Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 9 to show support for the city’s Measure EE, which is a parcel tax on the June 4 ballot.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was joined on stage by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and representatives from the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.
“At the end of the day, if you care about homelessness, you better care about public education…If you are sick and tired of paying to incarcerate so many Americans, how about investing in education so somebody never goes to jail? If you care about unemployment, how about giving people the skills in a school so we don’t have to worry about paying unemployment to someone who wants to work but never had the education. Pete Buttigieg understands that,” Garcetti said.
This was one of the first public events Buttigieg, who has gained a lot of national attention, has held in LA since announcing his campaign.
“A huge part of our arsenal of democracy is our superior education in this country. If we lose that, there is no level of equipment that can help do the job. We are the envy of the world because we have the best educated, or we ought to have the best-educated people in the world. When you stand up for education, you are standing up for a safer America,” Buttigieg said.
Measure EE, which needs a two-thirds vote to pass, is a per-square-foot parcel tax which is estimated to raise $500 million annually over the next 12 years to fund public and charter schools under the LA Unified School District.
“What Measure EE is about is making sure the local resources are there as well. We are standing up for that because our values are at stake…,” Buttigieg said.
Supporters say the measure will reduce class sizes and have funding to hire more teachers, counselors, nurses, and other support staff at schools across the district.
“This is for our democracy. We’re not just educating workers for the future, we are educating voters for the future,” the South Bend mayor said.
The measure, however, has met with some opposition, including from several business and anti-tax groups. Earlier this week the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit against the LAUSD that says that “what was approved by the LAUSD Board and the language presented to voters is far more than some typographical error,” arguing that “The Resolution refers to the tax being imposed on ‘habitable’ square footage but the language presented to voters imposes the tax on all “improved property.” For homeowners, the difference is huge because, according to the new language, garages and storage spaces would also be subject to the tax.”
After the remarks on Thursday, Garcetti and Buttigieg met with supporters in the crowd.
The California primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020, giving the state more influence in choosing presidential candidates. In coming months, those vying for the White House will be frequenting the state to attract more voters.
Buttigieg, who would be the youngest president in history, is one of 21 Democrats running for the country’s top seat, who include former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.