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If you don’t live in the San Fernando Valley, what’s annoying about it is how it’s all the same: its lack of landmarks and amenities. In contrast, if you do live in the San Fernando Valley, what’s annoying about it is all the tiny differences, such as streets constantly changing widths and sidewalks appearing and disappearing several times in a block. Apparently, every developer was given free rein to build streets and sidewalks however they thought best, and they had a lot of different opinions. If the motto of Chicago city planning is Daniel Burnham’s “Make no small plans,” the motto of Valley city planning is “Make no plans.”

 
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  1. Bernard says:

    I disagree. The most annoying thing about the Valley is the horrendous condition of its streets and sidewalks. Streets can vary in width, but everything runs a simple east-west, north south grid. Over the hill, things are more meandering, especially on the north-south streets.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  2. Apparently, every developer was given free rein to build streets and sidewalks however they thought best, and they had a lot of different opinions.

    Different sized closets too.

    Seriously, the Valley question would seem to be “who wins?” Do the Mexicans simply win out in the end. Or will Asians … just unceasingly rolling in, build up mass in any area that’s “a little nicer” and push the Mexicans out.

    I can’t really fathom how Valley real estate can be affordable to working class Mexicans. Actually working class anyone anymore. They’ll likely be some sort of correction as interest rates firm up. But that will come with inflation which keep pressure on prices. And higher rates favor the “cash buyer” types.

    • Replies: @Mike_from_SGV
    , @ATBOTL
  3. I don’t know much about the San Fernando Valley, but I continue to be amazed that the teen girl manner of speech that was established there when I was in college has since spread, and persisted for two whole generations. I can still hear those inflections, not greatly changed, in the speech of the junior-high school aged granddaughters of friends—who live three thousand miles away.

  4. @PiltdownMan

    and it has also spread to other languages

    • Replies: @runeulv
  5. We’ll always have Bob’s Big Boy.

    • Replies: @Nachum
  6. Nachum says:
    @Clifford Brown

    “Good God. He’s back!”

    “Well, in many ways, Big Boy never left, sir. He’s always offered the same high-quality meals at competitive prices.”

    “Shut up.”

    • LOL: Kyle
  7. El Dato says:

    It must have been super-cool when there was no city there. And to paraphrase Keynes, “in the long run, all sidewalks turn to dust again”.

    Meanwhile, Wakandian Black Super-Civilization Capeshit now even more annoying than nerds waving around plastic lightsabers:

    TWO New York school administrators fired… after refusing to give ‘Wakanda salutes’?

    Two Bronx school district chiefs claim that they were fired, at least partly, because they refused to participate in ‘Wakanda Forever’ salutes at meetings with other superintendents and higher-ups, according to the New York Post.

    Espinal alleged that fellow DOE administrators told her she wasn’t “black enough.” She was reportedly uncomfortable with the ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute being used at meetings because it “introduced a racial divide where there should be none.”

    A DOE spokeswoman told the Post that the department is committed to a “safe, inclusive work environment” and denies any claims of discrimination. As used by New York school officials, the ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute is a symbol “used to represent the Bronx,” not black power, she said.

    Okay.

    Can I demand people greet me with “Sieg Zeon!”?

    • Replies: @p38ace
  8. Lunatics taking over the asylum?

    • Replies: @El Dato
  9. Anon[357] • Disclaimer says:

    At least there’s Jons Marketplace.

    After the war the Valley was a heaven aspired to by returning GIs:

    This is a 1944 cover of the ending theme song from Roy Rogers’s 1943 movie, San Fernando Valley, the full version of which is available for free on YouTube. Roy’s version includes roller skates and horses.

    It seemed as if the chamber of commerce had ordered up a new civic anthem to sell wood-frame houses in “America’s suburb.” That was hardly the case. The ditty was written by Gordon Jenkins, who wrote “This is All I Ask” and arranged recordings of “When I Fall in Love,” “My Foolish Heart,” “September of My Years” and many others. On “San Fernando Valley,” he was writing a quick-money theme for a 1943 Roy Rogers western of the same title. The movie was filmed in the Valley, and while it faded quickly from memory, its song became a hit — which shocked and somewhat embarrassed Jenkins.

    “I heard him say on an old radio show that he hated the song,” said Bruce Jenkins, a journalist and the author of “Goodbye,” a biography of his father. “He thought it was complete junk, but something that might pay a few bills. Then it turned into a big hit, and as he said later, ‘You feel differently about a song once the checks start rolling in.’ “

  10. runeulv says:
    @Erik Sieven

    “and it has also spread to other languages”

    Yeah, Norwegian and Swedish started with it centuries ago.

