They held a Van Nuys Community Council meeting last night at the Marvin Braude Center. And I went.
I had last attended one of these back in 2008, when there was discussion about Christmas decorations, prostitution, graffiti, traffic, working with Tony Cardenas’ office, plans for more buses on Van Nuys Boulevard and the frustrations of homeowners who place calls to the LAPD about trash, derelicts, discarded couches, illegal garage sales, and discarded condoms on their front lawns but get no response.
In 2008, there was no Facebook or website for the Van Nuys Community Council so nobody who did not attend a meeting in person would know anything about what was happening. That was still true last night.
In 2008, representatives of the “civic” organizations, non-profits, churches, police, all made presentations and proposals at the Van Nuys Community Council in front of many men who sat behind a long table and behind their laptops. That was still true last night.
All the 2008 issues were topics of the September 2012 VNCC.
At last night’s meeting, board member Jon Hendry was eloquent. He spoke, wearily but wisely, of historic preservation, the idea that Van Nuys, established 1911, might have worthy structures to save, that there was still a battle against wanton destruction, as witnessed by the bulldozing of the 1925 First Lutheran Church on Vesper and Kittridge. He spoke of Here in Van Nuys, this blog and this writer who posts essays and photographs of our widely maligned district. He seemed to be crying out to the disinterested and the disenfranchised, saying, please, please, help Van Nuys.
As I listened, I was fantasizing about Van Nuys, the place I wish it were.
It would be a city that would have its own mayor and its own police force, a place where the law was enforced, where illegal anything was illegal and subject to arrest.
It would have a new centerpiece of trees, shade trees, planted down Victory Boulevard and down the center of Van Nuys Boulevard from Roscoe to Burbank Boulevard. It would have new decorative lampposts and a center busway or streetcar.
It would have fines for illegal couch dumping, red light running, speeding, illegal handicap placards on cars, illegal drinking in parked cars by minors. It would fine businesses that operate without licenses, people who hold “garage” sales on the sidewalk or on the side of the supermarket every single weekend. It would insure that clean, honest, respectful commerce and behavior was not swamped by the mania and madness of down low criminality.
Because without law, we have no civilization. We become Benghazi or Tripoli or Baghdad or Somalia, a place where only thugs and mobs rule.
Maybe we aren’t there yet, but we are getting there fast.
So I attended a Van Nuys Community Council meeting last night…
Other than Mr. Hendry’s profundity, 2012 was just like 2008. Only one thing had changed for Van Nuys.
Four years had come and gone.