20, 2006, City Manager Ken Pulskamp will be attending the Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting to discuss issues and ideas related to Canyon Country. At the meeting, Mr. Pulskamp will be speaking about current and planned projects for the Canyon Country area. This is a free event and the public is invited to attend.

The meeting will take place at 7:00 pm at the Sports Complex Center located at 20850 Center Pointe Parkway in the George Caravalho Banquet room.

For further information, please contact Al Ferdman at 661.713.9344 or via e-mail at

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yes, Government Needs to be More Like Business

Well here we go again! In the past, I have written several pieces where I proposed the thesis that any annexation had to be a “negotiation”. Several people have hammered me on that stance by espousing liberal and communist doctrine on how everything has to be equal, that if you get something than I have to get it as well, etc.

The other day there was a small piece in the news about the oil drilling leases off the Gulf Coast. Maybe you saw it in which it was widely reported that the leases did not have any royalty increase pegged to the price of crude. The leases called for a flat royalty fee to the US Government per barrel of oil pumped. As the price per barrel climbed over the past year or so there was no additional revenue income to our government.

What that means is that we, the US taxpayer/citizen have lost out on BILLIONS of dollars in potential royalty payments. We lost out because a government bureaucrat didn’t have the skill set to “negotiate” a fair lease agreement. Wouldn’t it have been great if the Federal Government was able get a qualified and skilled negotiator to handle these lease agreements? Maybe the feds should ask Donald Trump next time around!

Instead, the oil companies are reaping billions in profits. I don’t hold any grudge against these oil companies because they probably sent in their best and most skilled executives to negotiate on behalf of the oil companies and its owners, the shareholders. The companies got the best value legally for the shareholders; they did their job.

It is examples like this that showcases why governments should be run more like a business; albeit a not for profit business. This is why residents in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clarita should be asking a lot of questions and comparing services. It is also legitimate to look at the tax revenue being generated, like that along The Old Road commercial corridor, as bargaining chip as well.

The residents in Castaic and West Ranch need to continue to ask tough questions in the continued investigation into the self-determination options of annexation, incorporation or remaining in the county. Failing to do so will result in the possible loss of services and amenities that otherwise could have been “negotiated”.

Dave Bossert

Jack is Back: Who are the real Hypocrites ?

After a couple week break to welcome his new daughter into the world, Jack Murphy is back with both barrels blazing. As I was reading Jack's latest column all I could do was smile and nod in agreement. Welcome back Jack!!

These days we hear the mantra of the far left loud and clear. And they are party correct. We are running out of fossil fuels. If you have a limited, non-reclaimable natural resource you WILL at some point run out of it. We all also concur that by acquiring most of our oil from the Middle East it is in someway or another helping monetarily fuel radical terrorists and crazy madrassas all over the world.

For a while the far left blamed the SUV for this problem. Claiming all SUV owners were helping fuel the terrorists, or what they really meant to say was that the SUV's were burning more gas due to low MPG's and using more oil and thus exacerbating the effects of global warming. Ok, fair enough argument.

Alas, since we have now seen with our own eyes these very same environmentalists driving around in their SUV's, the former president of the Sierra Club cutting down old growth trees in his own back yard so he could build a pool or something, they have cooled their heels a bit. Why? Because we get it. When know what you on the far left mean now and you KNOW we know. Your mantra really is " do as I say, not as I do".

I don't begrudge ANYONE the car of their choice. It is legal to drive a Hummer so great, if you can afford it, go and drive a Hummer. If you want to spend all that money on gas for that thing have at it. If you want to drive a scooter, great. have fun, but wear a coat when it rains.

I have 2 SUV's. 95% of the time they sit on the driveway and every now and then I go out to start them just to keep them alive. I love to drive them and occasionally I do. However, I work out of the house and am lucky because I only fill up at a gas station once every few months. But, most of the time when I do head out I take my car. A 1966 Volkswagen Bug. I get 30 plus miles per gallon. My wife, well, she drives a Prius and gets about 40 miles per gallon. We are Republicans. I have a compost pile and the reason my yard looks so good is that I use my compost in it.

I see a few local environmentalists and local far left folks in their SUV's driving around town. The same people who claim the air out here is rotten and blame me, a Republican for this poor air quality. I read Gary Horton's article in the paper the other day about how he is driving around in his 1995 Corvette. This is the same guy who says Bush went into Iraq for oil, who says we need less dependence on oil and need alternatives. Driving around in a Vette getting 10 miles to the gallon. Telling us it is costing his company 3 times as much money to fuel their air polluting landscape vehicles and he is fed up. Where is Rod Serling?

