League of Women Voters of California
Earthquake and Fire Safety Bond
County of Los Angeles
Two-thirds Majority Approval Required
965,963 / 60.54% Yes votes ...... 629,545 / 39.46% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement ||
To ensure that the Natural History Museum and other County Museums meet strict earthquake and fire safety standards, generate at least 250 million dollars in private donations for these facilities, provide 50% more free admissions for student groups and children, and assure fire and earthquake safe science and arts education facilities, shall the County issue up to 250 million dollars in bonds on the condition that the private donations be received first, with review by an Independent Oversight Committee?
Approval of Measure A would authorize the County of Los Angeles ("County") to issue up to a maximum of $250,000,000 in general obligation bonds to provide fire and earthquake safety and associated capital improvements at public and non-profit private facilities devoted to science and arts throughout the County.
Funds received from the sale of the bonds would be allocated for fire, earthquake safety, and associated work as follows: $98,000,000 to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County ("Natural History Museum") for work at its Exposition Park facility; $98,000,000 to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ("Museum of Art") for work at the Art Museum; $10,000,000 to the Music Center of Los Angeles County ("Music Center") for work at the Music Center; $15,000,000 to California State University Northridge ("CSUN") for work at a new Performing Arts Center; $15,000,000 to Plaza de Cultura y Arte Foundation for work required to create a cultural arts complex on County property in the area of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles historical district; $8,000,000 to the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation for work at a Performing Arts Center to be built in the San Gabriel Valley; $1,000,000 to the Los Angeles County Office of Education for work at the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts; and, $5,000,000 to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for capital construction grants to small and medium-sized non-profit arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County.
Any funds allocated to the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Art, the Music Center and CSUN must be matched with contributions from nongovernmental sources made on or after July 1, 2002. The Natural History Museum and Museum of Art must each raise approximately $1.15 in private contributions to receive each $1.00 in bond funds, and the Music Center and CSUN must each raise $1.00 in private contributions to receive each $1.00 in bond funds. No bond funds will be provided to an organization until the receipt of matching funds by that organization has been verified by the County's Auditor-Controller. The matching funds may be used for any capital improvements. If the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Art, the Music Center or CSUN has not matched all of the amount allocated to it by November 5, 2012, the unmatched amount would be forfeited, and would no longer be available for allocation to any project.
All funds are required to be disbursed and expended in accordance with a Project Agreement to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, and may not be reallocated to other projects. Also, in addition to the required private matching funds, no bond funds shall be allocated to the Natural History Museum or the Museum of Art until that Museum has signed a legally binding agreement with the Board of Supervisors providing 50% more free admissions to children than were provided during fiscal year 2001-02, and free tours to 50% more school children (elementary, middle and secondary) than the number of children so served during fiscal year 2001-02, for a minimum of twenty years until November 5, 2022. Pursuant to Article XIIIA of the California Constitution, funds received from the sale of the bonds may not be used for any purpose except for the improvement or acquisition of real property. Any bond proceeds which have not been distributed for a project by November, 2012, must be used thereafter to pay principal and interest on the bonds.
The Board of Supervisors shall appoint a five-member Citizens Oversight Committee to oversee and report to the public on the expenditure of all bond funds and the performance of all commitments undertaken pursuant to this Measure.
The bonds would be issued and sold at an interest rate not to exceed the maximum legal limit, and would be repaid by a property tax upon real property located within the County over a period not to exceed the maximum number of years allowed by law.
This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.
The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure A. If you desire a copy of the Measure and Ordinance, please call the office of the Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk at (562) 466-1310 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.
|Arguments For Measure A||Arguments Against Measure A|
|SEISMIC AND FIRE SAFETY EXPERTS AGREE:
YES on "A"
Los Angeles County's Museum of Natural History is visited every year by 500,000 children and adults who come from all parts of the County to learn about science and nature. Unfortunately, this Museum does not meet today's strict earthquake and fire safety standards # it was first built in 1913.
Measure "A," the Earthquake and Fire Safety Bond, will protect children and adults from earthquake and fire hazards at this and other aging science and cultural facilities. Measure "A" will provide stronger building foundations, walls and ceilings, and will install vital new fire prevention and life safety systems. Measure "A" is a good deal for Los Angeles County:
- Our Museums and other facilities will meet today's strict seismic and fire/life safety codes to protect the thousands of children and adults who visit every year.
- Under Measure "A," bond funds cannot be spent until an equal, matching contribution from private, non-governmental sources is received. This approach to providing critically-needed earthquake and fire safety protection is unprecedented in California.
- Measure "A" will require Museums to increase free admissions for children and school groups by 50% over last year's levels. This will expand educational opportunities for children from every part of our County.
- An independent Citizen's Oversight Committee will be established to ensure all bond funds are spent as the voters intended.
Earthquake, fire, and life safety improvements at our Museum facilities have been deferred for far too long. Public safety officials from throughout Los Angeles County agree that Measure "A" is needed NOW.
Vote YES on Earthquake and Fire Safety. Vote YES on "A".
The money doesn't have to be earmarked for earthquake and fire safety. That's why groups throughout the county are lining up to get funding for their pet projects. This translates to new buildings, not repairing old ones.
$98 million is designated for the Museum of Natural History. This museum is 89 years old and has stood as a solid landmark. It may need some renovations; if so, the museum needs to turn to existing sources of funding.
