Facts are being marshaled, and selectively cited, to support the secession of an area of Van Nuys so that it can officially call itself “Sherman Oaks”.
On a blog “Part of Sherman Oaks” you can read this:
San Fernando Valley neighbors have banded together in an effort to become officially recognized as a part of Sherman Oaks. A core group of neighbors living in the 91411 & 91401 zip codes organized themselves in order to spread the word throughout the entire community that we the neighbors residing east of Sepulveda Blvd, west of Hazeltine Ave and south of Oxnard Blvd down to Burbank Blvd are a Part Of Sherman Oaks.
Lawn signs are quite numerous now. I drove along Hatteras Street from Van Nuys Boulevard (still has that horrible name) to Kester and there are “Part of Sherman Oaks” signs planted on many lawns. It reminds me of some sort of a latter-day Anschluss, where, in 1938, Germany invaded and then absorbed neighbor Austria. The difference here is that the richer and more powerful residents of Sherman Oaks could care less if a few hundred homes in Van Nuys joined them.
What distinguishes the disputed area of Van Nuys that would make it want to go south?
I live north of Victory, near Van Nuys High School, on a street that has large homes on large lots and is home to a number of discreetly wealthy and creative people. (I only fall into the second category). But when I drive off of my street, I enter the slum of Kesterland, with its armies of men waiting on corners for work, the filthy and unkempt businesses that cannot sweep the gutters daily, badly maintained apartments that leave trash and toys all over, and lots of cars that emit smoggy exhaust. This is Van Nuys and this is what is looks and feels like on its busy boulevards. It is, yes, it is, disgusting.
And the people who keep up their homes, and don’t park their cars on their front lawns and don’t blare mariachi music when they wash their cars, they also don’t seem to shop or eat tacos or buy their shoes North of Oxnard. It seems that the neighborhood committee, which lists factual reasons why there is some sort of physical barrier separating them from the rest of Van Nuys, really think that culture and immigration should not be mentioned.
An industrial zone is not a “natural barrier”. Greater Glendale and Burbank both have industrial areas within their communities, and there has been no outcry from Hollywood Way and Magnolia to secede from the rest of Burbank. That is because Burbank has a positive connotation and “Van Nuys” does not. And when one drives through Burbank, one is transported, magically, back to the 1950s, in a city of crew cuts, American flags, and Bob’s Big Boy.
And lest one believes that mostly white homeowners are better at keeping up their properties, I invite them to come to my street where the best maintained houses are owned by natives of Guatemala and Mexico and the worst kept places are inhabited by whites. I would venture to guess, and indeed I know, that the ugliest aspects of urban decay in my neighborhood, other than tagging, involve billboards, above-ground power lines, and that endless stream of automobile traffic made possible by under investment in public transportation. The slum apartments are “managed” by those who come from east of the Meditterranean, not south of Texas.
I frankly do not think that any community group which expends its energies, not on improving its community, but rather in superficial Potemkin village, Orwellian name changing will ever achieve anything positive. The fortunes of Sherman Oaks are going down, along with the rest of the world. And there is litter on Ventura Boulevard, and criminal activities galore in the real estate, pornography and entertainment industries whose prosperity built up the great glories of Sherman Oaks.
But hell, if you think you can make a go of it, why not call yourself “North Beverly Hills”?