Update: At 12:32 a.m., Measure HH is looking strong with support from 71 percent of voters. Measure MM, however, is not as solid with 65 percent. The initiatives need at least 66.67 percent to win.

In early returns and absentee balloting, Measure MM and Measure HH have strong approval from voters. Sixty-five percent of voters support Measure MM and 69 percent back Measure HH, according to the Los Angels County Registrar-Recorder web site. But the measures must get two-thirds support to go into effect.

Measure MM and Measure HH are proposed parcel taxes to help fund 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 taxes do not affect everyone in Los Angeles — only residents in special zones. As a result, only those people voted on the measures.

The measures, however, were mysteriously placed on the ballot by autocratic Joe Edmiston, who runs MRCA and SMMC. By law, a petition drive or a vote by a governing body is needed to put an initiative before voters. Somehow, Edimiston bypassed that.

As we previously reported, the media have also failed to explain why, under Measure MM and Measure HH, a few thousand land owners would be taxed for improvements to huge, vast public lands used by millions of hikers, campers, visitors and others.

HH proposed a $24-per-year tax for the next 10 years that will be applied to properties within a large area east of the 405 Freeway, including the Hollywood Hills and the hillside homes west of Griffith Park. MM proposed that homeowners west of the 405 and south of the 101 in Woodland Hills, Encino, Tarzana and Calabasas pay a $19-per-year tax for the next 10 years.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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