Regarding David Rensin's observations on his hometown of Granada Hills at Native Intelligence...
I read your essay on Granada Hills on LA Observed recently, and while I think you are a gifted writer, I also think you're more than a little harsh on what remains a very livable and - perhaps as important - affordable neighborhood within the city of Los Angeles.
I, like you, grew up in the Northwest Valley and am a native Angeleno, as is my wife. We chose to buy a home and raise our children in Granada Hills because of its amenities, including one of the best public high schools in the state, parks, libraries, and close proximity to a public university. Our street is a diverse but very friendly mix of original owners, young couples, and everything in between, and is made up entirely of homeowners who are committed to our neighborhood.
My folks still live in Northridge, in a home - just east of the "racetrack" you allude to in your essay - that they have lived in since 1964, which they bought after moving out of their "old" neighborhood (Sun Valley) because of a growing family. My wife's folks live in Chatsworth, in the same home they have lived in since 1971, which they bought when they moved out of the "old" neighborhood (Atwater) because of the same reason.
In fact, when my wife and I started our family, we made a point of moving back to the San Fernando Valley from Sacramento, where I was working, because of our desire to raise our children where we had grown up. We have four children, and all four are in public LAUSD schools in the NW Valley and getting very good - and free - public educations. Likewise, I am taking advantage of the proximity and value of CSUN to earn a graduate degree while working full-time. Our children have the advantage of living in a community with established schools, libraries, parks, churches, and established youth programs, including sports, the arts, Scouts, and the like, that our peers who have moved to outer-ring suburbs must create.
Granada Hills, despite being a mature community with all the problems that entails, has an active public life, with an active Chamber, Business Improvement District, and both the Granada Hills North (Knollwood) and Granada Hills South (Old Granada Hills) neighborhood councils; GHSNC was only certified this year, and is the newest of Los Angeles' neighborhood councils. At the same time, the council and the community are doing everything we can to maintain and improve the quality of life here, including as close involvement as we can with the new public LAUSD high school proposed for the site of the old Granada Hills Community Hospital.
In short, although I certainly share some of your lament about how "our" town has changed over the past decades, the realities are that the NW Valley remains a very attractive place to live and raise children - and in this day and age, what else could any community hope for?
Member, Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council
David Rensin replies:
Thanks for the input. I love Granada Hills and Northridge. I think it's clear in the piece that I was just upset about my mother's condition --
which is what the essay was about. I know Granada Hills High School is great -- as it was when I went there. Had a bad period for a while, though. The Granada Hills Community Hospital Hospital closing is lamentable. I think it's a waste. And I've never liked shopping at Ralphs. But that said -- and despite the old orange grove north of the high school being long gone -- I think the place looks great. I love driving on Chatsworth St through the little business section. So, sorry if it seemed harsh; not intended. I didn't say paint was peeling or yards were littered. Maybe I can create some positive input in a future post.