Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Stonecrest and Conspiracy Theories
Published in The Signal, 3-26-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2004 "They may call me a rube and a hick, but I'd rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it." — Will Rogers

    Did y'all read the letter to the editor last Thursday from the president of Cemex USA?
    The Mighty Signal has been accused of participating in a conspiracy of some kind? Really? What does this newspaper have to gain from being part of a conspiracy? Cemex has a lot to gain if they are in any way conspiring to block the annexation of Stonecrest into Santa Clarita.
    I know that none of the residents of Stonecrest are working to block the annexation in order to help Cemex. They just want the city to follow through with what Councilman Bob Kellar said at a meeting they had with him a few years ago. He stated that they, the residents of Stonecrest, would have a say and get to vote on annexation.
    He may have misspoken, but that is what some of the residents believe. Thus, a petition to protest the annexation is being circulated.
    At the same time, not everyone understands how the laws or rules for annexation work. LAFCO appears to have missed the boat when it comes to the rules. Santa Clarita has a different opinion, and in between are the folks in Stonecrest who really have better things to do than be stuck between all the other groups involved.
    Cemex claims it is going to be a good neighbor and help the city, county and residents. Have you driven through Victorville lately? Ever notice how all of the areas around the cement plants are covered in a fine, gray dust? Do you really want that in the SCV?
    I'm sure Cemex will spend some money on roads and schools, and they will also usually conform to environmental standards. But what about when they don't? It takes only a small mistake. The nuclear power plant at Chernobyl had only a couple of mistakes happen before it was a major problem. The "fallout" from Cemex wouldn't be anywhere near as dangerous, but it sure could clog pool filters, damage the paint on cars, smother small plants and spread dust throughout your house. If that is what you want, fine.
    Y'all aren't the only folks who are fighting city hall, developers and real estate folks. Here in Virginia, there is no doubt whatsoever as to why growth control and transportation funding problems cannot be resolved. The largest contributors to political campaigns in the Commonwealth of Virginia are developers and real estate folks. Ten million dollars to various legislators. They got what they wanted: uncontrolled growth and bad roads.
    Maybe y'all should "follow the money" and find out just where it must be coming from and where it is going. I would bet Cemex has a stake in it, as would someone financing some LAFCO folks. Just a thought.
    In the end, the group that will make the most money out of Stonecrest and Cemex, et al, are the lawyers. I know I'm right about that.
    One thing about our Virginia politicians. They will be perfectly honest about the pockets they have their hand in, and how much they are taking from those pockets. Honest, unethical politics. You gotta love it! And they don't name parks, bridges and such after living folks. No Charles Robb or George Allen parks or bridges in Virginia yet. But give us time. We still celebrate Lee-Jackson Day every year. That's right. Good ol' Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson have a special day every January. Some years, it is the same day that we celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth. On those years, we end up with Lee-Jackson-King Day. Y'all just wouldn't understand. I don't think I do, either. I will bet that soon, you'll have a Cemex park near you.
    There was a time, not that long ago, that I didn't want anything to do with the city of Santa Clarita. Growing up in Castaic and Pico Canyon, I always thought a city in the SCV would make things too complicated.
    When I lived there, the county of Los Angeles was doing just fine for us. Today, the record shows that the county listens very little to anyone but big business. Cemex is getting what it wants over the objections of part of the Stonecrest neighborhood, isn't it? Santa Clarita has yet to be fully heard in the matter — even in court.
    If the folks in Stonecrest think Los Angeles County is doing some good for them, they should sign the petition and force a vote on the issue. By not signing, they vote even quicker and don't have the governmental expense of mailing a ballot.
    From what I see and read, the county isn't listening to those folks regarding Cemex. Some Stonecrest folks don't think the plant will be a problem. I just don't know. If it comes to a vote in Stonecrest, y'all better show up and vote. This is one time a vocal minority could have a victory maybe you don't want to live around.
    And something in me says Cemex isn't going to be as good a neighbor as they claim they are in other places. They're a nearly global monopoly in the cement business. That's right — global monopoly. Look it up on the Internet. What do they get if the plant succeeds? What happens if it doesn't?
    Conspiracy theory indeed — in that this paper is conspiring to block the Cemex plant in every way it can! Words make great swords.
    What cannot be ignored is the fact the many folks in Stonecrest think they have the right to vote for annexation into Santa Clarita. Someone in the city government said they did. So be it. Before it comes to that, maybe the city, county and citizens of Stonecrest can sit down and discuss it rationally — without Cemex in the room.
    Right now, I'm thinking Cemex is that guy who has sold the Brooklyn Bridge a few hundred times. Or is it the city of Santa Clarita? Or is it LAFCO? I just hope the folks of Stonecrest don't end up being the ones who buy that bridge the next time.

    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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