The San Fernando Valley Secession Movement Essay

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The San Fernando Valley Secession Movement Essay, Research Paper The San Fernando Valley Secession Movement The citizens of the San Fernando Valley will soon be facing one of the most important issues in their history. With an estimated 3.6 million residents in Los Angeles, the city has more population than 25 states combined. Los Angeles is so large geographically, that the cities of St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and New York City will fit within its boundaries (see Fig a). The San Fernando Valley has 1.2 police per 1000 residents, while the rest of the city has 2.2 assigned per 1000 residents. The Los Angles City Council meetings are held downtown, more than an hour driving from many parts of the Valley, making it difficult for

Valley residents to be heard. For these and many other reasons, the decision facing the residents of the San Fernando Valley is To secede or not to secede. By examining the history, viewpoints of decision makers and citizens, and also the current status of secession, one can better understand the complexities of this issue. The idea for the valley to secede is not a new one. The movement has roots that go back 20-25 years. In 1975, Hal Bernson, who at this time owned a blue jeans store in the Northridge Fashion Center & Larry Calemine, a real estate developer, founded CIVICC The Committee Investigating Valley Independent City/County. By 1978 after CIVICC s campaign gave the residents of the Valley the sense that they were being slighted and ignored by the City of Los Angeles,

The campaign died. CIVICC put the city s shortcomings on paper for the first time, commissioning a study that concluded Valley taxpayers were being shortchanged when it came to receiving city services, said Bernson after he was elected to City council in 1979. In 1993 Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills), a former CIVICC member, started an effort in the California State Assembly by authoring a bill that would take away the power of the Los Angeles City Council to veto secession petitions. It was not until October of 1997, when Governor Pete Wilson signed the bill, AB 62, inspired by Boland, and re-written by Assemblymen Tom McClintock (R-Northridge) and Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks), that the power went back in the hands of the people. Shortly after the passing of this bill an

organization known as Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment or Valley VOTE, was founded by Jeff Brian, a valley resident and commercial real estate broker. He comments as follows: In order to get something for our area, he observes, we have to go downtown. That s an hour s drive to start. Then we have to convince council members from all over the city. They say, Why should you get something if my neighborhood doesn t? Then you reach an impasse. (Husock, Howard, Let s Break up the big cities 4). Valley VOTE s supporters are from various Home Owners Associations, VICA (Valley Industry and Commerce Association), and individual residents. They have also received financial support from the Los Angeles Daily News. Valley VOTE s mission, to gather petition signatures from a minimum

of 25% of the registered voters of the San Fernando Valley, will initiate a study on the logistics of an independent, Valley City. Valley VOTE has also drawn boundaries for the proposed city (see Fig b). Some Valley VOTE members support secession while others support a LAFCO study to determine the practicability of secession. LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission), established by the State of California in 1963 to regulate urban growth, would carry out this survey. LAFCO is made up of nine members; two are from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; one is a City of Los Angeles Councilperson; two are Councilpeople from other Los Angeles County cities; two are from special districts such as Head of the Irrigation District; Fire Protection, or Sanitation, etc.; and two