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Community Names and Reputations

June 14, 1991

The impression Robert A. Jones ("Playing the Game L.A. Style") leaves is one of slight impudence and roguishness, revealing his own elitism. Writing on California, Jones has the entire state from which to choose suitable, intriguing subjects. Instead he attacks a five-square-mile area, a tiny postal-zone community, failing to delve beneath and experience firsthand the intimacy of a community divided.

It is unfortunate that the main association Jones has with community names are car companies and decades.

In the pre-405 freeway days, Sepulveda was an area sans "downtown"; not one place central enough to give its residents a sense of community. Even so, the slow-paced lifestyle common in the 1940s and 1950s provided valley developers with good incentives, encouraging one-acre parcel development, giving owners a variety--farming, ranching, estate-type gardening, all on a smaller scale.

Since the 1950s, this community has taken on characteristics that can be found in most any sector of the country. Roofs do need replacing from time to time, and the industrial scents sometimes waft across the mid-Valley sky. These are not a reason, as Jones believes, to dislike a community name. Roofs are repairable and scents enjoyable.

However, between 1958 and 1963 the San Diego Freeway was built through the heart of a community. From that time to this, Sepulveda has never been the same whole community.

Perhaps West Sepulveda might have been a less controversial choice. North Hills is actually an obvious combination of Northridge and Granada Hills, the communities to the west and north. The name North Hills was the name developers chose for the area a few decades ago, expecting that the area southeast of the North Hills Shopping Center would have the same name.

North Hills is not a guise as Jones suspects, rather the rightful name that has been long overdue.

Even the shortest look at San Fernando Valley history chronicles the fact that people change and places change, too. It is neither unreasonable nor selfish, and certainly not snobbish, for a group of people to desire a community name which more readily identifies where they live.

Robert A. Jones is either far away from the San Fernando Valley or he must be very, very young to have missed all of this history.

SUSANNA SHUTZ ROBAR

North Hills

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