East Edition Herald American

School board races, city ballot measures on Nov. 7 ballot

Voters in Montebello and Whittier will have money issues to decide on special election ballots Nov. 7. Montebello also will decide on term limits for council members.

In addition, the ABC, Whittier Union and Whittier City school districts will elect board members.

The Montebello City Council on May 10 placed a one percent sales tax increase on the ballot to help finance “public safety essential city services,” a city spokesperson said.

If approved, by the required two-thirds of voters the city sales tax would go up to 10.75 percent for each dollar of merchandise sold in the city. The current sales tax is 9.75 percent, of which funds go to the state or county for voter-approved transportation and homeless programs.

But all the revenue from the one percent city tax, estimated at $9 million a year, stays in Montebello.

That revenue, according to city officials, would:

•Provide safe roads by funding repair of potholes and sidewalks, improve main thoroughfares and residential streets, repair and maintain the city’s aging sewer system and other infrastructure repairs.

•Preserve and sustain Montebello’s city-run police and fire departments to ensure quick emergency response times.

• Hire more police officers and firefighters to increase public safety services, saving lives and keeping the community safe.

• Ensure fire engines and emergency vehicles are equipped with updated equipment.

• Ensure adequate funding for parks, to maintain and improve playgrounds and ball fields.

• And enhance the quality of life by funding youth and senior recreational activities, such as swim lessons, youth sport programs and senior clubs.

The ballot item, known as Measure S, will include an independent citizens’ oversight committee to provide recommendations and monitor the expenditure of new revenues. The measure requires annual financial audits and expenditure reports to be prepared and published for public review, officials said.

The term limits item, called Measure T, would set a three-term limit for City Council members, but allow someone who has served three terms to run again for council after a two-year period.

In Whittier, officials are seeking permission to sell $22 million in bonds to upgrade and expand the 58-year-old Central Library in the Civic Center, 7344 S. Washington Ave, and make parking improvements. A two-thirds majority vote is needed to allow the bond sale.

City officials said specific projects would result in:

• Expanded children area for story times, parent and child reading, and children’s books.

• Improved senior citizen and disabled access.

• Expanded computer and technology center.

• A relocated Veterans Resource Center for better visibility.

• Installation of energy-efficient lighting.

• A homework center with 30 computers.

• Additional parking capacity for library users.

• And an expanded community and meeting room.

Prior to placing the bond item on the ballot, the council approved a survey of residents which found a majority approved of the library upgrade.

The council also considered raising funds through a sales tax hike or accumulating the revenue from city budget programs but decided the bond issue was more feasible.

The election is being conducted by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In the Cerritos-based ABC Unified School District, which includes southern Norwalk and eastern Lakewood, competition is in two areas.

In Area 3, incumbent Linda Johnson is challenged by Daniel G. Fierro, Armin Reyes and H. Ernie Nishi. All live in Cerritos.

In Area 6, Olga Rios and Louise Dodson, both of Lakewood, seek a board seat.

Three incumbents seek re-election in the Whittier Union High School School District: Leighton Anderson, an attorney; Russell A. Castaneda Calleros and Jeff Baird, a retired attorney.

They are being challenged by Maria Carmenita Mendez, a parent/educator; and Jennifer Portillo, listed as a marketing director and philanthropist.

Seven candidates seek three seats on the Whittier City school board.

They are incumbents Vito J. Adragana, a retired architect, and Linda Lee Ann Small. Challengers are Polly Ann Vigil, an academic researcher; Caro Jauregui, health policy manager; Roland Cano, community volunteer; Troy Anthony Chavez, marketing representative; and Jennifer De Baca Sandoval, educator.