Valley Cityhood Leaders Back Hertzberg for Mayor

Times Staff Writer

Call it the revenge of the secessionists.

Two years after Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn headed the campaign that defeated San Fernando Valley’s bid for cityhood, leaders of the breakaway effort are lining up to back former state Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg to unseat the incumbent.

Hertzberg, an attorney from Sherman Oaks, represented the Valley for six years in the Assembly. He opposed secession but did not campaign against it and sponsored legislation to make it easier to put the breakup measure on the ballot.

Hertzberg was warmly received last week at a meeting of Valley VOTE, the group that led the secession movement and has since turned to advocating on issues affecting the Valley’s 1.3 million residents.


The group’s bylaws prevent it from endorsing candidates, but Hertzberg has won the backing of Valley VOTE Chairman Richard Close, as well as a growing list of current and former board members, including Tony Pasano, Bill Powers, Richard Leyner and Carlos Ferreyra.

Hours before the Valley VOTE meeting, Powers, an attorney and past chairman of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, joined Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Northridge), who ran on the secession ballot for mayor of the Valley, to co-host a fundraiser for Hertzberg at Richman’s home.

Close, an attorney, said he would actively campaign for Hertzberg and had access to the names and e-mail addresses of thousands of voters who backed the secession drive. “Hahn has done so little and really has abandoned the San Fernando Valley since the cityhood vote,” Close said.

Hahn has no regrets about the stand he took on secession, even if it costs him votes from Valley secessionists, said campaign consultant Bill Carrick. “It’s a consequence of the mayor exercising strong leadership and campaigning to keep the city together,” he said.

Hahn’s stand cuts both ways. The powerful Service Employees International Union Local 343, which represents 10,000 blue-collar city employees, signaled in its newsletter last week that it planned to back Hahn, saying the mayor’s leadership in fighting secession was his “greatest achievement.”

The mayor also has picked up the endorsement of the union representing city firefighters, which opposed Valley cityhood.


L.A. Fundraiser Rooted in South Dakota Politics

It’s a long way from Pacific Palisades to Pierre, S.D., but one group of influential Southern Californians is taking a personal interest in South Dakota’s politics.

With D.C. Republicans recruiting former Rep. John Thune to take on Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader from South Dakota, Democratic Party faithful in California are rallying to Daschle’s side.

Thune ran two years ago against South Dakota’s other Democratic senator and lost by a thin margin of 524 votes. This time, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has broken from a tradition of remaining neutral to campaign for Thune.

Thune’s reemergence with the help of GOP leaders has put a scare into Democrats, who are frantic to maintain or improve Democratic numbers in the Senate.

To that end, a fundraising lunch for Daschle is scheduled Wednesday in Brentwood. The event, costing $500 to $2,000, is hosted by former Universal Studios Chief Executive Frank Biondi; Victoria Hopper, wife of actor Dennis Hopper; state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica); and Victoria Riskin, former president of the Writers Guild of America’s Western Division, among others.

The invitation points out that groups have in the past run ads in South Dakota comparing Daschle “to Saddam Hussein for opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, for raising questions about the president’s policy leading up to the Iraq war.”


Thune also has received donations from California, according to campaign manager Dick Wadhams, “although we don’t have any fancy movie stars.” Wadhams said he is not concerned about California’s cash giving Daschle an advantage. “He has spent $8 million already and the difference in the polls is still within single digits,” Wadhams said.

Protesters Flip at Idea of Reagan’s Face on Coins

The graveside service for President Reagan in Southern California is still a fresh memory, but already a dispute is heating up over how to best honor his legacy.

“Save FDR and JFK!” reads a headline on the website of the group Democrats for America’s Future. “Stop the campaign to kick them off the dime and half-dollar.”

The group, whose supporters include former Clintonites James Carville and Robert Reich, has organized a letter-writing campaign to Congress and the U.S. Mint, urging them not to put Reagan on the dime and half-dollar, replacing Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, respectively.

The group provides backers with an e-mail that is already written: “If you decide to commemorate President Ronald Reagan on a coin or paper currency, please do not obliterate the images of FDR or JFK in the process,” it reads. The form letter adds, “President Reagan’s legacy would be ill-served by a partisan and hurtful attack on two of the most important leaders of the 20th century.”

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project proposes on its website that half of the dimes be minted with his image, but Reagan admirers have floated the idea of putting his face on the $10 bill. That, of course, has riled admirers of the current man on the bill, Alexander Hamilton.


Orange County GOP Factions Come Together

A long-coming rapprochement between Orange County’s moderate Republican donors and the county Republican Central Committee was completed recently during the local GOP’s annual Flag Day dinner, which raised an unprecedented $340,000 -- more than double any previous fundraising effort.

A big chunk of that was a $125,000 check from the New Majority, now the state’s largest Republican donor group. Formed in 1999, the New Majority before now has declined to support the local party because of its rightward tilt. The dinner at the Hyatt Regency Irvine, attended by 800 people, was seen as the final fusion between donors and grass-roots activists in a county that has long prided itself as the country’s most Republican county.

“You had everybody together in that room from the whole spectrum of the Republican Party,” said consultant Adam Probolsky. “People truly feel welcome and they’re showing up, and that’s a bit of a change.”

The nudge began with the election of former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh to head the party, replacing longtime chairman Tom Fuentes. Baugh then named a founding member of the New Majority, Frank Greinke Jr., as the party’s new fundraising chairman.

Points Taken

* It turns out that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has an artistic side, although she is no Picasso. A donated flower painting by Feinstein fetched $180 recently at a silent auction held during the Los Angeles Press Club’s annual dinner. The bid was a bargain given that club officials had estimated the painting’s value at $400 to $800.

* Tired of hearing promises of business tax reform but seeing nothing tangible, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. have set an Oct. 31 deadline for elected leaders to adopt an overhaul of the law. “We have been promised business tax reform long enough,” said Rusty Hammer, the chamber’s president and chief executive. If officials miss the deadline, business leaders say they will make the public aware of the failure, an embarrassment that politicians will not want coming just before the March election.


* Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested in a recent letter that state agencies should change their driving habits to conserve gas. Now Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) is turning the letter into a law. The bill would have state agencies launch a public education campaign informing state residents about ways to reduce their use of gas, including “properly inflating tires, properly maintaining oil and air filters, and using public transit, bicycling, walking, carpooling, and careful motor vehicle route planning.”

You Can Quote Me

“Our governor can beat up your candidate!”

-- Picket signs held last week by GOP protesters outside the political fundraiser at Disney Concert Hall pointing out Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s physical advantage over Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Contributors this week included Patt Morrison and Jean O. Pasco.