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City of Thousand Oaks "Right to Vote on Traffic Congestion", Measure B (June 2008)

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A City of Thousand Oaks "Right to Vote on Traffic Congestion Initiative", Measure B ballot question was on the June 3, 2008 ballot for voters in the City of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County, California, where it was defeated.

If Measure B had been approved, it would have amended city ordinances to require that any development projects that would have an impact on traffic must automatically be submitted to a public vote. Development projects that would have been submitted to the citywide ballot, under Measure B, would have included any that would involve a traffic increase--whether that was just during the construction period or after the project was completed. If a proposed development project included plans for street improvements to ameliorate or solve traffic problems, those plans could not be factored into whether or not the project had to be submitted to a popular vote under Measure B.

The campaign attracted significant interest and significant money. As of mid-May 2008, about $1.3 million had been spent, with about $750,000 on the "yes" side and about $550,000 on the "no" side. By far the largest donor to the "yes" side was a corporation, the "Do It" Center. The "Do It" Center is a large hardware and home improvement store; its motivation for funding a campaign to put Measure B on the ballot was the prospect of competition from Home Depot. Home Depot had announced a plan to build a store at a former K-Mart site on Hampshire Road; in response to this potential competition, the Do It Center launched the Measure B campaign.[1]

Jeff Ruf, the owner of the Do It Center, had funded similar initiative campaigns in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village to make it harder for rival home improvement stores to compete.[2] His involvement is what led The Thousand Oaks Acorn, in its editorial opposing Measure B, to write, "Measure B is a slick marketing strategy to stifle competition by a multimillion dollar company that's fighting an even bigger corporation."[3]

Donors opposing Measure B included Home Depot, the Janss Marketplace and Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center.[4]

Election results

Measure B
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No15,12456.27%
Yes 11,753 43.73%
These election results are from the Ventura County elections office.

Support

In addition to the Do It Center, Measure B was supported by the Agoura/Oak Park/Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, County Supervisor Linda Parks, and Thousand Oaks City Councilmember Claudia Bill-de la Peña.[5]

Opposition

The 40-person council of the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers voted in late March to oppose Measure B. Their fear was that the Conejo Valley Unified School District could lose new annual revenues from property taxes. This would happen if the initiative passed and voters rejected proposed projects. The union's belief about how much potential revenue might be lost if the measure was approved was based on a financial impact analysis conducted by a consultant hired by the city. Measure B supporters said that the analysis was flawed.

Arleigh Kidd, executive director of the union, said, "When you halt development, you halt money that goes to schools. If that money is gone, the need is still there. It needs to come from somewhere. We don't want it coming from the classroom and more programs to be cut."[6]

Two other groups who opposed Measure B were the Area Housing Authority and Ventura County Economic Development Association.[7]

Westlake Revelations, a newspaper covering the Westlake and Thousand Oaks area, editorialized against Measure B. One of their primary concerns was the impact Measure B would have on the emergency room of the local hospital.[8]

The boards of the Thousand Oaks Little League and the Conejo Valley Little League teams announced their opposition to Measure B in May. In their statement of opposition, they cited a study that suggested that the Conejo Recreation and Park District would bear additional annual costs in property taxes of $330,000 if Measure B passed.[9]

The City of Thousand Oaks spent $100,000 on various matters related to the measure. The city council, which included several members who were opposed to Measure B, approved $25,000 for legal services related to the citizen initiative. The city also spent $70,000 on an impact analysis, $10,000 on traffic analysis and $8,600 on outside legal fees.[10]

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Measure B: "Shall the ordinance amending City of Thousand Oaks General Plan and adding a Zoning provision: (1) requiring certain large projects to undergo a comprehensive traffic study using two different methodologies; and (2) requiring the project be submitted for voter approval at a citywide election, if the study concludes that the project's trip generation results in a Level Service of "D" or worse to impacted City roads or intersections before any traffic mitigation be adopted?"[11]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Measure B earned its spot on the ballot through a paid petition drive that collected about 15,000 signatures.

External links

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References

  1. Thousand Oaks Acorn, Home Depot is funding the drive against Measure B, May 1, 2008
  2. Ventura County Star, Possible effects of Measure B debated, May 24, 2008
  3. Thousand Oaks Acorn, Vote no on Measure B, May 22, 2008
  4. Ventura County Star, Campaign finance reports for June 3 election released, May 24, 2008
  5. The Acorn, Chamber supports right to vote on traffic initiative, May 8, 2008
  6. Ventura County Star, Labor council says no to job-killer initiative
  7. Ventura County Star, Teachers union opposes T.O. land initiative April 1, 2008
  8. Westlake Revelations, Measure B: "Traffic" initiative, Los Robles ER Closure, April 26, 2008
  9. Ventura County Star, Measure B: Calling a foul on traffic initiative, May 4, 2008
  10. Thousand Valley Acorn, "City of T.O. has already spent $100,000 on Measure B studies"
  11. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.