In closing I would like to end with this simple answer to all of our woes. Gary, get a Honda!

Jack Murphy

Thursday, September 14, 2006

U.S. Immigration Policy Ignores Economic Reality

By Deborah Notkin (NewsUSA) - The root of the current crisis of undocumented immigration is a fundamental disconnect between today's economic and labor market realities and an outdated system of legal immigration.

Undocumented immigration is driven in large part by a U.S. labor market that is creating a higher demand for less-skilled workers than is being met by the native-born labor force or by the current legal limits on immigration.

As the past decade and a half of failed federal border-enforcement efforts make clear, immigration policies that ignore these larger economic forces merely drive migration underground rather than effectively regulate it.

In short, there is an unsustainable contradiction between U.S. economic and immigration policy, with economics winning. The problem is a broken immigration system that sends the dual messages "Keep Out" and "Help Wanted" to foreign workers.

The U.S. economy continues to create large numbers of less-skilled jobs even as native-born workers grow older and better educated and are increasingly unavailable to fill such jobs.

Yet the federal government continues to impose outdated numerical caps and other restrictions on immigration that bear little relationship to the economic realities of our time.

As a result, enforcement resources are devoted in large part to trying to stem the labor migration the U.S. economy attracts and which is an outcome of globalization. Despite the critical role immigrants play in filling less-skilled jobs, America offers few opportunities under the current immigration system for them to come to the U.S. legally.

There is a similar bottleneck for low-skilled workers who seek temporary, employment-based visas. Of the 16 different types of temporary immigrant visas available for employment and training in the United States, only two -; H2A and H2B -; are available to workers with little or no formal training. Moreover, the total number of H2B visas that can be awarded in a year is capped at 66,000.

Only a truly comprehensive approach will work, one that includes a process by which undocumented immigrants already living and working in the United States can apply for legal status, as well as the creation of a temporary worker program with stringent protections for both temporary workers themselves and native-born workers.

Lawmakers must tackle the issue of undocumented immigration with less rhetoric and more realism. Continuing the status quo by trying to enforce immigration policies that are at war with the U.S. and global economies will do nothing to address the underlying problem. Nor is it feasible to wall off the United States from the rest of the world.

The most practical option is to bring U.S. immigration policy in line with the realities of the U.S. labor market and an increasingly transnational economy.

Deborah Notkin is president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Traffic in the City Backing Up

Last weekend I had to drive over to the Best Buy off of Newhall Ranch Road and I mad the mistake of going down Valencia Blvd. Take about Traffic! I could not believe the amount of cars on the roads in the city and the backups at various intersections.

The City of Santa Clarita has a relatively sophisticated traffic light system that has a control room right in City Hall. My question; is anyone using that room to actually control the traffic flow around the City? Last Saturday it certainly did appear so!

But this wasn’t the first time that I’ve noticed this kind of traffic at various intersections. Anyone who commutes home down Valencia Blvd will no doubt agree that traffic is awful at the Valencia Blvd/McBean Parkway intersection on any weekday evening between 4:30 and 7:00 PM. Why has the City not done anything about this? Why isn’t the City adjusting the traffic flow using that sophisticated traffic signal system they have?

The City should be adjusting the lights to accommodate the build up that is happening at some of these major intersections around town. From what the City officials have said in the past they can control the signal times as needed. Many of these intersections have cameras on them that feed video back to the City hall control room.

Trying to make a left turn at some of these intersections is ridiculous during certain times of the day. I have, on a number of, had to sit through two or three cycles of the traffic signal in order to get through. That, my friends, is worse than a recent visit to Tokyo or Taipei!

City officials could and should be doing a better job at keeping the traffic flowing around the city streets. They appear to have the system in place, now they just need to use it efficiently and to its fullest potential.

Easy Ways to Save Energy in the Home

(NewsUSA) - The average American family will spend more than $2,000 on home utility bills this year, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

"Energy savings is on everyone's mind," says Beau Parker, vice president of marketing at Hunter Fan Co. "With the inflation of gasoline and electricity prices, consumers are seeking energy-efficient measures to help control the rising energy costs." The Department of Energy estimates that as much as 45 percent of home energy usage is dedicated to heating and cooling.

Here are some ways to save on energy bills now:

* Use ceiling fans to supplement air conditioning and heating. Ceiling fans help lower winter heating costs when run in a clockwise, or updraft, direction. The hot air trapped at ceiling level is recirculated, allowing more even, comfortable heating while reducing winter bills by up to 10 percent.

