By Rebeca Kennnerly
The Santa Monica–Malibu Council of PTAs has voted unanimously to support Measure AA (Santa Monica College Career and Educational Improvements) and Measure SM (Santa Monica Utility Users Tax), and to take no position on Measure T (Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic).
“Our Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs has a long history of advocacy, including participating in local races. While PTA as an organization is non-partisan, and can not weigh in on candidate elections, we feel is it an important part of our mandate to provide information and advocacy support to our parent population by studying and informing our communities about our positions on local measures that fall within our PTA authorities. November’s crowded ballot is no exception,” says Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs President, Rebecca Kennerly.
The Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs advocates for and takes positions on measures promoting programs for the health, education and safety of all children and families as well as measures affecting adequate and stable funding to support student academic achievement.
The Council’s Legislative Committee conducted studies of the local measures, reviewing each ballot measure’s language, proponent and opponent arguments and whether the measure had a basis for advocacy as required under State PTA authorities.
On July 29, a subcommittee of the Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs Council Legislative Committee met to review local ballot measures in order to determine whether to recommend that Council conduct formal analyses on any or all of them. At that meeting, members of the Legislative Committee were selected to study the three measures specified below, and to report their analyses back to the full Legislative Committee.
Each analysis reviewed the ballot measure’s language, proponent and opponent arguments and whether the measure had a basis for advocacy as required under State PTA authorities. California State PTA legislative platforms and authorities were reviewed for each measure.
On September 16, the full Legislative Committee met, including 17 committee members representing schools throughout the district. Each measure was discussed at length. As a result of those deliberations, the Committee made a recommendation to the full PTA Council on each of the three measures.
On September 24, the full PTA Council heard the Committee’s presentation and recommendations, then passed the attached resolution, officially ratifying Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs position on the three measures. Based upon the studies and recommendations of its Legislative Committee, PTA Council determined that sufficient PTA authorities exist to warrant taking positions on Measure A and Proposition SM, but not on Measure T.
Santa Monica – Malibu Council of PTA’s Legislative Committee Summary of Recommendations and Proposed Resolutions
September 24, 2008
Measure AA: Santa Monica College Career and Educational Improvements.
Authorizes the Santa Monica Community College District to issue $295 million in general obligation bonds to construct and modernize Santa Monica City College’s facilities as Phase 3 (Modernization) of its multi-phase Facility Master Plan.
SMMUSD and SMC have been working cooperatively in areas such as expanding college opportunities for high school students; and facilities and facility management (e.g., renovation and upgrading of JAMS field for joint use). Historically, California State PTA supports adequate funding for community colleges on the bases that (1) California’s system of public higher education, including community colleges, play a critical role in our state and nation’s economic and cultural vitality, and (2) schools and colleges should work together to facilitate articulation from secondary to higher education.
Measure SM: Santa Monica Utility UsersTax (Update and Re-Authorize)
Amends and authorizes the 10% Santa Monica Utility Users Tax to include modern telecommunication technologies.
Since the Federal Excise Tax has been repealed, the City needs to reestablish its authority for collecting the utility tax on modern telecommunication services. This action maintains a significant revenue source for the City’s General Fund while establishing equity in taxation among different technologies. The GF funds social service, public safety, and recreational services important to PTA’s mission of advocating for the health and welfare of all children. In addition, the UUT is specifically cited as one of 8 revenue sources to be considered in determining the City’s annual financial contribution to SMMUSD under the Facilities Use Contract which is up for renewal in January 09. PTA has consistently taken positions to protect funding vital to the well being and public education of our children, families, and public schools.
Proposition T: Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic
Recommendation: NO POSITION
Would place an annual limit of 75,000 square-feet on new commercial development for the next 15 years. Schools, hospitals, religious buildings and other community-serving development would be exempt. Large-scale development projects could be approved by voters. Proponents argue that reduced commercial development would reduce future traffic and improve air quality and public safety. Opponents argue that reduced commercial development would potentially reduce the rate of the City’s revenue growth and could impact funding for schools. The City’s impartial ballot pamphlet analysis is silent on both issues.
The Legislative Committee finds insufficient linkage to PTA’s authorities to take a position either supporting or opposing this measure. No authority linking PTA to traffic or development was found, and potential effects of Proposition T are uncertain in areas of general PTA authority, i.e., children’s health and safety, and funding of education. Given the lack of sufficient PTA authority, together with other legislative priorities and the potential division this measure creates within the PTA community, the Committee found the balance of competing interests not sufficiently clear to justify taking a position on Proposition T.
The Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs
WHEREAS, as within its authority, the Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs advocates for and takes positions on Measures affecting adequate and stable funding to support student academic achievement and to promote programs for the health and safety of all children and families; and
WHEREAS, the Legislative Committee of the PTA Council has undertaken studies of the following Measures and whether sufficient PTA authorities existed for PTA Council to take a position on them;
WHEREAS, based upon these studies, PTA Council has determined that sufficient PTA authorities exist to warrant taking positions on Measure A and Proposition SM, but not on Measure T;
Now, therefore be it RESOLVED, that:
1. The Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs take a position SUPPORTING Measure AA, Santa Monica College Career and Educational Improvements.
2. The Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs take a position SUPPORTING Measure SM, Santa Monica Utility Users Tax.
3. The Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs take NO POSITION on Measure T, Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic.
Signature: Rebecca Kennerly
President, Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs
September 26, 2008