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Respect Local Views in Voting on Secession

July 07, 2002

Re "Voters Oppose Breaking Up Los Angeles," July 2: Of course most L.A. voters don't want the Valley to secede--all that cash from the taxpayer base goes away and won't support all those L.A. (non-Valley) needs. What's wrong with the system is that, even if the 1.4 million people within the Valley wish to form their own city, they can't if the 3.7 million people in L.A. don't want them too. That isn't democracy--only the masses ruling over a body of people who can't have a voice against them.

An example of how L.A. spends and supports the Valley was outlined in the same edition, in "L.A. Unified Opens 1st Valley School in 31 Years." With all the overcrowding and extensive growth over the last 31 years, what took so long? Or is it a coincidence that Mayor James Hahn is suddenly supporting Valley needs to avoid secession?

Larry Bickmann

Thousand Oaks


Why a citywide vote? The whole idea of this secession bid is that folks in the Valley are seeking to get away from Los Angeles. Don't the citizens of the San Fernando Valley have the right to determine their own fate? Where is democracy? This year, around Independence Day, let's remember that the British were opposed to America's secession from that empire.

Michael T. Pan

Woodland Hills


The poll shows that 61% of Hollywood residents are opposed to secession. As one who lives in a neighborhood that has been drawn into the map of Hollywood, I sincerely hope that regardless of how Valley residents and others vote on Valley secession they will respect the stated wishes of the people in Hollywood by opposing the secession of Hollywood.

As a historical note, those who say that Hollywood has been neglected by the city of Los Angeles are wrong. As far back as 1983, the city took note of the decline of Hollywood and began the process to declare it a Community Redevelopment Agency zone that would allow city money to be set aside for redevelopment and revitalization. A group of Hollywood citizens filed suit to prevent this from happening. City money was held up for years while the suit made its way to the state Supreme Court, where it met final defeat in 1991. Finally money was released, and we are beginning to see the benefits.

Lois Saffian

Los Angeles


Neighborhood councils in their current form have little chance for citywide success ("An Era of Neighborhoods," editorial, June 30). Unlike the new local area planning commissions, which have created devolution in central control of localized planning concerns, neighborhood councils are strictly "advisory" by statute, and the imprimatur of city certification will not garner them any true representation within the current structure of city governance. The one opportunity for limited authority was the promise of an annual city budget expenditure allowing each certified council to spend discretionary funds in its community. This has now been replaced by the requirement to apply for specific grant money.

I do agree that neighborhood councils would thrive as part of a borough system. All current borough proposals are united by the inclusion of neighborhood councils, albeit with some form of authority or budget allocation.

Cliff Reston

Harvard Design School

Cambridge, Mass.

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