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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Clampitt fire

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

mug_darrylmanzer2I find it funny that when I lived in Pico Cottage, I sold my bike. Pico Canyon road going to Newhall was safe enough, but crossing Highway 99 was not any too safe. I learned that on a motorcycle in 1966.

I found out the roads up the canyon weren’t safe since there were trucks of all sizes going in and out of the canyon at all hours of the day. Plus, the road was in terrible condition. A horse was a pretty good mode of transport, but I must admit I preferred a little motorcycle called a “Tote Goat.” It was made for hills and had a large cargo rack behind the seat.

Low gears and a fairly powerful 8-hp engine took me all over the place, and I could also herd cows with it. It made a lot of noise, so I saw a lot less of the wildlife in the canyon.

I spent long hours, days and weeks of the summer tramping around the hills west of Newhall. Sometimes I was afforded a great view of our valley, and other times I stayed below the ridges to avoid the wind and dust. There was plenty to see, no matter what view I picked for the day.

As I got a little older, I was allowed to drive our 1960 Chevrolet pickup. Often I was above the ridges as the sun set and the lights of our valley started to illuminate the streets, homes and highways below.

Example of a Tote Goat.

Example of a Tote Goat.

During the years I lived in Pico Canyon, I lamented that loss of darkness. I remember being able to see the stars as the Milky Way was revealed in splendor only the Creator can provide. As the lights in the valley increased, the stars seemed to fade a bit more each time I looked. Today we can rarely see the stars from Valencia, or even Pico Canyon.

I was recently called the “old guard” since I disagree with those who oppose the agreement to remove a huge number of the billboards that blight our valley. I’m “old guard” because I don’t understand how those billboards cause “light pollution” and keep us from seeing more stars, harm wildlife, and distract divers.

Guess what? Some of us “old guard” might understand more about light pollution than any of those protestors will ever know. We watched the stars fade; now we can see them only when out far north of Lancaster. We’ve lived it.

But I cannot fault those who want to keep electronic or digital billboards from being erected. Like one of the group stated, those types of billboards are coming anyway. They are coming because the outdoor advertising industry is going to fund a huge effort to halt the agreement reached between the city of Santa Clarita, Metrolink and Metro’s contractor, Allvision.

So be it. I’m afraid all that the fight is going to get s is days and weeks of commercials on television and radio about how to vote. I’m not looking forward to that at all. Are you?

There will also be lots of “robo-calls” before the next election. Plan on lots of them to be about billboards. Hey, you might even be asked to donate to a fund to stop the agreement. Please don’t contribute. You see, those rich companies that own the big billboards are trying to call this a “grassroots” effort to stop the agreement. It might be, but that grass is being well watered and fertilized on both sides of the argument by the billboard industry. They have plenty of money without us adding to it.

Prior to the City Council voting to send the whole question to a vote of the people (something the petition listed as an option), there was a lot of mudslinging. I am sure that by the time election day comes, the mud will have been converted to a whole bunch of the stuff that comes out of the south end of northbound cows and horses.

It isn’t going to be pretty. It will smell a lot.

All because someone thought it was going to cause some light pollution in the SCV.

Folks, this member of the “old guard” knows firsthand all about light pollution, to the point that I wonder if the electronic billboards would even be bright enough to be read against the backdrop of the existing lights in the SCV, let alone the freeway headlights they’ll be up against.

“Old guard,” my foot. Why, I might just have to take out my buggy whip and show all y’all how that works. Oh, can’t do that. I need to get it repaired, and they said the factory stopped producing those things years ago.

I would if I could … as soon as the ibuprofen starts to work so I can raise my hand to crack that whip. Yes, getting old isn’t easy, but not getting older would really suck right about now.

I’d miss all the fun of the next election.

Then many of you would miss what I say in reply to your oft-misguided efforts to do whatever you want to do. Whatever it is, it must be balderdash.


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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1 Comment

  1. Day Man Day Man says:

    That bike looks like loads of fun

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