Six Communities Hold Elections Today
Voters will decide six local contests today, including school bond measures in San Marino, Baldwin Park, Downey and Palmdale and city council positions in San Dimas and Long Beach.
Although the school bond measures require a two-thirds majority to pass, bond supporters say recent elections indicate that voters are more willing than in the past to pay to upgrade schools. In November, school bond elections in 18 of 39 districts, including South Pasadena, were successful.
In upscale San Marino, boosters for the city’s highly ranked schools are seeking approval for Measure R, a $34.3-million bond issue to finance several new buildings for the high school, as well as to provide money for repairs to roofs, wiring and plumbing in the district. San Marino schools would also be able to upgrade their science laboratories, wheelchair access ramps and seismic safety.
Supporters of the measure say property owners would pay an additional $76.56 per $100,000 of assessed value each year. About half of the city’s residents would pay less than $218 annually for school bond support, supporters said.
Marnie Dam, a school board member and co-chairwoman of the bond campaign, expressed optimism that the measure will pass. Last year, she noted, nearly 90% of district voters approved extending a $100-per-parcel annual property tax that helps pay for smaller class sizes and additional class offerings.
Opponent Gene Ruckh acknowledges that district facilities need repair, but insists that the district should have better maintained the sites. He also contends that the current building and repair proposal is “full of pork,” and could be completed for a fraction of the cost.
Supporters of Measure B in Baldwin Park want voters to approve a $15-million bond issue for repairs and construction at 11 schools--which would cost the average homeowner an additional $30 in property taxes.
“The wiring is bad, the plumbing is bad and our roofs leak,” said Sally Wieck, a bond supporter and president of the Committee for Responsible Educational Leadership. “We know we cannot ask for too much money from our community, but this will certainly improve our schools.”
Measure B has the endorsement of Mayor Fidel Vargas and the entire school board.
An $81-million bond measure in Palmdale would provide more classrooms for that High Desert city’s swelling elementary and middle school population.
Proposition A, which would raise property taxes an estimated $27 a year on an average Palmdale home, would ease the stress of educating 18,200 kindergarten though eighth-grade students in schools designed for 12,000, district officials said.
There is no organized opposition to Proposition A, and no argument was submitted against it on the sample ballot.
In Downey, voters will consider a $27.5-million bond measure that would widen access to computer technology at each of the district’s 20 campuses.
To be repaid over the next 30 years, the bond would fund improvements such as electronic wiring and air-conditioning required to accommodate new computers in schools built up to three decades ago.
Voters in Long Beach’s 4th City Council District will decide a runoff race between attorney Dennis Carroll and energy systems executive Delano Roosevelt. Tom Clark, the incumbent who has spent 30 years on the council, announced his retirement in November.
Roosevelt, grandson of the nation’s 32nd president, led a five-candidate field in an April 9 election with 1,258 votes--nearly 300 more than Carroll. Touted as well-connected and friendly to business, Roosevelt has won endorsements from Clark, Mayor Beverly O’Neill and the city’s police and firefighters unions.
Carroll, however, has won the support of some neighborhood organizations with pledges to provide greater access to City Hall. In 1992, he championed a local campaign that limited terms for some elected officials.
In San Dimas, a former councilwoman is running against a former school board president to complete the term of former Mayor Terry Dipple, who resigned in January after being convicted of fraud and forgery.
Maria Tortorelli and Jeffrey W. Templeman are vying to complete the term of interim Mayor Curt Morris.
The winner will serve until next March.
* Times staff writer Abigail Goldman and correspondent John M. Gonzales contributed to this story.