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Racial Politics Mark Meeting on Secession

THE SECESSION DEBATE

April 18, 2002|SHARON BERNSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Racial politics and anger over the firing of Police Chief Bernard C. Parks spilled over into the secession debate Wednesday, as about 150 people filled an auditorium at the Brookins AME Church in South Los Angeles for what was billed as an informational town hall meeting on secession.

"Mayor Hahn has asked us to follow him" in opposing secession, said the Rev. Frederick O. Murph. "But we don't trust him."

Speakers included representatives of the League of Women Voters and secession groups in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and the harbor area.

"This is a revolution!" boomed Gene La Pietra of the pro-secession group Hollywood VOTE.

Some speakers suggested that blacks would have more power if Los Angeles were smaller.

"If you want representation for your community, this is the fastest way to do it," said Andrew Mardesich of the harbor secession movement.

Jacquie St. James said that the city and county of Los Angeles are too complex, and that she recently had to go to three offices to find out who could deal with truck noise in her neighborhood.

The turnout at the meeting, she said, "is because they're angry. I'm angry."

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