Dear friends, It has been a privilege to serve you as your Mayor of Los Angeles County during the past year.  We have been able to achieve many of our goals and continue to improve and enhance public safety, municipal services, foster care, interdepartmental communication and accountability, and to streamline county government.  We are especially proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the Santa Clarita Valley this year.

Additional deputies have been added to unincorporated patrols; a mobile command center was delivered to our Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station; a new fire station is being built in Castaic; and additional superscoopers were leased to protect us from increasing wildfire dangers.  The Board of Supervisors also listened to the concerns of the public and our first responders and approved a responsible communications system for those who will answer the call during future disasters and emergencies.

As we brace for a potentially historic El Niño, county departments have been busy preparing facilities and infrastructure to handle the oncoming storms, while maximizing the capture of beneficial rainfall.  Recognizing the particular danger of El Niño to the county’s homeless population, the Board of Supervisors has also approved emergency actions and funding to provide shelter and services.  Please visit our new website, www.lacounty.gov/elnino, for important information and tips to prepare for the coming El Niño.

We know that residents are attracted to the Santa Clarita Valley for the high quality of life found here.  This year we opened a new library in Stevenson Ranch; greatly expanded the library in Castaic; begun construction on an Olympic-sized pool in Castaic, committed to renovating the pool at Val Verde Park, dedicated $3 million toward a new senior center; and implemented safety improvements and fare reduction programs on our Metrolink line.  We have also embarked on a trails master plan in Castaic, and the New Year will bring an opportunity for residents to have a say in the historic, county-wide parks needs assessment.

Earlier this year, our office worked closely with community stakeholders to identify an alternate chloride compliance plan that would not involve deep well injection.  That plan is now available for public review through January 8th.  Public hearings will be held at 6:30 p.m. on December 10th and 16th, at the Activities Center and Stevenson Ranch Elementary School, respectively.

The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for our many blessings.  Let us not forget the brave men and woman in our Armed Forces, and their families that sacrifice so much to preserve liberty and freedom at home and around the world.  And let us pray for the family of Duane Harte – a leader in the Santa Clarita Valley community, who gave so much and was taken too soon.  His impact will be felt for some time to come and he has left us with a legacy of leadership, selfless service and character.

Christine, Michael Jr., Mary Christine and Anthony join me in wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas and Hanukkah season.