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Riordan Finds Appointees in Affluent Areas : City Hall: Valley's clout increases as mayor taps local residents for top citizen panels.

September 09, 1993|JOHN SCHWADA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mayor Richard Riordan has given the San Fernando Valley a bigger voice at City Hall by filling nearly one-third of the city's top citizen commission posts with Valley residents, a Times survey has found.

In his first two months in office, Riordan has appointed almost twice as many Valley residents to 13 major commissions as former Mayor Tom Bradley had put on the panels.

Bradley's appointments record was often a sore point with the Los Angeles City Council's Valley delegation, which felt the region deserved representation more in keeping with its 33% share of the city's population. Councilman Hal Bernson and former lawmaker Joy Picus were among Bradley's sharpest critics on this point.

But it's a new day under Riordan, who owes much of his election victory in June to Valley voters.

"He's doing a better job of appointing Valley residents," Bernson said Wednesday. "He's trying to give all areas of the city representation."

A review of Riordan's record found that Valley residents make up 21--or 30.4%--of his appointees to 13 top commissions, including panels that govern or oversee the airport, Police Department and Community Redevelopment Agency.

When Riordan took office June 31, those 13 commissions had only 10 Valley residents on them.

Riordan has made more than 170 appointments to more than 35 governing commissions since taking office, a process that is still not complete.

A complete breakdown on the number of Valley residents on all city commissions is not yet available. But Riordan's appointees from four City Council districts wholly in the Valley so far account for 17% of his total, compared to about 11% under Bradley, records show.

The overall number of Valley appointees is bound to be higher, however, because three other council districts include areas partially inside the Valley.

The part-time commission jobs pay either $25 or $50 per meeting, except for members of the Board of Public Works, who work full time and are paid $74,186.

Among Valley residents who are Riordan appointees:

* Ted Stein, an Encino developer and senior adviser on policy issues during Riordan's campaign, is president of the Airport Commission. Stein has the tricky job of carrying out Riordan's agenda to lease out the airport, thereby raising money to hire more police.

* Attorney Robert Scott, a West Hills resident and a prominent leader of the Valley-based movement to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District, sits on the Planning Commission along with Arleta businesswoman Shelly Suzuki. Riordan has called for an overhaul of city land-use practices that he says hamper development.

* Stanley Hirsh, a Studio City resident and owner of downtown real estate, and Bobbi Fiedler, a Northridge resident and former congresswoman, sit on the Community Redevelopment Agency board. Hirsh, who was Councilman Joel Wachs' top campaign fund-raiser during his campaign for mayor, is the board's president. Council members and observers are increasingly calling on the CRA board to reassess the agency's mission.

* Carol Rowen, a Republican businesswoman from Tarzana who came close to unseating state Sen. David Roberti (D-Van Nuys) in 1992, is a member of the Harbor Commission.

* Roberta Weintraub, the sometimes flamboyant former member of the Los Angeles school board from Sherman Oaks, is on the Library Commission; attorney David Fleming, a Valley civic leader from Studio City, is on the Fire Commission, and LeRoy Chase, a Sylmar resident and executive director of the San Fernando Valley Boys & Girls Club, serves on the Recreation and Parks Commission.

* Herbert Boeckmann II, president of Galpin Ford, is a member of the often controversial Los Angeles Police Commission, now charged with implementing reforms stemming from the Rodney King beating case.

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