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Voters Reject ‘Split Roll’ Property Tax Measure

A 'Yes on 15' sign rests on a podium at a rally for supporters of Proposition 15 at Santee High School in Historic South Central Los Angeles. (Kyle Stokes/KPCC/LAist)

Proposition 15 — the statewide ballot measure that would have increased many businesses’ property taxes — was rejected by California voters, according to the Associated Press.

In Tuesday’s update to the vote count, the No on Prop 15 campaign has earned nearly 52% of the votes. Ballots are still being counted around the state, but opposition to the measure has remained constant since Election Day.

The so-called "split roll" measure aimed to roll back parts of California’s landmark Prop 13 that apply to commercial and industrial properties — but not the portions of that 1978 ballot measure that keep residential property taxes low.

At stake with Prop 15 was as much as $11.5 billion in new annual revenues, with between $2 billion and $5 billion dedicated to increase K-12 education and community college funding.

Those amounts are fairly modest compared to what the state already spends on education. But education advocates say it would correct a longstanding problem: California has long lagged behind other big states in its level of spending on K-12 education.

The coronavirus recession has also illustrated the stakes: California faces a massive revenue shortfall. Many schools are bracing for cuts. Revenue would also have been shared with local governments. Advocates saw Prop 15 as one way to fill budget gaps.

The biggest beneficiaries of Prop 13’s commercial property tax limits have been legacy businesses such as IBM, Disney and Chevron. But opponents of this year’s ballot measure have contended that the burden of Prop 15 would be shouldered by smaller businesses that rent commercial space, not by larger property owners.

KPCC reporter David Wagner contributed to this story.


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DA-Elect George Gascón Meets with Black Lives Matter, Promises To Review Old Police Shootings

George Gascon with Black Lives Matter-LA leader Melina Abdullah. (Frank Stoltze/LAist)

In his first public meeting as DA-elect last night, George Gascón told the families of people shot by police in L.A. that he would review their cases to see if the officers should face criminal charges.

The extraordinary meeting was organized by the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter and was held in the basement of the McCarty Memorial Christian Church in the West Adams District.

Gascón has already promised to reopen four police shooting cases that outgoing DA Jackie Lacey deemed lawful. But last night he sought to lower expectations in the crowd — some of whose loved ones were armed when they were killed by police. “Obviously not every case is going to be a case that will be prosecutable,” he said.

Gascón’s presence nonetheless lifted the hopes of those in attendance.

Black Lives Matter leader Melina Abdullah called it a “great first step,” while quickly adding, “we also want to make it very clear that we plan to hold you accountable.”

While Gascón was supported by many in the police reform movement, prosecutors and police unions staunchly opposed him — and his agenda of potentially prosecuting more police officers.


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Election Results Are Still Rolling In. Here’s The Latest.

Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist

* These results will be continually updated as votes are counted. Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 5:20 p.m.

Los Angeles County and state officials updated election returns on Tuesday afternoon, providing a clearer look at the voter turnout and several key races.

Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported that Prop 15, the so-called "split roll" tax measure, has failed. The latest figures show the "no" vote currently leading by a 51.7% to 48.3% margin.

Today’s batch of ballots, which included an update from Ventura County, pushed Republican Mike Garcia into a slim lead in California’s 25 Congressional District.

The results also cement strong performances by progressive candidates and causes, including in the Los Angeles District Attorney race, a closely watched city council contest, and Measure J.

With the current results, L.A. County has notched 74% voter turnout — a figure that should rise slightly in the coming days and which exceeds 2016’s mark of 67% turnout. The county has recorded more than 4.2 million votes.

The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder plans to release an estimate of ballots remaining to be processed on Tuesday night, which could number more than 100,000.

Across the state, 2.1 million ballots have not yet been processed, according to a report from the Secretary of State on Tuesday.

Election results could still change in the coming days. In District 25 in Northern L.A. County and a small slice of Ventura County, Republican Mike Garcia leads Democrat Christy Smith by only 159 votes out of more than 330,000 votes cast.

One congressional races in Orange County remains close. With today’s results in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, Republican challenger Young Kim is outpacing incumbent Democrat Gil Cisneros by 4,160 votes in the 39th District. That’s a slight increase since yesterday.

In the 48th District, Democratic incumbent Harley Rouda conceded on Tuesday to Republican Michelle Steel, retaking a seat Democrats flipped as part of 2018’s “blue wave.”

