Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

West-Siders: Annexation is Your Opportunity to Secede
Published in The Signal, 5-22-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     Virginia Beach. Norfolk. Suffolk. Chesapeake. Hampton. Newport News. Portsmouth. All in "Hampton Roads" or "Tidewater," Va., and all called "independent cities." There is no county government between those cities and the commonwealth, or state, of Virginia. None of the listed cities is in a county. Period.
    And we, in those cities, don't miss the counties. They only created more layers of government that spent taxes but didn't provide many services.
    It's sort of like what you've got on the west side of Santa Clarita Valley. Pay your taxes and watch them be spent elsewhere.
    Didn't we have a revolution about "taxation without representation"?
    For you SCV west-siders, is your county supervisor really representing you? I mean, he had a park named after himself. Wow! So did King George III. Maybe he can get the new sand and gravel pit named for himself, too. What would think of that?
    While I think about it, just how did "Stevenson Ranch" get its name? I don't remember a ranch in Pico Canyon with that name. We had the Hoag family, the Larinans, Wichams Canyon, but Stevenson? It just doesn't come to mind. Maybe it should just be renamed "Mike's Ranch." It is near his park.
    You folks on the west side and in Castaic have to drive how many miles to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting? Ever gone to one? Take plenty of caffeine. You'll need it. By the time they get to "north county" agenda items, you'll be sleeping if you don't. It may be that late in the day or night.
    The folks in Santa Clarita can drive to City Hall, attend a council meeting and still go to a mall for dinner. They may even have time to shop and then drive home for a ball game the kids are playing.
    Maybe the folks in the unincorporated areas of the SCV just like to drive. Gas is so cheap these days. Maybe they like giving all the power to "King Mike."
    I'd be very afraid if I lived there. What is the "king" going to do to us at the next meeting? Wish I could have stayed awake at the last one.
    Way back when, we didn't like Los Angeles County, either. We watched our money go south to L.A., never to be seen again. Then we had maybe 8,000 folks in the whole SCV. Add the cows, dogs and cats, and the population would have tripled.
    Sometimes we thought the cows of The Newhall Land and Farming Co. could vote. The Board of Supervisors always seemed to give them what they wanted.
    I'm not sure I see any change to that formula now. Chicago has people voting from the grave. Why not long-dead SCV cows?
    What I'm advocating is for those on the west side of the SCV, Castaic, and all those other areas in the valley to secede from Los Angeles County. Join with the rest of the valley and take control of your own government. Secession from L.A. County is your answer to many of your problems.
    Here in the southeast corner of Virginia, the problem is no longer our counties. We got rid of them. In forming all the new cities, we didn't learn to get them to communicate with each other. If combined, those seven cities would have a population of almost 1.5 million folks. We might even be able to get a Major League Baseball team to come here. Separated into seven parts, we only get a farm team. (At least the games are inexpensive to attend. "Go Tides!")
    I didn't like the formation of Santa Clarita. I didn't like it when the school districts united, either. But that was then and this is now. The SCV has a good thing going in the city of Santa Clarita. Why some would want to have their "local government" in downtown Los Angeles is beyond my comprehension.
    Maybe those "some" who still want to be outside the city of Santa Clarita still own a major portion of the undeveloped land that could be included in the city. Should there be a closer look at campaign contributions to your elected officials at the county level?
    You need to ask yourself the question: "Are we getting back from the county of Los Angeles the amount of money we give it?" I think not.
    Almost 50 — 50! — years ago some Castaic residents living on Church Street asked the county to pave the street. Last check, it still wasn't paved. Still dirt and gravel. Looks like a real responsive government to me. At least almost all of the streets in Santa Clarita are paved.
    On second thought, maybe Santa Clarita doesn't want to pay to have Castaic streets brought up to modern standards from those of the 19th Century. Maybe the city of Santa Clarita would rather that Castaic didn't secede and join it.
    I don't think so.

    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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