Portion of Van Nuys Annexed into Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys to Seek Cityhood, Sherman Oaks to try to Become Bel Air
Califa Street is one of the new dividing lines between the new border Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys. In this photo, the properties on the left side are Van Nuys and on the right side are Sherman Oaks.
In a vote that angered some and brought extreme joy to others, the Los Angeles City Council voted to annex a portion of Van Nuys into Sherman Oaks after residents of the affected area brought forth the idea last year. During the meeting, Don Schultz stood up announcing that he and others will seek for Van Nuys to secede from the city and that by 2011, they will celebrate their independence. There have been also rumors, albeit quite possibly jokes, that a portion of Sherman Oaks will try to annex into neighboring Bel Air.
Of the 12 members present, 10 voted to support the annexation. Councilmen Jose Huizar and Tony Cardenas opposed the motion with Councilmembers Dennis Zine and Ed Reyes not present. The seat for Council District 2 is currently unoccupied.
During the debate, Cardenas brought up the apparent race issue and how the complexion of the community was brought up various times by proponents. In an interview on KPCC, the proponents leaders explained that she used the word to describe the complexion of the neighborhood's look, not race. "I've never heard of people using that term using people," countered Cardenas, who also brought up faulty documentation including a memo from the city clerk stating that there is no city historical record of this part of Van Nuys ever being called Sherman Oaks and the application's map which contradicts the applications description of the map.
For the newest Councilmember, Paul Koretz, who represents Sherman Oaks south of Ventura, his decision rested with the overwhelmingly support from residents in the annexed area. However, he did foreshadow, perhaps unknowingly, a possible battle within his district. "This is a difficult issue to me as a resident of east Beverly Hills," he joked about his home in the Hollywood Hills. Humor or not, he could be facing neighborhoods who want to join Bel Air because of their will.
Koretz also jokingly suggested the area be named Van Oaks as sort of demilitarized zone and entered a motion--later withdrawn--to postpone the issue another six months.
Councilwoman Janice Hahn agreed that because a majority of people in the proposed area came together to support this, it should go through. Councilman Richard Alarcon agreed. "Who are we to say they can't have that name change?" he exclaimed. "If we reject this, woudl this inspire Van Nuys [to be better] somehow?"
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, being the former TV host he is, received the biggest cheers when he said "If the numbers are there and people would like to be part of one community or another, frankly that's grassroots democracy at its best. I don't want to make a big deal, so I'll support it becoming part of Sherman Oaks."
Caredenas chimes back in comparing the process to an applause contest. He hypothetically posed that the city bring everyone together into a football stadium to determine neighborhood names by how loud people could get. "I don't believe it's about the biggest applause," he said.
Indeed, a lot of applause and noise was made when the council approved the annexation. Council President Eric Garcetti had to calm the chambers and a few minutes later, the halls outside bursted into cheers and smiles. On Twitter, real estate agent Kathy Gardner happened to be the first to tweet in celebration. "My neighborhood is officially sherman oaks," she wrote under the name seasonedagent, "did someone say block party like no other!!!"
Disclosure: Zach Behrens is a member of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, who voted against the proposal. Although he sided with the council, he does agree that the new portion of Sherman Oaks needs to be included within the boundaries of the neighborhood council. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment says the new portion of Sherman Oaks will remain within the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council boundaries.