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Valley Perspective

VOTE Should Show Its Hand

April 12, 1998

The official line from Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment, or VOTE, is that the group neither supports nor opposes breaking off the San Fernando Valley from the rest of the city. Instead, the group claims to want only an unbiased study to determine the feasibility of a split and that an upcoming petition drive seeks voter support for such an examination.

Please. It's time to come clean.

Despite all the talk of wanting simply to examine the pros and cons of secession, Valley VOTE leaders know--or should know--that the only way to start such a study is to formally apply for what state codes inelegantly call a simultaneous detachment and incorporation. In other words, the only way to study secession is to actually start the process.

Maybe it's just us, but it seems odd to embark on a politically explosive multimillion-dollar process without having a clear position one way or the other. Valley VOTE leaders trumpet the thoughtful care that Valley voters would take in deciding for themselves whether secession is the right course. The Times agrees that voters are smart enough to make up their own minds--even though we oppose secession in favor of efforts to redraw the city's unwieldy charter.

But voters deserve the truth. That means knowing where Valley VOTE stands--and who's paying its bills. Before petitions start popping up outside grocery stores later this spring, VOTE owes it to voters to spell out its position on secession plainly and honestly.

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