Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Dissecting the Valley Vote

April 25, 1993

We begin this look at the San Fernando Valley's role in Tuesday's elections with a simple question: What's wrong with this picture?

Paint it with Valley residents shocked and outraged by carjackings, violence on school campuses, graffiti taggers and emboldened street gangs. Add a few brush strokes of demands for more police on the streets and support for labor-intensive law-enforcement actions such as gang bans in parks and in neighborhoods under siege. Toss on a dollop of color for so much panic over the possibility of civil unrest from the Rodney King/LAPD verdicts that residents were concocting all manner of neighborhood defense plans. Add a background of standing-room-only attendance for every Valley visit from Police Chief Willie L. Williams by folks anxious to hear how the chief is going to protect them.

So, what does the Valley do when it has the chance to cast a ballot that would put 1,000 more police officers on the street through a reasonable property-tax increase? It plays perhaps the biggest role in defeating the citywide measure, with only 52% of the voters supporting it, according to a Times exit poll. A two-thirds majority was required for passage.

The message here is clear: The Valley wants more police officers, if it doesn't have to pay for them.

The vote for mayor was another matter, fulfilling the prediction that the Valley will play a major role in selecting the city's next top dog. But the vote also shattered the myth that the Valley is monolithic politically. Conservative businessman Richard Riordan, who led the vote-getters on Tuesday, would still be facing a runoff today even if the election had been held only in the Valley. According to the poll, the Valley moderates in the race, Assemblyman Richard Katz and Councilman Joel Wachs, pulled in 31% of the Valley vote. The race for their supporters means the Valley cannot be neglected in the runoff between Riordan and Councilman Michael Woo.

In the 7th District City Council race to succeed Ernani Bernardi, too much is being made of the possible election of the Valley's first Latino councilman (that should not be the goal), and of the fear that a Latino might dilute the Valley's so-called small influence over council affairs (a ludicrous concern, to say the least). The campaign and eventual runoff between city Fire Department Capt. Lyle Hall and Richard Alarcon, onetime aide to Mayor Tom Bradley, ought to be based solely on who will best represent all of the 7th's constituents.

In the 3rd District, it's clear that voters aren't buying the refrain of longtime incumbent Councilwoman Joy Picus, who says that challenger Laura Chick ought to be discounted as an interloper who doesn't deserve to play in the sandbox. The voters would rather hear more, from both candidates, on who will be best at handling the West Valley's growing problems, and those of the city of Los Angeles as a whole.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|