[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 18
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktiePolitics makes strange bedfellows. For instance, there is the little matter of Tony Strickland getting an endorsement from R. Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster AND the guy who has sued to force Santa Clarita and various school districts around the valley to change their election systems.

So now we are told to vote for someone who says he is fiscally responsible but is getting support from someone who wants us in the SCV to spend a lot of money to defend our election methods.

I think the California Voting Rights Act is causing more problems than it is solving. Santa Clarita has capitulated to the capricious lawsuits. I really wonder why they didn’t put the question to a vote of the people.

Do you want the City Council to use “cumulative voting” where everybody can vote up to three times for the same person? Or how about school districts being carved into even smaller districts for elections, instead of the at-large elections now being used?

Let’s let the people decide and not some lawyer or judge.

All over our fair and formerly great state, cities, counties and school districts have had to comply in some way with the law. In the 12 years since the California Voting Rights Act became law, all kinds of actions have taken place to ensure that the law is followed in some way.

The city of Highland is under a threat of a lawsuit just like Santa Clarita. But unlike Santa Clarita and our school districts, Highland has decided to let the people decide on the voting method this next election.

Same thing for Anaheim and Compton. They are letting the people decide.

Palmdale didn’t put it to a vote of the people. Palmdale fought the lawsuit and lost. They have spent more than $16 million on the court case so far, and it appears that they will have to comply the hard way.

It isn’t easy for a council or school board to provide for district or ward elections. Since three of our Santa Clarita City Council members are from Canyon Country, would one or two of them will have to step down? How would we be divided? That isn’t an easy task.

In the Southern states following the passage of the 1964 Voting Rights Act, it wasn’t easy for some to let go of the power they had to conform to the new law. Minorities finally got a voice in elections. Just so you remember, it was Democrats from the South who nearly killed the bill. Had it not been for the Republicans working with the Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, we would still be mired in the Jim Crow era in the former Confederate states.

So how did California get in a position that we needed a law to make sure representation was equal in all of our political bodies? And once the problem was recognized, why do we, the citizens, have to pay so much to the lawyers who are suing those same political bodies?

R. Rex Parris is a good example. He’ll cost cities and school districts millions with lawsuits like these, and the taxpayers get to foot the bill because the law says so. Thank you, Mayor Parris, for helping to raise the legal costs of many cities and school districts.

Maybe my blinders are too firmly affixed to my head and I can’t see the problem. I hear all kinds of folks telling us that Canyon Country or Saugus or Newhall or Valencia isn’t properly represented in some way and we need districts. But I can’t see it right now. I guess if we had four of our five council members from Canyon Country or some other area, we might have a problem.

The other thing is that throughout the SCV we’re pretty well mixed up already. There are not the ethnic pockets we had in the past. Remember that at one time, if you were black, you lived in Val Verde, and Latinos were concentrated in neighborhoods here and there. Our Native American populations were also clustered. But that was then and now is now. Just how would we be divided? And how is that decided?

The William S. Hart Union High School District is an example of an agency that’s questioning the boundaries for elections by wards or districts. Maybe one method would be to have a board member for each high school area. That isn’t so hard. But how will COC and the Sulphur Springs School District conform?

This is something that really needs to be put to a vote of the people. It can be done simply and effectively. It can also prevent some lawyer-mayor from pushing us around. Letting the people decide how to end the fight is always best.

Got to love our system of laws here in California. This one must have been written by trial lawyers for trial lawyers to make money. Lots of money. Our money.

Can we create a voting district just for lawyers? Put all of them in that district and see if they even bother to vote. If they don’t vote, I’m sure a lawsuit would come out of it, asking for redress of some sort since they forgot to vote. It would always be our fault.

I’m not taking the blame on this one, folks. I’ll be really glad to pass the blame to lawyers and legislators. They deserve the blame. Let them have it.


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 [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. John Mlynar says:

    With all due respect, Mr. Manzer, Palmdale did in fact put the issue of districts before its voters—twice. They said they want at-large elections – twice in recent history. First in 2001, when they chose this method at the ballot box. More recently in 2009, when they voted to become a Charter City with at-large elections. Our residents may ultimately decide to change to an alternate form of elections, but it should be the community—not an individual who may or may not have the community’s interest in mind—who makes that decision.

  2. Melissa says:

    Strange isn’t it, how King Rex makes demands through legal channels which he has set up, that cities and school districts have a particular type of ‘zoned’ representation?

