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NAACP Valley Chapter Leader Backs Secession

Cityhood: His announcement comes on the same day the state's oldest black Democratic club comes out against breakup.


Breaking from African American leaders outside the San Fernando Valley, the president of the NAACP's Valley chapter said Tuesday he supports secession because it would improve the lives of all Los Angeles residents.

The Rev. Zedar E. Broadous made the announcement on the same day the oldest black Democratic club in the state came out against the proposed breakup of Los Angeles.

Broadous, who also is chairman of the Black Chamber of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, said some African American leaders opposed to secession are resistant to political change and may not understand the needs of Valley minorities.

One problem secession might solve, Broadus said, involves rules requiring areas served by federal programs to be contiguous. Those rules, he said, shortchange blighted parts of the northeast Valley, an area miles from pockets of poverty elsewhere in the city.

"The northeast Valley has not gotten the kind of attention other parts of Los Angeles have," said Broadous, a Pacoima minister and graphics consultant.

Broadous said if voters approve secession, residents of the remainder of Los Angeles would gain the same smaller-city benefits that Valley residents would enjoy.

"We in the Valley will have better access to our government, more representative government and control over our own resources," Broadous said.

The Valley chapter of the NAACP has more than 1,000 members. While his position on secession is not the official stance of the chapter, Broadous said he is urging the organization to back secession. He said he also has asked the chamber to endorse a breakup.

Secession leaders said Broadous' support is especially valuable because his family has played a prominent role in Valley history. Broadous Elementary School is named for his father, who founded the Valley chapter of the NAACP.

"He is a very well-respected leader in the Valley," said Richard Katz, co-chairman of the Valley Independence Committee. "He would be a very important part of our coalition."

Kam Kuwata, who is running Mayor James K. Hahn's anti-secession campaign, said Broadous will have little effect because, he said, his position is out of step with most black leaders.

"With anything, you are going to get individuals here and there who disagree, but the vast majority are certainly coming out against secession," Kuwata said.

The NAACP's Los Angeles chapter and several other African American groups outside the Valley are opposed to the Valley and Hollywood secession measures on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Broadous joined the secession group Valley VOTE in 2000 as a neutral observer.

He said Tuesday he decided to support a breakup, in part, because of the candidacy of Mel Wilson, an African American who is a leading candidate for Valley mayor on the secession ballot, and a study by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government that found Los Angeles lags other cities in receiving state and federal funds.

The Rose report, financed by secessionists and released Tuesday, also found the Valley receives less money for redevelopment and policing than do other areas of Los Angeles.

Although African Americans represent just 5.6% of registered voters in the Valley, Broadous said he believes a Valley city would elect blacks, including Wilson.

Bobbie Jean Anderson, president of the New Frontier Democratic Club, the oldest African American club in the state, said Broadous is wrong about secession. The group has 320 members in South Los Angeles, Inglewood and Compton.

"Los Angeles is going to be losing 30% of its tax base, and services are going to have to come from somewhere, so we will have to make up the difference," Anderson said.

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