Big night for GOP

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

As much as the mainstream media will try to ignore the election results from Tuesday, it is undeniable that Republicans scored big, and in some cases historic, victories across the country. In Kentucky, Matt Bevin’s 53 percent to 44 percent victory marks only the second time in 48 years that Republicans have won the Kentucky governor’s race. If that wasn’t historic enough, Bevin’s lieutenant governor running mate, Jenean Hampton, is now the first African-American ever elected to statewide office in Kentucky. Both Bevin and Hampton have never held elective office. Also riding the conservative wave, Republicans picked up four of the six additional statewide offices despite only holding one office going into Election Day. A key result included defeating the state auditor, who was thought …

Memo to GOP: Time to make some cuts

Cameron Smyth Commentary

With two debates (really four if you count the JV schedule) down, one thing is perfectly clear—the GOP needs to start making cuts and vastly reduce the number of candidates on the debate stage. It’s time to provide the leading candidates the necessary air time beyond a 30-second sound bite to actually explain their position on the numerous issues our nation faces. I actually forgot poor Mike Huckabee was on stage in the last debate, as he wasn’t even brought into it until nearly 30 minutes had passed. It’s time to move away from the 11-candidate scrum, and here is my take, based on the most recent debate, of who should make the cut. The Outsiders Donald Trump As much of a “loose cannon” as …

Jerry, veto these laws

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

With the Legislature adjourned for the year, we can now focus our attention to Gov. Jerry Brown and the roughly 1,000 bills sitting on his desk. Like any year, many good bills should be signed, as was Santa Clarita Valley Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s Assembly Bill 951, requiring the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District to hold its board meetings within the boundaries of the district when policy decisions are being made relating to Total Maximum Daily Loads. However, many more deserve a veto. Thanks to my friends in the Legislature and at the Chamber of Commerce, here are my “Top 10” — or should I say “Bottom 10” — bills needing to be vetoed: AB 1288 – Expanding the California Air Resources Board Assembly Bill 1288 …

Another ‘done deal’ bites the dust

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

Cemex. When will they ever learn? With the Bureau of Land Management’s action to cancel the contract of Cemex — effectively bringing to an end our decade-long fight against one of the largest proposed sand and gravel mines in the nation — it brings to mind a similar fight from 20 years ago: Elsmere Canyon. Much like Cemex, Santa Clarita was told the placement of a huge dump right along our border was a “done deal” and we should just accept it. It was during this fight that I, as a young political staffer, saw first-hand what my father had meant when he talked of the spirit of our community and how Santa Clarita was different. Many will remember the overflow crowd at Valencia High …

The summer Hillary would like to forget

Cameron Smyth Commentary

While much of the political world is focused on the Trump phenomenon and the outcome of the most recent Republican debate, Hillary Clinton is having a summer even the most ardent Clinton opponents could have never imagined. A campaign, which as recently as May was expected to be a smooth coronation to the nomination while Republicans battled it out to the convention, has quickly become a question as to whether Hillary will even last through 2015. I tend to fall on the side of those who feel the election is still a long way out and there is plenty of time for another Clinton recovery, but as each day passes and a seemingly new scandal emerges each week, the potential for another mainstream Democrat to …

Will Hillary Hold On?

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

While Republicans gear up for a long, intense primary season filled with numerous debates and excellent candidates, Democrats — who thought they could just sit back and enjoy the show while Hillary Clinton locks up her party’s nomination — now find themselves wondering if she can even survive and make it to the General Election. The Clinton campaign will tell you this is a natural summer slump and ultimately once voters start paying attention, she will rebound. That may very well be the case; however, recent trends in multiple polls seem to indicate the problems voters have with Hillary are more than any Clinton PR person or political consultant wants to admit (at least publicly). The latest Quinnipiac University poll in several swing states released …

The Brave Men Who Signed the Declaration

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

The 4th of July has forever been my favorite holiday in Santa Clarita. Old traditions like the parade and pancake breakfast now merge perfectly with newer ones like the 5/10k run and the numerous firework shows. Like many of us who grew up in Santa Clarita, I am now able to enjoy the day through the eyes of my own children and nothing beats it. I also love the history of Independence Day and the bravery taken by the original 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. We all know Franklin, Adams, Hancock and Jefferson and their role in guiding our nation, but what of the others? Men who didn’t become President or have their faces placed on our currency. What happened to them? Thanks …

Politics in the hands of the Supreme Court

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

I don’t think I am telling you anything new when I say that June is a month we all look forward to: School comes to an end, summer officially kicks off, baseball season is in full swing, and football season is just around the corner. But is there anything for the political junkies in June 2015? Elections are still several months off, California’s budget has a multi-billion-dollar surplus and Congress is … well, Congress. But fear not: June is also the time when the U.S. Supreme Court is anticipated to issue its final rulings for the year, and we can expect some major decisions with far-reaching impacts to be announced before Independence Day. Health care subsidies In what may very well be the last debate …

HIGH SPEED RAIL Time to pull the plug

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

Ok, I admit it….there was a time when I thought the High-Speed Rail project was a good idea. In fact, I had even testified before the Rail Authority in support of a route that took the train through the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valley. But I did I mention that occurred in the late 1990s, and I was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Pete Knight? Fast forward nearly 20 years and the High-Speed Rail is still decades from completion, and the Board continues making decisions which give Californians no confidence in their ability to complete the project without billions of dollars in budget overruns and operation failures. In fact, the HSR has been an abject failure by any measure and yet the CEO …

Free community college

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

$500,000! Are you kidding, $500,000? When I heard the price from our financial advisor I tried to act cool, but inside my heart started to beat a little faster, and I could feel my body temperature rise. You see, $500,000 is not the cost of a new house, but the amount it would take to put all three of our kids through college (my oldest is 11). Oh yeah, and that was only if we only had one attend a UC school and the other two at a CSU. Don’t even talk about private schools.. Walking back to the car, Lena and I immediately started doing the math and it didn’t take long to realize the chances of saving a half a million dollars over …