When one is fighting to preserve the status quo, as the residents of the Alta Vista area of Lomita are doing, anything that muddles the process of change is considered a victory.
Such a victory came this week in the form of a unanimous City Council resolution that exempts the Alta Vista neighborhood from a proposed territory transfer that would cede the area to Los Angeles.
"We are very, very happy," said Shirley Jenkins, one of the leaders of the Alta Vista neighborhood group that opposed the change. "We want to stay in the city of Lomita."
May Kill Larger Proposal
But the council's action may kill a larger proposal by Los Angeles Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores' to alleviate some of the confusion caused by the haphazard city boundaries in the area.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 26, 1987 Home Edition South Bay Part 10 Page 10 Column 3 Zones Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
A map in Thursday's South Bay section incorrectly indicated that the section of Lomita west of Western Avenue and south of Palos Verdes Drive North would be shifted to Los Angeles as part of a proposed boundary change. Under the proposal, the area would remain in Lomita.
Los Angeles's western boundary runs south from the South-Central area toward the Harbor and San Pedro using two main thoroughfares as the dividing line--Vermont Avenue to 182nd Street and then Western Avenue. But when it reaches 238th Street, the boundary takes a sudden turn toward the west for about a quarter mile before resuming a southern bent and slicing, often in a jigsaw pattern, through several neighborhoods without concern for geographical logic.
The boundary runs through the middle of some houses and businesses.
Under Flores' plan, Los Angeles's western boundary would be moved east and would run down the middle of Western Avenue as far as Rancho Palos Verdes. This would move several Los Angeles neighborhoods, about 270 homes, into Torrance and Lomita, and place a Lomita neighborhood--Alta Vista--in Los Angeles. There are about 40 homes in the Alta Vista area.
Another chunk of Lomita just south of Alta Vista would become part of Los Angeles, but it contains only a Little League field and nobody has opposed that transfer.
All Have to Agree
For Flores' proposal to take effect, all three cities have to agree to the change. After Lomita agreed Monday to accept the new territory but not give up Alta Vista, Flores maintained her stance that she will not go along with a partial change. Because the area is in her district, it is unlikely the Los Angeles City Council would consent to a change without her approval. Torrance and Los Angeles were waiting for Lomita to act before considering the proposal.
"I wish I could help them," Flores said, explaining why she will not support exempting the Alta Vista neighborhood. "But if every time we have a boundary change, especially one that is supposed to increase efficiency, and we exempt everyone that objects, you are going to wind up with more confusion than you started with."
Jenkins and her neighbors are against the change because they believe they would be lost in the big-city bureaucracy of Los Angeles and would have no contact with local government if the proposal passed.
"If you have to drive for more than 15 minutes to get to City Hall, that's not local government," Jenkins said.
The call for a change in the boundaries began as a small issue about three years ago. Linda Cline, a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, started a petition drive in her neighborhood of about 100 homes, just west of Western from 238th Street down to the Lomita city line at 246th Street, requesting that they be ceded from Los Angeles to Torrance.
Flores said if that change was going to be made, then the line should be made as uniform as possible and proposed Western Avenue as the boundary.
'Lot of Losers'
Informed that Flores is not inclined give in on the Alta Vista area, Cline said that she was disappointed because without compromise "we have a lot of losers . . ."
Saying she doesn't want to see anyone made a part of Los Angeles so her neighborhood can leave, Cline said she doesn't understand why Flores wouldn't go along with the partial change.
"A 93% change is better than no change at all," Cline said. She said that she had thought Flores' no-compromise position before the Lomita council's vote was just political posturing.
"I can't believe she's going to hold on to that position," Cline said.
Jenkins said the whole issue is a matter of the people being given the right to choose who will govern them.
"This is America, you know," Jenkins said.