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From The Signal Archives: A surplus and a 'goodbye'

Posted: April 10, 2009 1:38 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 4:30 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. The following is from the second week of the April 1999 Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Saving like it’s 1999
“If things go as planned, we can expect a surplus of almost $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Even better, as long as we keep the economy growing and government spending under control, we can anticipate even larger surpluses.”

The column from local Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon offered solutions to the $64,000 question: What should we do with the federal budget surplus?

McKeon’s offerings included a plan to financially guarantee Social Security for the next three generations and lower taxes.
Ah, those were the days.

“Most of us have never thought to count up to a number as high as our projected surplus of $2.6 trillion — let alone imagine what it would look like in real dollars,” McKeon wrote.

“But I can say that I am relieved that number represents our federal budget surplus instead of a deficit.”

The Congressional Budget Office projects 2009’s deficit at $1.7 trillion.

Insert Monica Lewinsky joke here

It was awfully tough to look at any form of media back in the late 1990s and not find some mention of the former White House intern who became a household name due to a scandalous affair with then-President Bill Clinton. A story in The Signal reported independent counsel Kenneth Star spent “more than $40 million on the investigation, after replacing Robert Fiske, who spent $6 million, making it the most expensive in history.”

“The General Accounting Office, congress’ auditing arm, said the cost of investigating top officials in the White House is now at $76 million.”

Conflict hits home
“Close to the Crisis” was a front-page story that talked about how a former SCV resident was becoming involved in helping refugees fleeing from Kosovo into Albania.

Robb Provost, a Master’s College alum, was working with the Lincoln Center at the time, an educational facility that offers computer skills, job training and  English lessons for embattled émigrés seeking asylum in Albania.

In a telephone interview, Provost said he helped people who were told at gunpoint, “Go to Albania, let Bill Clinton take care of you.”

A separate front-page story, “U.S. demands release of POWs,” reported America demanding the release of three soldiers who were captured by Serbian forces in the Kosovo conflict.

Menryville farewell

Mentryville, a long-forgotten link to the SCV’s brief history of wildcatting, said goodbye to its caretaker, sheriff and its only residents — all of whom happened to be a part of one family.

“(Jack) Beitzel, who has lived in and served the abandoned 3,000-acre town, which is located in Pico Canyon, with his wife Jone, and son, David, has more knowledge about it than most people in the community.

“The Beitzels, the only residents of Mentryville for the past five years, moved in to the town after the 1994 earthquake destroyed the mansion that was once owned by Alexander Mentry, the driller for whom the town was named.”

Jack Beitzel went on to recount his rise to the top of Mentryville’s power circle.

“‘We had a town meeting in the town school house and the other residents of Mentryville voted for me for sheriff,’ Jack said, and then added, ‘the other residents are my wife and son.’”

‘Jobless rate at 29-year low’
“The nation’s unemployment rate hit 4.2 percent in March — and was the lowest on record for Hispanics — despite continued job losses in manufacturing and sluggish job growth elsewhere.”

 Last month that figured reached 8.5 percent, the highsest point in 26  years.


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