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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
81°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 18
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [NTSB report]


Commentary by Andrew G. Fried
| Friday, Jan 22, 2016
Andrew G. Fried

Andrew G. Fried

You name it, and someone has tried to stick this community with it. Hog farms. Toxic waste dumps. Prisons. Landfills. Over the past half-century, this corner of northern Los Angeles County has fended off all of them.

A decade and a half ago, a group of concerned citizens formed Safe Action for the Environment Inc., a nonprofit organization promoting safe air, safe water and safe roads, with a focus on the environment and quality of life in northern Los Angeles County. For most of our existence, we’ve fought the proposed Cemex mine, the latest in a long line of proposals perpetrated by outside entities — governmental and private alike — to place undesirable projects within the greater Santa Clarita Valley.

More than 17 years later, that battle remains unresolved as we monitor the appeals process through which Cemex seeks to nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to cancel the Soledad Canyon mining contracts.

However, as 2016 begins, we find ourselves in transition. Since the 1990s, the Cemex mine has been the latest and greatest threat to the overall well-being of our region, and SAFE has fought it — and will continue to fight it — in collaboration with the city of Santa Clarita, the Sierra Club, the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Steve Knight, state Sens. Fran Pavley and Sharon Runner, state Assemblymen Scott Wilk and Tom Lackey, and various other jurisdictions and individuals.

Yet, there are other threats demanding our attention. Among them: the proposed $68-billion-and-counting high-speed rail project linking the Bay Area to Southern California.

As a member of the North Los Angeles County Communities Protection Coalition, SAFE is working with members of the Santa Clarita City Council, officials from the cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, state Sens. Pavley, Runner, Robert Hertzberg and Carol Liu, state Assembly members Wilk, Lackey and Patty Lopez, Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Sheila Kuehl, and the Acton and the Agua Dulce town councils.

Together, coalition members are urging the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors “to eliminate the devastating impacts to all communities located within the … project.”

Admittedly, the high-speed rail project has a massive scope — and is being hotly debated statewide. At this juncture, we see key areas where locally based advocacy is crucial.

If the rail line is to be imposed upon the people and environment of this region, it’s imperative that an alignment be chosen that causes the least possible disruption to the local population.

It is cause for extreme community concern when we hear of potential alignments that would bring high-speed trains near existing schools, churches and residential neighborhoods, and would disrupt wildlife corridors and disturb natural habitat, while potentially destroying private and public wells and natural aquifers.

Without question, some people with a home, property or business along any of the proposed alignments will be forced out to make way for the HSR project. Even a church in Sand Canyon will be destroyed, and the city of San Fernando will literally be cut in half by the tracks.

And what potential alignment would prove less devastating: a surface alignment potentially running parallel with State Highway 14? Or a long tunnel burrowing beneath the San Gabriel Mountains? It might boil down to a choice of the lesser of two evils, which is one of the questions the Communities Protection Coalition is evaluating.

Many agree the rail line has the makings of a historically significant government boondoggle. As one commentator put it, with the advent of “smart” highways and driverless cars appearing more and more imminent, it seems more and more like the high-speed rail line would have been a good idea — for a previous century.

Now, with autonomous vehicle technology making strides, it’s increasingly clear that, for California at least, a high-speed rail line’s best window of opportunity has passed. Soon enough, Californians who are already predisposed to use personal vehicles will be using personal vehicles they don’t even have to drive.

Simply put, when it comes to high-speed rail, if they build it, few will ride it, yet many will be impacted by it.

This, on top of the fact that California and its car-oriented culture, ingrained over many decades, is traveling on many roads and highways that are over capacity and in disrepair. Clearly, there’s something better the state could be doing with precious transportation dollars.

Looking to the future, SAFE will continue to advocate against the Cemex mine — but we are mindful of the fact that the mine (and now the high-speed rail issue) represent neither the first nor the last time an outside entity will attempt to place something undesirable in northern Los Angeles County.

The SAFE board pledges to remain vigilant, helping to ensure local residents’ voices are heard regarding mining, high-speed rail, water issues — and whatever comes next.

 

Andrew Fried is president of Safe Action for the Environment Inc. For more information, visit www.Safe4Environment.org.

