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Readers challenge "Unbeautiful" letter

Alhambra staff is considering sending a letter — the Alhambra Unbeautiful Letter — to residents whose homes are “in need of beautification” but do not violate city code. The letter is the idea of Councilwoman Barbara Messina, who told Council that it's "just a reminder that, 'Gee, your lawn needs watering.'" 

Alhambra Source asked readers: Do you think the city should send an "Unbeautiful" letter? In comments on our poll, story, and Facebook page, some agreed that a letter would help beautify the city. But a majority of readers responded that the letter would be unnecessary, poor use of city resources, and even insulting.

Messina defended the letter during Monday night's council meeting. "My 'Unbeautiful' Letter just created so much controversy that it just amazes me," Messina said. “It’s not a citation, it’s just a friendly reminder that some people don’t realize that this is something that we would like to have people do who live in homes, whether you’re an owner or a renter keeping the appearance for the sake of our neighborhood is very important.”

She spoke during the meeting about the Alhambra Beautiful awards, given in June and July to homeowners who maintain the exterior of their homes. “The whole purpose of Alhambra Beautiful is to draw recognition to the neighborhoods so that people can see that a nice neighborhood can get your property values up," she said. "That’s what we want to encourage."

Check out what readers had to say about the "Unbeautiful" letter below.

[View the story “Do you think the city should send an “Unbeautiful” letter?” on Storify]

Anonymous comments were taken from our poll results.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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5 thoughts on “Readers challenge "Unbeautiful" letter”

  1. Sandra Rodriguez

    Fostering civic pride in our community is key to improving the quality of life in our City. Perhaps recognizing those property owners who go above and beyond to improve the curbside appeal of their properties would be more effective than admonishing those who let their properties fall into disrepair. After all, isn’t that what our City code enforcement staff is supposed to be doing already?

    If we make an example of the properties that stand out in their neighborhoods, maybe their neighbors will follow suit. Who wouldn’t want to receive a nice certificate from the City telling them they’re doing a good job, maybe even a temporary lawn sign that says the City appreciates their effort.

    Giving property owners positive reinforcement will probably reap better results. Isn’t there a saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” Makes sense to me.

  2. This area has had drought conditions for the past few years and the economy is hanging on by a thread. This is the message the Alhambra City Council wants to send? This lady lives in her own world. How does Alhambra elect these people to office?

  3. While I understand Councilwoman Messina’s intentions in trying to keep Alhambra nice and clean, I don’t think the city should act as “our caretaker,” there are other ways this can be achieved. Messina indicates these letters, homeowners would be reminded to water their lawns.In this age of rising water costs and water conservation, I don’t think we should over-use our water to keep “green” and perhaps the city might better consider something to stop this water waste which I see throughout the city, specially at city-owned parks where the sprinklers waste a lot of water, watering the sidewalk & this also occurs daily in private owned homes; water wasted because of broken sprinklers, water going down the street

  4. i agree that the codes should be more clear, drought tolerant landscaping is frowned upon by APW, city monies should not have been spent on this mailing, Messina should have retired 10 years ago, she appears to be ‘out of touch’ with the changes and growth of Alhambra. Is the ‘ugly’ yard a health or fire hazard?

  5. Rather than chastising homeowners for brown lawns, I’d like to see the city come down hard on apartment and condo owners who leave mattresses, televisions, and other piles of trash DAYS before their scheduled trash pick up. THAT is what makes our city look like a ghetto.

    But then again, these apartment/condo owners are most likely either owned by the current (or former) council members themselves or are financially supported by the owners.