The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on September 9, 1991 · Page 270
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 270

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Monday, September 9, 1991
Page 270
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bOS ANGELES TIMES VC MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1991 B7 LOS ANGELES COUNTY Sixteen years after its founding, Mission College has a $25-million campus of its own in Sylmar. MISSION: Campus Opens Today Continued from B5 campus development committee. ' Last year's enrollment was twice! that, he noted. "We finally snowed them we were right," said Nava, who has worked at Mission since its found-, ing. ' !. Nava and other administrators' said the fast-growing population in' communities surrounding the campus, a larger number of adults, going back to college than expect-1 ed "and a cap on enrollment at Cal S-ltate Northridge and other universities were factors in the state's miscalculation. ...In addition, ' Nava said, many: CSUN students also are enrolled at Mission in general education courses unavailable to them at four-year schools because of state' budget cuts. : Potential students from the northeast Valley lacked transportation to .Valley or Pierce, and would not have gone to college had , Mission not been founded, Nava said. -. As a result of the state's reluctance to support Mission, the campus' three buildings an instruc-; tional and administrative center, a campus center , and a campus services building were planned to accommodate a student body of about 3,000. But campus officials have set up : classrooms to hold the maximum number of students, making use of 1 every available space! Science lab-, oratories double as lecture halls, and class hours are staggered to handle more students., "We could accommodate 10,000, students, but we would be filled to", ARSON: Tension Grips Project in Wake of Fire i Continued from B5 ', Luther King Jr.Drew Medical Center. Juan Zuniga, 65, was in serious condition. Fire investigators have determined that the front door of the ; apartment was doused with gasoline or another flammable liquid , and set ablaze. ; Police have described the suspects as three black men, but ; caution that the description is from interviews with family members. No arrests have been made. ; Maria Alvarez, 32, a mother of five who lives in the building next !to the torched apartment, said the arson was part of a. longstanding ' conflict between blacks and Latinos in the housing project. She said she has been beaten i twice by black youths and her .apartment broken into several ; times. "They always do this to the Mexicans. They say Watts is only for black people," said Alvarez, adding that she intends to move out of her apartment Tuesday. Look for real estate ads the brim," Fujimoto said. The campus, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, has two', multilevel buildings and one sin-' .gje-story structure, all with white walls and red-tile roofs in the' California mission style. The buildings feature many skylights, exposed-beam ceilings and courtyards. ' College officials and former stu-; dents say it is the campus itself! that has attracted more students. , "We didn't have a campus, so' Mission wasn't looked upon very favorably" by local high school students, said Vilma Lopez, a former student body president who helped recruit new students to Mission. "I had a difficult time selling Mission to students." Nava said the faculty and staff kept many students coming back. "In spite of the dreadful conditions we've had to cope with at times, the staff has managed to generate enthusiasm," he said. "I think the community has been very patient with us." Once, he said, a rented classroom was next to a bar in San Fernando and "once in awhile some little old drunk guy who'd opened the wrong door would come staggering ' in." Dirks said enrollment will skyrocket with a permanent campus. "People will begin to identify with Mission now." Fujimoto said Mission will at-1 tract more younger student's because of a change in emphasis from j nighttime to daytime classes. "It's a whole transformation in focus," he said. Night classes for working adults "They say this place is for all black people our place is downtown." Hilda Esparza, another neighbor, said she has been afraid for all of the six months she and her family have lived in Jordan Downs. "They have told us to get out because this is their place," she said. "The kids are scared too," she said in Spanish. "They saw everything and they're afraid their house will be burned too." Some black residents agree that the increasing number of Latino residents, who now make up about a fifth of the 2,500 people in Jordan Downs, have fostered bitter feelings. Rhonda Price, a 21-year-old black resident, said of her Latino neighbors! "I like them and I get along with them well, but a lot of people wish they weren't here because they feel like they're taking over." The change in Jordan Downs is part of a broader transformation that has swept Watts and South-Central Los Angeles over the past in Times Classified, Sunday's Z3HM!i RICHARD DERK Los Angeles Times who want to earn degrees will still ' be scheduled, Fujimoto added. "First and foremost, we want to serve the community," he said. 1 Mission also plans to make the 'campus center