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From The Signal Archives: Apartheid & needle controversy

Posted: August 27, 2009 9:11 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 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 Aug. 21 to Aug. 28, 1985, The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Supervisors put divestiture on hold
“‘A day’s delay is another day that more people go down to their deaths’ in South Africa, Bishop H.H. Brookins told the county’s Board of Supervisors.’

“But it will be at least another seven days before the board decides on whether to push for divestiture of $660 million in county pension funds from companies doing business in South Africa.”

The move was in protest of the South African Apartheid, a policy of state-sanctioned racial discrimination.

“In a press release, Supervisor Mike Antonovich said divestment would create ‘economic and social havoc on an already troubled continent.’” The board ultimately rejected the move less than a week later by a vote of 3-2.

Needle advice shot down
“‘I’ve seen the needle and the damage done,’ sang Neil Young several years (now decades) ago, referring to his generation’s involvement with drugs.

“Drug abuse remains a serious problem in 1985, but county supervisors were singing a different tune.

“They have seen a county pamphlet on needles titled, “Shooting Up and Your Health,” and they do not like the alleged damage it has done.

“Yesterday, supervisors voted to pull the pamphlet and begin an investigation into how it was published.

“Supervisor Mike Antonovich said the brochure was, ‘another example of radical liberals using taxpayers’ dollars to subsidize deviant behavior … and another example of bureaucrats going crazy.’

“The pamphlet … tells drug users how to avoid contracting AIDS and other intravenously transmitted diseases.”

The pamphlet was distributed primarily to some of the estimated (at the time) 80,000 needle-using drug addicts at county drug treatment centers as part of an educational program.

Teacher market opens
“After a 15-year glut, the market for teachers is opening up again this year. Education officials are even talking about a possible shortage of elementary schoolteachers within the next 10 years.

“In the Santa Clarita Valley, no teacher shortage is yet apparent, although Dr. Charles Helmers, assistant superintendent of the Saugus School District, said the district recruits actively as far away as New York. A report
The news was following a report that enrollment in the lower grades will increase in 1986 for the first time since 1970.

Postponed hearing and more delays
Space Ordinance Systems, a local defense contractor, has postponed for the third time a hearing before the South Coast air Quality Management District.

The hearing … was for a burn variance the firm is seeking which would allow it to burn waste at a site near Hi Vista in the Antelope Valley.

The company is under orders from the state health department to dispose of accumulated explosive wastes at both its Placerita and Mint Canyon sites, which in April totaled 50 tons.

New riches prove costly
An error made by a Valencia savings and loan association made a Saugus man $10,000 richer. And now he’s being charged with grand theft.

Home Savings & Loan didn’t realize the additional $10,000 it added on to Michael McKee’s  $109.41 balance until two months later, a period of time in which McKee allegedly went around spending some of it, hoping no one would notice.

“But, as is often the case with missing money, someone did.”
—Perry Smith


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