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Angeles County | Community News File / San Fernando

Secession Drive Claims 172,000 Petition Signatures

October 22, 1998

Activists petitioning for a study and possible vote on the secession of the San Fernando Valley from Los Angeles announced Wednesday that they have collected 172,000 signatures, which may be more than they need but is short of their goal.

Leaders of Valley VOTE, the group leading the petition drive, remained confident that they will have enough signatures required but backed away from predictions that they would conclude the effort by the end of October.

Under state law, Valley VOTE must gather signatures from 25% of registered voters in the Valley--about 135,000 of the 526,000 people on the voter rolls--to trigger the first step to creating an independent city. The petition deadline is Nov. 27.

"We decided to use the entire petition period to get as many signatures as we can," said Jeff Brain, president of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment.

Valley VOTE hopes to collect at least 180,000 signatures to ensure that the petition qualifies, even if some signatures are disqualified by county elections officials.

If the petition drive is successful, the Local Agency Formation Commission will be required to study whether secession would create a financial hardship for Los Angeles. If findings favor Valley secession, voters citywide could see a ballot initiative on the proposal as early as 2000.

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