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The Issue With the Drought 

After two years in coronavirus limbo, the Topanga Days Country Fair is back, bringing with it all the promise of the start of summer in the canyon. There are changes this year: advance ticket sales only, Topanga Days will be held on Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30 only; All performances will be on the ball field stage. The Corral Stage will be dark this year; the Fun Zone will be limited to the TCC playground, with some games in the adjacent area; and there won’t be bounce houses this year, but there will be music, laughter, and community. 

This is the main fundraiser for the Topanga Community Center, an organization that has been here for the canyon  even when everything was shut down during the height of the pandemic. Memorial Day weekend is an opportunity for the community to come together and support TCC. And for those of us who can’t attend, this is a great time to renew membership, or send a donation. TCC looks out for Topanga, this is the perfect opportunity for Topanga to look out for TCC. Learn more at https://topangacommunitycenter.org

We wish we didn’t have to report that COVID-19 numbers continue to climb. So many of us are anxious to visit family and friends and take those holidays that we could only dream of during the height of the pandemic. Let’s do all of those things, but do them carefully and mindfully. .So far, there are no plans to reintroduce mask mandates, but it’s a good idea to take sensible precautions. N95 masks are readily available, and wearing one in public venues or while traveling could be the difference between getting sick or staying well, regardless of whether a mask is required. 

Election season is in full swing. Mailboxes are choked with campaign material and all registered voters in the Santa Monica Mountains should have already received their ballots for the June 7 primary election, filled with a bewildering array of candidates for every position from governor to superintendent of public instruction. 

The race this year with arguably the most potential to directly impact the lives of local residents is the last one on the last page: Los Angeles County Third District Supervisor. Our mission at TNT isn’t political, but this race is incredibly important for the future of our mountains: fire safety and development in severe high fire risk areas, maintaining and obtaining open space, funding for infrastructure, road safety, fire fighting, and programs like the Canyon Sages are all dependent on our voices and needs being heard by the county. That’s why we at TNT are making our first ever political endorsement, for Henry Stern. 

Henry grew up in Malibu and knows our mountains and coast and the issues that are important here. He has experienced wildfires first hand, and understands the things that most of us value most: dark skies, wildlife, open space. He also has a proven record as an environmental policy maker during his two terms as a state senator. There’s a lot of noise during election season, but this is a candidate race that should be a priority for everyone concerned with protecting our mountains and the environment. 

There are still missing pieces of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, even in the more developed eastern side of the national park, but a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Grant may help. A $200,000 grant for the “Big Wild” Area— between Ventura Blvd, Topanga Canyon Blvd, the 405 Freeway, and Pacific Coast Highway—is expected to be approved this week by the SMMC Board. The proposed funding would allow the SMMC’s sister agency, the Mountains Conservation and Recreation Authority, to “follow up on property donations, secure tax defaulted parcels, appraise parcels from willing sellers to align with available capital grant funding, record dedication conservation easements, and otherwise negotiate with landowners.” It’s good news for an area that has been historically underfunded. California Coastal Commission executive Director Peter Douglas famously said that “the coast  is never saved, it’s always being saved.” That’s true of our mountains as well, both in the coastal zone and outside of it.

Stay safe, be well. Vote.

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