Homeowner Activist Backs Chick

Woodland Hills homeowner activist Robert Gross on Wednesday became the third former candidate from last month's primary to endorse Laura Chick as she tries to unseat Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus in the upcoming run-off election.

Gross received 7.7% of the vote in the April 20 primary election, finishing fourth.

Ex-candidates Dennis Zine, a Los Angeles police sergeant, and businessman Mort Diamond have already endorsed Chick, a former Picus aide.

"Change is so essential," said Gross, former president of the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization, which was closely allied with Picus in the past. "Joy has been in office too long. She's out of touch."

After meeting with Chick and Picus about endorsement possibilities, Gross said he backed Chick because she is a "people person" who has a sincere interest in the welfare of the west San Fernando Valley communities that Picus has represented since 1977. But in the primary, Gross called Chick a carpetbagger because Gross only moved into the district last year.

Gross had also criticized Chick for apparently endorsing the sale and development of Pierce College open-space lands. But Gross said Wednesday that he now believes Chick had accidentally misrepresented her position and that, in fact, it is in sync with his own opposition to sale of the site.

Chick and Picus face each other in a June 8 run-off election because no candidate in the April 20 primary got more than 50% of the vote. Picus, with 36.7% of the vote, and Chick, with 29.5%, were the top finalists.

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