On November 5, 2002, vote yes for Valley Independence from Los Angeles!  

Earl Howard for San Fernando Valley City Council
Another Democrat for Valley Independence 
District 12 - North Hollywood / Toluca Lake Area 

Click to Make Selection


Do you favor secession or not, and why?

Yes. If secession passes, I want to be a progressive, Democratic voice at the table to ensure the progressive ordinances of Los Angeles are carried forward to a new Valley city.

I want to help establish smaller, closer and more responsive municipal government for all the people of the San Fernando Valley. For decades, the Valley has been neglected in a variety of well-expressed ways. I have experienced this neglect personally -- many times over the years. I believe that we in the Valley can take better care of ourselves, than a distant downtown bureaucracy can.

Supporters of a Valley city say local control will lead to more efficient government, better services and higher quality of life. What is your vision for an independent Valley city?

The Valley is an after-thought or occupies just minutes on downtown’s agenda, when we deserve more.

I envision a city where dedicated council members and mayor report to work each and every day, focusing on the long-neglected needs of this Valley. Imagine how much stronger our neighborhoods will be when the focus is on us!

A City where we control our own school district and our kids attend clean, safe and modern schools, the type of public schools we once attended. We owe our children that opportunity.

I have no doubt whatsoever that we can and will do extraordinarily better.

Critics say L.A. City Hall is out of touch with the public. What steps do you have in mind for making the Valley city government more accountable and responsive to the public?

A new Valley City will immediately reduce the size of council districts by nearly 65%! But, we can do even more.

Since downtown resoundingly rejected a borough-type system for Los Angeles, we should consider creating a system within the structure of the Valley city. It will bring our smaller government even closer to the people.

Please describe the top priorities/goals/issues you would focus on as an elected official in the Valley city. Give specific outcomes you want to see accomplished. Specify up to six priorities/goals/issues. 

  • Repair Our Neglected Roads, Sidewalks and Infrastructure: Two words – Burbank Boulevard.
  • Protect Rent Control: I’ve signed the Valley Independence pledge to protect rent control in the Valley city.
  • Advocate for New Valley School District: First Cityhood, then our own school district.
  • Limit Growth of Burbank Airport -- add Valley Seats on Airport Board: The airport authority wants to expand regardless of what the public nearby wants. A new city will have more clout in dealing with the airport.
  • Invest in our own Police and Public Safety Infrastructure
  • Improve Valley City Services - More Street Cleaning, Trash and Graffiti Removal - More Responsive City Government

Opponents of secession say running a brand-new city would be difficult at best. What contribution will you supply to effective governance of the new city, whether in terms of your experience, leadership abilities, skills, knowledge, education, temperament or personal traits? 

Downtown would have us believe it takes magic to effectively run a city, and we in the Valley don’t have what it takes to do so. It’s not brain-surgery.

I’m a successful, self-made person and bring to the table common sense values, a strong work ethic, a sense of fair play and a desire to serve a region that has given me much.

Some fear an inexperienced city council composed of our own neighbors. However, the new Council’s choosing of a qualified, experienced and hard-working City Manager will ensure that the city runs smoothly and efficiently.

Do you favor trying to contract with the city of Los Angeles to continue providing as many public services as practical as long as Valley service targets are met? Or do you prefer to contract with new providers whenever possible?

Los Angeles has had a terrible record of providing services to us as constituents. I can’t imagine how bad it will be after the state-mandated transition period of one year. OR, how bad it will get if we don’t pass Cityhood.

I’d prefer to see the Valley provide our own services. We can do it better and cheaper.

What is your position on whether to maintain existing pay levels, pensions and benefits for current municipal employees who begin working for the new Valley city?

I believe that it is fair and honorable to maintain these levels for employees who bargained for these benefits. Our savings will not be in cutting the modest salaries and benefits of city workers, but in cutting the obscene salaries paid to senior managers and department heads.

What are your views on the appropriate salary for Mayor and council members of the new city? Specifically, what pay levels do you support for the council and for the mayor?

Valley Vote has studied the issue carefully and I concur with what it proposed to LAFCO: $75,000 a year for council members and $100,000 for the mayor. This has been talked about and debated in the San Fernando Valley community for some time now and I think the consensus is these salaries are reasonable, given this city will become the nation’s sixth largest and must have a full-time council to address its long-neglected needs.

I might add that these proposed salaries are nearly 50% less than what Los Angeles pays (the highest paid in the nation).

What do you consider the major issues facing the new cities of San Fernando Valley and Hollywood? How would you solve those problems?

  • Organizing and establishing the basic core infrastructure of city services and government. San Fernando Valley’s first and foremost issue will be choosing or establishing its police and fire protection. I believe this will rightly be a priority for the new Valley city council.
  • Adoption of Rent Control. The Valley must have a stock of stable, affordable rental housing. Permanently enacting rent control in the new city is a priority for nearly all, if not all Valley council candidates. I have signed the Valley Independence Committee's Candidate pledge to enact permanent rent control in the new valley city at our very first meeting.
  • The Valley must also focus on its public transportation needs and obtaining the funding for those needs. Many of us in the Valley can tell you, we feel public transportation needs in the Valley have gone unmet; and spending on public transportation in the Valley thus far has not been equitable.
  • Burbank Airport’s existing noise and expansion plans are a major issue facing the citizens of the East San Fernando Valley. Given its unique location, it affects the quality of life here.
  • The current amount of commercial flights serving Burbank each day from around 6:30am to 10:00pm is manageable and a decent trade-off for the convenience of having an alternative to LAX. BUT, only if the noise abatement area is expanded, so that there are funds and grants available for those in need to sound-proofing their homes. As it stands now, the levels of noise are unacceptable in areas that fall outside the current noise-abatement boundaries.
  • I wish to have San Fernando Valley representation on the airport board, it’s only fair that those affected, have a say.
  • Quality of life, city infrastructure and cultural resources need to be attended to. Years of neglect have left parts of the Valley with crumbling roads and sidewalks. Many areas of the Valley have no streetlights or sidewalks.
  • An end to the current manner in which Los Angeles funds street lighting and sidewalks, towards one in which the new city would fund these for those that can’t afford them. A small city investment in safer well-lit streets will result in cost-savings in public safety and policing.
  • There are no museums of note in the Valley. Identifying the need and funding for such museums and other cultural resources will be a challenge.

What is your position on a living wage ordinance?

I support permanently enacting the existing Los Angeles city Living Wage ordinance.

What city services do you think are most important?

Police, fire, street maintenance, public utilities, public transit, social services such as senior and youth centers, parks and recreation and libraries.

What are your thoughts on privatization or de-regulation of water and power?

No way! Our electrical crisis in California proved that municipal owned utilities serve people better. LAFCO ensures the Valley will continue to receive its share of water and power from the LA DWP at no additional cost, and I'm very happy to continue this arrangement.

Do you think Instant Runoff Voting would be an enhancement to the Valley secession election of candidates? Why or why not?

It certainly couldn't hurt. IRV saves taxpayer money by eliminating the need for runoff elections. While it would be nice to have this option in the secession vote, it's more important to adopt this after the Valley becomes a city.

What are your thoughts about the California Clean Money Campaign?

I never realized just how limited our democracy really is, until this first run of mine for office. It takes too much money to run for office these days. And if you are not rich, obtaining that money becomes the main focus of a candidate, elected official or campaign.

People like me, with no personal fortune and no business dollars to tap into, are at a major disadvantage in running for office. I've learned that not just anyone can run for office, and that's a shame. I support this worthy initiative.

What qualifications do your bring to this office?

Founding Member & Co-Chair, West Hollywood Citizens for Better Police Protection (West Hollywood Police Initiative - WHPD) 1991-1997

Co-Chair, Yes on Proposition AA (WHPD) 1992

Co-Chair – WHPD ’94

Co-Chair – Tim Olson for West Hollywood City Council 1994

Member, City of West Hollywood Election Task Force 1996

Co-Founder, West Hollywood United Against Hate ( 1999


Dukakis for President – Valley office 1988
Abbe Land for West Hollywood City Council
Ruth Williams for West Hollywood City Council

While I have no experience serving as a city council member, -- no one in this race does -- I have been a life-long involved Democrat with a good heart and strong mind. My time in West Hollywood taught me much about local grassroots politics and the power of the people.

One manner in which to judge the candidates is to look at who is supporting and advising them. If I’m elected, I will have a strong circle of Democratic friends and colleagues to advise and guide me on issues dear to us.

I’m proud to call people such as Jeff Prang (who is advising me on this campaign), Ruth Williams, Rev. Troy Perry and State Prosecutor Brad Levenson, friends. Further, I have worked with people such as John Duran, Assembly Members Paul Koretz, Sheila Kuehl and Wally Knox over the years and look forward to building stronger relationships if I’m elected. This type of support network of friends and colleagues within the Democratic Party will make me a great council member for the Valley.


Do you support a separate Police Department for the Valley and Hollywood or do you think contracting out these services is sufficient? Why?

The Valley will need to create its own police force, with LAPD officers (and others) who wish to move to the new Valley PD. While the Sheriff’s Department could provide excellent service and would be welcomed by many in the Valley, the size of the new Valley city would make it less feasible for the Sheriff to invest for a short-term contract.

I am very open to considering a Sheriff’s policing contract for the Valley if it proves to be more cost-effective over the long-term, than a municipal force. However, my past experience in these matters taught me that it is initially cheaper to use the Sheriff, but in the long life of a municipality, especially one this large, investing in municipal police infrastructure is a more prudent course.

What steps do you think need to be taken in the next two years to reduce domestic violence?

1. The first people who become aware of domestic violence are law enforcement. Law enforcement needs to work more closely in conjunction with social service providers that offer domestic violence counseling or shelter. They need to not only be more sensitive when they are called to a situation (albeit male/female or same gender) and undergo sensitivity training to understand the mental state of the victim. More than just handing the victim a card with a counseling number, they need to contact the social service provider (such as Women Helping Women etc) and have their trained social worker follow-up.

2. Educational information disseminated into the community that outlines the signs of domestic violence and what people should do when they are aware of such a situation (who to contact, etc.).


What steps, if any, do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and to reduced voter apathy?

I whole-heartedly support same-day voter registration, weekend voting and/or ‘voting holidays’ and at a minimum, much expanded polling hours. We should also explore voting online or by phone and voting at our places of employment.

Further, the punch-card system used by Los Angeles County should be replaced with new technology immediately. I call on Congress to fund upgrades to local voting systems nationwide, including Los Angeles County.

One of the purposes of a campaign is to educate voters. What are your goals, in terms of educating LA County voters about the workings of an independent city?

Ultimately this municipal reorganization is just that. The result will be that people on both sides of the hill will have smaller districts, with more responsive leaders serving them.

The County as a whole will be stronger, with two city councils, each more accountable to its constituents than ever before, working for the better of each city – day in and day out.

Do you support term limits?

No. The people can exercise the power of “term limits”, by electing another person. As we’ve seen in California, term limits don’t just turn out the bad politicians. Term limits also require that good and popular politicians have to change offices in order to continue serving honorably.


Did you take a position on Proposition 209? If not, why not? If so, what was it and how was that communicated to the public?

I was and still am adamantly against it. We have so much further to go before the playing field is leveled. To those that say ‘slavery ended long ago, it’s time to end affirmative action’, I offer the fact that we’ve only had guarantees of equality within my lifetime. In less than 40 years, we have made great strides in equal rights and opportunity for all. But much remains undone. I was outspoken on this issue during many lively discussions with friends, family and co-workers and urged my representatives to oppose it.

Now that Proposition 209 is the law, what do you think should be done to ensure equality of employment opportunity in the new cities of the Valley and Hollywood?

San Fernando Valley must permanently adopt Los Angeles’ non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity ordinances and continue zero-tolerance for discrimination, harassment or retaliation in employment at the new city. I have confidence the diverse people of the San Fernando Valley will rise to the occasion and have city employees that reflect our diversity.

Bias is pervasive in our society. On occasion, that bias turns into hate-motivated crime. How should California respond to hate-motivated crime? In answering this question, you may address sentencing enhancements for hate-motivated crime, but you should not limit your response to such enhancements.

That’s a tough one. I understand the spirit of this question. We already some tough laws on the books against hate crimes, but they persist.

Education in a pro-active sense is the key. Cities and other public entities should experiment with educational programs using a variety of means.

In 1999, I co-founded West Hollywood United Against Hate and This was a novel approach to hate-crimes by the City of West Hollywood and the Sheriff’s Department. All members of West Hollywood City Council, State Senators and Assembly Members, Capt. Odenthal of the LASD and many religious leaders throughout the LA area endorsed the effort.

We co-sponsored a town-hall meeting on hate crimes with then Assembly Member Wally Knox at the Center. And Wally gave us credit for helping pass his bill, which increased the penalties for hate-related murders. (“Wally Knox wanted me to pass on a huge thank you to you for all your help and support. We couldn't have gotten this important bill passed without “".” Cliff Jin, Wally Knox's LA Office)

While the website was ended a year later, due to staffing issues, Dep. Don Mueller of the LASD has continued the good work by incorporating some of the content and approach into the Sheriff’s West Hollywood specific website!

I am proud that during its short time, made a difference!

If you are a challenger, when your term is completed, what will have been your three major accomplishments?

I hope that my service to the people of the San Fernando Valley results in improved and stable policing services, empowerment of all of the Valley’s diverse people in the political process and establishing good relations with the City of Los Angeles. Permanent Valley adoption of Los Angeles Rent Control and other progressive ordinances is vital.


Earl Howard - A Progressive Voice for the East Valley

  • Repair Our Neglected Roads, Sidewalks and Infrastructure /  
    Begin to Underground Utility Lines

  • Protect Rent Control

  • Advocate for New Valley School District

  • Limit Growth of Burbank Airport -- add Valley Seats on Airport Board.

  • Invest in our own Police and Public Safety Infrastructure  

  • Develop New Parks, Botanical and Community Gardens and Green Space / 
    Massive Tree Planting Program

  • CITY-funded street light program for our many neighborhoods without lights

  • Improve Valley City Services - More Street Cleaning, Trash and Graffiti Removal - More Responsive City Government

  • Independent or Autonomous Valley Transit Authority (our own MTA)

  • Protect Benefits of City Workers Moving to Valley City

With the $1.3 Billion we save by leaving LA, we can easily afford this and more! [more info]

Don't Buy the Lies of Downtown Los Angeles, the San Fernando 
Valley Independence Movement is Good for The Valley and Good for LA!