October 2016

Canyon Beat: 

Naked ladies, fast cars, good government, loud music

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.

In Memoriam

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.