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Come Back Next Year, When You Put in the Parking Meters

Political Briefing

November 08, 1996|HUGO MARTIN STEVE BERRY and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Perhaps Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan does not dress as well as San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. And maybe he doesn't have that East Coast edge of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

But how is it that Riordan failed to make a list of the nation's top 25 mayors that includes the leaders of Laredo, Texas; Clinton, Iowa, and Cleveland?

After all, Riordan is mayor of the second-largest city in the country, home to Heidi Fleiss, the kosher burrito and Muscle Beach.

The list of the nation's most dynamic mayors was part of a Newsweek article on city chiefs who have come up with innovative solutions to municipal problems in the face of dwindling federal dollars.

Riordan's office responded to the piece by calling Newsweek's West Coast office. But Noelia Rodriguez, Riordan's spokeswoman, said the magazine's bureau chief could not explain why Riordan did not make the list.

"When I saw this, my eyes popped out and a few of my veins, too," she said.

After all, Rodriguez points out, Riordan has tried to use innovative business management techniques to cut waste in City Hall.

Rodriguez seemed most irritated that the mayor of Laredo, Saul Ramirez Jr., was named over Riordan because Ramirez has begun to pave the dusty streets of the city.

"I have been to Laredo," she said, "and I suppose next year [Ramirez] will be on the cover of the magazine as the most dynamic mayor because he installed indoor plumbing."

There was, however, one consolation in the piece, Rodriguez said: Mike Antonovich, the president of the County Board of Supervisors who was recently retitled county mayor, was also not mentioned.

Son of Secession Paula Boland, the Republican assemblywoman from Granada Hills who lost a bid for state senator, may be leaving office but her dream of a Valley secession bill lives on.

The morning after her electoral loss to former federal prosecutor Adam Schiff, members of Valley VOTE, a group dedicated to giving the Valley and other communities the power to secede from Los Angeles, met to draft a battle plan.

Boland had introduced a bill to void the City Council's power to veto a secession drive but the measure was killed by Democrats who overwhelmingly opposed it. Valley VOTE, therefore, has decided to try to make any future bill a bipartisan effort.

Smart move, considering the Democrats now control both the Assembly and the Senate.

"There is nothing that dictates that this has to be a Republican bill," said Richard Close, co-founder of Valley VOTE.

Close also believes the secession bill was killed because Boland was seeking reelection at the time and Democrats didn't want to help her cause in any way.

If the bill is reintroduced next year, perhaps it won't be bogged down in election-year politics, he said.

"Our goal is to keep it from being a partisan bill," he said.

That may be difficult to do since the only lawmaker to volunteer to reintroduce the bill is well known for his strong conservative stance: Assemblyman Tom McClintock, a Republican whose district includes parts of the West Valley.

City Council President John Ferraro, who lobbied against the Boland bill, said he is uncertain whether the bill will be more successful or less in the next legislative session.

But he said he still believes that secessionists are wrong if they think that breaking away from Los Angeles will solve all the Valley's problems.

"Secession won't return the Valley to small-town America," he said.

A Numbers Man It was an unusual sight, even by election-night standards.

At 1 a.m. Wednesday, a campaign worker emerged from behind a screen at Brad Sherman's election-night headquarters in Woodland Hills and jubilantly proclaimed that Sherman was 400 votes behind his congressional opponent, Richard Sybert.

Cheers went up. Campaign workers hugged and yelled. People pumped Sherman's hand, bussed his cheek and called him Congressman.

That's because despite the deficit, the voting showed that Sherman was very close in Sybert's Ventura County stronghold.

Earlier in the evening, Sybert's margin over Sherman was 2,000. Then it climbed to 3,000.

"This is good news," Sherman reassured his groaning supporters at one point.

Then the Ventura votes were in and a smattering of Los Angeles returns trickled through. The margin narrowed--first 2,800, then 2,600, down to 170 by 1:30 a.m.

"I am going to stay here till I'm 5,000 votes ahead," he said to the few remaining for the nightlong vote watch. He had calculated that a 5,000-vote lead would be enough insurance to withstand any undetected Sybert bastions.

By 2:15 a.m., Sherman was 1,300 votes ahead. Not until after 2:45 did Sherman enter the comfort zone.

"I thought this was the way it was going to be all along," Sherman said. At that moment, he was predicting a "modest margin" of victory.

Before the day ended, that margin expanded, and Sybert conceded.

Winners, Losers Though neither was running for office, Los Angeles County Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky had issues close to their hearts on the line in Tuesday's elections.

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