[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
70°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 22
1974 - Gov. Ronald Reagan speaks at dedication of COC's first permanent building, the William G. Bonelli Instructional Resource Center [story]
Ronald Reagan


Guest Commentary by Andrew G. Fried
| Thursday, Jun 14, 2012

Andrew G. Fried

The truce is over.

We learned of it May 31, when Cemex informed the City of Santa Clarita that the multinational mining giant would begin exploring all its options for Soledad Canyon. Those options include the long-dreaded development of a 56-million-ton megamine that will produce a steady stream of sand and gravel trucks on our roads and freeways, and so severely pollute our air as to threaten our way of life in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Friday night football? Saturday afternoon soccer games? Weekend family hikes?

Sorry. Not with the air quality we’ll have. Yes, it’s THAT bad. We may have to rethink whether this valley will even be livable enough to accommodate outdoor sports. Education insiders are already talking about the added expense of bringing activities indoors.

Is the battle lost? There’s still a possibility of an 11th hour victory, and if ever there was a time to develop a sense of urgency on the issue, this is it.

Safe Action for the Environment Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to battle the mine, has not given up. You can join our effort by visiting our website, www.safe4environment.org, and signing our petition and/or sending legislators a letter of support for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s S. 759, which would stop the mine. There is still hope.

Who’s to blame?

Certainly the issue is far too complex — and has been developing for far too long — to lay 100 percent of the blame at the feet of one individual if the mine is developed. However, there is one individual who is uniquely positioned to take action — someone who, as a result of his position in our political system, can do something to help stop this project.

He’s Howard “Buck” McKeon, our current congressman.

When things have been going well, Buck has been only too happy to take credit. In years past, when Buck introduced bills to stop Cemex, it would only later become evident that these were token efforts at best, each expiring without so much as a legislative whimper — or even a single hearing. And, we all fell into the trap of premature adulation, thanking Buck before he’d actually accomplished anything.

Last month, when he started to feel community heat over his inaction on the Cemex issue, Buck and his staff put out a slick color mailer called, “An Important Cemex Mine Update.” In it, he took credit for having “negotiated a truce between Cemex and the City to delay the mine until we can solve this issue.”

“Negotiated”? No.

“Endorsed”? Yes.

Regardless, Buck’s mailer fails to mention that, when the truce yielded a legislative solution in the form of S. 759 — authored not by the congressman but by Boxer — he wouldn’t lift a finger to help pass it. Instead, the congressman claimed it would violate Republican House rules against earmarks. Actually, Buck’s mailer doesn’t even mention S. 759.

Despite what the congressman and his aides say, S. 759 is not an earmark. It would have zero impact on the federal budget, and would merely compensate Cemex for the cancellation of its Soledad Canyon mining contracts with the Bureau of Land Management by selling off property that is already on the BLM’s “disposal list.”

Buck, as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is an influential member of Congress, and he should be capable of approaching his colleagues and saying, “I NEED this. It’s important to my district.”

Those kinds of conversations happen on a daily basis among legislators. Yet, Buck seems to believe there’s not a thing he can do to support Boxer’s bill.

Then, when the news came out that Cemex had declined to extend its truce with Santa Clarita past May 31, Buck went from seeking 100 percent of the credit for things going well to assuming zero percent of the responsibility for things going badly. The congressman was quoted recently as saying, “They can’t just pass it all off to me.”

Buck, you told Cemex and Santa Clarita to find a legislative solution. They found one. Boxer — a Democrat — sponsored S. 759 in the Senate. You chose not to support Boxer’s bill, declining to introduce a companion bill in the House, suggesting it would represent an “earmark.” That decision has left your hometown constituents wondering why you won’t devote anything other than meaningless lip service to help solve this horrific problem.  Why not sit down with the City and Cemex to find a viable alternative that will compensate Cemex for the fair market value of the mining contracts and, after 20 years, bring an end to the Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Mine?

When our children can no longer play outside due to the dust and pollution; when athletic programs are cut or dropped; when medically vulnerable senior citizens are restricted to indoor activities, all of us, parents, children and seniors alike, will be left to wonder:

Why won’t you help us, Buck?

Why?

