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LOS ANGELES

Liberals Outline Their Platform for Proposed Valley City

October 10, 2002|SHARON BERNSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Shaunn Cartwright wants voters who think that only conservatives back San Fernando Valley secession to know that she's a liberal--and so are 16 others running for office in the proposed new Valley city.

"We're proud liberals," said Cartwright, a candidate in District 1 in the proposed new city. "We're liberals with a big, loud L on our shoulders. We're doing this to let the Valley citizens know this isn't some Christian Coalition, right-wing fundamentalist takeover of the Valley."

The secession movement was launched by conservatives, many of them veterans of the anti-busing and Proposition 13 campaigns of the 1970s. And of 111 candidates on the Nov. 5 secession ballot, just 17 joined the Valley Alliance of Liberals--and only 10 showed up at a news conference held Wednesday to release the group's platform.

The alliance's proposals include continuing Los Angeles' rent-control and living-wage ordinances after secession, and recognizing domestic partnerships. The group also called for more parks and public landscaping, and for opening day-care centers at city offices.

The Valley Libs, as they informally call themselves, also want to hire more veterinarians for the Department of Animal Regulation and build art museums and other cultural institutions in the Valley.

"It's a moderately liberal agenda," said candidate Terry Stone, who helped draft the platform. "It's nothing terribly scary."

It was a day of campaigning for other Valley city candidates as well. Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Northridge), who is running for mayor of the Valley city, released a series of proposals that he said would improve public education.

Richman acknowledged that a new city, like Los Angeles, would have no jurisdiction over schools. But he said he would hire a liaison to work with the Los Angeles Unified School District for programs and reforms that city officials feel are important.

In addition, Richman said, he would encourage the establishment of elected parent councils at all schools, and would push the state Legislature to require that the school district use more funds for classroom needs and less for bureaucracy.

"The city does not, and would not, have direct jurisdiction over the schools," Richman said. "So what is available to us is the bully pulpit to move the schools toward improvement."

If schools have not improved after two years, Richman said, he would lead an effort to break up L.A. Unified and create a Valley school district.

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