Open Love Letter to the Santa Clarita of the Past

Few people care what I think about Santa Clarita; some don't even know where it is when I mention it by name. But then I say "Magic Mountain" and they understand and usually follow up with "Wow, that's far!" when I'm in places like West Hollywood for auditions.

I've always talked negatively about the City of Santa Clarita, a city in which I spent a great majority of my life. My family moved from Culver City to Saugus in 1989; just a few years after the City of Santa Clarita had been officially established. It was a very different town when I was growing up; it was still a very planned community, with homes that all looked the same and came in 2 or 3 different models that had almost indiscernible differences like a staircase going to the right or going to the left.

There were many vast open areas; even right behind our cul-de-sac, there was an undeveloped pit which we called "The Sandlot" [because, that movie was really popular and beloved by most kids in the 90s]. We played there, we made games up there, and planned espionage against likely imaginary kids on the Foster's Elementary side of the road; we were on the Mountainview Elementary side. Interesting side note, when we did venture over to the Foster's side, we found a nicely built, dugout-like fort someone had made; and we found a hidden Playboy magazine there.

The years went by, friends moved away, and soon that empty lot behind our homes was filled and became one of the first million dollar tract homes I remember in the Santa Clarita Valley; the Miramonte development. It was then that the city started to change.

What was a very homey, tight-knit community, started to become very commercialized as more and more of Santa Clarita's open spaces began to be developed into tract homes or shopping centers. I think if kids played on the hills today, some do nothing, nosy somebody would call the cops and they would actually come and harass, if not ticket them for trespassing. Yeah, they might get hurt on those hills but getting hurt is apart of being a kid if I'm not mistaken; you make mistakes and you learn from them.

On the positive, as the city grew, more roads of accessibility came. We had a direct route to the 5 Freeway via Copper Hill Drive going all the way through. Then, all along Copper Hill, homes were being built and very quickly. Soon, Copper Hill was very congested and remains that way to this day, especially around the hours of school drop off and pick up.

More routes came, Golden Valley Road now shoots all the way through to the 14 Freeway. And yet, the beginning of homes are starting; the land already razed for future development. Soon, that route will slow to a crawl.

Even coming home, you must take care to avoid a fairly frequent rush of people who want to get to Trader Joe's or Best Buy, clogging up the left most lane into Newhall Ranch Road. A veritable nightmare during the holidays and returns season.

So I speak ill of this utopian "business-city" because I've held a lot of resentment towards the place I watched grow beyond its means to accommodate the growth. But I realize the problem is me; I've just been here too long, watched too much change. And I have nothing in common with a family-friendly town such as this one.