Don’t Knock Van Nuys, Cardenas Says.


Don’t knock Van Nuys, Cardenas says

By Rick Orlov, Columnist
Updated: 03/29/2009 10:25:11 PM PDT

The group seeking to separate from Van Nuys and adopt Sherman Oaks as its name is picking up some City Council opposition because of the tone of its campaign.

Councilman Tony Cardenas, whose district abuts the area, said he is concerned with what he sees as the campaign’s derogatory tone toward Van Nuys.

“One of my constituents came to me about it and I said I would keep an open mind,” Cardenas said. “But then I went to their Web site and saw they had pictures of Van Nuys, showing it run down, and then pictures of Sherman Oaks, showing how nice everything is.

“I didn’t like that. I don’t think they have to be derogatory to Van Nuys.”

The area that wants to separate from Van Nuys is bounded by Hazeltine Avenue, Sepulveda Boulevard, Burbank Boulevard and Oxnard Street.

Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who represents the area, has not yet taken a position, nor has the matter been considered by the council’s Education and Neighborhoods Committee.

Both the Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks neighborhood councils have come out against the name change.

Residents say they are more closely associated with Sherman Oaks than Van Nuys because it is where they shop and where their children go to school.

27 thoughts on “Don’t Knock Van Nuys, Cardenas Says.

  1. Why don’t we just lose the Van Nuys all together and call all of it North Sherman Oaks? NoShO has a nice ring to it no?

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  2. Amy,

    Ummmm, Victory and Sepulveda northwest of the intersection. It’s called Midvale Estates. South of Victory is called Victory Park, most notably on Orion, a section called Cameron Woods. Look it up. Not in Lake Balboa, tree lined streets beautiful large lots with lovely maintained homes. More like Studio City than Sherman Oaks but whatever.

    I drive through your neighborhood all the time and am familiar with the streets to which you are referring. I have a friend who lives there, he wishes he had a house in my neighborhood instead. I am not suggesting that your neighborhood isn’t nice but again, wish more effort were placed in trying to improve the area as a whole instead of making the claim that the problems of Van Nuys are not yours when you are immediately adjacent to problem areas.

    If this goes through then maybe I will be 40 yards from Sherman Oaks and we can be annexed also. Then we can just keep it going across the whole valley so that we can all experience improved home values.

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  3. Is the issue really about people being upset at a neighborhood wanting to secede or is it all about Van Nuys itself — a once charming town that has gone neglected for far too long and has earned the reputation it now has?

    A series of questions for everyone:

    To the people writing funny, opinionated and strongly worded emails against this neighborhood: How many letters or emails have you written your local representative about the current condition of our city?

    To Councilman Cardenas: If you are uncomfortable with images of actual locations in Van Nuys being used to represent it, then shouldn’t you do something about it? I can go out today and take a lot more pictures that show the city in a poorer light. Sir, how often do you wander the neighborhoods?

    To Columnists Orlov and Rosenberg: Is it true that you have not interviewed anyone from the Organization wishing to succeed or even visited the neighborhoods to see what public opinion truly is? To write opinionated articles without knowing all sides of the story would have earned me a failing grade when writing high school papers. And Mister Rosenberg — in the interest of disclosure, I do live in this disputed area and I think you would be surprised to find that my street does not equal your “rich & white” mentality and the desire to increase home values.

    To anyone: One thing I don’t understand and have never seen explained is why this neighborhood is part of Wendy’s district, why are the schools and post offices that support this area part of another city? Having lived here for just 10 years (east coast transplant), I can’t recall having parts of a city being repped by a councilman from the next town over.

    To Everyone: Not sure how long you have followed Andy’s blog here, but he has been a long-term and consistent advocate for improving Van Nuys. Calling out for community improvement, taking photos of rundown slums, ugly industrial areas, small plazas that are eyesores and posting these on the blog for years. He has also consistently offered up photos and made suggestions on how changes could be made to beautify & improve things here. While I have not always agreed with him, I do respect his point of view and consistency.

    Is the issue really that a neighborhood wants to secede or is it something larger? In reading the comments on this post (and the others on this blog), I’m starting to think it’s something bigger.

