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East Valley Focus

ARLETA : Area Signatures Collected in ZIP Code Drive

June 02, 1993|CARMEN VALENCIA

Arleta resident Terry Hendricks was skeptical at first, but nevertheless he added his name to petitions with hundreds of others asking the U. S. Postal Service to change the community's ZIP code.

"It would be great if it would lower my (car) insurance," said Hendricks, a twentysomething resident. "If (my signature) helps, fine. If it doesn't, well, that's fine too."

Members of the Arleta Chamber of Commerce are more optimistic about their block-by-block petition drive to persuade postal officials to restore 91332 as Arleta's ZIP code to enhance community identity and lower insurance rates.

"If the postal system wants to be a partner with the community, it needs to pay attention to what the community wants, particularly when it doesn't cost any money," said Hawley Smith, a chamber board member. "I hope this is enough to convince them."

The chamber is near the halfway mark of collecting the signatures of 30,000 residents after kicking off the drive a year ago. The community had its own ZIP code during the 1960s before it was changed to 91331, the same ZIP code as Pacoima, its neighbor to the east.

"We don't think there's anything wrong with Pacoima," said John Maxon, a chamber member who is coordinating the petition drive, but "we happen to be Arleta and we want to be known as Arleta."

The chamber sent a formal request to the U. S. Postal Service earlier this year. Terri Bouffiou, a postal service spokeswoman, said no decision has been made on the ZIP code change. "We are in the process of analyzing it and considering it," she said.

Chamber officials are moving forward with the drive to gather evidence that all Arleta residents are in favor of the change. Volunteers are assigned to walk one of the community's 215 blocks on a weekly basis. As of yesterday, the chamber had canvassed 102 blocks. Only 113 blocks to go.

"My goal is to finish by Christmas," said Smith, who helped chamber member Irwin Silon canvass a block at the intersection of Jouett Street and Beachy Avenue.

They left handouts at addresses where there was no answer. When they found residents at home, all readily signed. One resident, Deanna Galarza, even volunteered to circulate a petition.

"We all agreed it will probably be better to have our own ZIP," said Galarza, who has had mail misdirected because Arleta is often confused with Pacoima.

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