Thursday, June 27, 2002
Hahn Continues to Speak Out Against Secession During Radio Appearance
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Mayor James Hahn yesterday continued to beat the drum for the anti-secession campaign as looked back on his first year and office during his monthly appearance on KFWB 980’s radio program “Ask the Mayor.”
Hahn pointed to his accomplishments over the last year, including introducing a $100 million housing trust fund, implementing a flexible work schedule for LAPD officers and balancing the city’s budget in an economic climate that has been less than favorable, but stopped short of pointing out his failures.
The only disappointment, the mayor said, was not being able to offer more services because of severe budget constraints.
Hahn, an ardent anti-secessionist, refuted allegations from callers to the show that renewed interest in city neighborhoods was a tactic by City Hall to combat the threat of secession, arguing initiatives like neighborhood councils and 311-One Call to City Hall, aimed at making city government more responsive, are a product of newly elected officials and their interests.
“The lies are that somehow the city doesn’t care and the facts show just the opposite,” Hahn said.
The mayor also promised continued emphasis on neighborhood problems like street paving and tree trimming and warned listeners choosing secession would fail to provide any immediate relief for the gripes they have with Los Angeles while at the same time increasing costs for less services.
“You get the best, you get the biggest and you get if for less right now,” Hahn said.
In determining whether a new city can be formed, the Local Agency Formation Commission is charged with making sure the new city is financially viable and ensuring that the citizens of the remaining city are not hurt in the process.
“They failed to do their job on both counts,” he lashed out, referring to LAFCO’s decision to put both the Valley and Hollywood secession measures on the ballot.
Hahn accused LAFCO of not being “up to the task” of determining whether the two potential new cities could survive on their own, noting the commission is more familiar with directing the creation of the city of Malibu and not “a city potentially the size of Philadelphia.”
Hahn defended an analysis by Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler Inc. that estimated Los Angeles would need $288 million a year from the San Fernando Valley to avoid cutting services or raising taxes if it became a city. Pro-secessionists have sharply criticized the analysis, which cost the city $92,000, for more than doubling the $128 million estimated by LAFCO to put the measure on the ballot.
The report said 7,515 positions—nearly 1,700 fewer than LAFCO’s figure—could be cut, leading to the extra $160 million in annual payments.
The report also contended those payments should continue, not shrink to zero in 20 years.
“When you build a big house, just because you have a couple of kids move out doesn’t mean you can slash your costs by one-third,” Hahn said.
Hahn also fielded calls from concerned city employees who were unsure about their fate if secession is approved by voters in November.
But the mayor could offer them little information because it is not yet known what will happen to city employees like librarians or park staffers after the transition period.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company