Across Orange County, more than 1.5 million ballots have been cast, representing an 86% voter turnout. In Riverside County, more than 622,000 ballots have been counted, although nearly 240,000 still need to be processed.

Election experts were stunned by the levels of early voting in California and across the country, and hopes were high that 2020 will be an election with high turnout. However, the precise voter turnout in California may not be known until after Thanksgiving. By law, county election officials have 31 days to report results.

Vote-by-mail ballots will be accepted by county registrars until 17 days after the election, as long as they were postmarked no later than Nov. 3.


In L.A.



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LA County Supes Vote To Explore Options For Removing Sheriff Alex Villanueva

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. (L.A. Sheriff's Department)

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors today narrowly approved a motion that calls for county counsel and other staff to report back with “options for removing or impeaching” the elected sheriff, Alex Villanueva.

It’s the latest blow to Villanueva from a board that has clashed with him over transparency in shooting investigations, oversight, deputy misconduct and the department’s budget.

The motion points to the department’s blocking of oversight into the Andres Guardado shooting investigation, and “$149 million over the last 5 years to settle lawsuits and satisfy judgments stemming from Deputy-involved law enforcement incidents such as civil-rights violations, excessive use of force, sexual assaults, and killings.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas co-authored the motion, which also refers to “eroding community trust.”

“It’s vital for the county’s residents to know that their public safety concerns have been heard,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The board split 3-2, with Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger opposing the motion. They argued that, while the board surely has its differences with the sheriff, it’s up to the voters to recall Villanueva or vote him out. Villanueva has two more years in his term.

Addressing the board before the vote, Villanueva listed his accomplishments—- including drastically lowering the jail population during the COVID-19 pandemic — and said he’s dedicated to transparency.

“Everything is above the board and subject to inspections,” Villanueva said.

The board — which controls the sheriff’s budget but does not have authority over him — has limited legal options for trying to remove him. He could be removed for corrupt misconduct under Government Code Sec. 3060, in a process that would start with a grand jury and end up in a court trial. The supervisors could also ask voters to amend the county charter to allow the board to remove the sheriff for cause.

The Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission — which has also clashed with Villanueva over oversight and transparency — last month called for his resignation.

The supervisors also directed staff to explore ways of stripping the sheriff of some responsibilities and increasing accountability.

Staff has until January 5 to report back.

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LA To Pay $3.9M To Settle Suit In Deputies’ Fatal Shooting Of Ryan Twyman

A memorial at the site of Ryan Twyman’s fatal shooting. (Emily Elena Dugdale/LAist)

Los Angeles County has agreed to pay $3.9 million to settle a wrongful death suit filed by the family of Ryan Twyman, who was shot to death by two sheriff’s deputies as he backed up his car in a Willowbrook parking lot in June 2019.

The Board of Supervisors approved the settlement at today’s meeting.

The shooting was captured on video by two surveillance cameras, and after watching it, Twyman’s father Charles Twyman said, "I'm of the clear ... opinion that my son was murdered."

The video shows two deputies going up to a parked white Kia Forte. "Mr. Twyman accelerated the vehicle in reverse as Mr. Twyman turned in a counter clockwise direction toward the deputy on the passenger side," Sheriff’s Commander April Tardy said in a video released by the department.

One deputy was struck "with the open rear passenger door and pushed into the center of the parking lot," Tardy said, adding the deputy was trying to maintain his balance and "avoid being run over."

The deputies started shooting, ultimately firing about 34 rounds into the car. Twyman was unarmed.

The case is still under investigation. It’s one of several that L.A. County District Attorney-elect George Gascón has expressed “concerns” about. In a September open letter, he said the deputies "were able to get out of the path of the vehicle as it was reversing," and that in any case, department policy states that "the moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies the use of deadly force."

The sheriff's department and the LAPD changed their policies in 2005, instructing officers to refrain from shooting at moving vehicles in virtually all circumstances. The LAPD's policy went a step further, explicitly prohibiting shooting at a moving car unless another weapon was present. In 2016, the sheriff's department adopted that policy.


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Amid Case Surge, California Tightens Coronavirus Restrictions In 11 Counties

Vehicles make their way to a COVID-19 test site in Los Angeles. (Frederic J. BrownAFP via Getty)

Coronavirus restrictions are now tighter for 11 counties in California, including three that slipped back to the most restrictive purple tier – San Diego, Sacramento, and Stanislaus.

