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Walnut Named Best Place in State to Raise Kids

Bloomberg Businessweek released its best places to raise kids list for 2013 today.

Bloomberg Businessweek today named Walnut the “Best Place to Raise Kids in California.”

The publication touted the city’s, beauty, parks and community events.

“This city in Los Angeles County, with a combined 90 acres of parks, has more natural beauty than its big-city neighbors," wrote Bloomberg Businessweek. "Families with younger children can enjoy the annual Walnut Family Festival, with a parade and car show.”

Mayor Mary Su said when she was looking for a place to move in 1988,  she chose Walnut because she wanted a good place to raise her son that had solid-performing schools.

Su said the Walnut Valley Unified School District, with its 906 Academic Performance Index test score, is one of the reasons families are drawn to the city.

“The resources are so rich for the parents to raise their children here,” she said. “It is very diverse, very safe.  At our schools, our parents are really involved with all kinds of programs.”

Su pointed to the parks, sports fields, horse and walking trails, and youth programs through the Walnut Teen Center and Gymnasium as other reasons why families might be lured to Walnut.

“This is the best gift for Walnut this Christmas,” she said.

Mayor Pro Tem Tom King said he and his wife also were drawn to Walnut because of the schools.

"Margie and I lived in an area with less stellar schools and our kids were going into grammar school.  Walnut' s school scores were tops," he said.  "We visited Collegewood and the principal had been in Boy Scouts with me.  He recommended the schools."

The programs for children also were impressive, he said.

"Walnuts park and recreation programs were the best I have ever seen," he said. "Our kids thrived in Walnut and succeeded."

*City Statistics:

Population: 29,269
GreatSchools city score: 9
Median family income: $106,284
Housing costs as a percentage of income: 25.3%
County unemployment rate: 10.3%
Nearby city: Los Angeles

*Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Michael December 19, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Yes, and we owe it all to government. The $900K payout of taxpayer money for DISCRIMINATION should make us all proud of City Hall. Did Bloomberg see that? Did they see the deficit spending filing that puts the Walnut School District on par with Inglewood? Walnut is not great because of the spectacular failure of government, a majority of hard working parents make Walnut great.
Star Student December 19, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Michael W- you seem bitter. Are your children losers?
Vito Spago December 19, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Best place if you are Asian. My boys were not and the asians did not want to socialize with them. When they went to college, they learned that there were blue eyed and blonde women. They then realized how backward the social life in Walnut was.
Michael December 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
What exactly is bitter about praising parents? You are proud of the discrimination the city was caught in by the DOJ? You are happy about the school district mismanagement? Will cutbacks be great for students? For teachers? Walnut is great in spite of bad management. I guess instead of demanding excellence, I should lower my standards and be happy with these bad things like you are. No thank you.
Star Student December 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Michael W- I have a solution to your problem. MOVE.
Walnut Walker December 19, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Walnut Comes in No. 1 again... But Michael West (self proclaimed legend) criticises the City Council because the Planning Commisson voted down the Zen Center. Michael West deliberately does not tell you he told the Planning Commission to vote EXACTLY that way. He even put it on his ballot statement during one of the countless times he runs for election to the school board or city council. He remains the LAST place finisher in every city and school board election . The City and the School Board could save a lot of money if West would quit filing candidate papers. Then they have to hold an election to listen to him lie about everything in the City and the District. Right now the cost is probably approaching a quarter million dollars so that Michael West can promote himself as a legend in his own mind. West still has his Council and School Board campaign accounts open, so it looks like history will repeat itself. Last place, sore loser, and deliberate liar. We are happy in Walnut and will continue to keep West's hands off of the controls.
Renay Rodriguez Wong December 19, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Did you ever stop killing puppies?
Michael December 19, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Nearly a million dollars, well spent. Our kids didn't need that money, right? [start Russian accent] I 'deed not know we should not 'creetesize our government when they fail, comrade. Da?
Vito Spago December 19, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I moved to Walnut in 1981. Loved the ruralness. Then houses were built on any buidable scrap of land you could find. City became very crowded, same with the schools. Stop signs were replaced with long light signals. Before you could get across town in seconds instead of minutes. I am glad folks like to live here in walnut. You will pay me lots of money for my house when I move out in a few years.
Lisa Marie December 19, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Vito. First of all your racial comment was ignorant. Secondly it sounds like your unhappy. Perhaps you should consider moving sooner. Just a thought.
Daniel Chen December 19, 2012 at 08:30 AM
Asians are the reason the schools are so good and your homes so expensive. Just a thought.
Vito Spago December 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM
I am unhappy living here. I cannot move because I take care of elderly parents in the area. Look who is willing to buy houses for $800k in Walnut. Only Asians. If I was to buy an $800k house it woudl be close to the beach. Newport, Laguna, Santa Monica. Asians buy here because this city is NOT diverse. Asians can live here and never learn English or have to deal with white, black, hispanic people if they do not care to. Check out Walnut HS some day. Asians do not date anyone outside their race and stick together in cliques.
Nogales and UCD Grad December 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM
I'm Asian and grew up in Walnut, but on the Rowland Unified School District side. I went to Oswalt Elementary, then Rincon, then Nogales and finally to UC Davis. Living in Walnut was cool if you like playing by yourself in the park. As long as I could remember, adults outnumbered kids at the parks and where were those kids?! Studying. Some kids didn't even know how to swing. I was grateful I didn't go to the Walnut School District, it's way too stressful on kids, no matter how hard you worked and getting straight A's and whatnots, your chances of landing at Mt. Sac and Cal Poly Pomona was high because your competition was stiff. I wouldn't have gone to Davis if I was at Walnut High. Yes, Walnut is a cool city, but I wouldn't consider it the best place to raise kids. If you're thinking about safety, non-socializing kids and high-performing sheltered schools, yea, Walnut is cool. Also, if you didn't know, the Walnut teens that frequent the Teen Center are jerks! I was there after I went to the library and I was shunned. That's not cool, I was really disappointed that they were so stuck up and unfriendly. Furthermore, it really is horrible that the Walnut is really divided in two, Walnut School District and Rowland; if a city is that great, the city shouldn't be divided like that. At the end of the day, yea, Walnut is a cool place to live when you're older, but I wouldn't say it's the "best" place to raise kids. Sorries to burst your bubbles.
Dr. James Swartz December 20, 2012 at 04:51 PM
right on lisa marie...even the most positive news again gets twisted into comments about the most negative things by the same two people. perhaps walnut residents can start a collection fund to help vito and mr. west in their relocation efforts to find a better place? or will their toxic outlooks on everything just follow along?
Walnut Watchdog December 20, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Why does the Patch allow West to put his comments?
wanderinglady December 21, 2012 at 06:05 AM
