June 7, 2016 Primary Election Preliminary Results

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

United States President
Democratic Party
Hillary Clinton    1,940,773 (55.8%)
Bernie Sanders     1,502,187 (43.2%)

Republican Party
Donald Trump    1,175,270 (75.3%)
John R. Kasich    176,655 (11.3%)
Ted Cruz        144,173 (9.2%)

United States Senator
*Kamala D. Harris    2,051,252 (40.3%)
*Loretta L. Sanchez    943,091 (18.5%)
United States Representative
32nd District
Grace F. Napolitano    41,423 (51.73%)
Gordon E. Fisher        19,439 (24.27%)
Roger Hernandez        19,219 (24%)

34th District
Xavier Becerra        52,349 (79.61%)
Adrienne N. Edwards     13,410 (20.39%)

38th District
Linda T. Sanchez        63,037 (70.45%)
Ryan Downing        18,572 (20.76%)
Scott Michael Adams    7,870 (8.8%)

40th District
Lucille Roybal-Allard      43,809 (76.66%)
Roman G. Gonzalez      13,336 (23.34%)

State Senator
33rd District
Ricardo Lara        72,151 (100%)

State Assembly
51st District
Jimmy Gomez        45,075 (100%)

53rd District
*Miguel Santiago        16,316 (47.04%)
*Sandra Mendoza        13,727 (39.57%)

58th District
Cristina Garcia        41,082 (100%)

63rd District
*Anthony Rendon    32,700 (77.83%)
*Adam Joshua Miller    9,317 (22.17%)

*Runoffs

Measures
State Measure 50 – Suspension of Legislators
Yes        3,756,975 (75.3%)
No        1,234,537 (24.7%)

Montebello City Measure W – Sale of the Montebello Water System
Yes        3,984 (48.95%)
No        4,155 (51.05%)

Montebello Unified School District Measure GS – $300 Million Bond
Yes        13,652 (77.08%)
No        4,059 (22.92%)

Los Angeles County
District Attorney
Jackie Lacey    941,391 (100%)

MUSD Bond Measure Goes to Voters Tuesday

June 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hoping to make a dent in the $1.2 billion in estimated district-wide needs, Montebello Unified is asking voters in the district –which includes Montebello, Bell Gardens and Commerce — to approve a $300 million bond measure on the June 7 ballot.

Revenue from Measure GS would be used upgrade everything from bathrooms to libraries to computer and science labs as well as other infrastructure improvements, according to district officials. The one thing funds specifically could not be used for is administrators’ salaries and pensions.

“The district was aware of the need for modernization, it was apparent,” said Ruben Rojas, MUSD’s chief business officer. And the “General Fund would never be able to address these needs.”

A needs assessment study conducted last year looked at the district’s 30 campuses and district office. It found that elementary schools need $390 million in upgrades, intermediate schools $320 million and high schools $487 million in improvements.
Rojas explained safety needs alone, for such things as security fences, gates, pavement, lighting, video monitoring and fire system improvements, add up to $130 million.

Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will cost another $110 million while other facility renovations could add up to another $500 million, Rojas said. An additional $190 million is needed to make classrooms more energy efficient.

However, the big-ticket item getting the most attention from parents in the school district is technology upgrades, Rojas told EGP. According to MUSD’s assessment, fiber optic upgrades, wireless internet access in classrooms, computer labs and overall tech infrastructure will cost about $70 million.

“We are not even talking about iPads or computers,” explains Rojas. “We are talking about classroom readiness for the 21st century.”

Richard Michael, a school bond watchdog, told EGP he is concerned that a specific list of projects has not been included in the ballot measure. MUSD wants a blank check, he opined.

“Tell us what you really need,” said Michaels. “If it’s a leaky roof tell us what school has a leaky roof.”

Rojas, however, assures there are specific schools with specific needs and if the bond measure is approved the next step would be to prioritize those projects to get the “biggest bang for our buck.”

Election signs for Measures on the June 7 election cover the lawn of a Montebello home. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez )

Election signs for Measures on the June 7 election cover the lawn of a Montebello home. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez )

In the past, some residents and elected officials in Bell Gardens and Commerce complained that schools in the southern portion of the district receive less attention than their northern counterparts.

District officials, however, say they plan to ensure revenue is dispersed evenly across the district and will reach out to the community to determine funding priorities.

MUSD Board of Education President Ben Cardenas told EGP the district looks forward to optimizing every dollar to modernize and enhance classrooms and facilities.

“This funding will be integral to ensuring we continue to provide safe, clean and engaging learning environments in which our students can reach their potential,” he said.

G. Rick Marshall, chief financial officer for the California Taxpayers Action Network believes the project list provided in Measure GS is too generic.

“There’s no guarantee any particular thing will be done, at any particular location,” he wrote in his argument against the measure. “No specifics equals no accountability.”

According to Rojas, MUSD anticipates it will use 80 percent of the bond revenue to modernize existing facilities. “We want to be able to be on par with other districts, whether its LAUSD or children on the Westside,” he said.

If voters authorize the bonds, property owners in the area would be on the hook for the bond amount plus interest and debt service fees that would be collected through a tax levied on properties within the school district. The specific amount each property owner would pay depends on the value of the property. The tax would translate to $60 for every $100,000 of the assessed value of the property. The average resident would pay $144 in new taxes based on the district’s average property value, which stands at around $240,000, according to Rojas.

Improvements at schools could attract more students to the district and make MUSD a district of choice, raising property values in the area, he ventured, calling it a win-win for businesses and residents.

Not passing Measure GS would be “unfortunate” for a district that already has to do more with less, Rojas contends. “All we would be doing is patchwork,” he said.

MUSD voters approved a $98 million bond in 2004. School districts are allowed to issue no more than 2.5 percent of the total assessed value of property in the district, which according to Rojas limits MUSD to $366 million in total bonds.

“What’s going to happen if down the road when they are maxed out,” questions Michaels.

Rojas defended the bond measure, stating that bond programs today are much different than they were 10 years ago.

“Bonds are not just about putting up pretty buildings, it’s about adding value to the district,” he said.

Measure GS requires a 55% voter approval for passage.

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