Voting LA County – Local Measure A

carousel-weekend-early-votingLOS ANGELES COUNTY MEASURE A

I had a hard time finding an official impartial analysis of Measure A online, so I turned to my handy Official Sample Ballot that I received in the mail last week. My eyes just about fell out of my head when I found that to consume this information, I had to read over 20 pages. 20 pages! I think I have fallen into a population segment of under 1% who actually read this thing. I wonder, do lawmakers intentionally make it this difficult for the average citizen to inform themselves on what they vote for? I’m curious if even our locally elected officials have read this measure from stem to stern.

Either way, I read it, and I’m going to give it to you distilled into a few paragraphs.

In 1992 and 1996, voters approved tax measures which helped fund the acquisition, restoration or rehabilitation of real property for parks and park safety, senior recreation facilities, gang prevention, beaches, recreation, community or cultural facilities, trails, wildlife habitats, or natural lands, and maintenance and servicing of those projects. Every parcel of land in Los Angeles County was assessed based upon size, on an annual basis, in order to fund these needs.

The 1992 proposition expired in 2015, and the 1996 proposition is set to expire in 2019. Measure A seeks to replace the revenue lost by the expiration of these propositions.

Another tax? Really? Yes. Count me in as someone who is tired of being asked to approve yet another ballot measure which will reduce my net income. However, the logistics of this one are different than the assessments it seeks to replace: Measure A will capture its revenue from a 1.5% assessment on structural improvements to property, not including improvements used for parking. So, depending on the size of your property, your tax bill will go down by $50 – $100 per year with the expiration of the 1996 proposition, and you will only be assessed a 1.5% tax on improvements you make to your home or business.

A couple of other finer details I uncovered when reading the analysis of Measure A:

1) There is a considerable amount of emphasis on prioritizing funding towards “multi-benefit recreational projects that maximize climate pollution reduction and adaption, carbon sequestration, heat-island reduction, stormwater capture that increase infiltration, habitat protection and biodiversity, community health improvements, promote innovative public-private partnerships, or a combination thereof.”

and

2) “Eligible project applicants include Public Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations”

In regard to these two points, I expect that our city staff will take full advantage of this direction to bolster funding from our local Measure CW (if passed) and create a lasting and sustainable water protection system. And since non-profit organizations are eligible for grants, I hope that the city would be proactive in finding ways to support organizations like Ballona Creek Renaissance, Baldwin Hills Conservancy & Culver City Walk ’n Rollers in grant writing towards eligible projects which could help further their goals.

also,

3) Thirty-five percent (35%) of funds, on an annual basis, will be allocated to each study area based on the Per Capita and Structural Improvements Formula… to ensure that each community throughout the County will benefit from improvements…” I read this to mean that 35% of all funds will be distributed solely based upon a quantitative formula calculated from the cost of property improvements in a particular city or district. This would mean that Culver City is guaranteed a baseline sum of funding each year.

finally,

4) “one-percent (1%) of the maintenance and servicing amount shall be allocated each year to the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority”.

There are many more minute details to this ballot measure, but the points which I outlined above focus on what I believe to be most directly affecting Culver City residents.

There is no sunset date for this assessment, and Measure A requires a 2/3 voter approval in order to pass.

A YES vote on Measure A institutes a new 1.5% assessment on property improvements in Los Angeles County beginning in 2017. Revenue raised from this measure will replace funding from expiring parcel taxes, and go towards the acquisition, restoration and rehabilitation of parks within Los Angeles County and the maintenance and servicing of those properties.

A NO vote on Measure A allows funding towards these parks to expire in 2019 with no designated funding to replace it.

Dan O’Brien

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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