As a La Cañada homeowner for over a decade, I am aware that this city is an affluent bedroom community of private homes — and that most residents want to keep their property values high, their schools prestigious, businesses prosperous and the community relatively crime-free.

The recent City Council action to rezone selected areas for low-income housing (as required by state law) seems to have panicked some of the more skittish towns folk into thinking it’s the beginning of the end for this valley’s quality of life. This zoning change doesn’t insure construction of any low-income housing absent economic (profit) incentives, which are lacking.

It’s the “not-in-my-backyard” attitude that bothers me. La Cañada is exclusive enough already without excluding everyone who isn’t well-heeled enough to buy a house here (or to continue to afford to live in it). I’ve often marveled that our businesses offer many shopping, services and dining opportunities, also movies, sports and cultural programs and the high schools and a world class arboretum, Descanso Gardens. But come bedtime, there’s no place to stay. If you entertain out-of-town guests and don’t have enough bedrooms they are referred to Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and L.A., where there are accommodations. We don’t have a hotel, motel or even a bed and breakfast. Why does that have to be so?

There’s a perception in La Cañada that all residents are prosperous and always free of need for public or private assistance. We have charities through our churches and organizations which mostly help people who don’t live here. Residents who outlive their retirement savings and become unable to care for themselves often have no options other than to leave La Cañada for institutional housing in other cities.

La Cañada is a city that contracts out the essential services it has to provide (police, fire, flood control, etc.) to the county so that it doesn’t have to pay the full cost. It also shifts the burden for social needs — hence the situation with low-income housing that’s available in the surrounding cities, but not in La Cañada. If those cities didn’t provide housing for people who can’t afford to live in La Cañada they might try to live here. But don’t worry, La Cañada, because not only do we have “no room at the inn,” we don’t even have an inn!

Terry Beyer
La Cañada Flintridge