Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Altadena

I'm off the blog grid for another week, but wanted to share something.



On my way home, I stopped for a coke and met these two cowboys. Walmart plans to set up shop in my town, across the street from here, and so far, I've been Switzerland about it all.



This scene takes place on one of the three main thoroughfares in Altadena.



Where else can you go, within 10 miles of Los Angeles, and share a parking lot with a quarter horse. Nowhere, that's where.



If we don't pay attention, just look the other way for a moment or two, this could be lost and gone forever.

47 comments:

  1. Back in 1986 when we moved to S.C., you still could find horses going down Newhall ... Stables were still in residential areas and kids would ride horses down the back roads.. no longer, gone are the days of the shot gun attached to the back of the cab of a pick up... gone are the simple quiet roads.. Early 90's is when 'white flight' happened because the schools in the Valley were deteriorating...

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  2. Freaking Walmart??!! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that neighborhood is doomed. It makes me so sad....and angry. Walmart obliterates the meaning of "neighborhood."

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  3. How cool to see cowboys in your town. I really like the first photo; I hope it's not the last time you'll see a scene like this. If Walmart were neighborly they'd hire locals to set up a feed store and horse wash.

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  4. Amazing. I wouldn't have guessed Altadena.

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  5. I'm developing quite the dislike for all things Walmart, I have to say. And, much to my dismay, I think that's going to be the "best" place in my new home to get what I need, without driving 4 hours round trip to the next big city. Ack.

    These horse are absolutely beautiful and the saddle! Gorgeous.

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  6. dear switzerland,

    our meat markets sell different boys than the ones you guys have there.

    the selection at walmart is so much worse, but easier on the pocketbook.

    xxa

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  7. That's worth protecting, for sure.

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  8. I think we can't be neutral about our home. This affects more than Altadena, it affects Pasadena, too. And Terri is right.

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  9. here's an article i wrote about the Walmart in Altadena situation that's a good place to get updated quickly: http://pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/updated_something_wal_mart_this_way_comes/11351/

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  10. Thanks Justin. But I personally don't think Walmart is the heart of the problem. You can't have empty, bombed-out buildings on Lincoln, and say that this nothing is better than something, anything. I love the rural character of Altadena, but these vacant lots, half-built building -- how is that a viable alternative to a chain store. How is that rural?

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  11. And all this energy to keep Walmart out, where was all that energy before, when we could have put something else in. And I include myself in this -- where is the energy to do something with the gulag on the corner of Lincoln and Altadena -- god knows what might come home to roost there. Let's come up with ideas for the vacant buildings and lots while they are still vacant.

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  12. Well said, Karin. Where there is opportunity, opportunists come to snatch it.

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  13. Dear Former Swiss Miss:
    This is a fine photo essay. I love it.

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  14. Definitely well said Karin...WalMart is not the ideal solution...but who else was willing to take it on? One thing that I find surprising and actually quite disconcerting since my move up here is the amount of abandoned buildings on highway 395 that have just been left to ruin...and in Bishop...there are whole strip malls that have been empty and decaying for years. Here I understand it in the sense that this is a rural community and can't sustain a lot of business...but Altadena is a vibrant area...and I can't help but think the majority of the Altadena issues would be dramatically different if Altadena was it's own city/township rather than continuing to be an unincorporated part of LA county...

    that said...WoW!!! Love the cowboys, horses and what a beautiful saddle!!!! And I love the idea of a horse wash!!!

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  15. Petrea's most correct. These folks travel down Lincoln, cross the border, and come to stores in Pasadena. They are smart riders and their horses are comfortable with people and traffic.

    I could wish that folks would have been energized earlier, but they weren't. I'm glad they are now.

    I've not seen bombed out buildings, but I have seen stores who provided services to a part of the community that has dwindled in number. I also think that the number of folks who provide a service that needs a storefront has decreased in number and there hasn't been a hearty plan in place to figure out how to use the buildings.

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  17. I meant that a WalMart in Altadena affects Pasadena, and I expect a negative effect. Sorry I wasn't clear.

    People with little money are forced to shop where things are cheapest. They can't care about quality, they have to care about getting by to the next paycheck. WalMart gets that. You can ask people to be community-minded and they'll do what they can, but their pocketbooks will come first.

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  18. Without the cowboys, the scenery just wouldn't be the same. Walmart needs to install hitching posts. And hire manure removal specialists.

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  19. I hate to say it but if Walmart moves in it will be gone, forever. I have seen small town middle America become extinct when Walmart moves into town or even close to it. Sad.

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  20. Wonderful post. It would be a shame to see Altadena life change. Here's hoping that doesn't happen.

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  21. I see from the comments on Altadena Patch that the guy on the horse is quite a character, Karin. And if you like tooled leather saddles, take a look at the ones on show at Hansen Dam on a Sunday. Lots of bling!

