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Post-Measure F Era Begins With Peace Summit

The Secession Question: A Special Report Post-Measure F Era Begins With Peace Summit By JACQUELINE FOX Staff Reporter Defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet some of the San Fernando Valley’s business leaders who saw their efforts to create a separate Valley city go down in flames Nov. 5 quickly moved to get their dose down quickly and embrace what city officials are touting as a new day for Los Angeles. Board members of both the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, key secession leaders and city council members from both sides of the hill huddled Nov. 8 at the Economic Alliance to launch what they say marks the first step in creating a united front to tackle the concerns that fueled the long drive to break up the city. Calling it the “Camp David of the Valley,” Economic Alliance Chairman David Fleming said it was time to “get back on track with some of the major issues related to business.” With that, L.A. City Council Members Wendy Gruel, Dennis Zine, Alex Padilla and Tom La Bonge all secession opponents reiterated promises to address the issues that have dominated the Valley’s political landscape over the last 22 months. Prior to a press conference, the group is said to have begun a checklist of business priorities for the Valley and Los Angeles. One proposal introduced by Bob Scott, a VICA board member and leading secession advocate, is to create a separate infrastructure for breaking out demographics specifically for the San Fernando Valley to more efficiently address issues concerning land use, taxes and transit services, for example. “Right now, all we get are demographics from the city that include stats from places like San Pedro and Wilmington,” Scott said. “That’s because for so many years the Valley has not been treated like a ‘place.’ It’s been lumped with other communities and ignored because everyone has said there is no Valley there. Well, we want to make it the place it deserves to be.” In support of that plan, Marvin Salter, a leading advisor to the Valley Economic Research Advisory Council for Cal State University’s Economic Research Center, said he’s pushing for a Valley-centric set of demographics to broaden the scope of the center’s research. Instead of simply analyzing data for a current snapshot of the Valley for everything from population to property taxes, Salter said the center needs separate data in order to provide more economic forecasting an important tool for businesses already operating in the Valley and those thinking of moving in. “We want to become the Anderson School of Business for the Valley,” said Salter. “And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be.” The widely supported idea of creating a borough system for the city is also clearly alive and well. “Camp David” members said they spent time discussing the idea of forming a separate commission to study the issue, but backed away from establishing a time line for doing so. State Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg, who along with Gruel attempted to get a measure on a proposed borough system on the Nov. 5 ballot, was also at the meeting. Hertzberg, who is termed out of office this year, said he would play a role “in the private sector” to establish such a commission. Meanwhile, a few of the candidates who ran for Valley city council seats expressed their views on the outcome of the election, which showed that, while a majority of Valley voters supported a breakup, the outpouring of grassroots support for Measure F never took hold. Jay Rosenzweig, a private investigator who ran for a seat in the proposed Eighth District, said he was “utterly disgusted” with the 51-percent victory margin Measure F received because it not only demonstrated a low voter turnout, but reflected how badly key secession leaders failed to drum up support early on. “I wouldn’t run again under this same framework,” said Rosenzweig. “I don’t want to badmouth Valley VOTE, or the (Measure F) staff, but they were relying on us candidates to spread the word on F for them and, beyond that, there really never was anyone else. They were relying on our grassroots campaigning and they proved it just doesn’t work out.” Rosenzweig said his campaign staff held an exit poll in his proposed district, asking voters if they supported Measure F, who they voted for for mayor, and who they voted for for their district representative. The results of that poll, he said, were disturbing. Only 10 percent of those we polled knew who they were voting for,” said Rosenzweig. “People said they knew (Measure F) wasn’t going to pass, so they just picked anyone they knew or, in the case of Johnny Walker, because they liked the name.” “And when we asked them who they voted for, most couldn’t remember,” said Rosenzweig. “We actually had to show them the ballot book so they could remember who they chose.” Rosenzweig received 14 percent of the votes in his proposed district. The one positive, he said, was the experience. And, a couple of business leads. “It was a great experience,” Rosenzweig said. “I met a lot of people I’d never have met before. That’s rewarding. People now know who I am and what I do for a living. In fact, I got two calls today from constituents in my area who asked me to do some private investigating work for them. You can’t beat that.”

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