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Camelot for Valley City Name? Surely, You Joust

April 04, 2002|KARIMA A. HAYNES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Camelot? Forget about it.

And Rancho San Fernando, Mission Valley and Valley City? Some local residents say scratch them off the list of possible names for the proposed new Valley city, too.

Most say just stick with San Fernando Valley, a name synonymous with subdivisions and shopping malls.

"I'm used to calling it the San Fernando Valley," said John Kochian, 49, of Canoga Park, after grabbing a bagel and coffee Wednesday morning in Northridge. "Why change the name? Who are we kidding?"

As for Camelot, Kochian could barely contain his laughter.

"It would be great if we were successful in seceding from L.A. and the Valley becomes Camelot," he said, "but until then, let's hold off on the name change."

Hermi Spero, 73, of Northridge said Camelot, a fictional place of political and social perfection immortalized in the medieval tales of King Arthur and popularized in the Broadway musical of the same name, could never be associated with the Valley.

"We are not Camelot," said the 36-year Valley resident, while running errands. "We have a lot of problems. We have a ways to go."

Even so, Myron Watson, 22, of Van Nuys said he thought Camelot was cool.

"It would make the Valley a whole different city, a different environment. It's a cheerful name that gives off that kind of vibe," he said, sipping a smoothie.

"The Valley is already kind of like that," he added. "People here aren't grumpy, they're not uptight. I'm young and I get it."

Camelot got two thumbs down from Lan Phen, 19, of Canoga Park and Gideon Nayoan, 21, of Reseda.

"Sounds like something out of the medieval times," Nayoan said. "Do you see any dragons around here?"

Nayoan said he wants to keep the name the way it is, but if the region were to get a new name, he prefers Valley City. "It gives me a sense of community. Everyone knows everyone over here anyway."

For Phen, the name Valley City conveys cosmopolitan energy. "It represents the Valley," she said. "Everyone thinks the Valley is dull and not a fun place."

Naming the proposed new city San Fernando Valley could make for a lot of confusion with an existing Valley city.

Germain Carreno, 24, of San Fernando said he is concerned that the municipalities' monikers might get mixed up. "If they change the name at all, it should be changed to Rancho San Fernando because there are a lot of ranches out here," he said.

The Valley name game was the butt of jokes at City Hall on Wednesday.

During a debate on problems of a new Valley city, Councilman Jack Weiss quipped, "Are these the sorts of issues you would expect to arise in Camelot?"

The five proposed names were chosen by secession proponents at a meeting Tuesday night at a North Hills car dealership. More than 100 Valley residents voted for their favorites from a list of 25 names. Then, the executive board members of secession group Valley VOTE cast their ballots.

The five names now go to the state agency studying whether to put secession up for a citywide vote in November. If the issue is placed on the ballot, voters would also be asked at that time to choose their favorite from among the five names.

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