State election bodes well for university

15 NOVEMBER 00 | Last week's state election turned out well for the university, with additional Cal support elected to the state legislature and passage of an important proposition.

Proposition 39 allows a simple majority of voters, rather than a two-thirds majority, to pass future school bonds. Californians voted the proposition into law Nov. 7 by a comfortable margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

It will have a significant impact on Berkeley's ability to seek state funding for capital improvements and new building projects in the future.

"Passage of Proposition 39 is good news for the Berkeley campus and for all of education," said Steve Arditti, assistant vice president and director of state governmental relations in the Office of the President. "This will help Berkeley get the funding it needs for capital improvement projects."

The measure will make it easier for the UC system to win passage of finance bonds for capital expenditures on the ballot, a process that had required a majority of 67 percent of voters to approve in the past.

Gov. Gray Davis and former Gov. Pete Wilson, who teamed up to support the proposition, were pleased at the outcome, as voters had been divided down the middle going into the election.

"This was a measure that had been endorsed by the Regents, but was neck-and-neck among voters going into the election," Arditti said. "We're very happy that it passed."

In approving the legislation, voters have agreed to let their property taxes pay off school bonds that pass by a 55 percent majority, rather than a two-thirds supermajority of 67 percent, required under the existing measure, passed in 1978.

The proposition also clears the way for a simple majority of voters to pass local school bonds for capital improvements, new buildings and classrooms, and allow them to continue class-size reduction measures in the K-12 system and in community colleges.

In local elections, all of the Berkeley City Council incumbents won reelection, and only one new member, Miriam Hawley, joined the board. Hawley served previously on the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Board and worked closely with the campus developing the student "class pass."

New faces in California politics


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