Hermosa Beach Elections 2022: Jackson says pass tax, it’s simple math
by Dan Blackburn
Hermosa Beach City Council member Ray Jackson has two primary objectives before him: earning reelection and pushing a new sales tax.
Jackson captured his council seat vacated by Hany Fangary two years ago, besting four other candidates in a special election to serve the balance of Fangary’s term. Now the incumbent finds himself in a crowd of eight hopefuls seeking three vacant council seats.
The sales tax proposal by city officials, appearing as Measure B on the ballot, calls for a .075 increase in the tariff.
“Measure B makes sense and it is something the city should pass,” Jackson said during a recent debate.
Jackson elaborated: “I think we’ll agree it’s the right thing at the right time. People have to understand, particularly business owners, that costs are going up. Labor costs, material costs, and it holds true for the city as well. We are a city with high demands and high expectations for services, and the city is doing the best it can within the limited resources we have. We need people to pave the roads, we need people to maintain our parks. We need people to take care of permitting and improve our infrastructure. I think it should be crystal clear that Measure B makes sense for the city at this time.”
Of the eight candidates, only Jackson and Rita Gervace favor the sales tax increase.
Jackson took his opponents to task for their opposition to the tax plan.
“Everyone talked about their list of things they would like to see done in our city,” he said during a debate sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. “That costs money. it would have been irresponsible for us not to place this on the measure on the ballot.”
The incumbent also aimed a few jabs at some individuals who are publicly critical of council members.
“I can tell you unequivocally that we have a values-based council. It takes its ethical standards very seriously. It’s ridiculous and meritless that people who think they know what they’re talking about step up to the podium with unfounded claims.
“Writing a budget is not about tricks,” he said. “It’s about studying and moving forward with a plan. That’s why the tax measures are important. You can’t come up with tricks to fund city services and [other] needs.”
He’s opposed to ballot Measure M. which would allow cannabis retail shops in the city, a plan put forward by what Jackson calls “an outside interest.”
Referring to that measure, Jackson articulated the council’s position: “It’s clear across the board that it’s a ‘no.’ Hermosa Beach is not for sale. It’s not for sale to this outside special interest.” If residents pass the measure, Jackson believes Measure T, a proposed city-sponsored tax on cannabis sales should be passed.
Jackson said he is “glad (his fellow candidates) are interested in doing something about parking because that’s exactly what we’re doing as a council. A business owner told me ‘We don’t have a parking problem; we have a parking management problem.’ That’s something we are grappling with right now in a council, as a council.”
Jackson had an observation about mixed marriages, recently targeted by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Jackson’s parents were Dutch and Jamaican.
“I’m a first generation American,” he said. “It’s still hard to believe that when my parents arrived in this country, it was a crime for them to be married in many states within our country.
“But,” he opined, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” ER