A broad consensus is emerging among Malibu political leaders from all sides of the spectrum that the proposed Santa Monica College bond issue on this fall’s election ballot is a very bad deal for Malibu.

Craig Foster, the city’s lone member on the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board is campaigning against the college bond issue.

Foster said all five city council members are also against Measure SMC, a $375 million construction bond proposed by Santa Monica College that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot in both Santa Monica and Malibu.

In Santa Monica, the bond issue proposes replacing temporary classrooms and an “obsolete” lab, upgrading the Veterans Success Center, adding and expanding facilities for health programs and constructing an SMC Police Department substation.

One big goal is constructing student housing for homeless students and students at risk of homelessness.

But in Malibu, the $375 million bond issue proposed nothing at the new Malibu SMC satellite campus, funded by an earlier bond issue and scheduled to open next year.

There is a vague proposal to contribute $20 million of the Measure SMC bonds to build a joint use Performing Arts Center at Malibu High School.

Speaking during a Malibu Measure M Bond Oversight Committee meeting last week, Foster called that “insulting” to Malibu taxpayers.

“For the Malibu High School Performing Arts Center, we could do it ourselves and keep 100% of our bond money,” Foster said. “So, they sort of annoyingly said, ‘Well, $20 million is more than nothing,’ but paying $125 million of Malibu residents’ money to get a $20 million tip from Santa Monica College is one of the reasons why I characterize this as insulting.”

At the same meeting, Malibu Mayor Paul Grisanti said he wants SMC to pay for a performing arts center for joint use by the college and Malibu High School to be located at Malibu High.

Grisanti, like Foster, pointed out that the bond would have $125 million flowing from Malibu to Santa Monica College and only $20 million coming back for Malibu projects.

“They came up with a number they were talking about the neighborhood and things like that,” Grisanti said, “and it was explained to them that was not a realistic contribution towards what we were looking for.”

Measure SMC would increase property taxes in both Santa Monica and Malibu by 2.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation per year.  

Malibu-based KBUU News reported there had not emerged any outspoken support for the bond anywhere in Malibu and could not locate a source to speak in favor of the bond in Malibu.

On Thursday, a mailer arrived at Malibu mailboxes from the “Yes On SMC” committee.

Not one name from Malibu was endorsing it, though it did name the Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce as being in support.

Foster, who announced earlier this summer that he would not be seeking re-election for a third term on the SMMUSD School Board, said he would urge Malibu voters to vote against the Santa Monica College bond issue and instead work toward a Malibu-only school bond down the line.

“We can pass our own bond and build our own Performing Arts Center where 100% of the funds are spent here,” Foster suggested. “So, it’s highly problematic from my point of view. I’m counting in my head but I am pretty sure that in addition to me saying ‘No’ to the SMS bond, every single city council member has also said that they are ‘No’ on the Santa Monica bond. This will be something that I will be communicating very clearly to the Malibu voters.”

A version of this story was broadcast by KBUU News.