Measure J Fails to Get Two-Thirds Majority

Countywide ballot measure falls just shy of passage, with 64.72 percent of votes in favor of the traffic relief sales tax.

A half-cent sales tax that would have accelerated rail, highway, bus and transportation improvement projects across the region failed to secure on Tuesday the two-thirds majority it needed to pass. 

The measure earned 64.7 percent of the vote, two percentage points shy of the 66.7 percent threshold.

Measure J would have extended the Measure R sales tax—the half-cent sales tax hike voters approved in 2008—for the next 30 years. 

Despite the measure's failed passage, Metro CEO Art Leahy said the transit authority would continue its work on transportation projects.

"Metro remains focused on delivering a dozen new transit projects and 15 highway improvement projects that voters approved four years ago in passing Measure R," he said in a statement.

And since Measure R continues until 2039, this might not be the last time voters decide whether or not to extend the sales tax, he said.

"Metro directors have the option of asking voters in the future if they wish to extend the program," he said.

Efrain Escobedo, Los Angeles County registrar's executive liaison officer, said ballots are still being counted on Measure J.

"We will add more votes [over the next two weeks]," Escobedo said.

Many are mail-in and provisional ballots, such as those cast by voters who may have gone to a polling location that was no longer theirs.

Measure R is dedicated to the construction and operation of a specified list of transportation projects, including the Westside Subway Extension, the Green Line to LAX and the Gold Line extension east from east Los Angeles and a new transit corridor along the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

Measure R received 67.1 percent of the vote in 2008.

The sales tax increase is currently set to last until 2039, and is projected to raise $40 billion in that time period. Approval of the ballot proposal would have extended the tax until 2069.

The Measure J extension would have enabled Metro to continue collecting funds to “bond against” future revenue from the Measure R tax, meaning the agency could estimate the anticipated amount of revenue, sell that amount in bonds to receive the revenue quickly and then pay back bond holders when the money from the sales tax is collected.

A bill authorizing the ballot measure, authored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), received California Senate approval in August. Gov. Jerry Brown in late September signed a bill that allowed Metro to place Measure J on the November ballot.

Supporters of extending the tax include Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the bill's sponsor, Feuer.

"We need to get these transportation projects underway now," Feuer said. "By signing AB 1446, the governor has agreed to empower L.A. County voters to jumpstart 250,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region."

The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education voted in September to adopt a resolution opposing Measure J.

"Our resolution is designed to send a signal to the MTA letting them know how much we oppose running the subway extension under Beverly Hills High School and how their reckless spending has undermined our confidence in their ability to manage taxpayer funds," board President Brian Goldberg told Patch in September.

Related: Commentary: BHUSD Supports 'Coalition to Defeat Measure J'

The measure would have required Metro to break ground on 15 major transit and highway projects within five years instead of 20 years.

—Patch editor Marie Cunningham contributed to this report.

Do you want Measure J to pass or fail? Tell us in the comments section below.

