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Sheppard, Harrison | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Sheppard, Harrison

Historical Note:

A native of New Jersey, Harrison Sheppard worked as journalist and city editor for the Daily News of Van Nuys, CA, from 1999 to 2014. He has also written for several papers in the suburban Boston area and for the Los Angeles Times. The Daily News, founded in 1911, focuses its news coverage on the San Fernando Valley. Sheppard's assignments for the Daily News included serving as Sacramento Bureau Chief, as well as covering Los Angeles City Hall, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the San Fernando Valley secession drive of 1999-2002.

The San Fernando Valley Secession drive was one of many secession movements that mobilized in Los Angeles during the 2002 election cycle. While the secession movement in Los Angeles' Harbor City area never made it onto a ballot, citizens of Los Angeles were able to vote on Measures F and H, which would have allowed the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, respectively, to secede from Los Angeles and form their own cities. These secession movements were generally opposed by the League of Women Voters, the Council of Religious Leaders of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Service Employees International Union Local 347, and the Latino Coalition for a United Los Angeles. While members of the different movements supported each other’s goals, the character of each movement was distinct, with Hollywood's movement driven largely by charismatic individuals.

The secession movement in the San Fernando Valley was largely fueled by local business associations, such as the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, and was also supported by the Republican Central Committee, the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization, Senator Tom McClintock, and the Mexican American Political Association. It started in the relatively affluent and conservative western portion of the valley, while opposition was strongest in the eastern section, which was home to a greater proportion of Latinos, Democrats, and lower-income residents than other parts of the Valley. Voters in the San Fernando Valley supported secession by a narrow margin, but both Measures F and H were defeated by voters in greater Los Angeles.

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