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New Group Formed to Press Secession Efforts

October 19, 2002|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

Opening a third front in the battle to split Los Angeles, secession leaders said Friday they have formed a group to bring together pockets of breakup supporters outside the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

The secessionists launched the Alliance for a New Los Angeles even as they struggled to win over majorities on their home turf.

"Folks have been working in other parts of the city but they have been on their own," said attorney Bob Scott, the alliance co-chairman. "This unifies them into a credible group to get the facts out there and counter the fear."

A formal announcement of the alliance's formation is scheduled for Monday, when the group will open an office in Westchester, where the new effort will be coordinated.

The tactic appears to be too little, too late, said secession opponents. A Times poll this week found that 62% of likely voters outside the Valley oppose Valley secession. The poll also showed that secession is trailing in the Valley for the first time.

"It's beyond a lost cause in the rest of the city," said Larry Levine, co-chairman of the anti-secession group One L.A. Forming the alliance, he said, is "a curious decision, given that their support is eroding so quickly in the Valley."

Scott said the alliance probably would not raise or spend money for mail or television ads so that it wouldn't take resources away from the Valley effort.

The group will send speakers to forums and help distribute pro-secession literature outside the breakaway areas.

Meanwhile, the Valley Independence Committee announced Friday that it has begun running a new television commercial on Valley cable stations. It shows idyllic scenes throughout the Valley as a narrator says, in part:

"Imagine a city that is safer, cleaner, and better. Imagine a city with good parks, responsive police and stronger communities. Imagine a city where businesses are thriving and good jobs are growing."

The Hollywood Independence Committee plans to launch a citywide ad blitz, beginning Monday, said Bob Jimenez, a consultant to the campaign. Although Hollywood secessionists can't afford spots on the broadcast networks, they will air three different ads on a variety of cable outlets.

The campaign will also air two radio ads on three local stations during rush hours, Jimenez said. Both are narrated by Gene La Pietra, the wealthy nightclub owner who is bankrolling Hollywood's breakaway bid.

Mayor James K. Hahn's anti-secession campaign has flooded local stations with ads.

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Times staff writer Sue Fox contributed to this story.

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