    Strange because in his fiefdom of Lancaster, the councilmembers are elected in the old way.

    The mayor of Palmdale tried to draw the line in the sand, but the judicial bench determined via lawsuits that ‘at large’ elections deprived the minority population of due representation, finding in favor of Rex and his henchmen.

    The city council persons in Lancaster do not reflect the minority population numbers in that city either, since they are elected on an at large basis.

    Makes a person wonder if it is so important and beneficial for other cities, why doesn’t he initiate the same policy in Lancaster?

  3. Ed Galindo says:

    The demographics in the aforementioned article and comments has drastically changed in the last two decades. The At Large voting structure was sufficient for the times. We are no longer one horse towns. To grow we must allow equal representation. District must prevail. The California Voting Rights Act simply
    prevents minorities from being disenfranchised. It is not an attack on the Establishment.

  4. jim soliz says:

    Mr. Galindo is quite correct. The city has grown and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future and so must the vision of the City Council. Not to respond to the Voting rights of minorities is both exclusionary and undemocratic.
    As for the notions raised in this article, they fall into the category recycled, and stale arguments. But then again, to be expected by supporters of an out of touch, stale City Council.

  5. Gee, pointed arguments without any detailed support? There is no argument regarding who is the voting public that can be supported by existing rules. I choose to vote against rulings that will damage my own interests. What about the rest of you?

  6. R Rex Parris says:

    I can understand why many people don’t like district voting. There are many laws we don’t like, and everyone knows, we still have to follow them.

  7. Eric says:

    A little fact checking might be nice. The statement, “Palmdale spent more than $16 million on the court case so far” is just not true. I believe the figure is more like $2-3 million that Palmdale has spent on its own attorneys. On top of that, the court has awarded Plaintiff’s attorneys $3.65 million. It is time for Palmdale taxpayers to ask why they are fighting a losing battle

