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  • Ann Bowman

Letter from Ann Bowman to SMMUSD

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

From: Ann Bowman <annkbowman@yahoo.com>

Cc: Gail Pinsker <gpinsker@smmusd.org>; jaleh mirhasemi <jaleh-m@msn.com>; Alexis Dennis Huether <alexis@dh-studio.net>; Margaret Bach <mnlbach@gmail.com>; Joan Krenik <mkrenik@yahoo.com>


Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 07:21:46 PM PDT


Subject: August 17, 2023 School Board Meeting - Agenda Item II.I.1. - Civic Auditorium Feasibility Study

Dear School Board Members, Dr. Shelton, Mr. Upton, and Mr. Massetti: Although I appreciate the amount of thought and work that has gone into the Feasibility Study, I do not believe the School District is the right solution to revitalizing Santa Monica's Civic Auditorium. Also, I am not interested in seeing the School District ever own this property because the City is its rightful steward, always. It's the centerpiece of our Civic Center. Further, I would never, ever want to see the taxpayers be asked to pay a second time for something that they already own. The Civic Auditorium is a public asset on our public land. It's ours. The historic Civic should be rehabilitated and used for its original purpose: as a world-class multi-purpose civic site for concerts, community events, speakers, conventions, etc. It's a legacy project for this City Council, an effort that can renew our civic fabric, and also significantly juice our local economy in the process. The time is now to try and make that happen before settling for a second-tier solution. Also, please keep foremost in your minds that the primary - some might say ONLY - business of SMMUSD is educating our City's children and focusing on the fundamental classroom experiences, safety, and physical learning space needs of the students. Trying to manage or operate what rightly should be a vibrant community space and entertainment venue is inconsistent with that core mission and would be a major distraction. So I'd encourage some really smart financial planning going forward to make sure your General Fund does not end up in the red and to make sure the SMASH/Muir campus is rebuilt and reopened as soon as possible. Additionally, there are many leaking roofs that need your attention. And maybe it's time to consider a parcel tax to gas the General Fund instead of yet another couple of facilities improvement bonds. These are the challenges that should be your priorities. If you're running out of space on the Samohi Campus due to the constantly-changing construction plan there and all of the very, very large buildings going in, well, that is unfortunate but not a compelling reason for which the Santa Monica community should sacrifice its community heart & Civic Auditorium. Hopefully as leaders who love our overall community to the degree that I do, you will see that the right course of action at this time is to end negotiations with the City regarding the Civic Auditorium. Sincerely, Ann Bowman Resident, 26+ years

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