Rising Star Padilla May Be Odd Man Out in a New Valley City

POLITICS by Howard Fine

If San Fernando Valley secession were to pass on Nov. 5, L.A. City Council President Alex Padilla could find himself in quite a pickle. He already has said he would not run for office in the new Valley city because he opposes secession.

But would the lifelong Valley resident move to the over the hill and seek office on the redistricted L.A. City Council? (If secession passes, L.A.'s 15 City Council districts, which have just been redistricted, would have to be redistricted again by next July 1.)

"Definitely not," Padilla told a group of downtown business leaders and politicos at the Current Affairs Forum last week when that question came up. "I've been asked that many times, and I'm not going to run for election in any other part of the city. I was born in the northeast Valley, grew up there and intend to continue to live there and serve in the community."

Padilla wouldn't elaborate, but if secession passes, he has pretty much ruled out serving in any local office. That would dash any hopes held by many in the Latino community that the rising political star would ever become L.A. Mayor. The only remaining choice would be to run for state office.

Alarcon vs. Richman?

Speaking of running for office, an interesting matchup may be in the offing on the Nov. 5 ballot for mayor of a new Valley city.

State Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, already emerging as a key spokesperson for secession supporters, has announced he will run for the position. The only doctor in the state Legislature, Richman has made his mark as the Republican point person on the state's energy crisis and budget matters.

Also considering a run for Valley mayor is State Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Van Nuys. But before he announces his candidacy, Alarcon must make another key choice: whether he will support or oppose secession. He's being actively courted by both sides and is expected to decide later this month.

Redistricting In Effect

The L.A. City Council's once-a-decade redistricting takes effect this week. Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who has served the Westside for 15 years, now represents Van Nuys and Sun Valley for the final year of her term.

That doesn't mean Galanter, a staunch opponent of expansion at Los Angeles International Airport, is going to disappear from the airport debate. Her new district, which was carved out of the districts of Wendy Greuel and Council President Alex Padilla, is next to Van Nuys Airport, which has its own set of noise problems and resulting community opposition.

Meanwhile, Westside residents who have been accustomed to calling up Galanter's office must now familiarize themselves with the staff of Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who inherits the LAX and Playa Vista areas.

Redistricting shifts the borders of other districts, too. To find out what councilmember represents what area, go to the City of L.A.'s Web site, www.lacity.org and enter your address in the "My Neighborhood" section underneath the Mayor's box at the top right.

Campaign Tidbits

Kerman Maddox, longtime co-host for the political segments of KCET's "Life & Times Tonight," announced late last month he was taking a leave of absence from the show through at least next March. The reason: he's agreed to run the council campaign of Bernard Parks, his longtime friend who's seeking the Eighth District seat now held by Mark Ridley-Thomas. Ever the optimist, Maddox predicted that Parks' candidacy would clear the field and make him a shoo-in to win the primary election outright and avoid a June runoff. "I intend to be back on the show next March," he said ... Word has it that former Assembly Speaker and mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, who lives in Mount Washington, is considering a run for the City Council seat held by Nick Pacheco. If L.A. Mayor James Hahn thinks it's challenging to work with the current City Council, just imagine having a council with two charismatic people who have opposed him: Villaraigosa and former police chief Bernard Parks.

Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or by e-mail at hfine@labusinessjournal.com.

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