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Hahn Expected to Oppose Project

Development: At event today, mayor will likely join coalition fighting Ahmanson Ranch.

June 18, 2002|MASSIE RITSCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn is expected to join opponents of the Ahmanson Ranch development today to decry the Ventura County project's potential effect on Los Angeles traffic and air quality, according to city officials and activists.

The mayor is scheduled to join the coalition of politicians, environmentalists and Hollywood celebrities opposed to Washington Mutual's $2-billion development during an announcement at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Others expected include actor-director Rob Reiner, City Councilman Dennis Zine, Ventura County Supervisor-elect Linda Parks and community leaders from the West Valley.

Hahn has not taken a public stand on the development. The Ahmanson Ranch project is proposed for land entirely in Ventura County, but it abuts the San Fernando Valley and its opponents say most of the people moving in would commute to Los Angeles.

Project opponents said Hahn will make his announcement at a shopping mall that sits at the interchange of the 101 and 405 freeways, a bottleneck that they say would become more congested if 3,050 homes were built in the Simi Hills near Calabasas.

Woodland Hills resident Joe Behar, who will be among the community leaders at the Galleria, said he wrote to the mayor less than two weeks ago to ask him to join the opposition to Ahmanson Ranch. Hahn's quick response was surprising, Behar said. But given Hahn's desire to fend off secessionists in the Valley, Behar understood.

"If this development can be stopped," he said, "it would definitely show a great intent on the part of the city to ... fight to make sure the city and the Valley are one."

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