In 2018, a fairtly benign post appeared on Reddit.com asking…

What’s it like living in Santa Clarita/ Antelope Valley?

We’re thinking of moving up there and buying a home in a year or two. We currently work in Burbank. We love our commute to work as it’s only 15 mins in the morning and 30 at night. But there are no housing here that we can afford even with our combined 120K. We’ve looked at other options and everywhere we can afford is an hour drive from work. At least in the SCV the houses look like they’re in decent shape and there are new condos that start at 400K. We’re also thinking about the future as in a few years we might want to start a family so good schools are a must. We have friends who live up there and say that they love it. It’s clean, it’s nice and the schools are good. When we visit, we’re very wary of how suburban and sterile it feels.

What’s your commute like? What’s it like living up there? How’s the weather?

So, some absolute troll chimed in and started bagging on Santa Clarita:

“I’m sorry I have to speak up.

It’s great for families.

No it isn’t.

At least not once the kids get to their teen years.

It’s great for actual children but once kids get into their teens, things go to hell real quick.

There’s almost nothing for teenagers to do there unless they spend money and have a car. Public transportation exists but it sucks so you can’t really go anywhere and even if you get there you’ll get chased out because nobody wants teenagers hanging around.

The biggest problem is there’s a bunch of families with real money and they have no qualms about mixing with “the other half” and a lot of the parents work/commute and aren’t home a lot of the time. This leads to a lot of drinking, drugs, and sex because there’s a select group of teens with money, alone time, and nothing to do.

Traffic crashes are common because the teens with cars like to race. The city actually had to ban roadside memorials because they were afraid of how it looked to have a bunch of crosses on the roadside to mark where people had died.

To put this in some perspective, I graduated from one of the high schools out there and our graduation class was around 400 students. Over the course of my entire four years there we lost around 80 people. A lot of that was drugs/alcohol, suicide, and car accidents.

move out of the hustle and bustle of LA proper.

Santa Clarita is hustle and bustle. Traffic is constant and it can take 45 minutes to an hour to get where you want to go. Unless you know some of the local shortcuts, expect to spend a lot of time in the car and the city is crowded pretty much no matter where you go.stevenson ranch aerial

It’s pretty much all the hustle and bustle of LA proper with none of the perks.

It’s like living in a suburb with all the chain restaurants and stores you could want.

Yeah and that’s kinda all it has. It’s houses and chain stores. If you want anything that isn’t that, you’re out of luck. There are a handful of family owned restaurants and maybe one or two non-corporate stores but the most “local flavor” you’re going to get is The Cowboy Poetry Festival. I shit you not.

The city is incredibly white bread. It’s like someone took some small Midwestern town, killed it, skinned it, and tried to stretch the skin over a much larger city. Santa Clarita is truly the town of the newly wed and nearly dead.

Schools

They’re all pretty much the same. Valencia (and increasingly Golden Valley) are more ritzy because they have a larger crowd of well-to-do families but by and large any school out there is going to be pretty much the same. High school sports are a big deal, especially at Canyon.

Homes:

New townhomes start around $400k, and new single family homes around $600k. If you can wait a couple years, there will be A LOT of new homes coming online in SCV with Newhall Ranch & Skyline Ranch in 2020-2021.

While I have to defer on the home price, I would say buying a home in Santa Clarita is possibly the worst move you could make, financially speaking.

The infrastructure in the city is and has been overloaded for close to a decade now. There are serious questions being asked about the ability of the city water system to be able to support more people. With the amount of people that are being jammed in and the new housing that’s literally just being thrown wherever it fits, the roads (which are already a nightmare) are going to get worse and worse. Brownouts are pretty common during the summer, especially in the further out areas like Canyon Country.

It’s also worth pointing out that many of the newer homes have…questionable construction quality due to the fact they were put up in a hurry and many of the older homes were done by KB in the 80’s and 90’s using basically whatever they could find resulting in homes with non-standard windows, doors, and other fittings as well as pretty poor construction quality.

The ’94 earthquake fucked a lot of people’s foundations so anything build pre-’94 is almost guaranteed to have cracks in the foundation that have been poorly cemented over, if they’re even acknowledged. The ground beneath the entire city is also only dirt for about a foot then you hit solid bedrock so if you’re planning on doing any sort of digging, you’ll need to rent a jackhammer.

Some other fun tidbits:

Santa Clarita contracts out with a private security company, Copper Eagle, to cover portions of the city that they don’t want to pay sheriffs to patrol. Copper Eagle is the embodiment of the bad stereotypes about private security guards. When I was working as a guard (Universal Protection) the joke was that if UP ever fired you, Copper Eagle never turned anybody down. Copper Eagle lost part of their contract with the city ~2005 when a Copper Eagle guard beat a teenager into a coma on his own front lawn.

Santa Clarita has an (unofficial) policy of dumping people who are homeless out in unincorporated areas and out in Palmdale/Lancaster. Note that you rarely ever see people who are homeless in the city. That’s not an accident.

