City Asked to Fund Final Portion of Breakup Study

Hoping to provide the final piece of the funding puzzle for a study of San Fernando Valley secession, Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson introduced a motion Friday to have the city put up the last $225,000 needed to cover the cost of the analysis.

Bernson, who lives in Northridge and represents the northwest Valley, is asking the council to authorize City Controller Rick Tuttle to transfer the money from a reserve fund to the Local Agency Formation Commission, the appointed panel that will conduct the secession study.

Mayor Richard Riordan, who earlier this year pledged to provide a portion of the funding, would also have to approve the request.

For the issue to make the ballot, the state-mandated study, expected to cost $2.3 million, must take place before the public could vote on secession, and it must arrive at certain findings--most importantly that a breakup would not financially hurt the remainder of the city.

State leaders, led by Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks), secured $1.8 million through the state budget to cover 80% of the study cost, but left the remainder to local government.

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved another 10%, or $225,000, for the study--but only if Los Angeles agrees to provide the rest.

In addition to Bernson, Councilman Joel Wachs of Studio City said this week that he would ask a newly created City Council committee on secession to take up the funding issue.

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