Option A: Destruction Dressed Up as a Dream Scheme.


From Oxnard north to Calvert, from Kester to Cedros, in Van Nuys, Metro Los Angeles is proposing a 33-acre light rail repair yard.

“Option A” will require the eviction, demolition and clearing of some hundred or more businesses that hug the Orange Line industrial area.

To the casual passerby, this area looks like a shabby district of old warehouses, with a sand gravel yard, a liquor store where homeless buy cans of beer, and used tires are fixed onto old cars at cheap prices. Wooden utility wires, car repair shops, and narrow Kester Street, along with a teaming population of Hispanics, affix in the elite, ruling-class imagination some place below dignity.

The real, happier, optimistic story is hidden away……

Behind the facades, technological, artistic, industrious, innovative and modern small businesses are building fine cabinetry, fashioning decorative metal hardware, restoring vintage motorbikes, making stained glass windows for churches and homes, recording music, and employing hundreds of people well-paid and well-skilled.

And they are all facing a death sentence whose judge, jury and law is Metro Los Angeles.

Pashupatina Owner Ivan Gomez
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Kristian Stroll, Owner: Bar Italia Vespa
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Ivan Gomez chatting with Kristian Storli inside Bar Italia Vespa. Both men have companies under demolition threat.
Hardware Built by Skilled Craftsmen at Pashupatina
Showcase Cabinet Owner Peter Scholz

The real estate here is cheaper, so Metro, in its billion-dollar “Measure M” wisdom, has fastened onto it, insisting that the destruction of many lives, companies and buildings will “improve” Van Nuys by permitting a site where trains from the yet-to-be-built light rail can be repaired.

Imagine 33-acres of train tracks and floodlights, fences, security personnel, closed circuit cameras, and penitentiary inspired gravel and stone paved grounds, acres of track,  sitting just steps from Van Nuys Boulevard for the next 100 years?

 

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What will result from the gutting out of yet another piece of Van Nuys? Just look at Van Nuys Boulevard and surrounding streets where every generation since the 1950s has insisted the mass clearance of homes, buildings and small structures is for the “improvement” of Van Nuys.

Widening of Victory Blvd. 1955 Tree Removal.

When the Civic Center of Van Nuys was built in the early 1960s, hundreds of homes were knocked down. Today the area is a Martian Moonscape of emptiness propped up by court buildings and occasional law enforcement.

When Victory Boulevard and Van Nuys Boulevard were widened in the early 1950s, commerce was lost, walkability and desirability were thrown away. The result is an ugly speedway of pawn shops and urine scented sidewalks.

And if some hundred businesses are cleared away just blocks from Van Nuys Boulevard to make way for a fenced in, electrified, floodlit prison yard for light rail, what positive affect will this have on the promise of revival for Van Nuys?

Simon Simonian, owner, artist at Progressive Art Stained Glass Studio
New $30,000, Swiss Made, Vertical Panel Saw at Showcase.
Newly renovated industrial headquarters of Pashupatina where fine decorative metals are fashioned for installation in homes and businesses.
Pashupatina owner Ivan Gomez presents his creations to members of the Valley Economic Alliance.
Ed Kirakosian, Peter Scholz, Annie Vatov and Ivan Gomez meet to discuss the fight to preserve their businesses from eminent domain clearance.
The pristine and light-filled interior of Pasupatina.
Skilled craftsman at work at Showcase Cabinets.
Peter Scholz, owner, Showcase Cabinets, discusses work with a craftsman.
Pashupatina, a place where pride is evident.

You can be sure that the politicians and agencies will promise the world to Van Nuys. Just as a decade ago Mayor Villaraigosa gave us “A Million Trees” and only a few years ago current Mayor Garcetti lauded “Great Streets” to further the improvement of our urban boulevards. A walk along vacant shops on treeless Victory Boulevard from Kester to Van Nuys Boulevard is evidence of these old promises.

A great city needs small businesses. A great city needs walkable streets. A great city needs to fight for the survival of unique places connected by history, places organic to the area in which they are born.

Option A is yet another death knell for Van Nuys, another scheme from the outside of Van Nuys, dreamed up by bureaucrats flush with cash, who think they know best how to build in Los Angeles.

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8 thoughts on “Option A: Destruction Dressed Up as a Dream Scheme.

  1. Oh my goodness, they wouldn’t really? There isn’t any other place to put it? My mother used to use a book bindery over there ages ago and it has always been a light industrial area, small businesses galore! Can’t it be argued that it would destroy small businesses? Count ’em up, calculate number of employees, taxes paid etc. and use that as ammo?
    I don’t live in VN any longer but it is the loss of these kinds of areas that are a stake in the heart of American industry, not something like Carrier which always outsources their jobs overseas.

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  2. Very disheartening. I hope Option A is nipped in the bud. If it becomes a reality, there is no advantage here for Van Nuys, no benefits, although the powers that be will try to push that. All the more reason for secession from L.A. to be back on the ballot again! Thank you for shining a light on these businesses. I’m familiar with this area as my childhood home was on Calvert St., by Vesper. Over a decade ago, my childhood home, the one next door, and homes behind them were torn down for ugly condos. These were nice little 1-bedroom homes with the California mission-style tile roofs, and they had been around since the 1920s. They didn’t have to be torn down, in my opinion. Driving by there only a year before they were replaced by the condos, I can say that these homes were not eyesores and had not become dilapidated. I have also been in the area more recently to visit MacLeod Ale Brewing, another fine business in this neighborhood which I make a point of trying to go to whenever my husband and I visit Van Nuys. Thank you again for telling us about these businesses which we might not have otherwise known about, and we must try to do everything we can to spread the word about this and fight Option A! i don’t even live in the Valley anymore and I still want to do what I can.

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  3. Thank you for providing visual documentation of some of the businesses, entrepreneurs, and skilled craftsmen who could be displaced if Metro selects Option A. Other arguments against Metro’s senseless proposal that I heard from business owners and members of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council include: (a) businesses located in Option-A-land would be forced to relocate outside of the City of LA so Van Nuys would lose jobs and the City would lose tax revenue; (b) many workers live close to these businesses, so families as well as businesses would be displaced; and (c) two other locations proposed by Metro would involve minor dislocation of businesses and jobs. Metro is accepting comments until October 30th regarding location of maintenance facility (if light rail option is selected) and other details of the 4 transit options proposed for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project: metronet/eastsfvtransit

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