Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Happy 100th Birthday, Cemex!
Published in The Signal, 4-2-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     I'm back in Southern California, and guess what? It will be raining on and off for the next five days. Sure doesn't seem like the place where I used to live.
    When you're through with the clouds and rain, could you please send them to Virginia? We're having a "moderate" drought. That means we may only get the same amount of rain this year as Seattle.
    Flying in to Burbank on Tuesday afternoon was a rather wild ride. There was heavy rain and the plane was "a' slippin' and slidin' all over the place." It would have made a great ride at Magic Mountain.
    It took about 90 minutes to get to Newhall after I landed. Seems the Golden State was just a little crowded.
    Election fever has hit Santa Clarita. Eleven folks are running for three seats on the City Council. At least there should be 11 voters who show up at the polls.
    Please don't let that happen. A local election is the most important type of election. Your vote will affect you directly. When you go to vote, take a neighbor along. Not only will it save some gasoline, but it could also get more folks to the polls.
    I've got some neat ideas about saving water, too, but this is a family newspaper. Just remember to vote with a friend.
    While I'm thinking about it — Happy 100th birthday, Cemex!
    From a small Mexican cement company to a global giant in the industry today.
    Another thought: Am I the only one who noticed that the international reach of Cemex started at about the same time illegal drug profits increased in Mexico? Just how did that small company suddenly get so much money to get so big?
    I guess if I ask any more questions like that, I could get my very own product demonstration in the form of specially designed shoes. So I won't ask again.
    If you go to Wal-Mart, Lowes, The Home Depot, Sam's Club and other big box stores, most of the products they sell are made in China. At least it seems that way. Now you have a Mexican company investing in the SCV.
    I know, it is "Cemex USA" — but, hey. Honda, Toyota and Nissan all have "USA" counterparts. Where do the profits really go?
    The proposed Cemex plant in Canyon Country isn't much, when one looks at the global scale of the company. The problem is that it is in the SCV.
    Isn't there some other place the company can locate such a plant? Given the start-up costs for lawyers alone, how much is Cemex willing to spend to locate in this valley? I hope they spend a lot more and still get turned down.
    Way back when, a cement plant would have been a great addition to the industry of the SCV. It wouldn't have bothered many folks with noise and dust, because there weren't many people in the whole valley. Today, as the valley fills with more homes and malls, it just doesn't seem like the right type of industry to bring into the area.
    They say they're going to be a "good neighbor" — but they've already managed to get neighbors in Stonecrest fighting with each other.
    They say they're going to contribute to roads and schools in the area. Why aren't they doing that in Mexico? I've seen those roads and schools, and they could sure use some funds from the Cemex "good neighbor" account. You've got to question what they say they're going to do when they haven't done anything like it back home in Mexico.
    Los Angeles County supervisors must trust them to do what they say they'll do. My bet is that Cemex may name the plant after Michael D. Antonovich. The "Michael D. Antonovich Cemex Plant." Fits in so well with the park similarly named on the other side of the SCV. Bookends that are squeezing the city of Santa Clarita.
    One other item before I close for this week. The road to Mentryville has had at least a start on needed repairs. Roads up Pico Canyon past Mentryville are being fixed. The public still has to walk from the end of the county road, but it may not be long before you can drive to the old town.
    Maybe Cemex could donate some road repair funds? I'm sure they have some money available — because it sure isn't being used on roads in Mexico.

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

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