 

Andrew G. Fried is president of Safe Action for the Environment Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group formed to fight the proposed Soledad Canyon gravel mining project.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Sadly, without our Congressman, Cemex is unavoidable. No other Congressman can do this for us. I have yet to hear anyone intimate how the Bill would be an earmark but even that excuse is irrelevant. What folks were opposed to was a President who never vetoed a budget and a Congress that shoved pet projects into unrelated Bills in the dark of night. Those are the earmarks people were rightly mad about. Helping the District avoid an ecological nightmare when a clear alternative is available is insane.

    Congressman, if you or any of your people are reading this, PLEASE find it in yourself to serve your district. Because if you won’t, someone else might come along who can take this District away from you before you are ready to give it up.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Apr 22, 2019
Currently, 32% of inmates in our custody have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The Sheriff’s Department fully supports all efforts to divert more mentally ill inmates from a custodial environment to community based mental health support programs.
Monday, Apr 15, 2019
Congress created the job of Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman to assist people with Medicare with their inquiries, complaints, grievances, appeals, and requests for information.
Thursday, Apr 4, 2019
Welcome All to the Saugus Union School District State of the District Series.
Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019
Some of my favorite memories are of exploring our City’s trails and paseos on bike or foot with my children.
Monday, Apr 1, 2019
In her April 2019 column, Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean invites the community to attend the city's 26th Cowboy Festival the weekend of April 13-14 at Hart Park and nearby venues in Old Town Newhall.
Friday, Mar 15, 2019
Medicare covers a wide variety of shots to help you stay healthy. It also covers numerous tests to help detect diseases early, when they’re in their most treatable stages.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
This week, Los Angeles County Probation Child Welfare officials launched “Fostering Home,” a creative advertising campaign urging L.A. residents to open their homes and hearts to one of the area’s thousands of children and teens in need.
Probation Child Welfare Partners to Launch Multimedia Foster Parent Recruitment Campaign
Here's a roundup of film and television productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" for the week of April 22-28, 2019:
‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Straight Up Steve Austin,’ ‘Goliath’ Now Filming in SCV
Senate Bill 53 (SB 53), a measure to ensure transparency for state agencies, has unanimously passed the Senate Floor, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Monday.
Wilk Meetings Transparency Bill Clears State Senate, Heads to Assembly
Given widespread outbreaks in the United States and internationally, and locally acquired cases, the chance of exposure to measles is increased at this time, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials said Monday.
LA County Health Officials Investigate Measles Outbreak
Currently, 32% of inmates in our custody have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The Sheriff’s Department fully supports all efforts to divert more mentally ill inmates from a custodial environment to community based mental health support programs.
Transitioning Mentally Ill from Custody to Community
At the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California, Friday, TMU freshman Arianna Ghiorso patiently remained behind the leaders for the first three laps. Then, at the bell, she made her move.
TMU Track Excels in Final Tune-Up Before GSAC Championships
In Thursday's eighth inning, with the score doing more to weary the home fans than relentless afternoon sun, Roy Verdejo provided a reprieve.
Late Rally Lifts Mustangs to Win Over Bethesda
The Master's University and Arizona Christian, both in the hunt for the Golden State Athletic Conference title, met at Herwaldt Stadium Wednesday to finish two games originally scheduled for completion in late February.
Mustang Baseball Splits with First-Place Arizona Christian
The College of the Canyons men's and women's soccer programs invite former players, coaches and supporters to attend the first COC Soccer Alumni Weekend, set for Friday and Saturday, April 26-27 at the Valencia campus.
April 26-27: COC Soccer Alumni Weekend at Valencia Campus
Looking to amp up the level of competition heading into the final stretch of the collegiate track & field season, College of the Canyons took a small contingent of athletes to compete at the recent UCLA Rafer Johnson /Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational at Drake Stadium.
Cougar Contingent Excels at UCLA Rafer Johnson Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invite
Following a coaching career of nearly 50 years within the Santa Clarita Valley, Hart High School head swimming coach Steve Neale recently announced his plans to retire after the 2019 season.
Hart High Head Swim Coach Steve Neale to Retire
Senate Bill 153, a measure designed to ensure California is well-positioned to begin the cultivation of industrial hemp, has unanimously cleared the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, representing the 21st Senate District, said Monday.
