Measure L Citizens Oversight Committee

Measure L Committee members

In March 2020, Lakewood residents passed Measure L, which provides funding to the City of Lakewood to maintain and improve public safety, parks, recreation programs, city facilities and more. Measure L is funded by a 3/4-cent sales tax increase on purchases effective July 1, 2020 (excluding groceries and pharmaceuticals). Prior to Measure L, the State of California had taken away traditional local funding sources from Lakewood and other communities. All funds raised by Measure L, by law, remain in Lakewood for local improvement projects. The state government cannot take away Measure L funds. 

A significant component of Measure L is the Citizens Oversight Committee.

The Citizens Oversight Committee, consisting of seven residents and business community leaders appointed by the Lakewood City Council, is tasked with providing an extra level of transparency to the community in reviewing the revenues and expenditures related to Measure L.

Appointees include representatives from various sectors in the Lakewood community, including a non-profit organization, youth organization, senior, Neighborhood Watch block captain, business owner and Chamber of Commerce board member.

Photo: The commission members are, top row (L to R): Joanie Dixson, Joy Janes, Crystal Jones-Duncan (Chair) and Ahmed Rafi; bottom row (L to R): Hendrick Robertson, Catherine Tolentino and Valerie Youell.

The vice chair will be selected at the September 2024 meeting.

Commission Members

Representing the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is Joanie Dixson, who is Chair of the Chamber Board. Joanie currently serves as the First Vice President and Branch Manager at the Lakewood Farmers and Merchants Bank.

Representing the Community Service groups is Joy Janes, who is a two-time president of Soroptimist International of Lakewood/Long Beach and 21-year member, as well as a two-time chair of the Board of the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce. Joy has been a resident of Lakewood for 43 years, and previously served 12 years on the Lakewood Planning and Environment Commission. 

Representing senior groups in Lakewood is Crystal Jones-Duncan (Chair). Crystal has lived in Lakewood for 21 years. She is retired from a career with Verizon, and currently works for the Long Beach Unified School District managing budgets for a high school and middle school.

Representing Neighborhood Watch is Ahmed Rafi, who goes by the name “Rafi.” He has been a resident of Lakewood since 1986. His children grew up and graduated from Lakewood schools.   Rafi is a former United States Air Force aerospace engineer, retiring after 25 years of service.  Rafi has volunteered as a neighborhood watch block captain for 18 years, and was honored as the Block Captain of the Year in 2016.  He also represented Lakewood on the Bellflower Unified School District Citizens Task Force.  

Hendrick Robertson was selected as an “at large” community member. He has been a Lakewood resident for over 30 years, and a graduate of Lakewood High School, where he played football. His children attend local schools and Hendrick has been a volunteer head football coach for Lakewood Youth Sports for four years. Hendrick is a real estate agent serving the Lakewood community.

Representing the Lakewood business community is Catherine Tolentino. Catherine is a second-generation business owner, managing the popular Filipino bakery & restaurant Gemmae Bake Shop in Long Beach. She was part of the inaugural class of the Lakewood Leadership Academy in 2023. Tolentino was appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to the L.A. County Small Business Commission in 2024. Tolentino has lived in Lakewood for 8 years.

Representing youth groups is Valerie Youell, who has lived in Lakewood for 28 years.  Valerie’s children attended local schools and played in local parks. In her professional life, Valerie is a small business owner providing home care for the elderly.

Also sitting on the Oversight Committee are the two Lakewood City Council Members who are members of the council’s Audit Committee (Cassandra Chase and David Arellano).

See the current projects underway thanks to Measure L funding.