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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Thursday, Dec 4, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieTwenty-two years in Congress and what do we get? A lump of gravel in our stocking.

It is now clear that Rep. Howard “Take the Buck” McKeon was not, is not and cannot be a man of honor. He has protected his friends and onetime campaign contributor Cemex by not including the “deal” in the National Defense Authorization Act that would have moved the gravel mine out of Soledad Canyon.

A look at the NDAA finds some strange happenings. For instance, 2,400 acres of Native American land in Arizona are being given away for mining by a foreign company. Yes, you read that correctly. Two thousand, four hundred acres of Apache land are going to an Australian-English mining company, Rio Tinto – the same company that co-owns with Iran a uranium mine in Africa, and all of it is 10-percent owned by China.

McKeon has his name on a bill that may be one of the worst pieces of “legislation” he has ever had a part in. (Of course, there are many of those bills). The NDAA is named the “Carl Levin, and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.” That is the full title. Levin is the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, just as McKeon is the outgoing chairman on the House side.

It was his own bill.

The NDAA also places 250,000 acres under “wilderness” and saves 400,000 acres of public land from development. It also creates or expands 15 national parks.

Now I’m sure all of this is part of vital needs in defense of our country.

The NDAA cuts military pay raises, reduces commissaries, exchanges, medical and housing benefits for our military – and doesn’t stop Cemex from mining in the Soledad because that part was left out.

Buck McKeon once again lied to us. His whole 22 years in office is a lie. He was going to stop Cemex. Now he says stopping Cemex is up to his replacement, the Honorable Rep. Steve Knight.

Even though not officially in office, Congressman-elect Knight attempted to get things turned around concerning Cemex. He is working on it as I write this. I think we finally elected the right guy for the job.

So now it is payoff time for all of the folks who really kept “Take the Buck” in office. You know the ones. Large or numerous contributions identify them. Some stand to make millions of dollars if Cemex mines here in Santa Clarita. Maybe some of the millions can help pay of some of the debt “Take the Buck” owes. Folks in Las Vegas will like that, I’m sure.

But it will never and can never pay the debt he owes to us. He has stalled for more than 10 on getting any legislation passed that could have and would have moved Cemex. Now, when it is supported on both sides of the aisle, “Take the Buck” gives the lame excuse that it takes months to get a bill attached to such an appropriation.

That is pretty lame. Most of the riders attached to the NDAA were attached in the last couple of weeks. “Take the Buck” just didn’t want to do it because it is payback time.

Remember the former Speaker of the House, Tom Delay, who left Congress in disgrace and “Take the Buck” gave him some money for his legal defense fund? Yes, the guy who had Cemex folks working for him. Cemex, a foreign company, is corrupting our Congress just like in the country of its origin, Mexico.

A lot of land was set aside in the NDAA for all kinds of reasons including a copper mine in Arizona for a company that has connections with Iran and China.. All this in a “national defense” bill including parks and wilderness areas. Gee, a mine in Santa Clarita was protected, too. All by omission and not by any action that would have removed it.

You remember the “Thank You, Buck” banners on the paseos when he introduced one of the Cemex bills he didn’t fight for? Well, what are the banners going to say this time? I know of a guy in Canyon Country who would want to announce his happiness about Cemex by posting it on a billboard that isn’t going to be taken down. Does anybody have some ideas for what we should put up?

An old tradition in this country is to let someone know your displeasure by conducting a little hanging in effigy. Maybe one of the old mannequins from Howard and Phil’s Western Wear is still around. That would work – and it’s from a store that went bankrupt, just like “Take the Buck” is bankrupt of ethics and morals.

So we folks of the Santa Clarita Valley and specifically the city of Santa Clarita get fleeced by our first mayor. It sums up his entire 22 years as our representative in Congress. He gets a cushy pension and a choice job as a defense consultant. He gets his health care paid almost in entirety.

To get all of that, he only had to sell out to various defense contractors, Cemex and any other high bidders. By the time he was done, he sold his integrity, his honor, and all of us.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon. Your failure to do your job for us in Congress sort of takes away some of my Christmas spirit. I just hope you decide to move away. Far, far away. Maybe there is a position with Cemex in Mexico City. You’ve done it all for them.

