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May 22
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Jun 2, 2014

mug_darrylmanzerI was at Heritage Junction over the weekend, and like always, I love going there. There is so much to see and do even if it doesn’t look like it.

Talking with the duty docents, we decided there should be a central “clearing house” for events at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, William S. Hart Park, Vasquez Rocks and Rancho Camulos. Maybe even Castaic Lake. It seems a number of events have overlapped, so folks cannot attend them all.

Maybe the county could do something by region, or just within the SCV. The SCV Historical Society has no paid staff, so such coordination is entirely at the hands of someone who wants to volunteer lots of time and effort.

Except for Castaic Lake, which has a huge reason for parking fees, all of the other parks I’ve mentioned have free parking. However, if you go to a Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority park like Mentryville-Pico or Towsley Canyon, you have a parking fee of $5 to see nothing except the outside of some buildings. (Well, the trails you can hike have a lot for you to see, but $5 a day? Forget it.)

So I started to research a little more about the MRCA and specifically tried to find the budget that should be published as public record. I found something they called a budget, but it didn’t show revenues – only grants for various improvements.

So here I am, asking our state and county representatives to get the MRCA to publish all of the figures. Yes, the entire financial statement. I think that is something Messrs. Wilk, Knight and Antonovich might be able to help provide. After all, it is our money.

I want to know the little things, such as:

1) All income from parking, filming, donations, state and federal grants, and any and all other sources.

2) All expenditures and names of all contractors.

In other words, everything.

You see, I’m really tired of getting asked when the buildings at Mentryville will be open for tours again.

I’m really tired of paying $5 for parking in a dirt lot, worried about what could happen to my vehicle.

I’m really tired of being told it is my responsibility to ensure that all of the people I have in a tour group have paid the parking fee.

I’m really tired of MRCA rangers telling my close friends that I’m a problem to them because I write stuff like this.

Could one of you lawyers out there who read this please research the authority of those park rangers of the MRCA? Hey, they carry guns and everything. What law enforcement training do they have?

mentryfilmingAnd (this is big) – would someone besides me explain to the MRCA that it is a state agency and not a private company? Because if it is private, I want to see permits for the rangers to have the weapons.

The MRCA is preserving a lot of land at the expense of a lot of history. I really don’t think Pico Cottage and the other historic buildings in Mentryville are there to be used as a movie set only. We, the people of California, want to use what we own. We don’t want the movie studios to have just another location to film.

To move on the path to restoration and use of our historic structures and land by us, the people who own it, we must start by knowing the total financial picture of the MRCA. Without a little push from our representatives, we aren’t going to get that information.

HELP.

 

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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1 Comment

  1. Cathy says:

    All very good questions…I hope you get an answer, because we would all like to know too.

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