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From The Signal Archives: Questionable mailers and low voter turnout

Posted: April 22, 2010 10:36 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 91 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the April 28, 1960, Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

The paper was all abuzz 50 years ago with a proposal to extend and boost property taxes to support the William S. Hart Union High School District.

According to the story, property taxes had stood at 95 cents for each $100 of assessed value for five years. But that tax rate was set to expire soon and, if voters didn’t agree to extend it, the rate would revert to 75 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The override measure called on voters to extend the higher rate six more years and boost it by an additional 15 cents.

Dropping it back to 75 cents, school district officials said, would “leave them with two school plants operating on a budget set up many years ago to support what was then a fledgling high school district.

“Such a budget today, according to Supt. Irvin Shimmin, would result in severe curtailments in the services the school now offers to the community.”

Dirty campaign mailers
The April 28 story notes that a last-minute “‘broadside’ appeared in the mail to school patrons early this week militantly in favor of the tax override and sponsored by a citizens’ committee that did not identify itself but nevertheless went all out.”

The mailer implied that the local Kiwanis Club endorsed the override proposal, which club President Ted Lamkin vehemently denied.

Poor voter turnout
If we jump ahead to the next issue of The Signal, published May 5, 1960, we learn that voters approved the tax extension by 57 percent.

The story notes voter turnout was low — “Considerably less than half the total of registered voters in the township appeared at the polls” — but took it all in stride: “This is about par for the course in local school elections.”

Unsportsmanlike rain
A spring storm dumped 1.69 inches of rain in the Santa Clarita Valley that April week in 1960, and another storm on its heels was threatening to cancel the coming weekend’s Newhall-Saugus Rodeo.

“Andy Jauregui, the stock contractor, has rounded up plenty of the toughest, cagiest critturs available to provide fresh stock for both days,” a story noted.

“The passel of Brahmas out at Andy’s place may just seem to be thinkin’ black thoughts and mean doin’s whilst they rest up for the weekend, but they had this reporter convinced.”

Some 200 cowboys were expected for the event.

A front-page column bemoaned spring storms’ affinity for the annual rodeo.

“It appears, on looking back, that the Newhall-Saugus Rodeo is an open invitation for a rainstorm to charge in from the sea and spoil the whole works,” the columnist wrote.

He recalled a few years previous, when a storm cloud hovered over the rodeo and dumped golf ball-sized hail on the arena as clear skies reigned elsewhere in the valley.

State of the art
The same column notes the impossible-to-resist temptation installed in local homes that had just converted to rotary-dial telephones.

“The little round dial with the white center and the conglomeration of numbers and letters has proved a fascinating new toy for small people,” it says.

“We just fervently hope they never pick up the phone and dial the Fiji Islands until the novelty has worn off.”

Longtime Signal publisher dies
A bulletin in the April 28 issue noted that Fred W. Trueblood Sr., publisher of The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise for 22 years, died that day at San Fernando Hospital.


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