Posted: Monday, August 29, 2016 – 10:18 AM
Attorneys for a coalition of seven Los Angeles County cities will try again Tuesday to file a request for an accelerated hearing on a lawsuit filed last week on behalf of taxpayers concerning the ballot language for Measure M, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed half-cent county sales tax ballot action.
The Los Angeles Superior Court petition filed by the cities of Carson, Commerce, Norwalk, Torrance, Santa Fe Springs, Ranchos Palos Verdes and Signal Hill alleges that the ballot label for Measure M is misleading and does not include the actual 1 percent total rate of the tax to be imposed. Lawyers for the petitioners arrived too late to Judge Mary H. Strobel’s courtroom today for a hearing.
The petitioners also say that the ballot label for Measure M does not state that the proposed tax is permanent.
Measure M opponents say that the ballot measure leads voters to believe that there will be an equal distribution of projects, according to the petioning cities. In reality, projects in the western and northern of the regions of the county will take priority, while southern Los Angeles County regions will not see any benefits until 2039-2040, the petitioners say.
The group is asking a judge in a suit filed Friday to correct what they maintain are numerous inaccuracies, misstatements and misrepresentations by amending the ballot label so that voters can cast an informed vote.
“The public deserves, and the law requires, a transparent, accurate description of tax Measure M, including spending priorities,” said G. Ross Trindle, the lead attorney for the petitioning cities.
“At a minimum, state law requires the ballot label to disclose how much money Measure M will cost taxpayers every year and it does not do that. The public will not receive this essential information from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s current title and description of Measure M, which is critical for taxpayers to cast an informed vote.”
Measure M “does not meet the simple test of fairness and equity,” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles. “But you wouldn’t know that from its current description. If Measure M passes, taxpayers in about 50 communities, representing at least 2 million residents, will be paying for Measure M forever, but won’t see any traffic relief on their freeways and roads for decades down the line.”