Schwarzenegger’s Shame

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian body builder turned movie star turned mogul turned very rich man  turned governor, becomes very emotional when he credits America in general and California in particular for his extraordinary rise  from shy, penniless immigrant to world-famous celebrity and governor of America’s most populous, diverse and liberal state, and the world’s eighth richest economy.

It’s a great performance, right out of one of those sentimental old B movies that Hollywood used to make. But he hasn’t done it in a while. After he made hash of the   state’s  finances, and broke more promises than he made, he chose to revert to The Terminator (he’s not just an action figure, he’s a  franchise!) .

Tuesday, the Terminator made a series of additional cuts in the already lean, mean and mindless new budget. Using the line item veto, he focused exclusively on the  people and programs that had  suffered the worst cuts in the budget negotiations. It’s the first rule in  Sacramento: never hit  anyone who can hit back.

These latest,  most brazen and cruelest cuts amount to a direct assault on our most vulnerable residents:  children, old people, poor people,  the disabled and the chronically ill.

In all, the old body builder slashed a total of $489 million   from  Child Welfare Services, the Office of AIDS Prevention and Treatment, critical services for the mentally and physically  disabled,   the Department of Aging, the Department of Public Health, programs for abused and neglected children, domestic-violence programs, Healthy Families, which provides health care for poor children, and state parks (100 of which will be closed), among others.
It was a shameful act by a man who, with the stroke of his blue pencil, denied untold numbers of children, older people and disabled people the opportunity he had to live fully and well in this blessed place.
Legislators have already  questioned the legality of the line item veto. There may be lawsuits, or a vote to overturn the veto, but it would requre a 2/3 majority of the Legislature to overturn the veto.
And the children and elderly and the  disabled continue to  wait.

More Questions Than Answers

By George Wolfberg
President, Santa Monica Canyon
Civic Association

I attended an emergency meeting of the PCH Task Force this afternoon.  As you may know, the task force was created many years ago by former Assemblyperson and State Senator Sheila Kuehl to provide a forum for issues relating to the Coast Highway from the McClure Tunnel through Malibu.  I have encouraged Senator Fran Pavley to continue the committee and am pleased to say she has.

The Bluffs restoration is the first of several projects that will have an impact on the highway.  More information is available at www.pchpartners.org   The Bluffs project is fully funded with a federal grant and must be wrapped up, including after-action reports within three years.  It is currently out to bid with the City of Santa Monica hoping to award a contract by September 8, with work to begin about a month later.  The key component of the work is the installation of approximately 80 hydraugers to drain excess water from behind the bluffs to reduce the danger of future slides onto the highway.  It takes about eight hours to drill one of the 6″ cores into which 1.5″ pvc pipe with holes to drain off the water will be placed.

The problem:  Cal Trans has placed conditions on construction that wil  be limited to 4 hours per day, 9 AM to 1 PM, Monday through Thursday with no work during the Summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Contractors, hungry for work that they are, have told Santa Monica that the four hour work limit just won’t cut it and it appears the bids will be few and exorbitant.  The purpose of the emergency task force meeting was to learn of the problem, options and possible solutions.

The option of doing some of the work at night is out because this was not studied in the Environmental Impact Report.  It will take about six months to prepare the revised EIR.  The project will be bumping against the upcoming California Incline project and the LA City Coastal Interceptor Sewer project that is planned to start in Fall 2010.  Most of the lane closures will take place between the Incline and Entrada Drive in the Northbound #3 lane.  The option to cordon off the lane with K-rails and work extended hours with the middle lane re-striped so a lane isn’t lost was problematic:  The Incline left turn pocket is in the way, parking lots and homes on the beach side would be off limits to left turns, and the clincher was the lack of access for emergency vehicles during peak traffic periods.

All eyes turned to the Cal Trans people and Senator Pavley’s person running the meeting summed up the best option as working from 5 or 6 in the morning until around 2 in the afternoon.  Cal Trans has some recent traffic flow numbers and will be crunching.  I think they will be flexible up to where the estimated flow exceeds lane capacity.  So, it will come down to expanded day hours, or revise the EIR to do work at night.  Cal Trans also will have to consider the impact of public outreach and extensive signage to warn people off of PCH.

Councilman Rosendahl’s deputy suggested making Entrada one way down the hill and Ocean Avenue one way toward the pier.  Not sure there was much traction, but it is out there.

Clinic Protests State Health Care Cuts

For the past month, Westside Family Health Center, a non-profit community clinic in Santa Monica, has  held a rally every Wednesday to  protest the state’s budget cuts. ( See lead story “Schwarzenegger’s Shame”)

The current budget crisis has made it increasingly difficult for individuals, families and communities to get the health care they need.

In addition to the rallies, the Center is collecting signatures from patients and outreach contacts and sending them to state representatives, urging them to stop the severe cuts that are  decimating the safety net that has
maintained vital health care services for the poor.

The Family Health Center, 1711 Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica, invites everyone who is concerned about the health care crisis to take part in the rallies and other activities. For more information, visit the website at  www.wfhcenter.org/

FILMS 4 CHANGE: Revolutionary Road Friday

Adapted from the revelatory novel by Richard Yates, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD is an incisive portrait of an American marriage seen through the eyes of Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet) Wheeler. Yates’s story of 1950’s America poses a question that has reverberated  through relationships ever since: can two people break away from the ordinary without breaking apart?
Frank and April have always seen themselves as special, different, ready and willing to live their lives based on higher ideals. So, when they move into their house in the suburbs, they  proudly declare their independence from the suburban inertia that surrounded them and vowed never to  be trapped by the social confines of their era. Yet for all their charm, beauty and irreverence, the Wheelers found themselves becoming exactly what they were determined not to be:  a good man with a meaningless job who’s had a failure of nerve and an   unhappy homemaker who’s starved  for fulfillment and passion.

Driven to change their fates, April hatches an audacious plan to start all over again, to trade the comforts of Connecticut for the great unknown in Paris. But they soon find themselves at profound odds.

Directed by Sam Mendes (Academy Award® winner for AMERICAN BEAUTY), from a screenplay by Justin Haythe,

RSVP : RachelJay@earthlink.net or call 310-451-2752 (first 20)

$5 donation for Change-Links
Progressive Newspaper and Calendar
http:change-links.org

The film wil be screened at  the home of Rachel and Jay, 601 9th Street in Santa Monica, at 7 p.m., Friday, July 31.

Blood Drive This Week

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica and KLOS/95.5 radio will host their  28th Annual blood drive on three days — Thursday, July  30 and   Friday, August 31, 2009 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, August 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

People  wishing to give blood should to make an appointment. Residents can call the Red Cross at 1 800 448 3543 or go to www.GiveLife.org. Spanish –speaking residents should call  1 866 .767 8432, or go to  www.cruzrojaamericana.org.

Persons in good health over the age of 17 (16 if accompanied by a parent),  weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood. Photo I.D. is required. Potential donors should drink plenty of water and eat normally before giving blood.

Donations will be taken at the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter at 1450 11th Street in Santa Monica. Free parking is available.

Donors wil receive a commemorative S T-shirt, a free Skillet Queso from Chili’s, a $5 gift certificate from Daphne’s Greek Cafe and a concert voucher from LiveNation to one of several concerts.

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica, is a publicly supported, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.