WOW! This has really been an interesting year. I’ve sort of summarized the highlights of it through the front page pictures from 10 issues of The Paper published during 2016.
This past year has had something for everyone and I mean everyone. We had one of the most tumultuous neighborhood council elections in the history of Sunland-Tujunga. Where we were once lucky to have a few hundred people show up, we had thousands. We had our town snitch and her buddy (who is now running for a city office) turn in one of the candidates to try and upset the election.
We had a group of Armenians that had great hopes of working together as a “slate” and being able to undo the nearly criminal actions of the previous council members. But that failed for a lot of reasons, the least of which was their complete arrogance and disdain for the community. But what the heck; anything would be better than what we had before.
One of our better-known dogwalkers got with the then-president and stormed Councilmember Fuentes’ office and called him names. It may have been a little bit brash, but then again, no one ever said that she was smart. As that wonderful sage Bill Murray chanted in the movie Meatballs, “IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!” And when you look back at everything that has happened here in the past decade, NOTHING really matters in the long run.
We can measure our successes by our failures. We got kicked out of our own city hall. We found that the neighborhood council books really had been cooked. We lost our most dedicated city liaison, Ed Rock. We cooked up a deal with the chamber of commerce to pay them more rent than they paid to their landlord, and for a measly 80 square feet of office space. Committees were set up to figure out what to do with the homeless. And nearly every committee member did something to feather their own nest — and they failed.
Yup, the machine screwed the pooch. And of course that means you, the stake holders of SunlandTujunga, got really screwed.
Then things started changing. We survived some major wildfires and in so doing, helped out our neighbors while suffering from the effects of smoke, ashes and dust. It was iffy for a while, but we survived the worst — and it made us better for it.
On the bright side of town, we finally got a commitment from the Mission Community College to move into the Commerce Center. We started developing Commerce Avenue and finally getting in more businesses than were leaving. We got two absolutely beautiful murals painted in town that everyone can enjoy. The old DVD store finally began to get remodeled so that a federally funded comprehensive health care group could move in. The community got together and started doing street clean-ups that got people participating and actually talking about things in a positive way. One of the crappiest liquor stores in town was sold and the new owners completely remodeled the inside with plans to clean up the outside.
Yes, boys and girls, things look like they are on the up-turn. And you can probably sit back and say, “It’s the water!”