Measure T, a ballot measure aimed at boosting sagging school funding with a special property tax, appears to be racking up endorsements - and criticism from the anti-tax set.
Earlier in the week, supporters of the measure, which would assess most property owners in the Long Beach Unified School District $92 a year for five years to raise $12.5 million a year, announced endorsements from Gov. George Deukmejian, former Mayor Beverly O'Neill and the American Federation of Labor.
On Friday, the Arts Council of Long Beach's board of directors released a statement in support, arguing that the measure would provide assist threatened art and music programs in public schools. The funding could also go toward after-school and anti-gang programs.
Long Beach Unified faces a projected $95 million shortfall over the next two years, and school officials have said teacher layoffs are possible.
The initiative, which was placed on the ballot by the school board, requires a two-thirds' vote to pass. The property tax would take effect in July 2010 and apply to all residential and commercial properties within the LBUSD. Property owners ages 65 and older can seek exemptions.
A group calling itself Citizens for Sensible Schools opposes Measure T, arguing in a ballot statement that voters have already agreed to significant tax measures in recent years to pay for LBUSD projects.
Opponents have also been lighting up the Press-Telegram's comments page. One reader going by the handle "Enough," wrote, "Does LBUSD not have to pull in its belt like everyone else? Produce better results than come to us for more money."
L.B. Taxpayers Assn.
Speaking of taxpayer groups, the Long Beach Taxpayers Association plans to meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Ecco's Pizza, 2123 Bellflower Blvd. Lydia Gutierrez, an LBUSD teacher running for state superintendent of instruction, will address the group.
Domestic violence march
WomenShelter of Long Beach, which assists victims of domestic violence, is sponsoring a candlelight walk at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 on the Promenade and Fist Street. Long Beach Vice Mayor Val Lerch and Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga are expected to march.
The Press-Telegram's "Successful Aging Expo" takes place from 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at The Grand, 4101 E. Willow St.
The forum includes a "Meet the Press" component. I am working the 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. shift with some good company, Editorial Pages Editor Larry Allison and society columnist Shirley Wild. The 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. shift belongs to columnists Doug Krikorian, Tom Hennessy and Tim Grobaty.
P-T Publisher Linda Lindus and Executive Editor Rich Archbold will attend the entire event.
The toughest ticket in town is the Oct. 27 Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women, a sold-out affair featuring the types of names that normally appear in Time magazine.
But there are still a handful of tickets for the preceding Night at the Village event with Maria Shriver, Caroline Kennedy and others the night before.
Check out my Q&A with Julia Paige, executive producer of the conference, for all the details about Night at the Village in Sunday's edition.