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Southern Californians vote on numerous races, revenue issues today; congressional race in Bay Area

Voters are going to the polls today in four Southern California counties, while a new member of Congress is being chosen in a special Bay Area contest.

Elections are underway in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In a special election in the Bay Area's 10th Congressional District, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is heavily favored to replace former Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to take a job in the Obama administration. 

Garamendi, 64, who has spent most of his adult life in public office, faces Republican businessman David Harmer and three minor-party candidates in a district where Democrats enjoy an 18-point edge in registration over the GOP. If Garamendi wins, the governor will appoint a new lieutenant governor.

Besides choosing among candidates for scores of city council, school board and other positions, some voters are being asked to decide on taxes for cities and school districts battling the effects of  lingering recession and state budget cuts. 

These include parcel taxes for schools in Oxnard, Long Beach and Culver City; hotel tax measures in Artesia, Banning, Blythe, Norco and Rancho Palos Verdes; a library tax in South Pasadena; and of utility user or communications taxes in Coachella, Huntington Park, Palm Springs and Pomona. Ventura is seeking a half-cent increase in the sales tax for four years.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

--Jean Merl

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