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Faces of the News: Making A Mark in Their Own Way

Faces of the News: Making A Mark in Their Own Way Bob Scott, director of the CivicCenter Group and vice chairman of governmental operations for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association saw his multi-year effort to obtain a separate U.S. Census district for the Valley come to fruition. The city council approved a motion to push for the changes at the federal level Dec. 5, following an earlier vote of support for the new district by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Scott was also chosen Nov. 7 as this year’s recipient of the Fernando Award for public service after six previous nominations. Robert “Bud” Ovrom resigned in February from his 17-year post as the city manager of Burbank to head up the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. Ovrom called the move “the challenge of a lifetime,” but it was also considered risky by some who know both Ovrom and the inner workings of the CRLA because it pulled him out of small-town USA and put him in charge of one of the city’s most bureaucratic and beleaguered departments. Mary Alvord, assistant city manager in Burbank, was tapped to replace the widely popular Ovrom after a relatively brief search for his successor. Alvord immediately faced budget cuts and concerns over traffic in the community when she assumed her post. Tony Cardenas was elected to the Los Angeles City Council representing the Valley’s 6th district in March after serving three terms in the state Assembly. Cardenas, a Democrat from Mission Hills, also ran against former DreamWorks SKG executive Wendy Greuel in a runoff election in 2002 to fill the open 2nd District seat on the council. Greuel defeated him in that race. The vacancy arose after veteran councilman Joel Wachs resigned following an unsuccessful run for mayor of Los Angeles. Greig Smith was handily elected to the Los Angeles City Council representing the Valley’s 12th district in May. Smith took 61 percent of the votes against former LAUSD board member Julie Korenstein in a runoff election to replace his old boss, City Councilman Hal Bernson. Smith served as chief deputy for Bernson throughout his time in office. Bernson, after representing the West Valley’s 12th district for 24 years, was forced out by term limits in July. Accused by some critics as being soft on development in the area, Bernson was at the same time lauded for his efforts to better prepare the city for earthquakes. Jordan Levin, who joined The WB Television Network when it hatched in 1995, was promoted from entertainment president to CEO in October and will take over the position vacated by retiring CEO Jamie Kellner in May 2004. Under Levin WB will likely continue with its youth-oriented and profitable programming, experts say. Peter Paul, co-founder of the now defunct Encino-based Stan Lee Media, was corralled by federal authorities in New York in September. Paul, extradited from Brazil, will face conspiracy and fraud charges in connection with an alleged plot to pump up the stock price of the company and profit from stock sales. State Assemblyman Keith Richman, who ran for mayor in what would have been a new Valley city had the secession vote succeeded in 2002, was quick to form a new group to address the area’s concerns shortly after Measure F failed. He says with interest in a new secession drive apparently waning, The Valley Group is losing steam. David Russell, a professor of finance and insurance at Cal State Northridge, was appointed in April as the new director of the school’s Family Business Center. He has pledged to do more marketing of the center to increase its visibility in the area. Saul Gomez, who served as economic development director for the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley for four years, left the association in May for a position with the Los Angeles offices of Ernst & Young. Jeff Brain, former president of Valley VOTE which led the secession effort, resigned his post and was succeeded by Joe Vitti, who said an L.A. breakup is currently off the group’s radar screen. He said it will focus on being a governmental watchdog. Michael P. Fronmueller stepped down from his post as Dean of the CSUN College of Business and Economics in July. He will continue to serve as co-director of the college’s District 3 Regional Lead Center for the Small Business Development Network in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and has joined the faculty at the university’s Department of Management. Fred Evans, former Dean of Cal State Fresno’s Craig School of Business and Economics, was named interim dean.

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