The SCV, at one point, had a gonorrhea rate that was three times the state average. To my knowledge there is no Planned Parenthood or other similar type of sexual health clinic there. It used to be illegal (though I think that law has been reversed) for anyone under 18 to purchase condoms.

Source: I grew up there.

I stumbled upon this rant and said…

Ridiculous takes made here. The city is only good for families with small children? Okay, name a place that is “good” for families with teens? I’ll wait. Teens make their own problems and find their own solutions EVERYWHERE. It’s not Santa Clarita’s job to entertain teens. As for the quake messing up foundations, I’m sure it had zero effect in the valley.

Traffic? I have spent 5 minutes just getting off a freeway off ramp at various SFV exits. Personality is lacking in the SCV? What the hell is there to do in the SFV? All the stores are chains? Tell that to Egg Plantation, and Newhall Refinery. Tell that to Mom Can Cook Thai. Tell that to Ay Caramba. The list of good non-chains goes off the page.

Santa Clarita has a concert hall for rock and pop shows at Valencia Town Center that was fought over by other cities who lost out. The Canyon Club at Valencia Town Center. Your bitterness about Santa Clarita is odd.

I suppose if you hate organized clearly thought out neighborhoods, no telephone poles on every street, and schools that put LA to SHAME, go ahead and hate on the SCV. I personally can help anyone find a great home to live in here. ANYWHERE in the SCV.

The Troll replied:

Okay, name a place that is “good” for families with teens? I’ll wait. Teens make their own problems and find their own solutions EVERYWHERE. It’s not Santa Clarita’s job to entertain teens.

“Git off ma lawn!”

We definitely found things to do as teens; drink, do drugs, and have sex. Namely because there wasn’t anything else to do then and it’s gotten no better with time.

No it isn’t the city’s job to entertain teens but having a place where teenagers can just hang out and not be bothered or chased away is a good step. Teenagers need places they’re actually welcome and not expected to spend money or else GTFO.

As for the quake messing up foundations, I’m sure it had zero effect in the valley.

Did I ever for a second even insinuate that the Valley was somehow spared the wrath of the ’94 quake?

Traffic? I have spent 5 minutes just getting off a freeway off ramp at various SFV exits.

Yet again I don’t recall making any claims about SFV traffic being any better. (So what? deal with my point or conceed it!)

Personality is lacking in the SCV? What the hell is there to do in the SFV?

What do you want to do? There’s groups/meetups for almost anything you could want plus the public transit means you can get to the rest of LA with relative ease. We have a pretty crackin’ restaurant scene out here plus places with live music, museums, a lot of open spaces, there’s even archery ranges FFS.

Compare that with SCV. What do you have? There’s a handful of cool local spots (Wanya = bae) but beyond those few it’s Chili’s and WalMart or nothing.

All the stores are chains? Tell that to Egg Plantation, and Newhall Refinery. Tell that to Mom Can Cook Thai. Tell that to Ay Caramba. The list of good non-chains goes off the page.

Ah yes, Newhall Refinery. Home of the $11 pretzel.

If you want pretentious, over-priced food then SCV should be your port of call because that’s 95% of what’s there. “Woah Wokcanos!? What’s that!?” Panda Express except less good and more expensive. You want Panda but in a nice, sit-down atmosphere? Go to the Panda Inn in Pasadena. Better food, better prices.

Look, there are some killer local joints. You ignore basically all of them in favor of these hipster bait places that serve craft beer and watered-down versions of everything else. Wanya Thai on Soledad and Sand Canyon is and has been great for the better part of three decades, Athena’s on Soledad isn’t as good as it used to be under the original owners but it’s still damn good, Tommie’s on Sierra Hwy (renamed Mighty Mouth but I refuse to accept it) is fantastic (seriously, check them out, they’ve been faltering a bit lately and they deserve every dollar they get), Carnitas Michoacan and Tacos Los Toritos both serve really good Mexican food. If you’re in the mood for that kind of rough American-Chinese food, China Express on Soledad is perfect and the family that runs it are the best. You want sandwiches? Tiny’s on Camp Plenty.

But nah we gotta be proud of $9 french toast.

Santa Clarita has a concert hall for rock and pop shows at Valencia Town Center that was fought over by other cities who lost out. The Canyon Club at Valencia Town Center.

Oh goodie. More yuppie fodder.

Now we can have crappy local 70’s and 80’s cover bands. Culture town here we come!

Your bitterness about Santa Clarita is odd.

I mean I grew up there soooo no, it really isn’t.

I suppose if you hate organized clearly thought out neighborhoods

Rly doe? Have you ever driven around Canyon Country or back in the new developments in Golden Valley? They’re thought out in the same way a piece of paper filled with one word is thought out; a lot of copy/paste.

no telephone poles on every street

Damn you are really struggling to find the good qualities here, aren’t you?

and schools that put LA to SHAME

Sure, 20 years ago I’d buy that. Now, hell no.

I personally can help anyone find a great home to live in here. ANYWHERE in the SCV.

