In 1948, George Orwell completed his last book, titled “1984.” Within the pages, he tells of life under an authoritarian state, controlled by Big Brother.
In fact, he foretold of technology, which seemed out of the question when he wrote it, giving the state an ability to see all, and know everything about you. So, in order to convince the public that Big Brother’s ruling party had their best interest at heart, they developed “Newspeak” and bombarded the country’s media with slogans stating, “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, and Ignorance is strength.” All with an intent of leading citizens to believe in “Doublethink (which) means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
As the 1950s was a time when science fiction was all the rage, “1984” got widely read. I read it as a junior high school student, and remember thinking no one could possibly be so ignorant as to accept this stuff.
Yet here we are today, and while I have watched Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland in flames, there are news agencies with their talking heads continuing to espouse the narrative, “these are peaceful protests.”
What about the elected official stating it is not violence if the demonstrators are destroying things which can be replaced, or the dumbest one of all, “Defund the police and there will be less crime”?
It appears Orwell’s crystal ball was working well when he wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past,” because today, we are witnessing individuals and organizations who try to rewrite our history to sell their flawed ideas.
Then, we watched those city officials who were looking to defund the police, do an immediate about-face, after they experienced a visit from the protesting mob. Isn’t it interesting how these same officials use government funds to hire private security, or stage the police outside their property, when they feel there may be a danger lurking, yet have law enforcement stand down and watch as small businesses, in which they have no financial or emotional interest, get looted and burned.
Fortunately for those living in Santa Clarita, our citizens have used their First Amendment rights in a sensible and peaceful way. But it just may have been the case everything stayed peaceful because our residents had no intention of setting fire to their own town’s amenities, outside agitators causing trouble were not welcomed, and our law enforcement team ensured enough deputies were on site to keep it all in check.
Most Santa Clarita residents expect our law enforcement team to keep the community safe, and I sure hope it stays that way. But there are outside influences, of which we should take note. Remember, Santa Clarita does not have its own police department. Instead, Santa Clarita contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to maintain a defined number of deputies on site, at our local Sheriff’s Station.
To hold the overall cost down, all sheriff services provided to our municipality are not located in town and are consequently shared with the rest of Los Angeles County. But most troubling, police policy is not set by the Santa Clarita City Council — it is the responsibility of the Los Angeles County elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
In today’s political climate, politicians all over the country are jumping to show how progressive (woke) they are, by defunding or moving police department resources to other area services, and our Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are no exception. You may have read about the supervisors recently voting to cut $145 million from the Sheriff’s Department budget, and this is on top of the $400 million shortfall the department is currently experiencing. As a result, Villanueva is quoted in a FOX11 article stating the department “will have to get rid of up to 345 LASD employees, including uniformed deputies.”
The activities affected “include the Special Victims Bureau, which investigates crimes involving children, rape, and human trafficking, the Safe Streets Bureau, which is responsible for gang enforcement, the Fraud and Cybercrimes Bureau, and the Major Crimes Bureau.”
How will this affect Santa Clarita? Well, the number of officers we contract and pay for should remain the same, but when it comes to services for which we draw on general Sheriff’s Department resources, response times will slow down and possibly become nonexistent.
With all the chaos going on at the national, state and county level, this may be the time for our Santa Clarita City Council to revisit the prospect of establishing a Santa Clarita Police Department, or at a minimum revisiting the current sheriff contract, in order to stabilize future law enforcement policies and services in our valley.
This is a time when we should defend, not defund, our police services. We must all work together to keep Santa Clarita safe, by reminding our City Council about their obligation to our community. We must end listening to “Newspeak,” believing in “Doublethink,” and look at policing in Santa Clarita objectively once again.
Alan Ferdman is a Santa Clarita resident and a member of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee board.