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THE SECESSION QUESTION

Voters Oppose Breaking Up Los Angeles

Times poll: The margin is wide on Hollywood secession. Independence is popular in the Valley, but not enough to carry the citywide vote.

July 02, 2002|MICHAEL FINNEGAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"A lot of these kids, their parents don't have food on the table for them, and they would go out and commit crimes to survive," he said. "We're already struggling as it is. We're struggling bad out here."

Richard Sebel, a financial consultant who lives near the intersection of Olympic and Robertson boulevards, said he fears a breakup would lead to less aid from Washington and Sacramento.

Outside the Valley,a main reason for opposing secession is a concern about the loss of tax revenue.

"I think everybody's taxes are going to go up, and I don't think anybody's services are going to improve," said retired teacher Sharon Bradford of Bel-Air.

The poll found just 4% of voters citywide believe taxes would drop if Los Angeles breaks apart, 47% expect taxes to rise, and 37% think they would stay the same.

Despite predictions by secession promoters that a Valley city could offer lower taxes, voters there are skeptical. Among Valley voters, 5% predict lower taxes, 40% foresee higher taxes and 43% say taxes would remain stable.

Most secession backers also say that they think their power and water rates would go up if the Valley were to break away.

Nearly half of Valley voters say secession would improve services. More than half say secession would solve the city's worst problems. Valley voters list crime and bad schools--problems that are most severe in other parts of Los Angeles--as the city's worst troubles.

Half of Valley voters concede that secession would have a negative impact on the rest of Los Angeles. But Paul Sundling, a computer programmer from Toluca Lake, says he will vote for secession anyway. Sundling says the rest of the city might face a drop in tax money to spend on services, but, he said, "I think everybody should pull their own weight."

If secession does pass, the poll also found an emerging consensus among Valley voters on a name for the proposed city: San Fernando Valley. They roundly reject the other four names on the ballot: Camelot, Rancho San Fernando, Valley City and Mission Valley.

For now, said Pinkus, the campaign against secession seems to have more strength than the effort to split up Los Angeles, but the landscape could change once the television advertising begins.

"I don't think it's a slam dunk for either side," she said.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Valley Secession

Where registered voters in these areas of the city stand on

Vote for Vote against

Entire city of L.A. 38% 47%

San Fernando Valley 52 37

Rest of Los Angeles 29 53

Source: L.A. Times Poll

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Valley Secession

Registered voters were read a summary of arguments for and against the San Fernando Valley's secession from the city of Los Angeles and were then asked how they would vote on the ballot initiative if the Nov. 5 general election were being held today. (Includes those who said they are "leaning" for or against)

Voted for Voted Against

San Fernando Valley 52% 37

East Valley 45% 42

West Valley 59% 32

Latinos 52% 33

Whites 54% 38

Lived in the Valley...

less than 10 years 42% 43

10 years or longer 56% 33

whole life 52% 40

Rest of Los Angeles 29% 53

Hollywood 31% 55

Westside 35% 52

Central city 27% 55

South city 27% 53

All of city of L.A. 38% 47

Whites 43% 47

Blacks 29% 53

Latinos 36% 45

Registered Democrats 30% 54

Registered independents 52% 42

Registered Republicans 50% 36

Do you think all sections of Los Angeles receive their fair share of city services and attention, or do you think that some sections receive less than their fair share? (If unfair) Which section do you feel receives less than its fair share?

All Rest of

L.A. Valley Hollywood L.A.

Fair to all sections 13% 12 19 14

Unfair to So.-Central 28 19 25 34

Unfair to SF Valley 17 42 5 2

Unfair to downtown 6 3 7 8

Unfair to Eastside 6 2 5 8

Unfair to Hollywood 2 1 10 1

Unfair to Westside 1 - 2 2

Unfair to all sections 5 6 1 5

Unfair; don't know

which section 8 5 13 10

Other 3 1 2 4

Don't know 11 9 11 12

Registered voters who said they would vote for Valley secession were asked: What is the main reason you will vote for the San Fernando Valley to break away or secede from Los Angeles? (Accepted up to two replies; top responses shown)

All

Los Angeles Valley

Smaller, more efficient government 27 29

More local control 18 18

Valley taxpayers should get fair return 16 24

Better access to city services 16 18

L.A. is too big 16 14

Valley is big enough for independence 11 11

If Valley voters want it,

they should get it 11 3

L.A. takes Valley for granted 8 11

Registered voters living within the boundaries of the proposed new Valley city were asked: If the San Fernando Valley does break away from the city of Los Angeles, there have been five names proposed for the new city that will appear on the ballot. Which name would you choose?

Don't know 5%

Wouldn't vote (volunteered) 5%

Mission Valley 6%

Camelot 7%

Valley City 8%

Rancho San Fernando 12%

San Fernando Valley 57%

Hollywood Secession

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