    Using intonation helps the listeners decode the message.

    The Danes chose vocal fry to do the same, and that is found in the US as well.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  11. El Dato says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Already done. But what comes next.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
  12. El Dato says:
    @runeulv

    The Danes use “vocal fry” to help “decode the message”?

    What could that be? “I’m a pretty danish bitch deeply into the US, so you better bew~ãaa~re”?

    • Thanks: Thea, Cortes
  13. Never been to San Fernando Valley, so legitimate question: Do the streets randomly change names like some roads do back East?

    • Replies: @Rex Little
  14. Charlotte NC is the same way. No rhyme or reason to the side walks Streets change names every three or four miles. There are Two Queens Roads. It’s a mess.

  15. @PiltdownMan

    It has spread much further still, make that about 6000 miles, in the UK it is very common but mainly i would say among the middle and upper classes, most working class young have kept their distinctive accents especially in Yorkshire, Bristol and Manchester but in the richer London area most of the girls really do sound like they have just gotten off the Los Angeles flight at Heathrow. I think in America it is a similar trend, the New Yawk accent i have heard has mostly vanished from people under the age of 40 and pretty much all the young Americans i hear in London generally being wealthier WASPish types or Asian Americans have the Valley accent despite at the majority of them not coming from California.

  16. @AnotherDad

    Whoever is willing to live with 3 families per house will win in the end. I see that in the small town where I grew up: it was once anglo Mayberry, and now it’s 90% Mexican with seemingly 10 people per house in some neighborhoods, and the streets packed with parked cars.

    • Agree: Daniel H
  17. I don’t care what you say about the actual location of the Sherman Oaks Galleria, Encino is still totally bitchin’ … then there’s Tarzana … what’s not to like about a placed named after a White interloper in Africa.

  18. Hibernian says:
    @Anon

    My uncle loved this song. He went to LA for a job (computer consulting) in the late ’60s, and he and my aunt and my cousins lived in the Valley for about a year.

  19. I’ve spent a little time in the SFV, but never noticed anything un/usual.

    There’s a certain appeal to the sight of a factory, single-family home, and shopping mall all in a row along an unpaved, country road.

    Abolish zoning laws, starting with school zones (segregation).

    Or maybe you think that a kid from Thousand Oaks shouldn’t be allowed to play in Sepulveda Basin Rec.

  20. Mike Tre says:

    I went to high school at one of Steve’s high school’s cross town rivals. What I found annoying as a high school kid was that nothing was within walking distance (as I was a transplant from Chicago,)and the RTD (as it was known before they changed it to whatever it’s called now, I forget… MTA?) buses ran about once an hour. When I got my driver’s license, what I did realize was that some of the north/south street stoplights were perfectly synchronized so that it you were to actually obey the speed limit, you could make through every stop light from Plummer Ave to Ventura Blvd without stopping (moderate or less traffic, of course.) Canoga Ave. and Shoup Ave. flanked the thoroughfare Topanga Canyon Blvd, and were the best kept secrets for west valley north/south commute.

    As far as streets widening and sidewalks ending, wait till they give 30% of the street width up to bicycle lanes, if they haven’t already.

  21. p38ace says:
    @El Dato

    Jack Kirby would be proud of this. He was the white guy who create Wakanda for marvel comics.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  22. JimB says:

    If you don’t live in the San Fernando Valley, what’s annoying about it is how it’s all the same: its lack of landmarks and amenities.

    Like Oakland, there is no “there” there.

  23. Anonymous[671] • Disclaimer says:

    The ‘San Fernando Valley’,

    Isn’t that where they make all the blue movies?

    Rumor has it that the Chatsworth subsidiary of General Mills (TM), is launching a new breakfast cereal provisionally named ‘Porn Flakes’, the marketing strategy behind which is that as you pour the milk on, they go ‘Slap, Tickle and Grope’ rather than the conventional snap, crackle and pop.

    Further, amongst southern Californian RAD teenagers, it is believed that that unspeakable vulgarism euphemism ‘Chatting on the Mike’ is another oblique reference to the licentiousness of Chatsworth.

  24. Bob85 says:

    I have no opinion on The Valley, but God bless you for correctly spelling free “rein”. That almost never happens anymore.

    • Agree: Ripple Earthdevil
  25. ATBOTL says:
    @AnotherDad

    Hispanics and Asians live in more crowded conditions than whites will tolerate. If you look at satellite photos of LA, you can tell the Mexican neighborhoods. Those are the ones where every house has additions built over the front and back yards.

