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Just Call It a Cop-Out

Yet another neighborhood wants the easy way out. Rather than work with their neighbors to solve the problems of their community, a group of Van Nuys residents wants to pull out and rename their enclave Lake Balboa. Name changes are nothing new in the San Fernando Valley as tired residents seek refuge from rising crime and a declining sense of neighborliness.

But it’s a little like slapping a fresh coat of paint on a house with a damaged foundation. Nice as the place may look from the curb, real problems remain. As melodious as the name Lake Balboa may sound, it does little to create a sense of true community. True community comes only when neighbors engage--rather than withdraw from--the city around them.

Residents have a right to call themselves whatever they want. But when one group changes its name to disassociate themselves from the rest, that’s the exact opposite of what a community or a neighborhood is all about. Yes, the Valley has serious problems. They will only grow worse, though, if residents back away from responsibility and retreat into their newly named havens. Eventually, even those blocks with new names will share in the very scourges they chose to ignore rather than fight.

Residents who want to feel proud of their community should take responsibility for it.

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