|(Feb. 11, 2020, 8:25 p.m.) -- On February 5. the Long Beach Police Officers Ass'n (union) PAC gave an additional $30,000 to Mayor Robert Garcia's political committee running the campaign for the Measure A "forever tax" that would eliminate Measure A's current scheduled reduction (2023) and elimination (2027.) (As LBRPORT.com's "Follow the Money" coverage previously reported, in December 2019, the LB police officers union gave $200,000 (to our knowledge the largest single political contribution in any previous LB election cycle) to Mayor Garcia's pro-Measure A campaign.
The $170,000 collected over a four day period by the Garcia-run pro-Measure A political committee comes on top of $200,000 previously contributed in December 2019 by LB's police officers union and $125,000 by the LB firefighters' union. The $495,000 total has turned the ballot measure contest into a David vs. Goliath battle between Mayor Garcia (already tapping his $495,000 total for polling, professional services and multi-color citywide mailings) against opponents consisting basically of grassroots taxpayers with minimal campaign resources relying thus far mainly on social network communications and lawn signs. .
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Since Measure A's initial approval by voters in June 2016 as a temporary measure,Mayor Garcia and the Council have used its $60+ million in annual General Fund ("blank check") revenue mainly for infrastructure and public safety (sworn and civilian) staffing. However the annual cash infusion also effectively freed up other General Fund sums that City Hall can spend on other items...including pay raises for LB's police and firefighter unions.
The two LB Council incumbents seeking re-election (Vice Mayor Dee Andrews and Councilman Al Austin) support Measure A; as does 2nd district Council candidate Cindy Allen. All three are endorsed/supported by Mayor Garcia and LB's police and firefighter unions.
LB Reform Ticket candidates Robert Fox (2nd dist.) and Juan Ovalle (8th dist.), who've raised competitive campaign funds, oppose Measure A.as do some of the Council races' lesser funded candidates.
Vote by mail ballots began circulating Feb. 3 for the March 5 election that will decide the Measure A-forever tax and may or may not decide the Council races. If a Council incumbent or a challenger receives 50%+1 of votes cast, they're elected; otherwise, the top two finishers proceed to a November 2020 runoff.
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