A 5% tax on utilities that was approved by the Baldwin Park City Council last August is under attack by a citizens' group that is circulating petitions to repeal the tax and to recall one councilman.
The leader of the citizens' group, Herschel Keyser, said his group has gathered more than the required 2,209 voter signatures needed for the repeal initiative and the 2,950 signatures needed to recall Richard Gibson, one of two councilmen who is not up for reelection in April. Keyser said he will press for a special election for each action because they will not coincide with any of this year's regular elections in April, June or November. Under deadlines set by the state, the recall would have to go on the ballot about Aug. 1 and the repeal initiative some time in October.
Keyser said the citizens' group also will work to defeat Mayor Jack White and incumbent Councilmen Bobbie Izell and Robert McNeill in the April election. Gibson and Leo King, the other councilman not up for election, joined in the council's unanimous vote for the utility tax, but Keyser would not say why he wants to recall Gibson and not King. He said his group has no anti-tax candidates in the April election.
Baldwin Park is one of 18 cities in Los Angeles County that have utility taxes. City officials said the tax, which was imposed to compensate for an expected loss of $650,000 a year in federal revenue-sharing funds and to pay for additional police positions, met no opposition during public hearings last summer.