Another $98 million is designated for the County Museum of Art. This museum is much newer and should have been built to code. Instead, museum directors intend to tear it down and build a new one. Measure A increases free admissions for schoolchildren, but how will they visit the museum while the entire complex is being razed?
It's great news that the private sector will be asked to match the $250 million in bond money, but we say: Let them contribute all of it. It isn't fair to finance museums through tax dollars, when individuals have varying degrees of appreciation for the arts.
Remember, bond financing is the most expensive way to fund government projects. Taxpayers will have to pay $250 million plus at least $150 million in interest over 25 years. Routine maintenance should come from the regular budget. Measure A isn't about maintenance; it's about new construction. Please vote NO.
|All we need now is to be taxed for the arts. Proposition A is a proposed hike in
the property tax to do that very thing.
County taxpayers would pay $250 million for museum bonds, plus interest of at least $150 million over 25 years. Private contributors would match this by another $250 million. If the museums and arts centers can raise $250 million, they don't need any more money from us!
Our tax money is not just for earthquake and fire safety at museums. County officials aren't limited in how they spend the bond money. They want to build new theaters and cultural centers. These need to be paid for by individual contributions, like any other artistic endeavors. Taxpayers don't fund the Getty Center or Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum. We can't feed everyone at the public trough.
There are currently plans underway for a major $300 million remodeling of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a beautiful, modern facility. Instead of making a few needed renovations, the museum board elected to hire an avant garde designer, and totally raze the existing buildings. Some would call this excessive, while others might say the new design is a dramatic way to house the county's premier artworks. But taxpayers should not pay in any event.
Cultural leaders and government officials seem to share an "edifice complex," in which they desire to construct more and more buildings at taxpayer expense as monuments to their "leadership." What's next, road signs that read: "These umbrellas by Christo financed by Los Angeles County taxpayers"? We believe the private sector should decide which cultural institutions are necessary and finance them accordingly.
County supervisors put Proposition A on the ballot without debate. They assumed there would be no objection to their big-spending plans. Let your "No" vote be heard in the gallery.
Consider the following facts:
- The Natural History Museum was first built before World War I -- long before earthquake safety construction standards ever existed.
- Hundreds of thousands of students visit this and other aging science and cultural facilities each year with their teachers and parents.
- These are public facilities that serve all the people of Los Angeles County. They are not private museums built by billionaires.
- Life safety features of these buildings must be modernized sooner rather than later.
"Earthquake, fire, and life safety improvements at our Museums have been deferred for far too long." -- James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director in charge of the federal 1994 Northridge Earthquake recovery operations.
The individuals who signed the ballot argument against Measure A are completely wrong about the Measure's purpose and what it will provide.
Here is what Measure A will do:
- It will ONLY fund PROJECTS SPECIFICALLY NAMED in the Measure.
- It will require the museums to increase by 50% the number of children who take advantage of free tours each year # allowing more students to learn regardless of income.
- It will bring fire, seismic, and life safety systems up to modern standards at specifically designated County museums, science, and cultural facilities.
Vote YES to protect lives. Vote YES on Measure A.
|Tax Rate Statement|
|As shown on the enclosed sample ballot, an election will be held in the County of
Los Angeles on November 5, 2002 for the purpose of submitting to the electors
of said County the question of incurring a bonded indebtedness of said County in
the principal amount of $250,000,000. If such bonds are authorized and sold, the
principal thereof and interest thereon will be payable from the proceeds of tax
levies made upon the taxable property in said County. The following information
regarding tax rates is given to comply with Sections 9400 to 9404 of the Elections
Code. Such information is based upon the best estimates and projections
presently available from official sources and upon experience within said County
or other demonstrable factors.
If said bonds are authorized, the present projection is that said $250,000,000 of bonds will be sold and dated on or about September 1, 2003 maturing annually on the anniversary of their date from the year 2004 through the year 2033.
Based upon such projections and estimates the following statement is made in compliance with paragraphs (1) and (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 9401 of the Elections Code:
(1) The first fiscal year after the sale of the bonds will be the fiscal year 2004-05. It is presently estimated that the assessed value of all taxable property in the County as shown on the assessment roll for such fiscal year will be $655,734,716,188. Based upon the foregoing estimates and projections, the tax rate which would be required to fund said bond issue during such fiscal year 2004-05 would be $0.002485 per $100 of assessed valuation.
(3) The fiscal year in which the highest tax rate required to fund said bond issue will be levied is estimated to be fiscal year 2003-04. It is presently estimated that the assessed value of all taxable property in the County as shown on the assessment roll for such fiscal year will be $642,877,172,734. Based upon the foregoing estimates and projections, the tax rate which would be required to fund said bond issue during such fiscal year 2003-04 would be $0.002863 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the County. These projections and estimates relate only to the funding of the bonds to be issued as a result of this election and do not relate to the funding of previously issued bonds. The actual times of sales of said bonds and the amount sold at any given time will be governed by the needs of the County, the then applicable debt limit, the state of the bond market and other factors. The actual interest rate which bonds sold will bear will depend upon the bond market at the time of the sale. The actual assessed values during the several future years will depend upon the then amount of taxable property within the County and the value thereof as determined in the assessment process. Hence, the actual tax rates and the years in which the same are applicable may vary from those presently estimated as above stated.