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.

4 Comments

  1. Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D. says:

    Having a high speed rail system effectively connecting Southern California and Northern California will be convenient, save resources, and provide transportation options. The present plan though is a financial and logistic disaster, defying common sense as it is financially wrapped around special interest lobbyists.

    As a physician, I know the body central nervous system runs down the spine connecting through peripheral nerves organs, arms, and lower extremities, directly to the toes. It doesn’t take a by-pass to the gallbladder in it’s route to the legs, which would slow our mobility down.

    A monetarily uninfluenced high speed rail system should go directly up Interstate 5, and not by-pass to the Antelope Valley. That can be done through peripheral routes that would not interrupt our existing domain.

    Even with technology, transportation has room for improvement. Keeping the evil forces of politics entering this realm will remain a public battle. I support you in your efforts.

    Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

    • Stil says:

      Going up the I-5 route would not be a good idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it goes against good principle of routing transit and railway lines, in which you want swerve the line to connect to major job and housing centers, but at the same time keep the line straight enough so that it’s perceived by transit riders as “direct enough” given the geography. This concept is called “Be on the way” on Walker’s Human Transit blog: http://humantransit.org/2009/04/be-on-the-way.html
      Secondly, an I-5 route would bypass many important and rapidly growing population centers in the Antelope Valley and the Central Valley. It should be noted that these areas have traditionally been behind the richer coastal metropolitan areas of the state (Bay Area and LA) in terms of educational attainment, poverty levels, air quality, economic diversity, employment rate, etc. By routing the rail line through these cities, a tremendous economic opportunity is created because these cities are suddenly less than 2 hours away for the price of discounted airfare from the major metropolitan areas. High-speed rail will create jobs and economic opportunities not only through construction, but by making these areas much more accessible to the rest of the state: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/Newsroom/reports/2015/FINAL_FULL_CENTRAL_VALLEY_ECONOMIC_STUDY_REPORT_020515.pdf
      Finally, under Proposition 1A of 2008 that authorizes the use of bonds to fund the project, the rail line MUST connect to Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno in defined segments. You can read it here under Article 2 of the law’s text:
      http://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2279&context=ca_ballot_props
      Transportation projects are inherently political because they are large, long-lasting undertakings that involve a great number of stakeholders and resources. You can go on believing that transportation projects can be done without politics, but personally I think that’s a little naive.

  2. Benjamin Turon says:

    Not only will driverless cars eliminate the need for HSR, but the need for airlines, buses, walking, horses, and cycling will also be gone. Driverless cars will do everything, including taking us to infinity and beyond.

    Imagine, driverless cars traveling at speeds of 150, 200, 300, or even 500 mph not just along city streets and winding mountain roads, but literally across the Pacific, like Jesus walking on water. All in complete safety at a cost we can all afford.

    People need to face the fact that the Age of George Jetson is finally here. No other nation is investing in HSR today…

    NONE! Except for a few stupid countries like Japan, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Britain, Russia, Turkey, Morocco, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Saudia Arabia, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea…

  3. Allan Cameron says:

    A common ruse typically used to foist horrid land use proposals onto an unsuspecting public, is to provide only a terse, woefully incomplete description of the entire proposal. This “deception by omission” tactic has been steadily employed with the CEMEX mine. Just as with the Porter Ranch gas well leak, it is unfortunate that the staggering costs of cleaning and restoring a heavy industrial site are often ignored. So it has been with CEMWX. The costs for cleaning the CEMEX site after it contaminates the ground water, the costs in air quality degradation, the use of precious drinking water to wash rock, and far more, has been, and is still now being ignored, when cost/”benefits” are put forth by the tiny number of mine advocates. Fortunately, Safe Action for the Environment, Inc., along with the hundreds of other well informed CEMEX mine opponents have been steadfast for the last 17 years, and will remain so, until the CEMEX mine is no more.

