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Santa Clarita CA
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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
| Saturday, Nov 29, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieHave you seen the deplorable state of many of the billboards in the SCV? I know the billboard companies probably thought they wouldn’t have any billboards left, and now they must be scrambling to sign up advertisers.

So many of them look just plain shabby with big sheets of plastic ads hanging from them and blowing in the wind. UGLY.

I’ve got a few questions. I really don’t have the answers, and I’m hoping someone out there can tell me. Here ‘goes:

The city says the current signs cannot be converted to digital or electronic billboards because those types need a different or heavier structure. OK. My question: Can the existing structures hold a slightly smaller digital sign? What stops the outdoor advertising companies from doing just that? It is legal? Is there anything the city can do to stop it?

There is a lawsuit in Los Angeles where that city is fighting the attempt to replace 100-plus existing boards with digital types. Similar lawsuits in other cities have had rulings in favor of the billboard companies. Could that happen in Los Angeles?

Dilapidated billboard spotted Friday in downtown Newhall, right next to $100,000 in Christmas lights.

Dilapidated billboard spotted Friday in downtown Newhall, right next to $100,000 in Christmas lights.

And could it happen here? What if many of those older, static, non-electronic billboards could be converted? What if it could be done as a repair and not a new permit? Most building and zoning laws allow for upgrades and repairs.

Most of those repairs and upgrades don’t even get as far as the Planning Commission. Happens in the area of permits. Someone needs a permit to fix or upgrade something, like installing a solar electric or hot water system. It would just be an upgrade and modification without changing the function of what was originally permitted.

I do know there have been complaints directed to the city concerning the conditions of those offending billboards. We can only hope it is corrected soon. What will be the corrective action? It may very well be something none of us want. How are we going to work this out?

I suspect someone from the city of Santa Clarita will tell me what the real possibilities may be. I’m just a dummy who worked on nuclear submarines for near 36 years. I can tell you that many of those structures holding the current signs might very well be strong enough for digital boards. What if they are?

See what a couple of days of doing nothing except overeating has done to me? I started thinking a little. I guess I’ll find out sometime next week some of the answers to my questions.

My plans to follow the route of the high-speed train are progressing nicely. Have names and phones of folks to talk with along the way. Have a pretty decent map of the proposed route. Need the oil changed for the RV and will fill the fuel tank, too. (I think the loan was approved.) Will also buy some propane for heating and cooking. A trip to Costco for mass quantities of food for the trip and a few needed cleaning supplies, some smaller pants for me (diet is working well), and food and treats for Mr. Renly, my basset hound.

I want to leave sometime after the 8th of December and return to the SCV before Christmas. A couple of weeks on the road should give me time to gather pictures and information I’ll need to write about the California High Speed Boondoggle.

Quite a while ago the county of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted to allow the use of the title “mayor” for the supervisor who is “elected” by the other supervisors to lead the board. It is a title that may be used but doesn’t have to be. Well, our very own 5th District supervisor is back in as mayor. Yes, Mr. Michael D. Antonovich is our County Mayor for the next year. Let’s hear three “huzzahs” for Hizzonner. And we knew him when he was just a simple county supervisor.

Think of this: In parts of the south plus Kentucky and Missouri, he would now be called a “Judge Executive” and before he was elevated to that position last week, he would have been called a “Magistrate.” I like our way a little better. Does it mean that if some open space gets his name on it, the sign will read, “The Mayor Michael D. Antonovich Open Space” or Parking Lot or whatever?

I sure wish Mayor Antonovich would tell us what he thinks about the proposed Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion. He was pretty vocal about it in 1997. I hope he will be again this time. He didn’t want the last expansion back then, and I hope he feels the same today.

I also hope each and every one of you had a fantastic, stupendous, wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day. I hope your favorite team won on the gridiron. I hope you didn’t sleep through the games after your huge meal. Most of all, I hope you were able to share the joy and the peace of your home and hearth by giving thanks to our Creator.

Gratitude is an attitude we should have all year. I pray we can always be grateful for the many gifts we receive but moreover for the ones we give.

Let’s go enjoy our day.

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].



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  1. Tommy Rini Tommy Rini says:

    That is a beautiful piece of modern art if I’ve ever seen one your perspective is really small what I see is almost on the level of Jackson Pollock

  2. Scott Ervin Scott Ervin says:

    Impressionist depiction of sour grapes.

  3. the people have spoken !!!!!! we don’t want electronic billboards . measure S was defeated in Nov.

  4. Darryl, your exaggerations do no one any good. We just drove from Lyons to Valencia on Soledad. We counted over 50 billboard sides. 1 had no billboard (just wood), one just had the metal frame, and 2-3 had slight wrinkles. Hardly the blight you keep referring to! Give it a rest already!!!

  5. I dig the look of the “deplorable” billboards.

  6. Leon Worden Leon Worden says:

    GREAT NEWS!!! (At least you have to assume it’s great news for the voters who rejected the Billboard Removal Ordinance in Santa Clarita). The test case is over and the billboard companies won. Superior Court Judge struck down City of L.A.’s ban on digital billboards on grounds that allowing one type of billboard (static) and not another type (digital) is a violation of free speech. Now billboard companies across L.A. County are free to convert their old, crummy billboards (like the ones on Railroad Ave-Bouquet-Soledad) to nice, new digital ones. :) … BTW – Digital billboards do not “flash.” They’re not like the thing at McBean, which is not a billboard. They’re a slide show at ~7 second intervals.

  7. Leon Worden Leon Worden says:

    GREAT NEWS!!! (At least you have to assume it’s great news for the voters who rejected the Billboard Removal Ordinance in Santa Clarita). The test case is over and the billboard companies won. Superior Court Judge struck down City of L.A.’s ban on digital billboards on grounds that allowing one type of billboard (static) and not another type (digital) is a violation of free speech. Now billboard companies across L.A. County are free to convert their old, crummy billboards (like the ones on Railroad Ave-Bouquet-Soledad) to nice, new digital ones. :) … BTW – Digital billboards do not “flash.” They’re not like the thing at McBean, which is not a billboard. They’re a slide show at ~7 second intervals.

  8. Martin Ramos Martin Ramos says:

    I like the billboards

  9. Martin Ramos Martin Ramos says:

    I like the billboards

  10. I’m so glad measure S didn’t pass. I especially love the billboards in Spanish and the sign advertising the gentlemen’s club in Sylmar as you turn up the road to McGrath Elementary school.

  11. Clete says:

    Darryl, Do you have anything else to write about? If you do…. collect the facts before posting, it may make your comments a bit more credible.

  12. John Fortman John Fortman says:

    Does the city have reasonable regulations on the appearance of these remaining billboards? If not they should. There should be bonds to have a billboard. Fines when billboards aren’t up to snuff and removal requirements for repeat offenders.

  13. Scott Ervin Scott Ervin says:

    I believe Mike Devlin refuted your “interpretation” of the ruling in another thread Leon. But it’s not like we aren’t used to pro-S people misstating things. Also, I believe it was pointed out that LA is appealing the decision so, the “fat-lady” has yet to sing.

  14. Ernie Duran Ernie Duran says:

    I’d like to see this up there

  15. It’s better than this all along the 5 and 14. See, two can play at the overly dramatic game.

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