Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Piece of Mind: Finding good in the bad and ugly

Little did Neal Peterson know that if he pressed Pasadena to clean up the weeds adjacent to his La Cañada yard that workers might come close to torching his house instead, but these things happen.

While Peterson and the rest of us plug along doing the best we can to live good and honorable lives, holding doors open for strangers while scanning the ground for lucky pennies, a certain amount of unpleasantness is sure to come our way. And I say this as a woman who worships at the altar of optimism.


Let’s examine the good in Peterson’s situation and the bounty that is ours in La Cañada in general on this summer’s day. There are a host of reasons to be glad in our hearts this week, not all of them related to the fire:

•A nice swath of the 8-foot-tall, dried-out weeds in Peterson’s yard, which once posed a threat to his entire neighborhood, essentially disappeared when workers using metal weed whackers sparked the fire Tuesday. And, perhaps chagrined, the same crews were sent out yesterday to continue their work. If you didn’t hear any sirens in the upper Crown/Starlight Crest area last night, I think that particular weed-abatement project is nicely on its way to being resolved and, despite the fact they almost made toast of Peterson’s property, we’re all safer than we were on Monday.


•That worry out of our minds, we can rejoice that City Manager Mark Alexander and his department heads aren’t the sort who would drop what they’re doing here and apply for positions with the city of Bell, the land of milk and honey for those public “servants” who feel it’s OK to pillage the city’s bank account in order to pad theirs.

•As a Bruin I’m not happy about this, but Alexander and his fellow USC supporters are probably in a prolonged group hug over the announcement that Pat Haden, a paragon of virtue, will be the new athletic director at their beloved school. A dispiriting number of La Cañadans are members of this jolly fraternity, so just to show what a classy person I can be, I’m willing to acknowledge this is decidedly good news for many locals who probably weren’t too excited about the Heisman Trophy recall.

•Trees are starting to reappear in Plaza de La Cañada! I will be among those counting to make sure that the 29 that came out for this so far ho-hum project will be replaced by the promised 60 specimens, but I remain ever-hopeful we will not be disappointed.

•A house on our lovely street of mostly modest homes just listed for nearly $1.8 million. Cool. We hope there’s a bidding war and it sells above asking price so our property values can start crawling out of the cellar they tumbled into a couple of years back. It is a truly beautiful house (the seller’s, not ours), and I think you should tell all your friends who don’t live here in paradise all about it. Mention the good schools and throw in a word or two about the charming neighbors.


It’s all good. Really. For now.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the Valley Sun. E-mail her at