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CAMPAIGN 2000: DECISIONS / VOTERS GUIDE : ORANGE COUNTY
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Wal-Mart, Bed Taxes, Bond Issue on Ballots

March 05, 2000

A proposal that would kill a new Wal-Mart. A motel tax. A new city hall. And a $10-million school bond measure.

These are among the many ballot initiatives that local voters will mull over at the ballot box Tuesday.

In Huntington Beach, the fate of a proposed Wal-Mart is the subject of Measures I and J.

Measure I would rezone the closed Crest View school on Talbert Avenue near Beach Boulevard from commercial to residential. If the measure passes, it would effectively kill plans by Ocean View School District to lease the land to Wal-Mart.

Critics say Wal-Mart doesn't belong in their neighborhood and they'd rather see the land sold.

Advocates say the district would receive $400,000 a year under the planned 25-year lease agreement. That money would be used to modernize and fix schools.

The Huntington Beach City Council also sponsored an advisory vote, Measure J, that asks residents whether they want 50% of the sales tax income from a Wal-Mart to be spent on projects such as neighborhood parks, bicycle trails and a new senior center. If passed, that measure is nonbinding.

In Garden Grove, residents will be asked to decide Measure H, an ordinance that would raise the city's tax on hotel and motel rooms from 10% to 13%. The measure was placed on the ballot in December by the City Council. If approved, it would make Garden Grove's the second-highest tax rate in Orange County, behind Anaheim's 15% bed tax.

Critics say the tax will drive tourists elsewhere. Hotel developers are among the supporters. The increased taxes are to be used for public safety employees.

In Mission Viejo, residents will finally answer the question: What kind of a city hall do they want?

Measure K offers residents three choices for the future home of their municipal offices, ranging from leasing a 47,750-square-foot building at a cost of approximately $107.5 million over the next 50 years to building a similar-sized structure on land the city owns at a cost of $57.7 million.

Critics say the multiple choice prevents the public from scaling back the size of the structure. Supporters say a new city hall is needed, and it won't be cheap.

Residents who live within the boundaries of the Magnolia School District in Anaheim are being asked to pass a $9.7-million bond measure to help improve the district's aging schools.

The bond measure would cost property owners an additional $25.27 per year per $100,000 of a property's value.

Proponents say the district's 40-year-old schools need the bonds to make critical improvements such as upgrading fire alarm systems, replacing underground plumbing and repaving school playgrounds. They say the funds also would help install electrical wiring necessary for providing additional computers.

School board trustees say they know of no one who formally opposes the measure.

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