(November 26, 2001) -- On the heels of incumbent Mayor Beverly O'Neill's advocacy of a pay raise delivering a near $200,000 salary to the City Manager (higher than CA's Governor), and incumbent Councilman and Mayoral candidate Ray Grabinski under heavy criticism for absenting himself from the Council chamber before the item, LB fiscal reformer and Prop J utility tax cut leader Norm Ryan has scored a historic first, receiving the Mayoral endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association PAC (political action committee).
The taxpayer group has never previously endorsed a candidate for LB Mayor.
"We appreciate [Mr. Ryan's] longtime commitment to the cause of fair taxation and believe (he) will be an excellent representatives for the taxpayers," said the Howard Jarvis group's Director of Community Affairs, Kris Vosburgh.
The endorsement from the group that led the campaign to pass Proposition 13 and subsequent taxpayer protective measures carries political weight, particularly among middle class homeowers in high propensity voter populated ELB.
"I am honored to receive the endorsement of the HJTA-PAC and as Mayor will continue my advocacy of governmental efficiency and taxpayer's rights," Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan's taxpayer credentials include leading the Prop J utility tax cut initiative to a near 70% voter victory despite attempts by City Hall and various Council incumbents to derail the measure.
He also successfully spearheaded opposition to an attempted City Hall increase in LB's trash fees, co-authoring an alternative financing plan to fund a new 911-ECOC without cutting city services or raising taxes. (City Hall refused to adopt the plan but did pursue a financing alternative, effectively showing the attempted fee hike wasn't necessary in the first place.)
Mr. Ryan was also instrumental in defeating Prop. Z, a City Hall attempted Mello-Roos tax increase in 1996.
Vice Mayor Dan Baker, who represents downtown and central LB's 2d Council district and co-sponsored (with Councilmembers Colonna and Carroll) a counter-measure against Prop J (offering half the taxpayer relief), has sought to cultivate ELB's homeowner voter base by walking through many ELB neighborhoods.
After Prop J qualified for the ballot, Council incumbent Ray Grabinski also tried and failed to gain support for an alternative to Prop J.