Editor’s Note: A story about Measure D, the city Charter amendment that would change the formula for transfers from the Port of Long Beach to the city and give control of oil operations to the city, will appear in next week’s edition.

    On the very last page of the Nov. 2 general election ballot, voters will find four Long Beach measures — three changes to the city’s Charter and one new tax.

    The tax, on marijuana sold for recreational purposes, depends on the result of a state proposition that would make it legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use or cultivate up to 25 square feet of marijuana plants. If Proposition 19 passes, the city’s Measure B would impose a 15% tax on marijuana sales and a $25 per square foot tax on people cultivating plants.

    Originally, the city staff recommended that sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes also be taxed, albeit at a lower rate. The City Council voted down that option, saying it went against the purpose of the medical marijuana statutes.

    Lori Ann Farrell, director of financial management for the city, wrote the argument in favor of Measure B. She said the money is necessary to help pay for city services, including police services. She also urged a yes vote on Measure B even if you vote no on the state Proposition 19.

    “Regardless of whether you vote Yes or No on Proposition 19 (the statewide initiative to legalize marijuana), you should vote YES on Long Beach’s Measure B,” the argument says. “This will ensure that IF marijuana is legalized by California voters, the City of Long Beach can impose a 15% tax potentially generating millions of dollars for critical City services right here at home.”

    No one submitted an argument against the measure.

    Measure GG, which would consolidate the city’s Civil Service Department with its Human Resources Department, is a Charter amendment. The City Council and mayor have said in the past that there is too much duplication between the departments, but the Charter specifically requires a Civil Service Department and Commission.

    Under Measure GG, the Civil Service Commission would remain and continue to serve its functions of oversight and appeal from employees. According to the argument in favor of the measure, the city will save more than $400,000 each year by consolidating departments.

    That argument, signed by City Manager Patrick West, Director of Human Resources Debbie Mills, City Auditor Laura Doud and Fire Chief Alan Patalano, says the city would retain its merit-based hiring system and make recruitment more efficient.

    The argument against Measure GG, written by Charles H. Parks, Dale E. Clinton, former City Councilwoman Doris Topsy-Elvord, Ahmed Saafir and Sherri Nixon-Joiner, says that the independent Civil Service Department is necessary to maintain oversight and ensure fair hiring practices. It argues that elimination of the department leaves all hiring practices in the hands of the city manager.

    Measure C, authored by First District Councilman Robert Garcia, is a nod to the number of new military veterans coming home from war. The city already offers an incentive to hire disabled veterans or their spouses through a point credit on civil service exams.

    Measure C would increase the point preference from 10 points to 15 points — typically the difference between classifications on test scores.

    It also would lower the disability threshold from 30% to 10% — a level that include virtually all wounded veterans, Garcia said. Both veterans and their spouses would qualify, but spouses would get a maximum of 10 points.

    No argument was filed against Measure C.

    The election is on Nov. 2. Mail-in ballots already have been sent to absentee voters. For more information, including polling places and a complete sample ballot, go to the website www.lavote.net.

  • Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 20 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 30 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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