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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

mug_darrylmanzer2I don’t want to write about billboards today. That subject can wait a month or so. I’m going to sit back and enjoy a summer day in our fair valley of Santa Clarita.

There was a time when I lived in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville, in the Pico Cottage. On a summer day I would saddle up a horse after I finished my chores and head out for a ride.

Sometimes I would ride along our fence lines and check for breaks in the wire. Other rides were to check on our cattle that were scattered up the canyon all the way to the wells and beyond.

I’ve been reading about the number of coyote attacks on small animals in Valencia and other parts of our valley. Them critters can adapt to just about any environment, even in and on our city streets.

For those of you who have lost a cat or dog, please remember they are a part of the food chain as far as a coyote or bobcat is concerned. Be aware at all times when you’re outside with your pets.

It was in one of those Facebook comments that I said maybe a shotgun could be used. Well, no it can’t, but it sure is tempting, isn’t it? What can be used is common sense, something that seems to be in exceedingly short supply in the SCV these days.

That gentleman named Murphy (of Murphy’s Law fame) was exhibited at City Council on Tuesday night. In this case, some folks who submitted a petition were shocked that when the council was given a choice, it picked the choice these folks didn’t really want.

So this brings us to Rule No. 1 for dealing with politicians: Anytime you give a choice to a politician, he or she will pick the choice you don’t want.

Now, I happen to like the choice the City Council made. There were a whole lot of folks angry, and one of them was asked to leave the Council Chambers. I left early and missed that action. I would have loved to see it.

Then there is Rule No. 2: Yelling at the City Council when in the council chambers is not supportive of your cause. That hand-waving rule has to go, too. It just plain looks more stupid every time I see it.

I did hear some polite applause. That is cool, I think. This isn’t the English House of Commons during “Questions of the Prime Minister,” so no need for the snide remarks that aren’t so loud after all.

One word I heard often during City Council meetings I attended in Chesapeake and Suffolk, Va., was “gadfly.” This describes someone who always has something to say on just about every subject before a City Council, but all his or her talks sound the same.

A gadfly is found in both the female and male forms. So this brings us to Rule No. 3: Trust the power of silence.

If you say nothing, folks will wonder why you are silent, and that holds a lot of power. An extension of this rule goes something like, “Better to be thought the fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” I’m convinced at least one of our City Council members violates this rule often.

So you are now prepared with some basic rules for attending council meetings besides those that are posted in the chamber. Here they are better explained:

1. Don’t give the people in the council meeting a choice, because between them and the council, everyone will make the wrong choice.

2. Don’t yell at the council when it isn’t your turn. Speaking louder does not mean they can hear you better.

3. Remain silent until you have to go into the restroom or outside to yell and scream. Use the power of silence.

I wish more people could have attended Tuesday’s meeting. Sometimes folks get just a little wrapped up in rope and other items we cannot use.

Please be kind and civil with your words and gestures is Rule No. 4.

Funny – I learned that in Castaic in about 1955.

Wear clean undies, and make the blouse or shirt you wear is clean, too. Single guys should be able to use an iron. Get the wrinkles out.

That’s about it. I really enjoyed Tuesday’s council meeting. It was a chance to see once again how special our form of government is … and all of the “special” folks who turned up there.

 

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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