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Open Letter to Santa Monica City Council and City Manager Expressing CEPS’s Support for the City’s Transaction Use Tax

July 13, 2010
Mayor Bobby Shriver
Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor
Councilmember Richard Bloom
Councilmember Gleam Davis
Councilmember Bob Holbrook
Councilmember Kevin KcKeown
Councilmember Terry O’Day
City Manager Rod Gould
Greetings,
I am writing on behalf of Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) regarding the proposed Transactions Use Tax item #8 – B on tonight’s agenda.
As you know, Community for Excellent Public Schools has advocated on behalf of preserving and protecting the excellence of our local public schools for more than a decade.  The impetus for CEPS’ initial advocacy was a similar State budget meltdown which threatened draconian cuts.
CEPS has always held the firm conviction that excellence in our local public schools relied on stable, predictable, ongoing local revenues that were not tied to the State of California’s fiscal health. 
Our group has operated with the knowledge that strong schools support a strong community, and that the relative health of each greatly impacts the other.  As such, the strength of our advocacy has relied on the diversity of our membership, and we have had many robust and healthy discussions around our CEPS meeting table with members from all ends of the political spectrum offering divergent points of view.  However, the focus remained stalwart, as all worked together to help protect the gem that are still our local public schools.
That background influenced our July 9th CEPS Steering Committee meeting at which we discussed, and unanimously affirmed our support for the City’s Transactions Use Tax and companion Advisory Measure. 
We feel that these paired measures are forward-thinking and represent an extremely effective method of providing greatly-needed increased revenues for all essential City services.  In addition, these measures help advance a closely-held CEPS belief that partnership and collaboration will create new resources for all. 
CEPS is delighted to support these measures.  In addition, we look forward to working with the campaign committee to help pass them.
CEPS embraces this new collaboration, and will work to carry it forward into the future.  We look forward to creating new and increasingly productive partnerships between the education community and all of our city partners – the business community, police, fire, city workers, and community groups.  Together, I know we can create new opportunities, new revenue sources and ongoing excellence.
The education community is a strong partner and a good ally.  We are eager to get to work with you on this new measure, and continue that creative work well into the future.
Thank you,
Rebecca Kennerly
Chair, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS)
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