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1927 - Newhall telephone exchange, est. 1900, now serves 100 phones [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Sep 14, 2015

darrylmanzer0215One of the reasons folks in the Santa Clarita Valley wanted a county or city of their own was because we saw the tax being collected and less than a third of it coming back for us in public services. We wanted to keep our tax dollars right here in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Our streets needed a lot of work, as did just about everything that was “provided” by Los Angeles County.

Just for those of you who think I didn’t know about the taxes going to the county coffers, I suggest you go read some of my old commentaries at DManzer.com. You can see I’ve been writing about the city and our county for quite some time.

I arrived in the SCV a few days after I was born. My father wanted my mother off the “hill” and took her to his folks near Fullerton. Soon I was born, and it was up to Gorman at the top of the SCV. That was mid-January of 1950.

A year later we moved to Saugus on Drayton Street. Back then it was behind the train station that is now at Heritage Junction in Hart Park. We were there until my folks bought a home in Castaic on Church Street. It was then that the county said it wouldn’t be long before Church Street would be paved.

That was in 1953 … 62 years ago. It is now a private street. Folks got tired of waiting on the county.

In 1959 we started our move to Pico Canyon and the place we now call Mentryville. We were there until 1966.

Did you note that all those years, I was from the “west side” of the SCV? I did have many years away with the Navy but I remained a voter in the SCV. Nice thing about the military, you can continue your connections back home.

There were fights about making a new county and more when it came time for the city of Santa Clarita. Just about everything was centered on the fact that our tax dollars headed south and maybe one-third came back for our use.

With the creation of the city in 1987, we saw how our taxes could pay for so much more than what we had been getting from the county. More law enforcement and fire protection. Many roads and streets fixed and improved. More parks and places for community use.

Valencia brought a lot of parks and such when it was built, but the incorporation of the city created places like Central Park and the Sports Complex. There are now miles and miles of trails and bike paths, with new one opening all the time.

So I wonder what it would look like had we not become a city. More homes on ridgelines? Open space that the city now owns would be filled with houses, or in the case of Elsmere Canyon, it might have become a landfill.

The county of Los Angeles has done a lot, but our one supervisor too often cannot respond because there are four others wanting the funds to do things elsewhere. When taxes stay in the SCV, we can do so much more. Much more has happened because the city of Santa Clarita exists.

Recently a member of the West Ranch Town Council wrote about the annexation and how it might be time to visit that idea again. The city has changed, as have the dynamics on both sides of the discussion. It isn’t that bad of an idea.

It will take some level-headed negotiations. It isn’t a “them versus us” issue. It is our valley. We have to do what is best for it.

My heart is still on the west side. The memories I have of times in Pico and Castaic are all that I have of my parents. They died not long after we moved from west of the 5.

Don’t anybody tell me I don’t know about the west side. My heart is there.

The only place we might not agree is on the best high school. Of course that is William S. Hart High. (Class of 1968 here.) And anytime someone says any other high school is better, I simply recommend they look on the name painted on the school buses. It doesn’t say Valencia, Canyon, Golden Valley, West Ranch or Saugus. The sign reads “Wm. S. Hart High School…”

That is all I can say about that.


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 atDManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].



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  1. Dan Donihue Dan Donihue says:

    The entire west side AND Castaic – including the east side of the 5, all the way up to Templin Highway – need to be annexed!

  2. Sandy Hughes says:

    No, they do not need to be annexed. As someone stated the other day, there was a vote, the people voted to remain part of LA County as unincorporated. If you want to live IN the City, then move TO the City.

  3. jim soliz says:

    Although I thoroughly enjoy reading about the old Santa Clarita that once was, I’m not so sure that I agree with the notion of the notion of the annexation of those communities West of the freeway (I 5). Annexation doesn’t necessarily benefit Santa Clarita even if does bring new revenues.
    Why? The assumption by those folks annexed will be that their taxes will be spent on them. That is a rather enormous assumption. The second assumption will be that they will be spent wisely. This second assumption will clearly be the “ugly Gorilla in the room”!

  4. DONT TRIP says:

    American greed at its finest

  5. Susie Evans says:

    I was against the city incorporation from the beginning. I did not want the Santa Clarita Valley to become a mini-San Fernando valley. My feeling then was, if the Santa Clarita Valley became a city, the county would expand the are surrounding it. Was I right? Or was I wrong? I think I was right.

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