Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Sales tax increase could appear on Los Angeles' March 2013 ballot

General Election - Grant

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A proposal to increase the city of Los Angeles' sales tax could appear on the March 2013 ballot. The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, and a second vote is expected next week.

A proposal to increase the City of Los Angeles’ sales tax by a half-cent was preliminarily approved for the March 2013 ballot Tuesday in a 10-4 vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

The sales tax proposal will need a second approval next week – with at least 10 votes – to appear on the March 5th ballot. Because voters approved Proposition 30, the sales tax is already increasing to 9 percent on Jan. 1. If the city's measure gets on the ballot and passes, the sales tax would increase to 9.5 percent. 

Two of the dissenting council members — Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti — are also mayoral hopefuls whose names could appear alongside the proposed tax in March.  Also voting against the tax were councilmen Dennis Zine and Mitch Englander.

“We’ve got to be able to demonstrate that we’ve exhausted all of our resources,  that we’ve turned over every stone," Englander said. "That we’ve gone down and cut not only the fat and the bone and muscle as some people are suggesting but we’ve actually gotten rid of all of the other additional things we shouldn’t be doing — all of the other additional layers." 


Maven's Morning Coffee: Development in John Noguez scandal, tax plans at City Hall, Villaraigosa writes election post-mortem

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Assessor John Noguez's money problems started before he was ever elected to the position.

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Today is Tuesday, Nov. 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Los Angeles Times found that downtown property owners who gave money to then-Huntington Park Councilman John Noguez's account had $36 million knocked off of their assessed property values, once he became the assessor. "Unlike Noguez's official campaign accounts for county assessor, the Huntington Park fund had no contribution limits, no restrictions on how the money could be spent, and its records were never posted online for public scrutiny," according to the newspaper.


Crowded field lines up for Los Angeles' 2013 municipal election

Wall Street Protest Spreads To Other Cities

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Ninety-two candidates filed papers, declaring their intentions to run for a Los Angeles City Council or citywide seat in the March 2013 primary.

Serving the city of Los Angeles is apparently good work if you can get it. Ninety-two people signed up to run for a L.A. City Council or citywide seats in the March 2013 primary. 

Saturday was the deadline for candidates to file their declarations of intention. Candidates have about a month to collect signatures and pay a fee for their nominating petitions. The primary is set for March 5, with a runoff between the top two candidates in each race scheduled for May 21, 2013.

Fourteen people filed to run for mayor, including Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, Controller Wendy Greuel and attorney Kevin James. There are three candidates running against incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and six candidates for the open seat of controller. 

In Districts 5 and 15, Councilmen Paul Koretz and Joe Buscaino will run for reelection; each faces a handful of opponents. Council seats in Districts 1, 3, 7, 9, 11 and 13 will all be open. In the 13th District, 20 candidates hope to replace Garcetti, who will be termed out of office. 


Villaraigosa: Reforms must be included with sales tax increase

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hasn't said yet whether he will support a sales tax increase. In a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, he said he wants to see seven commitments from members before he decides his position.

The Los Angeles City Council may decide Tuesday whether to ask voters to increase the city’s sales tax, but it remains to be seen if the proposal will win the support of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

In a letter to the council, the mayor listed seven reforms he wants to see along with a tax increase that could help close Los Angeles’ $216 million deficit:

  1. New management structure at the L.A. Zoo
  2. New management model at the Convention Center
  3. The elimination of 209 city workers
  4. Continued hiring of police officers
  5. Consolidation of street maintenance functions
  6. Establishment of economic development entity
  7. Pledge to maintain 5 percent of General Fund dollars in a reserve fund

“If we are going to ask the people of Los Angeles to vote for higher taxes, we must continue to cut spending, spur job creation, protect public safety and maintain fiscal discipline,” the mayor wrote in his letter.


Bilbray, Lungren congressional races still too close to call

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Congressman Dan Lungren (R)

Mercer 8932

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Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray

It has been nearly a week since the election, but California still does not know who is going to Capitol Hill in two Congressional districts.

But California voters will be sending at least 11 new members of Congress to Washington, D.C.  That is nearly 20 percent of the delegation.

But two races are too close to call. 

In San Diego, incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray is trailing Democrat Scott Peters, a Port of San Diego Commissioner, by 1,300 votes, based on the latest count.  San Diego County is still counting mail-in and provisional ballots.


Near Sacramento, incumbent GOP Congressman Dan Lungren is trailing his Democratic challenger, physician Ami Bera, by more than 1,700 votes.