* Clean or replace dirty furnace filters monthly. Dirty filters block airflow through heating and cooling systems, increasing costs and shortening the equipment's life span.

* Lower the thermostat on your water heater to a warm setting of 120 F. Almost 15 percent of average energy bills go toward heating water. Also, use an insulation blanket, which will hold heat inside the tank longer.

* Unplug or switch devices off when not in use, including cell phone chargers and computers. Nationally, the Alliance to Save Energy estimates that 5 percent of energy is used by such devices, costing consumers more than $8 billion annually.

To benefit from long-term efficiency, try these tips:

* Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control heating and air conditioning, allowing energy savings while sleeping or away from home. A thermostat adjusted 10 degrees for eight hours will save approximately 10 percent on utility bills. Hunter offers digital programmable thermostats that are Energy Star-compliant and pre-programmed to Energy Star standards.

* Get a professional home energy audit to thoroughly assess how much energy your home consumes and highlight problems that, when corrected, may save significant amounts of money and energy over time. Contact state or local energy offices for recommendations on qualified auditors.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fish Wrap Less Stinky

Well a funny thing has been happening lately, the local “newspaper” which I have affectionately dubbed the Fish Wrap has actually been covering the West Ranch area. It seems that months of my hammering the knuckle draggers that run that paper on this blog have finally started to payoff with a little coverage of our community.

My friend and neighbor has been handing me a few more articles than normal from The Signal regarding our community. In fact, there was a reporter and a photographer from the fish wrap at the September West Ranch Town Council meeting on Wednesday the 6th.

Instead of ripping some of us over annexation they actually printed a story on Paul Ash’s last Council meeting. There was even a photo of Paul receiving the award that was presented to him by the Town Council. What was even more amazing was that the article was reasonably factual!

As with any effort, there is still much work to be done. We will continue to shake it up a bit and keep bringing you, our loyal readers, more insights and news pertaining to our community. In the process, you’ll see greater changes happen around us which we are witnessing with the fish wraps increased coverage of the West Ranch area.

I can’t help but think that this blog, The West Ranch Beacon, is somewhat like air freshener. We have been bringing useful news and commentary to the West Ranch area and the Valley on topics of interest for some time. So much so, that the local papers are reading this blog site daily looking for possible ideas and stories. It’s been a breath of fresh air to many local residents. We are succeeding in making the local fish wrap just a little less stinky!

Dave Bossert

Delegates in Ranch Angry

A number of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association delegates are angry at the recently announced recall of the board. The Stevenson Ranch Community Association is the master homeowners association that manages a large portion of the Stevenson Ranch area.

The recall petition was filed by Keith Pritsker a property owner in The Arts neighborhood and David Harvey a resident of the Diamondhead Condominiums. Questions have been raised by community members as to whether Mr. Pritsker was The Arts delegate or the alternate delegate when the petition was filed. If he was the alternate delegate at the time then apparently the petition would be invalid.

Further questions are being raised regarding the moving of the annual meeting to November from its original October time slot and the combining of the annual meeting with the recall election. Several delegates are questioning the procedural legalities of the current schedule of meetings.

Further confusing delegates is the emergency meeting scheduled for Wednesday September 13 at the IHOP. Many residents were caught unaware of this hastily arranged master association meeting. Many are angry at the apparent waste of time and community funds that are going into what appears to be political jockeying for control of the Stevenson Ranch Community Association.

SCV Chamber to Give Campaign '06 Briefing

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will be holding a special Political Action Committee campaign briefing on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at Valencia Country Club beginning at 5:30P.M. The Master of Ceremonies will be Councilman Cameron Smyth and the special guest speaker will be Mark Watts, former California Undersecretary Business, Housing and Transportation. Mr. Watts will be providing an update on the key November 7 ballot measures.

The event will raise funds for the SCV Chamber PAC and will be used to promote pro business candidates and issues in the Santa Clarita Valley. Donation levels are at the Century ($100.), Sustaining ($500.) or Founding Member ($1000.). Once you’ve contributed toward the SCV Chamber Pac, you will be able to attend all future events in 2006-2007 sponsored by the PAC at no additional charge. The SCV Chamber PAC will be hosting at least one more event in October prior to the November 7th election. RSVP by Email to or call Hunt Braly at 661-259-6800 if you have any questions.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you on 9/11?

