By Andrew Tonkovich
A final, exhausted goodbye from wilting bright pink Lycoris squamigera (resurrection lily), an amaryllis sometimes called surprise lily, magic lily and, best of all, naked lady, marks the abrupt end of summer. Fond adieu to the season is bid nightly by gorgeous night-blooming cereus cactus, doing its best to attract the sphinx moth by way of bright, briefly stunning blooms. Super-hot fall temps and ominous Santa Anas (downed tree limbs, acorns and olives strewn about) further announce our impending wildfire season, and the need for prepared-ness. Residents might wisely accept the invitation to self-register or update contact information, including cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, at AlertOC.com, the county’s emergency notification system.
Aces in the hole
There are other signs of our times, but not among them (so far) are any posted or staked by volunteers supporting three candidates running for two vacant Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District Board positions. Embracing the spirit of a new era in that once-troubled agency’s history, candidates seem to be relying on a tempered strategy of engaging voters. Most residents credit the new tone to the conscientious and workman-like service of the current board, which has brought civility and good governance. Two public forums, one at this month’s ICL meeting and the other at a recent community center “lunch bunch” assembly seem to be the only and singular opportunities to hear candidates’ spiels and choose who replaces retiring John Olson (secretary) and Chay Peterson (director) who, along with continuing members, are praised for instituting administrative protocols, following meeting rules, and personally engaging projects which, were they not humble public servants, they might justifiably brag about.
Recent projects include resurfacing the community center park-ing lot and promoting that facility at the recent Brew Ha Ha festival at Oak Canyon Park. President Kevin Topp might, however, welcome your congratulations on one achievement, entirely non-governmental. Your Beat correspondent understands little of his cryptic announcement, but assumes it involves activities on the green: Hole in One – 9/6, Birch Hills Golf Course, Brea, Hole #1, Distance - 99 yards, Club - Gap Wedge, Golf Ball - Titleist DT Solo.
The madding crowd
Lacking signs of improvement are the persistent anti-social driverly misbehaviors to be observed (and avoided) on the 11-mile stretch we call Santiago Speedway, where only one “No Passing” advisory congratulates conscientious drivers driving at posted 55 mph speed limit and reminds, unpersuasively, scofflaws using the road for the express (pun intended) purpose of racing. Credible, if sincerely frightened, locals have reported, and documented a routine of alarming persistent passing on the right by motorcyclists, bumper-riding by auto and pick-up drivers, and other expressions of vehicular sadism. Another kind of brouhaha finds some resolution in Third District Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s revised requirements for large-scale special events at Oak Canyon Park, operated by James Event Productions. Coordinating with OC Public Works and OC Parks, Spitzer responded to canyon residents’ concerns after the recent traffic and safety mini-disaster resulting from a 20,000-attendee “Day ‘N’ Night” (mare) music festival with a “special events conditions” list of requirements.
Operator Garry James, rueful and eager to address access, parking and other logistical problems, had in fact already taken voluntary mitigation steps, including cleaning up the mess from one concert and preparing for the next one, scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23, by organizing bus shuttles, restricting Uber and Lyft drop-offs on Santiago Road, providing free on-site parking with ticket purchase, and negotiating with the promoter to reduce the total number of tickets sold and, presumably, attendees. Spitzer’s memo indicates that other requirements and permit submittals may be required, but mandates preparation of site and traffic control plans, temporary “No Parking” signage on Santiago Canyon Road, and highway patrol and sheriff facilitation. In fact, the upcoming “Beach Goth” show has a terrific line-up, and all parties seem to be trying their best to assure a safe, successful event. Still, activist Sherry Meddick expresses concern that Spitzer’s office acted without meaningful community input and echoes loudly (pun intended, again) many Silverado residents’ annoyance at late-night noise from the wingding. In quieter news, pre-school story-time continues at the library, Thursday mornings at 10, and the Tucker presents Bat Night, Oct. 15.
Modjeska firefighter Tom Hamilton’s life was celebrated at a recent Station 16 potluck. In his remarks at the long-time firefighter and Mo Canyon resident’s funeral, Chief Bruce Newell offered the following: “When a guy shows up and can stand the physical challenges, has grease under his fingernails, does not spend time telling you how good he is, learns everything on the first lesson --- and soon offers a better way to do much of it, and right away begins fixing broken or inoperable stuff, you pay close attention! That was Tom.” Sons Aaron, Brian and James carry on their dad’s service.