Wilk Bill to Expand Opportunities for State Hemp Industry Clears Key Committee
The Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission for the LA County Sheriff's Department will take possible action regarding secret deputy sub-groups and immigration policies at its next monthly public meeting on Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April 23: LA County Civilian Oversight Commission Meeting
The city of Santa Clarita and the American Red Cross invite residents to help someone in need by donating blood at one of two city locations — the Old Town Newhall Library and City Hall — on Friday, April 26.
April 26: City, Red Cross Team to Host Community Blood Drive
Super Jazz at the Ranch, a daylong jazz festival hosted by West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, is happening Saturday, May 18, starting at 9 a.m.
May 18: Super Jazz at The Ranch to Swing West Ranch High
The College of the Canyons Theatre Department will present its production of “Bright Star: A New Musical” at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center from April 26 through May 5.
April 26: COC Theatre to Premiere ‘Bright Star: A New Musical’
Ramon Marcelino tied for the league-lead with his fifth home run of the season, but the JetHawks fell to the Visalia Rawhide, 7-3, on Saturday night at Recreation Park.
Lancaster JetHawks Swept in Visalia
Casey Golden hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, but it was too little and much too late in the Lancaster JetHawks' 13-4 loss to the Visalia Rawhide on Friday night at Recreation Ballpark.
Golden Slam Highlights JetHawks’ Tough Friday
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, April 23, starting at 9:30 a.m.
April 23: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook has been named the 2018 Community College Public Relations Organization PROmoter of the Year in recognition of her longstanding support of community colleges and the coordinated efforts of the College of the Canyons District Communications Office.
COC Chancellor Van Hook Named CCPRO PROmoter of the Year
Night-time traffic on Golden Valley Road will see lane closures beginning Monday, as work crews begin laying pipe for the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Construction to Begin on Pipelines for New SCV Sheriff’s Station
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested seven people last week suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, station officials reported Sunday.
SCV Deputies Arrest 7 DUI Suspects
LA Crime Stoppers tips from citizens led to a probation sweep and patrol operations that resulted in several arrests in the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday night.
LA Crime Stoppers Tips from Citizens Lead to 5 Arrests in SCV
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed five additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in Riverside and San Bernardino counties during the week of April 12-18.
Officials ID 5 More Cases of Newcastle Disease in SoCal
1974 - Gov. Ronald Reagan speaks at dedication of COC's first permanent building, the William G. Bonelli Instructional Resource Center [story]
Ronald Reagan
1994 - Valencia Mercedes co-owner Eddie Murray sets MLB record for switch-hit home runs in games (11 times) [story]
Eddie Murray
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]
train tunnel
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 23, starting at 6 p.m.
April 23: Santa Clarita City Council Regular Meeting
Carlos Herrera’s ninth-inning home run brought the JetHawks within a run, but they ultimately fell, 5-4, to the Visalia Rawhide on Thursday night at Recreation Ballpark.
Herrera Homers Late but JetHawks Fall Short
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department continues to remind everyone that driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime and will bring the same result as driving under the influence of alcohol.
LASD: ‘Drive Baked, Get Booked’ on 4-20 or Any Other Day
Three men were cited for public consumption of alcohol near the Jan Heidt Metrolink station in Newhall late Friday afternoon, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials.
SCV Deputies Cite 3 for Public Drinking in Newhall
John Zeretzke, a music teacher from Ventura County who taught music lessons in schools and other organizations throughout Southern California, including Saugus Union School District schools, has been indicted on charges of committing lewd acts against five minors, none believed to be SUSD students.
Music Teacher John Zeretzke Charged with Lewd Acts Against Minors
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided to not file formal charges against the alleged parties in a criminal complaint filed by Saugus Union School District board member David Barlavi.
DA Declines to File Charges in School Board Member Threat Case
Fire Department officials handled a car fire that turned into a quarter-acre blaze on the side of Highway 14 in the southbound lanes near Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country on Friday afternoon.
Firefighters Douse Small Brush Fire off Highway 14
The Saugus Union School District board of trustees approved the reduced hours for 37 positions and the layoffs of four others on Tuesday.
SUSD Board OK’s 4 Layoffs, Cuts Hours of 37 Employees
A husband and wife who chained, tortured and starved their children for several years in their suburban Southern California home were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Friday, but not before hearing their children still pray for them.
‘House of Horrors’ Case Ends With Parents Getting 25 to Life