available to com-imunity groups for large social' functions. "Almost anything can be 'held here, except we won't allow alcohol," Fujimoto said. Because the college holds night classes at Granada Hills High School, Mission "already has a presence in Northridge and Grana- da Hills," Fujimoto said. , Recruiters visit San Fernando and Sylmar high schools once a month. "Now we need to look at Pacoima," Fujimoto said. A recently completed master plan calls for Mission to expand its programs each year so that by 1995, the college will offer a bigger variety of courses, and services such as counseling and job placement. The plan anticipates expanded course offerings in vocational and industrial education as well as fine! arts. It provides for the addition of intercollegiate sports, including Softball, soccer, baseball and crosscountry running teams. To accomplish its goals, Mission needs $63.7 million to pay for more v classrooms, a library, cafeteria and' other facilities, officials say. None of the millions of dollars needed for expansion were included in this year's state budget. And; with large cuts in education spending initiated by Gov. Pete Wilson,, Mission officials said it may be years before the college receives money for the improvements. decade. Once considered the heart of the largest black community in the western United States, the area has become a burgeoning center of the Latino community. Along with the bitter feelings have also come efforts to help smooth the transition in Jordan-Downs. When the fire broke out, Buenrostros said, one black neighbor, Gregory Moore, ran to help the family fight the fire. Police said Moore was shot by Juan Zuniga, but Buenrostros said he believes it was a mistake. Moore, who remained in critical condition Sunday, has often gone to the assistance of the Latino families in the nearby apartments. Early Sunday morning, one black resident walked through the project asking for donations to give to the family. Price gave $5, adding apologetically that it was all she could afford. "I really feel bad about the fire," Price said. "They were real nice people." Real Estate and Your Valley, NAMES: Experts Ponder Why Valley Communities Split Up Continued from B5 North Hills was carved from Se-pulveda. Councilman Hal Bernson approved the name change after about 86 of the homeowners signed petitions supporting it. In August, an affluent section of Van Nuys including Chandler Estates, seceded and was officially named Sherman Oaks by Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky. Residents presented deeds showing the area was part of Sherman Oaks decades ago. Two weeks later Councilman Marvin Braude approved another : section of Van Nuys for inclusion in Sherman Oaks. Also in August, Bernson allowed residents in a small section of Granada Hills to join the newly created North Hills. The predecessor of all these 'Changes is West Hills, created in 1986 at the request of a dissident group of Canoga Park residents. Councilwoman Joy Picus approved the change, but later found herself in the center of a heated debate. Shortly after winning approval, West Hills residents waged an intensive campaign to keep out their neighbors to the east, who also wanted to be a part of the new community. After much'public discussion, Picus finally agreed . to expand the West Hills boundaries to include other residents. A few Valley community leaders have accused the secessionists of .elitism and snobbery. They argue that residents should help cure the problems plaguing the communities instead of distancing themselves with a new address. But residents behind the push to redesignate Valley neighborhoods deny charges of elitism. They say . dissociating themselves from problem communities will result in increased property values and decreased automobile and homeowners insurance.. Others say the changes will restore a neighborhood name that was lost when the U.S. Postal Service created ZIP codes in the 1960s. Richard Alar-con, the Valley-area coordinator for the mayor's office, said that such changes are part of the city's history and that he does not view them as elitism. "I don't think there's any community in the Valley that wasn't called something else" at some point, he said. Some homeowners were confused because of contradictory designations and simply wanted "to know where they live," he said. In a city where there is no single agency or governmental entity responsible for defining community boundaries, confusion is commonplace. The Thomas Guide, city maps, police boundaries and postal maps often contradict each other, designating the same area with a different community name. Mike Davis, author of "City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles," notes that the Valley has undergone drastic changes in recent years and contends that those changes have fueled the drive for new names. "You have the urbanization of suburbia," Davis said. "The Valley, which was 95 white in 1950 is The Times Wraps It All Up Big enough to cover the world ... but not too big to cover your neighborhood. Friday's Your Home and Saturday's At Home. probably at least 40 Latino, black and Asian. More of a class divide is clear between the East and West Valley." The rash of new names "is an expression of upper-scale, white homeowners attempting to distinguish themselves and divide themselves from