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Thursday, Oct 4, 2018
Local entrepreneurs, industry leaders and business owners are looking for employees who can communicate clearly, whether writing or speaking; effectively collaborate on teams; and quickly make decisions that benefit both the company and its customers.
Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018
Canyon Country is known as a major residential area in our City, as well as a popular commercial and retail spot.
Monday, Oct 1, 2018
In her message for October 2018, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste invites the community to the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
Not being able to record and document what Knight and Hill stated during the debate makes it difficult for our community to hold both of them accountable to what they say.
Friday, Sep 14, 2018
Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage have different benefits and costs that you should consider based on your personal needs. Medicare open enrollment season runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and it’s a good idea to know how the two types of Medicare work before you select one.
Wednesday, Sep 5, 2018
In his September column, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin outlines the city's 'Heads up' safety campaign against distracted driving and walking.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
The Probation Reform and Implementation Team met Wednesday to discuss a new mission and vision for the nation’s largest Probation Department, and consider an organizational structure that supports separate adult and juvenile probation operations in Los Angeles County.
County Officials Weigh Juvenile, Adult Probation Reform
"Hedda Gabler" is the first CalArts School of Theater MFA production of the school year, running Nov. 2-10 in Ensemble Room II, E407 on the CalArts campus in Valencia.
Nov. 2-10: CalArts MFA Director Bonnell Revives Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’
David Rosenboom will step down as Dean and join the regular faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts at the end of the spring 2020 semester.
Rosenboom to Exit as Dean, Join Faculty of Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts
Following a recent report by a Pennsylvania grand jury that detailed a widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, which involved more than 1,000 children and more than 300 priests, a civil suit was filed Oct. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of a Camarillo resident.
Suit Targets Priests; Report ID’s 5 from SCV’s Past
College of the Canyons has been named a 2018 Champion of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer by The Campaign for College Opportunity.
COC Named a 2018 Champion of Higher Education
Here's a look at how The Master's University sports team rank in the latest polls.
Peek at the Polls: TMU Women’s Volleyball Holds at No. 11
Supervisors voted Tuesday to develop a proposal for a comprehensive, trauma-informed and gender-responsive job training program at Century Regional Detention Facility that prepares female inmates for employment after release.
County to Create Job Center for Jailed Women
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will present "Breast Health Demystified: An Evening of Awareness" at the Henry Mayo Center in Valencia on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: Breast Health Evening of Awareness at Henry Mayo
A conservation group sued Los Angeles County on Tuesday seeking emails, text messages and other documents exchanged with the developer behind the 12,000-acre Centennial at Tejon Ranch planned community on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
LA County Sued for Records on Centennial Housing Project
Oscar-nominated producer Jennifer Fox will produce the 10th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Nov. 18: Jennifer Fox to Produce Academy’s 2018 Governors Awards
"Rock the Polls," a free, non-partisan concert featuring up and coming Los Angeles-area bands and the opportunity for students to register to vote, is set for the Newhall Family Theater on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Oct. 21: ‘Rock the Polls’ Concert, Student Voter Registration Drive
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn on Tuesday directing the Department of Public Health to develop a countywide typhus prevention and response plan.
Supes OK Typhus Response Plan, Program for Homeless Population
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update local ordinances to address the emerging threats to public health posed by electronic cigarettes and cannabis.
County Updates Smoking Restrictions to Include Vaping, Cannabis
In two years, California voters will have the chance to approve wholesale changes to a landmark property tax code and squeeze billions in new taxes from state businesses.
Property-Tax Reform Plan Qualifies for 2020 California Ballot
The U.S. Postal Service has launched an app that lets residents see what's coming in their daily mail.
Preview What’s in Your Daily Mail with New USPS App
A federal judge Tuesday questioned what harm the government would face if it had to implement a pending settlement agreement to grant asylum interviews to families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the since-abandoned zero-tolerance immigration policy.
Feds Stall on Family Asylum Claims Until Final Settlement Approval
1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]
The Family Focus Resource Center at California State University, Northridge will host its annual Special Needs Resource Fair – a daylong celebration focused on connecting families with special needs children to resources that can help them thrive – on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Oct. 21: CSUN Hosting Special Needs Resource Fair
The city of Santa Clarita will be hosting earthquake drills at City facilities to help train the community how to properly drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake as part of The Great California ShakeOut at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.
City Encourages Residents to Participate in Great California ShakeOut
(CN) – Sears, once a powerhouse of American retail, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and said it will close 142 stores amid mounting debt.
Sears Files for Bankruptcy
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN head softball coach Tairia Flowers has released the 2019 schedule, featuring 24-of-49 games that will take place at Matador Diamond.
Matadors Release 2019 Softball Schedule
The Fort Tejon Historical Association will be presenting the Death of Peter Lebeck and Candlelight Ghost Tours at Fort Tejon State Historic Park on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Fort Tejon Candlelight Ghost Tours
If you like the excitement of finding treasures, then ARTober is the month for you.
Abandoned Art Project SCV to Begin Oct. 15
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
A free LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is scheduled at Savia Community Center, 23780 Newhall Ave in Newhall on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Life Coach Laura Cazares to Speak at Zonta Workshop
The Child & Family Center's 15th Annual Kid Expo will be held at Golden Valley High School on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 21: Kid Expo at GVHS to Benefit Child & Family Center
Los Angeles County had higher influenza activity in the 2017–18 season (Oct. 1, 2017–May 13, 2018) than the previous five influenza seasons, according to public health officials' Influenza Season Summary.
More County Influenza Deaths in 2017-18 Than in 5 Previous Seasons
CSUN students will explore the collective consciousness of men of color at CSUN’s biannual Men of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session on Friday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: CSUN Looks to Inspire Men of Color with Research Session
The Master's men's soccer team's 1-0 win over the Warriors in Santa Barbara Saturday was a sweet one for The Master's University head coach Jim Rickard and his Mustangs.
TMU Men’s Soccer Team Edges Westmont Behind Garcia Sosa Goal
The Master's University's women's soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 11 Westmont on Saturday in Santa Barbara.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Falls to Westmont on the Road
Despite The Master's University women's volleyball team's 3-0 loss in Santa Barbara, ending a 12-match winning streak, the No. 11 Mustangs remain in first place in GSAC standings.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Win Streak Snapped in Santa Barbara
Celebrate the harvest season with storytelling through dance and drums under the oak trees at Placerita Canyon in the Nature Center's outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 3: Free Volta Drum Dance at Placerita Canyon Nature Center
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Oct. 15-21, 2018.
Features, TV Shows, Spots Now Filming in SCV
Southern California Edison is monitoring weather conditions and has additional crews at the ready to respond to possible power outages and dangerous wildfire conditions due to Santa Ana winds and low humidity predicted through Tuesday night.
SCE Monitoring High Wind, May Kill Power to Avert Downed-Line Fires