BLACK LEADER TO STUDY VALLEY CITYHOOD PLAN.
San Fernando Valley secessionists gained a potential ally Thursday when a prominent African-American minister announced plans to study whether Valley cityhood could benefit his community.
But the Rev. Frederick O. Murph, senior minister of the Brookins Community AME Church, was the only member of the African-American community outside of the Valley to attend the news press conference, which had been scheduled to announce the effort. And he declined to identify other prominent leaders supporting him.
He emphasized that he is not yet supporting secession and does not know what the potential benefits might be. But he is looking into it now to signal his dissatisfaction with Mayor James Hahn, who is opposing the reappointment of Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bernard C. Parks, who is African-American.
``Despite the fact that the African-American community was the mayor's strongest support base, the mayor is no longer welcome in the black community,'' Murph said.
``I am calling for the African-American community to explore all the pros and cons related to secession and then collectively determine what is in the best interest of the African-American community.''
The effort, he said, will involve having academics and other experts evaluate the issue, requesting research and financial data from the state Legislature, holding community forums and listening to leaders of the secession movement.
Murph appeared at a press conference on the steps of City Hall with leaders of the Valley, Harbor and Hollywood secession movements, all of whom welcomed his participation.
Hahn said the break-up efforts would be detrimental to the city's minority communities.
``I can't think of anything that could be worse for the African-American community or any other communities in Los Angeles (than) to break up this great city,'' Hahn said.
In recent days, City Councilman Nate Holden has also begun speaking out in favor of secession - or at least in favor of considering it. While he helped the group set up Thursday's news conference, he did not make an appearance, saying a day earlier he wasn't ready to join Murph's effort.