Secession Study Conflicts


* Michael Finnegan’s story about LAFCO [Local Agency Formation Commission] executive Larry Calemine’s conflict of interest activities with lobbyists and developers reinforces other evidence that he is not an objective person to be heading the secession study (“LAFCO Official Earns Substantial Fees Advising Clients on City Hall Business,” Feb. 6).

Recently, Calemine supported Valley VOTE’s attack on a city study that showed that the San Fernando Valley only produced 31% of the city’s tax revenues. VOTE, and, it seems Calemine, had anticipated a greater percentage based on the Valley’s population, and they couldn’t accept the report because it didn’t meet their expectations.

Also, the story did not mention that at one time Calemine had headed a Valley secession movement and failed.


The story also did not point out another conflict of interest on the LAFCO board. Valley VOTE [Chairman] Richard Close is an alternate on the commission for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Ironically, in the Finnegan story, Yaroslavsky criticized Calemine for “bad judgment.”

As Calemine contends, there may not be anything illegal in any of these conflicts, but undoubtedly their prejudices will color the final decision on whether secession is economically feasible and whether it should go on the ballot.

If this were to take place in an actual court of law, these people would be excused from the decision-making process.