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Secession Study Gives Backing to Both Factions

A state Senate committee analysis released Thursday could help a bill that opens the door to a San Fernando Valley secession movement by emphasizing its narrow focus, but it offers hope to opponents by suggesting that a citywide vote might be advisable.

The measure, by Assemblywoman Paula L. Boland (R-Granada Hills), would remove the Los Angeles City Council’s veto power over requests by any part of the city to break away. She argues that the council’s prerogative is insurmountable, thus robbing residents of control over their own destiny.

The city of Los Angeles opposes the bill, saying that giving Valley residents total control over secession robs voters in the rest of the city of their say in a matter that would substantially affect them.

Three Los Angeles officials--City Council President John Ferraro, Controller Rick Tuttle and Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton--were again in Sacramento on Thursday to lobby against the measure, part of a vigorous campaign to stop, or at least alter, the bill.

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The call for a citywide vote is their first line of attack.

While the seven-page analysis by Local Government Committee consultant April Manatt says that a Valley-only vote is constitutional, it adds: “The Legislature could consider whether AB 2043’s elimination of the city veto over detachments makes a broader vote advisable.”

The Local Government Committee is scheduled to take up the bill next week, the proposal’s first airing since clearing the Assembly last month. While expressing hope of prevailing, both sides say the vote will be tight. Only Sen. Herschel Rosenthal (D-Van Nuys) has publicly announced his support of the bill. Committee Chairman Sen. William Craven (R-Carlsbad) has expressed reservations.

Boland was not available for comment late Thursday. Her spokesman, Scott Wilk, said she will not agree to amend the bill.

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Boland wants to stay clear of adding any election-related issues, which could put her in front of state Sen. Richard Polanco’s Elections Committee. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) strongly opposes the bill and his involvement at the committee level would mean “certain death,” Wilk said.

The analysis sets forth the long, difficult process that would lie ahead for any area that wished to secede. “AB 2043 doesn’t detach the San Fernando Valley from the city of Los Angeles and it doesn’t form a new city,” the analysis states under a heading, “What the bill doesn’t do.”

The state has empowered local appointed commissions--called the Local Agency Formation Commission--to rule on whether detachments are legal.


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