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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 23
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Feb 8, 2016
On the horizon: The Yuba City Buttes

darrylmanzer0215Up here in Yuba City, I decided to have lunch at a Sonic Drive-In. I’d forgotten just how those many years I lived in Virginia and Kentucky had affected me. When asked if I wanted “sweet or un-sweet” tea, I almost couldn’t believe my ears.

I nearly checked my GPS to make sure I was north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I know I am, but that simple question, “sweet or un-sweet?” brought back so many memories – good and bad.

Did you know that just north of Yuba City, there is an extinct volcano? Sits right in the middle of the valley between the Sierras and the Coast Mountains. It is about 50 miles south of the Siskiyous. Sometimes called the smallest mountain range in the world, it is actually known as the Yuba City Buttes today. For a time, it was known as the Marysville Buttes.

The little hills rise slightly over 2,000 feet above the floor of the Central Valley and extend about five miles from the center in all directions. The last eruption is estimated to have occurred about 1.4 million years ago. Before this current trip, I never knew that piece of geography existed. Just some neat information.

I see the anti-City Council folks are back out, stirring up trouble again. This time it is new lies about the proposed theater, parking garage and apartment complex in “Old Town” Newhall. They have a lot more to say, but fortunately few are listening. These are the same folks who blocked the billboard deal because they could have gotten a better deal. We’re still waiting to see that better deal.

Folks, try saying good things about Santa Clarita sometime. That would be so refreshing.

The same folks helped extend the council meeting the night the new Senior Center and YMCA was voted on. They all agreed it should be built but had to express “concerns” for an extra 80 minutes. The vote was 5-0, if memory serves correctly. Speaking to hear themselves while a couple of busloads of seniors waited for the council vote. Hope they don’t try the same BS with the proposed theater.

I’ve already heard rumors they would like to start a petition to halt the theater development. Didn’t we elect the City Council to make these decisions? Let’s let them do the job we elected them to do. If we don’t like it, we can elect someone else.

Speaking of government positions, don’t you find it strange that only one member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is from the Central Valley? The newest members are from areas far outside the places affected by the rail line. Places like Long Beach. Now, I’ll bet that person really has the best interests of the affected folks in mind. Don’t you? I’d volunteer for the job, but I respect myself too much.

Another little piece of information that just gets to me. The city of Santa Clarita can afford the parking structure for downtown. It is needed badly. The city is operating within a budget and has zero unfunded liabilities. Meanwhile, our formerly great state of California has over $400 billion in unfunded liabilities and is building a railroad. Seems somewhat strange to me. What don’t our elected folks who travel to Sacramento understand about balancing a budget? Don’t answer that, because you know the answer already. They know nothing about a balanced budget.

There are some new lawsuits concerning the railway, too. One is to stop it because the plaintiffs say the funding isn’t in place before construction started. They may have a point there. The courts shall figure that out, I hope.

Do we need our state to build a railroad? Shouldn’t that be a private industry job? How are we going to pay for it? Private industry has yet to sign on as specified by the law we all voted for. Those investors want to see some profitability first. Right now the only profits being made are by the companies hired to try and sell the concept. I don’t think they are winning any sales contests.

I’m confident the city of Santa Clarita can manage to build a parking structure and get us a movie theater in downtown Newhall. I’m sure if the City Council of Santa Clarita had authority over the high-speed rail, it would get done properly and within budget.

Considering the board of directors for the California High Speed Rail Authority, they might decide to route the train around the Yuba City Buttes before heading the tracks south. No – I think they would want to tunnel through that littlest mountain range. And install some electronic billboards, too. Once through those hills, they would then circle around and find even more farms, homes, factories and historic landmarks to run through.

The more track they lay, the more money the husband of our U.S. senator can make. Now it all comes together, doesn’t 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].

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  1. Denny says:

    Darryl, I agree with you that if the high speed railroad is such a great idea, private industry would be leaping at the opportunity to be involved. While you seem to be against expending public funds to construct a “train to nowhere”, you don’t appear to have the same concern for expending public funds to support the private business of Laemmle Theaters. Santa Claritians have no issue with the construction of a theater in Newhall to sate the desires of moviegoers. Their concern is that the public should not be financially responsible for the entertainment of these folks. It’s hard to determine why seemingly politically conservative members of the Santa Clarita city council would vote to spend public funds for private personal pleasures.

    • SCVNews.com says:

      Hi Denny, Leon here. That would be like saying the investment they made in the Hyatt Conference Center 20+ years ago (~2MM) was to subsidize wedding parties. As they’ve done with many, many, many private businesses – not only in Newhall – they’re doing it to spur additional private investment. There’s is no precedent here. You could argue that what there is, is a “put up or shut up.” The council voted to have a theater on this city-owned property. The city will have to pick up part of the tab to get what it wants. Just like it does when it buys open space? How many times have we heard people say, “You want it? Buy it.”

    • SCVNews.com says:

      (Leon again) Denny – “public should not be financially responsible for the entertainment of these folks” — I say the roughly $1MM in public dollars that we’ve put into the Canyon Theatre ($400,000 in one chunk, various other contributions along the way) was a good investment.

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