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Imagine a City of Your Very Own by the End of Year

Imagine a City of Your Very Own by the End of Year Commentary by Richard Katz and Jeff Brain Imagine living in 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. Imagine a city where your tax dollars are not sent off to downtown L.A. but are used in your own neighborhood. Imagine a city where public officials live in your area, know your issues, and know you. Imagine a city that works. This doesn’t have to be a fantasy. It can happen here in the Valley. Imagine being able to meet with all 14 Valley council members in the same room and what we could achieve. Imagine the ability of organizations like VICA, the United Chambers of Commerce and the Economic Alliance to get things done working with a mayor and city council that wholly represent the Valley, instead of our current situation where we have to convince four Valley council members who then have to beg the other 11 non-Valley members. In November of 2002, just a few short months away, we will have the chance to vote to create a new city right here in the Valley. The ballot will give us the ability to vote on whether to create this new city, on who our new mayor and new council people will be, and what the new city’s name will be. The road to Valley independence will find many answers in 2002. On Jan. 9, LAFCO released its final report that confirms a Valley city is viable. There will not be any increased taxes or costs. We will receive at least the same level of services. The Valley city would become effective Dec. 16, 2002. Initially, the Valley will pay L.A. to provide many services, but the Valley mayor and council can take over services at anytime and have up to three years to take over all the services. And forming a Valley city will be revenue-neutral to L.A. On Jan. 12, the California Legislative Council released a legal opinion stating that LAFCO has full authority to order city assets transferred to the new Valley city and that the Valley does not have to pay for them. We already paid for them with our taxes. Next, LAFCO will draft the terms and conditions for the division of the city. Valley VOTE will fight to ensure that Valley residents and businesses receive our fair share of assets and will continue to receive water and power at the same rates as the rest of the city. As a powerful coalition of Valley business and community groups, we will move this process forward, focus on the key issues and continue to broaden our base of support, in and out of the Valley. The opponents of Valley independence are those who thrive on the status quo. They will fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are. They are mobilizing a campaign of fear, misinformation and personal attacks because, when you get down to it, there really isn’t any good reason why the Valley shouldn’t be its own city. And the residents of a smaller more manageable Los Angeles will reap the same benefits. The hearts, minds and hopes of the Valley residents and businesses are with the promise of a better future that Valley VOTE is working to deliver. Imagine an independent Valley city that would control its own destiny. Imagine a city of our own. Jeff Brain is president of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment (VOTE). Richard Katz is a member of its executive board.

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