The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday asked postal authorities to remove a final impediment blocking a bid by residents of the 80-block Chandler Estates community to be fully recognized as part of Sherman Oaks, not Van Nuys.
But some council members also questioned the wisdom of the name-change fever that swept the San Fernando Valley last year--leaving parts of North Hollywood re-christened as Valley Village and erasing Sepulveda from the map in favor of North Hills.
It was amid this name-change epidemic that 2,000 residents of the Chandler Estates area last August successfully petitioned Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky to have the name of their community changed from Van Nuys to Sherman Oaks.
But there has been a glitch in the transition. The U.S. Postal Service has not been efficiently delivering mail to residents of the Chandler Estates area, who now have Sherman Oaks addresses but remain saddled with a Van Nuys ZIP code, Yaroslavsky said.
On Wednesday, the council approved a Yaroslavsky proposal to ask the postal officials to grant the Chandler Estates residents a Sherman Oaks ZIP code to end the confusion.
Yaroslavsky represents the area that lies between Sepulveda Boulevard on the west, Tujunga Wash on the east, Burbank Boulevard on the north and Magnolia Boulevard on the south.
But Councilman Mike Hernandez, who represents a heavily Latino inner-city district, questioned whether the name-change phenomenon "helps make us be one city."
Councilman Ernani Bernardi, who represents the northeast Valley, also complained that the point of the name changing was to "separate the elite from the not-so-elite."
In fact, critics of the trend say, several of the community name-change movements have been motivated by a desire by the secessionists to improve their property values by disassociating themselves from a less-favored community.
Bernardi said the name changes only "Balkanize" the city.
But Yaroslavsky defended the name and ZIP code change for the Chandler Estates area, saying this community was historically part of Sherman Oaks.
The councilman said his office has resisted attempts by other constituents to rename their communities when the sole purpose has been to enhance property values. "This is historically justified, or we wouldn't have done it," Yaroslavsky said.
Yaroslavsky's motion was finally approved 13 to 1, with Hernandez the lone dissenter.