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Taxpayer subsidy measure defeated

March 4, 2009 |  7:05 am

Despite having the support of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William J. Bratton, a ballot measure to make it easier for businesses to secure taxpayer subsidies went down in defeat, according to election results released today.

Measure E, which was crafted by Councilman Greig Smith and had the backing of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, drew support from 47.8% of voters. It was opposed by 52.2%.

Bratton and Villaraigosa had signed the ballot argument for Measure E, saying that it would improve the city's finances and therefore ensure that public safety is the city's top spending priority. Bratton also campaigned for several of the city's politicians in this year's election.

Backers of Measure E had argued that the city charter should be amended to allow the city to move more quickly to offer financial incentives to companies that want to bring jobs to Los Angeles. Opponents countered that the city already provides plenty of taxpayer subsidies, offering millions of dollars to companies that promise to bring Costco to Pacoima or a Lowe's home improvement store to Mid-City. The main critic of Measure E had been attorney Walter Moore, who placed a distant second to Villaraigosa in Tuesday's election.

-- David Zahniser