There are events in ones life that occur that are unforgettable. Moments in which you can remember exactly every detail as if you are watching it in your minds eye in living color. That’s exactly what the events of 9-11-2001 are to me and so many others. If you are from New York then it becomes a “degrees of separation” as to whom or how many folks you know that were directly affected by those terror attacks that day.

That day started like any other work day for me; I was up early and left the house for the office around 5:30 or so. I flipped on the radio to Star 98.7 and was listening to music until the DJ, Danny, came on and said it looked like an accident had just happened at the World Trade Centers in New York. They thought a plane had hit one of the towers. I called my wife and asked her to turn on CNN and see if there was any better information.

When I got to work I immediately turned on the television in my office and shortly after that watch in total disbelief as the second plane slammed into tower two in lower Manhattan. It was at that moment that I think everyone realized that we were under attack.

The only thing that ran through my mind was where my sister, Caroline, was because she worked at a brokerage house in the City. Did my sister take the train in through lower Manhattan that morning or did she go across the 59th Street Bridge? She use to mix up her commute route on a regular basis as it was more interesting to her. I also was flashing on some friends and relatives that, at the time, were FDNY & NYPD. Were any of our relatives or friends responding to this horrific incident?

As I stood in front of the television, I was alternating between calling my sister on her cell phone and calling my wife. I couldn’t get through to my sister. Each time I spoke to my wife there were more and more neighbors huddled around our TV at home. I found out later that some thieves stole the cable routers from the underground vaults in our neighborhood the night before. Most of the area was without TV! We were one of the few families on the street with satellite television at the time.

My office started to fill up with colleagues watching the news coverage. A Studio Security host popped his head in and said that the studio was shutting down for the day and that everyone should go home. I decided that I didn’t want to leave at least until I had gotten a hold of my sister. Eventually, Caroline got through to me and let me know that she was okay. They were evacuating her building and that she was headed up town by foot to cross over the 59th Street Bridge into Queens and then home.

Once I knew she was okay I headed back to my home in Stevenson Ranch to be with my family and to trade calls with family members all over the east coast. We had a cousin at the Pentagon, friends and family all over the City. It was a constant round of calls coming in and calls being made trying to find out information and to pass it as well.

In the end, a couple that were friends of my mother-in-law were on Flight 11 out of Boston. The weekend before they were at her house having dinner and discussing their trip to Los Angeles to visit their daughter. A photographer that my wife had worked with was on one of the other flights, as was a classmate of my brother-in-law. All in all, our family knew five people on those fateful flights that morning.

Before September 11th most people only knew the World Trade centers as being some of the tallest buildings in the world. Some even thought they were the tallest buildings still but knew little else about these structures.

The World Trade Center was conceived in the early 1960s by the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Development Association to revitalize the seedy radio row dominated by electronic stores. Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller, founder of the development association, and his brother, then New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, pushed hard for the project, insisting it would benefit the entire city.

In order to create the 16-acre World Trade Center site, five streets were closed off and 164 buildings were demolished. Construction required the excavation of more than 1.2 million cubic yards of earth, which was used to create 23.5 acres of land along the Hudson River, now part of Battery Park City in lower Manhattan. During the peak construction, 3,500 people worked at the site. A total of 10,000 people worked on the towers; 60 died during its construction.

I can remember my father taking me, my brother, and sisters up to the observation deck of Tower 2 on the 107th floor. It was spectacular! On a clear day, and it was really clear when we went, we were told that you could see up to 55 miles out in any direction. Most summer days you could see the twin towers sticking up on the horizon 35 miles or so away at Jones Beach on Long Island.

As often as I go back to New York over the past five years I still have not gone down to ground zero. Too me it’s like not wanting to go to a funeral; I’d much rather have the memories of an old friend when they were alive and well.

When I do go back to New York, like I did last month, I always go down to Jones Beach and take a walk along the boardwalk. Regardless of the time of year, and it is usually winter more often than not, it is refreshing to walk along the beach and it always brings back great memories. Out of habit, I always look off to the west towards New York City to see the two towers. These days when I close my eyes I can still see them out there on the horizon like the memory of an old friend.

Dave Bossert

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another Elementary School for West Ranch

The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning updated the West Ranch Town Council on Wednesday evening regarding proposed developments on the property south of Pico Canyon and west of The Old Road. There were 5 parcel of land in varying sizes and with different owners all with planned housing developments.

