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Group Forms to Back Secession Bill's Passage

May 30, 1996|KATE FOLMAR

Promoting the Paula Boland bill that would ease San Fernando Valley secession by sidestepping the Los Angeles City Council's involvement, a group of homeowner and business activists has created a new lobbying and educational group called VOTE, or Valley Organized Together for Empowerment.

"This group is not in favor of secession," said homeowner activist Richard Close, who sits on the group's eight-member steering committee.

"The purpose is to bring together business groups, homeowner associations and get them talking with other groups. . . . The focal point is to get the Boland bill passed and signed by the governor."

Boland, a Granada Hills Republican, penned the provocative bill that would simplify an area's secession drive by stripping the City Council's veto power over such a move.

As it now stands, state law allows the council to veto an area's vote to secede.

The Boland bill, which the state Assembly recently approved, would remove that power, leaving the ultimate decision with voters.

The state Senate has yet to vote on the issue.

The fledgling group--with members from Encino, Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks homeowner groups, the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., the San Fernando Valley Assn. of Realtors, the United Chambers of Commerce and Capital Commercial Real Estate--first met Tuesday. It aims to bolster grass-roots support for the bill.

Specifically, VOTE hopes to mobilize voters to attend hearings on the bill and contact their representatives to support the bill, Close said. Group members will also go lobby in Sacramento.

Meantime, VOTE may incorporate as a nonprofit group, Close said. Members are actively recruiting other business, homeowner and charitable groups to join the campaign.

Regardless of whether the Valley actually divorces the basin, the passage of the Boland bill would give the area leverage to obtain more city resources, Close said, including more police officers and a bigger hunk of the city tax revenue.

For information, write VOTE, 1462 Ventura Blvd., Suite 424, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.

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