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Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment
Variant Name: Valley VOTE

Historical Note:

Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment (Valley VOTE) is the non-profit organization which led the secession efforts of the San Fernando Valley from 1997-2002. The group was formed in 1996 under the direction of two San Fernando Valley Residents: commercial real estate broker, Jeff Brain, and attorney, Richard Close.

In 1997, shortly after California Governor Pete Wilson signed a bill removing the veto power of city councils in cases of municipal reorganization and requiring instead a majority community vote, Valley VOTE launched a petition drive to initiate a feasibility study on the detachment of the San Fernando Valley from the City of Los Angeles. The petition drive was ultimately successful and in 1999 the Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles (LAFCO) began an investigation to determine the fiscal self-sufficiency of a new valley city and measure the fiscal impacts of Valley cityhood on the City of Los Angeles. The LAFCO investigation required extensive reports from both Valley VOTE and the City of Los Angeles, as well as public hearings. During this time, other local communities were attempting similar detachment efforts, including Hollywood and L.A.'s Harbor area.

In 2002, LAFCO approved the San Fernando Valley Proposal for Special Reorganization and Ballot Measure F was scheduled for the fall 2002 election, giving Los Angeles residents the opportunity to vote on the issue. In addition to determining Valley secession, the 2002 ballot also gave residents the opportunity to name the new city and elect a mayor and council members. Valley VOTE led the campaigning efforts in support of Measure F, but the measure failed to garner the necessary votes to pass.

Valley VOTE continues to operate as a non-profit organization focused on improving local government.

Sources: Shabsis, Eric L. Keeping Los Angeles Together: Alternatives to San Fernando Valley Secession. Cambridge, Mass.: John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1999.
Note Author: Christine Hertzel

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