ELECTIONS ASSEMBLY : Wilcox Says Tape Proves Boland Backs Porter Ranch
The two leading Republican contenders for retiring Assemblywoman Marian W. La Follette’s seat clashed Thursday over the politically correct interpretation of one candidate’s tape-recorded remarks about the controversial Porter Ranch development.
Candidate Rob Wilcox, who played the tape for reporters, said it demonstrated that opponent Paula Boland favors the massive development, despite her repeated public statements that she has no position on it.
But Boland furiously accused Wilcox of lying and said the tape proved no such thing.
The tape was made in February, 1989, during a public hearing at Chatsworth High School on plans for the Porter Ranch development, which has generated much opposition.
The plans call for 2,195 single-family homes, 200 multifamily dwellings and 6 million square feet of commercial space--including a shopping mall the size of Northridge Fashion Center--to be built over 20 years in the hills north of the Simi Valley Freeway in Chatsworth.
Wilcox, Boland and three other candidates are running for the Republican nomination in the 38th District, which arcs across the San Fernando Valley from La Crescenta in the east to Hidden Hills in the west.
The GOP victor in the June 5 primary election will be favored to win the November general election in the Republican-dominated district. La Follette (R-Northridge) announced in February that she is leaving at the end of this year, after 10 years in the Legislature.
Wilcox, a La Follette aide who favors sharply scaling back the ranch’s commercial portion, has sought in recent days to turn Boland’s neutrality on the hotly debated project against her.
Boland, a Granada Hills real estate broker, has said repeatedly that although she has concerns about traffic the project would generate, she has not made up her mind on the issue, and that, in any event, it is a local, not a state, planning matter.
On the tape, a woman identifying herself as Boland said there were “many of us, right now, that wouldn’t be here, because we wouldn’t be residents of an S & S or a Landmark or a Porter Ranch home had these buildings not gone up. . . . “
“Would it not be better if we had something planned, instead of the helter skelter that we’ve had with houses going on the hills? . . . Give this thing a chance, look at it. Let’s all put our heads together. Let’s all study it.”
Wilcox said the tape indicated Boland purposefully misled the public about her position on the project. The recording was routinely made by city officials as a record of the hearing. Wilcox said it was brought to his attention by a campaign supporter.
“I believe the people of the district have lost all respect for Paula Boland because of her deceit,” Wilcox said. “She’s telling us she hasn’t taken a stand on Porter Ranch when it’s very clear her sentiments, her feelings.”
Wilcox noted that Boland is endorsed by Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson, the project’s chief City Hall supporter, and Bob Wilkinson, its chief lobbyist.
Boland, who lives in Porter Ranch, angrily denied Wilcox’s charge, saying she went to the hearing to express her concerns about additional traffic the project might generate.
She said she threw out her prepared remarks about traffic, however, after those attending the hearing began “screaming and hollering.” Her comment about giving things a chance, she said, was a plea to the unruly audience to let the hearing proceed peacefully and to give witnesses for both sides an opportunity to testify.
Boland denied her reference to “something planned” was aimed specifically at Porter Ranch, saying she was only emphasizing her general preference for planned development.
“This young boy thinks this is proof,” said Boland, 50, referring to Wilcox, who is 25. “There’s no intelligent adult who could read my statement and say it looks like an endorsement.”