This is an interesting and informative comment. These "best place" articles are, of course, geared toward the adult point of view. I live on the Rowland Unified side, therefore my son attends a RUSD school. Kids do have to make an effort to socialize in Walnut, but there are positives as well. It's nice living in a safe, quiet community with good schools (yes, even on the RUSD side), even if I do have to occasionally play with my son in the park because the kids in the neighborhood are studying. In fact, I find this whole discussion interesting. It just goes to show that there is no such thing as "the perfect community". The racial discussion is part and parcel of living in the U.S., except that from his comments on other articles, Mr. Spago (if that's really his name) likes pulling the race card. It can be a bit tough living in Walnut if you aren't Asian...it's especially tough being black, like I am. Despite living here for so long that I remember when Walnut had a black mayor (really), and that I am a well-paid professional with a couple of graduate degrees from top schools, people of all races in this area treat me as if I am an outsider. My son's experience has been different (but he's young, and it might change when he's older and perceived differently). When it comes to him, the positives of living here outweigh the negatives.
Lisa Marie December 21, 2012 at 07:14 AM
*taking a bow* thank you Jay! I have much more to say now that I've read these new comments but I'm on my phone right now and it'd be a pain. I'll add some more thoughts tomorrow when I have a real keyboard! :-)
Lisa Marie December 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
ok here goes: 1.) Vito Spago said: "I am unhappy living here. I cannot move because I take care of elderly parents in the area. Look who is willing to buy houses for $800k in Walnut. Only Asians" I'm sure the communities of Newport, Laguna or Santa Monica have nice residential care facilities for your parents. Or is the horrible city of Walnut the only one with that option??? Since it is 'infested' with Asians (as you continuosly and ignorantly continue to presume) aren't Asians then in fact the ones providing the care for your elderly parents? 2.) Vito Spago said: "Check out Walnut HS some day. Asians do not date anyone outside their race and stick together in cliques" I spend a lot of time at WHS. I'm a booster parent AND my hispanic son happens to be dating a Korean girl. NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO THERE WILL BE CLIQUES!!! Yes, even in oh so holy Laguna, Santa Monica and Newport communities. I think it's ridiculous that you've lived here for 31 years and are so unhappy! Oh and by the way, how much do you think a home is in the wonderful beach cities where you want to live??? I can guarantee you that it is WAY MORE than the ridiculous number of $800k that you threw out there. I have an INDIAN friend who just purchased a home here for $400k and there 3 bedroom house right across the street from me for $390k that is currently owned by a white man. To my left are hispanic homeowners, to my right filipinos and across (next to the house for sale) is a black family.
Lisa Marie December 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Look, I have 4 kids all at different grade levels here. 2 in Elementary School, 1 in middle school and 1 in high school. I'm sure that there were lots of factors (or not so many in some opinions) about making this list. The fact remains that the crime rate here is pretty low (almost non existent) the crimes that are commited are not against kids. It is a parents job (not a school's) to teach children to be social and unsheltered. Integrity and character start at home, no matter what city you live in. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion (and these are mine-combined with some facts) and I'm all for freedom of speech but being closed minded and racist or falling back on racial remarks, isn't going to help in your crusade to make friends or be a positive member of any community.
Robert Paulson December 22, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Don't be fooled by asians, they are as scandless as any other. The reason the could buy $800 thosand dollar house, is because the believe in putting their money together and live like slobs, if you don't belive me look at their yards, 3 families with a total of 6 kids and they don't pull weeds or freaking mow the lawn.and they have the nerve to say they don't trust the gardners....it's ok because once their kids are out of the house they move out and take all their cash back home..
Robert Paulson December 22, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Walnut USD is a district of choice, some principals, like Mrs. Rendon at Westhoff will take a kid that is asian quicker than a white,hispanic or black.doesn't matter if they drive 10-20 miles from home to get to school...but if a ligit family moves into the neighborhood and their assigned school is Westhoff she would tell them that they are full...it happened to my sister. They have the nerve to put kids on blast if their families don't put into their community club fundraiser...we live here, Walnut is one of the highest tax bracket and my property taxes pay for these schools
S.Shortcake December 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Wow, I did not realize their was so much anger in the city amongst the residents. I was raised here and had a pretty great upbringing so we decided to raise my son here as well. I think he enjoyed his childhood here as well and he still hangs out with his diverse set of friends that he's had since elementary school. Just remember folks its all about your own attitude and being open to understanding other cultures and ways. But it does go both ways.
reader31 January 18, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Feel sorry for your boys - they're obviously being raised by someone that likes to stereotype folks. Can only hope they learn to think independently and not emulate their narrow-minded parent.
pamylla January 31, 2013 at 08:21 AM
I lived in Walnut many years...raised a family there. I'm not Asian, but we had neighbors who were and we all coexisted without a lot of hangups. We helped our Asian neighbors learn English and they introduced us to a lot of Chinese cuisine and customs. It's all good. As for Walnut, you can socialize as much or as little as you want to, study as much or as little as your parents will let you. It's a peaceful community with its plusses and minuses just like anyplace. Overall it's a great town!

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