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Decision '93 / A Look at the Elections in Los Angeles County : Los Angeles City Council / 3rd DISTRICT : Q AND A

April 11, 1993


Laura Newman Chick, 48, of Tarzana was an aide to Councilwoman Joy Picus for three years before working as a community relations consultant. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from UCLA and a master's degree in social work from USC. She has never before run for public office.

Morton S. Diamond, 61, of Canoga Park is a free-lance paralegal. He holds an associate's degree in business administration from Chaffey Community College and studied agriculture, marketing and sales at Cal Poly Pomona. He ran for the 3rd District City Council seat in 1989.

Robert J. Gross, 60, of Woodland Hills is a purchasing manager in the aerospace industry and studied business at the University of Wisconsin. He has served as president of the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization since 1989 and is making his first bid for elected public office.

Charles Dana Nixon III, 49, of Woodland Hills is a building contractor. A Vietnam veteran, he returned to Vietnam in 1990 to help build a health clinic with the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project. He holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Cal State Northridge and a master's degree in family counseling from Azuza Pacific College. This is his first attempt at public office.

Joy Picus, 62, of Woodland Hills has been councilwoman of the 3rd District since 1977. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin. Before she went into public office, she was a community relations officer for the Jewish Federation Council and a community activist.

Dennis P. Zine, 45, of West Hills is a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department who heads up the West Valley Traffic Division. This is his first bid at public office.

Significant Problem

Q. What do you believe is the most significant problem facing the district?

Chick: Crime and graffiti. I will work to streamline the LAPD and redeploy all uniformed officers to active street duty. We also should retrain city employees in nonessential positions to fill LAPD "desk" jobs. We must create a crime-prevention plan using all our resources to offer productive alternatives to crime and gangs.

Diamond: Candidates not being able to get their message out through the media causing us to get the same incumbents elected.

Gross: I believe that the most significant problem facing the 3rd Council District is leadership. The current leadership representing the San Fernando Valley has failed to recognize the need for a comprehensive and consistent agenda designed to protect and preserve our valuable community resources. The preservation of our open spaces in the Sepulveda Basin and the farmland at Pierce College are two examples of inconsistent policy-making on the part of our standing incumbent.

Nixon: A lack of leadership on the City Council. Lobbyists and special-interest money corrupt the electoral and political process. This legal bribery will only be changed by replacing entrenched career politicians with reform-oriented citizens.

Picus: Wherever I go, people are concerned about crime and violence. I have always supported increasing the number of police and officers on our streets and I worked with West Valley LAPD to develop "community-based policing" long before that became a popular buzzword. Combatting crime must be a community effort involving all of us--the police, local businesses, residents and other government and social agencies.

Zine: Crime and fear, which is displayed by graffiti and the business flight from the area. Streamline the Police Department to better serve the needs of the community, and bring additional police officers to the Valley. Establish within my office a community empowerment program to work hand-in-hand with the Police Department, establishing safety as the priority.

City Services

Q. Do you believe the San Fernando Valley gets its fair share of city services?

Chick: No. The Valley does not receive services proportional to its population. For example, though LAPD officers are assigned to the Valley, many of their actual hours are spent in other parts of the city.

Diamond: No, the city cannot afford to give us our share at this time.

Gross: I do not believe that the San Fernando Valley is getting its fair share of city services. I attribute this mainly to ineffectual leadership on the part of the incumbent. Police services, street and maintenance services and the timely processing of applications addressing planning and land-use issues must receive greater priority from the City Council member representing the 3rd District.

Nixon: The argument that we do not get our fair share of police services is specious. Though we are one-third of the city's population, we have less than 20% of its crime and therefore 20% of law enforcement deployment.

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