The Coast News Group
Community CommentaryOpinion

Yes vote urged on Measure MM

MiraCosta College is an invaluable resource for local students and businesses here in North San Diego County. Our local community college has done an excellent job training the local workforce, preparing students for four-year college and supporting veterans.  MiraCosta has earned the community’s trust and we urge a yes vote on Measure MM.

As our local economic engine, MiraCosta College is a key partner to local industries and is responsible for training skilled workers in growing fields like biotechnology, nursing, maritime technology and high-tech manufacturing. More than one in three local high school graduates turn to MiraCosta College for an affordable and high-quality education. This demand continues to grow as the cost of four-year college has skyrocketed.

In addition, more than 1,800 active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families depend on MiraCosta for job training and counseling services.

When local residents need to advance their skills, prepare for college or train for a new job, they turn to MiraCosta College. That is why Measure MM is so important — it will allow our community college to continue providing high-quality affordable education and training local workers for careers.

Even though MiraCosta has skillfully managed a limited budget, it has been over fifty years since our community college received significant funding for facility improvements.

In that same time, all of our neighboring colleges have received funding that has helped them advance and keep pace with 21st century needs. If we want our own local college to prepare students to compete in today’s economy, we must make the investment.

Classrooms, laboratories and career training facilities need to be updated and additional classrooms and labs are needed to serve the growing demand for career training.  Facilities for job training and veterans services need to be improved.

Measure MM is necessary. No other source of funding exists for upgrading our local community college.

Measure MM provides clear accountability and local control. By law, every penny must be spent to improve and upgrade classrooms and facilities at MiraCosta College. Funds cannot be diverted to other purposes or be taken away by the state. An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits will ensure Measure MM funds are spent as promised.

In addition, Measure MM will qualify our college for state matching funds, when they become available, which will help make our local dollars go farther and improve our college for generations to come.

We are proud to join a growing coalition of Measure MM supporters — including the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Biocom, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Oceanside and Carlsbad Chambers of Commerce.

Measure MM continues to receive broad-based community support from organizations, elected officials and community leaders throughout the county.

Measure MM is a carefully developed plan that will directly support MiraCosta College right where it needs it — in the classroom. Please join us this Nov. 8 in voting yes on Measure MM — for our college and for our local economy.

Jim Ashcraft is an Encinitas business owner, Gregory A. Stein is chairman of the board of San Diego County Taxpayers Association and Ted Owen is president and CEO of Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.