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CAMPAIGN '08: CALIFORNIA RETURNS

Most local tax, bond issues passing

L.A. County returns show voters approving five measures to generate revenue and rejecting two.

June 04, 2008|Robert J. Lopez | Times Staff Writer

Early election results in Los Angeles County showed voters approving utility taxes and school bond measures in five jurisdictions, but parcel taxes in two school districts were trailing badly.

In Covina, a measure to extend an existing utility tax was holding a slight lead after voters rejected a similar proposal in March 2007. Measure C would extend the 6% tax for 10 years.

The current tax, which expires in March 2009, raises about $5 million a year, or roughly 20% of the city's general budget.

"We're certainly pleased, but it's going to be a long night," said resident Charles M. Kemp, a board member of the Covina-Valley Unified School District, as he watched returns with several dozen supporters at his home.

In Hermosa Beach, Measure E would authorize the Hermosa Beach City School District to levy a tax of $257 per assessor parcel, which would last five years and increase 5% annually.

The measure, which needs two-thirds "yes" votes to pass, was far behind in the early returns.

In South Gate, voters were approving Measure P, which would create a 1% city sales tax to raise up to $7 million annually for new police officers and gang-intervention programs, as well as park maintenance and street improvements, according to supporters.

The other measures are:

* Measure A in the Centinela Valley Union School District, which was trailing. It would create a parcel tax of 4 cents per square foot for nine years to help pay for teachers and upgrade educational programs in the district, which includes Lawndale and part of Hawthorne.

It needs approval from two-thirds of the voters.

* Measure H in the Hawthorne School District, which was leading . It would authorize $20 million in bonds to be issued to improve and build schools.

The measure requires 55% approval to pass.

* Measure M in Los Nietos School District was being approved by voters with most of the ballots counted. It would authorize $31 million in bonds to upgrade schools, renovate classrooms and improve security. The district serves Whittier and Santa Fe Springs. The measure requires 55% approval.

* Measure T in Torrance, to extend an existing 6.5% city tax on land-line phone users to wireless phones, was also being approved by voters. The tax would apply to all people using phone service in the city and would be used to finance city services. The measure requires a simple majority vote to pass.

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robert.lopez@latimes.com

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