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Follow the Money – Santa Monica Ballot Measures

Bob Kronovetrealty
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October 24, 2022 -- Which ballot measures will win in the November 8 election? It takes two things to win: a message and the money to get the message out to voters.

The Transparency Project has reviewed the money behind the ballot measures’ messages which are spending significant funds to influence your vote. The question for you: Will big money sway your vote?

Measure GS

Amend City Charter to establish a third-tier transfer tax of $56 per $1,000 of value for property selling for $8 million or more. Estimated revenue of $50,000,000 annually until voters decide to terminate.

PAC $ in Support -- Standing Firm for Santa Monica Homelessness Prevention, Affordable Housing and Public Education, Mayor Sue Himmelrich’s ballot measure committee, Yes on Measure GS; No on Measure DT has raised $385,000 from Mayor Himmelrich ($50,000) and her husband Michael Soloff($335,000).

PAC $ Against -- No on Measures DT & GS, Santa Monicans against Ridiculous Taxes has raised $416,000. Top three donors are the California Business Roundtable ($288,500) headquartered in San Jose, CA., CA Assoc. of Realtors Issues Mobilization PAC ($90,000) and Santa Monica Collection REIT (Michelle Adams) ($25,000).

Real Estate businesses oppose taxes on property transfers. Their campaign literature opposes both measures.

Measure DT & DTS (Advisory)

Amend the City Charter to establish a third-tier transfer tax of $25 per $1,000 of value on properties over $8 million.

Estimated revenue of $12-25 million annually through February 2028 unless extended by the City Council. DTS advisory would allocate 30 percent of revenue for senior housing assistance, remainder for homelessness and public safety.

PAC $ in Support -- Committee to Restore Community Services—Yes on DT, Yes on DTS, No on GS has raised $91,015 primarily from hotels and developers with the top three donors being Edward Thomas Management (Owner of Casa Del Mar and Shutters-$25,000), Ocean Avenue LLC (Owner of Fairmont Miramar hotel-$24,500) and The Related Companies of CA (Developer of the Village at City Center condos and apartments on Ocean Avenue between Olympic and Pico-$18,700).

Supporters back this measure as the lesser tax.

Measure HMP

Establish a 10 percent of gross receipts business tax on every licensed cannabis business in Santa Monica. Estimated revenue $3-5 million annually until repealed.

PAC $ in Support -– Communities for Prosperity and Wellbeing - Yes on HMP. Sponsored by the Coalition of Economic Innovation in the Los Angeles-Long Beach CSA has raised $55,065 mostly from contributors outside of Santa Monica.

Two Santa Monica donors are Michael Sullivan ($10,000), owner of Sullivan Group (Lexus SM), and Luke Kardashian ($5,000), president of Southern CA Disposal Co. Inc.

PAC $ Against - None

Measure SMC --- $375 million Santa Monica College Bond

PAC $ in Support -– Campaign for Safety and Modernization at Santa Monica College has raised $455,000 primarily from three perennial donors affiliated with the college:

Santa Monica College Foundation $300,000
Madison Project/Broad Stage $30,000
KCRW $125,000

PAC $ Against – None

The following Measures have no PAC spending money either for or against the Measure. All listed below were placed on the ballot by the City Council.

Measure CS

Raise transient occupancy tax (bed tax) by 1 percent for hotels and motels and 3 percent for home-shares.

Estimate $4.1 million annual revenue. This tax is paid only by visitors staying at hotels/motels or home shares. Raising this tax requires a vote by law.

Measure PB

Amend the city charter to expand eligibility requirements of the City’s Personnel Board to residents of Los Angeles County employed full time within the City or have been issued a Santa Monica business license. Reduce the term of office from four to five years.

Council says this aligns with other Boards to allow changes to terms, number of members by the city council versus by vote as now required. Opponents say Santa Monica residents currently fill the positions with no problem.

Measure RC

Amend the City Charter to require three conditions: Intended owner occupancy of rent-controlled units for two years prior to tenant eviction and owner occupancy within 60 days of vacancy.

Reduce annual General Adjustment from 6 percent to 0.8 percent from 2/1/23 through 8/31/23 or average not to exceed 3 percent with a 3 percent maximum Annual General Adjustment.

Require elections only if the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of open Board positions.

Opponents argue this is a poor fix for 2023s maximum 6 percent increase on rent-controlled units.

Measure EM

Amend the City charter to allow the Rent Control Board to disallow or modify general rent increases during a declared state of emergency by federal, state, or local government. The property owner would maintain the ability to petition for a rent adjustment per the City Charter.

Opponents note that local State of Emergency is undefined and subject to abuse.

The Transparency Project urges you to read all the ballot measures and most of all -- VOTE on or before November 8, 2022.

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