College Bond Measure S wins

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Malibu voters turned out in high numbers Tuesday to cast their choices locally and nationally. Arnold G. York

Santa Monica College District voters approved Measure S, the $135 million Santa Monica College bond measure. The vote tally was 23,744 in favor (58.02 percent) and 17,177 opposed (41.98 percent). The measure needed 55 percent approval for passage.

The Measure S victory means $135 million in capital projects will be conducted in SMC District land, including $25 million in Malibu. College district residents in Santa Monica and Malibu will foot the bill, paying about $18 per $100,000 of assessed value of their homes, according to the district.

According to an agreement signed by the city and the college district prior to the election, the $25 million designated for Malibu projects will be used to purchase property in the city, on which a 25,000-square-foot educational facility will be built. Also a wastewater/stormwater treatment facility can be built there, and possibly ball fields and a park. Although no specific property is mentioned in the agreement, many hope it will be the Chili Cook-Off site, the treasured property located along Pacific Coast Highway from Webb Way to Cross Creek Road. The owner of the property, Malibu Bay Co., has offered to sell it for $25 million.

Measure S received support from most of the Malibu community leaders, including the entire City Council and its usual opponents. Former Planning Commissioner Richard Carrigan and environmental philanthropist Ozzie Silna, who opposed the council in last year’s Malibu Bay Co. Development Agreement election (Measure M), supported Measure S. The measure did not even receive vocal opposition outside of anti-tax regulars until former Mayor Joan House and architect Ed Niles spoke out against it in mid-October.

“The hard work paid off,” said Carrigan, who led the Malibu S campaign with Mayor Sharon Barovsky. “Most importantly, this is the first step to eliminating or reducing commercial development in the Civic Center area, and the community, on balance, came together.”

House said this was not a great day for Malibu, She was opposed to the measure because she said the educational facility could lead to a large number of students coming to Malibu to attend classes, while there had been no traffic study done to determine the effects. House said, prior to the election, that many other questions were left unanswered by the joint powers agreement, and said an environmental impact report should have been done on an educational facility.

“There was a lot of spin on this measure of what it will accomplish,” House said. “I don’t think what the measure fully does is understood by the community.”