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Backers Regroup : State Traffic Initiative Planned

Times Staff Writer

Backers of a failed Simi Valley initiative that would have forced developers to pay more for street improvements said Wednesday they plan to collect enough signatures to put a traffic-control measure before state voters.

Opponents said Simi Valley voters turned down the initiative, Measure C, because the City Council has taken sufficient steps to reduce traffic.

The result was 19,380 votes, or 58.7%, against the measure, and 13,649 votes, or 41.3%, for it.

Proponents of the initiative said they plan to meet Dec. 3 in San Francisco with other slow-growth advocates to begin drafting a state traffic-control measure similar to the failed Simi Valley initiative.

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Like Measure C, the state measure would force developers to pay more for street improvements and would put a moratorium on construction until the improvements were made, said Paul La Bonte, co-author of Measure C. But unlike the local initiative, projects that add to traffic congestion statewide would be affected.

About 675,478 people, or 8% of those who voted in the last gubernatorial race, would have to sign petitions to put such a measure on the ballot.

Proponents of Measure C said they took heart from the passage Tuesday of initiatives similar to Measure C in San Juan Capistrano and Costa Mesa.

“The Simi Valley race was just one battle in a war over growth control that we’ll be fighting for the next several years,” said La Bonte, who also unsuccessfully sought a City Council seat. “We lost because money was the key thing, and we didn’t have enough.”

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Mayor Gregory A. Stratton, who was reelected Tuesday and is a foe of the measure, said Measure C lost because “it was a bad law.”

Opponents of Measure C raised about $95,000 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 22, more than 17 times the $5,300 raised by proponents, according to campaign financial statements filed with the city.

“We have a very conservative group of voters out here who feel there is more than enough government as it is,” Stratton said. “They recognized that the law was unnecessary because the City Council already has a traffic plan.”

But La Bonte said the city adopted aspects of Measure C when they realized that the citizens group was committed to its passage.

In San Juan Capistrano, 4,904 voters, or 51.6%, passed a similar traffic initiative, Measure X. In Costa Mesa, Measure G passed with 15,286 votes, or 50.2%.


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