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1963 - Leona Cox Community School breaks ground in Canyon Country [story]
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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Aug 18, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieRetirement and term limits are going to be making our part of Los Angeles County a little more interesting for the next two years. Soon we won’t have Howard “Buck” McKeon, and not long after Mr. Antonovich will term out. We may never be the same.

But the real loss is someone never elected, save for the Hart School Board. Connie Worden-Roberts was a founder of Santa Clarita who, for all the years she volunteered, placed the SCV above herself. That is the huge loss we’ll suffer without her.

Next Saturday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m., there will be a funeral service for her at Eternal Valley. I would suspect that the roads she fought for are going to be filled to capacity with folks wanting to attend. I’ll be in that traffic jam gladly.

We may never know all she did for our valley. I’m sure that without her working for us, we’ll soon find out that her shoes cannot be filled by anyone.

As much as she loved to work on transportation issues, I’m left to wonder what she would have thought about the California high-speed train in the SCV. I think she knew about it, but I can bet she would be pounding on tables and making endless phone calls to folks she knows so the trains stay out of our valley. Like the Santa Clarita City Council, she would be telling Sacramento to turn the train at Palmdale and run it straight to Burbank.

She would also be turning up the heat a bit to save our roads from increased trash-truck traffic. All that time and money spent to make good roads, and now someone wants to double the trash-truck traffic. She wouldn’t like that at all, I’m sure.

Connie Worden-Roberts (in red - always in red) at a ribbon cutting for the cross-valley connector in 2010.

Connie Worden-Roberts (in red – always in red) at a ribbon cutting for the cross-valley connector in 2010.

She often fought for the underdog on an issue. Efforts to form Canyon County were a cause she would have liked to see completed. Efforts to disenfranchise the citizens of Val Verde during the current dump expansion proposal would may also have been something she’d have loved to fight. You see, Connie seldom, well, never backed away from a political fight. She loved them. Only folks who fought with her had the feeling they should thank her for every battle she won.

So is there anyone that can pick up where she left off? Someone behind the scenes, yet known to get a job done; a goal accomplished; roads built – and do it all with an infectious smile and ready handshake or even a hug?

Again, we don’t know if she can be replaced. I doubt it. Our valley will have to get along without her.

But she taught a lot of us how to accomplish the impossible. Folks said the city of Santa Clarita couldn’t be formed. Well, here it is. We will have to take what she taught us and continue her legacy. For us not to use that would be almost criminal.

You know, every time I drive over Railroad Avenue on what I call the Wiley Canyon Road overpass, I think of Connie Worden-Roberts. Same goes for the cross-valley connector and Newhall Ranch Road and all of those other streets that can be said to exist because she willed them into being.

I have the feeling she may be helping to build some new roads paved in gold this time. She’ll make sure that when we follow, we can know she is waiting.

Thank you, Connie. Time for you to rest as we continue to serve the valley you so loved. Please put in a good word for us. Some of us may need it. Our prayers are for you and your family. God blessed us with you, and now we have to pray to thank God for you.

Until we once again say hello to you, know that you are loved by an entire population of a little valley in California called Santa Clarita. God bless.

 

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 and his commentaries are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Kennedy says:

    Well said,Darryl!

  2. Mike Lebecki Mike Lebecki says:

    I was there for the ribbon cutting:)

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