LA County Voters Weigh Senate Race, Ballot Measures

As Hillary Clinton defeated Senator Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic presidential primary and businessman Donald J. Trump -- the last active candidate in the Republican field -- won the Republican primary Tuesday, SoCal voters weighed in on a variety of ballot measures.

After more than 20 years, one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats is up for grabs as the post will be vacated by retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer. State Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, were named the top two contenders in the race among 34 candidates, with Harris leading.

In addition to state and congressional leaders, Southern California voters also headed to the polls to weigh in on local ballot measures.

Glendale voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to eliminate the city's Utility Users Tax, which city leaders defended as crucial to maintaining city services..

City elected officials had been urging voters to reject the initiative, saying it would result in across-the-board budget cuts, including the possible elimination of 53 police officers and 37 firefighters.

Mayor Ara Najarian and City Council members Paula Devine, Laura Friedman, Vartan Gharpetian and Zareh Sinanyan signed a ballot argument against
the measure, calling it "misguided and poorly written'' by a an out-of-town
group bent on eliminating utility taxes in multiple cities.

"They don't understand Glendale's needs or how Measure N will hurt Glendale. Don't believe their lies about out-of-control budgets and pensions,''
says the ballot argument.

Supporters William Taliaferro and John Voors countered in their argument that the city's budget has grown exponentially in the last 15 years due largely
to the council giving in to salary demands of public employee unions.

"In 2014 the median full-time city employee received pay and benefits
totaling $105,211,'' they wrote in their ballot argument.

"Government elites enjoy pay, pensions and job security the average taxpayer can only dream about."

They also claim the city's "unfunded pension obligations are officially $411.9 million" but said a recent report estimated the real amount could more than triple that number.

In Carson, voters approved Measure C, which will extend the city's 2 percent Utility Users Tax on electricity and gas for another seven years, to June 30th, 2023. The tax raises roughly 8 million dollars a year.

Compton voters appeared to be approving Measure P, which would increase the sales tax by 1 percent to provide funding for public safety, youth job training, gang- and drug-prevention programs, economic development and park improvements.

Measure Y in Pomona would authorize the installation of as many as 10 freeway-adjacent billboards. Over the 40-year life of the agreement, the city would receive $1 million for each billboard, or a total of up to $10 million. It was too close to call at 12 a.m.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Contact Us