$295 Million Bond Still Hot Topic
After concluding that the "Any Line, Any Time" system was a success with "minimal criticism," the issue of the college's $295 million bond was the center of focus once again at this week's Associated Students meeting.
The campaign to insure the bond's success on the Nov. 4 ballot is estimated to cost a maximum of $450,000. Former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane supports the massive campaign, stressing the importance of direct mail on the influence of voters.
"I am an advocate who is working to ensure success in the election campaign," said Director of Marketing Don Girard when asked if his role was similar to that of a lobbyist by Director of Sustainability Wendy Hermosillo. "I am not campaigning for a person running for office-I am campaigning for the future of Santa Monica College."
Of the nearly half-million dollar campaign funds, $225,000 is to be used for mailings to the citizens of the Santa Monica and Malibu area. The other half of the campaign fundings allocations have not been publically disclosed, although both canvassing and phone-calling are expected to be part of the campaign, as well.
"This presidential election is expected to have a greater voter turnout than any election I've ever seen in my lifetime," said Zane. "We need to make sure we have the resources to pass this bond measure."
A hesitant Hermosillo questioned the environment effect of the massive direct mail effort to influence voters. "Many citizens automatically throw away direct mail advertisements regarding election mail," she said. "How can we be sure that we are getting the most out of the campaign funding through direct mail, and are there any alternatives to physical mail that use large amounts of paper?" No answers have been provided on alternative methods of campaigning at this time.
Girard, who presented the campaign proposal to the Board, compared his volunteer work on the campaign to that of what many citizens consider to be a current economic recession. "The United States of America is going to have to earn its way out of the current financial situation," he said. "This time, our economy will need to be aided through education, not colonialism or war."
Student Trustee Cameron Henton introduced the proposed changes to the Cayton Building, where the A.S. currently meets. Meetings are conducted above the cafeteria, where the already minimal space is crowded with students using the space for studying.
The improvements would include a renovated bathroom with movement sensing sinks, a lounge area, new furniture, an air conditioning unit in the computer lab, a P.A. system and a sound system.
"During meetings, you sometimes can't even hear some of the speakers," said Faculty Senate Liaison Jo Kidd. "There are plans for the over 53 clubs to all meet in the Cayton Center-that's hundreds of people. When there are a handful of people in the room, the vocal projection is very weak. It's frustrating to think of the same situation, except with hundreds of club members all trying to listen to one person at the front of the room."
The Cayton Center renovations would also improve on the image of SMC as an innovator in green technology. The changes would result in solar panels installed on the roof and many plants that would decorate the room and decrease carbon dioxide amounts.
There are currently no official budget plans on the Cayton Center's plans, and Henton described the current process as "a lot of waiting" before any of the changes go into effect.