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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

darrylmanzerI got a call today to perform a civic duty. For once it wasn’t jury duty. The call was from the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder, asking if I would work at a polling place Nov. 4. I hope they pick me. I can do it at least once just to see what happens.

I’ve seen the poll workers in five states. They seem about the same all over the country. Each and every one I ever met was polite and helpful.

I must admit I’ve never seen any “voter fraud” in any place I’ve voted. For sure the only fraud I’ve ever seen in a polling place was already on the ballot. That includes candidates for office and the various items one is asked to vote for at any given time.

How come we don’t get to vote for the truly important things? Instead we get to vote to “stop billboard blight” by keeping billboards that were going to be removed.

For those of you who signed the petition to place Measure S on the ballot, can you remember what you were asked to sign? Please remember that a lot of folks were out there gathering signatures not because they had any belief in the subject. No, they were gathering signatures because they were being paid between $5 and $7 for each signature they got on the paper. On the last day signatures were collected, some of the paid folks were getting up to $10 per signature.

“Do you want to see more billboards?” was one question I was asked. Not electronic billboards … just billboards. Folks were not asked if they wanted to see existing billboards removed. No, they were asked to sign if they didn’t want more billboards.

Just as repulsive as folks being paid to gather signatures was the other side paying folks to stop people from signing the petition. These were called “blockers.” Lets face it, both sides of the issue used some strong-arm tactics, and those doing it were not residents of Santa Clarita for the most part. Is this what we wanted? Is this any way to wage a debate in our city?

It all goes back to individuals who didn’t want some incumbents to get re-elected. It may have also been from individuals who were running for election and needed a campaign issue. Billboards in Canyon Country were a good topic.

“We can get a better deal” is the cry we heard then and now. Folks, we elected the City Council to do a job for us, and a few, just a few, folks didn’t like that job and started spreading rumors about campaign finance problems, conflicts of interest and real estate profits that those officials were supposedly going to realize from this agreement. Once again I ask the folks of Citizens Against Billboard Blight to show us the proof. Documentation can prove your points. Lacking that, CABB is left with a conspiracy theory of wishful dreams of power.

Hindsight is always 20-20. Of course they can get a better deal. That is always how it goes. “I could have done better” … OK, do better. Get elected and make changes. Barring that, let’s allow those elected to do the job.

What the heck, I could have got a better deal when I bought my Jeep or RV. Maybe I should have asked the folks at CABB to get me a better deal. Makes about as much sense.

So we’re going to vote on billboards, judges, a congressman and a bunch of other items. By the way, how do you vote for a judge? I don’t know one from another. Maybe I should just do what I’ve always done: If I haven’t heard the name, it is because that judge is doing a good job and stays out of the media spotlight.

I also like to think that someday I might have to stand before the one I voted for and say, “Your Honor, I voted for you, so I hope my judgment in doing so was as good as your judgment of the reason I’m standing before you.” I could do that except for those stupid revenue enhancement tools known as red-light cameras. They make a lot of money for the folks who own them but just don’t seem quite legal. I want to see the guy from Arizona who signed the review of the picture before our local law enforcement folks did. Just ain’t right, I’m thinking.

Hey, Santa Clarita City Council, you want to do something really great? Get rid of the stupid red-light cameras. For a bunch of folks who claim usually to be on the Republican side, you sure seem to like George Orwell’s vision of the world. Maybe you could remove the cameras and leave all of the signs and boxes, thus making folks think they are still there. No, be honest. Just take them out of our city.

And speaking of stoplights – Lyons Avenue. Timing the lights. Please.

So this is another fine mess I’ve gotten us into. Stand by for stuff about Pico and Mentryville soon. Umm, does anyone know if Agent Orange and Round-Up have any similarities in chemical composition? Just a question. I do mechanical engineering, not chemical. Just want to figure out that weed killer in my favorite canyon.

Happy Tuesday to each and every one.


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. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed by clicking on his byline above. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].



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1 Comment

  1. Lee says:

    Mr. Manzer…revisionist history ain’t your strong suit. This wasn’t a case of “hindsight.” The City Council was presented with the reality that a better deal could have been brokered BEFORE they voted on this deal. During Council meetings leading up to the election and before the first vote by Council, it was revealed that better deals were there for the taking…but the CC chose to negotiate with one partner and one partner only. That does a huge disservice to the city.

    You want your proof, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8kilN9e380

    I applaud you, though, Mr. Manzer…you finally mentioned the concerted effort by the Yes on S crowd (AllVision and the CC) to “block” people from signing petitions, but I’d like to know more about the “strong arm tactics” of the No on S crowd. I think you felt you needed to say that for some unknown “fair and balanced” reason. But as someone who encountered both petition signature collectors and blockers, the tactics from each side were very very different. And you are merely stirring the pot in making baseless accusations.

    Not wanting certain Councilpeople to be re-elected is the byproduct of this lousy deal…while they will always be toed together, they were separate issues…unfortunately, they remain in office…we can only hope that the voters of the SCV see the error of their ways and decide to vote out their stinky deal.

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