Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank you Lt. Governor Newsom, Speaker Perez, President Pro Tem Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Dutton, Assembly Republican Leader Conway, constitutional officers, members of the legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens:
First of all, I wish to thank all of you in this chamber for the cordiality and good will that you have extended to my wife and me during these opening days of what will be an extraordinarily difficult and wrenching legislative session.
California faces a crisis that is real and unprecedented. Each of us will have to struggle with our conscience and our constituencies as we hammer out a sensible plan to put our state on a sound fiscal footing, honestly balance our budget and position California to regain its historic momentum.
Although our state’s economy has started to recover, we will not create the jobs we need unless we get our financial house in order. It’s absolutely essential that we do our work boldly and without delay.
My intention is to make California again a leader in job creation, renewable energy and state of the art efficiency, innovation of all kinds and a solid primary and secondary education. Our universities are world renowned and I intend to see that they continue to enjoy the respect of students and scholars throughout the world. We also have to restructure our criminal justice system, carefully realign state and local government functions, and streamline state government. All of this can happen if we find the courage and summon the will to tackle our budget deficit head on and deal with it honestly and without purpose of evasion.
This is not a time for politics as usual. The stakes are too high. Our overall financial system, which came close to absolute breakdown, has not fully stabilized. Where we go from here—either more austerity or more stimulus—is hotly contested. Even the cause of the mortgage meltdown remains in dispute. Continue reading GOVERNOR BROWN ON THE STATE OF THE STATE


The American Red Cross of Santa Monica responded to a call from Santa Monica Fire Department Battalion Chief Jose Torres at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 29, to an apartment fire in the 800 block of Pearl Street in Sunset Park.
At 8:40 a.m., a fire in a top floor apartment in the Pearl Street building was reported. Firefighters went immediately to the scene. One adult and one teenager occupied the apartment. The teenager jumped from the second floor of the five-unit, multi-family dwelling, and was sent to a local hospital to be treated. The adult did not require medical assistance. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Continue reading RED CROSS ASSISTS AT PEARL ST. FIRE


City Manager Rod Gould told the audience in Santa Monica College’s Broad Stage Thursday morning
that the State of the City was basically sound, despite the state’s continuing fiscal crisis and the
nation’s wobbly economy.
“The State of the City” is an annual event staged by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.
On the job for about a year, Gould cited fiscal discipline and strong leadership as the keys
to success in the coming year, and urged business and community leaders to work together to make “a city on a hill.”
The familiar phrase was first uttered by Massachusetts governor John Winthrop in 1630 in a call to “righteous living based on God’s covenant with his ‘New Israel.'” President Ronald Reagan used the phrase frequently, and, according to Google, it was most recently used by Sarah Palin during her vice-presidential campaign.
Gould went on to say, “Together we are better,” stressing the theme of the event, which was attracting new business and holding on to it.
After noting that $8 million has been cut out of the City’s current $500,000,000 budget, some fees have been increased, and City employees will assume responsibility for some of their health care and pension costs, he listed recent accomplishments. Crime is at an all-time low. The $80 million Big Blue Bus maintenance facility is complete. Nearly 300 homeless people were housed last year. Five water wells have been reactivated, and a door-to-door hazardous waste collection is underway. Continue reading STATE OF CITY: SUITS BUSINESS, NOT RESIDENTS


On January 9, 2010, the Board of Friends of Sunset Park asked the City Council to support a request by Council Member Kevin McKeown establishing toxicity standards for aircraft-generated particulate matter.

“The Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) lies within the boundaries of the Sunset Park neighborhood. Friends of Sunset Park is the city-recognized neighborhood organization that represents residents living adjacent to the northern and western borders of SMO, as well as under the takeoff path for Runway 21 (westbound) and under the landing pattern for Runway 3 (eastbound).
As a result, residents in Sunset Park are exposed to aircraft exhaust from SMO operations.
“’Aircraft Emission Impacts in a Neighborhood Adjacent to a General Aviation Airport in Southern California’ by Suzanne Paulson, from the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and others confirmed the existence of highly elevated ultrafine particle concentrations in a large area downwind from SMO.
“These concentrations have potential health implications, but the missing piece of information needed in order to solve the problem is enforceable toxicity standards. Continue reading HAZARDS OF JET EXHAUST TO BE STUDIED


On October 5, 2010 the White House hosted its first ever conference on community colleges. No President in the history of the United States has been as proactive in promoting community college education as Barack Obama. Though President Obama is himself a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard University, he has made a point of extolling the critical importance of community college education to workforce development and the future competitiveness of the United States in an increasingly competitive global economy.

The conference on community colleges was hosted by Jill Biden, wife of the Vice President, and herself a veteran instructor in the community college system. President Obama has spoken on numerous occasions from the campuses of community colleges. Though it regards itself as the pre-eminent community college in the United States, Santa Monica College has not been one of those campuses.

Community colleges are, by and large, the workhorses of higher education, providing open door admittance to post-secondary education for the millions of students who for academic, financial, or personal reasons are unable or unwilling to attend a four year university. At a time when our public education system no longer ensures that its graduates are either literate or numerate, a community college education may be the only way for millions of young people to attain the skill sets they will need to secure gainful employment in our post-industrial, information-based economy. The statistics on the enhanced earning capacity of college graduates vs. high school graduates are well established. Continue reading THE RISE AND FALL OF SANTA MONICA COLLEGE: PART ONE