Santa Monica residents vote for clean beaches, clean government. Pasadenans opt to strengthen campaign finance reforms.
The Los Angeles Times
Voters in several Los Angeles County cities approved a slew of local ballot measures in Tuesday’s election, addressing issues ranging from political reform and street parking to preserving open space and clean beaches.
Nearly a dozen municipalities put a total of 18 measures on local ballots.
Claremont voters approved Measure S, a $12.5-million bond measure to purchase and preserve a 183-acre parcel of open space that has long been a favorite of hikers and nature lovers in eastern Los Angeles County.
Residents had rejected an earlier attempt by city officials to pass a special assessment to buy the land, known as Johnson’s Pasture. On Tuesday, the bond measure, backed by the mayor and three City Council members, passed with 70% of the vote.
To the west, Pasadena voters approved clarifications to a 2001 City Charter reform intended to tighten campaign contributions. Measure B, which passed on a 61% to 39% vote, would ban those bidding for city contracts worth more than $25,000 from making political contributions and give county prosecutors power to call witnesses and bring charges in political corruption cases.
More important, the vote settles a bitter legal fight led by the Pasadena City Council, which argued that political reforms passed in 2001 were unclear and overly burdensome.
Those casting ballots in Pasadena were far less kind to Measure A, which proposed allowing the National Football League to renovate the landmark Rose Bowl for use by a pro football team. Voters threw the measure for a big loss, defeating it 72% to 28%.
In Santa Monica, voters defeated an effort to alter one of the nation’s toughest clean-government laws, which bans politicians from taking campaign cash or employment from anyone doing business with the city.
With all of the votes counted, 53% of the city’s voters rejected Proposition W, which the City Council had backed. The measure would have overturned the Oaks Amendment, passed in 2000.
“At the end of a very long ballot, the public rejected undue influence by developers and other special interests in local government,” said Carmen Balber of Election Watchdog, a political action committee sponsored by the Campaign for Consumer Rights.
An overwhelming majority — 71% — voted for Proposition U, which gives the Santa Monica city manager the power to hire and fire city department heads without having to get approval from boards and commissions. In doing so, Santa Monica followed such cities as Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City and Long Beach, which have exempted department heads from Civil Service employment rules in an effort to make government more responsive.
Two-thirds of voters favored Proposition V, which would levy a parcel tax for cleaning up heavily polluted beaches and Santa Monica Bay.
And a resounding 65% of voters approved Proposition Y, which would make the personal use of marijuana by adults on private property the city’s lowest police enforcement priority. Santa Monicans for Sensible Marijuana Policy had said the measure would send a message to Sacramento and Washington that voters want more common-sense marijuana laws.
Inglewood residents turned away a proposed 0.5% increase in the city sales tax to raise money for police and emergency services.
Lakewood voters overwhelmingly approved two measures to keep their streets clear by making it illegal to park a recreational vehicle or trailer on a public street without a permit.
And in Westlake Village, 55% of voters rejected a measure to amend the city’s general plan to develop 22 acres of private land into a retail complex anchored by a home improvement store.
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