Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Santa Clarita: The Hypocrite City

The recent news that Disney is planning to develop a new studio "campus" on a section of its 50-year-old, 890-acre Golden Oak Ranch in Santa Clarita has Santa Claritans wetting themselves. According to the Mouse House, the studio would create "about 2854 full- and part-time jobs, 1000 of them on-site" and dump $533 million dollars worth of G-rated revenue into the city.

Disney's proposed Studio at the Ranch, Santa Clarita

Here's the city's Film Office spokesperson, Jessica Freude, gushing about what a boon the Disney development will be to Santa Clarita:

Perhaps coincidentally, KFWB radio has been airing 30-second morning drivetime adverts touting Santa Clarita ("LA County's Most Business Friendly City") as the place to take your business. The website for this gung-ho boosterism is ThinkSantaClarita.com.

But hold on . . . there's something wrong with this picture. Santa Clarita wants development??

Two years ago, on November 13, 2007, the Santa Clarita City Council, under then-mayor Marsha McLean, voted unanimously to oppose the Las Lomas project. Their opposition was based, purportedly, on three factors: traffic congestion, environmental protection, and public safety. Let's see . . .


The press release announcing the council's decision noted that near the proposed site of Las Lomas, at the Interstate 5/State Route 14 interchange "only weeks ago, a big-rig accident closed the interstate and caused massive delays and fires raged in local canyons." I hate to break the news to Santa Clarita, but big-rig accidents, brush fires, and traffic jams are endemic to Southern California. The worst traffic I have to deal with on my frequent trips to San Francisco is usually around Magic Mountain . . . in Santa Clarita.

Las Lomas as proposed would house 15,000 new residents. By comparison, that's only about a quarter of the capacity of Dodger Stadium, the largest baseball stadium on the planet, which holds 56,000 fans at a full game. And it's only a small fraction of the 275,000 people in the Santa Clarita Valley area already.

If the Disney project is built, won't that involve significantly more automobile and big-rig trips in and out of Los Angeles?


According the city's opposition statement, Santa Claritans positively bleed for the loss of oak trees, the destruction of "riparian habitat" and the "wildlife corridor" that Las Lomas would represent. Yet did anyone care when Santa Clarita itself sprawled across 47.8 square miles (roughly the size of San Francisco) of the former Mexican rancho that is now a suburban wasteland? A responsible development like Las Lomas prescribes more than half its acreage as open, undeveloped space. Not so Santa Clarita.

Santa Clarita sprawl.


The public safety issue seems to about earthquakes, based on the fact that an interchange bridge collapsed in both the 1972 and 1994 earthquakes, causing "gridlock." Santa Clarita seems to be forgetting that the highways will still be there, and subject to collapse and gridlock, whether or not Las Lomas is built.

And as far as public safety goes, the 260-acre Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, in Santa Clarita, has been responsible for more deaths in the area than both the 1972 and 1994 earthquakes combined (per Wikipedia):
  • On August 30, 2008, a guest was killed by a passing Ninja train as he was trying to retrieve a hat.
  • On April 9, 2004, a woman was struck and killed by one of Scream's trains during the morning test run.
  • In June 2001, a rider on Goliath fell unconscious after the ride and later died. A brain aneurysm was determined to be the cause of death
  • In 1996, a part-time employee was killed while crossing the tracks of the Revolution roller coaster. She was struck by a train full of guests as it returned to the station.
  • In 1978, a woman was ejected from the Colossus ride, and fell to her death.
  • On February 5, 1978, a man was killed after a gondola car of the Eagles Flight (Skybucket ride) slipped from its cable and fell 50 feet to the ground. The man's wife was also seriously injured.
Perhaps Santa Clarita should be declared a public safety hazard . . . and razed.

A map of the region shows exactly why the City of Santa Clarita so vehemently opposes Las Lomas.

A map is worth a thousand words.

Santa Clarita has annexed nearly every square foot of land between Interstate 5 and State Route 14 except the proposed Las Lomas site. Do you think they would let their sophisticated liberal nemesis to the south get its paws on this parcel?

The press release is just as revealing, if you read between the lines: "Though the proposed project lies adjacent to the City of Santa Clarita in an unincorporated area of the County of Los Angeles, the project's developers are currently attempting to have the project annexed to the City of Los Angeles . . . ."

Santa Clarita wants this property, and they want it desperately. It's practically adjacent to the proposed Disney studio. You read it here first: this site will eventually become part of the undesigned and hideous sprawl that is Santa Clarita. And it will be developed. Badly.


  1. Nice Spin but Las Lomas is entirely on steep mountains requiring millions of cubic feet of dirt to be removed. Santa Clarita is not against development. Los angeles is the one that killed the Las Lomas project because it was a bad development

  2. This is one of the stupidest articles I've ever read.