Long live Clark Avenue

Dear Editor:The Patriot's article on the renaming of Clark Avenue stated that 46 properties participated in a survey on the subject, that 18 supported the change, and that such constituted a 62 percent favorable vote. ("Clark Avenue is Renamed," 10/23/09) This would seem to indicate that there was some influence in the presentation, because even a fifth grader would recognize such as extremely fuzzy mathematics, since 18 out of 46 is only 39 percent. If any similar calculations were made in the engineering and construction of any locally-built spacecraft, then we would not be celebrating any success. We all need to hope that the Learning Center inspires local students to present better evaluations. Astute citizens are left to ponder how deeply much fuzziness pervades other matters and who reports the counts. However the math is of less consequence because, as Eric Pierce so aptly noted, the wrong people (the owners) were surveyed rather than those most impacted (the occupants and residences) by the change. The Council, as a supposedly "representative government", skipped those who should have been represented the most. The hollow suggestion that the City might have an "outreach program" to assist with the impact, is an empty, minimalistic, and extremely short-sighted value. The City Council cannot magically have all of the necessary changes accomplished with a stroke of its gavel. Beyond the post office forms, the much greater problem will come with the need to notify all of the personal and commercial contacts of every resident and business, like checking/credit card/mortgage accounts, friends and family, entire Christmas card and contact lists, business and personal stationery, commercial/professional listings and licenses, auto-registration and drivers licenses. Many of these come with an associated fee. These will need to include many oft-forgotten seldom-recalled contacts, like overdue refunds, alumni association, newspaper/magazine subscriptions, religious/fraternal/social-club memberships, water/electric/gas/telephone/cable/satellite/cellular-phone/Internet-service providers, health insurance companies, Medicare, Social Security Administration, alarm companies, termite contractors, the Franchise Tax Board, the IRS, and the list goes on and on. Having experienced the county-wide re-numbering in the 1940's showed that it wasn't trivial. And once such notices are sent to these contacts, then the hopeful addressees need to verify that the notices were received and properly acted upon. While it is true that the Postal Service makes some effort to return some mail noting an address change for some period of time, many mailers take little action based on them - preferring to simply drop the recipient or cease contact by noting that the mail is undeliverable, all to the detriment of the addressees. Some real-estate property gets taken over by County governments when tax bills are not properly paid even when the agencies have been notified of new owners and their addresses; it remains the owners' responsibility to pay whether or not they ever receive a bill or notice. Additionally there are some things which get taken-over by the State like dormant bank accounts, safe-deposit boxes, and investment/insurance dividends, when entities make little-to-no effort to find the rightful owners, because it is easier for them to dump a customer rather than to try to locate them. Then, too, the City will need to take steps to notify the Postal Service, the County Assessor and Recorder, all map makers, all GPS providers, etc. etc. While I remain in favor of honoring the lost crew of STS-107, making the street name change was not the proper manifestation. However, if the City felt compelled to further involve the street, then there were several other much-less-impactive potential alternatives: •overlay the street name rather than change it; •posting an additional name of "The Columbia" on poles and/or monuments that will not impact the current addressees. •establish the corner at Lakewood as "Columbia Triangle" •establish the corner at Imperial as "Columbia Square" •make ingress from the north less complicated by re-opening the Lakewood corner. With apologies to Sir Winston: seldom before has so much inconvenience been heaped upon so many for the needs of so few. There are some other age-old observations that seem applicable to this situation: •the government governs best which governs least. •administrations are not judged by the quantity of legislation but rather by its quality and effectiveness. •if it isn't broken, then don't fix it - however - some governments never see a situation that they can't make worse, just so they can fix it. •keep it simple Clark Avenue: Long may it remain in the history books. - Hugh T. Hoskins, Downey

********** Published: October 30, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 28