Looking ahead to 2021 with great anticipation

While much of L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s outreach was virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she attended a roundtable in October to discuss the conflict in Armenia. Barger said the health crisis has brought her a renewed sense of purpose moving forward. PHOTO Courtesy LA County

As hope springs eternal and the days begin to slowly get longer and warmer once again, we asked some of our local leaders what they’d like to see in the new year, other than, of course, change and fewer reasons to have to socially distance ourselves from our friends and family.

L.A. County perspective

In the new year, for example, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, chose to focus on the chance for healing, which is apt for 2021 in a number of ways.

“In 2021, I see great potential for healing and new opportunities,” said Barger, who recently finished her second term as chair of the Board of Supervisors — during one of the most challenging years for anyone to be in public office.

The challenges that 2020 offered, she looks at in terms of what she can learn from this scenario to apply to the new year, she added, which included a sharper focus on how L.A. County assesses its priorities.

“This year has given me a renewed sense of purpose and clearer understanding of our mission moving forward. With fresh eyes and sincere determination, I know this will be a time of regrowth.

“As I look ahead, I am cognizant that the present pandemic has redirected our efforts and given new meaning to our priorities. I will continue to focus on mental health care, children and family services, homelessness, public safety, and economic resiliency, but now through the lens of COVID-19 recovery. …

“Our shared goals to make our neighborhoods stronger, safer and healthier are still at the core of who we are, and are the reason for everything we do together.”

From our health care community 

In terms of COVID-19 recovery, no one has played a more important role in this challenging mission than Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. Henry Mayo CEO Roger Seaver shared his resolve to continue to help make the community healthier and safer, whether through finding cures or continuing an active role in recognizing all who help in the hospital’s mission. 

“Our wish for the New Year is for widespread distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, so our community can be safe and return to regular activities,” Seaver said. “Henry Mayo staff have been heroic in their ongoing response to the crisis we face and we greatly appreciate the generous support we get from the community. An appropriate resolution for 2021 is to honor and recognize every health care worker, every day.”

For Santa Clarita

For 2021, Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda begins the year with a new promotion from his previous title as mayor pro tem, having been chosen by his peers on the dais for a one-year term earlier this month. 

Miranda, who’s also an Air Force veteran, mentioned looking forward to his new opportunity for service.

“I look forward to serving the city of Santa Clarita as mayor in 2021. My new year’s resolution would be to continue to maintain the high quality of life we all enjoy in our community,” he said.

As with all of the members of Santa Clarita City Council, he also mentioned a few projects that he’s expecting to be able to enjoy with residents when they’re online next year. 

“This is thanks to a well-maintained infrastructure, engaging programs and world-class city amenities like the new Canyon Country Community Center and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station — both of which will open in 2021.

For Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste, the new year is a perfect occasion to reassess and reaffirm her health goals. 

“At the beginning of every year, I always reaffirm to do what I can to stay active. I encourage all of our residents to stay active, engaged and involved in healthy activities in Santa Clarita,” Weste said, mentioning some of the additions that 2020 has brought to Santa Clarita.

“Also, 2021 will see the reopening of the former Ice Station. As a skater, I really look forward to this new amenity when it is safe for us to enjoy,” she added. “This new facility will provide an abundance of activities for all residents.”

Councilman Cameron Smyth, who was a frequent fixture on people’s screens in 2020 as the city hosted a number of live broadcasts to update residents on the ever-changing safety protocols brought by health experts in 2020, wanted “to continue working on moving Santa Clarita forward despite the limitations placed on our community because of the pandemic,” he said. 

Councilmember Jason Gibbs, who’s new to the council dais fresh from his November election to a first term, is looking to connect more with the community in person as soon as it’s safe to do so, he said, including some classic Santa Clarita events. 

“I look forward to the return of our popular events in Santa Clarita. I enjoy seeing the community come together at the Cowboy Festival, Concerts in the Park and Light Up Main Street — just to name a few — and I hope we can all enjoy time with friends and neighbors once more.”

Like most, Councilwoman Marsha McLean is also more than ready to “say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to a much better 2021, where once again we will be able to hug each other, hug our children and hug our grandchildren.” 

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