New Thousand Oaks Measure Suggested for 3 School Auditoriums
A Thousand Oaks city councilman who backed the cultural-center advisory measure rejected by voters last week has proposed a less ambitious measure calling merely for auditoriums at three of the city’s four high schools.
Councilman Lee Laxdal asked the City Council on Tuesday to place the scaled-down project on the November ballot. He withdrew the motion, however, after other council members asked for a week to think about it.
The council is expected to make a decision at its meeting Tuesday.
Thousand Oaks residents rejected with a 54% ‘no’ vote a proposal to use an estimated $22.3 million of city redevelopment money to build two theaters, an art gallery and an amphitheater and to help build auditoriums at Conejo Valley, Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks high schools. The city’s fourth high school, Westlake, was not included because it already has an auditorium.
Laxdal said he believes the voters would look more favorably on a less expensive project that would benefit the schools.
“What it comes down to is the schools simply do not have auditoriums, and the school district will never be able to put them up,” Laxdal said. “And we can do it, totally apart from the cultural-center concept.”
In the proposal on last week’s ballot, the high school auditoriums would have cost $4.35 million, of which the Conejo Valley Unified School District would have paid $1.5 million and the city the remaining $2.85 million.
One councilman has already said he opposes Laxdal’s proposal, but it has the backing of leaders of two groups that fought the use of city redevelopment money for a cultural center.
Richard D. Booker, president of the Thousand Oaks Taxpayers Assn., and Jack Rudd, president of the Committee Against Tax-Supported Culture, both said their groups will support putting the scaled-down proposal on the ballot and will probably support the measure itself.
“We certainly agree that it should go back on the ballot,” Booker said. “It has always been our position that it was a worthwhile effort, and we support that effort.”
Rudd said his only reservation regards the use of redevelopment funds.
“Our opinion is, redevelopment money ought to be used to eliminate blight if there is any,” Rudd said. “Therefore, I would rather see it come out of city funds than redevelopment. But we’re not going to object, in any case.”
Councilman Lawrence Horner, however, said he would vote against putting the measure on the ballot because he thinks voters have shown that “they just didn’t want to spend more money.”