  26. There you have yer free market freedom trumpeted by the Rocket Scientist Libertarians. To a T.

    • Replies: @Muggles
  27. Anonymous[394] • Disclaimer says:

    This sounds like the prequel for Chinatown. Maybe this could be your screenplay debut, Steve. Seriously.

  28. Laurel Grove is just fine, thank you.

  29. @Bernard

    “I disagree.”

    The helter-skelter patchwork scheme of Valley infrastructure you describe is indeed annoying. Having lived in the Valley for several years what I find most irritating is Valley weather: hot, not so hot, warm. I left Venice and its delightful breezes and June Gloom to find cheaper digs in Burbank. My optimum climate sees night temps drop thirty to forty degrees below the daytime high. Nighttime in the Valley is soupy and humid unless the Devil Winds are blowing.

    The Valley is not the most interesting place, unless you spot Steve strutting around Studio City like a dandy with his ascot tie and silk paisley vest whilst wielding a diamond-tipped walking stick. If you want real LA cha-cha-cha you have to go over the hill: Irwin Allen’s maze of enchantment in Holmby Hills, Bob Hope’s torture house in Brentwood, Terry Melcher’s house on Cielo Drive where a bunch of hippies did something, the Pasadena mansion of Jack JPL Parsons where the Scarlet Woman was welcomed into the world, the basement of the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Hollywood in which George Hodel and his buddy Man Ray cut Elizabeth Short in half, Ray Bradbury’s bus stop in Hancock Park, the banquet kitchen in the Ambassador Hotel where RFK was killed by the CIA, and the various sites in Hollywood and Santa Monica that witnessed Burgess Meredith’s prowling and peeping spree. LA is Story Land.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @JMcG
  30. @p38ace

    Two Bronx school district chiefs claim that they were fired, at least partly, because they refused to participate in ‘Wakanda Forever’…

    Jack Kirby would be proud of this. He was the white guy who create Wakanda for marvel comics.

    Bah. It’s Lakota for “the omnipresent, invisible life force”:

    THE ‘REAL’ WAKANDA

    The real Wakanda is pretty nice. We spent the last (real) Fourth of July there. Wakanda forever!

  31. Grumpy says:

    Mr. Sailer, your post sent me to Google Maps to ponder the San Fernando Valley.

    Probably because of your coverage of the Oroville Dam spillway disintegration in 2017, my eye fell on the Encino Reservoir, and I noticed that its spillway ends in someone’s front yard on a residential street.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  32. Emo Philips on Los Angeles: “Urban planning is for sissies.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  33. @Grumpy

    William Mulholland’s reservoir in Santa Paula (?) failed in 1926, killing about 500 people downstream. He’d built an identical dam under the Hollywood sign, so if it failed it could kill tens of thousands (as depicted in the 1974 movie “Earthquake.”) So now it is buried under a vast ramp of dirt.

    • Replies: @Chris Renner
  34. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    LA is Story Land.

    Marlon Brando’s Murder Mansion is currently for sale, including a nice photo of the living room where Dag Drollett was unceremoniously dispatched from this mortal coil.

    https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/marlon-brandos-former-hollywood-hills-home-lists?utm_source=knewz

    It will be interesting if the owners get their asking price, since homes where murders occurred are a problematic challenge for the best of real estate brokers. Especially with photos on the internets recording the aftermath in that same living room:

    Here’s an Edward R Murrow interview of Brando in his seedy house of ill repute in better days. It features him humiliating his hardtack father, whom he despised, during the interview:

  35. Muggles says:
    @obwandiyag

    There you have yer free market freedom trumpeted by the Rocket Scientist Libertarians. To a T.

    While I hate to waste time responding to this usually moronic commentator, I would note that there is zero evidence anyone “libertarian” was responsible for SFV’s unusual sidewalk and street situation.

    I live in an unincorporated area of a huge county where there is no city at all in my area, hence no zoning. However all of the subdivision streets are alike and sidewalks of the normal size abound, despite many different developers over the decades.

    Sure, there is likely a county code of some kind for subdivisions, or perhaps even a state standard. Few would notice that there is no city zoning. Again, no ‘libertarians’ are identifiable as developers here either. It might surprise Mr. O here that banks and others who lend millions to developers who create subdivisions normally require extensive urban planning in these before loans are offered. Buyers expect certain amenities and standard features and lenders want to be repaid by developers.

