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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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City of Pasadena
Measure P - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


55,909 votes yes (83.57%)

10,990 votes no (16.43%)

Shall the measure maintaining 911 response, fire, paramedic,public health, senior and homeless services, street repairs, and other services by amending the City Charter to continue collecting in electric rates and maintain the longstanding transfer,limited to 12% gross revenue, providing $18,000,000 annually to Pasadena's General Fund that does not increase taxes or utility rates until ended by voters, requiring financial audits with all funds locally controlled benefitting Pasadena residents, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

City Attorney for the City of Pasadena

This measure was placed on the ballot by the Pasadena City Council. If approved by voters, it would amend the Pasadena City Charter to continue the City's current practice of using retail electric rates to help fund the annual transfer of approximately $18 million to the General Fund to pay for general City services.


Article XIV of the Charter currently directs the City Council to make two annual transfers of revenue from the Light & Power Fund to the General Fund. Since 1934, Pasadena voters have approved the transfers a combined total of seven times. One transfer must be used to pay off City bonds and fund municipal improvements; the other may be used for any municipal purpose. The maximum amount of each transfer is set at 8 percent of the gross income received from the City's charges for electric service during the prior fiscal year. The transfers provide approximately $18 million annually to the General Fund, which is used to pay for 911 response, fire, paramedic, public health, senior and homeless services, street repairs, and other services.

To ensure that funding is available for the transfers, the City designs its retail electric rates so that the electric utility will have enough revenue, each year, to cover its expenses and make the transfers. In 2017, this longstanding practice was challenged in a class action lawsuit. A recent ruling by the trial court suggests that to comply with the Constitution, voters must expressly approve funding the transfers through electric rates. If this ruling is upheld, the court may require refunds of transferred monies and order that the transfers cease until the City obtains the necessary voter approval.

The Measure

The City Council has placed this measure on the ballot to address the pending class action lawsuit. The measure would ratify the City's rate-setting practices by expressly authorizing the City to set electric rates that are sufficient to pay (a) the expenses of the electric utility and (b) the annual transfer to the General Fund, clarifying that the City had this authority during all periods involved in the lawsuit. It would also combine the two current transfers, allow the total amount transferred to the General Fund to be used for any municipal purpose, and reduce the maximum transfer from 16 percent to 12 percent.

This measure requires approval by a majority of the voters voting on the measure.

A "yes" vote amends the Charter to clearly allow the City to continue funding the transfer through electric ratesto pay for general City services. Passage of this measure will not increase electric ratepayers' bills, because current electric rates already include the cost of the transfers.

A "no" vote means the proposed Charter amendment would not go into effect. If the City loses the lawsuit and this measure does not pass there could be an annual reduction of revenue for the General Fund of up to $18 million, reflecting the loss of the transfer. At that time, and to account for the loss of revenue, the City Council may need to consider eliminating or reducing City services.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR


Vote YES on Measure P to protect City services.

Since 1934, Pasadena Charter provisions calling for the annual transfer of funds from the Pasadena Water and Power's (PWP) annual sales of electricity to the City's General Fund, have been approved by voters a combined total of seven times. Those funds transferred have paid for City services including fire, paramedic, emergency 911 response, public health, senior services, homeless programs, street repairs, and the ability to maintain a clean, healthy, and safe community for the benefit of Pasadena residents.

The annual transfer amount to support city services is currently approximately $18 million.

The validity of the Charter-authorized transfers from PWP is being challenged alleging that the transfer is a new tax despite having already gone before Pasadena voters several times. This will be the eighth time that voters will have affirmed the transfer to the General Fund.

A "Yes" vote will not result in a new tax.

A "Yes" vote will not increase taxes.

A "Yes" vote will not increase the utility rate.

A "Yes" vote will require financial audits, lower and limit the maximum transfer amount to not more than 12%, and require the funds be locally controlled and spent to benefit Pasadena residents and businesses.

If this measure is approved, the City will continue to transfer funds to the City's General Fund in support of the vital community services and programs that we all rely on.

Failure to approve this measure will result in the loss of approximately $18 million annually in addition to the $30.4 million loss in revenue this year due to COVID-19. City services during this difficult health crisis and moving forward will need to be reduced across the board.

Please vote YES on Measure P to protect Pasadena city services.


Mayor of Pasadena


Chairman Vroman's Bookstore


CEO Union Station Homeless Services


Pasadena Councilmember


President of the Board

Pasadena Senior Center

Arguments AGAINST

There is no argument against this measure

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