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    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n Sends E-Alert Blasting Baca Proposed Sales Tax Hike, Urges LB Residents To Email Supervisor Knabe Telling Him Not To Put It On Ballot

    (July 12, 2004) -- The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has taken to the internet to oppose a ballot measure backed by L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca that would hike L.A. County's sales tax by a half cent to 8.75%...and has asked constituents of L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe -- whose district includes LB -- to email Knabe, urging him not to provide the swing vote that could put the proposal on the November ballot.

    We post salient text of the Howard Jarvis emailed alert below.

    After a petition drive led by Sheriff Baca failed to garner enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, Sheriff Baca asked the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to do so, which would require "yes" votes by four of five Supervisors.

    "Supervisor Antonovich is opposed, but Don Knabe's vote is uncertain. By attending the board meeting and speaking against the tax, you can help derail it. It is also important -- especially if you are a 4th District resident -- to communicate with Supervisor Don Knabe directly," the Howard Jarvis group emailed...and included a clickable hyperlink to email Supervisor Knabe with opposition to the sales tax increase..

    "Los Angeles is already at a competitive disadvantage with surrounding counties because of its already high sales tax. This increase would make a bad situation worse by discouraging business activity with the result that Los Angeles County could end up with less money," the Howard Jarvis group said, continuing:

    There are alternatives to raising taxes to support the Sheriff's Department. A county report issued in May showed that the Sheriff has been under-charging cities that contract for services. These cities should pay the entire cost of the services they receive.

    Another report, issued in June by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury, says that the county could save $18 million annually by staffing jails with more civilian employees.

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors needs to examine its priorities using existing money. If more money is needed for public safety, then public safety should have first call on available dollars. This tax increase is unnecessary.

    LB City Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga and LBPD Chief Anthony Batts joined Sheriff Baca and officials from various City Halls in testifying in favor of the sales tax increase at the June 29 Board of Supervisors meeting. posted the testimony of Councilwoman Reyes Uranga and Chief Batts in full in our previous coverage. To view it, click here.

    As previously reported by, in January 2004 the LB City Council voted 7-2 (Webb and Lerch dissenting) to endorse the sales tax increase. At that meeting, it also was disclosed during a Council colloquy that LB city management had provided input into drafting the measure so that the Countywide tax hike would send a roughly estimated $22 million to LB City Hall...if voters Countywide approve it by a 2/3 margin in November.

    On June 29, Supervisors Yvonne Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina favored clarifying or amending some portions of the original measure's allocation formula, which will return to the Board on July 13.

    Following June 29 testimony by numerous government officials and colloquy with Boardmembers, Board of Supervisors chair Don Knabe said:

    "[I]f you were to make me vote today, I'll say "no" to the ballot because it's not simply a matter of putting this item on the ballot. The issue is how these dollars are going to be spent, the accountability, that it's an enhancement, that it's absolute enhancement of law enforcement and public safety services...So, before I stand out there in front of the voters and say, "This is a great deal, we're going to get more sheriffs on the street, we're going to be able to contain our jails," hey, it better not be going out the back door and that's the protection we need."

    Supervisor Knabe later added, "It's simply just not a matter of putting something on the ballot, because there's two different votes. One, is there a vote to put it on the ballot and, two, is the vote to support it. They're not the same vote...Just because you vote to put it on the ballot, it doesn't mean I would support it..."

    Also agendized for the July 13 Supervisors' meeting is an alternative proposal by Supervisor Antonovich to:

    "Implement a policy whereby the amount the Sheriff would gain from his 1/2-cent ballot initiative for the unincorporated areas would come from the County's existing revenues, such as the general funds currently allocated to the Department of Health Services for the County's commitment to the Maintenance of Effort for the 1115 Waiver which can be replaced with tobacco settlement funds, with the clear understanding that said funding shall be above and beyond the existing funding allocated to the Sheriff to enhance public safety and are not to be supplanted.

    If the Board does not support the aforementioned plan, place a measure on the November 2, 2004 ballot which would call for a 1/4-cent sales tax increase with a commitment from the County and all participating contract and independent cities that they match those funds with an equivalent amount from their existing budgets which would be phased in as follows: First 3 years - 0% match; Years 4 and 5 - 50% match; and Year 6 and on - 100% match, with the formula for the allocation of the revenues to include increased funding for the Sheriff's custody operations and the measure to be constructed so as to prohibit supplanting."

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