City of Carson Utility User Tax, Measure C (March 2009)
Measure C authorized the city to adopt a utility user tax (UUT) of 2% for a period of 7 years to fund a variety of city services. Measure C was expected to bring in $9 million/year. Carson had a $5 million a year budget deficit in 2009. Labor groups and the business community united in support of the tax.
- These final election results are from the Los Angeles County election office.
The 5-member Carson City Council unanimously voted to place the tax increase on the March ballot at a meeting in early December 2008. However, when it came time to submit arguments in favor of Measure C for the ballot book, none of the city council members chose to sign the ballot arguments in Measure C's favor.
Mayor Jim Dear voted against spending $20,000 of city funds on a campaign promoting the tax. However, the city council did approve that expenditure on a 3-1 vote.
- A robocall in early December 2008 said that Councilmen Elito Santarina and Mike Gipson are in favor of the tax.
- The city paid for a poll in November 2008 to see how the city's voters were likely to react to the tax. The city is barred from open electioneering in favor of the tax, but in the poll, tested a variety of different messages about the tax to see which ones worked better. It learned that voters are "slightly more willing to support the tax if it were sold as the "Carson Vital City Services and Energy Conservation Measure" than they would be if the references to energy conservation were left out."
Four names were listed on the ballot argument in favor of Measure C:
- City Manager Jerry Groomes.
- City Treasurer Karen Avilla.
- Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Nate Riddick
- Isabella Meni, the president of Carson's largest employee union.
The name of Sheriff's Captain Todd Rogers had been submitted by supporters of Measure C for inclusion in the official voter guide as a supporter. However, opponents of Measure C argued in early January, successfully, that Sheriff's Capt. Todd Rogers should not appear on the list of supporters for the tax because he does not live in the city and would not himself be required to pay the new tax.
Former Councilwoman Vera Robles Dewitt led the charge to have the name of the popular captain taken off the ballot argument in favor of Measure C. She said, "Our captain is very popular, and very well regarded in the community, but it's inappropriate. He represents a government agency. I don't like my tax dollars being used for a political argument."
- City council candidates Wilma Wilson and Rita Boggs were opposed to the Measure C tax.
Council member exemptions
Three current or former members of the Carson City Council who voted to put Measure C on the ballot, and who endorsed it -- Elito Santarina, Julie Ruiz Raber, and former Councilman Harold Williams -- applied for and received an exemption so they themselves don't have to pay the tax.
The question on the ballot:
|Measure C: "Shall an ordinance be adopted to protect residents' health, maintain current levels of city services including deputy sheriff's patrols, 9-1-1 emergency response, youth recreation programs, Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors, Stroke Recovery Center, gang prevention/ intervention programs, graffiti removal, pothole repair, park maintenance, and other general City services, by establishing a 2% utility users' tax, exempting seniors and low-income households, with citizens' oversight and independent annual audits, requiring the ordinance end after 7 years? "|
- Yes on C, website of Measure C supporters
- No on C, website of Measure C opponents
- City of Carson's description of Measure C
- Measure C FAQ
- Los Angeles Times, "Returns across L.A. County show voters were in a revenue-raising mood", March 4, 2009
- Daily Breeze, "Carson City Council slow to take utility-tax stand", December 18, 2008
- Daily Breeze, "Captain can't back Carson tax", December 31, 2008
- Daily Breeze, "Carson council members who voted for tax have exempted themselves from it", September 3, 2009