Where Are Our Landmarks?

A new L.A. Conservancy report card (actually, an update to its 2003 survey) scolds San Gabriel Valley cities -- not only for not having ordinances to protect historical landmarks, but for not even having any landmarks to protect. While giving A's to Pasadena, South Pasadena, Long Beach and Whittier (basically, Trader Joe's towns), LAC scolded the El Montes, Monterey Parks and La Miradas as "preservation truants."

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune quotes a number of upset local officials who claim the study is inaccurate. (In fact, the LAC has already fessed up to some mistakes in its initial reporting -- such as stating that L.A. County comprises 9.9 million square miles. LAC says it had confused the county's population with its geographic size.)
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A Tribune caption under a photograph of the Santa Anita tracetrack says, "The report said Arcadia, along with every city in the Whittier and San Gabriel Valley areas, had no landmarks."

"It's a little harsh," the Trib quotes Temple City's community development manager, Joe Lambert. "Our city was mostly built in the 1950s."

Others pointed out that the area is home to the 19th-century Osmond House (El Monte), the 1920s El Encanto housing tract (Monterey Park) and the Neff Home

(La Mirada). An LAC director is quoted as dismissing these claims by noting the

preserved sites didn't receive their preservation designations from

their town's local governments.

Meanwhile, lest Angelenos begin

to feel smug about our own landmarks, it's worth an occasional look at

how outsiders see us. In today's online version of London's  Daily Telegraph,

for example, correspondent Tom Leonard laments the low quality of snow

globes that are sold to tourists in American airport shops. Leonard believes the globes are one of the ways by which a city puts on its best face. With L.A., though, it's not pretty.

"If

you had the chance to shake the globe first," Leonard writes, "you

wouldn't bother leaving the airport for Los Angeles, which has a single

red splodge that is meant to be Grauman's Chinese Theatre."


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