L.A. County could pay $1.35 million to settle case over use of public funds to again Measure H

A probe by the state’s political watchdog and a civil lawsuit have resulted in a pending settlement that might require Los Angeles County to pay $1.35 million to resolve claims that it didn’t correctly disclose its use of public funds to help a homeless companies tax poll measure.

The case revolves across the marketing campaign for Measure H, a multimillion-dollar effort permitted by voters in 2017 that was sponsored by companies and labor teams, amongst others. Measure H acquired 69.three% of the vote, passing with the required two-thirds’ help by 2.6%, and is projected to supply $355 million yearly over a decade.

The Fair Political Practices Commission opened an administrative investigation in March 2017 following a complaint by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. alleging that the county had carried out an unlawful political marketing campaign by working adverts with optimistic messages concerning the measure.

The L.A. County district lawyer’s workplace determined to not pursue a civil enforcement motion and the taxpayers affiliation filed a associated lawsuit in July 2018, alleging that the county had didn’t disclose taxpayer funds it spent supporting Measure H.

Jay Wierenga, a spokesman for the state fee, mentioned that its five-member physique might be voting Aug. 20 on whether or not to simply accept the settlement. Approval of the settlement would resolve enforcement proceedings by the fee towards the county.

“This has been an ongoing irritating concern for taxpayers all through the state of California, and that’s seeing the brazen use of taxpayer for political advocacy,” mentioned Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. “This isn’t a scenario the place they’re merely partaking in informational outreach, which is allowed, however blatantly taking sides and utilizing taxpayer to take action.”

In a press release, L.A. County spokeswoman Lennie LaGuire mentioned the county “is happy to resolve this matter so we are able to proceed to give attention to the well being and security of the individuals of Los Angeles County.”

In its settlement with the state and with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., the county held that the settlement “shall not be thought-about an admission of legal responsibility.”

Based on the settlement, the county entered right into a contract in January 2017 to conduct a public training marketing campaign to help Measure H that included tv commercials, and finally spent about $1 million on supplies associated to the measure and the county’s Homeless Initiative. Commercials included the phrases “The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative” and the slogan “Actual assist. Lasting Change.” Advertisements that ran earlier than the election touted “Measure H on the March 7 Poll” and “Are you prepared? Vote March 7.”

The corporate the county contracted with to conduct public outreach additionally organized for commercials to run on Spanish-language radio stations within the L.A. space and inspired listeners to go to the county’s web site to acquire extra info, the settlement says.

Instances employees author Adam Elmahrek contributed to this report.