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Los Angeles

Harbor City Would Have No Harbor

Secession: Staff of state lands panel says the tidelands should remain with Los Angeles. That would deny the new municipality nearly $14 million in revenue.

April 09, 2002|SHARON BERNSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The harbor area's bid for secession took another blow Monday, when the staff of the State Lands Commission recommended that the proposed city not include tidelands around the Port of Los Angeles.

Without the tidelands, a new harbor city would be denied $13.9 million in annual income, as well as the right to control development at the mammoth port.

It is the second setback in a week for harbor secession proponents.

On April 1, State Controller Kathleen Connell said the area would not thrive financially if it were independent of Los Angeles, an assessment which, if state regulators agree, could keep harbor secession off the November ballot.

"It's more than frustrating," said Andrew Mardesich, co-chairman of the secession effort. "It's tough."

The property comprises most of the 7,500-acre harbor, including all of the underwater land around the port and about 67% of the dry land.

Lands Commission Executive Officer Paul Thayer said it would be difficult to grant control of the land to a new city because Los Angeles holds a state trust to manage the port.

And the state law that regulates how such lands are managed and developed applies to only trustee cities.

In addition, according to Thayer's report to the commission scheduled for this morning, a new city would be required to provide police and fire services to the port, but might not have the money to do so, even with the $13.9 million in tax revenue.

Harbor secessionists hope to use control of the land as leverage to keep development in check at the expansion-hungry port.

Connell, who chairs the Lands Commission, said she has not decided whether to include the tidelands in a new city's boundaries.

The commission will vote on the matter after a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. today at the airport Radisson Hotel, 6225 W. Century Blvd.

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