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1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]


Guest Commentary by Mayor Laurie Ender
| Friday, Jan 6, 2012

Over the last two dozen years, the City Council, the City staff, and our residents have created a community we can all be proud of. As Mayor for 2012, I want to continue this good work and high level of achievement. Our City will lead the way to improve our neighborhoods, build our infrastructure and assure that Santa Clarita residents and businesses love to live, work and play in California’s best city.

When I joined the City Council almost four years ago, I did so to help my community. While Santa Clarita enjoys an amazing quality of life, we are not without our issues. Our partnership with the Sheriffs department, the school districts and our many non-profit agencies will go into high gear next year to tackle teen use of drugs and alcohol, with the continuation of our HeroinKills campaign and a new city-wide drug education program.

In the area of public safety and in partnership with our Fire Department, three new fire stations will open in the City next year; one in Sand Canyon and two on Golden Valley Road, assuring that our homes and businesses are protected.

Business attraction, business retention and filming are important to our local economy and this year we will be updating our Business Plan for Progress to continue attracting high quality jobs and supporting our local businesses. We will also be hosting a local event with location managers to promote filming and to encourage these productions to hire our highly skilled local residents who are a part of this vital industry.

In Newhall we have worked hard to revitalize this important gateway into our City and that will continue with the completion of our new 30,000 square foot library in 2012. Also in Newhall, we are constructing 90 new parking spaces at the Newhall Metrolink station and a half acre passive park behind the Newhall Community Center. At Lyons and the I-5, we are constructing a beautification project, in partnership with the Supervisor Antonovich, Los Angeles County and the West Ranch Town Council that will improve this important gateway into our city and will be completed in the spring.

Our revitalized Santa Clarita Public Libraries are seeing record numbers of visitors at the three local branches and on line, and next year we are adding new technology and more public use computers to meet these high traffic needs. We are also creating a new Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library group and establishing an adult literacy program as well as an early literacy program as identified through the library strategic service plan. This is a wonderful way for you to get involved with our libraries and our community.

One of the new programs for 2012 that I am most excited about is the launch of our new Civic Leadership Program. This program will be geared to attract, train and equip emerging community leaders, assuring that local boards, agencies and our City have interested and engaged residents participating and involved in our community’s future.

In Canyon Country, we will be doing exploration for a community center on the east side of town as well as initiating a new public outreach effort so we can more effectively engage residents about their thoughts and needs on the east side.

Public art will continue to emerge with plans for new art on the South Fork Trail, and in the Saugus area in the center median.

We will continue our work to prevent large scale mining in Soledad Canyon. Aggressive clean up efforts on the Whittaker Bermite property will continue and we will, work toward future, appropriate development that meets City objectives through a public private partnership for this property.

In Valencia, we are underway with our first park and ride for the west side which will open next year adjacent to the McBean Transfer station. This new facility will provide our residents with the ability to conveniently utilize a variety of transportation options.

Our quest for the preservation of open space will continue in 2012 with new purchases focused on the Newhall Pass, areas east of Santa Clarita and in the Bouquet Canyon area. One of the most exciting open space projects next year is our new open space access plan that will provide our residents with trailhead facilities, trail extensions and public access to over 900 acres of local open space. Look for a spring launch of hikesantaclarita.com that will include a map of these areas and new trails and trail heads.

Each of these great things happens through our partnerships with all of you and through the great work of our City staff. Our staff’s continued commitment to providing superior public service will be highlighted this year in city publications and local venues.

Your interest and participation in our City is welcome and encouraged. Please feel free to email me directly at lender@santa-clarita.com, or you can email the entire City Council at citycouncil@santa-clarita.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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