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Mayoral Hopeful for Maybe City


State Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Northridge) said Monday that he will run for mayor of the proposed San Fernando Valley city, becoming the first candidate for an office that will exist only if voters decide to break the region off from Los Angeles on the same Nov. 5 ballot.

Richman, a multimillionaire physician who spent $425,000 of his money to win his Assembly seat two years ago, plans a formal announcement of his candidacy Wednesday. His platform will focus on what he said were years of neglect of the Valley by the city of Los Angeles.

"I have a lifelong history in the San Fernando Valley, and our community is very important to me," said Richman, 48. "I'm fully committed to Valley independence, and I will be working to address that goal in the months ahead."

The freshman lawmaker is also seeking reelection to the Legislature. If he wins both offices and the Valley secedes, he will resign from the Assembly, and a special election will be held to fill his Assembly seat, Richman said.

Meanwhile, the group spearheading the Valley secession drive on Monday issued its first fund-raising appeal, seeking $1,000 each from 25,000 people. The letter from the San Fernando Valley Independence Committee was signed by eight prominent secessionists, including former ARCO Chairman Lod Cook, County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, former Assemblyman Richard Katz and former city Ethics Commissioner David Fleming.

In the mayor's race, Richman might face state Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar), who said Monday that he continues to seriously consider a run, even though he has not decided whether to support secession itself.

Alarcon also is vying for another term in the Senate, and a special election would be held to fill that seat, if needed.

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