El Crappo

Running along the west side of Sepulveda Boulevard, from Haynes to Lemay Streets, is a traffic median, allegedly planted with trees, but mostly serving as a local dump for household refuse, a refuge for old couches, toys, luggage, mattresses, beer bottles, etc.

Nearby are new, gleaming, white paneled developments, including the rental apartments at IMT 6500, “with easy access to golf courses, tennis courts, jogging, bike paths and boating on the Balboa Lake.” With lush photographs and bucolic descriptions, one might mistake this online fantasy as Zurich, Switzerland.

Ugly before the pandemic, hideous now, it seems that the many unfortunate events of the last year will provide a generation of politician’s excuses for the deplorable environment Angelenos endure. Add in the presence of thousands of homeless, the daily fires in Balboa Park, the rancid smell of sewage, global warming, ever present violence, property crime, speeding cars and crashes, fireworks and pipe bombs,  and you have a drama that surpasses the worst conjurations of Hell.

But do not judge this district from the worst examples. There are lovely places nearby.

Just one block from here, at 15351 Haynes St. a home recently sold for almost two million dollars. 

On nearby Orion Avenue, a studio set neighborhood of picket fences, rose bushes and white houses earns many residents tens of thousands of dollars each month for commercial filming. And some of these glorious residences, worth millions, many inherited, pay less than $2,500 a year in property tax.

But few who live in the privileged homes venture out at night to stroll past Jiffy Lube, Dunn Edwards or Jack in the Box. And nobody has a picnic on the median. The pleasant events all happen behind tinted windows, in air-conditioned homes and vehicles, there is no pretty nature other than the yards dressed up for commercials.

And there is never any connection between the public, civic realities of life in Van Nuys and the private dreamscape of those fortunate enough to own a piece of paradise.

You end up in a mansion or dumped along the road.  Roll the dice.

Some Rain Shots

Blight Around the Block

It would be wonderful, as some readers advocate, to report on more happy local events, such as smiling families, freshly painted houses, award winning rose gardens and the best pho in Van Nuys. I could spread joy talking about the opening of a new Hawaiian BBQ on Sepulveda across from LA Fitness. Maybe there is a new car wash to praise.

But the urgent business of blight calls me to blog.

We live in a unique time in Los Angeles, one that features a continuing garbage festival of debris that comes, like an incurable virus, upon our neighborhoods, and stays for weeks and months, maybe even years, a homeless caravan of disorder which our city council, our mayor and other elected officials are powerless to stop.

Reader Wendy Hernandez-Zepeda lives near the Big Lots store on Wynadotte St. and Sepulveda Blvd. and she sent me some photos of the shopping carts, the garbage, and the illegal dumping that blights her neighborhood.

“Hi there! Can you help? We have been dealing with this for more than a year,” she wrote.

She sent me these ugly photographs, ugly not because she is a bad photographer, but ugly for what they contain, and the degree to which they depict how our city has fallen under Mayor Garcetti (“Garbageciti”), a smiling hologram of political correctness, who seems to be visiting another city and another country every month of the year, and regularly trots out his 23 and Me diversity by claiming to be made of the same genetic ingredients as the five top ethnic voting blocks in Los Angeles.

I told Ms. Hernandez-Zepeda to report this to that app, My LA 311, and she explained that she has, but nothing has been done to correct the garbage festival on her community sidewalk.

My take on the homeless issue is that tolerance of it creates more of it.

When you allow, by law, using public sidewalks and public parks and public ways for the unlawful and unsanitary life of vagrancy, you send a message, broadcast around the world, to come to Los Angeles and camp out.

How is it that the lawless make the laws and the law abiding must accept that? There is not one valid or moral or medical excuse for human beings sleeping in alleys, on bus benches, and wandering the streets pushing shopping baskets.

Yes, it’s painfully true that housing is expensive, but it does not explain why the city of Los Angeles and the State of California have not jumped into emergency mode and created sanitary, safe, abundant housing for people who are temporarily displaced.

What we have, instead, is weak and pathetic leadership which panders to disorder, decay and barbarism, and refuses to use all power to end this continuing monstrosity of un-civilization going on all around Los Angeles.

There is nothing I can tell Ms. Hernandez-Zepeda other than voting for someone who is not Eric Garcetti in the next election.

Along Sepulveda.


Sepulveda Blvd. n. of Sherman Way