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

Santa Clarita CA
Intermittent clouds
Intermittent clouds
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 24
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [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...
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's Engineering Committee will be holding a meeting, Thursday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m.
May 3: SCV Water’s Engineering Committee Meeting
Building on the success and excitement surrounding LA’s first-ever Arts Datathon in 2017, the LA County Arts Commission (LACAC) presents Arts Datathon: Collections, which aims to explore collections data as a way to increase access to the arts.
April 27: LA County Arts Datathon Collections
The 24 members of the West Ranch High School percussion Ensemble will forever be known as world champions as they took home the top prize at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.
West Ranch Percussion Ensemble Returns Home as World Champions
Launched Jan. 1, 2018, California’s newest water agency, SCV Water, is already making progress on commitments of enhanced efficiencies and financial savings.
May 15: VIA Luncheon to Highlight SCV Water Agency
The fourth annual Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Future Jazz Master Scholarship was awarded to trumpeter and CalArtian Sara Sithi-Amnuai (Music MFA 19).
CalArts Student Awarded Jazz Master Scholarship
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (17-22) opens up a road-heavy stretch over the last five weeks of the regular season on Tuesday evening. For the second time this month, the Matadors will head to Fresno State to start a seven-game road trip. A video stream will be available on the Mountain West Network at 6:05 p.m.
Matadors to Start 7-Game Road Trip
Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show, Colors of Spring, will open on May 4, with a free reception, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The exhibit will run until June 24, 2018.
May 4: Opening of Santa Clarita Artists Association’s ‘Colors of Spring’
SUN VALLEY - Mission Valley Bancorp (OTCQX: MVLY) President & CEO Tamara Gurney announces year to date net income of $1,384,000 for the period ended March 31, 2018 – the strongest first quarter in the history of the company.
Mission Valley Bancorp Records Best-Ever 1st Quarter
Flair Cleaners, Southern California’s leading eco-friendly dry cleaners, will host the third annual Flair Cares Spring Food Drive, May 1 – May 31.
May 1-31: Flair Cleaners Annual Spring Food Drive
West Coast auto racing enthusiasts, “Fast & Furious” fans and family and friends of the late actor Paul Walker are gearing up for the inaugural In Memory of Paul Car Hangout, set for College of the Canyons in Valencia on Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
May 20:  In Memory of Paul Walker Inaugural Car Hangout
The Placerita Canyon Nature Center will be holding its annual Open House, Saturday, May 12, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
May 12: Placerita Canyon Nature Center Open House
BAKERSFIELD - College of the Canyons had a strong first-day showing at the Western State Conference (WSC) Swim & Dive Championships, with two of the men's relay teams performing strong enough to perhaps earn a trip to next month's state championship meet.
Cougars Head to Bakersfield after Strong WSC Showing
Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host its annual “Expresstival” event, a celebration of student creativity, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 27 at the school’s campus at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
April 27: Annual SCVi Charter’s ‘Expresstival’
Here is the Community Newhall (Zone 6) Crime Information & Public Safety Report for April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Vehicle Burglary in Newhall
This year’s Coachella Valley Music Festival started out on a sour note for 135 concertgoers who received misdemeanor citations for fraudulently using disabled person parking placards.
DMV Issues More than 150 Disabled Parking Citations at Coachella
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]
Applications are now open for the summer 2018 LA County Arts Internship Program, which will provide 179 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience at more than 100 arts organizations across LA County this summer.
County Expands Summer Arts Internships for College Students
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has identified the man killed in a solo crash on Sierra Highway between Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce early Sunday morning as Brandon Scott Isaman, 31, of Palmdale.
Coroner ID’s Palmdale Man Killed in Solo Crash
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Pine Mountain man on weapons and drug charges Thursday, an out-of-town resident for alleged possession of methamphetamine and a zip gun Friday night, and two locals for alleged possession of heroin for sale on Saturday morning.
SCV Crime Beat: Arrests for Heroin, Meth, Homemade Gun
With summer just around the corner, the city of Santa Clarita will hold a summer swim lesson assessment at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway, on Thursday, April 26, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
April 26, May 5: City to Hold Summer Swim Lesson Assessments
Aerospace, defense and industrial markets manufacturing firm Ducommun Incorporated has completed the acquisition of Certified Thermoplastics Co., LLC, based in Santa Clarita, for an undisclosed price.
SCV High-Tech Plastics Firm Bought Out by Ducommun
Santa Clarita-based MS Restaurant Management will open a new McDonald's restaurant franchise on The Old Road at Magic Mountain Parkway, and will hold job fairs Friday, April 27 and Friday, May 11 to hire as many as 100 employees.
April 27, May 11: Job Fairs at New SCV McDonald’s Restaurant
The city of Santa Clarita received applications from eight local residents for an open position available on the city’s Planning Commission, and the City Council will make its choice during its meeting at City Hall Tuesday night.
8 Applicants Vie for Seat on Planning Commission
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of April 23-29.
‘NCIS,’ 3 Commercials Now Filming in Santa Clarita
Members of the California Legislature today commemorated the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, even as the United States continues to turn a blind eye to the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians, Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) said Monday.
California Legislature Marks 103rd Anniversary of Armenian Genocide
College of the Canyons freshman Takaira Beard earned an individual conference title in the women's high jump with a leap of 1.54m during the Western State Conference Prelims hosted by Santa Monica College on Friday.
COC Freshman Takes Home Individual Western State Conference Title
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for April 26-28:
April 26-28: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Whiff, Inc., the leader in personalized fragrance creation and perfume discovery releases details of their exclusive partnership with Olympian, Pro Soccer player, and fashion and beauty entrepreneur Lauren Sesselmann.
Whiff, Inc. Partners with Santa Clarita Blue Heat’s Lauren Sesselmann
There is a perception that academic conferences for tax educators are filled with arcane terminology and jargon that only an Internal Revenue Service agent could love. But not if California State University, Northridge’s Monica Gianni has her way.
May 4: Tax Development Conference at CSUN
In light of two days and 25 innings of mostly forgettable baseball, Master's catcher Ryan Bricker summed up the weekend the best he could.
Mustangs Fall to Westmont in Golden State Athletic Conference Finale
Get a sneak peek of Mark LeVang & Friends, the group who will be performing at Taste of the Town.
April 24: Community Pints, Taste of the Town Sneak Peek
Lancaster won its first extra-inning game of 2018 on Sunday, beating Inland Empire, 9-8, in 11 innings. Forrest Wall came through in the top of the 11th with an RBI single, and Alan Trejo sealed the victory with a diving catch to end the game.
JetHawks Win First Extra-Inning Game of 2018
Here is the Valencia (Zone 5) Crime Information and Public Safety Report for the Week of April 9-15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Petty Theft, Shoplifting in Valencia
1986 - COC board votes to allow Argentine cliff swallows to nest forever on sides of buildings [story]
Veterans of the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival stage were honored Saturday night as the city celebrated the festival’s silver anniversary at William S. Hart Park in Newhall.
Stars Share Spotlight as Cowboy Festival Turns 25
1974 - Gov. Ronald Reagan speaks at dedication of COC's first permanent building, the William G. Bonelli Instructional Resource Center [story]