This overview highlighted the fact that there will be a need for another elementary school. Representatives of the Newhall School District including Superintendent Dr. Winger and Board members Steve Tannahill and Mike McGrath were on hand to discuss progress in planning for another school.

The School district has reached a tentative agreement with the various developers on a new ten acre school site located south east of Southern Oaks in a currently undeveloped area. The School Board is being proactive so that a new school can be in place to accommodate the potential influx of students from these proposed housing tracks.

Of course, when the school actually gets built is contingent on area real estate market conditions. The market is clearly in a cyclical downturn as evidenced by the exploding inventory in the Santa Clarita Valley as well as the recent spat of warnings from national homebuilders.

911; Is This What Happened?

With the five year anniversary of 9/11 coming up on Monday the West Ranch Beacon will run a few essays that look at those terror attacks from different view points. Today we feature a piece by J. Schipper that explores four very different theories behind the attacks on September 11th.

There have been thousands of articles written on the events surrounding 9/11, and the avalanche does not seem to be slowing down.

There are basically four main streams of thought surrounding 9/11, each with its own group of followers who are convinced they know the truth.

The first group believes the official version of 9/11 : the attack was done under the direction of Saudi mastermind Osama Bin Laden by 19 Arab hijackers who used box cutters to hijack four passenger jets and turn them into flying bombs. United Airlines flights 11 and 175 crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center while a third, American Airlines flight 77, hit the Pentagon. A fourth airplane, United Airlines Flight 93, was heading towards the White House but crashed into a Pennsylvania field after several heroic passengers said "Let's roll" and struggled with the hijackers. The twin towers burned and collapsed due to the stress of the impact and the heat generated by burning jet fuel. Warnings which might have allowed the authorities to prevent the attack were lost in the bureaucratic maze of large, overburdened intelligence agencies such as the CIA.

People in this group feel that the government does its honest best to preserve the security of the nation, but that determined and unconventional terrorists are difficult to stop even with the greatest vigilance. Intelligence agencies can be cumbersome and should be streamlined, but officials have displayed enough care and attention that no-one should be blamed for egregious negligence. This is the version of events presented by the US government and the mainstream news media such as Fox and CNN.

The second group believes most of the official version, with a few minor caveats. The main difference is that the second group supports a round of firings to deal with what they feel are incompetent government officials.

They excoriate the President for continuing to read "My Pet Goat" to school children instead of instantly responding to the tragedy, and blame the Vice President for going into hiding instead of standing in solidarity beside the president and rallying the public at the time of the attacks. They feel that intelligence agencies displayed indifferent attitudes to important information warning of an impending terrorist strike, that airport security was overly lax, and that proper diligence by the authorities would have prevented the entire scenario. They support radical improvements in the way foreign intelligence is collected and handled, and feel that with enough surveillance, America can be made safe from the threat of foreign terrorist attacks.

People in both the first and second groups are likely to see the Patriot Act and wiretapping without warrants are necessary evils in the fight against a foreign enemy. Both groups display a basic faith in the soundness of America's government and institutions. Islamic fundamentalists have a well-documented penchant for violence, and the 9/11 attacks are just another manifestation of what Samuel Huntington has called "The Clash of Civilizations". Many of these people feel that since America is innocent of any role in fomenting the attacks, it is futile to engage in dialogue with Arab malcontents; only military action can stop an enemy which hates America for its democratic values.

The third group is much more critical of the role of American foreign and domestic policy in causing terrorism. Islamic fighters in Afghanistan received American financial backing during the 1979-1988 Soviet-Afghanistan war. These mujahadeen, who fought the Soviets with training and weapons supplied by the CIA, were the forerunners of the Taliban, a group of radical Wahabi clerics who sheltered Al -Queda and Osama Bin Laden.

Followers of this school of thought point out the close links between the Bush government and the Bin Laden family (and of course, the Saudi regime generally). Immediately after 9/11, when all other planes were grounded, members of the Bin Laden family were allowed to leave America without being interrogated for information about their prodigal relative. In addition, American has a history of overthrowing democratic governments in the Middle East which oppose American policies (such as Iranian Premier Mossedeq in 1953), to install pliant dictatorships in their place. These actions create hostility which leads to terrorism, and Americans could and should have seen the attacks coming.

According to this group, the Islamic world dislikes America more for what it does than for what it is; America gives unwavering support to Israel and supports dictatorial Arab regimes as long as they service America's need for oil. American dependence on foreign oil insures further entanglement with dangerous, resentful Islamic fundamentalists. This group feels that America's corrupt foreign policy is largely responsible for the attacks, and support broad changes in American policies and disengagement from the Middle East.

