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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

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(June 24, 2019, updated 5:25 p.m. from initial 12:50 p.m.) -- 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: 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

[Scroll down for further.]

  • Andy Kerr (co-chaired Mayor Garcia chosen "Task Force" comprised of thirty LB establishment figures; its December 2018 recommendations included "Identify and implement one or more dedicated, sustainable revenue sources to meet governance, data, service, operations and lower-income housing gap financing assistance needs, including dedicated funding resources to support immediate prevention and case management needs" contending "Current funds do not fund capital expenditures to build low-income and homeless housing, nor do they effectively fund homeless prevention services to ensure those who are formerly homeless or precariously housed do not fall into homelessness...")

  • Brian D'Andrea, Century Villages at Cabrillo (homeless housing/services campus, also a member of the Garcia-chosen "Task Force")

  • Elise Buik, Chris Ko and Tommy Newman, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

  • Sean Rawson of Waterford Property Company (OC-officed firm's website description includes: "Waterford is an expert in affordable housing and has built over 300 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units with a joint venture partner.")

  • Dan Almquist, Frontier Real Estate Investments (OC-officed firm developing NE quadrant of Artesia Blvd./Atlantic Ave. ("Uptown Commons"); in December 2018, with Councilman Richardson's support, the Council voted 7-0 to reduce purchase price for the property by $1 million dollars (Dec. 2018 coverage here.)

  • IBEW Local 11 (politically active union)

  • Uduak-Joe Ntuk (LBCC Trustee active in Dem Party politics, unseated (with Richardson's help) LBCC's sole elected Republican trustee)

  • CoLABorate [currently unclear who/what it is]
  • Sponsor


    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). [ has asked Councilman Richardson about this, response pending.]'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. ( coverage here.) As reported at the time:

    [July 26, 2018 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.

    That was the outcome of two and a half hour Council discussion (including public testimony) on a July 24 item agendized by Councilmembers Richardson, Gonzalez, Austin and Andrews who sought management options -- initially for consideration at the next available Council meeting -- of an unspecified "dedicated local revenue source."

    Not one Councilmember supportive of a "dedicated local funding source" publicly uttered the word "tax." (Lead-agendizer Richardson only acknowledged in a single reference that his proposal involved what he called the "t" word.)

    Mayor Garcia went so far as to defensively claim that he and the Council aren't responsible for increasing LB taxes. Mayor Garcia stated: "As a reminder, the City doesn't, we don't tax anybody. The taxes that pass the City are voted on by the voters, and so this Council doesn't go and increase someone's tax or do a parcel tax. That is only decided by voters in the city..." [Editor note: Garcia headed the political committee carrying his name that ran a roughly $600,000 campaign for the June 2016 Measure "blank check" sales tax increase, put on the ballot without dissent by the Council, that brought LB the highest sales tax rate in CA, tied with only a few other cities.]

    At the same time as he absolved himself and the Council of responsibility for LB tax increases, Mayor Garcia stated: "Should this City look and work with the community a local source of to fund more affordable housing? The answer in my opinion is absolutely "yes."...[W]hen you put measures like this in front of a community, you have to bring everybody to the table. You don't pass things without some kind of community conversation that involves all the affected people that are going to be part of this type of campaign that would need to take place."

    Garcia argued that some type of "dedicated local revenue source" is needed for affordable housing after Sacramento dissolved local Redevelopment Agencies statewide [that had allowed LB City Hall to divert property tax revenue to float debt that enabled City Hall-favored developers to buy "blighted" properties for projects in locations and types approved by City Hall.]

    3rd dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price was the only Councilmember to speak the word "tax" citing reasons on the merits why she didn't support Richardson's proposal as agendized. Councilwoman Price said the item combined two complex, important but separate issues -- "affordable housing" and "homelessness" that deserved thoughtful but separate discussion. She added that in her view, the agenda item attached "homelessness" to make it sound more attractive politically...and said she couldn't imagine supporting, or her constituents supporting, a tax increase, as proposed in such preliminary form as was agendized.

    Councilman Richardson defended his proposal, arguing it reflected previous Council discussions, including a 2017 Council meeting at which a city staff memo listed the option of a "bond" (debt bond) among measures to fund affordable housing. Richardson also insisted that "affordable housing" and "homelessness" are linked.

    However, Richardson ultimately backed off proposing a measure for the November ballot, saying it would require a special July 31 Council meeting to hear city management's "revenue" options and select one in time for an August 7 Council vote to meet a deadline for the November 8 ballot. Richardson stopped short of opposing a November ballot measure; instead he invited (effectively dared) any of his Council colleagues to make such motion...and none did. That effectively deferred the tax increase discussion...for now.


    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. 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, 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



    If didn't tell you, who would? Help keep our independent news with stories like this one alive and growing. No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests or other special interests seeking or receiving benefits of City Council development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. No one in our ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

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