Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

An Open Letter to Mister Antonovich
Published in The Signal, 5-7-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     Sorry, folks. This week I'm sending a letter to Michael D. Antonovich, your Los Angeles County supervisor, in answer to his letter to The Signal. Thought you might like to see my reply.

Dear Mr. Antonovich,
    My friends call me "Darryl." In the Navy I was called "Petty Officer Manzer." The wrestling coach at Hart High was allowed to call me "Manzer" — but that was only because if I argued, it meant another lap around the track.
    You, sir, may call me "Mr. Manzer."
    Your letter to my editor published Friday in this newspaper was indicative of your contempt for me.
    I quote: "Manzer's guest (commentary), 'Why Wouldn't They Want Home Rule'" was your opening statement. Shouldn't it have said "Mr. Manzer's"?
    You see, sir, I own property and pay taxes in Los Angeles County, and while I can't vote there since I live in Virginia, I do pay some of your wages — however slight.
    As a property owning and taxpaying citizen, I insist that you address me as I request, and as civility would require. You seem to have forgotten that we don't pay taxes to work for you. We pay taxes so you'll work for us — the citizens and taxpayers of Los Angeles County.
    May I say that while I have many issues and disagreements with the West Ranch Town Council, the e-mails we've sent each other have been most productive. I must say I've seldom met such a dedicated group of citizens that gives so much for so little in return.
    Would that more folks in West Ranch participate in the manner that Mr. Ash and Mr. Zimmerman have displayed. Their work would be much easier if someone like me weren't around.
    But alas, I am around and will continue to express myself for The Signal as I have done for the past 64 weeks. That makes me a rather long-term "guest" at the Op-Ed desk of the newspaper, does it not?
    You want a level-headed discussion of local issues? That I can give you — and will, a few paragraphs from this — but if you want to see "inflammatory diatribes impugning" my dignity, I would suggest that you look at the West Ranch blog site called the "West Ranch Beacon."
    Not only did the author write "inflammatory diatribes" against me, he somehow was also able to include every veteran and, by inference, impugn their dignity, too.
    While he was at it, he also violated the copyright laws concerning some pictures he published and had to be corrected on that matter.
    My gripes against the county of Los Angeles go to "way back when" my parents were told that the streets in Castaic were to be paved by the county in 1953. Church Street and Cherry Street in Castaic are still dirt. When is the county coming through on that promise?
    I hope the West Ranch Town Council members realize how much support the county will give them, should they ever be hit with a lawsuit. They should discuss the matter with the Agua Dulce Town Council and what has been happening to them over the Air Park issue.
    Another question: Why is it that when Dan Palmer submits a plan for development in the Santa Clarita Valley, you can't seem to get it approved fast enough? Other developers seem to be required to have more restraints in what they develop. Is there some disclosure you should make in this regard? Campaign finances, maybe?
    Let's look at the Tesoro del Valle and Plum Canyon-area projects. Why isn't the original master plan being followed? Why is the density of homes being increased from the original agreement of about 1,800? Just a question.
    Then there is something near and dear to my heart: Pico Canyon and West Ranch. As originally planned, there were to be three lakes and some trails near the creek. What happened to them? Isn't it somewhat difficult to build lakes and trails where so many condos now sit?
    What are the mitigating factors included in the plan for the 5,000-acre addition to West Ranch? Will the live oak trees there be saved? Will ridgelines be destroyed?
    Given the record of Los Angeles County in following a master plan for any development, I would say the answers will change as homes are built — and not before.
    One other little thing that sits in my little pea brain, bothering me to no end: How come some parkland has been named after a sitting county supervisor? Now, I know the precedent was set by the Navy when we named the USS Ronald Reagan, USS George Bush and USS Jimmy Carter — but did Los Angeles County have to follow the stupidity of Congress? Really, tradition be damned. Or maybe you just like to have free campaign signs up all the time.
    As a columnist for The Signal, I can just about write anything. They have pulled me in hard a couple of times, but by and large, I'm given freedom to express my opinion. I'm sorry I didn't write that column of April 23 in a manner that the West Ranch Town Council and you could better understand. It was a lapse in my judgment not to write at a level far below that of the average citizen. I'll try not to make that mistake again.
    Please, sir, when addressing a citizen inside or outside of Los Angeles County, I would hope you have the civility to address them properly. You know I wouldn't vote for you even if I could, but I do pay just a few pennies of your wages. You do work for the taxpayers of your district in Los Angeles County.
    I hope, dear sir, you never forget that fact.

Darryl A. Manzer

    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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