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L.A. Harbor Breakaway Would Not Work

May 12, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A breakaway city in the harbor area would not be financially viable if it split off from the rest of Los Angeles, a state report said Saturday, dealing a blow to one of three secession movements in the nation’s second-largest city.

The proposed city of about 150,000 would face a budget deficit of $7.5 million in its first six months, said Larry Calemine, executive director of the Local Area Formation Commission, the state agency overseeing the Los Angeles secession movement.

Calemine also recommended that the commission not place the issue on the November ballot for voters to decide.

State law binds the commission to allowing a vote on secession only if the proposed breakaway city could survive financially.

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, who lives in harbor area and is leading the anti-secession fight, said the study confirmed his belief that the breakaway bid would harm local residents and the entire city alike.

``Secession of any part of the city is too expensive and too risky,″ Hahn said.

Andrew Mardesich, who heads the harbor secession movement, said he will challenge the estimates contained in Calemine’s report with the commission. The report will be formally presented to the commission Wednesday and in the next few weeks it will decide whether to put the issue to a citywide vote.

``I’m looking at this in disbelief,″ Mardesich told the Los Angeles Times about the report. ``It’s not over yet. This is the ninth round of a 10-round fight.″

Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley are also seeking to secede from Los Angeles.

State Controller Kathleen Connell said her office had found that neither Hollywood nor the harbor area would survive financially as a new city.

Last month, Calemine issued a report determining that the San Fernando Valley could be financially viable as a separate city.

The harbor area has been a part of Los Angeles since 1909. It is home to about 4 percent of Los Angeles overall population.

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