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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

LaBonge renames part of Atwater Village by royal decree

There's no news like old news. Too bad nothing has changed and the councilman still insults the good people of Atwater Village with his childish insistence on using his own pet name for their community.

From FriendsofAtwaterVillage:

Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD4) Renames Section of North Atwater Village Without Community Input or Support

Councilmember Tom Labonge (CD4) has continually and deliberately ignored established City policy and has arbitrarily renamed a section of North Atwater Village as “River Glen” despite community input.

The area referred to as “River Glen" by Labonge covers Atwater Village’s northern industrial park. Unlike the rest of Atwater Village which is in CD 13, the area referred to is within CD4, Tom Labonge’s district. It lies south of San Fernando Road between Doran Street and Goodwin Avenue and borders the City of Glendale and the Los Angeles River. It is primarily industrial, with very few residences.

In early 2003 Councilmember Labonge first proposed changing the name of this section of Atwater Village to “River Glen”. The Councilmember argued that it would be appropriate to rename that area in order to give it its own identity to help in the future beautification and revitalization efforts. Interestingly enough, in the 6 years since Labonge’s proposed the name change the area has received neither any beautification or revitalization efforts. However, within the past few months, Labonge has offered to the Department of Sanitation the former site of Levitz Furniture (5375 W San Fernando Rd) to be used as a “waste (garbage) to energy” plant which doesn’t seem to fall into either the beautification or revitalization categories.

Labonge’s original proposal to rename the area received stiff opposition from residents and civic leaders who, at that time, were in the process of forming the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council and strengthening the integrity of the community’s boundaries and identity. By March 14, 2003 Labonge’s motion to rename this area to “River Glen” was withdrawn from the L.A. City Council (Council File: 02-2792) and no vote was ever taken. Consequently, this area is still named and known as “North Atwater Village” to the residents of Atwater Village.

Nevertheless, unknown to most of the Atwater Village community, Councilmember Labonge and his staff continue to this day to refer to Atwater Village’s industrial park in North Atwater as “River Glen” The references to “River Glen” can be found on the Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan and other City documents. Somehow, Labonge has managed to insert the name “River Glen” to CD4’s interactive map ( which consequently partitions Atwater Village’s industrial park and equestrian area in North Atwater Village from the reset of Atwater Village.

In light of Labonge's continued use of "River Glen" some in Atwater Village wonder what needs to be done to stop him from arbitrarily changing the name of a vital part of North Atwater and removing it from our village.