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The 818 Gets a 747

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A view of the Valley from Sherman Oaks | Photo by Dan Wuh via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Hear that sound? That's not a jetliner landing at Van Nuys Airport. Those are moans and groans about the impending new area code overlay in the San Fernando Valley.

A March 24 judicial decision recommended that the 747 overlay, which would require Valley residents to dial 1 plus the area code within the 818 or 747 area code, be implemented rather than force half of the region to switch numbers (if that happens, the West Valley so deserves to be booted from 818, suckers). It goes to the California Public Utilities Commission next week and if approved, the change will happen in the fall of 2009.

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However, nothing is final with the judge's decision. There were 30 days for the public to comment since March 24, but it seems no outreach was done to warn the public. The Daily News' investigation is probably the single biggest piece of PR the issue has received.

"I'm shocked that the PUC moved forward after there was a promise of a clear and transparent debate about what was going to be best for the San Fernando Valley," Councilwoman Wendy Greuel told the Daily News. "A hearing was held and no further action had been communicated to the public. It's disconcerting to see the PUC went to a judge without notifying the public and we are only now finding out this has occurred."

818 was created in 1984, splitting off from 213. It helped create identity in Valley areas. Then in 1997, 818 was split again, leaving Pasadena and other San Gabriel Valley cities with 626.