As voters headed to the polls Tuesday to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and sift through more than a dozen statewide ballot measures, some also had to decide on local issues ranging from regulating marijuana shops, imposing parcel taxes and replacing an airport terminal.
Burbank voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B, which authorizes the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to replace the existing 14-gate terminal at Hollywood Burbank Airport with a modern 355,000-square-foot facility, also with 14 gates.
The estimated $400 million project will be funded through a combination of passenger fees, rent from airlines and other airport tenants and federal grants. No local or state tax money will be used for the project, officials said. In 2000, Burbank voters approved a requirement that any plans for a new terminal at the airport be placed on the ballot for approval.
Backers of the project said the replacement building will be more seismically sound and include better passenger amenities and improved access for the disabled. The new terminal will be about 800 feet from the runway, compared to the current building that is about 250 feet away.
Passengers boarding or deplaning airliners at the airport will continue to do so using stairways.
City Councilman David Gordon opposed the project, writing in a ballot argument that the project was “rushed through environmental review with inadequate project descriptions, minimal public participation and hollow claims of no future increase in airport capacity, traffic or noise.”
Meanwhile, voters in several cities decided issues relating to marijuana business, in conjunction with a statewide measure that could legalize recreational use of the drug.
Voters in Long Beach, where marijuana businesses are not permitted, were approving a pair of competing measures. Measure MA will impose a gross receipts tax of between 6 and 8 percent on medical marijuana dispensaries, 8 to 12 percent for recreational marijuana businesses and 6 to 8 percent for marijuana processing/distribution businesses. It also calls for a fee based on square footage on marijuana-cultivation farms. The fees are anticipated to generate $13 million a year, with costs of regulating such businesses estimated at about $12 million, according to the proponent’s backers, who note that the measure does not automatically approve marijuana businesses in the city.
“We put Measure MA on the ballot to ensure that we had the resources to regulate and manage the developing statewide marijuana industry,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “MA was not a vote for or against marijuana use — it was a vote for public health and public safety.”
Measure MM, meanwhile, was also narrowly being approved. It would lift the city’s ban on marijuana businesses, adopt regulations authorizing up to 32 retail medical marijuana businesses, while reducing the city’s tax on marijuana established two years ago. Both measures required just a simple majority to pass, but since part of Measure MM would reduce taxes on marijuana, that portion of the provision could only be approved if the measure receives more votes that competing Measure MA. Early returns show Measure MA receiving far more votes than Measure MM.
Voters in Avalon were strongly rejecting Measure X, which would permit two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city and authorize marijuana cultivation, subject to a $10,000 annual license fee and 12 percent sales tax rate. The measure requires approval from two-thirds of voters.
In Carson, voters were approving Measure KK, which would impose taxes and fees on marijuana businesses if they are ever permitted in the city. The measure would impose a $25-per-square-foot tax on cultivation facilities and an 18 percent gross receipts tax on all cannabis-related business activities.
On another topic, Culver City voters were approving Measure CW, which would establish a $99 parcel tax that would raise an estimated $2 million a year. The proceeds would be dedicated primarily to clean-water projects, such as projects to prevent pollutants from reaching waterways and creeks, improving storm drains, capturing urban runoff and ensuring compliance with clean water laws. The measure requires approval from two-thirds of voters.
In Beverly Hills, meanwhile, voters were narrowly defeating Measure HH, which would authorize the construction of a 26-story, 345-foot tall condominium building adjacent to the Beverly Hilton, in place of two already-approved residential buildings — one eight stories and the other 18 stories. Critics note that at 26 stories, the tower would easily be the tallest building in Beverly Hills. Proponents say combining the two towers into one will allow for more open space, including a planned 1.7-acre public park.
–City News Service
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