Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

With a Little Help From My Spies
Published in The Signal, 6-4-2006.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     Breaking news! I got a job working on submarines again. A company offered me a salary I couldn't refuse, and I do much of the work at home.
    Retirement was great while it lasted. Now, on to the week at hand...
    One question I get asked almost every week, via e-mail, is: "How can you write so well about the SCV when you live in Virginia?"
    Answer: I have a pretty good spy network that has developed from all the e-mails I get. I also look at various Web sites including the Los Angeles County supervisors' sites, California state sites, city of Santa Clarita web pages and the Web sites of the various town councils in the SCV. I'm even attuned to some pretty funny "blog" sites that originate from the SCV.
    There is also that method from "way back when" called the telephone. My phone bill attests to the fact that my pay for this column is far too small.
    At the rate of 40 to 60 e-mails coming in each week (starting Sunday nights) until mid-week, I gather the information, comments and whatever else; then I write the column. I would guess that I spend at least 24 hours sifting through the many items of interest before the column starts. Yes, it takes that much time.
    So, if you are a "spy" for me, thanks! As for those other comments — thank you, too. I've been called a lot worse than what you've written. Being compared to the north end of a southbound horse is mild. Comparing what I write with what comes out of that north end of the horse is good, too. Glad to see they're reading the paper that they consider to be of such low quality.
    I've had a few e-mails that question why I'm so hard on Los Angeles County and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
    I've explained before that I wasn't entirely in favor of creating a city of Santa Clarita in the SCV, but I could see it was better local government than what we had before. Five "supervisors" in downtown Los Angeles really don't have a clue as to how the SCV thinks and wants things in government to be. They don't live in the SCV. Maybe if the SCV were a separate district, the situation could improve, but as long as the district is tied to that lesser valley to the south (San Fernando), the SCV will get shortchanged every time.
    Before I was born, it was the county that decided to rename Spruce Street in Newhall, "San Fernando Road," and invoke an address numbering system that changed every house number in the valley. It was the county that approved development plans for many of the newer neighborhoods in the SCV and then let the developers change the plans to eliminate parks and trails in those areas. It has been that way my whole life, and I don't see it changing anytime soon — unless y'all get annexed into the city of Santa Clarita.
    Getting annexed into the city of Santa Clarita is pretty easy, unless you live in Stonecrest. That proposed annexation is the only one that the county of Los Angeles has actively worked to block.
    Yes, the only one. Dare you ask why? I don't know for sure, but I would guess that it has to do with the court order to allow the Cemex mine that requires the county to assist Cemex.
    Now look at the problem: The county made a settlement that requires them to go against the will of the people of the SCV.
    Then there is that long-standing matter about Church and Cherry streets in Castaic. Still dirt? Last reports indicate they haven't been paved yet! Just another promise in the long list of broken promises of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors — and the list keeps growing every day.
    No, I am not a "stooge" for the city of Santa Clarita, and I get nothing for my efforts in this column. I believe that if Santa Clarita would listen more and talk less to the various town councils that are considering annexation into the city, they would find that those folks have the same concerns and problems and just want to have truly local government.
    Those town councils realize that local government is best, but they want to make sure the voice they now have — however limited — is still heard. So what would be wrong with retaining the "town council" concept as advisors to the city of Santa Clarita instead of Los Angeles County? (Good idea, Spy No. 213.) Maybe even some new town councils could be created in those areas already in the city.
    That is my idea for the week. Well, really not "my" idea. Spy No. 213 said it first, and it has been repeated by at least 20 others in my spy network.
    So sign up and be a spy for "Way Back When." I promise you twice the pay I get. (Remember that you can't divide by zero.) The e-mail address is below. I will answer just about every one I get ... time permitting.
    I do have a real job and Book No. 2 to write.
    Until the next meeting of the WBW Spy Team, I wish y'all a wonderful week.

    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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