Welcome to Van “Sherman Oaks” Nuys

Richard Alarcon among the 10 council members who supported the name change

What was Van Nuys is now Sherman Oaks, thanks to a vote of the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday.

The community of 1,855 homes bounded by the San Diego (405) Freeway, Hazeltine Avenue, Oxnard Boulevard and Burbank Boulevard presumably will benefit from belonging to a neighborhood with some of the San Fernando Valley's most valuable homes.

The community in question is about half a square mile and accounts for 8 percent of the homes in Van Nuys, according to city officials.

Richard Alarcon was among the 10 council members who supported the name change.

"At the end of the day," he said, "it boils down to the fact that the vast majority of people who live in that area want to change their name."

"If they want it because they perceive that it will increase the value of their property, so be it. If they want it for other reasons -- like it or not -- who are we to say they can't have their name change?" Alarcon concluded.

Tony Cardenas and Jose Huizar voted against the idea. Colleagues Dennis Zine and Ed Reyes were absent.


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Cardenas suggested that his colleagues' decision was influenced by applause from hopeful residents who crowded the City Council chamber for the vote.

"Another thing that I never agreed that we should do as elected officials is just listen to the applause and then decide, well, let's go with the bigger applause," he said. "As intelligent elected officials, we should be looking at the facts, we should be reaching into meetings and hearing all the sides."

Resident Laurette Healey said she gathered about 2,000 signatures in support of the name change.

She said the community was part of Sherman Oaks until postal officials gave it a Van Nuys ZIP code in 1961. "There's a historical basis for this," Healey said.

Members of the community insisted the name change had nothing to do with racism, as had been alleged by some critics. They argued that an industrial area separates their community from the rest of Van Nuys.

Both the Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys Neighborhood Councils opposed the name change, saying Van Nuys cannot afford to lose any more communities. Lake Balboa and Valley Glen both broke away from Van Nuys years ago.

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