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Goleta City Council Declares Opposition to Prop 53, Backs Prop 54

At the behest of the California League of Cities, Goleta took stances on measures addressing large revenue bonds and legislative transparency

The Goleta City Council took official stances this week on two of the 17 propositions slated to pack Californians’ November ballot.

Following a quick and unanimous vote, the city of Goleta officially opposes Prop 53, which addresses state revenue bonds, and supports Prop 54, which focuses on transparency in the state Legislature.

The vote came after the League of California Cities, which fell on the same sides of the propositions as the council, asked its members to take stances.

“I say we should stand up and be counted here,” Mayor Jim Farr said.

If passed, Prop 53 would amend the California Constitution to require statewide voter approval before California can issue or sell any revenue bonds of $2 billion or more for any projects the state owns, operates, manages or finances — including those in partnership with a federal agency, another state or a local government.

The result, proponents say, would be the public having a greater say in all hefty bond-funded projects in the state, which would have the added benefit of helping control the state’s debt.

Opponents, however, argue that voters in one region of the state could sway whether a project in another part of the state gets funded.

Local governments are concerned that such an approval process would take way local control of projects, City Manager Michelle Greene told the council, killing or delaying some of their infrastructure projects.

It has no exceptions, she said, for projects addressing emergencies or natural disasters.

Prop 53 is supported by the California Republican and Libertarian parties, along with a number of taxpayers associations.

It’s opposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the state Democratic Party, the California State Association of Counties, and a number of infrastructure- and agriculture-focused organizations.

Prop 54, the “California Legislative Transparency Act of 2016,” would bar the state Legislature, except in emergencies, from voting on bills until they’ve been published in print and online for 72 hours.

The proposition would also require the Legislature to record all of its open-session proceedings and make those recordings available online.

Under Prop 54, people would be able to freely create and share their own recordings of those proceedings.

The act is intended to provide the public time to voice their concerns on pending legislation, and have the opportunity to access legislative proceedings as easily as those who attend them in person.

It would cut down on last-second backroom dealing on bills, proponents say.

Opponents believe the 72-hour window would further the interests of wealthy individuals financially backing the proposition, and give special interests more opportunity to influence the legislative process.

The new rules would make coming to bipartisan solutions more difficult, opponents say.

Prop 54 has the support of a bevy of business organizations, the state Republican Party, many conservative-leaning political groups, the League of Women Voters of California and a number of taxpayers associations.

Included in its opposition is the California Democratic Party, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Nurses Association.

According to the California Secretary of State’s office, as of this week, over $4.5 million has gone toward passing Prop 53, versus $3.8 million in opposition.

Prop 54 has over $10.5 million backing it, according to the office, while not a single dollar has been registered in opposition.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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