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1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Friday, Jan 9, 2015

darrylmanzer_blacktieI’m always amazed and extremely grateful that I live in a place where folks can cross political lines to get things accomplished. Let’s face it, we’ve had some real humdingers in that past few months.

While I didn’t like the outcome and still think folks will regret it, it is a fact a lot of people came together to stop the billboard ordinance passed by the City Council last year. The momentum picked up, and come election time, the anti-Measure-S folks won.

I was surprised and disappointed, but I do think it shows what can happen when we forget party titles and get the word out. Some really good things happened even if you don’t like the outcome, as I don’t.

Many of those same people are taking on the next Goliath they see, Chiquita Canyon Landfill. The crazy and sometimes wacky No-on-S folks are now working actively to get the county of Los Angeles to vote down the proposed landfill expansion. I am so very happy about that.

Just a few months ago, it was a Val Verde problem, and thanks to the ineptitude of the Castaic Area Town Council, it became a Castaic-area problem. It is quickly becoming a problem for the whole Santa Clarita Valley. We don’t want the dump to expand.

I suspect a petition is about to circulate all over our little corner of California. I’ll sign it when it does. Will Chiquita hire blockers? I hope so. It would give me some more to write about.

The Cemex issue has support from both sides of the congressional aisle in the House of Representatives and the Senate. I never would have thought Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Buck McKeon would be on the same side of anything. It was the people of this valley who kept pushing the issue from both sides of the political spectrum for another “wow” moment.

I’m also beginning to see and hear bipartisan agreement on the high-speed rail problem. Folks all over are now saying we don’t want it and don’t need it. Even up north in that bastion of Democrats, the San Francisco Peninsula, folks are fighting to stop the construction because neighborhoods and communities are going to be split apart for a train that few people will ride.

Same thing is happening in the Central Valley, and now the folks in the San Fernando Valley are trying to stop it, too. Here in the SCV, we want it at least re-routed to miss us. All of that is taking support from both sides of the political arena. Amazing. Simply amazing.

I’ve noticed it takes us a little while to agree on a course of action for any number of our political issues. Once we get over the titles and labels of our political parties and organizations, I find most of us think and feel about the same way on most of those issues.

Just last night, I found myself having an evening out with burgers and fries and playing a group trivia game. It was a blast. Surrounded by very blue Democrats, I found that together we could get a lot of the answers right when we just talked it out. I felt like a small red dot in the center of a blue ocean. It was OK. Were they ever in trouble once they got me surrounded.

Our “team” didn’t win, but we learned a lot of trivia we just had to know. The whole idea was good friends and conversation, with some pretty stupid questions and little factoids we should never use again.

So in the small and noisy setting of a pub in Saugus, we played trivia and consumed some burgers and fries. No fighting. It wasn’t like those nights I used to have as a young sailor, but it was as much fun.

We’ve got some problems here in the SCV, and it is going to take each and every one of us to get them solved. I am proud to have met those folks who are trying to do some real good in our little part of the world. I really can become an Unreformed Demopublican – or is that Republicrat?

With all of the problems we’ve got, we have to learned to come together like we did before. Personally, I was on the losing side of the billboard issue, but we are all winners in that. I had a few other “wins” along the way – along with not winning a few, too. But the point is that we have to do what is necessary to make our little part of our huge state come together.

Are we up to the task? I think we are.


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, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. 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. Steven Lee says:

    Wow! People out there do care. Thanks for a great article.

  2. David Barlavi, Esq. says:

    Bipartisan grassroots power!

    : )

  3. Greg Kimura says:

    It’s amazing how things have backfired on the landfill lately.

    1. They lost their cheerleader on the VVCAC and now they must be accountable for their actions and inactions. The old President claimed to be neutral and it’s obvious she wasn’t.
    2. Their management has said some pretty bad things about the community of Val Verde, so people who would normally have stayed at home are up in arms.
    3. The fiasco at the last Dump Day event has brought even more opposition out.
    4. The people who blindly supported the Draft EIR are being called out – I know favors can be called in, but to approve something you know little to nothing about lacks judgement.
    5. Hiding information from the VVCAC and the residents has backfired. People now mistrust the management of the landfill even more.

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