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L.A. County tax measure for parks, Measure A, has substantial lead

Men play pinochle at Fred Roberts Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, an area that is among the most park-poor parts of L.A. County. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Men play pinochle at Fred Roberts Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, an area that is among the most park-poor parts of L.A. County. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County ballot measure asking voters to tax themselves for park improvements has a big lead. 

With all precincts reporting, Measure A is leading with 73.49% of voters in support of the ballot initiative. It requires a 66.67% vote to pass. 

Measure A would impose a county tax on improved property, at a rate of 1.5 cents per square foot of building area – about $22.50 a year for a 1,500-square-foot house – and bring in $94.5 million a year, without an end date.

It would replace a county tax that passed in 1992 but expired last year, and another one adopted in 1996 that sunsets in two years. Those taxes have been the primary source of parks funding not just in the county’s system but for most of the region’s 88 cities.

The initiative is the county’s second recent attempt at persuading voters to tax themselves to pay for parks, recreation, open spaces, neighborhood recreation and senior centers, and other cultural amenities. A proposed $23 parcel tax for park projects had failed narrowly in 2014.

In preparation for the second attempt, county officials commissioned a study of open space needs throughout the county, which found large disparities in park access. Countywide, there was an average of 3.3 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents. Communities in Central and South Los Angeles, southeast county areas and parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys had the most park-poor areas.

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