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East Valley Focus

MISSION HILLS : Berman Moves Out of Police Station

March 26, 1994|JEFF SCHNAUFER

Rep. Howard Berman has been freed from the San Fernando police station.

No criminal charges. No trial. No new lease on life. Just a lease for a new office in Mission Hills.

The interim office in the old police station has been the congressman's San Fernando Valley headquarters since his Panorama City office was condemned because of damage from the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake.

"Free at last from the old jail," Berman quipped Friday during his first day at the new office, Suite 130, 10200 Sepulveda Blvd.

Berman had not sat down in his fifth-story Panorama City office since the Roscoe Boulevard building was condemned after the quake. His staff managed to enter the building to retrieve constituents' files and computer equipment.

During the last two months, the congressman and his staff of seven operated out of the old police station along with lawyers from the district attorney's office and Superior Court judges' staff. Many of the temporary inhabitants stored their files in jail cells.

Berman said his staff is up and running at the new Mission Hills location. He thanked the city of San Fernando for its hospitality, but could not contain a sigh of relief at being in his own office.

"I was grateful for the use, but it's a little bit easier to conduct business here," Berman said. "What I really want is my constituents to know as soon as possible that we have a new office and it's open."

Berman said his office is providing the same services it did before the earthquake. In fact, it is doing more than ever by helping constituents fill out applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid.

Berman's San Fernando Valley field office telephone numbers remain 891-0543 and 764-1206.

And although he still represents the 26th Congressional District, including Panorama City and much of the eastern San Fernando Valley, he is no longer Congressman Howard L. Berman, (D-Panorama City).

"I guess now I'm a Democrat from Mission Hills," he said.

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