Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Maybe Y'all Need a Pat Robertson Prayer
Published in The Signal, 2-5-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2005     I was on vacation last week, taking a cruise from Los Angeles down the Mexican coast and back. I must say it was one of the best trips I've taken in a long time.
    So I missed a column after 59 straight weeks. Had I been as consistent in turning in my homework when I attended Hart High, I may have graduated much higher in the standings of the Class of 1968.
    Before I venture too far off the subject of my vacation, I must take a commercial break. If you are even remotely considering taking a cruise, anyplace, you have to check first with Lynn Beltran of Cruise Planners in Valencia. She is simply the best when it comes to making sure you get the most for your vacation dollars. Since the trip was a quasi-family reunion, she made sure we got the staterooms we wanted — including some upgrades we didn't expect, complete trip insurance that was cheaper and more comprehensive than what the cruise line offered, and much more assistance than we ever expected. She is right on Magic Mountain Parkway. Now back to our regularly scheduled column.
    Before the cruise, I was reading the Web site of "Save Old Orchard Shopping Center" (SOOSC). That is the group that doesn't want a Vallarta Supermarket to take the place of the Albertson's store that used to be in that shopping center. The Web site showed pictures from a Vallarta market, and one picture was titled, "It's a different culture." No kidding. Does that make it bad? Just a question.
    There was another picture of a meat and deli counter at a Vallarta market. The signs were in Spanish. SOOSC provided a translation. If that group doesn't like the use of Spanish in the SCV, maybe all of the streets with Spanish names should have a name change. What about the name, "Valencia"? Isn't that a Spanish name, too?
    Since those folks don't like the use of Spanish names and signs, I bet they won't go to a Mexican food restaurant. It has Spanish names on the menu. It would be a different culture. It appears that for them, this is a "bad" thing.
    Of course the name, "California," is also Spanish in origin. What should that name be changed to, if SOOSC has a choice? "West Nevada"? Nope, that is Spanish, too. How about "West Arizona"? Can't do that, either.
    The way I see them taking this "culture thing" is that maybe they would rename the state, "West Confederacy." That fits with their cultural purity ideals, as I see it, looking at what they have on their Web site.
    The SOOSC folks think the fight is with City Hall. They attend Planning Commission meetings and City Council meetings. They protest something that the city has absolutely no control of in any way.
    There isn't a request for zoning change or anything else the city can do to stop free enterprise from putting in whatever kind of merchant that wants to locate there (porno shops excluded).
    In present-day Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and "way back when" in Germany from 1933 to 1945, certain cultural groups were excluded from society. Here in the good old USA, we have tried to exclude groups before, too. In California it was the Chinese. In New York City it was the Irish. In the South it was African Americans. In parts of Norfolk, Va., it was sailors. (Not really, but I must continue the "sailors and dogs keep off the grass" myth). Is this what the SOOSC folks want?
    I searched the whole Web site and could find nothing constructive. SOOSC, what do you want? How can you make that happen?
    It is so easy to look back at a simpler time and place and think it was better. I do it just about every time I write this column. When things aren't going my way, I can usually find a group of folks to blame for all my ills in life.
photo illustration    Placing blame doesn't solve the problem. What are the solutions? Without offering any solutions, SOOSC has become part of the problem — and that problem is a large, empty storefront on Lyons Avenue in the Old Orchard Shopping Center.
    We have a new store here in Hampton Roads: Trader Joe's. Talk about a culture shock for the locals here in Virginia. I'm almost surprised there weren't protests about having that "California store" invade Virginia.
    I mean, what if they take over? Can you imagine the problems if all those Californians move here? First the store, and next we'll be overtaken by surfers and "valley girls." Who knows? We could get some of them "Hollywood types," and then our whole Virginia society would slide down the path to sin.
    Here in Virginia, we do have a defense against a California invasion: the Christian Broadcasting Network. The good Reverend Pat Robertson could pray to keep them out. He said he did it for hurricanes. Why not Californians?
    Want we should ask the good reverend to pray and keep a Vallarta market from the Old Orchard Shopping Center? It sounds like his kind of prayer. Of course, I'm already here in Virginia. I'd better watch out — he may have the president send a squad to "take me out."
    One or two Californians gathered together must be subversive. It's a different culture.

    Darryl Manzer lived in the Santa Clarita Valley oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s as a teenager. He now lives in Virginia.

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