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Villaraigosa Density Hawks Vs. Angry Valleyites

A Valley smackdown is brewing for tonight's 6 p.m. density Town Hall at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in Studio City, with scores of pissed-off San Fernando Valley residents from five different Neighborhood Councils in the Valley confronting Antonio Villaraigosa's administration over its quiet plans to bring several skyscrapers and massive new density to unsuspecting neighborhoods.

The Valley is only one part of the city now vulnerable to the kind of towering, combined office/apartment complexes that Villaraigosa, the City Council, and their developer pals hope to erect next to dozens of single-family neighborhoods. A majority of the 15-member Los Angeles City Council recently agreed with City Hall density hawks, voting 11-4 to allow developers to ignore existing zoning. The City Hall view is that existing homes, apartments and businesses are not dense enough along Valley streets like Canoga, Glenoaks, Magnolia, San Fernando, Sepulveda, Van Nuys and Ventura -- and other large streets citywide.

Is Antonio even aware of the fact that the incredibly divisive Valley Secession Movement that roiled the city in 2001 and 2002 (and set off a smaller breakaway movement in Hollywood) was set off by City Hall's tin ear support of massive development like the ones he's now pushing (and described in today's Weekly cover story by Steven Leigh Morris?)

Neighborhood Councils, like the five groups who called tonight's Town Hall in the Ballroom at the Beverly Garland, were created and placed in the City Charter under former Mayor Richard Riordan in hopes of forestalling the Secession Movement. But the vote to split the city apart gained momentum anyway, and had to be fought down by Mayor James Hahn.

Is the current mayor going to awaken the slumbering Valley activist movement? Tonight's meet-up should be very interesting.


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