For the first time since the tier system was launched, no counties moved into a less restrictive tier this week, meaning no new openings or loosening of restrictions.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, says this all comes amid worrying increases in cases across the state:

"We anticipate if things stay the way they are, that between this week and next week, over half of California counties will have moved into a more restrictive tier."

As of now, 13 of the state's 58 counties are in the purple tier, including Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Purple signals that the outbreak is "widespread."

L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer told county officials today that the increased cases we're seeing are stalling the reopening process. Her earliest estimate to emerge from the purple tier is four weeks from now.


  • 25 deaths and 2,318 new cases in the last 24 hours
  • 325,876 total positive cases so far; 7,200 total deaths
  • The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased this week to over 800 (now nearing 900). In early October, that number was between 650 and 750 patients.

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Steel Flips Orange County Congressional District Back To Red

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel has defeated incumbent Congressman Harley Rouda in California's 48th district. (Courtesy of the Steel campaign)

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel has defeated Democratic incumbent Harley Rouda, who conceded Tuesday in the 48th Congressional District race.

With Steel's victory, Republicans have reclaimed a seat they lost as part of the blue wave in the 2018 midterm elections, when Rouda unseated Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

"We did not win this election," Rouda wrote in a statement on his campaign website. "And while it isn’t the outcome we had hoped for, it’s never been more important for our leaders to hear the voice of the people, and to accept their judgment. I do."

The 48th district is more than half white, but its Asian and Latino populations are growing. Registered Republicans also outnumber Democrats in the district.

As a supervisor, Steel, who is a Korean immigrant, helped to lead the county through the pandemic and has emphasized the needs of small businesses and her district's large Asian American community. Both candidates heavily courted the district's Vietnamese-American voters.

“To the voters of Orange County, thank you for entrusting me to be your representative in Congress," Steel said in a statement. "In this election, you weren’t simply voting for a person, but also for the idea that the American Dream is alive and well in Orange County. This vote showed that minorities who may look or speak differently than most not only have a place in this Republican Party but can be elected to the United States Congress."


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Morning Briefing: A Californian In The White House

Democratic vice presidential running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, speaks during the first press conference with Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 12, 2020. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, L.A.

The reality of the U.S. Presidential election’s resolution is finally settling in (though maybe not at the White House), and it’s time to think more critically about what it means. For California, that includes considering the fact that we now have a direct line to the White House, via former junior U.S. Senator and now Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Once sworn in, Harris will be the second Californian in American history to serve as VP. Laurel Rosenhall of CalMatters writes that Harris’ history with state politics and deep local ties could influence Washington in a number of ways: Bringing state officials in to federal positions; using her understanding of the state’s challenges to help where help is needed; and pushing federal policies in the same progressive direction that California has recently taken.

"California is often under-appreciated, because we're 3,000 miles away and the folks on the East are up for three hours before we get going," former Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview with CalMatters. "We're often left behind. So having a vice president will be good for the state."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, November 10

CD4 councilwoman-elect Nithya Raman talks to Libby Denkmann about her victory over incumbent David Ryu, and how it fits into L.A.'s turn towards progressive politics.

L.A.’s District Attorney-elect George Gascón met with members of Black Lives Matter and relatives of people killed by police Monday night. Frank Stoltze will have the story.

The Blob – the huge heatwave off the coast of California that decimated fishing industries, left sea lion pups to starve, and toxic algal blooms to flourish – is kind of back, reports Jacob Margolis.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: COVID-19 is surging again in Los Angeles County. As cases and hospitalizations rise, a number of counties are likely to face greater restrictions.

Election 2020: LAUSD Board District 3 candidate Marilyn Koziatek has conceded to incumbent Scott Schmerelson. Mark Ridley-Thomas appeared to claim victory in the race for L.A. City Council’s 10th District seat when he retweeted congratulations from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

California In The White House: The Golden State will gain a strong ally in the White House and new national influence with a Californian as Joe Biden’s second-in-command.

Here’s What To Do: Watch potential Oscar-contending short films, honor veterans at a virtual celebration, tune into an art talk and more, in this week’s best online and IRL events.

Photo of the Day

Fans and mourners placed flowers on longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Trebek died over the weekend.

(Rich Fury/Getty Images)

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