+ Tom Stout, Co-Founder LB Taxpayers Ass'n, Spoke Up For Residents Under Three Mayors And Councila
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Tom Stout, Co-Founder LB Taxpayers Ass'n, Spoke Up For Residents Under Three Mayors And Councils



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(December 6, 2020, 5:04 p.m.) -- Tom Stout, co-founder of the Long Beach Taxpayers Association, has passed away. A retired public school teacher who taught decades of students auto mechanics, Mr. Stout had been battling an especially deadly form of cancer. He died Dec. 5.


"Selfie" image from Mr. Stout's Facebook page

Mr. Stout was an early advocate of Long Beach pension reform, whose Council testimony was repeatedly shrugged by Councils under Mayors Beverly O'Neill and Bob Foster. When the 2008 economic slowdown made the status quo unsustainable. Foster belatedly insisted city employee unions accept pension reform (but rarely acknowledged Mr. Stout's previous advocacy.)

For over a decade, Mr. Stout waged an often lonely effort in support of LB taxpayers, frequently visible handing out homemade fliers outside LB businesses and at public meetings despite facing overwhelming spending by City Hall's allies.

In March 2018, Mr. Stout joined in signing ballot arguments against the Measure M utility revenue transfer that sought to restore City Hall's ability to transfer a portion of City-run utility revenue for non-utility City Hall spending and, in a new provision, explicitly enabled the City utilities to raise their rates to backfill transferred sums. (City Hall rescinded its previous measure, imposed without voter approval, in settlement of a lawsuit brought by ELB taxpayers Diana Lejins and Anegla Kimball.)

LB voters approved Measure M by roughly 53.8% after LB Mayor Garcia and multiple incumbents told LB voters it wasn't a tax and ran a six figure campaign via a committee controlled by Mayor Garcia.

When Measure M passed, taxpayers Lejins and Kimball sued again, and in January 2020, a Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that Measure M was indeed a tax and violated CA's Prop 218 constitutional provisions governing imposition of new taxes. (City Hall is appealing the ruling and continues to impose the Measure M transfer in the interim.)

On June 12, 2018 (a few days after voter passage of Measure M) Mr. Stout spoke in opposition to a Mayor/Auditor proposed Charter Amendent that would let the Mayor and Council incumbents seek third terms without a write-in requirement. During his testimony (delivererd without notes), Mr. Stout raised the money issue in Long Beach politics. He received a smug response from Mayor Garcia [edited version below, full transript here.]:

Mr. Stout: You guys are the best government that money can buy -- and your supporters can continue to buy passage of most of the propositions you put forward. Itís pathetic.

Mayor Garcia: The voters havenít approved almost all the propositions weíve put forward, theyíve approved all of the propositions that weíve put forward...

Mr. Stout: Yeah, you bought them all. (faintly in background

Carlos Ovalle has posted a full transcript of Mr. Stout's Council testimony on the Long Beach Politics Facebook page. To jump to it, click here.

[Scroll down for further.]







Ten years earlier, Mr. Stout was among grassroots advocates opposed to a Nov. 2008 property parcel tax advocated by then-Mayor Foster. It required 2/3 (66.6%) voter approval after then-Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske refused to assent to unanimous Council approval to put it on the ballot. Despite a roughly $700,000 campaign run by Foster to enact the measure, it fell short of passage by a 52.8% to 47,.14% margin.

(LB Taxpayers Association co-founder Kathy Ryan since exited LB for OC.)

Mr. Stout wasn't all politics. He was a frequent presence at the annual Belmont Shore car show and showed up in support of multiple other car shows that popped up locally.

A resident of LB's 7th Council district, Mr. Stout didn't flinch in criticizing City Hall spending items he considered wasteful, stupid or both, and frequently noted he was speaking as a resident of "the hood."

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On June 12, 2018, Mr. Stout (who commonly spoke without notes) testified in opposiion to putting a Mayor/Auditor proposed Charter Amendment (BBB) on the ballot that would let the Mayor/Council incumbents seek third terms without a write-in requirement. His testimony, and Mayor Garcia's scornful response when Mr. Stout raised the issue of money in Long Beach politics, follow below. Carlos Ovalle transcribed Mr. Stout's words and posted them to the LB Politics Facebook page:

Tom Stout: Good evening. I have to agree and disagree with some of the things that were stated tonight.

One thing Iím really happy about is that youíre not holding a stealth meeting, like you did the last time for Measure M, where nobody knew it was even being conducted. Three people showed up for three meetings. Good job, you really got the word out. Now, whatís going on now, the majority of the proposals seem to benefit you, especially term limits.

Most of you can do enough damage in two terms, we donít need you for three. And thatís been proven. So please, do not put this forward.

I know itís gonna benefit you, youíve a-lready increased your office holder accounts dramatically, 30 grand, youíve changed how you could spend that money so you can benefit you and your cronies that wanna run for other offices, what else can you screw up? You know, itís sad that you have to come to these meetings, time after timeÖ we just got through measure A where you bought passage of that by using our money! I mean, thatís pathetic, you couldnít even raise enough money to do it on your own, yo mean police and fire only could fork over 200 grand? What happened, last time they raised 350! I guess they need to raise their union dues.

So, I donít know, what can you say? Term limits? Yeah, why, if you combine the utilities, why? Youíre still gonna have three department heads and now youíre gonna hire somebody to oversee those people. Why? Youíve already screwed it up by allowing yourselves to take money from them, 12% of the gross, itís pathetic. Itís surprising how many people I met that work for the water department who thought this was a ripoff. And it was. It still is. But it passed. You guys are the best government that money can buyÖ and your supporters can continue to buy passage of most of the propositions you put forward. Itís pathetic. Hopefully some day the citizens that youíre supposed to be represented, are. Cause it sure isnít happening with you.

Long Beach is turning into Bell south, we gotta figure out who Robert Rizzo is, I think heís sitting in front of me, and his chief of staff, I mean, at least those people are in jail. Maybe there is hope that some of you will end up there also.

Mayor Garcia: Thank you, just one correction. The voters havenít approved almost all the propositions weíve put forward, theyíve approved all of the propositions that weíve put forward, so we do appreciate that. Councilmember Supernaw?

Mr. Stout: (faintly in background) Yeah, you bought them all.

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Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.


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