Court Rules For Metro’s Measure M, Against Lawsuit Filed By Seven Cities

Metro's sales tax proposal as it will appear on the November 2016 ballot.
Metro’s sales tax proposal as it will appear on the November 2016 ballot.

Metro’s Measure M will still need approval from two-thirds of L.A. County voters in November, but the transportation sales tax got a little good news today. A superior court judge rejected a lawsuit filed by the cities of Carson, Commerce, Norwalk, Torrance, Santa Fe Springs, Ranchos Palos Verdes, and Signal Hill. The lawsuit alleged that Measure M’s ballot summary language is incomplete and therefore misleading. These cities also claimed that Measure M would shortchange the southern portion of L.A. County.

According to City News Service (via My News L.A.) today:

A judge today rejected a petition filed on behalf of South Bay-area cities seeking significant changes in the ballot language for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed half-cent county sales tax measure, saying there was no evidence the wording was confusing to voters.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel said Measure M is not an initiative and therefore did not require the ballot language specifics sought in the action filed last week by the cities of Carson, Commerce, Norwalk, Torrance, Santa Fe Springs, Ranchos Palos Verdes and Signal Hill. The petition alleged that the ballot label for Measure M did not include the actual 1 percent total rate of the tax to be imposed. The petitioners also claimed the ballot label for Measure M does not state that the proposed tax would be permanent.

Carson Mayor Albert Robles said after the hearing that he and the other coalition members were disappointed with the ruling and are considering an appeal. He said Metro’s argument that the coalition was required to seek help from the Legislature was not an option because it would have been too late to do so in time for the November election.

Yusef Robb of Yes on Measure M reacted to the victory with this statement:

Measure M is clear on what it will do: ease congestion and make transportation improvements Countywide and in each of L.A. County’s 88 cities. The plaintiffs attempted to mislead the voters with a politically motivated lawsuit, but the court ruled today that there was no evidence the wording is confusing to voters. The plaintiffs should stop interfering with the voters’ right to make their own judgment on Measure M.

  • Ray

    The public needs to understand that Measure M isn’t the problem, the problem is depending on sales tax revenue for our transportation systems. Sales taxes are a poor funding mechanism as it does not link to usage. A much better funding source would be a combination of usage tax, congestion tax, and pollution tax. This way anyone living in a outlying part of Los Angeles county would pay their fare share if they decide to use the transportation system in a congested part of LA County.

  • Alexandra Leigon

    A direct link to usage is not always an advisable designation for transportation funding sources. Public infrastructure requires full community support, even the support of those who do not agree with it. We have an attitude in this country that needs to change, and it is that if we don’t like something the local, state or federal government is doing, we should just refuse to financially support it with our taxes. There are changes that need to be made to improve the land, the air, the communities we live in. For these things, we should apply a democratic process to determine which direction to take in addressing them. Once this process is completed, the result will determine whether or not it will be done. Having our taxes, especially sales taxes, support the services we all can use, is the fairest way to ensure that each of us makes a contribution toward them that is a percentage of our earnings.

  • Ray

    This is like saying lets have a sales tax for electricity and allow unlimited use until we get brown outs. We price electricity by usage because it forces the public to conserve a finite resource and become more efficient, the same should go for transportation. The current system doesn’t incentivize efficiency.