Another LB Tax Increase Ballot Measure? Someone Has Filed Paperwork To Create "Lift Up Long Beach Families - Rex Richardson Ballot Measure Committee;" It's Scheduled A Downtown Fundraiser This Week With These Initial Supporters
(June 24, 2019, updated 5:25 p.m. from initial 12:50 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that some person or persons have quietly filed organizational paperwork to create a political campaign committee in connection with some type of Long Beach ballot measure(s): The entity is titled "Lift Up Long Beach Families - Rex Richardson Ballot Measure Committee." [Caveat: Although Councilman Richardson is named (and thus obviously supportive), a name chosen by organizers of a political committee may or may not reflect who's actually directing its operations; we've asked Councilman Richardson about this, reply pending.]
UPDATE: LBREPORT.com has learned that the entity filed its organizational paperwork on March 25, 2019. Although its initial filing describes itself as a state "general purpose committee," it's fairly common for committees to do so initially and subsequently change their self-description after receiving initial contributions. Simply put, the entity can change its self-description to a local ballot measure committee (or something else) in the coming weeks.
The entity's decision to hold a major campaign solicitation event in late June is significant. It means the group will legally be able to show its initial contributions and contributors on a financial report due for filing on or before July 31 [with some reports earlier if the total collected reaches a higher financial total.] Boasting of the amounts contributed and the contributors can be useful in attracting additional contributions. [end UPDATE]
The entity's contribution solicitation lists suggested levels ranging from $150 to $25,000. Among individuals/entities it's indicated are supportive (besides Richardson) of what the new committee supports are (titles below for identification, summary description by LBREPORT.com):
[Scroll down for further.]
It's not immediately exactly what type of ballot measure the new entity seeks (parcel tax? taxpayer debt bond? Ssmething else?) and for what purpose(s). [LBREPORT.com has asked Councilman Richardson about this, response pending.] LBREPORT.com's speculation follows.
In July 2018, Councilman Richardson and a number of Councilmembers signaled their support -- just not immediately -- for a LB tax increase ballot measure (details not discussed) to provide more "affordable" (low income/subsidized) housing and/or homeless related programs. (LBREPORT.com coverage here.) As LBREPORT.com reported at the time:
[July 26, 2018 LBREPORT.com text] Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilman Rex Richardson and a number of Councilmembers have effectively signaled their support for a Long Beach tax increase of some currently unspecified type on some currently unspecified group of taxpayers to provide what they called a "dedicated local revenue source" -- not for the November 2018 LB ballot [when Garcia seeks voter approval for Charter Amendments] but at some at some future point [after Mayor Garcia says tax increase is supported by sufficient constituencies to mount a successful campaign.] The publicly stated purpose for the "dedicated local revenue source"/tax increase will be to enable more "affordable" (low income/subsidized) housing and provide more homeless-related services.
At that time, Mayor Garcia was seeking voter support for four Charter Amendment changes, including Measure BBB that would enable all Council incumbents and the Mayor to seek third terms without facing write-in requirements.
It's not yet clear exactly what type of ballot measure the "Lift Up Long Beach Families" entity supports. Whatever it is, a Council majority could vote to put it on the March 2020 ballot (coinciding with the CA Presidential primary on which Council incumbents in districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 are also seeking re-election or the November 2018 ballot (Council incumbents who receive less than 50% in March would proceed to a November 2020 runoff coinciding with the national Presidential election.)
And it may not be the only LB tax-related action City Hall may pursue in 2020. LBREPORT.com speculates that at some point in the coming months, the City Council will take some action(s) that attempt to extend the 2016 Measure A sales tax increase at its current level instead of letting it drop to half its current level as the City Hall-written measure told voters in 2016. To do so, LBREPORT.com speculates the Council may declare a "fiscal emergency" or cite other grounds.
Among the underlying fiscal reasons are negotiations with city employee unions for pay raises as well as a Council-approved deal (not yet finalized, subject to Council approval) enabling a privately-run LLC to operate for its profit a smaller version of Community Hospital on seismically challenged City-owned land. As currently described,, the deal will effectively require LB taxpayers to spend millions of dollars over a 25 year period from sources it hasn't publicly identified. (More bluntly stated: the Council doesn't currently know from what source(s) it will pay for what it is preparing to commit LB taxpayers to pay for.)
In 2016, Mayor Garcia created a political committee that he ran that solicited contributions and run the campaign for the Measure A General Fund ("blank check") sales tax increase. In 2018, Garcia renamed the political committee to solicit contributions and run a campaign for the Measure M utility-revenue transfer measure (voter approval of which now enables City Hall to take sums from LB's Water Dept. for City budgeted spending and (very important) explicitly allows the Water Dept. to "backfill" those sums; LB's Water Commission (Garcia chosen/Council approved) recently approved a 12% rate increase, citing multiple other grounds. After passage Measure M, Garcia changed the name of the committee to add the name of City Auditor Laura Doud to solicit sums and run a campaign for the Charter Amendments, including Measure BBB that has now enabled Council incumbents Austin and Andrews to seek third terms without a write-in requirement in March 2020 )
Developing. Further to follow on LBREPORT.com.
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