Yeah if you’re rich, white (or don’t mind acting white forever), don’t mind 2+ hours of driving to do anything, don’t mind impending infrastructural collapse, have no interest in culture that is in the least bit foreign or scary then SCV is the home you’ve been looking for.

You try to “nuh uh” me on the culture/food front and literally came up with the most white-bread, hipster examples you could. I’m actually a little surprised you didn’t cite the new Saddle Ranch or that we have a Chipotle. I was fully expecting to at least see you name drop Le Chene.

Dead serious question though; how do you sell people on these goddamn townhouses? They’re in these claustrophobic neighborhoods that are isolated from everything, the yards are the size of my apartment (and I live in a studio), the buildings themselves are so sloppily built they’re falling apart five years after they’re built, and they advertise them as “Starting in the low $500’s!” as though it’s something to brag about that you’re literally paying half a million dollars for an up-ended 2×2 with none of the perks.

I got the last word, as I never heard back from the Troll after this reply:

Every single thing you list as a fault of SCV is true for ALL of LA. Crappy infrastructure leads the list. Groups and Meetups? Check. (http://bit.ly/2p5Na5K)

Did I ever for a second even insinuate that the Valley was somehow spared the wrath of the ’94 quake?” 

If you admit the whole southland was trashed, fine, but why single out SCV for quake damage? 

Why single out the SCV for bad traffic if you can’t suggest someplace better?

You hate rich white people for some reason, though the demographics of Santa Clarita are becoming more like the SFV every week. The examples of food places I listed are insanely highly rated on Yelp, and don’t hand me that hipster nonsense. LA is THE HOME of White Bread Hipsters.

A passing glance at www.greatschools.com  would tell anyone that SCV remains far and away better than LA DisUnified… Seriously? “Hell No” on our schools being better? You are out to lunch on that one too.. Even the schools in our poorer areas pull 8/10. LA Unified gets 2-4. That is Now, dude, not 20 years ago.

“Teenagers need places they’re actually welcome..” First off, they’re NOT welcome anywhere in the world, okay? (LOL) They just have to deal with it for 5 years, and be over it..I did it, you did it, we ALL just have to make our own fun at that age, so quit bagging on a city having standards…

LA has no “teen hangouts” nor does the SFV, unless you count the Gallerias (barf, dude).

And right there, I think that is the crux of your argument: You hate objective standards, whether they are clearly thought out streets, with planned infrastructure, or townhouses that “start in the low $500’s.. (The ONLY sub-$500k development in ALL of LA for new homes is in Northridge, where you can get a 2BR condo.. Whoopdee doo….) In the Valley, a $500k home is a 60 year-old POS fixer with a floor plan that almost always requires a tear-down. Master bedrooms leading to the garage? WTH? Standards man! They rock! Period.. End of story. 

I’ve toured dozens of SFV dumps that have nasty alleys, where trash from 1974 still sits. You will not see that in the SCV. We won’t stand for it..

And while I’m talking homes: Current median asking price for homes in the SFV: $740k. In Santa Clarita? $600k. So, if you like graffiti riddled fences for miles, leading to mini-malls with check cashing, 7-11’s and auto body shops, by all means please leave Santa Clarita and head ANYWHERE due south.

I am not surprised at your cynical takes on every bright spot I mentioned about Santa Clarita. You even played the race card: “Yeah if you’re rich, white (or don’t mind acting white forever)”

What are you even talking about? 1/3 of the population is Hispanic, and another 14% are different ethnicities on top of that. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right Jerry?)😙

You just sound like a jaded bitter person who won’t be happy wherever you live, and you’re ready to virtue-signal your way all the way to the end. “Rich and white…” Shameless.

I often think they couldn’t decide whether to call it the San Fernando Valley or Condescension Central. I see they went with San Fernando Valley…

Santa Clarita is routinely on the list of the best cities in America to live in, work in and stay healthy in.

Our paseos actually allow us to ride a bike without getting slammed into a Dunkin Donuts sign.

(Above: Our paseos cross over and under main roads.)

Our infrastructure runs circles around the aging roads and buildings in the SFV. We have this concept called signal timing. I can get a string of green lights on Valencia Blvd. from Bouquet Canyon all the way to the 5 in the afternoon, so don’t talk about how our city is crumbling. Businesses are moving their HQ’s HERE from the valley.

Our businesses are in buildings that belong near each other. It’s called Zoning. You Philistines in the Valley have the luxury of having a $1.7 Million home across the street from a Taco Bell. That’s not anything to be touting. Culture? Museums? Did you just mention museums? And culture? In the Valley? 

Just stop it. Now who is stretching for anything good to say? We’ll just have to agree to disagree, though I get to live in a city where they have heard of free parking, pothole repairs, a serious 4th of July celebration in one place, and people who will look you in the eye when you pass by.  It’s called ‘Murica. Not the People’s Republic of Van Nuys.

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I’m not proud of this argument, but I think it really speaks to a lot of stereotypes people have about both valleys. They both have their good points and it annoyed me to no end that the Troll couldn’t agree to that.

– Chris Gallatin