Santa Monica Lookout
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College Bond Measure Considered for Santa Monica Ballot
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

March 17, 2016 -- Voters could be asked in November to vote on a bond measure to fund Santa Monica College (SMC) facilities projects. This would be the fourth such proposal put before SMC district residents since 2002.

SMC’s Board of Trustees discussed “facility needs and potential for a November 2016 Bond Measure” at a special meeting on Tuesday, according to the agenda on the college’s website.

A staff report was not available online, but will be by Friday, SMC spokesperson Grace A. Smith told The Lookout.

“No decision was made by the board [on the bond measure at the meeting] , only discussion,” Smith wrote in an email.

SMC bond measures fare well in elections, which include voters in Santa Monica and Malibu as well as some surrounding unincorporated areas. They have never lost.

Measure U, a $160 million bond passed with nearly 70 support in March 2002. The other measures were passed in November 2004 ($135 million) with 58 percent support and November 2008 ($295 million) with 61 percent support.

These bonds have funded or partially funded numerous facilities improvements and expansions, including the Bundy Campus, Broad Stage, the Music Complex, Corsair Field and a Malibu campus approved by that city’s planning commission earlier this month.

SMC officials and supporters have not had much trouble getting residents to support these bond proposals, despite opposition pointing out that the college mostly serves people who are not locals or at least were not locals before taking classes at SMC.

Samohi was the “last high school attended” for just 4 percent of SMC students, according to the most recent statistics (from fall 2014) on the college’s website.

Nearly one third of students attended a high school outside California and another 17 percent went to a high school in a foreign country.

These statistics don’t have much effect on the decisions of a majority of voters in the SMC district, where bond measure approval has a long history.

Nearly 80 percent of voters approved the first bond measure for what was then known as Santa Monica City College in 1946.

That measure was needed to expand facilities to accommodate increases in enrollment by veterans using the G.I. Bill and from the passage of the Employment Act of 1946, according to an SMC document.

Four years later, a bond measure received nearly 90 percent support.

Bond measures were approved again in 1957, 1966 and 1992. SMC has also benefited from voter passage of more than a dozen State facility bond measures since 1978.

If the next local bond measure does go before voters in November, it will be included on a crowded ballot.

In addition major items such as the election of a United States president, voters are expected to decide on numerous state measures.

Local activists are also hoping to collect enough signatures to get measures on the ballot (See ”Activist Wants City Attorney Chosen by Santa Monica Voters,” February 22, 2016 and “Online Residents’ Organization Submits Ballot Measure Tying Development to Electorate,” February 19, 2016).

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