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Hawaiian Gardens To Consider Three-Quarter Cent Sales & Use Tax By Spending $55,000

The plan would cost an additional $75,000 to place measure on ballot for a total of $130,000.


The city of Hawaiian Gardens, at its regular Tuesday meeting, voted to spend thousands to conduct research into the feasibility of placing a .75 cent sales tax measure on the March 2020 ballot.  

The vote was 3 to 1 with Mayor Maravilla, Mayor pro tem Jesse Alvarado, and Council member Luis Roa voting yes and Councilman Hank Trimble voting no.

If approved by voters the overall tax rate in Hawaiian Gardens would be one of the highest in Los Angeles County at 10.25%, only Santa Fe Springs has a higher rate at 10.5%.

Other area cities with a 10.25% rate include Compton, Cudahy, East Lynwood, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Lynwood, Pico Rivera,  and Southgate.

Of the over 2,000 cities in California, only two have a 10.50% rate while only twenty have the 10.25% rate.

The Council considered four companies for research and labeled the contract “professional services,”  which precludes the contract from the public bidding process and allows City Manager Ernie Hernandez to award the contract.

Two of the companies were considered for Statistical Collection and Survey Research and two were considered for Education and Research.

According to the Staff report, “the firms contacted have either experience working with the City currently or in the past and/or were recommended and utilized by local jurisdictions implementing similar measures.”

But during the meeting, Mayor Myra Maravilla acknowledged that Hernandez had experience with every company stating, “well Ernie, you choose, you’ve worked with them before and know them all.”

The services from the companies would include developing community outreach and education materials, conducting surveys to assess public support, conducting community workshops, and preparing the ballot measure language for the March 2020 ballot. 

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) proposed the use of a dual-mode research methodology to conduct interviews online and via telephone via landlines and cell phones with live interviews. 

A 15 minute survey for 200 interviews would cost $22,750, while a 300 interview survey would cost $24,250.

The two average out to $389 per hour for interviews.

A 20 minute survey for 200 interviews would cost $24,000, while a 300 interview survey would cost $26,000.

The two average out to $413 per hour for interviews.

Wallin Opinion Research (Wallin) proposed a similar survey but its cost proposal was based on the number of questions the caller asked a respondent.

For up to 20 questions and 300 respondents, Wallin would charge $13,500; for up to 30 questions with 300 respondents, $21,000.

Tripepi Smith would “execute community outreach and education efforts related to the tax measure.” Tripepi Smith proposed several items including a dedicated webpage on City website for city ballot, press releases, developing two  animated videos about the measure up to one minute long each, and digital advertising placement and mailing “paid for by the City.”

Tripepi Smith’s price totaled $38,150.

The Lew Edwards Group (LEG) “only provides proposals for sole source considerations. If the City chooses, the LEG staff will negotiate a term that does not exceed market rate similar to like proposals.”

With the addition of L.A. County fees for including the measure, the City is looking at over $130,000 to place the measure on the ballot, with no guarantee of passage.

After the presentation, former Mayor Rey Rodriguez slammed the Council, “we have very few businesses, they are going to leave to other cities. How can you do this? What you need to do is stop spending. You are spending over $150,000 on two consultants from Norwalk and they are doing nothing. You have spent over $500,000 on pay increases for friends of Mayor Maravilla’s, and you spent over $10,000 on travel, stop the spending.”

Councilman Hank Trimble, the lone no vote on the plan, told HMG-LCCN, ” I need clarification to fully understand the good and bad before I make any decision on behalf of the City. I will be talking to people I’ve met at Contract and Independent City events to get a better understanding of the tax.”

  • Hawaiian Gardens Resident says:

    Someone must be getting good advertising business to get all these articles about Hawaiian Gardens. Rag for sale.

    • Please use a real email and name or we will delete your defamatory comments….

    • Ed Carrera says:

      What kind of advertising are members of the public getting by showing up to ask questions and getting shouted down by the Mayor Pro Tem? Watch the council meeting when this item came up and the commissioner went up to speak. If someone spoke to his daughter, wife, or sister like that he would be up in arms. They didn’t teach him in those training seminars how to be courteous? Polite? He hasn’t been in office for a year yet he thinks he’s the end all-be all of public servants. Other than getting elected, what has he accomplished in his life. My brother-in-law bought one of those insurance policies from him and it was a total SCAM. Now I hear he’s trying to do other “financial services.” Interesting how he would come visit the senior center before his election and now…well we’re nobody. Check that temper of yours Jesse, we all know you’ve had trouble in the past with that temper. Would hate to see that come to light during public comment…

      And Myra, I don’t know what happened. Promises, promises, promises…no follow through.