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From The Signal Archives: Rabblerousing and the Nixon era

Posted: April 23, 2009 9:45 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 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 third week of April, 1974, The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

An era of rabblerousing
The year 1974 was part of the Scott and Ruth Newhall era at The Signal, as evidenced by the front page of the April 17 edition.

“Angry Teamsters Assail The Signal” was the front-page headline of a story that began by describing an angry group of truck drivers upset over an editorial titled “If the Big Rigs Won’t Slow Down, Throw the Bastards in Jail.”

(Just in case the readers had missed the Monday editorial, portions of it were conveniently reprinted next to the story about steamed Teamsters.)

The story about truckers’ ire ran next to a photo of a truck on its side with the driver climbing out the passenger-side as CHP officers looked on. The caption read, “Santa Clarita big rig foul up resembles Apollo splashdown.”

“They were outraged, it seems, by this newspaper’s suggestion, couched in the patois of the high road, that many truckdrivers who highball their big rigs all day and night through the Santa Clarita Valley appear in some eyes to be ‘overpaid young punk or some overaged senior punks’ who dope along the freeway lost in the fantasy they are the kings of the way,” the story read. (Gee, can’t imagine why anyone would take offense at that.)

The “news” story proceeded to defend the editorial, which was triggered by a series of truck accidents that had “endangered the lives of local residents.”

Saugus High was a gold mine — literally
“A gold mine was discovered by construction workers clearing the site for Saugus High School in Bouquet Canyon,” read another front-page story from April 17. The story naturally begged the question: “’Was there any gold left?’ asked school board member Dr. Carroll Word, a Methodist minister who lives near the site.”

Alas, geologist Jack Eagan was quoted explaining that the mine in question played out during the Depression.

 A tribute to hillbillies everywhere
“Hillbilly Spirit” was the story of some ruffled feathers between the Susan and Tony Alamo Christian Foundation and a few of its neighbors.

“Residents of Mint Canyon reacted in different ways when they were called ‘hillbillies’ by one of their neighbors. This angered some of her neighbors but it amused others,” the story reported.

“We put up a sign saying ‘Hillbilly Hills,’ said V.N. ‘Pat’ Evans. The sign went up across the top of another sign that points the direction to various homes in the area.”

Nixon’s clout waning?
In the aftermath of one of American history’s biggest scandals, the damage to the White House’s credibility was reported in “Watergate Effect: Nixon’s International Clout Seen Waning By High Officials.”

“Heretofore, the official line as laid down by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been that the U.S. government and the American people ultimately would pay some price for the Watergate scandal, but it had not damaged Nixon’s ability in international affairs,” the story said.

It goes on to state that the recent revelation of unpaid taxes “appears profoundly to have altered the diplomatic attitudes.”
With foresight the article concludes, “Nixon and Kissinger may have some diplomatic ace up their sleeve which has not yet been disclosed, but the belief here is that this is unlikely.”

Alive and armed
“Patricia Hearst in Bank Holdup” was about the bank robbery that spawned 1,000 storylines involving Hearst, an heiress to the William Randolph Hearst publishing fortune, and three other young women and a man who robbed a bank in San Francisco in broad daylight.
—Perry Smith


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