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Elections on School Taxes Mixed

A levy passes in Palos Verdes while one in Manhattan Beach is defeated.

June 04, 2003|Jean Merl and David Pierson | Times Staff Writers

Bids for extra taxes for well-regarded but cash-strapped schools succeeded in Palos Verdes on Tuesday but failed in Manhattan Beach, while in Santa Monica and Malibu, results on a similar measure were too close to call.

In another election, which pitted neighbor against neighbor, voters strongly rejected a drive to incorporate the east San Gabriel Valley community of Hacienda Heights.

And in Inglewood, labor leader Ralph Franklin overwhelmingly defeated community activist Mike Stevens for the 4th District City Council seat, but an ongoing court battle clouds the outcome.

In the contest for seat No. 4 on Inglewood's Board of Education, Los Angeles school administrator Willie F. Crittendon beat perennial candidate Mildred McNair.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday June 05, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Inglewood election -- A chart in Wednesday's California section reversed the percentages of votes earned by each candidate in a race for the Inglewood City Council. Ralph Franklin won 866, or 70.1% of the votes, defeating Mike Stevens, who took 368, or 29.8% of the votes.

For residents of Hacienda Heights, the hard-fought battle over whether to create the county's 89th city revolved largely around issues of taxation and local control. Longtime residents who remember two previous cityhood attempts say this year's effort was the most contentious of all. Seventeen people, including two cityhood opponents, competed to be on a five-member city council to be elected at the same time voters decided on incorporation.

"Cityhood needed to fail," said Dena White, one of the anti-cityhood campaign leaders. "We're designed as a bedroom community. We wouldn't survive as a city, and the residents of Hacienda Heights know that."

Ken Manning, city council candidate in favor of cityhood, said: "We raised a lot of issues that obviously struck a nerve. People were emotional and this is what the people have said and we accept it."

Cityhood opponents, whose Web site attacked pro-incorporation candidates as well as a county study finding that Hacienda Heights could support itself with its tax revenues, cited the estimated $19 million the new city would owe the county. That is because of a 1992 state law that requires incorporating communities to pay the host county a "revenue neutrality fee," commonly known as "alimony."

But proponents said the community of 53,000 deserved to make its own decisions and argued that cityhood would mean tax dollars would stay in the community and could be used to upgrade blighted areas and improve services. It could also mean residents would have more clout in issues such as possible expansion of the Pomona Freeway and the future of the Puente Hills Landfill.

The school districts, all in affluent communities, sought parcel taxes to help offset fallout from one of the worst state budget crises in decades. All three parcel tax measures required a two-thirds vote to pass, and all allowed senior citizens to apply for exemptions from paying the parcel tax.

In the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, which faces a $13-million shortfall in the next school year, voters were asked for an additional $225 per property for each of the next six years. The added tax was expected to bring in $6.5 million annually to help offset budget shortfalls that would otherwise mean cuts to music and other programs, bigger classes and the layoffs of more than 200 district employees, including teachers.

District residents approved a 10-year parcel tax of about $100 per property in 2000 but narrowly turned down another, Measure EE, in November. The cities of Santa Monica and Malibu have been helping the district. Santa Monica typically provides $3.5 million a year but has its own budget problems now.

Malibu says it plans to increase the $25,000 a year it has been contributing.

In the South Bay, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District sought a parcel tax of $108 a year for five years, while the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District asked for $173 per property annually over five years.

Another South Bay community, Inglewood conducted its fourth election since November and, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Councilwoman Lorraine Johnson, could have yet another soon.

Johnson, who finished a close third behind Stevens in the April 3 primary and thus failed to make the runoff, contends in her suit that Stevens does not live in the district and therefore is not qualified to run.

A judge is scheduled to resume hearing the case Thursday in Los Angeles.

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Times staff writers Martha Groves and Joy L. Woodson contributed to this report.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

*--* Hacienda Heights Incorporation 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % Yes 3,990 36.87 No 6,831 63.13 Council Member Election 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % By District 3,323 41.11 At Large 4,761 58.89

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*--* Council Member 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % K.R. "Ken" Manning 3,582 10.1 Felicia F. Minardi 2,656 7.42 Shan Lee 2,298 6.42 Jeffrey K. Yann 1,759 4.92 Henry B. Pedregon 2,014 5.63 Joseph A. Perez 1,488 4.16 C.L. Trujillo 858 2.40 Scarlet Treu 2,688 7.51 David Fang 2,523 7.05 Barbara L. Fish 2,238 6.25 Rudy Almeida 882 2.47 Charles M. House 3,399 9.50 Norman Hsu 2,323 6.49 Sidney W. Street 1,154 3.23 Tom Chang 2,365 6.61 Fred Chyr 1,815 5.07 Henry E. Gonzales 1,738 4.86

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*--* Manhattan Beach Unified School District Measure E 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % Two-thirds required Yes 4,178 58.03 No 3,022 41.97

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*--* Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Measure P 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % Two-thirds required Yes 8,169 72.76 No 3,058 27.24

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*--* Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Measure S 65.71% Precincts Reporting Votes % Two-thirds required Yes 8,823 66.95 No 4,355 33.05

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*--* Inglewood Unified School District School Board Member 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % Willie Crittendon 1,604 60.2 Mildred McNair 1,057 39.7

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*--* Inglewood Council Member 100% Precincts Reporting Votes % Ralph Franklin 866 29.8 Mike Stevens 368 70.1

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