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(by Mayor Cameron Smyth) The beginning of 2017 was marked by an incredible example of citizen engagement, with 51 community members throwing their hat in the ring, volunteering their experience, skills and knowledge, by applying for the vacant city council seat.  However, as I said at the January 17, 2017 council meeting, “There can only be one.”  Fortunately, there are ample opportunities for everyone in our community to get involved, make a difference and serve our City.

I would like to encourage all of those who applied for the council seat, and everyone in our City, to strongly consider taking part in one or more of the following citizen engagement opportunities:

  • City Council Meetings – Held on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month in the City Council Chambers at City Hall at 6:00 p.m.  Members of the public may address the Council on the topic of their choice under Public Participation.  Speaker cards must be completed and turned in before Public Participation begins and there is a three minute time limit per person. Speaking to the Council is a great way to make your voice heard and develop your public speaking skills! For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/CityCouncil.
     
  • Register and Vote – Do your civic duty and be part of the process.
     
  • Apply to be on a Board or Commission – The City of Santa Clarita has an Arts Commission, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission, Planning Commission, Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panel (FAAP), and Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (District) Board.  When seats are available for these boards and commissions, the City will send out a notice and post the information on its website, Santa-Clarita.com/Commissions
     
  • Volunteer Opportunities – Volunteering with the City of Santa Clarita is a highly rewarding experience.  Have fun, meet new people and learn new things - all while participating and helping your community!  For more information, please visit SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.
     
  • Santa Clarita Public Library – Both adult and teen
    volunteers ages 14 and older are needed for assistance at the Valencia, Canyon Country, and Old Town Newhall libraries. Volunteer opportunities may involve such responsibilities as clerical assistance, sorting of library materials and supporting City staff during events.  For more information, please visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.
     
  • CERT – Twenty years ago, the City of Santa Clarita partnered with the Los Angeles County Fire Department to begin offering residents Community Emergency Response Training (CERT).  This nationally certified course is designed to help families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses understand basic emergency/disaster response skills through training.  For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/CERT.  
     
  • Trail Ambassadors – The Trail Ambassador program is a free educational introduction to Santa Clarita’s open space and trails for the young and young-at-heart.  Trail Ambassadors are enthusiastic advocates of Santa Clarita’s open spaces, willing to share their open space skills and experiences with other hikers and adventurers in the City.  Ambassadors report trail conditions, contribute hike photos and much more.  To sign up as a Trail Ambassador, visit HikeSantaClarita.com.
     
  • Santa Clarita Emergency Communications Team
    (SCECT) – Comprised of licensed, volunteer and amateur radio operators that offer their time, talents and equipment by supplying emergency communications to the City of Santa Clarita and partnering agencies.  Not only are they trained and available to support the City, they also support numerous city events with communications needs such as the Santa Clarita Marathon, Amgen Tour of California, Cowboy Festival and many more!  For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/SCECT.
     
  • Social Media – The City of Santa Clarita has a robust social media presence that will give you the opportunity to ask questions and comment on topics, events and info.  For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/Social-Media.
     
  • Resident Service Center – This web portal (also accessible on mobile phones through the Santa Clarita App, available in the App Store and Google Play) allows you to submit comments, complaints and service requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The City of Santa Clarita is dedicated to providing excellent customer service to its citizens to ensure they enjoy a high quality of life.  Your service request will be designated to a City department that will follow up to ensure the request is resolved in a timely manner.  For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/RSC.
     
  • Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Volunteer on Patrol Program – Volunteers work in volunteer vehicles in a volunteer uniform assisting in the field as additional eyes and ears in the community.  For more information, email Deputy Fanny Lapkin at Flapkin@lasd.org.

Getting involved in your City will increase your personal connection to our community, allow you to make a difference, have your voice heard and could lead to a role in public service down the line.  Thank you to all our volunteers and public servants who make the City of Santa Clarita such an amazing place to live.  For more information, please visit SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

Sincerely,

Cameron Smyth

Mayor Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at csmyth@santa-clarita.com.

Message from the City Manager

It is a delicate balance. Our City and state desperately need the rain which is finally making progress toward ending the many years of drought.  But the massive storms we have gotten this winter also cause dangerous conditions for those in the areas burned by last summer’s Sand Fire.  Preparation and awareness are keys to making sure these conditions prevent or limit damage to property, injury or loss of life.

You’ve no doubt seen the videos of cars being swept down washes as the waterways swell with rain water mixed with mud and debris.  The average car can be swept off the road in just 12 inches of moving water.  When a roadway is flooded there is no way to know what is under the water as far as debris, or if the pavement has been compromised and will no longer support a vehicle. 

Attempting to drive through water may also stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart your car.  If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.

The City of Santa Clarita is proactive in maintaining City trees, property and facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, homes and businesses.  Trees and landscaping are continually inspected, trimmed or removed if deemed unsafe. Storm drains are cleaned four times a year and constantly monitored during storms to prevent drainage backup and consequent flooding.  These are just a few of the many measures the City takes to be storm-ready.

When the rain is falling, our City crews are out monitoring the “hot spots” – areas that are prone to flooding.  Debris is continuously cleared from streets during the storm.  Our City team is in constant communication with our partners from Los Angeles County Public Works, Fire and Sheriff’s departments to determine if and when evacuation orders need to be issued.

Information is paramount during emergency situations and the City of Santa Clarita activates SantaClaritaEmergency.com to keep our community informed.  This emergency blog is a one-stop spot for critical information such as road closures, shelter locations, resources, timely updates and much more.  An emergency map is also provided to make evacuation and danger areas more easily recognized.

The City also utilizes Nixle, which allows real-time emergency notifications from public safety personnel to be quickly sent to you through email or text.  Sign up by completing an online form at
Santa-Clarita.com/eAlerts or by texting “SCEMERGENCY” to the number “888777.”

The City is very proactive in preparing for rains and the floods that could accompany heavy storms.  Make sure your household is equally prepared.  Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as a flashlight, water, food, first- aid kit and a portable radio with extra batteries.  Learn how to turn off your utilities.  Make sure your family is familiar with access route(s) in and out of your immediate neighborhood.  If you see a downed power line, stay away and call 9-1-1 immediately.

More rain tips are available at our Ready for Rain website at
Santa-Clarita.com/ReadyForRain.  If you live near an area prone to flooding or near the recent burn areas – I strongly encourage you to visit this website to prepare for heavy rain.  Burn areas are the most susceptible to water, mud and debris slides due to lack of vegetation on steep slopes.  

As they say…April showers bring May flowers, so there is a good chance we will have more rain before the season ends.  Make sure you are prepared and be sure to visit Santa-Clarita.com/ReadyforRain and SantaClaritaEmergency.com for tips on what to do before, during and after a storm.

If you would like to email me directly, please do so at: 
kstriplin@santa-clarita.com.

Best regards,
Ken