Tuesday, June 18

UCLA officials back Proposition 203


UCLA officials back Proposition 203

By Phillip Carter

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

As California’s March 26 election nears, UCLA administrators are
campaigning heavily for Proposition 203 – an educational bond
measure which provides $3 billion for state school buildings.

If passed, the initiative would provide $39.26 million to UCLA
for 10 separate construction projects, which are a combination of
deferred maintenance and seismic renovations.

Bond measures for education have a mixed record in California,
primarily because they are essentially a tax on voters – who are
generally reluctant to approve such measures.

But UCLA Chancellor Charles Young said that the situation had
become so severe that the initiative was necessary.

"Revenue for these projects exists nowhere else in the state
budget, so the need for the capital funding this measure would
provide has never been more critical," Young said.

"At UCLA, this measure would provide much-needed seismic and
life-safety improvements to several aging buildings and to the
campus’ future development overall."

While education receives broad support in most state elections,
several groups have come out in opposition to Proposition 203,
because of its proposed higher tax burden for Californians. These
organizations include conservative anti-tax coalitions, and a
number of other political groups across the political spectrum.

One of these groups, the state’s Libertarian party, has based
its campaign on the current inefficiencies which it claims run
rampant throughout the K-12 and college system.

"The school establishment pleads poverty, but wastes huge
amounts of money on administrators and other bureaucrats," said Ted
Brown, the former chair of the California Libertarian Party.
"Sixty-four percent of the education budget never makes it past the
bureaucracy into the classrooms."

Furthermore, Brown said, these types of bond measures only made
schools more dependent on voters for money when their budgets ran
out.

"If (these budgets) were spent properly, there would be plenty
of money spent in each public school district’s regular budget to
pay for needed projects and maintenance," Brown added.

Irrespective of the debate on this bond issue, campus officials
have already planned for the money’s usage. These plans slate 10
buildings for remedial construction, for either seismic or other
reasons.

* Haines Hall: $14 million to bring the building up to current
seismic and safety code requirements. The building also suffered
extensive cosmetic damage during the ’94 quake.

* Dentistry Building: $2 million to make seismic corrections, as
well as fire safety, disabled access and asbestos improvements, for
the aging building attached to the Medical Center.

* Knudsen Hall: The Physics Building will receive $2 million to
make seismic corrections, as well as fire safety, disabled access
and asbestos improvements.

* Slichter Hall: $3 million to make seismic corrections, as well
as other general improvements to the building’s safety and access
on this South Campus building.

* Schoenberg Hall: $3 million over two years to seismically
upgrade the reinforced-concrete music complex, as well as improve
its fire safety and disabled access.

* Rehabilitation Building: This complex, adjacent to Lot 32,
will receive $3 million over two years for seismic and life safety
upgrades.

* Dickson Art Center: Already under construction, Dickson Art
Center will receive just $142,000 for planning, to prepare it for
major renovations in the future. The Northridge quake caused
serious structural damage to the building.

* Dance Building: Also in severe seismic danger, the Dance
Building will receive $422,000 for planning, in preparation for
major seismic and life safety improvements in the near future.

* Engineering One: This building, which houses some of UCLA’s
most dangerous machinery and substances, is slated to receive $6
million from Proposition 203 for seismic and general
construction.

* Clark Library: Located east of UCLA near USC, this old mansion
was converted to a library in 1925, and will receive nearly $5
million for planning and construction projects. The library holds
the world’s largest public collection of Oscar Wilde
material.Comments to [email protected]

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