Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

West Ranch Council Members Have Gone Plumb Loco
Published in The Signal, 4-30-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     Ludicrous jumps to illogical conclusions were what most characterized my e-mails this past week.
    It appears members of the West Ranch Town Council thought I could gather the old boys together, along with our firearms, and ride horses to a Town Council meeting, should they not vote right.
    I couldn't gather them together and get them on a horse. One never returned from Vietnam — his name is on The Wall in Washington, D.C. — and another has been in a wheelchair since a Viet Cong mine took his legs. I don't know where the others are today. Last I heard, they were playing with some band in Nashville.
    Get real, folks. I'm in Virginia. Like I'm really going to make a threat, get it published in a newspaper, and then show up at a meeting fully armed on horseback? You've got to be kidding.
    Unfortunately they weren't kidding, so I thought I'd set the record straight.
    One e-mail stated that the West Ranch Town Council had helped stop development and saved hundreds of live oak trees. Great! Good for them. Now, about the thousands of oak trees that were killed in order to create "West Ranch" — not a one around today.
    They seem to be happy with the services the county is giving them. OK ... how many tax dollars go to downtown Los Angeles, and how many dollars return?
    The "West Ranch Beacon" blogsite had some pictures of me and postulated that I was firing the .50-caliber machine gun in one of the photos. I've never done that. Had the Town Council read my story that had been published with those pictures, they would know I served on nuclear submarines. Such ships don't have machine guns. They would also know that the picture was from the year 2005. I was in Connecticut when it was taken as the Research Vessel GOSPORT (IX-517) was being sunk as a target. The picture is of an anonymous sailor learning how to fire a machine gun. I was project manager and port engineer for the ship, GOSPORT.
    By the way, Navy civilians don't get to fire weapons. I ended my military time in 1976. I sold all the guns I had about then, too.
    It doesn't take long in the military to learn to hate weapons of any kind. Twenty-nine of my 36 years with the Navy were as a civilian.
    As a veteran, I take great umbrage at being classified as a "possibly dangerous individual," as stated on the blogsite. Statistically, vets are less likely to use weapons for anything. We've had our fill of such stuff. I'd much rather watch a good old John Wayne movie. I even stopped hunting.
    How about all you other veterans out there in the SCV? Did you know that the West Ranch Beacon thinks you are a danger to them?
    And then they called the Sheriff. Wanted to send deputies to The Signal and find this dangerous, threatening individual who had written and had published a threat to get on a horse, get some guns and go to a Town Council meeting. (To make sure they vote right.)
    These people are making decisions for the West Ranch community? I called the Sheriff's office. Once the laughing stopped, I told them my story. No, a deputy had not gone to The Signal.
    And so it goes in the once-great Santa Clarita Valley. It appears that the Blue Diamond Co. is missing a few of its products. It should look in West Ranch.
    I was advised not to engage the West Ranch Beacon blogger. I'm not going to do that at all. I can't engage a person who comes unarmed to a battle of words. Nope, it isn't worth the fight.
    Now, if any of you want to write me, just use the e-mail address below. I always like to hear from the old home front.
    Adios for now, my friends. May your saddles be soft and your horse of easy gate. May you ride always to keep the rain at your back and the sun at your side. May you always ride at the head of the herd. Hope to see you at the end of the trail (and maybe some stops along the way). God be with you always.

    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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