It’s Election Day in Los Angeles: Three Things to Know

Voters who live within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District go to the polls today (or not) to decide whether to levy a parcel tax on themselves (Measure EE). The money is meant to pay for all the stuff the district agreed to in the latest teacher collective bargaining agreement.

Here are three things to know as we await the results:

1) The Los Angeles campaign finance database is not particularly user-friendly, but it’s clear the Yes on EE campaign trounced the No side in raising money. If my math is correct, Yes raised about $5.5 million while the No side raised just over $1.6 million. Those numbers are subject to change as the final week’s totals are reported.

As you might imagine, teacher unions were big contributors:

United Teachers Los Angeles – $500,000
American Federation of Teachers – $300,000
National Education Association – $250,000
California Teachers Association – $25,000
California Federation of Teachers – $10,000

2) UTLA’s campaign rhetoric is filled with references to the “corporate greed” of tax opponents, but the Yes on EE side has received much more corporate money. The campaign received huge contributions from film-maker J.J. Abrams, movie executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Long-time targets of the union’s wrath have contributed to the Yes side, including Eli Broad and Parent Revolution. Even poor Marshall Tuck, twice within percentage points of becoming state superintendent of public instruction against a union-backed opponent, chipped in $150.

3) Only about half of UTLA members actually live within LA Unified boundaries and are registered to vote. The flip side is that the other half of UTLA members won’t pay a dime if the parcel tax passes because they don’t live in the district.

One poll shows the measure will need relatively high turnout to reach the necessary two-thirds margin to win. We’ll be watching those numbers as the day progresses.

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