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Campaign Commitment Dogs Dennis Carroll

As Candidate, Backed 5% Utility Tax Rate Cut; As Councilman, Co-Sponsored Motion To Defeat One

(August 11) -- After telling voters that his "commitment" included backing a 5% utility tax rate cut, newly-elected Fourth District Councilman Dennis Carroll co-sponsored a Council attempt to defeat a 5% utility tax rate cut by fiscal reformer Norm Ryan less than three weeks after taking office.

During his April, 2000 campaign against Council incumbent Del Roosevelt, then-candidate Carroll disseminated a "Dear Neighbor Letter" which in part recited:

"My Commitment:
...4. Cut the Utility Users Tax to 5%. Our current rate only sustains continued wasteful spending..."

Mr. Carroll's letter did not mention or endorse Mr. Ryan's 5% measure, but also did not indicate any disagreement with it. has posted a copy of this letter in our Reference section.

Mr. Ryan's measure would reduce LB's utility tax rate to 5% with 1% tax rate reductions per year for five years. LB's current 10% utility users tax is one of the highest of any California city.

In the June, 2000 runoff, candidate Carroll used an Endorsement Letter from Mr. Ryan, written in Ryan's capacity as Chairman of Citizens United to Cut the Utility Tax. The letter did not say Mr. Carroll endorsed Mr. Ryan's measure but did urge a vote for Mr. Carroll. has been unable to document any instance of Mr. Carroll explicitly endorsing Mr. Ryan's plan. Mr. Carroll went on to win the election. has also posted a copy of this letter in our Reference section.

Mr. Carroll took office on July 15, 2000. In a City Council memo dated July 26. Couilmember Carroll, Vice Mayor Dan Baker and 3d district Councilman Frank Colonna agendized for the August 1 Council meeting a proposal to put a competing measure on the ballot that would lower LB's utility tax rate by 3%: half a percent per year for four years, one percent in the fifth year. has posted their proposal in our Reference section.

The Carroll-backed measure offered less taxpayer relief than am alternative previously backed by then-Councilmember Roosevelt for a 5% utility tax rate cut over seven years. It was supported by Councilmembers Shultz, Grabinski and then-Councilman Kellogg but failed to gain a fifth supportive Council vote.

In another twist, the Carroll-Colonna-Baker 3% plan became a 2.5% plan without public explanation. The head of the LB Area Chamber of Commerce, among others, spoke in support of the 2.5% measure before it had been put on the floor.

The first public meeting mention of a 2.5% plan by any Councilmember came when Councilman Carroll, before presenting a series of City Management-style graphic slides in support of a 2.5% measure, volunteered: "I hope that tonight the City Council has coalesced around the proposed two and half percent alternative that I will be speaking for under the leadership of the Mayor, Vice Mayor Baker and Councilman Colonna and the other members of the Council." has posted a detailed account of the August 1, 2000 Council meeting at Reference/August 1 Council Meeting.

During the meeting, Councilman Carroll opined that after a 2.5% rate reduction had been implemented (which under the Council's plan would take five years), he believed the Council might reduce it another 2.5%. has editorialized on Councilman Carroll's conduct at Editorials: "Dennis Carroll: Committed Campaigner, Credulous Councilmember"

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