Maybe the SCV will be better off without “Take the Buck” around. Right now it couldn’t get worse. No, we know things will get better without him. I just hope the door hits him hard on the backside as he slinks out of town.

As if snakes had a backside.


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. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    The “Buck” stops here. 8-)

  2. That is a surprise? He had his house in SC on the market the day after the election.

  3. Suzi S Smith Suzi S Smith says:

    But, but, but….he was endorsed by The Might Signal term after term! How else has that rag led us astray? (/snark off)

  4. Linda Perera Linda Perera says:

    yup I’m just surprised that everyone is surprised..

  5. He spends his career on California tax payer payroll and once his term is up I bet he heads to Arizona to retire

  6. The Signal has no room to criticize. They have drooled over him for 20 years.

  7. msc545 says:

    Really, what did all of you expect ? You wanted a conservative Republican in office, and by god, you got one. So why are you surprised when Howard, in the end, proved that he really is a good conservative by screwing everyone but himself and big business? Did you really believe he cared about all of you ?

    Next time you plan to vote, try to think about how you feel right now, and vote for a liberal, who will actually care about your welfare, at least a little more than Howard did.

  8. Jim says:

    Anybody remember how Buck spent his time on the SCV CC trying to cut a backroom deal for the BBK Elsmere Dump? Only to jump ship when the activists (Klajic, McClean and friends)got the citizens into an uproar that fought the dump to a standstill? Remember him getting in front and suddenly being all for preventing the dump?

    That’s the beauty of a democratic Republic; the citizens are actually in control. Of course, if they don’t pay attention; if they don’t educate themselves on the issues; if they just keep voting for the same people no matter what they do; if they don’t go out and vote; if they just stay curled up in their warm, comfortable cocoons…

    They get what they deserve.

    Way to Go Santa Clarita!!!

  9. Kim Sloan Kim Sloan says:

    He’s a typical politician. You can’t trust them. It’s too bad, we all had hoped he’d be our hero. :-(

  10. Kerry Sego Kerry Sego says:

    I’m proud to say I never voted for him, but he won decisively in this valley for many many years.

  11. Paul Mahone Paul Mahone says:

    Now that he’s been groomed by his congress experience he’ll make more money as a lobbyist than he ever did before. He knows who pays the bills and it isn’t his constituents.

  12. I also can say I never voted for him. Just didn’t think he was smart enough for the job.

  13. Jim Oge Jr Jim Oge Jr says:

    Don’t look at me I didn’t vote for him

  14. Jim Oge Jr Jim Oge Jr says:

    Don’t look at me I didn’t vote for him

  15. Jim Oge Jr Jim Oge Jr says:

    I have asked Facebook to remove the picture I’m so offended by him.

  16. Jim Oge Jr Jim Oge Jr says:

    I have asked Facebook to remove the picture I’m so offended by him.

  17. I been saying that for yeeeears, also said how stupid and backwards 661 area is for continually voting for this man

  18. I been saying that for yeeeears, also said how stupid and backwards 661 area is for continually voting for this man

  19. David Warburton says:

    I agree with all of you. Yet explain to me how Buck got re-elected ten times w/o watching out for his constituents? He could have fixed the CEMEX problem years ago but chose not to. And he was disingenuous about trying to right up to the end.
    I propose we name the mine “Buck’s Folly.”
    Stock up on particle masks, folks.

  20. Chris Townsley says:

    We haven’t voted for Buck for years. We knew what type of character he has, just look at the shenanigans with his paid expenses/staff/leased cars, etc. involving a lot of payments to his wife (facelift?) and kids. It has always been about what is best for Buck. So when folks would call us for support, we would tell them to tell Buck he needs to come home, because he has lost touch with the SCV and that was at least a decade or more ago. It has always been about what is best for dear Buck and family. Now at least we won’t get any more of his Christmas cards.

  21. Buck you have served Santa Clarita and the United States well Thank You for your service, I am proud to have met and voted for you. Good luck in your future endeavors.

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