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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

SECEDE–Polls Show Valley Residents Support Secession Plan

By Staff Reporter A common thread running through much of the “Summit 2000” conference was disenchantment with the city of Los Angeles and the sense that maybe the San Fernando Valley would be better off breaking away from L.A. In a public opinion poll commissioned by the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, 84 percent of the 801 respondents said they are aware of the secession movement and 56 percent said they would vote to break away from L.A. if the election were held now. Only 23 percent said they would vote against secession, and the rest didn’t have an opinion. “By a 2-to-1 margin, people want to form their own city. It doesn’t really surprise me because that’s what we’ve been hearing for the last couple of years,” said Richard Close, chairman of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment, the group pushing for Valley secession. Meanwhile, the survey, conducted by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College, found that the Los Angeles City Council received a positive rating from only 33 percent of the respondents, and only 23 percent approved of the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Alan Heslop, an official with the college who oversaw the survey, said those were the lowest ratings he’s ever seen for governmental leaders. David Fleming, chair of the Alliance, said that while a city breakup was not intended to be a theme at the summit, the event served to reinforce secessionist sentiment. “I think there’s a general feeling that separation is inevitable,” said Fleming, an attorney who also serves on the Los Angeles Fire Commission. Business leaders are coming around to the notion that the Valley could do more to advance its economic development if its government were more fleet of foot, Fleming said. Secession is one option for gaining more local control, but Fleming supports the idea of creating a borough system in which individual communities would be given more control to run their own affairs. Bruce Ackerman, president and chief executive of the alliance, said business leaders are envious of the focus that cities like Burbank, Glendale, Calabasas and San Fernando can bring to bear when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses. “People want to take a serious look at the issue of local control. Putting the question of secession aside, they’re asking, ‘Are we doing the best job we can governing ourselves in the set-up we have with L.A.?'” he said.

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