We all know by now that the name “Van Nuys” is about as prestigious as JC Penney is to clothing. But the effort to wipe away and tear apart a community by renaming oneself “Lake Balboa”, as West Van Nuys proposes to do, is a cop out.
Driving east along Victory, from Woodley, the blight does not begin until Sepulveda. This is already “Central Van Nuys” not “West”. From this point on, the shopping carts, graffiti, Spanish signs, men on the street, and old smog emitting cars reaches a crescendo at Van Nuys Boulevard. Van Owen is blighted from Woodley east all the way to the Hollywood Freeway! But is the solution to rename every little pocket of Van Nuys and North Hollywood into inane and meaningless places such as “Lake Balboa”, “Valley Glen” and “Valley Village”? Do the social problems of a geographical region just disappear with a new name? Is genocidal Rwanda a better country than when it was called the Belgian Congo?
The more courageous plan for nomenclature is to BUILD upon the history of a place. How about “Old Van Nuys” or “Van Nuys Gardens” or “Redfordville” in honor of Robert Redford who grew up here?
Why “Lake Balboa”? I’ve seen that lake, and it ain’t a lake, but a pond with bird droppings all over. It’s not even that nice looking. It would be appropriate next to an insurance headquarters in suburban Omaha where fat secretaries could take their hourly cigarette breaks and throw their discarded butts into the water.
Is Los Angeles still so dysfunctional and provincial that we cannot work together as a community to make our city better looking? How about ripping down the ugly billboards and wooden electric poles that disfigure so much of LA?
Better yet, how about the city planner of Los Angeles unveiling a new architectural plan for Van Nuys that would make people want to live and work and dine in Van Nuys instead of speeding through?