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Santa Monica Voters Among Strongest Supporters of Measure H  

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By Jorge Casuso

March 10, 2017 -- Santa Monica voters were in line with voters in Los Angeles Tuesday when they overwhelmingly supported Measure H, a countywide quarter-cent sales tax increase to help end homelessness, according to preliminary election results.

The measure, which according to initial results was narrowly approved by 67.4 percent of Los Angeles County voters, received 77 percent of the vote in both Santa Monica and in the City of Los Angles, according to the latest tally from the county registrar.

There are still some 300,000 votes outstanding, most of them late mail-in votes, said former Santa Monica mayor Dennis Zane, whose group Move LA helped rally support for the measure.

Zane says there is reason to believe the 66.7 percent margin needed to win will hold, since late mail-in ballots "are usually like the day of election results."

Only 61 percent of the voters who cast early mail-in ballots supported Measure H, Zane said. That compares with between 70 and 71 percent of votes cast in support on election day.

With the measure's approval, LA County becomes the first community in America to actually vote to end homelessness," Zane said. "This is huge for LA County."

Santa Monica -- nicknamed "the home of the homeless" three decades ago for its then large and highly visible homeless population -- backed the measure with 6,708 yes votes, or 77 percent, to 2,033 no votes, or 23 percent.

Zane said he was not surprised by the overwhelming support. "Working on this measure was kind of like working to solve local problems," said Zane, who was on the City Council when homelessness was Santa Monica's most pressing issue.

Santa Monica and Los Angeles didn't register the largest margins of victory for Measure H. In West Hollywood, 86 percent of voters backed the measure, as did 79 percent of voters in Culver City.

Among other Westside cities, Beverly Hills supported the measure with 72 percent of voters casting yes votes, while only 62 percent of Malibu voters supported the measure, according to tallies posted by the county registrar.

The majority of voters in Rancho Palos Verdes opposed the measure, while the initial vote in Palos Verdes Estate and Torrance was divided.

The measure was soundly opposed by voters in Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Diamond Bar and Glendora.

The voting patterns reflect those for Measure M, a countywide half-cent tax increase approved by LA County voters last November, Zane said.

"Those are not surprises," said Zane, whose group spearheaded the measure. Cities that are "more conservative anti-tax" opposed both measures, he said.

In a statement Wednesday Zane said, "It is clear that if LA County voters have their way, LA will no longer be regarded as an urban dystopia made famous by its traffic, smog and urban unrest."

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