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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Complaint targets bond campaign

October 30, 2008|David Zahniser

An opponent of Measure J filed a complaint Wednesday with Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley accusing community college officials of improperly using taxpayer resources to promote the $3.5-billion bond measure before the Nov. 4 election.

Attorney Dan Wright filed a seven-page complaint saying Cooley should determine whether the Los Angeles Community College District broke the law by assigning its development team to spend office hours talking up the school construction bond, the district's third in seven years.

Wright said the college's efforts, including appearances on television and at civic events, conflict with laws barring government officials from using public resources to "expressly advocate" for ballot measures.

Representatives of the Measure J campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Still, the complaint is only the latest in the county to focus on taxpayer money and local tax hikes.

Last week, City Controller Laura Chick said the Los Angeles Unified School District should not be spending $1 million in taxpayer funds on an outreach campaign for Measure Q, the $7-billion bond measure. That effort has included $500,000 worth of Measure Q mailers and $21,000 worth of Measure Q hats and T-shirts for parents and teachers.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent $1.1 million promoting Measure R, the half-cent sales tax hike for transportation, but canceled an additional $3 million in outreach efforts after receiving complaints from county supervisors.

-- David Zahniser

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