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Santa Monica Voters Faced with Four Measures on November Ballot
By Jorge Casuso
August 1, 2018 -- Santa Monica voters will decide the fate of four ballot measures November 6 -- ranging from changes in requirements to serve on boards and commissions to a record bond for the School District.
Three of the four measure were placed on the ballot last week -- two by the City Council and one by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board.
The Council had previously voted to place a measure on the ballot requiring a super-majority vote by the Council to make changes to the City's zoning standards.
Arguments for and against the City measures are due to the City Clerk by the end of the day Tuesday. The arguments for the School District bond measure are submitted to the County Registrar.
The County will designate letters for the measures -- which can be requested by the sponsors -- on August 17.
The first measure to make the ballot (approved on June 26) requires a super-majority vote for developments that exceed zoning limits and for changes to the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) and zoning code ("Council Approves Ballot Measure Requiring Super-Majority Vote on Development," June 28, 2018).
Viewed as an effort to quell Santa Monica's development wars, the measure would have no impact on proposed projects currently in the planning pipeline ("Super-Majority' Ballot Measure Would Have No Impact on Proposed Developments," June 21, 2018).
The proposed Charter Amendment -- which would sunset in 10 years -- would require a super-majority when all members of the City Council "eligible to vote" are present.
Last week, the Council voted to place a measure on the ballot that amends the City Charter to allow non-citizens to sit on three City boards and commissions.
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.
At the meeting July 24, the Council also grudgingly placed a measure on the ballot that would limit Council members to three terms “whether consecutive or not” ("Santa Monica Council Grudgingly Places Term Limits Measure on Ballot," July 30, 2018).
Although opposed by the majority of the council, the measure received the necessary 10,620 voter signatures to qualify.
The Charter Amendment would only apply to council terms of office that begin on, or after, the election ("Proposed Ballot Measure Calls for Term Limits for Santa Monica Council Members," February 1, 2018).
One measure that seemed headed to the ballot last week never made it.
Th Council decided not to approve a measure that would set a 2018 base rent if California voters repeal vacancy decontrol ("Santa Monica Council Votes to Explore Scaled-Down Rental Ballot Measure," June 27, 2018).
The measure was meant to quell fears among Santa Monica landlords that local controlled rents could be rolled back to 1978 rates if the state measure passes on November 6.
Both tenant and landlord activists agreed the decision should be left to the Rent Control Board, which has the authority to set a base rent if vacancy decontrol is abolished.
One of the biggest measures before Santa Monica voters November 6 is whether to approve a $485 million bond to upgrade and replace outdated facilities in Santa Monica schools ("Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Votes to Place Record Bonds on the Ballot," July 30, 2018).
Malibu voters will decide whether to approve a $195 million bond for schools in their city.
The separate bonds -- which together amount to the largest District funding measure ever -- were placed on the ballots after the Board created School Facility Improvement Districts (SFIDs) for each City in anticipation of Malibu's possible split.
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