Seeking to reassure critics, State Sen. President Pro Tem Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) proposed amendments to his Valley secession bill Wednesday to clarify the advisory role and makeup of a commission charged with studying the effects of dividing Los Angeles.
The new language explicitly states that the commission study would not hold up any parallel study by the county agency in charge of detachment and incorporation.
It also, as promised by Lockyer, deletes mistakenly inserted language that called for a sunset clause on the bill.
Valley leaders in a group backing legislation to make it easier to separate from Los Angeles greeted the amendments as a step toward compromise.
"This bill eliminates both of our objections," said Richard Close, co-chairman of Valley VOTE.
Now the only obstacle is Lockyer's insistence on a citywide vote on secession, rather than the Valley-residents-only vote preferred by Close's group.
Another amendment fine-tunes the method of selecting the eight-member advisory panel to study the impact of Valley secession. It gives the governor four appointments from a list provided by Valley organizations.
The City Council would appoint the other members.
Lockyer also included a provision that one of the governor's appointees "shall be an editor of a daily newspaper published in the San Fernando Valley."
Lockyer spokesman Sandy Harrison said the slot was designated for an editor from the Daily News, which often was at odds with Lockyer over his handling of the secession bill last year.
"It's in recognition of their lobbying in their news pages. They qualify as community activists," Harrison said. "It's sort of a light-hearted acknowledgment of the unusual occurrence of a newspaper taking such an active lobbying role in such an issue."
Daily News Editor David J. Butler did not return phone calls seeking comment.