the part of the Valley which is more urban . : . and filled ' with people of color," Davis argues. Instead of physically relocating as others did in the past, Valley residents have resorted to building "nomenclature walls to erect the maximum division between themselves and lower-income communities," Davis said. Winn and Davis compared the new names to gated communities. "The upper class builds a real gate," Winn said. "In a way the name change is the middle class's gate. . . . People are tied into their 'Balkanization is the theme of the year I guess it's infected the Valley as well. It is interesting that this would happen at the same time that Europe is splitting apart.' IRA WINN CSUN professor of urban studies property because it's probably the largest single asset that they hold and they're worried." But residents in the newly named communities who expect a surge in property value because of the new name may be indulging in wishful thinking, Owen said. "You're not going to change the spots on a cat," he said! "Changing the name of a section ... is not going to change it from a mid-range to an upper-range" neighborhood. When Canoga Park residents seceded and created the community of West Hills in 1986, homeowners did see increases in property value, Owen said, but the increases stemmed from' the market conditions in 1988 and 1989 and had little to do with the new name. Owen said he has not seen any differences in market prices resulting from the recent renaming spree. "It's not having any impact, other than wreaking havoc on agents trying to show houses in the area and trying to keep up" with the changes, he said. Comedian Shelly Berman, who now lives in Ventura County, was the honorary mayor of Canoga Park when West Hills was created and remembers the clamor surrounding the issue, "Image matters," he said. "If you can call yourself West Hills wow, does that sound good. West Hills just italicizes itself in your mind." Since the creation of West Hills, each of the requested name changes has been granted without resistance from members of the council, VENTURA COUNTY EDITION Qos Angeles SKmes whose only requirement has been that campaign leaders produce petitions signed by area homeowners. The people who request name changes are usually homeowners, well-established and with a disproportionate amount of political influence, Winn said. "Politicians have more to risk by refusing' the name change than by granting it," Winn said. ( Members of the council have said the only cost involved is that incurred by the Department of Transportation, which prints and puts up street signs marking new community boundaries. Others note the hours council staff must spend validating signatures on petitions. For the Postal Service, neighborhood name changes can be costly and may actually result in a delay of mail, officials said. After the latest round of changes, postal authorities complained that members of the council were unilaterally changing community boundaries without consulting or informing the Postal Service. Because the community boundaries have not been changed on postal maps, the new names may cause confusion and slow mail delivery. Of all the recent changes, the Postal Service officially recognizes only one, North Hills. In July Bernson and U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) , went to Washington to ask the postmaster general to give North Hills a different ZIP code. Currently, the residents use a Sepulveda code. Postal officials denied the request but did agree to allow North Hills residents to use the name in their addresses. Even that concession means postal workers will have to memorize new routing procedures and computers will have to be reprogrammed. Other impacts that the new names will have on the city, if any, remain to be seen. To Alarcon, it is a harmless procedure that has no real bearing on city government or the allocation of services. "The city would provide the services no matter what the name of the community is," he said. To Davis it is an "insidious process" that stigmatizes the communities that are left behind, "which affects property values, quality of schools, and social services." Ideals of common citizenry and responsibility in the city as a whole are eroded, he said. "I'd really like to see some of the new leaders, people like Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, speak up on this question," he said. But that might take time. Name changes do not require a full vote from the City Council and a number of members outside the Valley seem unaware of the changes. Council members Ridley-Thomas, Rita Walters and Richard Ala-torre, whose districts are outside the Valley, declined to comment on the issue. In the meantime Owen has his own solution to the dilemma. "Drop all the names and just call it the Valley," he said. In Your Range! There's a home for every budget in Times real estate ads. That's why, when looking for real estate, 69 of Valley newspaper readers turn to the Times Valley Edition. So, Speed Up Your Whether you want to buy, sell or rent, the classified ads in the Times Valley Edition will help you . . . fast! VALLEY EDITION fio& Angeles SKmes For Classified Advertising, call (818) 772-3600 or (800) 933-4586 Siiuitc: IWIsurvcyurilictalley weddayrawspaper murker Davis Research Co.

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