Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What's in a Name? or Blame Beverlywood

So, yesterday, the LA City Council approved an ordinance that allows communities in the city to change their name through a petition process. This issue is really most prevalent in the Valley where communities are always trying to set themselves apart. Almost nowhere else in the City do communities NOT use Los Angeles as their City (Brentwood, Los Feliz, and even Hollywood have "Los Angeles, CA" as their address). So, prestige isn’t the issue because, only by a few blue city signs are these new communities known - no one else recognizes them. Valley Glen has been fighting for freeway recognition for years to no avail. Caltrans even put up a sign for west/northbound 101 before the Coldwater Canyon exit saying "North Hollywood next exit" when that exit leads to Sherman Oaks, Valley Glen, Studio City, and Valley Village. Old maps, anyone? Even the MTA/Metro still list Sepulveda as a location to buy Metro Passes: old maps - for sure! And in some cases, the blue city signs conflict: northbound Fairfax is posted "Little Ethiopia" whereas the same strip southbound is posted "South Carthay." So, here, one street constitutes a City-sanctioned community. Go figure.

Now, nothing stops a community from installing custom signs like the areas around Olympic and Pico west of La Cienega like Picfair Village or Wilshire Vista? But, I guess it all starts with Beverlywood. They started it all. They have had community signs as part of their distinct neighborhood, which have fended off imposters (or, rather, abutting communities) since the 1950s.

Since 2002 when the Van Nuys community pushed for this community re-naming policy (since theoretically all parts of the City are currently named) after Lake Balboa emerged from one of the Valley's first communities, only 2 new "Blue-signed" communities have been authorize... without a true policy in place. Both are in Tom LaBonge's District: the made up communities of North Hollywood that are now Toluca Woods and Toluca Terrace. Why?

Van Nuys Nerd shares his general opinion on the topic here:

My question: did the LA City Council know what they were doing when they approved this? I'm all for Community Pride, but was Sepulveda that bad that it has been eliminated by the encouragement of community name changes? (Well, at least Metro didn't forget... or are they MTA?)

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