SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Paula L. Boland moved to resurrect the Valley secession issue in the Legislature on Wednesday by making a key concession that would give voters throughout Los Angeles a say in whether the city should be divided.
Boland's last-ditch effort to revive the issue in the final days of the legislative session follows the narrow defeat last week of her secession bill in the state Senate.
The final vote was 19 to 18 in favor, two votes shy of the 21 votes needed for passage.
She said the vote was close enough to merit a compromise, something she had refused to do in the past. "The Valley is strong enough that at least it would have a chance to secede if it wanted to," Boland said.
Boland, a Granada Hills Republican, attached amendments relating to secession to a Senate measure facing Assembly action. The amendments passed easily, 48 to 9, in the Assembly late Wednesday.
Boland's amendments include the provisions of her original bill, which removed the veto power of the City Council over attempts to secede from Los Angeles, plus a "dual-majority" citywide vote.
The dual-majority stipulation means that before secession could occur, a majority of Valley voters would have to agree, as would a majority of voters throughout the city. Under the original measure, only Valley residents would have had a vote on secession.
Los Angeles' most potent argument against the original bill was the lack of a citywide vote. Now Boland has removed that key criticism.
But Boland has continued to ignore a demand by state Senate President Pro Tem Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) for a statewide commission to work out the fiscal and environmental impacts of Valley secession. Because of that, a powerful enemy of her measure still stands in its path.
The Senate bill to which the secession amendments were added is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Rob Hurtt (R-Garden Grove), who gave Boland the go-ahead to use it as a vehicle. Its subject matter is state agency records.
If the bill moves ahead, it will get a new sponsor, Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), who argued forcefully for Boland's original bill last week. The bill with the new amendments is now scheduled for an Assembly vote as soon as Friday. It must then return to the Senate for concurrence.
But many obstacles stand in the way.
Most important, the two-year legislative session is set to end Saturday. Although anything can happen in the marathon sessions that mark the Legislature's final days, opponents of the bill are not letting down their guard.
Boland also faces two problems in the Democrat-controlled Senate. One is partisan politics. She is running for the state Senate from the Glendale-Burbank area, and Democrats have characterized her secession efforts as nothing more than an election ploy.
Her other problem is the powerful Lockyer.
Lockyer said he would not support the bill unless Boland agreed to a $1.2-million, state-funded blue ribbon commission to study the impacts of Valley secession.
Additionally, other key Los Angeles-area legislators remain opposed.