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Former Mayor Opposes Santa Monica College Bond Measure
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

September 1, 2016 -- Opponents of Measure V, the $395 million Santa Monica College (SMC) bond measure that would fund facilities improvements, picked up a major name for their campaign -- former Mayor Bob Holbrook.

His name was one of five signatures attached to an argument against the measure that was submitted to the City this week and will be appear on the November ballot.

The bond debt would be paid off through a property tax -- $8.56 per month for the average Santa Monica homeowner and $1.59 per month for the average renter, SMC officials say ("$345 Million Santa Monica College Bond Measure Placed on Ballot," July 7, 2016).

Local tax opposition campaigns do not usually feature major political figures, current or former, openly on their side. Holbrook served on the City Council from 1990 until 2014, when he declined to run for a seventh term.

Prior to joining the council, Holbrook was on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) board for eight years. He is a Santa Monica native and an SMC alumnus.

“How [will] this bond differ from the four already passed?” the opposition argument asks, referencing SMC bonds approved by voters in 1992, 2002, 2004 and 2008.

The argument continues, “Most buildings have already been replaced. Some, funded from a past bond, have yet to be built. Vague descriptions for improvements and land [acquisitions] are inadequate and unconvincing.”

Opponents also repeated a frequent claim that SMC mostly serves people from outside the college district, which includes Santa Monica and Malibu.

“The true number of local high school students who attend SMC full-time is a very small percentage despite the misleading statistics the college reports,” opponents wrote. “Yet we are being asked to underwrite the cost of more facilities benefiting mostly out-of-district students.”

Also signing the argument were North of Montana Neighborhood Association founder Doris Sosin, former Northeast Neighbors board member David Yuguchi, former Pico Neighborhood Association Chair Peter Tigler and former Santa Monica Landmarks Commissioner Colin Maduzia.

The latest ballot argument from supporters says “opponents' claims against Measure V are simply false; supporting education is the issue here” ("Rivals Argue About Santa Monica College’s Bond Measure Needs," August 26, 2016)

They wrote that the college’s classrooms must be repaired and modernized to protect “our community's investment in SMC” and to give “local residents facilities designed for a 21st century education.”

SMC has the state's best faculty, supporters argued, and “failing to repair our classrooms risks losing great teachers in future years.”

Signing this argument were Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez, Malibu Mayor Lou LaMonte, SMMUSD board member and council candidate Oscar de la Torre, KCRW President Jennifer Ferro and local League of Women Voters President Barbara Inatsugu.

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