Elke Heitmeyer November 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
J needs to pass. No additional money out of our pocket, but the Feds will be able to lend us money now to work on transit projects. Jobs and better infrastructure - can't get any better than that!
Katherine November 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
ALERT! MUST read: "Support for Kill List and NDAA make Obama and Romney Unfit for Office" http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/reawakening-liberty/2012/nov/2/support-kill-list-and-ndaa-make-obama-and-romney-u/
venice beach rider November 06, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Elke heitneyer. It sounds like you work in the road construction business. Us regular tax payers want to pay less to people who get government contracts because 9 times out of 10 its a waste of money and usually just a scam. So there you go.
Wolfman November 06, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Tax,Tax,Tax, No, No, No,
George Vreeland Hill November 06, 2012 at 04:50 PM
No on Measure J. It is way too early to give Metro another 30 years. Besides, they will only use part of that money against us for the tunnel under BHHS.
Jennifer Brugger November 06, 2012 at 06:32 PM
No on J.
Rob November 06, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Definitely a YES on J. I'm sick of the talk lets just get traffic moving again:
Someone November 07, 2012 at 01:40 AM
YES! It extends Measure R Taxes by up to another 15 years
Diane SALTZBURG November 07, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Another tax??!! There was not a plan how this tax was going to facilitate "moving traffic". Isn't this what the Metro 405, trains & subways are suppose to do? Including the fast speed electric train ? Isn't this something like "the schools" need our support? No!! show me a locked in plan before I give any more money to "pie-in-the-sky" suggestions. Diane
Jordan Kamnitzer November 07, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Yes on J
larry November 07, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Looks like it went down in defeat as it takes a 2/3 majority.And it did not add anything but extension of a tax Yet prop 30 wins..And the money may never even go to the schools , as the last sentence says it can go to other problems in the State.. Does anyone read? Next time make it a proposition so it does not need 2/3
Vfullerton November 07, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Measure J adds funding to measure R which is already in place. Which would have allowed everything in measure R to be accelerated by 15 years. Also it ins't a tax increase it is an extension. You are already paying more in sales tax, it was proposing a plan to pay off bonds that could have been sold now. We really need better public transit have you ever tried to drive around LA?
Sean November 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
i just read that anahiem wants to implement a trolley for 3.5 milesat a cost of $100 million a mile! how can it cost so much to lay tracks down? this is repeated throughout the nation, its crazy a $100,000,000 a mile, what a waste! you can blame the politicians, the unions and others, but you have to blame yourselves for allowing this to happen for decades
marcopolo November 07, 2012 at 07:08 PM
It's just sad, whether measure J is right or wrong, that LA is so far behind almost every other major city in terms of public transportation. If LA has the public transit systems that SF or Boston had, it would be the greatest American city... Everywhere I travel, when talking about life in LA, the first thing people discredit our city for is the awful traffic and lack of accessibly. Silly to think you can't get from SM to Downtown with ease.
Sharam Tabib November 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I am so glad this one didn't pass... takers vote for any tax increase regardless of the waste and the fraud, as long as they think they are not the ones paying for it! Ever thought some of this traffic is caused by those overpaid contractors keeping themselves busy, even during rush hours! Ever thought the deeper the pocket these contractors can dig in, let alone for an unlimited time, the more they prolong the agony? Smarten up people... As long as you think and vote this way it's going to get worse and worse... We'll all pay the price unfortunately.
Skraeling November 07, 2012 at 09:06 PM
America just told you whackos where to go with your NO, no, no.
J. K. November 07, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Extends the sales tax for nearly sixty more years??? How ridiculous!
Mr. jepg November 08, 2012 at 02:19 AM
@marcopolo - do you know how many times SF and Boston can fit inside LA geographically? you can fit both of them inside LA about 4 to 5 times. So it is very easy for them to have public rail. next time someone tries to discredit LA because of traffic explain that "their" little village can fit in this city 10 times.
Sharam Tabib November 08, 2012 at 07:43 AM
There is no question that most of this city's infrastructure is a mess, so the issue is not "need"... the problem is that a project that should cost $100 million and 3 months max, due to inebtness and corruption will cost us tax payers billions and years and all the disruptions and frustrations that comes with the prolonging of the projects!! It is rediculously obvious to those of us with experience and brains to see it... it's damn frustrating.
stevefishman November 08, 2012 at 06:00 PM
How bout "little villages" like London, Paris and Tokyo?
Ben Franklin VIII November 08, 2012 at 06:35 PM
For once some sanity, a TAX though 2069!! Yeah they run it so well already. No doubt, us in the valley would have gotten a bus or two & East LA or south bay gets subways. light rail... MTA is blatently incompetent as if City COunsel, they allowed the rail line to end about 3 miles from the airport, not @ the Airport..NOW they are thinking of linking it up, what are they ignorameousous...and they bought Italian mfg. rail coaches? USA not good enough, MTA a $500M palace with huh Italian marble facade, cafe with roast beef, foie gras & beef welington for lunch...I heard the chief of the MTA wanders the halls in mink sox!! yes YOUR tax dollars @ work!
Sharam Tabib November 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Right you are Ben, MTA is either the most incompetent organization in this country, or the most corrupt,,,, may be both. The palace they've built for themselves in downtown is just unreal!! and their high wage employees are among the most wasteful ones, as they sit around for hours in the local food courts, where a friend of mine owns a restaurant and has told me many times how disgusted he is with their attitudes and work etics.
frank van neutra lautner November 08, 2012 at 08:22 PM
30 years from now, that extra half penny of tax will kill us.
Dawn November 09, 2012 at 01:39 AM
The reason they needed to extend it to 2069 is because they have already spent (or dedicated) the money out to 2039. That's the fact. They will be back in the spring asking us again. Keep saying NO.
Dawn November 09, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Also the only transportation experience/education the CEO Leahy has is that he used to be a bus driver.
Dawn November 09, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Face it - with Obama's re-election, you will either be worked and taxed to death, or relaxed and collecting freebies, which is turning out to be more profitable than working. We have more freeloaders than workers now, and they voted in their own self interest.
Sharam Tabib November 09, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Thank you Patch for giving us this forum to vent our frustrations with this government... There is a lot to vent
Matthew Sanderson (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 07:39 AM
You're welcome Sharam! Thanks for the feedback and glad we can help. If you have any questions or concerns, send me an email: matthew.sanderson@patch.com.


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