|(July 16, 2019, 11:00 a.m.) -- An action by LB City Councilmembers at tonight's (July 16) Council meeting could tilt/rig the outcome of a March 2020 special LB citywide special election that City Hall wants (at taxpayer cost) to make permanent its "blank check" 2016 "temporary" sales tax increase. It doesn't involve Russian collusion. It's not a secret. It's been visible in publicly agendized City Council materials that LBREPORT.com reported on July 9.
Below is the text that the Long Beach City Attorney's office has proposed -- and City Councilmembers can either approve or modify -- to show voters moments before they mark their ballots to make permanent City Hall's "blank check" (General Fund) Measure A sales tax. The wording lists desirable items that the measure itself doesn't list or legally guarantee and adds four words to the end of the list ("and support general services.") Those four words contain the ballot measure's real substance: it enables current and future Councilmembers to spend the money on any General Fund items they wish.
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In 2016, LB Councilmembers approved similar wording for the Measure A "blank check" sales tax increase. No one challenged it and City Hall got away with it. But that might not fly now under part of a 2017 law (pushed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n.) AB 194 (now codified in Elections Code section 13119) states that local government ballot proposals shall include a statement of the measure that "shall be a true and impartial synopsis of the purpose of the proposed measure, and shall be in language that is neither argumentative nor likely to create prejudice for or against the measure."
Do you honestly believe the proposed text you see above isn't argumentative or likely to create prejudice for the measure?
For the record: in the three years since LB voters approved Measure A, LB's Council incumbents have restored 22 out of 208 budget-erased citywide deployable police officers, restored Engine 8 (Belmont Shore) and Rescue 12 (NLB) but not Fire Engines 17 (Stearns Park) [management hopes a fed'l FEMA grant will temporarily restore it], Engine 101 (Stn. 1/added protection for downtown high rises) or Engine 18 (Palo Verde/Wardlow) and funded a number of infrastrucure and street repair projects.
Measure A's cash infusion ($50-$60 million annually) also effectively freed-up other General Fund sums that the Mayor/Council spent for items including raises for LB's politically-active police and firefighter unions (that not coincidentally primarily funded the campaign for the 2016 sales tax hike.) The Council also approved raises for high level city management (including some who've reached LB's "$200,000/$300,000 club" (with pay and benefits.) And the Council spent General Fund sums for multiple discretionary and arguably dubious items including $750,000 in "furniture enhancements" in their new City Hall.
LBREPORT.com plans to report what LB Councilmembers do or don't do with what in our opinion amounts to false, misleading, argumentative, prejudicial ballot measure text clearly designed to tilt/rig the outcome of the election.
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