(Nov. 8, 2006) -- In a vote with long-term implications for LB and southeast L.A. County, voters statewide and in southern California approved by wide margins Prop 1B...which now empowers transportation officials, subject to state legislative approval, to allocate up to $2 billion of $20 billion in new taxpayer bonded debt to expand the capacity of port and goods-movement transportation infrastructure.
Placed on the ballot by Sacramento lawmakers and presented by proponents, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a way to "rebuild California," Prop 1B carried with over 61% of the vote statewide...including 65% in L.A. County, 54% in OC, 60% in San Bernardino and 64% in Riverside County. It carried in nearly all California counties (with the exception of rural NE state areas)
It's expected that at least 60% of Prop 1B's port-infrastructure money will eventually be allocated to capacity expansion projects in southern CA. Among the projects most desired by the Port of Long Beach is rebuilding the 1960s era Gerald Desmond bridge to allow larger mega-container ships to enter the Port of LB's inner harbor.
The measure includes roughly $1 billion statewide in one time funds for environmental mitigation.
The LB City Council, LB Mayor Bob Foster and State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) supported Prop 1B despite the defeat of state legislation (authored by Sen. Lowenthal) that would have required "no net increase" in port related air toxics as port capacity expands and levied a container fee whose ongoing revenue stream would have funded clean air, security and port rail projects.
Both bills were opposed by business and industry interests and by the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" (in which the Ports of LB and L.A both paid dues collectively totaling over a quarter million in FY 06) while the Ports of LB and L.A. remained publicly neutral on the Lowenthal bills. Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the container fee bill; Assembly Democrats blocked advance of the "no net increase" bill.
On the day before the Prop 1B election, the Ports of LB and Los Angeles issued joint press releases promoting revisions to their draft "Clean Air Action Plan" (released in July) citing ways that the Ports say will reduce air pollutants by significant amounts. The Long Beach Press Telegram reported the port's "Clean Air Action Plan" revisions with a story on election day (p. A-2 above the fold) headlined "Emissions Act Cleaned Up" which said the Ports' clean air "plan's funding relies heavily on passage today of Proposition 1B."
However the Plan, which the Ports are scheduled to adopt at a joint meeting of their non-elected Harbor Commissioners later this month, doesn't carry the force of law. At a July hearing in LB (reported by LBReport.com), Sen. Lowenthal told PoLA/PoLB representatives that their "Clean Air Action Plan" is laudable but needed the force of law with his "no net increase" bill (for enforcement) and container fee measures (for ongoing revenue). After the demise of both bills in Sacramento, Sen. Lowenthal told an October informational hearing in L.A. (at which he was the only state lawmaker present) that he considered Prop 1B a step in the right direction but "if it is the only solution to the problem, the problems will get worse, not better."
Transportation projects to be funded by Prop 1B will now be subject to appropriation and conditions -- if any -- attached by the state legislature...whose members will now include 55th district Assemblywoman-elect Laura Richardson, LB's current 6th district Councilwoman. Assemblywoman-elect Richardson's campaign for the Carson-LB area seat was backed by a number of LB establishment figures and port-related industry interests.
Assemblywoman-elect Richardson will take the place of current Assemblywoman, now 28th district state Senator-elect, Jenny Oropeza. Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Oropeza's "diesel magnet sources" bill (AB 1101) (which was also opposed by the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" and industry interests) died on the State Senate floor. The State Senate is led by President Pro Tem Don Perata (D., Oakland) who authored and guided the legislation that became Prop 1B.
Incumbent 54th district Assemblywoman Betty Karnette was also reelected by a roughly 60% margin, defeating Republican challenger, ELB resident Michael A. Jackson.
The Assembly and State Senate results were a foregoing conclusion after Richardson and Oropeza prevailed in contested Democrat primaries earlier this year. District lines for Assembly, State Senate and Congress were redrawn by Sacramento Democrats after the 2000 census in ways that created district majorities likely to elect and/or reelect mainly Democrats.
Prop 90, which would have required government entities to pay property owners for diminution of property value (curtailing eminent domain abuse) was defeated. The measure was labeled a "taxpayer trap" in a well-funded opposition campaign. Prop 90 was oppsoed by (among others) the California Redevelopment Ass'n.
Prop 88, which would have created a statewide property parcel tax, was also defeated. The measure was opposed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
To view results for the statewide ballot measures, click here.
Lillian Kawasaki, a City Hall appointee to LB's Water Dept. governing board, was elected to the area's Water Replenishment District board, beating incumbent boardmember (and City Hall critic) Norm Ryan. Ms. Kawasaki garnered just under 44% of the vote; Mr. Ryan finished second with roughly 40%; and Doug Frankenfeld finished third with about 11%.
In Lakewood, voters rejected by a roughly 61% margin Measure D, which would have banned the sale of "safe and sane" fireworks in the city.