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Valleywide Focus

5th District May Seek Interim Replacement

October 26, 1994|KAY HWANGBO

San Fernando Valley community and business leaders will meet next week to discuss what support they can lend to a proposal to appoint an interim member to replace departing Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky until a replacement is elected.

Participants will try to gauge how strongly residents and business people feel about the issue, and may lobby the Los Angeles City Council to appoint someone to fill Yaroslavsky's seat.

The meeting will be Tuesday at the law offices of Reznick & Reznick in Sherman Oaks. The idea has been promulgated by Yaroslavsky.

Community leaders want the City Council to take the unusual step because, they say, they want to make sure someone is looking out for the interests of Yaroslavsky's 5th District and all of the Valley districts, during this critical earthquake-recovery period.

Yaroslavsky will leave office Dec. 4 to become a Los Angeles county supervisor, creating a council vacancy that will most likely last until July 1.

The City Council's usual practice in such cases is to name the city's chief legislative analyst to run the vacant council office. But Ron Deaton, the legislative analyst, would not have a vote on the council.

"This is a critical time--we are setting up a CRA (Community Redevelopment Area) and getting funding for rebuilding and loan programs," said Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. "A caretaker has no clout, no voting ability. (He will be) just a clerical person."

Without a council representative, community activists fear that other council members will strip their district of resources. Recently, for example, central-city council members voted to shift millions of housing-rehabilitation money away from the Valley when several of their Valley colleagues were absent. The decision was later reversed.

Those attending the meeting also will discuss what type of person they would like as an interim council member, said Wendy Brogin, chairwoman of the local issues subcommittee of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.

Some observers have said that a person with longtime City Hall experience but no long-term political ambitions would be ideal for the temporary post.

Among the names that have been bandied about are retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman, former state Sen. Alan Sieroty and state Sen. David A. Roberti (D-Van Nuys).

Brogin, who is organizing the meeting, said those invited include representatives from VICA, the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., Studio City Residents Assn., United Chambers of Commerce, Top of the Canyon homeowner association and the Sherman Oaks Town Council.

"I think this is terrific," said Alisa Katz, Yaroslavsky's chief of staff. "The community needs to let the City Council know that they support the idea of an interim council member."

The 5th District includes Sherman Oaks, Bel-Air, Century City, Fairfax, Westwood and portions of Studio City, Van Nuys and North Hollywood. On Oct. 15, community and business leaders from the Westside and other areas met at a Westside home to discuss "how we might proceed" on the appointed replacement issue, according to Alan Kishbaugh, president of the Hillside Federation.

But the activists may be fighting an uphill battle. Council President John Ferraro has opposed the idea, saying that having the chief legislative analyst's office run the district has worked fine in the past. The council has dealt with vacancies this way for the past 28 years.

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