    Ignorance is a wonderful thing for some posting here.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  36. I think this, from 1982, fits.

  37. @Anon

    For my money, this is still the most San Fernando Valley song ever:

    Incidentally, one of the skateboarders in the video – a well-known pro at the time – later went to prison for the rape and murder of a woman.

    • Replies: @Bernard
  38. Alfa158 says:
    @El Dato

    What’s next is already in progress; they loot the asylum and burn it. The real question is what’s next after the ashes have cooled.

  39. @Steve Sailer

    re “William Mulholland’s reservoir in Santa Paula (?)”

    It was on the same river that flows through Santa Paula, but upstream (past Santa Clarita according to Google Maps ).

    • Replies: @Bernard
  40. MarkinLA says:

    The differences might have to do with the development. Now the whole place is completely filled in but I remember taking my Superscope integrated amp to the Marantz facility in Chatsworth when I was in college in 1976 or so. I got off the 101 and it was nothing but farmland all the way to Chatsworth.

    It didn’t spread out from the Cahuenga Pass to the rest of the valley. It spread out from multiple points, some more suburban than others. You had large horse properties in the north (centered around neighborhoods like Sylmar and Lake View Terrace) with little to no sidewalks. The residents would not give up part of their lot to the city to get the sidewalk. Why would they with 2-3 acre lots. Most of those lots have changed hands and 10-20 residences now sit on them.

    When the multiple build-outs finally met, you had all these discontinuities.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  41. @Muggles

    Only trolls give personal information and then divert the topic.

  42. Pretty cool site that has film footage of the construction of the St. Francis dam and associated stuff on it’s history.

    https://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/stfrancis.htm

  43. Bernard says:
    @Chris Renner

    I believe the reservoir was located in Tujunga and it’s failure caused the Santa Paula river to be flooded. Most deaths occurred to the west in the towns that were directly adjacent. The river terminates in Ventura at the Pacific.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  44. In contrast, if you do live in the San Fernando Valley, what’s annoying about it is all the tiny differences, such as streets constantly changing widths and sidewalks appearing and disappearing several times in a block.

    Dubai is the same way, “the world’s tallest Florida suburb”, according to Michael Beach:

    Apparently, every developer was given free rein to build streets and sidewalks however they thought best, and they had a lot of different opinions.

    Isn’t that true of unzoned Houston as well? And of every city east of the Connecticut River? Way east– the only way Haussmann made sense of Paris was by tearing much of it down first.

  45. Fun fact: The SFV is, or at least was, the porn capital of the U.S. Something like 90% of porn is filmed there. Specifically Van Nuys.

  46. @Bernard

    San Francisquito Dam was on the north side of the San Gabriel mountains over the crest north of Tujunga. So the Santa Paul river flowed to the sea in Ventura County, whereas the Tujunga Wash on the south side of the San Gabriels flows into the LA River and into the sea in L.A. County, now near the LA / Long Beach Harbors. Up until the 1820s, the LA River, by the way, flowed west rather than south from downtown into the Pacific at what is now Marina Del Rey.

  47. JMcG says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    Man Ray killed the Black Dahlia? Tell me more please.

  48. Anonymous[334] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wade Hampton

    More Emo Philips –

    New York’s such a wonderful city. Although I was at the library today. The guys are very rude. I said, “I’d like a card.” He says, “You have to prove you’re a citizen of New York.” So I stabbed him.

    I was pulled over in Massachusetts for reckless driving. When brought before the judge, I was asked if I knew what the punishment for drunk driving in that state was. I said, “I don’t know… reelection to the Senate?”

    • Replies: @Rex Little
  49. Bernard says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    For my money, this is still the most San Fernando Valley song ever:

    For what it’s worth, if anything.

    I believe the mall where Petty is seen riding an escalator is the Westside Pavilion, which is located in West Los Angeles. It is not the Sherman Oaks Galleria, which was considered the “Valley Girl” Mecca of the late twentieth century.

  50. @Redneck farmer

    Never been to San Fernando Valley, so legitimate question: Do the streets randomly change names like some roads do back East?

    No, kind of the opposite. A street will end at a T intersection, with a housing development or shopping center on the other side. A block or two away, it will start up again, on the same grid line with the same name. The street might have the same name running from one end of the Valley to the other, but ten different disconnected pieces.

  51. @Anonymous

    I was pulled over in Massachusetts for reckless driving.

    Say what? Isn’t reckless driving mandatory there?

  52. MEH 0910 says:

    OT:

  53. MEH 0910 says:

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  54. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

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