A ridge is defined as a small, narrow hilltop. It is also one half of Kester Ridge, our growing neighborhood Facebook group that seeks to build a consensus on improving Van Nuys radiating from Victory/Sepulveda.
We gathered, about 20 of us, last night, at my neighbor’s house. The participants are homeowners, of all ages, all white. A few had just moved in, fixed up their houses, told stories of planting grass seed instead of sod, soliciting HGTV for a kitchen remodel.
Quite a few are “looking for work”, “between jobs”, “working from home”, all the tender euphemisms for the unemployed.
At home, all day, in the Valley heat, they bear witness to the pathologies of the area, the small illegalities: discarded food wrappers, pot smoking kids in cars, taggers, barking dogs, dog shit.
A block captain, a longtime resident here, spoke of walking her beat, her conversations with LAPD SLO Rich DeMauro, the calls about prostitution, the whores who walk up and down, the johns who pick them up, the discarded condoms.
The whore talk took up most of the time, an issue as endemic and real to Van Nuys as Botox is to Beverly Hills.
We talked about the slum mall at 14851 Victory at Kester, a commercial property of seven thriving businesses whose trash has piled up on the side of the street for years. A $10 broom would cure this cancer.
The trash pickers, the ones who go through recyclables and rip open bags, they also were decried. It is illegal to steal from the blue recycle bin, but in modern California, tolerance, not statute is law.
We spoke of the wig and costumed prostitutes who go around in their cars and change into new outfits to escape arrest.
A real life crime story too…
A new homeowner had captured, in his driveway, a man in a pick up truck, loading up a stolen whole house air-conditioning condenser. The victim grabbed onto the driver, holding his neck, but the thief escaped and drove off, was later arrested and is now paying off his theft.
Overall, looking at these respectable, articulate, thoughtful, nice neighbors, so at odds with the image of Van Nuys, one yearns for a real government of real laws, responsive to constituents, a government intolerant of the small illegalities.
All anyone wants is a quiet, peaceful, safe, sane place to live.