By Beth Cone Kramer.
As I drove home from a Trader Joes run late Saturday afternoon, I noticed a telltale black cloud hovering in the vicinity of my neighborhood. For those of us who live a spitting distance from canyons or brush that can only mean one thing.
Most people don’t know that Calabasas isn’t only manicured gated communities. We have a scenic corridor along Mulholland Highway, home to more rustic areas. One of our neighborhoods, affectionately known as The Bird Streets, was a former artists colony years before Calabasas became a city.
Calabasas is a tight-knit community, especially when we support neighbors during fires like the most recent one. People open their homes for friends who were evacuated. For a city of our size, we’ve experienced so many challenges and tragedies during the fifteen years I have lived here. People pull together when we hear a neighbor is undergoing chemo or a family has lost a mother or father. We coordinate meal rotations, carpools, send baskets, whatever needs to be done.
At no time did Calabasas pull together like our community did for Kevin Cordasco, (photo left) a brave young man who battled neuroblastoma for six years from 10 until he died at 16. The support for Kevin was as much a testament to his unbelievable character and wisdom far beyond his years as to our city. Kevin was a fixture at city events. He was named Citizen of the Year in 2008 and given the Courage Award by proclamation of our City Council. He was also the Honorary Mayor in 2013. Kevin’s loss was a loss for our entire city, which continues to honor him with an annual Kevin Cordasco Day, the Kevin Cordasaco Memorial 5K, the Kevin Cordasco Memorial Award for Calabasas Football, and the annual Courage, Strength, Believe Student Alumni Basketball Game.
No matter what challenges face Calabasas residents, from blazing wildfires to illness of our neighbors, we know we can count on each other. Los Angeles is filled with neighborhoods and communities just like Calabasas. Neighbors pull together to stop excessive development, help a family in need, and support each other in innumerable ways.
Fortunately, as I write this, the fire is 75 percent -contained. We’ll sweep ash from our yards, stare up at the now blackened hillsides surrounding our neighborhoods. Aside from minor damage to two homes and a commercial structure, our homes are secure. We’re grateful to the hundreds of firefighters who worked tirelessly to extinguish the fire and protect our community. And we’re also grateful to be part of a community that is so much more than a haven for reality television stars.
Beth Cone Kramer is a successful Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.