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  4. Andrew — such spirited commentary you’ve inspired here.

    I also enjoy being called out by one of your Sherman Oaks-loving commentators above for purposefully not interviewing those who just can’t stomach going forward in life without their lovely neighborhood being annexed by Sherman Oaks (translated from the high-Norse, it must mean “all that is right and good”).

    As I said in my post on this wonderful controversy, the problem here is that none of these people are copping to the fact that being able to call their own little slice of heaven/hell “in Sherman Oaks,” rather than “Sherman Oaks adjacent” will mean a tidy extra sum if and when they sell.

    And if Sherman Oaks does expand, there will be a whole new set of streets that will claim the “Sherman Oaks adjacent” designation. Maybe if they get the shopping carts out of the alleys, the pickups off the front lawns and tone down the “Dixie” car horns, they, too, someday will be good enough to become part of Sherman Oaks themselves.

    Just because you feel in your heart that you live in Sherman Oaks, even though you don’t, isn’t a good enough reason to change your property’s community designation.

    What I have a problem with is the perception, true or not, that Sherman Oaks = nice neighborhood, Van Nuys = bad neighborhood.

    And I’ll venture to say what the Part of Sherman Oaks people won’t:

    The screamingly loud subtext of all this is:

    Sherman Oaks = rich and white
    Van Nuys = poor and Latino

    At some level, whether deep, shallow, buried or right on the surface, that’s what this is really about.

    If these neighborhoods are indeed good, whoever lives in them, why does that “goodness,” in whatever form it’s manifested, mean that they can’t possibly be part of Van Nuys and must be annexed into Sherman Oaks to right some tragic, cosmic wrong?

    Let’s just take this special, special area and forget about Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles and just call it Xanadu, Valhalla, Upper Utopia, Goodness, or something else befitting its specialness. Why “borrow” community quality?

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    1. Steve,

      While I can appreciate what you are saying, you are wrong. We don’t compare ourselves to other Van Nuys neighborhoods, Latino or otherwise, because we don’t border them. And trust me, there are plenty of Latino’s in our neighborhood I need both hands to count the Latino family’s I know just within a few blocks and there are three on my half-block alone. This isn’t about rich vs poor, white vs Latino and I really am offended that you would accuse us of elitism or racism when nothing could be further from the truth. Walk with me, will you? We’ll bring my crazy dog Marlowe. He’d love the excercise. We’ll walk through the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of single family homes, and then the Van Nuys/”Part of Sherman Oaks” neighborhood of single family homes, and then – we will walk through several blocks of pure industrial streets, and then several blocks of streets with mostly apartment buildings, and then eventually, we’ll come to a very small section of single family homes that is 1/2 a mile away from our furthest North point. We just want to name ourselves the community we are a part of – much like I took my husband’s name when I married him. Not taking the name doesn’t make us any less married, but taking it allows me – us – to feel more connected. We cannot have a community with Van Nuys nor share our neighborhood, because you cannot “commune” with nearly windowless industrial buildings that have no residences, concrete, steel, roll-up doors, etc. Were there single family homes immediately north of us – even if not as well maintained or otherwise, I would gladly do my part, venture north and meet my neighbors. But there aren’t – and I think you need to recognize that before passing judgement on us.

      And by the way – the only way I would go on that walk through the industrial area – is if I had a male escort and a large dog with me — consider that as well.

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    2. The name change group did not petition to name their neighborhood a new name because it makes more sense to be part of Sherman Oaks.

      Our residential area is a strip only 3 blocks deep and less than 2 miles long. From evaluating neighborhood maps and looking at Wendy Greuel’s district (we’re her only Van Nuys constituents), anyone can see that our area should have been part of the Sherman Oaks boundary change in 1992.

      Our “special, special area” (can we dispense with the snideness? I will give you all due respect, so please, the same towards us.) is not “borrow(ing) community quality”. My street lined with maple trees is much prettier than many in Sherman Oaks; we don’t have to borrow aesthetics, nor the quality of “their” community. It is the SAME COMMUNITY, acknowledged by the dozens and dozens of petition signatures that Sherman Oaks residents signed in support of this name change.