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, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A Santa Clarita bank robbery suspect dubbed by the FBI as the "Faux Badge Bandit" is now also suspected of robbing banks in Northern California, according to authorities.
‘Faux Badge Bandit’ Also a Suspect in NoCal Bank Heists
A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday affirmed a federal judge’s order preliminarily barring California from enforcing a voter-approved ban on high-capacity gun magazines.
Ninth Circuit Upholds Block of California Gun Magazine Ban
The California Department of Motor Vehicles now offers customers a convenient way to complete a driver license or identification card application online before visiting a field office.
DMV Debut Online Application for Driver License, State ID Card
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [NTSB report]
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours Mixer at Valencia Acura, Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Barger Casts Lone Vote Against Proposed Stormwater Tax
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Supes Move Forward with Efforts to Improve Local Water Supply, Quality
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
County Combines New, Existing Programs to Combat Homelessness
Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner have identified the body of a man who was found in a Canyon Country field Monday night.
Man Found Dead in Canyon Country
Single Mother's Outreach is currently accepting honoree nominations and artist applications through July 30.
Single Mother’s Outreach Accepting Nominees, Artist Applications
The Stay Green Inc. team has been rewarded for its excellence with eight awards — including four prestigious first-place honors — in the 59th Annual Landscape Beautification Awards presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA).
Stay Green Earns Four First-Place Landscape Honors
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for July 18-20:
July 18-20: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
The city of Santa Clarita saw an increase in on-location filming in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), with the Film Office recording 560 film permits and 1377 film days, which generated an estimated $33.1 million in economic impact to the local community.
Santa Clarita Sees Increase in On-Location Filming for 5th Straight Year
Six Santa Clarita Artists Association members were accepted in the impressive La Galeria Gitana exhibit, "Around the World in 80 Paintings."
Aug. 11: Artists Association Presents, ‘Around the World in 80 Paintings’
LOS ANGELES – A former staffer for a member of the United States Congress was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion after demanding and accepting $5,000 to prevent the closure of a marijuana shop in the city of Compton.
Santa Clarita Man Gets 18 Months in Prison for Bribery, Attempted Extortion
1834 - Sinforosa, daughter of Narciso and Crisanta, born at Mission San Fernando; mom from Tejon, dad from Piru; believed to be last speaker of Tataviam language (died 1915) [record]
Berry Petroleum Corp., owner of the Placerita oil field west of Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita - and many other oil properties in the San Joaquin Valley - announced Monday that it has launched an initial public offering of its common stock.
Placerita Oil Field Owner Going Public Again
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient Valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Blood Pressure Medicine Valsartan Recalled for Cancer-Causing Impurity
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, July 18 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
July 18: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee, a division of the Santa Clarita City Council, will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, July 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 18: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Since April, TMU grad Zach Klindworth has worked and trained with a soccer team in Iceland, 4,000 miles from Santa Clarita, the only city he'd ever known.
TMU Soccer Alum Zach Klindworth Takes Talents to Iceland
The Lancaster JetHawks scored a run in the seventh inning to take the lead and hung on to beat Lake Elsinore, 3-2, Sunday evening at The Hangar.
JetHawks Hang on for Sunday Win Over Storm
Lake Elsinore proved too much for the JetHawks Saturday night, handing Lancaster an 11-4 loss at The Hangar.
Lancaster JetHawks Overcome by Storm Saturday
The Lancaster JetHawks opened up a four-game series with a 6-2 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm in front of 4,348 at The Hangar Friday night to kick off Star Wars Weekend.
The Force With JetHawks in Friday Win Over Storm
Saxtravaganza, Santa Clarita's all-saxophone chamber ensemble, will play a free concert at Hart Hall (inside Hart Park) on Thursday, July 19, starting at 7 p.m.
July 19: Saxtravaganza Chamber Ensemble Returns to Hart Hall
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will participate in the semi-annual Pinewood Derby at the Newhall Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Boys & Girls Club Pinewood Derby
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Ingrid Moon, a sixth-grade science facilitator at tuition-free public charter school iLEAD Encino, and Kimberli Lengning, a facilitator at iLEAD Lancaster, have been named Distinguished STEM Educators by Columbia University.
iLEAD Science Facilitators Named Distinguished STEM Educators
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man with an outstanding warrant who was allegedly also in possession of drugs in Stevenson Ranch early Saturday morning.
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Completes Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out