Home Rule or Subjugation? Your Choice

By Darryl Manzer
"Way Back When"
The Signal
Sunday, June 25, 2006

I
highly recommend that anyone considering forming a new city in the Santa Clarita Valley takes the time to read the book, "Santa Clarita," by former Mayor Carl Boyer. In it, he well explains the more than 20-year process it took to create the city.
    For those of you who think the city of Santa Clarita doesn't want to annex all parts of the valley, think again. The very folks who helped create the city initially wanted to make a whole new county, to be called "Canyon County." Nearly 66 percent of the voters in the SCV voted to form the new county. Unfortunately, they also had to get the votes of people outside of the SCV in the rest of Los Angeles County.
    As Carl stated, "(I)t would be like the English Parliament voting to allow the colonies to become the United States." It wasn't going to happen, and indeed didn't happen either time it was tried, in 1976 and 1978.
    So if you want to know the motives of the city of Santa Clarita in attempting to annex the unincorporated areas of the SCV, be assured that it wants to have one city in the whole valley.
    Back in the 1960s we laughed at such an idea. While we weren't happy with the way the county of Los Angeles treated us, and we sure didn't want to have our little part of the valley — be it Castaic, Saugus, whatever; there was no West Ranch — to be controlled by the folks in Newhall.
    "They" were the enemy.
    And along came Valencia. The Newhall Land and Farming Co. did a great job of planning the roads and infrastructure; why, there were wide streets and sidewalks everywhere! What a concept. The original plans for Valencia showed high-rise buildings on the ridgelines around the valley. I'm glad that didn't happen.
    So add to your required reading list any number of the history books about the SCV, or better yet read all about the history at www.scvhistory.com. That is the location of the Santa Clarita Valley's historical archives.
    Maybe the newcomers of the last 15 or 20 years can come to appreciate how those of us who remember it like it was, want to have local control over the changes being made to the valley. The county did a bad job "way back when," and what with Cemex and such, it isn't doing any better today.
    Those of you in West Ranch or Castaic or other places outside of the city of Santa Clarita, please be aware that all that great glad-handing and help you're getting now from the county won't continue if you decide to become a second city in the SCV.
    Does the "carrot" offered of a park or whatever really make it worth continuing under county rule, or maybe another 20-year fight to form a second city? Whether you join the existing city of Santa Clarita or start a new one doesn't matter. Getting away from downtown Los Angeles is the goal. You can take 20 years and get another city, or join the existing one right now. The choice is yours, and that of everyone else who will vote on such action.
    But please, don't settle for a new park or a promise of anything from the county. They might even offer a park named after Mr. Antonovich — again — and maybe a school or courthouse or open space preserve or mining operation...
    You pick.

    "Santa Clarita" by Carl Boyer III can be ordered by calling 259-3154.

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].


©2006, DARRYL MANZER · ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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