Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Your Chance to Buy SCV Land, Cheap!
Published in The Signal, 10-2-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2005     When and where can you buy real estate in California in payments of $25.10 per year? That low payment will gain you access to thousands of acres of property where you can hike, ride horses, bike, picnic and use it in just about every way you want and when you want.
    There are a few restrictions — you can't build a house on all that land; nobody can, unless it is already there. You can't ranch or farm the land; nobody can. It must remain natural.
    The $25.10 will buy parkland — lots of parkland for you and your future generations. It looks like a pretty cheap investment. So you don't own a home in the SCV and you're a renter? Your investment will only be $18.83 per year. As a renter, you, too, get to own a piece of the SCV. What a concept!
    It will also improve current parks and recreation areas. And many of them are in desperate need of improvements. Again, it is a real cheap investment.
    This is your chance to get back at the speculators, Realtors and developers who have no problem building houses, roads and shopping centers in the SCV until there isn't any spot that isn't paved. You and the city of Santa Clarita buy the property before they can get their money-grubbing hands on it.
    "Pretty radical way of keeping open space," was a comment by a Chesapeake, Va., councilman. "Wish we could do it here."
    Well, Dr. K, we can't do it in Virginia, yet. But some day, Virginia will get into the 20th Century. Meanwhile, back in the SCV all-y'all are steppin' out into the 21st.
    I had a long conversation with your mayor pro-tem, Laurene Weste. One fine lady y'all elected out there. I wonder if she could come here to Virginia and give a lesson in "vision." City councils here don't have any "vision" — unless the developers say they have it. I digress.
    Weste, and most of the Santa Clarita City Council, has a vision of the SCV being surrounded with parks and open land that can never be developed. The total land area could eventually be many times larger than Griffith Park in Los Angeles and offer just as many opportunities for recreation. Hiking, equestrian trails, biking and all the current services that your current facilities provide, plus a simple and inexpensive way to pay for it all.
    I'm starting to read like a script from one of those infomercials. "Yes, you get this all not for $25.10 a week, or $25.10 a month, but for only $25.10 a year!"
    So you say, "I never use the parks we have in the SCV, so why should I pay for what I don't use?" Good question. I must answer with a question: Why don't you use what is all around you? Too busy? No interest? Just what keeps you away from the many and varied parks in the SCV? I'll bet you have used some of them and just didn't know it.
    For instance: On my last visit west, I was walking on my way to Mentryville when a gentleman on a mountain bike rode up to me. He said he had lived in the SCV for more than 20 years and had never been to Mentryville or Pico Canyon. Too bad he could only go up the canyon as far as Johnson Park, but he was making his first ride there.
    We were the only folks there on a sunny afternoon. No crowds at all. He walked his bike as far as the gate and then I wished him well as he peddled on up the canyon. Without the vision of Weste and folks like her, he would most likely have been riding through a housing tract. Knowing the canyon, I know he got a $25.10 ride that day. (Weste was on the advisory council of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy when it acquired Mentryville.)
    So how about it? Step right up and vote YES to the assessment that will soon be in your mail. Get it back to the city by Nov. 22 and watch your parks grow. You'll be buying a little bit of California real estate at a very low price, and it will be your piece of California forever.
    Way back when, I heard folks say the SCV would "fill up" some day and be nothing but houses as far as the eye could see. They said it with a few tears. The SCV isn't "filled up" yet. Your YES vote will keep it from doing that.
    Unlike the failed levees of New Orleans, the small cost to you will prevent the SCV from "filling up" and spilling over the hills around it. If those hills were developed, you couldn't afford to turn them back into a natural setting at all.

    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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