So. Where were we?
Oh yes. When I left The Signal in 2007, the Santa Clarita Valley was facing some major issues.
There was the battle to stop the proposed CEMEX sand and gravel mine, which would pollute our air and send thousands of gravel trucks along our roads and freeways, destroying motorists’ windshields along the way.
I wonder what ever happened with that…
Then there was the Whittaker-Bermite property, and the perchlorate pollution plume emanating from that munitions manufacturing site in the geographic center of the city of Santa Clarita where they used to blow stuff up and just leave the toxins to filter into our groundwater. In 2007, the cleanup was getting under way, but still. Watch your thyroids!
That’s surely all settled by now, right?
Traffic was an issue. The I-5 was in need of upgrades and expansion. Growth was hotly debated, as anti-growthers sought to use water as a tool to restrict future development and seemingly every new resident wanted to be the LAST new resident.
“I got mine! Pull up the drawbridge!”
Evidence: A few months ago I was waiting for a takeout order at my favorite local eatery (duh, La Cocina at Seco and Copperhill) and I was chatting with another patron.
“I wish they’d stop building all these new homes,” she said. “I came out here because it had that small-town feeling and they’re destroying it with all this new growth.”
“When did you move out here?” I asked, half expecting her to equal or meet my residency record (1975 and counting).
“Three years ago,” the newby replied.
Three years. Ugh. I have socks that have been in Santa Clarita longer than that.
Alas, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
So I’m back, thanks to Richard Budman, who has brought The Mighty Signal back under family ownership for the first time since the Newhalls owned it in the ‘80s, and was kind enough to ask if I’d like to come back as editor.
Upon my hiring, my dad suggested a hashtag: “Make The Signal Mighty Again, #MTSMA.” It might be a little Trumpian for this audience, but I like it.
And, someone on Facebook wondered out loud, “So with Tim Whyte back, will we be seeing columns about hockey and dog walking?”
In due time, sir. In due time. My kids are going to hate this. They’re older now.
But, I’m also looking forward to writing about those long-running issues, like CEMEX, Whittaker-Bermite, traffic, water
and growth, all of which remain as important as ever to the future of our community.
It’s an exciting time here at The Mighty Signal. We’re bucking the news media trend and investing in additional staff, to better cover the news of your community. We’re emphasizing editorial excellence and old-fashioned journalistic values, like accuracy, fairness and attention to detail, in all of our media products, both online and in print.
And, starting today, we’re bringing back the Sunday Signal, with this 70,000-circulation news magazine created under the experienced leadership of Executive Editor Jason Schaff. I’m proud to be part of it.
After 11 years as a PR and media consultant, I’m excited to be back. I admit, though, I feel like my first three weeks on the job were spent explaining to staffers, “Yes, so-and-so is a former client of mine…” I worked with a lot of good people over the past 11 years.
I also spent a good bit of time explaining to young reporters that, even though I was with the paper for 18 years and then I left for 11 years, I’m not THAT old. One young staffer said she was glad to get editing tips from someone with more than 40 years of experience. I did the math. How old do these people think I am, anyway?
After spending my first month back in the newsroom, I’ve realized that I missed this. I missed the connections with the community, and I’ve missed that sense of accomplishment that comes with putting out a quality community news product. I’ve missed the debates over things like balance on the opinion pages, the correct spellings of oddball words, and the tough decisions editors have to make each day. I’ve missed the vibe and the pulse of a daily newsroom.
I’m back. And damn glad to be.
Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal. His column appears Sundays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @TimWhyte.