Copy
Dear Long Beach Reformer:
 
It’s been a long, excruciating pandemic for all of us, but economically no one has had it worse than Long Beach’s small business restaurants, bars, stores, and other retailers, both the owners and their employees.
 
Unfortunately, after having barely survived—that is to say, if they have survived—our Long Beach small businesses still face insult on top of injury.  They still face one of the highest sales taxes in America in Long Beach, thanks to that 16 vote margin (out of nearly one hundred thousand votes cast), certified in last year’s primary election, in favor of Measure A.
 
After the machine vote count last year, we asked for a standard manual recount and were ready to pay thousands of dollars typical for such a request (perhaps $20k-$30k, as published in the County recount manual).  Outrageously, LA County Registrar Dean Logan chose instead to change the cost at the last minute, due to the new VSAP voting system’s design failures and his own disinterest in having an election he ran overturned, and instead to present us a price tag of well over $200,000 for a simple hand recount.
 
We attempted to give Logan the opportunity to be reasonable, initiated the recount process, and had recounted about 7,000 votes before it became clear Logan effectively would never allow a transparent, viable recount process for a reasonable cost.  Nonetheless, in just those nearly 7,000 votes recounted, systematic errors were uncovered and four votes changed.  We also challenged numerous excluded ballots, with our challenges never ruled upon.
 
As a result, we had no choice but to go to court.  We hired Fred Woocher, Esq. of Strumwasser & Woocher, the most well known and well-regarded election attorney in California.  Our case finally comes to trial this July 7th.
 
Please join us on Thursday, July 1st at 6 p.m. at the renovated Phil Trani’s for a fundraiser in support of our litigation and future efforts. 

And remember to keep your fingers crossed for our upcoming trial and the hoped-for completion of the recount!
 
Or donate now:
  • by sending a check (please include email address for our communications and street address & occupation/employer on memo line for P.A.C. reporting) to Long Beach Reform Coalition, 407 E. 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA 90802
  • or online at LBReformCoalition.org/donate.
UPDATE 4/6/21:

Is there anything good about the fact that going to court is always a seemingly interminable process?

Turns out, there is:  Our litigation on Long Beach's Measure A (sales tax) electioninitiated back when we were all a year younger and had only been dealing with COVID for a mere handful of weeksjust might outlive the pandemic!

That would be a very good thing if we win, because our objective is a court ordered restart to the recount.  When we first initiated the recount in April 2020, following the March 3, 2020 primary election, COVID made it an almost impossible task. 

Beyond the foundational issue, that the County had spent $300 million and ten years developing a new "high tech" voting system without including a process to hand recount physical paper ballots, at that time the Office of the County Registrar/Recorder was also severely undermanned at its headquarters and had never dealt with pandemic-related physical limitations before.

The result was a comedy of errors, wherein Registrar Dean Logan failed to carryout his responsibilities regarding proper execution of a recount, under state law and the state's Code of Regulations.  We were left no choice but litigation, and now that litigation has an updated end point:

On July 7, 2021 we finally go to trial on our petition for writ of mandate to restart and complete our recount, properly, and at a reasonable cost.

All the ballots from the March 2020 election are under lock and key, just waiting for that to happen.  As a reminder, the certified results showed a margin of 16 votes out of approximately one hundred thousand, just a hundredth of a percentage point over 50%, for the Yes vote.

If we succeed in overturning that margin with a renewed recount, we will save desperate, dying Long Beach retailers, restaurants, and bars, those who've somehow managed to hold on, from the final blow which may wipe them out completely:  the continuation of Long Beach's nearly highest-in-the-nation sales tax forever, rather than it beginning to sunset.

In the meantime, as we await our trial date, the process of discovery in this case continues, with our attorneys taking a deposition of Tim McNamara, Assistant Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk for Election Operations, this Thursday.

Up to this point, the discovery phase of the case has already revealed some key findings:
  • In the past, recount charges were just a fraction of the figure we were told to pay (they expected us to pay, up front, well over $200,000) to hand recount ballots.  This is because, under the old system, the County maintained special machines to sort vote-by-mail ballots as they were received at the Registrar's office (polling place ballots were sorted this way by default).  That meant ballots were essentially ready to go for a hand recount at any time after the regular machine count. (These days, the 'machine count' is actually just a software algorithm processing scanned digital images of physical ballots.)
  • Under the new $300 million system (called VSAP, or Voting Solutions for All People), the County failed to design a sorting functionality into the process.  As a result, the new "high tech" voting system requires County staff to physically sift through millions of ballots to find just those needed for a recount in a particular jurisdiction, such as Long Beach.  (Because County Registrar Dean Logan would prefer the public and the Board of Supervisors not realize he made such a colossal mistake, despite having had ten years to guide the development of the new system, he placed the burden of paying for all that staff time on us, hoping we would just walk away.  Of course, he must not have known anything about LBRC, as we would never just walk away from such a corruption of the democratic process.)
  • Indeed, not only did the County fail to plan for recounts in any way while developing the new system, it completely failed to provide the public or its staff any updated guidelines, protocols, or procedures for carrying out a recount under VSAP, such as it was.
  • The County has admitted that, had it included a sorting functionality in VSAP, recount costs would be "lower".  (Given the documentation of past recounts they were forced to yield to us, that fact had become obvious and unavoidable.)  In fact, the costs would have been orders of magnitude lower.
  • When asked to admit whether or not our recount was the most expensive in County history for a jurisdiction of our size, County Counsel, tellingly, refused to answer.

We will keep you updated as to the course of this litigation.  As always, your continued financial support for our all-volunteer efforts is vital and always appreciated.

Do you remember this headline from last year?


Let's hope our next headline is "Long Beach Reform Coalition Wins Lawsuit; Recount Restarted"!

For more background, see our earlier posts on this litigation:

08/19/2020 - Measure A Recount Update; The Fight Against Abuse of Tax Dollars to Campaign for Ballot Measures

06/26/2020 - Anti-Measure A Recount Update #11: LA Co. Files its 'Answer' to Our Suit, Forgoing a Demurrer
In Other News

For information on our complaint regarding the Long Beach Police Department's "Superspreader Event" last November, which became international news and is set to be considered by the Long Beach Citizens Police Complaint Commission (CPCC) during closed session this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., please see:

12/19/2020 - The LBPD Superspreader Event

To submit comments prior to that closed CPCC hearing, please e-comment at the City's web site or send by email to Patrick.Weithers@longbeach.gov.
DONATE TO RECOUNT FUND
Please send donations by check to:

Long Beach Reform Coalition PAC
407 E. 3rd Street
Long Beach, CA 90802

* As with all political action fund contributions, please include full name, street address, phone number, and occupation / employer (or 'retired', 'homemaker', 'not employed', 'self-employed', etc.) with checks.

or donate online at:
LBReformCoalition.org/donate
LBReformCoaliton.org
DONATE
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
view this email in your browser
Copyright © 2021 Long Beach Reform Coalition, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp