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L.A. Council candidate forum is tonight for San Fernando Valley seat

January 31, 2011 |  2:46 pm

A town-hall-style forum tonight in Granada Hills is to feature candidates seeking to replace retiring Los Angeles Councilman Greig Smith in elections March 8.

Smith is stepping down after eight years as representative of District 12 in the northwest San Fernando Valley “to spend more time with my family,” he told constituents on his Web page.

Monday’s forum is set for 7 p.m. at Community Integration Services Inc., 10100 Balboa Blvd. A reception at the senior citizen center is scheduled for 6 p.m.

All six candidates are expected to attend, said Steve Patel, chairman of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, one of the sponsors. Interest is extremely high in the race for Smith’s seat, and turnout among area residents should be heavy, Patel said.

The contest is the only one of the seven council races on the March ballot that won’t feature an incumbent. However, Smith’s top deputy, Mitchell Englander, has won endorsements from nearly every council member for his candidacy to succeed his boss while amassing a huge campaign war chest.

Besides Englander, candidates vying for the 12th District seat are: Dinesh “Danny” Lakhanpal, businessman; Kelly M. Lord Jr., small-business owner; Brad Smith, neighborhood council board member; Navraj “Singh” Singh, restaurant owner; and Armineh Chelebian, neighborhood council board member.

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-- Patrick J. McDonnell

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