      THEY — in the Oaks — are also the friends and neighbors working with us to oppose the T-Mobile cell tower coming to north of Burbank/Kester. Haven’t seen anyone from north of Oxnard mobilizing against the tower.

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  5. Leslie-

    This blog functions as a place where all people online, worldwide, can discuss issues.

    If we were living in the pre-internet age, I would get out my trusty pencil and pad and zip down to interview key people in the Hatteras/Kester community whose quotes would then appear in an article printed on paper.
    I would then mimeograph my blog at Kinkos and pass out flyers to the neighborhood.

    But I continue to post comments that are actually written by those residents and activists who would like to rename their section of Van Nuys, “Sherman Oaks”. No reporter or news boss edits these comments. They come directly from people who feel impassioned by their views.

    And this is personal blog which I sometimes use to write about things that I care about, which also may have nothing to do with Van Nuys, and I reserve the right to print and reprint items that may come from other sources, as long as I cite those sources for all to see.

    Your “side of the story” gets a daily viewing and lots of publicity since “Here in Van Nuys” has a link to “Part of Sherman Oaks”. If it were my inclination to muzzle your views, I wouldn’t even write about your movement.

    In summation, I feel I have done a fair job of printing every comment to represent all sides of this story.

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    1. Everything reporters of the Part of Sherman Oaks issue know about the name change group has been drawn entirely from our website, or blogs in reaction to articles written about us. Not one journalist from the Daily News, or blog sites such as yours or LA Observed or others, has actually spoken with reps from the Part of Sherman Oaks movement prior to articles being written.

      If the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, and Homeowners’ Association were quoted or asked for their position on the issue, then why not give the name change group the same journalistic due process?

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    2. Andrew:

      I’ll concede that to you……….as you “blog” editorials, you don’t necessarily interview people for your articles. However, Rick Orlov is a reporter for the Daily Newspaper and he IS supposed to do his research, which twice already he has not.
      That we are living in the internet age and don’t use manual Olivettis or mimeograph machines anymore does not excuse phone-it-in journalism. There are two sides to every story. News reporters have to get both. Then they can slant accordingly before print.

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  6. I would like to ask that Mr. Hurvitz, the columnist on this blog and its administrator, talk with some of the people representing the Part of Shermna Oaks movement.

    Neither he, nor Steve Rosenberg, nor Rick Orlov who all purport to be journalists, have bothered to interview any of the residents who support this name change. Instead, we are seeing citations and copies of already printed articles, Tony Cardenas getting ornery about heresay that the name change group might be portraying Van Nuys in a “derogatory” light, lots of 3rd party accusations. And no one is bothering to talk with our group at all.

    Seems that is pretty biased reporting. If Mr. Cardenas or Messrs. Hurvitz, Rosenberg and Orlov want to get clarity on what is motivating the Part of Sherman Oaks group, why not at least pick up the phone or email us? Our contact information is on our website! Or is it that you don’t really want to hear our side of the story?

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  7. OK – I need to amend my last post because I read my notes completely wrong – and so what I posted was wrong. So please disregard the street descriptions. I drove through the neighborhood again today – and this is the layout beginning 1 street north of our proposed boundary:

    OXNARD: All Industrial (until Hazeltine where Valley Glen begins then there are homes and apartment buildings)
    AETNA: All Industrial (unitl Hazeltine where Valley Glen begins)
    BESSEMER: All Industrial and Commercial
    CALVERT: All industrial West of Kester and nearly all industrial with a scattering of a few apartment buildings East of Kester; all industrial East of Van Nuys Blvd
    DELANO: All industrial West of Kester and mostly apartment buildings and just a few single family homes and some commercial use East of Kester; industrial East of Van Nuys Blvd
    ERWIN: Aparment buildings between Sepulveda and Van Nuys Blvds, with just a few single family homes; East of Van Nuys Blvd it’s Commercial buildings and aparment buildings
    SYLVAN and FRIAR – a small section West of Kester is the only area where the steets have predominently single-family homes; East of Kester it’s apartment buildings with just a few homes; East of Van Nuys Blvd it’s commercial buildings and apartment buildings.

