By Mary O’KEEFE
On June 7 it will be California’s tun to have the media networks parked at polling places when the state decides between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and what the Golden State will and won’t do for Donald Trump.
The Presidential California primaries are one of the latest in the political primary/caucus season. Usually by the time California voters head to the polls the choices are pretty much made, although for a while it looked like the state could carry some clout this time around. The question now, and where California may hold some real power, is the Democratic primary.
From all reports Democrat Presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face each other and, though it appears Clinton has the votes to become the nominee, losing California would be a big blow to her campaign. Republican Donald Trump could use that loss in his upcoming debates against the Democrat and a loss would give leverage to the Sanders campaign.
But for local voters the Presidential party choice is just one of the reasons to get out to vote. This June 7 residents will be asked to make decisions on a variety of measures and on candidates who will shape the future of the state. Voters will cast ballots for their specific party-affiliated candidate and party committee candidate then turn their attention to others, including the 34 running for the U.S. Senate seat and, in Glendale, a yes or no on Measure N will directly affect the city’s bottom line.
State Measure 50, Constitutional Amendment 17, will ask voters to decide how state legislators will deal with legislator members who are suspended. In March 2014 three members were suspended, one for alleged money laundering, bribery, mail and wire fraud, one convicted of voting fraud and perjury and another who was given a five-year prison term for accepting bribes and trafficking in arms. At that time, the legislators were authorized to suspend members but could not suspend their salaries and other benefits of their office.
A “Yes” vote would be in favor of the amendment. This would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the state legislature to suspend a member’s salary and benefits. It would also stop the suspended member from exercising any rights and privileges of his or her office. If passed, the amendment would require a two-thirds vote to end suspension as well.
La Crescenta, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Tujunga are located in the 5th District of Los Angeles County. The seat on the board of supervisors will be vacated by longtime Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Eight people are vying for that seat.
La Crescenta, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Tujunga all vote for U.S. Representative District 28, State Senate District 25 and 43rd District for State Assembly. Eagle Rock does not vote for L.A. County Supervisor; residents will be voting for U.S. Representative District 34 and the 51st State Assembly District.
In addition to all the candidates running for a seat in various offices, voters in Glendale will have to decide on Measure N. The question voters will be asked is whether to keep the Utility Users Tax (UUT) or repeal it. If repealed (a vote in favor), there would be an amendment to the Glendale Municipal Code and the city would lose about 9.5% of the revenues in the city’s general fund (about $17.5 million this year), according to the city’s estimates.
In informational meetings that have been hosted throughout Glendale, city officials have explained that a vote in favor of Measure N would throw the city into a situation where they would have to make some tough decisions. Although tough decisions seem to be around every corner, especially when dealing with the city coffers, this could affect the residents of Glendale directly.
“A repeal of the UUT would change the fabric of Glendale,” said Alex Baroian, a proponent of No on N at a recent meeting with the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council. “And it would have a direct impact on homeowners.”
Baroian’s point, which is in agreement with the city’s, is that a financial loss out of the general fund, which funds many city offices including parks and recreation, police, fire and library, will be felt throughout the city. City officials have stated the funds will affect policing, especially with the new DNA lab, and could even shut down fire stations.
Those arguing in favor of the measure to repeal the UUT assert that, in general terms, taxation and spending are “out of control” and specifically cite some city employees with salaries over $100,000. Proponents of the measure feel the city is not being fiscally responsible with funds and they dispute claims that the city would have to reduce city services.
But the city has made commitments to employees for salaries, and has contracts with outside companies for city services that would have to be honored whether or not the UUT is in place. If Measure N is approved, the $17.5 million will have to be adjusted in the budget with reductions made somewhere.
A yes vote would repeal the UUT; a no vote would leave the UUT in place.
For information on all the candidates and measures on the June 7 ballot go to www.lavote.net/locator to get a sample ballot or in Glendale visit www.glendalevotes.org.