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Mixed Field of 13 Test Their Luck in District 3 Race

October 22, 2002|Stephanie Stassel | Times Staff Writer

The race for the 3rd District seat on the proposed San Fernando Valley city council pits a longtime political veteran against a field of mostly novices, including a film editor, an accountant and an environmental engineer who wants to retest capped water wells. Together, they make up the largest field of candidates -- 13 -- running for a council post on the Valley secession ballot.

The district takes in Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, the western edge of Northridge and northern portions of Canoga Park, West Hills and Winnetka.

There are 14 Valley council contests in the Nov. 5 election. The offices will be filled only if the Valley secession measure passes.

In the 3rd District, the best-known candidate is Paula Boland, a former assemblywoman who helped launch the secession campaign.

"Since I started all this, I thought I should be there to help get [a Valley city] started," said Boland, 62, who introduced an Assembly bill in 1996 that would have set the stage for a secession measure. Her bill died in the state Senate, but a compromise version was approved the following year.

Boland, who was a real estate broker before serving in the Assembly from 1990 to 1996, has a history of conservative political activism.

"I miss getting the good stuff done," said the Northridge resident.

Walter Prince, founding director of Valley VOTE, says he wants to clean up drug-infested neighborhoods and topple what he calls the "established dictatorship" at City Hall.

"All the council districts are the same," said Prince, 66, who owns a janitorial service. "You have to beg to get anything done. It's been like that forever."

Marvin Barsky, a business owner who has been active in youth sports for many years, wants more police officers on the streets. "As the north Valley grew, I don't think the police grew with it," said Barsky, 56, of Porter Ranch.

Erich D. Miller, who has run for Congress three times on the Libertarian ticket, says Los Angeles charges too much in taxes and places too many controls on businesses.

"I'm not concerned about how many fast-food restaurants there are on one block," said Miller, 41, a Northridge business owner and musician. "The market provides what people really want and need."

Jerry England says the Valley needs more police officers, a better mass-transit system and less development in places such as Chatsworth, where housing tracts are crowding horse ranches. "It's ripe for development," said England, 59, who has lived in the Valley for more than 50 years.

David Gordon Tweet's vision of a Valley city includes a larger police force with more senior lead officers.

"I think we need to improve everything," said the 46-year-old Chatsworth resident, a film editor.

Igaal Barak believes his business experience will be vital if the Valley breaks away from Los Angeles. He founded a company, HSIS Schools, that raises capital to build private high schools. "Once the Valley is independent, we need to run it and do it right," said Barak, 56, of Northridge.

Armineh Safarian Chelebian, 42, says her accounting background would be essential to a new Valley city.

"We need to use our tax dollars more wisely," said Chelebian, a Winnetka resident who has served on leadership councils at two Valley schools. "We need to lower business taxes and simplify them so the Valley will be inviting businesses in."

John Regis Kuhn ran unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles school board during the 1970s' anti-busing movement. As a Valley councilman, he says he would focus on reducing traffic, slowing growth and reopening the Northridge Park pool.

"I'm running because I'm not a politician," said Kuhn, 59, a Chatsworth resident who teaches technical arts at Hale Middle School. "There are too many politicians in politics."

Environmental engineer Joseph A. Martin wants to have the more than 300 capped water wells in the Valley retested to see if they are safe to use. He says many of them were deemed to be polluted 20 years ago but might be fine now.

"There is no plan to test these wells to see if they are still polluted," said Martin, 56, a longtime Chatsworth resident.

Robert Goldsobel, 37, of Winnetka says secession would make it easier to break up the school district.

"Going to Sacramento as our own city, we'll have a much stronger voice [in pursuing a schools split]," said Goldsobel, a sales manager for a broadcast equipment company.

Curtis A. Wood, 44, an Army reservist, says the secession campaign might have been averted if the Valley had been given its own school district. The L.A. school system is nonfunctioning, said Wood, a Winnetka resident who has served on two management councils for the schools. "They are throwing money down executive toilets."

Candidate Michael C. Robbe did not return phone calls seeking a comment.

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