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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Apr 6, 2014

darrylmanzer021014Here we go again. The city of Santa Clarita is having an election for City Council on Tuesday. As in, TWO DAYS from now. April 8.

A lot of people have already voted. The “Vote by Mail” thing makes it so easy. So why don’t more do it? It is too late to mail your ballot now, so you can drop it by City Hall or take it to your usual polling location.

There are three council seats to be filled. Two incumbents and an open seat vacated by Frank Ferry. I can’t wait to see the results. I really can’t wait for the various discussion pages on Facebook return to complaints about stoplights and potholes and just about anything but the election.

I’m tired of the discussions on Facebook that say only bad things about candidates. Most of those threads center around someone’s interpretation of some law. It seems these folks are lawyers and judges when they are not. One Realtor is very vocal and demeaning in his words about the incumbents. His words are so bad, it forced one of the candidates to disavow any association with that Realtor.

I do rather enjoy some of the words I’ve read. I just don’t understand the logic. Let me see … the city builds a new library, and that has increased the value of real estate owned by a member of council who has property on the other side of railroad tracks and a very busy four lane street, up a hill and a somewhat convoluted path to get to the property. Just being near railroad tracks with Metrolink noise at all hours can’t be good for real estate values.

Another thread has a discussion about alternate crossings and roads from downtown Newhall to SR-14 or Sierra Highway. Hand-drawn sketches on photographs are not great documentation to support an argument. I find them laughable.

I won’t even get into the opening of Placerita Canyon Road as it used to be. It was a dangerous road before, and would still be today. I can understand why the city didn’t want to maintain it and why the residents put up gates to stop the traffic on a private road. An impasse was reached on that subject more than 20 years ago, and unless the city and folks are willing to open that discussion again, I would think the matter isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon.

I also take issue with those who support a specific candidate because that person (the candidate) will go to council and “clean house.” Nice thought. Isn’t going to happen. If we had a direct election of our mayor and five council members, it maybe could happen. Don’t hold your breath.

You see, it is easy to get wrapped up in the campaigns and forget the bigger picture. At one time we formed a city in part to get rid of billboards. So finally that gets done, and everyone gripes about the compromise. “They must have voted for it because they’ll make money from the deal – personally.” Show me how. Please show me how. Facts. Specifics. Documentation. Just don’t come and say because “I said so.” That is not debate.

Representative government isn’t easy. We elect these folks to be our local government, then we say all kinds of rotten things about them. It is how it works here in the USA. Some would say we need term limits for every office. That is pure “bull pucky.” We can have term limits every time we go to the polls.

But most won’t go to the polls. If we get more than a 17-percent turnout for this election, I will be shocked. They complain and gripe and call names, but we are governed by a council elected by a very few. That isn’t right.

So please go vote if you’ve not already done so. I hope your ballot doesn’t become some more “junk mail” sitting in your mailbox. Plus – if you don’t vote, you can’t gripe about the results.

Now for my prediction of the election results come Tuesday. I predict we shall see one incumbent unseated and the other re-elected. There will be two new faces on the council. I also predict we will have at least another two weeks (following the election) of postings on Facebook complaining about how people voted and how stupid those folks were in voting that way. And then it will get quiet until September. Thank goodness.

I wish there were an easy way to get people to vote. If we could trust voting “online,” it might solve some of the problem, but many would consider it “spam” and still not vote. Sometimes you can fix ignorance, but there is no cure for stupid.

For those of you who are celebrating already on Facebook because your candidate is going to win, please remember: Just because you have a bunch of folks telling you it is so, there are even more folks saying it isn’t so, and you don’t know. Those folks aren’t on those Facebook sites where you’re claiming victory.

This was a farming and ranching community not so long ago. Counting your chicks before they’ve hatched isn’t a good thing. That is what the old-timers would tell you. I am repeating it now.

Now go vote.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

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