Examples of this school of thought are film maker Michael Moore, whose film "Fahrenheit 9/11" exposed many examples of government malfeasance surrounding the attacks. These people are less likely to support increased security; they feel existing laws and agencies, as long as they function correctly, are more than adequate to deal with foreign threats. They heap scorn on airport security officers who search grandmothers in the name of political correctness, and are unlikely to support widespread, intrusive security. Terrorism is seen as a structural phenomenon, unlikely to disappear regardless of any military or security-related actions until the root causes are eliminated.

The fourth group consists of conspiracy theorists who forthrightly accuse the government of committing the attack, and use slogans such as "9/11 was an inside job". They believe that rogue elements in the CIA and the Pentagon orchestrated the entire event in order to provide an excuse for the pre-planned invasion of Iraq, and that Arabs, if they were involved at all, were not the masterminds.

They point to architectural and scientific evidence that the WTC was built to withstand more stress than would be generated by the impact of two airplanes, and that jet fuel does not burn at sufficiently high temperatures to melt steel. The collapse of the Twin Towers and the identical collapse of a third building nearby (the Seven World Trade Center, which was never hit by a plane) , are said to be due to a controlled demolition set up by explosives experts. They cast doubt on the idea that 19 non-military amateurs armed only with boxcutters could successfully commandeer 4 large commercial aircraft. The 8-mile long debris field left by Flight 93 points to the plane coming apart or exploding in midair (or even, more ominously, being shot done by a missile), not hitting the ground intact. A host of other irregularities in the mountain of available forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts are scrutinized as well.

These people have a decidedly unsavory opinion of America's government. They point out the long history of American military involvement in false-flag attacks planned and performed for the sole purpose of manipulating public opinion in favor of various wars, such as the attack on the battleship Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, and Operation Northwoods.

This group sees the increasing levels of security and public surveillance as not only unnecessary (given the absence of foreign enemies), but as signs of incipient police state. They hold a general distrust of the American military-industrial complex, and speak fearfully of a "New World Order", an elite cabal of globalists who have no concern for the lives of ordinary members of the public.

People in this group, regardless of the merit of their claims, receive no exposure on mainstream media because their statements are so incendiary that the ramifications would destroy public faith in government. However, this lobby is a growth industry on the Internet; a search for "9/11 Conspiracy" yields 10,200,000 results.

Of course, there is considerable cross-pollination between the four groups. It is entirely possible to believe, for instance, that American security agencies functioned properly on 9/11 (the first group) while also believing that the nation is too dependent on foreign oil (the third group). However, these broad categories generally describe the different opinions about what happened on 9/11, and often people hold collections of views as a "package deal". Someone who supports the government's domestic policy is also likely to agree with foreign policy, while skeptics are often generally distrustful of authority.

So there you have it : one event, and four radically different interpretations and worldviews. When it comes to 9/11, everyone has a pet theory. Like the Kennedy assassination, this will keep both amateur and professional historians occupied for many years to come.

By: J Schipper

Update: Good Guys Property Becomes Scary

The County is looking into whether or not the proper use permits have been issued allowing for a Halloween Store to operate in the now vacant Good Guys property. Apparently, the temporary store is being set up to sell Halloween costumes and decorations for the next two months. This was a surprise to many in the area.

The most recent information is that the abandoned Good Guys store will refurbished in the coming months to house a new Comp USA computer store. Let’s hope that is sooner rather than later!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Council Invites Submissions for Vacant Seat

The West Ranch Town Council formally outlined plans for the selection process to fill the vacant council seat left by Paul Ash’s resignation last month. The council has decided on a 45 day window for those interested in filling the seat to submit an application seeking appointment.

Applications were available at last night’s council meeting and will be available at the October 4th town council meeting as well. Gary Morgan who had placed 4th in the last election will automatically be placed up for consideration and will not be required to submit another application. All those interested must be residents of the West Ranch community which includes the neighborhoods of Sunset Point, Southern Oaks, Stevenson Ranch and Westridge.

All applications should be submitted by October 22, 2006. The application is a simple form asking for name, address, phone numbers and a brief description of community involvement. The applications will be reviewed and perspective candidates spoken with by at least two current council members.

Formal nominations will be made by council members at the Wednesday November 1st West Ranch Town Council meeting. The final voting will be done on a written ballot and tabulated by a community volunteer at that meeting.

