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City Council Opposes Secession Bill Based on Valley Vote

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to oppose a bill that would allow the San Fernando Valley to secede from the city with the support of two-thirds of Valley voters.

The council voted 9 to 3 to oppose the legislation by Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar), which is one of two secession bills currently before state lawmakers.

In an interview in Sacramento, Cardenas said he expected the council to oppose his bill, but added: “I don’t think it will have a large ripple effect up here.”

The council has the power to reject any secession effort. But since last summer, some Valley residents and lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to eliminate that veto power.

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The other secession bill before state lawmakers was drafted by Assemblymen Tom McClintock (R-Northridge) and Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks). It calls for a citywide vote on secession.

On Tuesday, the council restated its long-held position that it is willing to give up its power to veto a secession movement if that were replaced with a citywide vote.

Council members Mike Feuer and Jackie Goldberg said the Cardenas bill is flawed because it doesn’t allow residents from other parts of the city to vote on a breakup that would have an impact on the entire city.

But the bill was supported by Councilmen Richard Alarcon, Mike Hernandez and Rudy Svorinich Jr., who said the two-thirds requirement ensures strong community backing for secession.

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“I think that a super-majority is enough of a mandate to protect the integrity of the vote,” Svorinich said.

Alarcon, who represents parts of the northeast Valley, said he does not support a secession but wants to address repeated complaints by Valley residents who say they have little influence at City Hall.

“If we do not allow them a decision on this, we will drive a wedge between our communities,” he said.

Still, even Cardenas is unsure of the success of any secession bill this year. The Cardenas bill and the McClintock-Hertzberg bill have passed the Assembly, and both will be considered by the state Senate Local Government Committee next week.

“It’s pretty tough getting stuff through the Senate,” he said. But he believes his bill has the best chance of passing because he professes willingness to negotiate changes and amendments.

“I’m going to be a little bit more accepting to work it through,” Cardenas said.


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