    So there is only a small section – the neighborhood of Sylvan and Friar between Sepulveda and Kester with predominently single-family homes. That neighborhood is no less than 1/2 mille from our neighborhood. Everything else for the first few blocks North of us is industrial and for the next few blocks is multi-residential and commercial.

    Drive thru the neighborhood and see for yourself. You could Zillow or Google Earth I suppose, but even those images don’t do it justice.

    We’re not discriminating nor are we are not asking for segregation — we are already segragated by Sepulveda to the West, Valley Glen to the East and blocks and blocks of industrial and multi-residential to the north spanning no less than 1/2 mile. However we are less than 1/10 of a mile from the single-home residences that start below Burbank Blvd.

    Until someone has driven through the area themselves and then through our neighborhood, there is no way they could make an informed opinion.

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  8. Response to tbb:

    You are absolutely wrong. It is absolutely true that there are no neighborhoods that match ours until you get to Lake Balboa or Valley Glen. I’ve driven the boundary and the neighborhoods North and South of Oxnard. From our furthest North single-family house to the first single-family house North of Oxnard (mixed in with numerous industrial buildings by the way) is 1/3 of a mile and Delano – the first street with mostly single family homes and only in one section – is 1/2 mile away. The streets between Oxnard and Victor are as follows: AETNA (all industrial and commercial), BESSEMER (nearly all industrial and commercial with just a few duplexes, triplexes, multi-unit sandwiched in between), CALVERT: some single family homes but mostly multi-unit apartment buildings, duplexes, triplexes, and a few industrial buildings, DELANO: single family homes west of Kester but large multi-unit apartment buildings and only a scattering of single-family homes East of Kester, then ERWIN, SYLVAN and FRIAR – all mostly multi-unit apartment buildings, triplexes, duplexes etc with a few scattered single family homes. Drive it yourself or look at a satellite map if you like (conveniently there is one on the http://www.partofshermanoaks.org website). You have Oxnard – all industrial until you get to Valley Glen (what a coincidence) and then another 2 (nearly three) streets that are predominantly industrial. Then all 5 streets North until Victory are predominantly multi-unit.

    If there is a neighborhood like ours anywhere in Van Nuys south of Sherman Way that is not Lake Balboa or Valley Glen – please do tell us where it is. Oh, that’s right – there isn’t.

    Lastly – if a name change isn’t going to change things in our neighborhood, than why do you oppose the change?

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  9. As a resident of the neighborhood seeking to secede from Van Nuys and become part of Sherman Oaks, I urge Councilman Tony Cardenas to revisit the http://www.partofshermanoaks.org website and reconsider his erroneous comments about our efforts.

    Councilman Cardenas accused us of intentionally posting photos that depict Van Nuys as “run down,” but failed to recognize that we did not arbitrarily choose photos to be unflattering, rather we chose to show a few of the intersections at Oxnard Blvd where we believe the most logical boundary between communities exists. If our goal were to disparage Van Nuys (which it is not), we could have chosen far more unflattering photos than the metal and concrete industrial buildings shown in our photographs. Our point is, and has always been that the previous train tracks (now the Orange line) and industrial/commercial district immediately to the North of us, followed by multi-family dwellings further North, separates and isolates us from any similar single-family residential neighborhoods with whom we could feel a sense of community. Alternately, we do feel very much a part of the neighborhood of similar homes and streets that borders us to the South. This is not and has never been about detaching from Van Nuys – just by urban landscape we are already detached. We just want to officially be a part of Sherman Oaks, a community that we are already very much a part of.

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  10. The 1992 Sherman Oaks annexation of those homes south of Burbank Blvd. occured as that area was formerly part of Sherman Oaks, and was thus returning to its former name, while this area never had such a designation.
    People in this area, along with those near Victory & Sepulveda, and other of the better parts of Van Nuys need to work on getting Tony, Wendy(or replacement), etal to clean up the nasty parts and create a very different image. Yes, it will take time, but it is certainly worth a try.

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  11. Van Nuys does have areas of blight, but as a Van Nuys resident who lives only a few block out of the contested area, I feel that the website portrays an unbalanced view of the city. The argument is made that there are no neighborhoods that match the feel of that neighborhood until one gets to Lake Balboa and this is simply not true.

