Just another metal theft for a quick buck from a scrap yard. Hardly!
In April 2010, the theft of a bronze valve regulating the water supply of the San Fernando Valley’s precious Pioneer Cemetery not only damaged the upkeep of the historic landmark, but violated the very space where many of our Valley’s founding families are buried.
The thieves will make $500 at best for their crime, but the cost of replacing (and, securing) the fixture will create hours and hours of grief to the all-volunteer San Fernando Valley Historical Society (a sister non-profit organization to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.)
Sadly, when the Cemetery’s most important visitors’ day comes about on Memorial Day, many of the expensive plants and flowers at the sight will show the effects of water deprivation. (Memorial Day was originally celebrated as “Decoration Day,” honoring the lives and services of those men and women who gave their lives in combat for the American Republic).
The people who care for the Pioneer Cemetery will survive this vulgar interlude, despite this discouraging crime. Alas, there will be other setbacks to come. But preserving the past and defending our heritage is the price of civilization.
The following is an article by Ms. Jacky Walker, the co-chair of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society’s Pioneer Cemetery commitment.
April 30, 2010
Thieves Steal Irrigation Pipe from Pioneer Cemetery
Monday we filed a police report because at least two someones broke into Pioneer Cemetery and stole the irrigation valve piping that brings city water to the site.
The Adam Henry perpatrators cut the pipe, lifted it over the fence, and made off with what will be scrap worth about $500, so we’ve been told. That was pipe the DWP and City installed years ago when Edie Reber was still the caretaker and had a $5,000 water bill because of an underground leak that was allegedly caused by city personnel.
So, I don’t know if the city is also a victim here. I will argue to heck against paying for any extra water costs due to these AH’s though.
I do know the all-volunteer non-profit San Fernando Valley Historical Society is a victim, and the 600-plus resident citizens of the cemetery are victims as well. They won’t look so good come Memorial Day when we try to make a good impression on visitors.
The cemetery water is shut down until we can fix the problem. Our trees won’t be given their usual drink by devoted volunteer David Vasquez, or the roses in the front entrance either. They won’t have anything to drink unless we cart in water from our homes. Well, Edie Reber used to lug water from her house a few blocks away all by herself. She did that for years (when she was but an octogenarian). I guess we’ll have to do the same until we can find the money to fix the valves and replace the parts.
I know times are tough, but stealing from the dead is about as low as you can go. – Jacky Walker"