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Friday, February 17, 2006

Yes, The Valley is not LA

A lot of blogs have been making a lot of noise about the San Fernando Valley.

It all started when Carolyn Kellogg of LAist wondered aloud why LA Observed's Kevin Roderick rebranded his "America's Suburb" blog as a companion blog, Valley Observed. She thought that Roderick's effort was dividing the Valley from the rest of Los Angeles. But Roderick's blog is mainly an effort to take a number of years of mostly excellent content about Valley history and culture and marry it with current happenings.

Immediately other blogs jumped in, Mailander with an anti-Roderick pitch, LA Voice using the matter to rail against secession (don't remind us we lost, cause someday it will rise again), Franklin Avenue with a on target point that asks the questions about those cities, such as Glendale, that are in the Valley but not part of the City of Los Angeles. Finally, LAist came back with a contest asking how locals should best refer to their Valleyhood.

In the midst of all it, speaking as a member of a minority in Los Angeles - that is a born and raised Valley native, I just feel stronger and stronger that the San Fernando Valley is its own place. It always has been. Go back to the days when indigneous tribes established villages hundreds of years before ancient Greece even got off the ground. The fertile land surrounded by majestic mountains drew people in for eons. Its what led Charles Maclay, upon entering the Valley for the first time to delcare, "This is the garden of eden!"

Its been a long time since the Indian villages and the miles and miles of fertile land. But the Valley remains a place that is fertile in so many other ways. Its the place where dreams can be made or realized - whether its the young actor living in Studio City who gets his first series, the broker in Chatsworth who just made his first million dollars or the twentysomething Latino that quickly climbs the ladder of political power. Its where Lucy and Desi made their home when they were bigger than anything in Hollywood, where the newly famous Jackson 5 escaped the poverty of Gary, Indiana and, where the Brady Bunch lived.

Having grown up here in the 60s, 70s and 80s, I have had the chance to see the Valley go from being a mostly lilly white bedroom community to the days of the Galleria and the Valley Girl to a wonderfully diverse, vibrant and self-actualizing place, waking up to finally realize its true destiny.

Yes Virginia the Valley is not LA, not Orange County and not Santa Clarita. But, the Valley is all that and more. You can find a little of all parts Southern California , somewhere in the Valley. Whether its the Westside feel of Sherman Oaks, the growing Silverlake-Los Feliz buzz of boho NoHo, the 1950s conservative white bastion turned rapidly diverse Orange County in Burbank, the Latino politcal power of East LA taking it one better in the North Valley, or even the manicured chain store pre-planned neighborhoods of Santa Clarita replicating themselves in Porter Ranch, Northridge and Chatsworth.

Even if LA or Orange County or Santa Clarita don't understand us, its okay. This collection of about 30-40 little villages, doesn't always understand itself. What we do understand in the Valley is we like it here, we'll suffer the jokes, but we're going to make and make it big.


Blogger ubrayj02 said:

If the Valley is not L.A., then why do they get to use our LADWP water?

February 17, 2006 2:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The valley already had its chance to not be L.A. Unfortunately, City Hall fought long and hard to keep the Valley from determining its own destiny.

February 17, 2006 4:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Where does the water come from? Right down into the valley. Why do you think the valley IS part of L.A.?

February 17, 2006 5:10 PM  

Blogger ubrayj02 said:

I was being dishonest - there are two main sources of water in L.A.:

-the CA aqueduct (a state-built aqueduct that came along much later and it is run bvy the MWD)
-the Los Angeles aqueduct (which has 2 sources, is run by the LADWP, and was built in the 30's)

The L.A. aqueduct was heavily promoted by many of the City's civic leaders and private civizens (in order to issue a bond for its construction), and the owner of the L.A. Times (who was also a big landowner in the SFV). So, in that sense, "the Valley" was created out of whole cloth from a desire to turn a place with a history, and an economic base, in to a bunch of R-1 housing that a group of landowners could cash in on.

This is, of course, a cycnical perspective. I would argue that it is the case that the Valley is "not Los Angeles" only when you don't know the history of the area, and don't consider how thick the connections are between the two regions.

February 17, 2006 5:57 PM  

Blogger William Mulholland said:

The Valley is to LA what each leaf of a clover is to a shamrock: They are separate yet they are one.

February 17, 2006 6:05 PM  

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