West Ranch Town Council August Minutes

West Ranch Town Council
Minutes for the Meeting Dated: August 2, 2006

A. Call to Order / Roll Call:
a. Meeting called to order at 6:33 pm by Ron Mechsner.
b. Present: Paul Ash,, Randal Winter, James Zimmerman, Betty Griffin, Brian Toqe, Ron Mechsner
c. Absent: Dave Bossert
B. Approval of June Minutes
a. Approved by a vote of 6-0.
C. Treasurers Report
a. New balance of $2189.75.
D. Presentations to the Council
E. County Business
a. Parks and Recreation Department
i. Doug detailed Park & Rec programs for July / August
1. Student Soccer registration taking place now. Still need coaches and players.
2. Summer Concerts in the Park; sat August 12, 2006. JD Hall Band – Rhythm & Blues Classic Rock band.
3. Dog Training 8 week program on Saturday mornings. 9am to 10am from July 29 to Sept 16.
4. Girls Softball league starting in September. Recruiting for three divisions from 8yrs to 15yrs.
ii. Ron asked about the tennis court status – Doug was to
iii. Betty asked about the skateboarding areas. Doug said is has been pretty too hot to judge the attendance. Some kids have been out to the skate park, but they are hoping for more.
b. Supervisor Antonovich’s Office – Bob Hauter
i. Bob was not present.
F. Committee Reports
a. Community Liaisons:
i. Randall Winters - Southern Oaks:
1. Working on issue with gate and 24-hour guard.
ii. Brian Toqe – Westridge:
1. Westridge HOA still having elections for community delegates.
iii. Chuck O’Connell – Sunset Pointe / Enclave:
1. Parking in front of Chuy’s restaurant is still an issue.
iv. Stevenson Ranch HOA:
b. Election Discussion
i. Ron suggested thinking earlier rather than later about generating turnout. We do not have an official election committee at this time in the bylaws.
ii. What would it take to get our election included in the general election? Paul Ash indicated that we are not allowed to be included in the same general election “book”, but we are allowed to set up a separate booth at the same time and location – an independent booth. We would need at least two volunteers at each location. Paul Ash is to provide report regarding (1) existing election guidelines and (2) potential of using general election polling place. If the County would like this, then we should discuss what support may be provided.
c. Security Committee
i. We have had several incidents of car break-ins. These have all been related to visible items in the car. It would be helpful to get the word out that the usual targets are items visible from outside the car.
ii. We may want to look into updating security cameras at the fountains in Stevenson Ranch.
d. Government Relations Committee
i. Homeless shelter.
1. Total of 36 possible properties were narrowed down to 9 properties. Criteria is based on how close to residential, industrial and commercial. Also based on transportation and job accessibility.
2. Six properties are in the City. Two locations are in disputed County or City locations. One location is in the County at entrance of Hasley Canyon where temporary fire station was located during construction. Per Bob Hauter, the land where temporary fire station may be actually city land, but was only granted to the City with express condition that it would never be a land bridge for annexation.
3. Homeless shelter will be in the same location this year as last year.
ii. TPC Club
1. Paul Ash spoke with Gary Morgan today and with Glen Adamick as well. Will set up meeting for probably middle of August at the course so we will be able to discuss the site.
e. Public Safety & Security:
i. LA County Sheriff – Deputy Zarkowski, Patrick Rissler, Sgt. Wallace
1. Comp USA building update – graffiti still and issue and they are working with contacting the owner. Property management has been contacted as well.
2. Fountain graffiti by Vons
3. Racing on Pico Canyon – Highway patrol is aware of this as well.
4. Patrick Rissler – Neighborhood Watch: need to be proactive and not reactive. Contact for Officer Rissler is 661-799-5159; email is for setup of meeting by blockwatch captain.
a. Paul asked about how large the geographic areas are to be. Long streets may need to be split up – the point is that the group has home easily in sight.
5. Ron added that skateboarding is still a problem. Town Council to request information on forming an ordinance, but that is not a quick fix solution. Sgt Wallace suggested keep the ball rolling with the Justice Department.
ii. CHP
1. School started on August 16, 2006 and CHP was asked to have a good presence.
2. Ron mentioned that Mallory is a problem for speeding.
3. Chuck O’Connell said that traffic on the Old Road at Chuy’s is excessive.
4. Pico Canyon parking of big rigs – Randy said that he thought it was illegal. CHP said they can ask them to move, but it is not illegal in the location they are thinking we are discussion – near Ralphs. Randy requested that no-parking signs be installed. CHP to confirm whether the zone is in fact a no-parking zone.
G. Old Business
a. No old business to address.
H. Public Comments
a. Has DR Horton complied with suggestions for La Quinta.
b. Thanks to the Councilmembers for volunteer work at the July 4th Show.
c. Thanks to the Council on behalf of Waste Management.
d. Thanks to Waste Management for changing service back to Mondays.
e. Per Glen Adamick, Lennar is in process of fixing the sprinkler system to the tree that was identified as dying.
I. Meeting Adjourned at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

