Young professionals driving hybrids. Grizzled old timers driving pick up trucks. Former (and current) hippies living off the grid. New agers and conservatives. Musicians and stunt people. All walks of live converge in the Canyon, and live together in remarkable harmony. The one thing that is common to Topangans is a love for this special part of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Although it is tough to generalize about Topangans, there was a bumper sticker a few years ago that may come closest to expressing the prevailing ethos. It stated simply: “Don’t Change Topanga; Let Topanga Change You!” The love of the Canyon the way it is, leads neighbors to fiercely protect their oak trees, sycamores, and simply the lifestyle that they are used to. (This may be why, for instance, a number of years back many were actually opposed to Topanga’s first traffic light — installed at Topanga School Road for the safety of children and their parents. Fortunately, in this case, the forces of development got their way and Topanga drivers have been a bit safer ever since, if perhaps, a few minutes slower.) The advantage, of course, is that things change very slowly around here, and our views and oak trees are largely protected by stringent laws and regulations on land use.
Topangans are, in general, very open minded. This was brought home to me recently when the local newspaper (the Topanga Messenger) carried a detailed obituary of a person that, in virtually any other part of Los Angeles, would have simply been written off as yet another “homeless person,” remembered only by his immediate family. Not so here — Topangans care, as evidenced by the article and the tributes of those who knew “Creeker Dan.”