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Crucial Bond Measure Heads for November Ballot

by Michelle Barer Moskowitz, Public Affairs
posted Mar. 18, 1998

The state Legislature has three months to place a bond measure on the November ballot that will determine UC’s capital budget for years to come.

On March 9 the Legislature failed to place the measure on the June ballot because of unresolved issues having little to do with the University of California, such as limiting developer fees on new housing and lowering the vote margin required to pass local school bonds.

The legislation to place the bond on the November ballot is back in committee where it will be reworked to reflect compromises on these politically divisive issues.

“Had the bond passed in June, funding for the projects scheduled could have become available as soon as July 1998,” said Tom Koster, director of Space Management and Capital Programs. “Currently, if the bond passes in November, the funding will be available at the earliest in December 1998, which postpones plans at least by six months. That assumes the bond passes. If it doesn’t, the delay could be a year or more. As each project is delayed, it pushes back the project that is next in line.”

Berkeley has a detailed long-term state-funded capital improvement program. That program, modified to reflect the findings in the October 1997 Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal (SAFER) report, is subject to change due to uncertainties such as the bond measure and new seismic information about our buildings.

According to Nick Jewell, interim vice chancellor for capital projects, the university has always been “most dependent on state funding” for retrofitting projects.
Berkeley’s capital projects presently scheduled for funding with bond money over the next budget years include seismic corrections to Wurster, Barker, LeConte and Hildebrand halls, and 2251 College Ave.; and the improvement of campus water distribution and sewer systems.

Also in planning are replacement facilities to house staff of departments and labs whose buildings are under renovation.

During the next two months, UC’s state governmental relations efforts will be directed toward ensuring the bond measure gets on the November ballot. Once that takes place (and most believe it will), the focus will be to explain to the public why it is critical that the measure passes.

Berkeley alumni, along with faculty and staff in campus departments and programs in the buildings immediately impacted, will be asked to help illustrate what exactly is at stake for the campus.

With effective campaigning, the bond measure will go through the Legislature and Californians will cast their votes in favor of sustaining a world-class university in their home state.

For information on the bond measure, call Michelle Barer Moskowitz at 642-7016 or Len Materman at 643-9164.

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