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Say hello to Measure SC: police station ballot initiative gets a name

The police station ballot measure officially has a name—Measure SC.

That information comes from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, which posted a list of upcoming ballot measures for the June 5 election last night.

Measure SC calls for a $25 million general obligation—$23.5 in bond issuances and $1.5 million from the city’s general fund to pay for fixtures, furniture and equipment—to be paid over 25 years to build a 26,000 square foot facility at the location of the current station at 570 west Bonita Avenue.

The funding mechanism—a general obligation bond—will tax Claremonters at a maximum rate of $30.33 per year per $100,000 in the assessed value of a property. Over time, that number will decrease to about $24.47 per year, according to an impartial analysis from Claremont city attorney Alisha Patterson.

Arguments for and against the measure were also released this week. Claremont Mayor Opanyi Nasiali and residents Julie Pedroza, Butch Henderson, Paul Wheeler and Betty Crocker wrote the argument in favor. Residents Jay Pocock, Donna Sue Lowe and Gary Lowe wrote the argument against the measure.

The argument in favor of the station plans starts off by listing how the current station, which was built in the early 1970s, is inadequate. It fails to met current building codes, it fails to meet accessibility requirements for the disabled, the jail is substandard, the technology is inadequate for a 24/7 police force, it fails to provide equal and adequate facilities for female officers and it is destined to fail when a major earthquake occurs.

“Our community needs a station that is not failing, and will not fail us in a disaster,” the letter states. “We need a station that serves the emergency needs of our residents, businesses and visitors.”

The arguments against focus on how Measure SC would levy a new tax for 25 years “for yet another oversized and over-priced police station.”

They briefly mention Measure PS, the first proposed ballot measure that was defeated at the ballot box in 2015. This new proposal, they say, is “still an imposing edifice almost three times the size of the current structure, and over five times its original cost in dollars.”

Claremont’s population has only grown by less than half since the current station was built, detractors say, and city staff has no idea what the additional operating costs of the new station will be or where they will come from.

The argument dug into tax breaks from businesses, to the tune of $2.8 million, while colleges would be exempt from paying roughly $4.9 million into the bond.

The letter in favor of the measure notes that while not everyone will agree on a funding mechanism for the proposed station, the time for a new police facility is now.

“Patching is no longer an option,” the letter states. “Are we willing to risk a costly lawsuit or the closure of the station for violations and non-compliance with state and federal requirements or pay a higher cost to build after a disaster?”

Detractors also cited a survey taken by a small number of residents in September that noted a marked opposition to the funding mechanism. The letter ends by taking the city to task at losing $11 million in the failed bid to take over the water system that has taken reserves below guidelines.

“With unfunded pensions, state mandates and with additional county and state taxes, this is too much,” the letter states.

Supporters of the measure ended their letter with a call to action to replace the aging police station.

“The time is now to replace the inadequate and unsafe station with a new building that reflects Claremont’s commitment to safety,” they wrote.

Claremonters will go to the polls on June 5.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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