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Seniors rally for holiday spirit after apartment management declares ban

No Christmas tree

Posted: December 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The management at a senior citizens’ apartment complex in Newhall has ordered the facility’s Christmas tree removed from its community room, sparking outrage from its residents.

Residents organized a protest Wednesday, the same day the tree was ordered taken down.

“We have no comment,” said Wethanie Law, spokeswoman for JB Partners Group Inc., the management company handling affairs at The Willows senior apartment complex.

“I’ve been told by my bosses that we have no comment,” said another spokeswoman, Sonya Pavalino, reached at JB Partners’ corporate San Fernando Valley offices.

Edna Johnson, a four-year resident at The Willows on Valley Street near Lyons Avenue, organized a “Save Our Tree” campaign Tuesday night after learning of management’s tree-removal directive.

“This lady in the corporate office said we can’t have a Christmas tree and I said, ‘The White House has 54 Christmas trees. Why can’t we have one?’” she said.

On Wednesday morning, more than two dozen seniors gathered around the fully decorated Christmas tree that had one glaringly out-of-place ornament: a neon-green placard saying “Please Save Our Tree.”

“They’ve had a Christmas tree here for 28 years, every year since (the complex has) been here,” Johnson said.

Frances Schaffer has been living at The Willows for 23 years, she said. Only one other person has been there longer.

“I’m Jewish and I enjoy the beauty of this lovely tree,” Schaffer said.

“With this tree, many of my friends can enjoy a harmony it brings — each with our own beliefs and principles. It’s a chance for all of us to live together in friendship and harmony.”

Other seniors were also angry about the move.

“They want to us to take down our tree, and I say that falls under ‘senior abuse,’” said Marjorie Lenenberg, a four-year resident of The Willows.

Another resident who identified himself as Max also called on management to leave the tree up.

“With all the (deleted) going on in the world, this makes me really angry,” Max said. “I can’t fathom any reason why they would want the tree taken down.”

“This is how the Grinch stole Christmas,” said one woman whose mother lives at The Willows.



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