Los Angeles County voters shot down two of the lower-profile measures on the countywide ballot Tuesday, rejecting efforts to extend a tax for transportation and to make the county assessor job appointed.
Two additional property tax measures localized to the Santa Monica Mountains area were approved by more than the necessary two-thirds vote. The measures will provide $1 million for land conservation.
Measure J, which would have extended a half-cent sales tax for transportation by an additional 30 years, garnered 64.72 percent of the vote - less than 2 points shy of the required two-thirds.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of its chief backers, said voter confusion may have led to its failure.
"We haven't analyzed it, and we will, but it may be that people didn't know it wasn't a new tax, but just an extension," Villaraigosa said.
Measure J would have continued the 30-year Measure R tax approved in 2008 until 2069.
The additional 30 years would have helped "accelerate the construction of regional traffic relieving highway and transit projects," officials said.
"While the ballot initially fell just short, we remain focused on making the improvements voters mandated four years ago," Metro spokesman Marc Littman said.
"It's tough in any event to get a two-thirds vote approval, but we still have the Measure R program, so we're focusing on that," Littman said.
Littman added a similar measure could always be placed on a future ballot.
Measure A failed as nearly 78 percent of voters agreed to keep the system of electing the Los Angeles County tax assessor instead of allowing the county Board of Supervisors to appoint the position. The assessor sets the taxable value of properties.
The action comes as Assessor John Noguez sits in jail, facing 24 felony counts for allegedly accepting bribes from a tax consultant to have clients' property taxes lowered.
An investigation into Noguez earlier this year prompted the Board of Supervisors to draft the advisory measure seeking the appointment of county tax assessors to keep "external pressures or influence peddling" out of the powerful position.
Measures HH and MM were so low-profile that they failed to inspire any major movements in favor or against. The measures, which both passed with more than the required two-thirds margin, looked to raise about $1 million a year over a decade for land conservation in the Santa Monica Mountains.
HH earned 76 percent of the vote and MM garnered 68 percent approval.
The special tax measures aim to keep funds flowing into the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority's coffers to help fund maintenance and improvements the the designated Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Zones.
Measure HH, which asks for $24 annually for the next 10 years for an estimated $681,000, covers the needs in the hillside areas located west of Griffith Park and east of the 405 Freeway, including the Hollywood Hills.
Measure MM asks for $19 a year, generating $305,000 annually to protect the northern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains west of the 405 and the Woodland Hills, Encino and Tarzana hillside areas.
Staff writers Christina Villacorte and Dakota Smith contributed to this story.