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Two Santa Monica Ballot Initiatives Draw No Opposing Arguments


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By Jorge Casuso

August 10, 2018 -- You wouldn't know Santa Monica was embroiled in a development war from the reaction to a ballot initiative that addresses the height of new buildings.

The measure -- which would require a super-majority vote of the City Council to make changes to the City's zoning standards -- will appear on the ballot with no opposing argument.

Over the past 12 years, that has happened with initiatives calling for "a City Charter change that was more or less administrative," said Cty Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren.

"It appears that in most recent years the ballot measures involving taxation, development, Airport and Rent Control seem to have Arguments against," Anderson-Warren told the Lookout.

The lack of opposition to this year's measure is likely due to its symbolic nature ("Super-Majority' Ballot Measure Would Have No Impact on Proposed Developments," June 21, 2018).

In fact, the proposed Charter Amendment -- which would sunset in 10 years -- would have no impact on proposed developments currently in the planning pipeline.

Instead, it reaffirms the City's current development policies.

"Our community and local government worked hard to reach agreement on our new land use standards," supporters of the measure wrote in their argument. "Voting YES on (the) Measure means we stick to our plan."

While the measure would not impact proposed developments, it could have an effect on area plans the City Council may want to alter.

The Memorial Park Neighborhood and the Santa Monica Business Park at the Airport could require super-majority votes if their plans increase the current height and density limits, staff said.

The development initiative isn't the only measure on the November ballot that failed to draw an argument from opponents.

A measure that would amend the City Charter to allow non-citizens to sit on three City boards and commissions also will appear only with the argument from supporters.

The measure would change the eligibility requirements for service on the Library Board, Personnel Board and Airport Commission from "qualified elector" to "resident," bringing them in line with other City bodies with appointed volunteers.

The measure is more in line with past Charter amendments that drew no opposing argument.

Most recently these included an increase to the bed tax in 2004, a change to the City's Civil Service law in 2006, changes to tenant protection provisions in 2010, Rent Control adjustments in 2012 and changes to the City's conflict of interest law in 2016.


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