West Ranch Council to Discuss Vacant Seat

Tonight will be Paul Ash’s last meeting as a council member after more than ten years of service to the community. The West Ranch Town Council will formally thank Paul for his service during tonight’s meeting at the Southern Oaks Community Center. The general meeting begins at 6:30 PM tonight.

The remaining council members will discuss the process that will be put in place for the appointment of a community member to fill the vacancy. There are many qualified individuals who would make an excellent council member and guidelines will be outlined for those interested in submitting an application for appointment. Anyone interested in the position should plan on attending tonight’s meeting

Tennis Court update at Tonight's Council Meeting

Tonight at the regular monthly meeting of the West Ranch Town Council Bob Haueter, Senior Deputy to Supervisor Mike Antonovich, will update the community on the proposed tennis courts for the Dr. Richard Rioux Memorial Park. The County has already allocated the funds for the tennis courts and the process is underway. Bob will update the council as to timeline, placement in the park and other pertinent information regarding this new park amenity.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cats and Dogs Sleeping together?

What the heck is going on? Are cats and dogs starting to sleep together? Where has all that venom that’s been spewed about on the web and in the local fish wrap gone? Has there been some kind of shift in the local political landscape? These are just some of the many questions being asked over the last couple of weeks or so by various folks around town.

Well here is the simple answer; in July I was elected as President of the West Ranch Town Council! Since then, I will be putting my own stamp on how the Council is run and the direction that it will go. My leadership style is very different and is one that continues to evolve. My plan is to be much more open, inclusive, and consensus building. It is also my desire to see more participation from our community, more guest speakers and more dialogue.

How to achieve those goals? One of the first things that I did was to start to reach out to those that have been continuously throwing stones at us on the west side. I’ve been emailing Darryl Manzer on a somewhat regular basis. We have much more in common than we both thought and I think that we are having a good dialogue.

I also picked up the phone and called Carl Boyer and invited him to speak at the October town council meeting. Not only did he accept but he dropped by my house on Friday morning with copies of his book which I purchased for the other council members.

In August, I sent an email to Larry Mankin, the President of the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce, asking if I could meet with him. Larry and I met along with Chris Fall, the SCV Chamber Chair, and had a very open and frank discussion regarding the west side, valley business, and what the chamber does for the valley. Both Chris and Larry have agreed to speak about the Chamber at the West Ranch Council meeting in December.

There are many others that I am reaching out to in a conciliatory fashion in order to have a better relationship. This is part of a broader vision for the West Ranch communities of having a better, more positive neighborly position in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely soft! The local fish wrap will still get verbally smacked around by me whenever possible because the knuckle draggers running that worthless mass of pulp are clueless to the dynamics of the West Ranch communities.

Many more surprises to come!
-Dave Bossert

Reminder: Town Council Meeting Tomorrow

As a reminder, the West Ranch Town Council meeting will be held tomorrow Wednesday September 6th. The regular meeting begins at 6:30 PM at the Southern Oaks community center.

Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and Dr. Mark Winger will be guest speakers at the Wednesday meeting. They will be discussing future development in Pico Canyon and the addition of a new elementary school. Also, there will be a discussion of the gating of Southern Oaks and what impact that may or may not have on the planned school.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

SCV Chamber to Speak in Ranch

Larry Mankin and Chris Fall of the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce will be guest speakers at the December West Ranch Town Council meeting. Chris and Larry will be doing a presentation to the council and community on what the Chamber is and what they do for the Valley businesses.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Carl Boyer To Be Guest Speaker in Ranch

Carl Boyer, a founding father of the City of Santa Clarita, will be a guest speaker at the October West Ranch Town Council meeting. Carl will discuss his book “Santa Clarita” which documents the “formation and organization of the largest newly incorporated City in the History of Humankind” back in the late 1970’s.

Mr. Boyer will speak on the topic of forming the City of Santa Clarita, which will be followed by a question and answer session. The presentation will take place during the regular town council meeting on Wednesday October 4th, 2006.