|(Jan. 31, 2020, 1:10 p.m.) -- A recent filing with the LB City Clerk's office shows that on December 17, 2019, the LB Firefighters Association Local 372 (union) gave $125,000 to the political committee run by Mayor Robert Garcia for the Mayor/Council-sought March 2020 "Measure A" General Fund ("blank check") sales tax.
The sum adds to $200,000 contribution by the LB Police Officers Associoation PAC on December 6 to the Garcia-run committee, giving the Garcia-run campaign to permanently extend the Measure A sales tax a warchest of $325,000 as of December 31, 2019.
The March 2020 measure would let City Hall collect, and the Mayor/Council continue to spend, roughly $60 million it now collects each year from LB consumers. In 2016, the Mayor/Council told the public in 2016 (in Measure A's legal text, not just campaign materials) that the Measure A tax would drop in half by 2022 and disappear entirely by 2026
To date, Mayor Garcia and the City Council have allocated Measure A General Fund sums mainly to infrastructure items and public safety (sworn and civilian) staffing but the $60 million annual cash infusion also effectively frees up other General Fund sums that City Hall can tap to help fund raises for LB's police and firefighter unions.
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In the same March 2020 election cycle, LB's police and firefighter unions and Mayor Garcia have endorsed two Council incumbents (6th dist. Dee Andrews and 8th dist. Al Austin) and one candidate (2nd dist. Cindy Allen) who also support the March 2020 Measure A ballot measure:
With the 2016 Measure A annual $60 million cash infusion, the Council has to date restored roughly 22 budgeted officers out of 208 officers (including LBPD's field anti-gang unit) erased in budgets during the 2009-2015 economic downturn. The Council has restored Fire Engine 8 (Belmont Shore), Rescue 12 (NLB) and Engine 17 (the latter through FY 21 (ending Sept. 2021.)
As separately reported by LBREPORT.com, with vote by mail ballots about to begin circulating, city management (via LB Fire Chief Xavier Espino) authored a Jan 27 memo crediting Measure A with providing funds to construct a replacement for mold-closed Fire Station 9 (district 8.)
In his January 14, 2020 "State of the City" message, despite a local economy he says is "booming," Mayor Garcia didn't call on the Council to restore any further police officers for taxpayers.
The "Mayor Garcia Committee to Protect Police & Fire and Repair Infrastructure in Long Beach" is the same political campaign committee (same FPPC number) that Garcia has periodically renamed to collect campaign contributions to fund campaigns for City Hall-sought ballot measures. In 2018, he used his committee twice: first in June to fund a six figure campaign for the Measure M utility revenue transfer (that a court has now held unconstitutional and in November (with City Auditor Laura Doud letting her name) for Charter Amendments that included Measure BBB that now enables Garcia and all Council incumbents to seek third terms without facing a write-in requirement.
In other related political activities, as also previously reported by LBREPORT.com, the LB Police Officers Association PAC joined Mayor Garcia (using his 2026 Lt. Governor committee) and state Senator Lena Gonzalez (using leftover 2019 campaign funds) in bypassing LB limits on campaign contributions to candidate-run campaign committees to give $10,000 each (a total of $30,000) to the LB Firefighters Association PAC which then ran an "independent expenditure campaign" to support the election of 1st dist. Council candidate Mary Zendejas in a November 2019 no-runoff special election. Candidate Zendejas also supported the Mayor/Council sought/LBPOA-LBFFA-supported March 2020 Measure A ballot measure.
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