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Hollywood Split OKd for Ballot

Election: Secession bid gets nod for Nov. 5 vote. Also, two more may run for Valley mayor.

July 27, 2002|PATRICK McGREEVY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A state commission formally approved the Hollywood secession measure for the Nov. 5 ballot Friday, after rejecting last-minute objections from the city of Los Angeles and a handful of residents.

The unanimous vote by the Local Agency Formation Commission established the language of the ballot measure, including a passage that spells out the separation payments a Hollywood city would have to pay Los Angeles. The measure will be on the same ballot as the proposal for San Fernando Valley secession.

"We've cleared every major hurdle," said Gene La Pietra, founder of the Hollywood Independence Committee. "A 2 1/2-year effort culminated today with LAFCO deciding to put this to a vote."

LAFCO's action followed a required "protest hearing," at which only two voters filed written objections to the Hollywood election. Written protests from half of L.A.'s 1.45 million registered voters would have been required to keep the measure off the ballot.

Andrew Glazier, co-founder of the anti-secession group called Hollywood and Los Angeles Together, filed one of the protests.

"Financially, it's going to be a disaster," Glazier said. "I don't think Hollywood can sustain itself as an independent city."

LAFCO also rejected a request by Los Angeles officials that it reconsider its earlier finding that a Hollywood city could be financially healthy. The commission has found that an independent Hollywood could operate with a budget reserve, even after making the annual separation payments to Los Angeles.

The payments would start at $21.3 million and gradually decline, fading out in 20 years. LAFCO rejected Los Angeles' request for payments of $73 million each year for 25 years.

In approving the ballot language Friday, LAFCO agreed with Los Angeles' position that the measure should inform voters of the payments. But the commission also decided to include on the ballot a statement that the payments reflect the amount of taxes paid by Hollywood residents in excess of the value of city services the area receives. That explanation had been sought by secessionists.

The Board of Supervisors adopted similar language for the Valley secession measure on Thursday. In a procedural action, the board is scheduled Tuesday to approve the Hollywood measure for the same special election set for Valley cityhood.

At that point, candidates for Hollywood's five City Council seats may begin circulating nominating petitions, which have an Aug. 9 deadline.

Meanwhile, the race for mayor in the proposed Valley city may become more competitive.

Two new candidates took out papers for possible runs against Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Northridge), the only declared candidate.

The possible new contenders are a North Hollywood activist, Greg Roberts, and Scott Sobhani of Valley Glen, a telecommunications consultant and former vice president at Lockheed Martin.

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