At least we agree on the date *

creditIt was thiry-five years ago today that the bedrock buckled beneath the San Gabriel Mountains, unleashing what became the Sylmar earthquake. In all that time, people still can't agree on the magnitude or the number of deaths. Today's Times goes with 6.7 and 61 dead; the Daily News counters with 6.5 and 58 dead. The Southern California Earthquake Data Center is sticking with 6.6 magnitude and 65 deaths. I'm with them. Clocks hauled out of the trashed Olive View hospital in Sylmar leave no disagreement about the hour that everyone in the Valley and much of the Los Angeles basin woke up that morning: 6:01.

LogoI go into the quake's effects a bit more over at The Valley Observed, which is the new incarnation of my website about the San Fernando Valley. It went online in 2002 as a companion site to my book, with pages on history and lore, the Valley's mixed image and even a compilation of quips and jokes. This week I reloaded the pages into a blog format, which means everything is now searchable and I can update more easily. Valley lore is still the focus, but I'll also be posting some news and culture items and observing the rising number of blogs that emanate over the hill from the rest of Los Angeles. Consider it the first cousin of LA Observed—the first addition to a growing family.

As I say over there:

The San Fernando Valley has no American counterpart. Encircled by five ranges of mountains and hills, the basin could hold all of San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. combined. The population of 1.7 million is more people than live in a dozen states. Most are formally citizens of Los Angeles, but they are separated by geography, climate and tradition from the metropolis over the hill. Mostly they like it that way.

Lesser Los Angeles is how author Stephen Randall described the Valley. But it has a story all its own that dates back two centuries. Vaqueros, outlaws and battling armies are part of the lore, as are Lucy and Desi, Gable and Lombard and Marilyn Monroe. It's the birthplace of Valley Girls, the subtext for Chinatown and Boogie Nights, the home turf of Disney, ABC, Universal, Warner Bros. and most of the country's porn. The Valley today is the multi-cultural melting pot for Los Angeles—and growing all the time. Well worth a website, I'm sure you'll agree.

* Did you feel it? (11 am) Robert Niles points out a peril of automatic news feeds.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Quakes stories on LA Observed:
5 things: Double politics, fake quake news, bike lane rage
Lucy Jones is retiring from USGS and quakes
Our big tsunami will come direct from Alaska
No, there is *not* a 99.9% chance of an LA earthquake
Seattle's Really Big One will be bigger than SoCal's Big One
Lucy Jones watches 'San Andreas' so you don't have to
LA firefighters and dogs return from Nepal (video)
LA firefighters help rescue boy alive from Nepal rubble


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