    Again I wish that there were more of an effort to help improve the image of Van Nuys instead of using so much time and effort towards leaving it. Perhaps if a march on city hall were organized to bring attention to the desire to improve the blight of the area instead of the one done to promote the city name change. To claim that the problems that Van Nuys has are not present in this neighborhood is odd considering that the industrialized zone is immediately north of the area. How will changing the name of the neighborhood change this fact? Ooohhhh right, by not including it in the new area of Sherman Oaks it doesn’t really exist. I forgot. My bad.

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  12. It is unfortunate that Councilmember Cardenas was not comfortable with the unflattering photos depicting the areas of Van Nuys and is now questioning his open mindedness to the group’s proposal. These were not staged photos but rather a realistic portrayal of certain parts of the community, especially those directly north of the proposed name change area.

    We have done extensive research and based on the facts alone, we feel that this request is a reasonable one and deserves the utmost consideration from our representative Councilmembers. The fact remains this affects a very small area of only ~1800 homes.

    Mr. Cardenas, please don’t use this heartfelt request from an actively involved community as an opportunity to express your misplaced frustration. Many other neighborhoods have been allowed to change their name and we don’t want to be treated any differently.

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  13. As a resident of the neighborhood seeking to secede from Van Nuys and become part of Sherman Oaks, I urge Councilman Tony Cardenas to revisit the http://www.partofshermanoaks.org website and reconsider his erroneous comments about our efforts.

    Councilman Cardenas accused us of intentionally posting photos that depict Van Nuys as “run down,” but failed to recognize that we did not arbitrarily choose photos to be unflattering, rather we chose to show a few of the intersections at Oxnard Blvd where we believe the most logical boundary between communities exists. If our goal were to disparage Van Nuys (which it is not), we could have chosen far more unflattering photos than the metal and concrete industrial buildings shown in our photographs. Our point is, and has always been that the previous train tracks (now the Orange line) and industrial/commercial district immediately to the North of us, followed by multi-family dwellings further North, separates and isolates us from any similar single-family residential neighborhoods with whom we could feel a sense of community. Alternately, we do feel very much a part of the neighborhood of similar homes and streets that borders us to the South. This is not and has never been about detaching from Van Nuys – just by urban landscape we are already detached. We just want to officially be a part of Sherman Oaks, a community that we are already very much a part of.

    Kind regards,

    Amy F. Wolf

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  14. Regarding the concerns Councilman Cardenas has in how the community of Van Nuys is portrayed negatively compared to the proposed area which desires a change to be annexed into Sherman Oaks similarly how, in 1992 the area just south of the proposed area had been also annexed into Sherman Oaks, it would be said that the areas are correctly and justly shown. The pictures displayed on the site reveal how the industrial area, metro line, and multi-residential areas boarder the proposed area. No area south has such distinct markings encompassing the difference between the two communities. Let the community decide its own destiny as other communities have thus done.

    Vicki Watson
    Sherman Oaks resident

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  15. Councilmember Cardenas should focus his attention on the real facts – the photographs accurately depicted a run-down part of Van Nuys.
    The community members who posted these pictures were not trying to disparage Van Nuys in general, but were exposing what the area actually looks like.

    It is not fair to blame the residents who posted these pictures, or to punish a whole community by voting against the name change petition.

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    1. I must say I agree that the factual photographs of decay in Van Nuys, situations that we are well aware of, are there for the naked eye to see. Not only residents, but those slum landlords who operate these deplorable properties, should be held responsible for the bad conditions. Councilman Cardenas’ office must not take offense at the legitimate complaints of people who live in or near Van Nuys.

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  16. Why do you care if this community wants to pull out of Van Nuys?
    It has no affect on you, so why get in the way of a whole community of people?
    Your sarcasm is empty and lame.

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  17. Perhaps the people who live and shop in ‘Sherman Oaks” would be willing to sign a pledge to not cross the Northern border to buy tires, get their car repaired, eat Vietnamese, shop at Home Depot, buy plants at Green Arrow or use the Van Nuys Flyaway. If so, than I’d be willing to use my northern Target instead of theirs and let them have OSH. And you can keep Bevmo for more of your future inspiration.

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