    I doubt a small, convenience-store-sized Wal-Mart will put a blight on the neighborhood. Has Fresh and Easy, who have put similar-sized stores in underserved neighborhoods, had that effect? The big supermarkets in Britain have now opened smaller stores on city streets close to where people actually live. We can now get fresh produce, bread, and milk on foot, bike, horse, or skateboard without having to drive to a large store. It's totally changed the way I shop. Before these neighborhood stores sprung up, I'd stock up once a week at the out of town superstore and forget to eat half of it. Now I can do a small shop for fresh food each day and save on gas and parking hassles. If people walk to a store, they'll have time to stop at a nearby cafe, or an ice-cream store, gift shop, or ethnic deli. Wouldn't it be nice if shops like this sprung up in the area?

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  22. Interesting post and comments. It is all very hard.

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  23. Just amazing, Karin, to see two cowboys and their beautiful horses on one of the three main street in Altadena.

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  24. An amazing scene I wouldn't expect to see there. Boise's a lot smaller and we don't see that here, either.

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  25. KBF, When we lived in Fullerton in the late 60's, I would see kids ride their horses on the street, stop at the store, and get a pop. My heart ached, because they were so cool, so much cooler than I'd ever be.

    Terri, Anne, Roberta, and Daisy, I think Walmart in this case is a rash and not the disease. Rubbing it out (if that's possible) won't really change, solve things.

    Katie & Marje: There are old hitching posts in Altadena, if you look for them.

    Jean, Altadena changes character, street to street. But two neighborhood horses walk on mine from time to time.

    Carolynn -- yeah, I was all agog about that saddle.

    Amy, yes, that's the thing. Love, Switzerland.

    Banjo, Petrea --worth protecting, but how. I guess that's the problem. But I know why I moved to Altadena, and it was for reasons other than the horses and rurburbia. It's contrary, just like me. And argues constantly.

    Des, thanks.

    & Chieftess, I really think incorporation is the best solution. But that's kind of huge for a town that never agrees on anything.

    Sonia -- aren't they lovely? And what gentlemen they were. And their horses -- perfectly behaved. Vandy would have been spinning.

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  27. Are you freakin kidding me? A Wal Mart here where you can trot up and get take out on your pony? No way.
    V

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  28. It depends on the size of the Wallymart but if it's a big 'un it will be bad. I've seen some small towns where a large WM moved in and they simply collapsed.

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  29. La Canada incorporated as a town in 1976. Before that they were an unincorporated community like Altadena. There needs to be a cause that mobilizes the community to come together. In La Canada it was over schools. They were part of the Pasadena School District and they wanted to get away from the bussing issue so they incorporated so they could keep their schools separate.

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  30. Any shop with horses outside would get my custom. I hope Walmart doesn't set aside an area for watering horses to woo the locals away from this quaint establishment.

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  31. Beautiful photos, Karin. And you're right. What's the point of keeping Walmart out to protect Altadena's blight? I definitely need to be more engaged on this issue, especially after reading Justin's article. A second Walmart on Lake? Yikes.

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  32. I agree with you, Karin. They are lovely and their horses just perfectly behaved, "encilhados" or "arreados" in Portuguese.

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  33. Yeah, Karin, I so see what you're saying, about WalMart being more a symptom than the disease itself. Maybe a small store wouldn't be as awful as people are worried about, I don't know. It's the big one on Lake that terrifies me.

    And dbdubya has me thinking--maybe this is the issue around which Altadena can unite.

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  34. It saddens me to think of what we lose when we allow enormous chains to pave over what's left of what makes our communities unique. The Walmart near our house replaced a bucolic old farm, and within three years of its arrival, the entire area had become overrun with asphalt. Sad on so many levels.

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  35. It's not exactly dark as My Hometown but is there a "My Altadena" around?
    Or, do your writing abilities transfer over to writing songs?

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  36. Did I miss something??? Another WalMart is going in on Lake??? I'm assuming this would be a big one...where on Lake???

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  37. The pictures and your words say it all. Amen sister!

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  38. I never would have imagined this so close to LA.
    Giddy-up!

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  39. It will be like New York, lost and gone forever...

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  40. I know where you can get a saddle just like that

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  41. so silvery the saddle sweet Swissy

    sounds like a song lyric


    and WM will be so happy to have a red carpet 710 wider, bigger, badder heading straight for them from the port and all. Haw.

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  42. Oh my god, can you imagine? The 710 freeway to Walmart. Pasadena will be just like Van Nuys.

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  43. wow....cowboys for real....that is vey cool!!

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  44. Your week is up. Do they do this in Brooklyn?

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  45. One more week on the road. A girl's gotta eat.

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  46. Very thought-provoking reflections, Karin. You're right - I don't know of anywhere else within a 10 mile radius of LA where you can share a parking lot with a horse. I've only done that before in Norco over here in Riverside County. Pretty cool.

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  47. I hope it doesn't happen! I like the fact that horses can be seen in your town. I live in an area where horses are Walmart and Costco all seem to just get along. I have to admit though, I've never seen a horse hitched up outside of Walmart...

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