Altadena has myths by the shovelful. For example, legend has it, just a few years ago some real estate developers airlifted a few blocks of residential stucco and accidentally lost their load on the way to Orange County. So today we have a little bit of suburban heaven that squats and sweats at the top of Lincoln Avenue in Altadena, smashed into a hillside that once held court to bridle paths and hiking trails.
In the parlance of the suburbia of my youth, this is called a “sub-division,” large houses on small lots, celebrating a barren landscape where trees will grow eventually, but not in our lifetime.
La Vina simmers in the summer at a crest of the San Gabriel hillside, too worried about coyotes, not worried enough about wildfires. The place is gated, so only residents can complain they’ve been once around the block too often.
Another myth that’s been circulating forever says the Altadanish are too independent and proud to allow annexation by Pasadena, or even more obscurely, to allow incorporation. If we’re a proud and independent people, I’d also lay wager we’re lazy and cheap. So we remain, part of the county of Los Angeles, at the mercy of an assemblyman who doesn’t even live here.
South Pasadena incorporated near the turn of the last century, with a grand total of 500 residents. It has grown some but not much, relative to other SoCal cities, and has been able to stop freeway construction that would cut the little city in half.
I fear, in our current state, Altadena nature will lose all the big fights. On the upside, we can vote to decide whether a cell phone tower should resemble a plastic pine or a plastic palm.