Ballot Measure S, the bond measure for the Ventura County Community College District, is a bad idea and would create a new, unneeded and unwelcome tax burden on the property owners of Ventura County.
This additional tax burden would go on for 30 years. The new tax that they are trying to impose on us is about $19 per $100,000 of assessed value.
As of November 2001, the median home value in Ventura County was $287,000. Remember that this is not a static tax. If the value of your property increases, and I don't foresee a real estate market crash any time soon, your tax increases. If the college district needs to raise the money for renovation and new construction, there are other, more equitable ways for it to do so.
First, let's look at some numbers. The college district claims an enrollment of about 47,000 students. The population of Ventura County is approximately 750,000. Assuming that all of the students are Ventura County residents, which they are not, that would mean that the colleges are utilized by about only 6.3% of the population.
Should this measure pass, the many would be forced to pay for the benefit of the few. Also, since many of the students paying resident tuition are from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, they would still be using our colleges and not having to pay the increase in the property tax, as this measure affects the property taxes only in Ventura County.
The most equitable way for the college district to raise the needed money would be to increase tuition fees. This way, the people reaping the benefits would be the ones paying for it.
Currently, California resident students pay $11 per unit tuition fee. Students from other states pay $130 and foreign students pay $144. The $130-per-unit fee more accurately reflects the cost of providing the educational services. This means that the taxpayers are already paying more than 90% of the cost of educating the students. And now the colleges want to stick their hands more deeply into our pockets? I think not.
Let's see how this would work. With 47,000 students, without knowing the breakdown between full and part time, conservatively say they average six units enrollment.
That would be 282,000 units. Increase the enrollment fee by $2 per unit, which is still way less than what it costs to go to a CSU or UC [and] that would bring in $564,000 a semester, well over $1 million a year just from the spring and fall semesters.
Isn't that much better than increasing our taxes again?
In order to elicit sympathy from the public, the district sent out a newsletter on the ballot measure that had a picture of a "dilapidated 1940s-era Quonset hut." Since they didn't mention what it was used for, I would imagine that they were hoping that people would believe that it was an example of the classroom buildings.
What they showed us was a building that's used for storing gardening and maintenance equipment and is still quite serviceable for that purpose.
We should let them know that we are not going to buy into this sympathy ploy by voting no on Measure S.
We have very little control over the taxes that are imposed on us, as most of them come from Sacramento and Washington. This is one tax that we can control and prevent from happening.
New Development Near Ormond Beach
Oxnard's Ormond Beach is slipping away. It is being lost to development one parcel at a time.
There are already many acres of industrial plants and vehicle-processing facilities. This area is covered with parking lots and huge trucks.
It is time to stop and look at the big picture.
In this case, it means looking at the small amount of land that still remains and being good stewards of this land. It means thinking about the legacy that will be left for future generations. Once the land is covered with buildings and paved with concrete, it is gone.
If proper planning is done, Ormond can enrich our lives. The obvious assets are the coastal wetlands and the long stretch of open beach with beautiful sunsets and wonderful views of the Channel Islands.
There are tremendous opportunities for educational study plus environmental and marine research. There can be parkland with elevated walkways, bridges over sensitive areas, viewing towers and beach access for people of all ages to see and appreciate this jewel. Any development must complement these uses.
Piecemeal development proposals that would take away from this potential are before city officials now.
One is 38 acres for another vehicle-processing facility. Cars would be brought into Ormond by train, through residential neighborhoods, and trucked out.
The other is a 50-acre Sysco distribution facility. Sysco is the largest food service distribution organization in North America. Sysco would generate an enormous amount of additional truck traffic.
Neither of these facilities needs to be located by coastal wetlands and beach land. Since all the trucks from these two facilities will be using Highway 101, Rice Avenue near Highway 101 would be an appropriate location.
Visioning and planning must be done. Oxnard City Council, staff and residents must work together so Ormond Beach can be a very special place.