December 2005 —
(Photo): Founding City Councilman Carl Boyer III signs copies of his new book, "Santa Clarita: The Formation and Organization of the Largest Newly Incorporated City in the History of Humankind" (2005)
during the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society's Christmas Open House at the Saugus Train Station in Hart Park, Newhall. Boyer published a second edition in 2015.
The idea behind the subtitle is that no place on Earth had a bigger population on Day One (more than 100,000) when it became a city.
Read the full book here.
Click image to enlarge.
Former founding city councilman Carl Boyer writes his memoir of Santa Clarita's struggle for cityhood.
The Signal | Friday, December 23, 2005.
If you're looking for a last-minute holiday gift — look no further. Carl Boyer, a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1966 and former city councilman, mayor and leader in the city formation effort, has published "Santa Clarita: The Formation and Organization of the Largest Newly Incorporated City in the History of Humankind."
Despite the august title, the book is a fascinating look at how the city of Santa Clarita was created within a portion of the borders of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Residents new and old alike should find the history of the various failed efforts at self-determination an informative lesson in governance. Just a few paragraphs about the "old days" — and the dictatorial, bloated county government based a toll-call away — will give readers a new appreciation for a local city government.
Boyer, a city councilman from the time of city formation in 1987 to his retirement in 1998, said he took a "leisurely three years" to write the book.
"I didn't want to push it really hard. There were a lot of other things I was doing." he said.
A former government teacher at San Fernando High School, Boyer retired from the City Council and teaching in 1998. He became involved in Healing the Children, a nonprofit volunteer organization that sponsors medical missions around the world.
Boyer's book is intensely autobiographical due to his personal involvement in much of the process by which "independence" from the county of Los Angeles was sought. If history is truly "his story," then the book has the added cache of Boyer being an on-the-scene eyewitness during some of the momentous moments over four decades of Santa Clarita Valley government history. However, Boyer said he wrote the book as a "memoir" — rather than a history.
The birth of Santa Clarita in 1987 saw Boyer elected to the first City Council, where he served three terms with two one-year tours as mayor.
Boyer's book doesn't start with the city formation effort; he has well documented the first efforts to split from Los Angeles County and create a separate county to bring government closer to the people. Boyer documents those efforts from the 1960s onward. Canyon County was defeated at the polls in 1976 and 1978, but the efforts switched to city formation, with a successful vote in 1987 that saw the creation of Santa Clarita.
I love history, which is why I have enjoyed reading Boyer's book. What makes "Santa Clarita" a fun read is not only Boyer's own take on what would improve local government, but also some of the public and "behind the scenes" personalities, posturing and controversies that have graced (or plagued) Santa Clarita.
Boyer wrote the book using resources he had saved throughout the years.
"I saved clippings, minutes and miscellaneous. ... Being a history teacher, I had a feeling that someone would be able to use them sooner or later," he said.
After he completed the book, he donated his "archive" to the city.
"The number of boxes and albums got to be pretty big, and I was happy to give them to the city when I was done," he said.
Included in the 27 pages of index listings is a "who's who" of Santa Clarita people and places. Among the listings are many familiar names: Connie Worden-Roberts, Lou Garasi, Jill Klajic, Cameron Smyth, Sunset Pointe, Gail Ortiz, Jan Heidt, Timberlane, San Francisquito Canyon, Richard Rioux, Pinetree, Ruth Newhall, Dennis Koontz, LeChene, Daniel Hon, Wayne and Dianne Crawford, Jo Anne Darcy, Del Prado and dozens and dozens more.
Reading about Santa Clarita Valley people you know, have met or have read about is compelling. It brings history up close and personal.
Boyer also writes much about The Signal itself and quotes liberally from published news stories, editorials and letters from the newspaper's opinion pages.
There is much opinion in Boyer's book, which he calls a "tell-most, not a tell-all." He continues to advocate for breaking up Los Angeles County into a more manageable unit and for voters to become invested in political process.
"I think government has gotten totally out of control, and as we keep growing, there is no effort tb keep the government in the hands of the people," he said.
After 18 years of cityhood, Boyer said he feels good about Santa Clarita.
"I'd be a lot happier if people weren't spending more than $50,000 to run for City Council," he said.
Boyer isn't happy with the physical growth of the city, but he does think the city has done a good job with the beautification programs.
One of Boyer's frustrations in writing the book was making sure everyone who should have credit for their efforts in the drive for "independence" received credit. His "holy grail" has been a search for an elusive list of names of petition volunteers.
"I never had a complete list of petition volunteers because it was kept privileged," he said. However, he made an effort to credit everyone he could identify as a part of the process.
Boyer said he is selling "Santa Clarita" ($32.48 after tax) "from the trunk of my car." He is also available to speak at local Rotary Clubs, women's groups and other SCV organizations. He is offering to donate 20 percent off the top of any book sales made during his appearance to the participating group. Among the reasons he gives for reading his book is to learn about how government works.
"They should read it. I've sold copies to all the local libraries," he said. "People should get educated about how the government works. If more people know how city government works and what we went through to get (it), they would feel better about our local government. I think they'd feel more invested in it."
If Carl Boyer's name is familiar beyond his service to the city of Santa Clarita, it might be because Boyer has a street named in his honor — it's the route to Sam's Club in the Centre Pointe business park.
To purchase a copy of "Santa Clarita," call Boyer at 259-3154. The book is $32.48 after tax.
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Update 2019: To purchase a copy of the book, visit the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, Saturday-Sunday 1-4 p.m.