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City Council OKs Civic Auditorium Funds

The panel also authorizes an agreement between the city and the school district.

After a , city officials are moving forward with plans to restore the .

The , in joint session with the Development Agency and the Financing Authority, passed the funding item by a vote of 4-3 on Thursday. The three opposing votes came from Mayor Pro Tempore Gleam Davis and Councilmen Bobby Shriver and Terry O’Day.

The funding sets into motion the plans developed through the Civic Center Specific Plan and the Redevelopment Agency’s five-year implementation plan.

At the meeting, council members reiterated interest in restoring the Civic Auditorium’s physical condition and importance to the community. But the council remained divided on how best to proceed, expressing concern that the proposed plan might not provide the most use for the community, even if it appeared to be the most financially attractive option. Pressure to utilize state funds that might soon be eliminated from next year’s budget only complicated things.

“What bothers me about this is that we’re rushing into an option. We are committing to a 2,400- to 2,500-seat performing arts center," Davis said during the council’s deliberations. "Our reason for entering into an agreement with Nederlander, with respect to the Civic, is to get this albatross off our neck. We can’t make it work as a city.”

But other members of the council, including , said the process had been lengthy and thorough, and that the item’s approval would allow the city and the Civic Auditorium to proceed toward improvement after years of deferred maintenance.

“This is a historic evening,” Santa Monica activist Jerry Rubin said after the council’s vote.

Also on Thursday, the council unanimously approved a measure authorizing City Manager Rod Gould to move forward with an agreement between the city and the that will allow the city use of underutilized recreational space at various district campuses after school hours.

The new agreement will be expanded to include and will be effective for a 10-year term, with options for renewal.

Consistent with the community’s wishes, as expressed in November's passage of advisory , the city will pay the district half the revenue from a new half-cent transaction and use tax.

The district will receive $1.09 million for the single quarter that the tax has been in effect during fiscal year 2010-11, but the tax is expected to generate approximately $11.4 million annually, giving the district and the city each a share of $5.7 million a year.

Finally, the City Council approved a grant funding recommendation for the proposed Human Services Grants Program and the Organizational Support Program Grants for nonprofit organizations involved in arts and culture initiatives in Santa Monica.

Thirty members of the community spoke on behalf of various organizations, providing the council with reports on developing needs and services.

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