Sudden Valley

Last month, we announced a fun little exercise to collect suggestions for the name of the new townhome complex that will soon appear on the south side of California Avenue, in Phase 10-4.  We received 75 entries, many of them serious. 

Here is how we proceeded to choose our favorites:

First, a de-identified list of entries was extracted from the table of submissions.

HRB then whittled the list down to 30 finalists.  (Each of the 7 HRB members chose their top five picks.  If you do the math, you realize that this means that very few entries made the top five for more than one member.  In other words, we've got completely divergent tastes.)

We then each scored the 30 finalists on a 0-to-10-point scale from worst to best, normalized the resultant point values so that each judge had the same total point allocation, and then tallied up the scores to determine overall rankings.  

A similar process was used to score a short-list of the funniest entries.  Each HRB member nominated a few entries for the "funny" short-list, and then we scored each entry on a 0-to-10-point scale, normalized, and added.

A list of the 30 ranked finalists is available here:

The ranked list of the top 30 entries has been provided to ICHA, for their further deliberations.  There is no guarantee that our top choice will be their top choice, or that they will even use a name from our list.  But we are glad they asked the community for suggestions.

Still, we are giving out some prizes for the top entries, whether they end up being chosen by ICHA, or not!

The grand prize winner is "Artemisia", submitted by K. Johnson, who explains, "Artemisia is a large plant genus that includes Artemisia californica, a key species within the coastal sage scrub plant community that dominates (or once dominated?) Orange County."  She will receive a 2015 Wildlife of University Hills Calendar, featuring fantastic photos by our resident nature photographer, Sandrine Scherson.

The top six entries, including the winner, all incorporated either "Sage" or "Coyote".  Runners up included "Coyote Flats", "Coyote Hill", "Sage Terrace", "Los Coyotes", and "Sage".  Various other wildlife references also did well, as did a number of literary and historical references.  

We decided that these runners-up were close enough to each other that all Sage and Coyote based names should receive runner-up prizes.  L. Lock, C. Green, A. Canfield, D. Mull, and E. Amenta will receive TJ's gift cards.

In the humor category, the runaway favorite was "The Spanish Inquisition" ("because no-one was expecting it!").  We liked this one for two reasons.  First, Cervantes was excommunicated by the SI, so, arguably, the SI could have marked the end of Cervantes, just as the apartments will mark the end of Cervantes Court.  Second, as Cervantes was an absurdist, it seemed apropos to choose a name immortalized in an absurd series of Monty Python sketches (for example:  Third (ok, we liked it for THREE reasons…), many residents were, indeed, probably "not expecting" that townhomes would be installed at the top of the hill, rather than at the bottom, and could find that a bit absurd, as well.  

Alas, when we went back to see who had submitted this entry, we found it to be an anonymous submission.  We weren't expecting that.  

The runner-up funniest entry: "Sudden Valley", is another pop culture reference to an absurdist comedy series — this one set in Orange County.  In Arrested Development, a wealthy family of land developers falls on hard times, and the lead character ends up living in a shodily manufactured model home that sits alone on an empty, partially developed building site.  That the suddenly-appearing apartments will be on a hill makes the name even funnier.Sudden Valley

This entry was submitted by K. Johnson (who also won the main prize).  It seems fitting that her prize for the humor category should be an honorary appointment to the HRB entertainment committee.  Congratulations!