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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Valley VOTE Declares Victory in Sign-Up Drive

November 13, 1998|SUE FOX

With two weeks left before the deadline, Valley VOTE has effectively declared victory in its campaign to collect enough voter signatures to trigger a study of Valley secession.

The organization sent out about 2,000 invitations this week to "the grandest Baby Shower," to take place Dec. 6 at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys. The shower will celebrate the "possible birth of the sixth largest city in the U.S.A."

"I think the people of the Valley have spoken," said Jeff Brain, president of Valley VOTE. "It's time for the city to hear that the people of the San Fernando Valley are unhappy with the level of services they receive and the quality of the leadership of this city."

Though the signatures have yet to be officially counted, the victory gala is in the works because the group has collected about 190,000 of them--enough, Brain said, to meet the requirement for a state-sanctioned study of political autonomy for the Valley.

Barred from collecting signatures at the summer's Van Nuys air show and even momentarily confused with an anti-gay marriage petition, Valley VOTE had its share of setbacks along the way. The group's efforts were bolstered by a three-month extension for its petition drive, granted by the state Legislature and the governor.

The activists must gather signatures from a quarter of the Valley's registered voters, about 135,000 people, to force a secession study by the Local Agency Formation Commission. The deadline for the petition drive is Nov. 27.

If the study's findings show that Valley independence would not be a financial burden on either the Valley or the rest of Los Angeles, voters citywide could be asked to vote on the issue as soon as 2000.

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