Measure Q, La Palma's proposed 4% utility tax intended to raise money for the general fund and police and recreation departments, appeared to be going down to defeat by a 3-1 margin, according to unofficial results in Tuesday's election.
La Palma officials had warned that if taxpayers rejected the measure, city services would be reduced. Measure Q's supporters said that if the utility surtax was defeated, 10% of the city's 59 employees would have to be laid off.
"Because we have such a small staff, it would be a real major problem with the loss of 10%," said Carl Eriksen, organizer for Citizens for Measure Q.
Unlike urban centers, La Palma does not have a large business community producing sales tax or other income for its tax base. Consequently, property tax cuts have significantly reduced the city's major revenue source.
The proposed measure was intended to raise $500,000, La Palma City Manager Paul Bussey said. That figure was based on a cost-per-household estimate of $8.
In Newport Beach, voters were handily approving private redevelopment by authorizing the city to extend the lease on property at Pacific Coast Highway and Newport Boulevard.
The land, and a five-story building on it, are owned by Newport Beach and Orange County. Haseko-LSW, a Los Angeles-based firm, now leases the building.
Newport Beach voters were slightly favoring the sale of a controversial piece of vacant property it has owned since 1936.
The small parcel at 4210 River Ave. has been maintained by surrounding residents who want to retain the land as open space. Appraised at $350,000, the lot is zoned residential and has been declared unsuitable for park purposes.
In the Silverado-Modjeska Park and Recreation District, incumbent president W. Dean Brown was trailing challenger Suzanne D. Pearson, a registered nurse, who is seeking to unseat Brown to fill an unexpired term.
Of the four other candidates vying for three director seats for a full, four-year term, Sally L. Murphy was the tip vote-getter, followed by Charlie Dahms and then Steve Toker. Haven M. Tieck was last.
In the Los Alisos Water District race, two director's seats were up for the five-member board that makes water decisions affecting more than 15,000 dwellings in Lake Forest and parts of El Toro.
With almost all of the votes counted, incumbent President George D. Stringer and incumbent Harry C. Johnson, the district's vice president, retained their seats. Lois L. Virgil, a small business owner, was last.