Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman on Thursday named Don Wallace, an environmentalist who ran against Supervisor Mike Antonovich in 1988, as field deputy for the west San Fernando Valley.
Edelman acquired the West Valley from Antonovich's 5th District as part of a court-ordered redistricting plan.
Wallace, 50, a resident of Calabasas, will quit his job as a captain with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, where he has worked for 26 years. "It's a very scary thing after all these years to change jobs," he said. "But I'm so excited and looking forward to this new challenge."
Environmentalists applauded the appointment, saying they hope it means that protecting the environment will become a more important consideration in the district. Members of the environmental movement have frequently criticized Antonovich for being quick to side with developers.
"Oh, wonderful!" said Jill Swift of Tarzana, parks chairwoman for the Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club, on hearing the news. "Don has the heart of an environmentalist . . . and his head is clearly looking for the quality of life."
Dave Brown, a member of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation, said Wallace "cares deeply about the Santa Monica Mountains."
Wallace is a member of several environmental organizations, including the League of Conservation Voters, and was a federal appointee to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Citizens Advisory Committee. He also served as spokesman for the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition, a group that opposed nuclear work at Rockwell International's Santa Susana Field Laboratory. He is past president of the Cold Creek Property Owners Assn. and a former union leader.
Wallace received 20% of the vote against Antonovich, coming in third after former supervisor Baxter Ward. "I know this area very well and I know a lot of the people who are active out here," he said Thursday. "I think I'm going to be able to hit the ground running."