Efforts to designate the site of a former Japanese internment camp as a Historic-Cultural Monument were blocked last week, when the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission rejected the proposal from Sunland-Tujunga residents and descendents of internees at the Tuna Canyon Detention Center.
The decision offers one less challenge for a 229 single-family home residential development on the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, the site of the former Japanese internment camp, according to the La Canada Valley Sun.
Following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor during World War II, thousands of Japanese Americans were evacuated from their homes and herded into various internment camps around the country. The U.S. government feared Japanese sympathizers among the Japanese living in the United States.
More than 1,490 internees were taken to the Tuna Canyon Detention Center in 1942, including Christian ministers, Buddhist priests and bankers, according to 1995 Los Angeles Times report.
But all of the original structures of the interment camp were demolished in 1960, therefore disqualifying it as a historic site, according to the commission.
Commissioners questioned the true motives of those protesting the residential development.
Commissioner Tara Hamacher asked during the meeting, "Why has it taken 53 years. I know there's development pressure now, but … if this was so important to everybody before, why is it just happening now?"
The commission’s decision will head to the City Council, where the decision can be overturned with a two-thirds vote.
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