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From The Signal Archives: Newhall renewal and spy spoor

Posted: October 1, 2009 9:57 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the pages of the Sept. 27, 1981, Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

‘The spoor of a spy’
The lead story on that Sunday recounted how a Canyon Country resident, Larry Homenick, coordinated the search for Christopher Boyce, a 28-year-old escaped spy who was captured in Port Angeles, Washington state.

The search took 19 months and led Homenick and his U.S. Marshals to Costa Rica and back to the United States in a dramatic manhunt, the article reported.

“It was a classic confrontation between the law and the criminal, mind versus mind,” The Signal gushed in an article titled “Following the spoor of a spy.”

Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee were convicted in the 1970s of selling U.S. spy satellite secrets to the Soviet Union.
Their stories were told in a book, and then a movie, called “The Falcon and the Snowman.”

Newhall renewal ... and the beat goes on
An optimistic story that took up most of an inside page reported: “The initial phase of the downtown Newhall revitalization program is over, and the second phase is under way.”

“Area merchants will receive lowered interest loans or rebates to renovate their buildings where needed, while county funds will permit added parking and landscaping along San Fernando Road,” the article said, predicting that “parking spaces and facade changes (will) turn the street into a bright new commercial district.”

The same zone is now a redevelopment area under the guidance of the city of Santa Clarita (which didn’t exist in 1981). The road’s name is now Main Street — and revitalization continues.

Breaking up is hard to do

“Divided stands the Santa Clarita Valley by act of the state Legislature” begins a story that reported reapportionment had split the SCV between two districts in the state Senate, the Assembly, and the House of Representatives.

“Imaginary lines rip through the guts of local communities,” the article said, noting that reapportionment occurs every 10 years but adding: “This year the reapportionment crew treated the Santa Clarita Valley more like the Christmas turkey than a valley with distinct community interests.”

A companion piece reported that then-Assemblywoman Cathie Write was “furious” and “enlisting foot soldiers to bring the Democrats’ reapportionment plan to a referendum before the state electorate.”

“Mrs. Wright, a Republican Assemblywoman who lost half of this valley in the reapportionment, plans to help lead aggrieved voters in open revolt against the new law.”

Whether the open revolt worked or lines were just redrawn for the 1990 Census, the SCV is mostly unified now in Assemblyman Cameron Smyth’s and Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s districts, although two state Senate districts cover the valley.

COC board ... everybody wants in
Another story reported that 16 applicants had applied for appointment to an open seat on the College of the Canyons Board of Trustees.

COC Superintendent/President Lee Newcomer declined to identify the candidates. A companion story reported that only two people were willing to challenge COC trustee incumbents who were running to keep their seats in that year’s Nov. 3 election.

Don Benton, a graduate of the college, was challenging incumbent Carl Boyer III, and Linda Cubbage filed papers to unseat Kevin Lynch.

Benton criticized what he called lack of communication among board members.

Lynch said he should be returned to office to effect certain changes.

“I don’t like the polarization that has occurred due to collective bargaining with the teachers,” he said. “We lost some good people.”

— Lila Littlejohn

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