(Ed Note: Something on the lighter side for a Friday—Zocalo Public Square asked for essays supporting different parts of the city where retiring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa might move after he leaves the designated home for the city’s mayor. My contribution boosting Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley is republished below. Interestingly, of the few essays Zocalo decided to publish, two other authors have ties to state politics, John Hrabe, an editor for FlashReport who talks about micro living as ideal for the former mayor and Clay Russell who boosts downtown L.A. and was Gov. Schwarzenegger’s aide for most of his years in Sacramento. All the essays are available at Zocalo.)
Mayor Villaraigosa, you just must consider Granada Hills in the northern San Fernando Valley as your new home.
Frankly, Granada Hills can boast what no other section of L.A. can: Granada Hills is in the same league as Disneyland. History confirms this point. When Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was denied a visit to Disneyland in 1959, the place American officials sent him to tour instead was a modern American neighborhood in Granada Hills! You can look it up.
Now let’s consider the two biggest issues you struggled with as mayor: public safety and school reform.
Public safety, first. Look at the Los Angeles Police Department’s crime map. The Granada Hills area has many fewer of those troubling icons showing criminal activity than most parts of the city.
And you can bet we’ll stay safe, because the new Los Angeles County district attorney lives in the neighborhood.
As for education, Granada Hills Charter High School is annually competing in, and often winning, state and national academic decathlon awards.
While there have been no Charlie Sheen sightings around here that I’m aware of, your movie and TV friends like the place. There is always filming going on here. Jimmy Cagney even owned a ranch in the hills, although the only remembrances are a street named after him and a relatively new housing project named Aliso Canyon at Cagney Ranch.
Still, this place has been touched by Hollywood. Just ask E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, who lifted his buddy, Elliott, and his friends on their bicycles off the ground while riding down White Oak Avenue in GH. Yes sir, Mr. Mayor, Granada Hills is a magical place.
However, I suppose it is only fair to warn you that a few rattlesnakes live in the hills up here. Of course, after a lifetime in politics, you’ll know how to handle them.