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    First On

    Sheriff Baca Moving Behind Closed Doors To Push A 1/4 Cent County Sales Tax Increase Proposal, Read Letter To LB City Mgr.

    (May 18, 2006) -- Roughly two years after failing to persuade County voters to enact a 1/2 cent sales tax increase portrayed as an anti-terrorism measure, has learned that L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is working behind closed doors to push a Countywide ballot measure, framed as an anti-gang measure, that if approved by voters would raise L.A. County's sales tax by quarter cent.

    Correspondence from Sheriff Baca's office to LB City Manager Jerry Miller (text below) indicates the Sheriff has discussed the measure with the L.A. County Police Chiefs' Ass'n and unspecified "community leaders" Rhetorical bullet points have also been prepared advocating the measure (text below) along with a spread sheet showing sums that each L.A. County city could stand to receive if voters approve the tax increase.

    Sheriff Baca's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the measure is still in its development stage and indicated that Sheriff Baca has raised the issue with LB City Hall [where city management and Councilmembers have indicated they support, and have expended at least $80,000 to date, on consultants to devise a strategy to persuade LB taxpayers to support] a separate 1/2 cent sales tax increase for LB alone for police and possibly libraries.

    We pursued the story with Deputy City Manager Suzanne Mason...who provided us with a letter dated April 19 from Sheriff Baca to LB City Manager Jerry Miller.

    Its text [which we suspect may be a form-type letter paralleling correspondence sent to officials in various cities] states:

    The purpose of this correspondence is to update you on the current status of the proposed Gang Suppression, Prevention and Intervention Tax Measure. the initial proposed distribution model was a starting point for continued development with other community leaders. After working with representatives from the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association, we have made modifications to the original proposal.

    The new distribution model combines suppression, prevention, and intervention funding into one category, bringing the combined available total to $195 million to be dispersed based on population, while each city is still guaranteed a minimum of $100,000. Gangnet funding increased to $75 million with allotted personnel funding evenly distributed between Los Angeles Police Department, Independent City Police agencies, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The new model is designed to meet the unique needs of each community throughout Los Angeles County and is described in the provided documents.

    Based on this new distribution plan, the City of Long Beach can expect to receive about $9,013,422 in new revenue. As this process evolves, to ensure broad-based support throughout Los Angeles County, I will continue to update you with any changes.

    [Courtesy close/contact paragraph]


    s/ Leroy D. Baca

    The bullet points state:

  • Gang-related crime has tremendous costs for both law enforcement agencies and taxpayers in Los Angeles County.

  • 9.035 gang-related murders, assaults, and robberies were committed in Los Angeles County during 2005. About 25 each day.

  • Taxpayers spend millions of dollars annually for the investigation and prosecution of gang-related crimes.

  • Violent street gangs routinely recruit new members, yet there are no dedicated funding sources specifically for gang-related law enforcement and prevention/intervention programs beyond general law enforcement funds.

  • A quarter-cent sales tax, proposed for the November 2006 ballot, will provide approximately $325 million dollars annually (while costing the average person only $1.67-$2.50 per month) to the fund the following areas:

    • Mobile multi-agency county gang task force.

    • Expansion of prevention/intervention programs designed to keep young people form joining gangs.

    • Implementation of Gang Registration Requirement Status Penal Code 186.30 et seq, by funding needed technology as well as providing specialized equipment to support countywide gang suppression efforts.

  • $55 million is allocated for technology and increased overhead costs to custody facilities, the District Attorney's Office, probation and other justic agencies.

  • $75 Million for "GangNet," a multi-agency, mobile gang task force (each agency will receive funding for a minimum of one officer dedicated to "Gangnet")

  • $195 Million for city and county gang suppression, prevention and intervention programs based on population (minimum allocation of $100,000 per city).

    • Fifty percent or more of the allocated funds shall be under the direction of the Police Chief or Sheriff responsible for general law enforcement services in the ciyt or unincorporated county area.
  • It's unclear to what extent, if at all, a quarter cent County sales tax increase proposal might affect LB City Hall from seeking an additional separate LB sales tax increase.

    In 2004, LB city management quietly worked with Sheriff Baca in drafting, and LB Councilmembers then publicly endorsed, the proposed County "anti-terrorism" 1/2 cent sales tax increase which failed.

    A new 1/4 cent Countywide sales tax increase proposal could be placed on the November ballot by hurriedly gathering signatures or by a vote of the County Board of Supervisors (no later than early August).


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