by City Manager Ken Striplin
Speaking with one of our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies recently, he was telling me about the hardest part of his job. It wasn’t going on parole searches, dealing with armed criminals or responding to dangerous situations. The one aspect of his job that keeps him up at night and haunts him during the day, is having to break the news to parents that one of their children has been killed in a traffic accident. Knocking on the door in the middle of the night and knowing that from the moment that mom or dad opens the door, their lives will be forever changed.
The City of Santa Clarita is a tight knit community. As your City Manager I feel a strong sense of protectiveness over our streets, our families, our children. It makes me sick to think of what these families are going through and will have to continue to cope with. You might think that these accidents are few and far between, and that it could never happen to you. The families that have lost youth probably never thought it could happen to them either.
105. That is the number of pillars that stand in the Youth Grove at Central Park. Each represents a youth who died in a traffic-related accident. That is 105 families in our community that face every day with an empty seat at the dinner table. And if you ask me, that is 105 too many.
The City has long been working to make our streets safer. We are assessing speed limits, adjusting street signs, lanes and curbs, working with the sheriff’s department to step up enforcement and reaching out to the public to make sure they know the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless driving and speeding. But all these things can only do so much. The only way to make our streets safer is for all of us to commit to safe driving every time we get behind the wheel. It only takes one reckless driver to take a life.
I urge all of you to join us at this year’s Evening of Remembrance on Wednesday, September 6 at the Youth Grove in Central Park. You will hear the stories and learn about the lives that were cut short on Santa Clarita streets. For more information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/YouthGrove.
I would also like parents to be aware of a special workshop coming up this month. In a time of social media and amplified peer pressure, teens face challenges and tough decisions on a daily basis. Make sure you know how to give your kids the tools they need to make the right choices involving drugs and alcohol. The Parent Resource Symposium will be held on Wednesday, September 13 at The Centre. Parents will learn the latest information on the health effects of drugs on the body and mind and the consequences of drug abuse and addiction. In addition, many resources will be on hand to answer questions and offer help. For more information, please visit HeroinKills.org.
Let’s do all we can to protect the youth of Santa Clarita.