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Measures MM and HH Campaign: Doug McIntyre Lone Voice in Opposition to More Taxes?

Whenever the prospect of more taxes appears in Los Angeles, usually some kind of organized group loudly rises to oppose it. So it seems awfully strange that only L.A. Daily News columnist Doug McIntyre, as far as we can see, is sounding the alarm about two parcel tax initiatives that some L.A. voters will consider on November 6: Measure MM and Measure HH.

"It's hard to organize against measures practically no one has ever heard of and when the county clerk can't even explain how they got on the ballot," McIntyre recently wrote. "Consider this column the disorganized opposition."

Indeed.

Measures MM and HH are parcel taxes that will help fund the work of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) and the related Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC), which maintain open space and parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Zone.

The parcel taxes will not affect everyone in Los Angeles, only residents in special zones.

As McIntyre points out, "HH would slap a $24-per-year tax for the next 10 years on properties within a cherry-picked election 'district': a large area east of the 405, including the Hollywood Hills and the hillside homes west of Griffith Park."

The columnist adds, "Measure MM hits up homeowners west of the 405 and south of the 101 in Woodland Hills, Encino, Tarzana and Calabasas. They get off easy at only $19 per year for the next 10 years."

Only voters in those areas will vote on measures MM and HH.

Previously, the L.A. Daily News wrote an editorial that supports both initiatives: "Unlike some proposed taxes, this one is affordable, it directly benefits those paying it, and it is demonstrably necessary. Voters should say yes on Measures HH and MM."

McIntrye followed that up with his own take on the measures. His biggest problem is that no one in county or city government seems to know how the initiatives made it on the ballot.

"If the City Council wants to raise our taxes they have to vote to put it on a ballot," wrote the columnist. "If an advocacy group wants a ballot measure they have to gather signatures. How is it possible the MRCA can simply send a letter to the county clerk and get a tax measure on the ballot that kicks off millions of dollars to the MRCA with no check or balance?"

McIntrye doesn't think too highly of SMMC and MRCA chief Joe Edmiston, who, according to the columnist, "works best in the shadows."

But the L.A. Daily News editorial notes that there "is no organized opposition to the measures among homeowners groups, and for good reason: The special taxes will be needed to replace most of the Proposition A property-assessment funds that run out in 2014."

We couldn't find a poll to see what voters think about measures MM and HH, but, as McIntyre points out, many of them probably don't even know the initiatives exist. We'll see what voters think on Election Day.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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