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Councilman Sees Win Despite Vote on Proposition J

June 19, 1988

I'd like to publicly thank the many volunteers who worked on behalf of Proposition J in the recent Santa Monica election. For although the proposition did not win, because of their efforts, our city did.

It's important to keep in mind what Proposition J was--and what it wasn't.

Proposition J wasn't against anyone or any faction. It was a call for change.

Proposition J was designed to make our City Council more diverse and our candidates more accountable.

Proposition J was an educational effort aimed at focusing public attention on election reform and (was designed) to serve as a catalyst for change.

No one can say if Proposition J would have succeeded (in meeting its) . . . goals, but no one can deny its success in bringing election reform to the top of Santa Monica's agenda.

In spite of the complexity of the proposal and a strong campaign by opponents, including the major political organization in the city, nearly 10,000 Santa Monica voters representing over 42% of those going to the polls agreed that our elections need changing. To put this in perspective, Proposition J lost by fewer votes than did the first rent control proposition in 1979.

Even the No on Proposition J campaign was couched as a call for change . . .

Just as rent control and the homeownership program now known as TORCA both required two tries at the ballot, so will real election reform. For example, there are several community activists who for years have argued for district elections. Now, as a result of Proposition J, they have finally moved beyond the talking stage and plan to offer a proposal to the voters in 1990.

Only time will tell what form the change takes, but Proposition J's solid showing on June 7 is a harbinger that change is on its way.

ALAN KATZ

City Council member

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