The Road to Mentryville with Bob and Bing ... and Mike and Jeff?

By Darryl Manzer
"Way Back When"
The Signal
Sunday, December 10, 2006

    The "Road" pictures never got an actor an Academy Award, but they sure made folks laugh.
    Bob and Bing were always taking off on a zany adventure with a gorgeous lady named Dorothy. Not much story or plot, and unless Bing was singing, the music wasn't too great, either. But they were great entertainment — even more entertaining than our current crop of politicians in Washington.
    Unfortunately, what those in Washington are doing isn't make-believe — even if they spend our tax dollars like they were playing a game of Monopoly.

Road No. 1:
    I may never see the paving of Church Street in Castaic. The county of Los Angeles would have problems convincing all of the residents on that street that pavement is what they want.
    You see, if the street gets paved, then the taxes would go up — and we all know about high taxes. What member of the Board of Supervisors would want to vote for a tax increase? Certainly not Michael D. Antonovich.
    Now, I've had my pet peeves with the actions of Mr. Antonovich, but even I have to admit that he is a man of rare integrity and honesty in politics. He does not appear to be seeking higher office and has been effective in addressing the concerns of northern Los Angeles County.
    We don't agree on many issues involving the development of the Santa Clarita Valley, but it does appear he brings home a little more "bacon" than other L.A. County supervisors. Too bad he is connected to the lesser valley in the south called "San Fernando."
    So ... have I groveled enough? I'm not going to sing all the praises of Mr. Antonovich; that has been done enough. But I want to address a little concern that he may just be able to have some ability to correct. It could even turn into a "win-win" situation for the SCV, the county, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the city of Santa Clarita, the Friends of Mentryville and, of course, Mr. Jeff Stevenson.
    That little concern is "The Road to Mentryville." Maybe soon to be a movie — check your listings.

Road No. 2:
    Now, you might ask, "Doesn't Pico Canyon Road go to Mentryville?" Not quite. The county-maintained road ends about five-eighths of a mile before one gets to the old place.
    I know that section of road. I had to walk down it every morning to my bus stop on the county road, and back up it every afternoon.
    The William S. Hart Union High School District wouldn't allow the bus to go up as far as the Mentryville gate.
    (But the United States Post Office made the drive six days a week — except for the week in 1962 when it was blocked by snow. But I digress.)
    Mr. Stevenson has given much to Mentryville. Trees ... lots of trees, among other things. There has to be a way for him and the county to agree on transferring the road easement to the county.
    You see, the road to Mentryville is on land owned by Mr. Stevenson. A little transfer of land for a break on taxes, maybe? Of course, a county-maintained road would benefit him, too. No more worries about road repairs that he has performed out of kindness since the last fire and floods.
    There was $2 million in state bond funds earmarked for the restoration of Mentryville. If that money hasn't been used up already, maybe it could be used to transfer the road, and repair it, too. (Plus, we would all get an accounting of how that money was used.) It might be part of the answer.
    A good road to Mentryville would open a huge recreation area that is underutilized. It would also make a great piece of SCV and California history available to just about anyone.
    Right now, with the gate at the end of the county road shut, young school children have problems walking up the road between the gates. Third-grade students aren't easy to herd anyway. Herding cats might be easier. So with a fully maintained road owned by the county, those kids could get to see Mentryville.
    And how about all the folks who want to ride horses, hike, bike and otherwise see all of Pico Canyon? The parking is so limited at the end of the county road that only four or five cars can park there without blocking the road.
    The Conservancy has a huge parking lot in Mentryville. Can't get to it right now. The road is closed to the public.
    So how about, it Mr. Antonovich? And Mr. Stevenson, too? Just a short stretch of road that in and of itself is a piece of California history. Maybe it could be called "Antonovich Way" — there is already a "Stevenson Ranch Parkway" — or "Michael's Byway."
    I like to think that once completed, hundreds of folks will use the road each week. Maybe movie rights will come out of it. "The Road to Mentryville." Where are Hope, Crosby and Lamour when we need them?

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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