To the Mayor, Council and Staff:

The Treesavers organization supports the organization of an independent Santa Monica Tree  Commission. In this, we join with the Recreation and Parks Commission who unanimously voted for this on January 15, 2009. They recommended that “City Council establish a Tree Commission with the responsibility for providing oversight and direction on the preparation of an urban forest master plan.”

On May 12, 2009, City Council approved a contract with Artecho
Landscape Architecture for $203,791 to “develop the City’s Long-Range
Urban Forest Master Plan.” It called for public input in the form of
four (4) public workshops and for the consultant to work with the
Urban Forest Task Force (assuming this is the not yet named Tree

The consultant is already working on updating the current tree
inventory. This is a key component for determining the future urban
forest plan.

There has been no public input on what criteria should be considered
in taking the inventory, nor has there been any publicity about it.

It appears that the City and its forestry department is going ahead
without waiting for a commission to be established, generating a plan
that will be presented as a fait accompli in the next few months. Then
four dog and pony shows will be put on and a newly organized Tree
Commission will have nothing to do with the development of the Urban
Forest Plan .

Additionally, this master plan is supposed to be for fifty years; even
the City’s LUCE plan is for only twenty years.  The last city forest
master plan was adopted in 1999, only ten years ago and is noted
Mostly for all the exceptions that have been made in its implementation.

The Treesavers organization requests that the City, its community
forest department and the consultants immediately make available to
the public the criteria for the inventory and any information thus far developed.

Treesavers also requests that the development of the Urban Forest Plan
be put on hold until the Tree Commission (Urban Forest Task Force) isnamed, organized and is operating.  If a fifty year master program (or lesser) is to be adopted, there should be major oversight by and input from the community, none of which has taken place.

Per resolution adopted by Treesavers on July 14th, 2009.

Saint John’s Nurses To Be Blessed

The registered nurses of Saint John’s hospital in Santa Monica, the
California Nurses Association and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA) will hold a public blessing of the  nurses on Wednesday, July 29.

Members of the public who would like to participate should gather at  9 a.m.
at the corner of  22nd Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica.

The Nurses Association issued the following statement: “While the hospital administration is refusing to respect the rights of the RNs who have served the hospital faithfully for many years, clergy and community members will join together in solidarity and support of the RNs’ efforts.”

To RSVP or for more information contact

Whither Forecasting

By Ava Tramer

Partly cloudy
Highs: 69-76; Lows: 61-65

Highs: 95-101; Lows: 64-68

Clear and hot
Highs: 110-116; Lows: 80-86

And Santa Monica…
Do-It-Yourself Weather
Step 1.  Look outside.
Step 2.  Observe sun, partial clouds, and mild temperatures.
Step 3.  Count the number of days in the week (this should equal seven if you have counted correctly).
Step 4.  Complete the following equation in order to arrive at your weather report for this week: Weather (step two) multiplied by Days (step three) = Weather for the upcoming week

Cops, Firefighters Dominate Pension Roster

On July13, we published “ SM Employees Hit Pension Jackpot” (see below)

We did not list the former employees’ Santa Monica occupations.  However, a reader has now filled in most of the blanks, and so we are running the annotated list.

As you will see, most of the pensioners are former SMPD and SMFD officers, along with a couple of former City Managers, a pair of deputy City Attorneys, a rent control administrator,  and, lo, a research  librarian.

James Butts $18,239.03 a month — $218,868.36 a year (former SMPD Police Chief)
Gary Gallinot $14,728.05 — $176,736.60 (former SMPD Lieutenant)
Ettore Berardinelli, $14,084.11 — 169,009.32 (former Fire Chief)
Roy McGinnis $12,814.47 — $153,773.64 (former SMPD Captain)
John Miehle $12,359.00 — $148,308.00 (former SMPD Lieutenant)
Francisco Fabrega $12,075.87 — $144,910.44 (former SMPD Lieutenant, currently with LAWA)
Bijan Jalili $11,683.98 — $140,207.76 (former City Manager, aka “John” Jalili)
Walter Hard $11,048.88 — $132,586.56,
(former SMPD captain)
Mary Yurkonis $11,008.93 — $132,107.16 (former Rent Board administrator)
William Kolberg $11,005.06 — $132,060.72 (former Deputy Fire Chief)
George Centeno $10,843.31 — $130,119.72 (former SMPD Lieutenant, currently LAWA Police Chief)
Michael Murphy $10,798.52 — $129,582.24
Susan McCarthy $10,798.20 — $129,578.40 (former City Manager)
William Curtis $10,363.17 — $124,358.04
Kenneth Polhill $10,330.28 — $123,963.36 (former Fire Dept. Captain)
Paul Gonzales $10,301.96 — $123,623.52
William Brucker, $10,188.38 — $122,260.56 (former SMPD Lieutenant)
Larry Larson $9,991.84 — $119,902.08
Robert Harvey $9,972.68 — $119,672.16 (Arcadia Water Treatment Plant)
David Saxby $9,900.88 — $118,810.56
James Keane $9,834.26 — $118,011.12 (former Police Chief – preceded James Butts)
Jaime Fernandez $9,602.84 — $115,234.08 (former Fire Dept. Captain)
Richard Bridges $9,421.67 — $113,060.04 (former Fire Chief)
George Menta $9,401.41 — $112,816.92 (former Fire Dept. Captain)
Thomas Mapes $9,111.67 — $109,340.04
Patrick Armstrong $9,089.60 — $109,075.20 (retired SMPD Sergeant)
Michael Landis $9,055.01 — $108,660.12
John Montenero, Jr. $9,026.91 — $108,322.92 (former Fire Chief)
Steven Wells $8,954.63 — $107,455.56
Gregory Slaughter $8,930.70 — $107,168.40 (former SMPD Lieutenant)
Robert Ayer $8,901.25 — $ 106,815.00 (Drug & Alcohol Program Manager)
Linda Mills $8,877.49 — $106,529.88 (former Deputy City Attorney)
Norman Hirata $8,814.16 — $105,769.92 (former Deputy City Attorney)
Patrick Cates $8,769.99 — $105,239.88 (Fire Dept. Engineer)
Judith Franz $8,751.78 — $105,021.36 (former Assistant to the City Manager, aka Judy Rambeau)
Craig Collier $8,735.90 — $104,830.80 (Fire Dept. Battalion Chief)
Nancy O’Neill $8,700.45 — $104,405.40 (Principal Reference Librarian, SMPL)
Stanley Conger $8,657.96 — $103,895.52
Harry Wirtz $48,605.96 — $103,271.52
John Hutchison $8,375.23 — $ 100,502.76
Margaret Bendiksen $8,342.92 — $100,115.04

The original information was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

With thanks to the reader who did the requsite research.

© Copyright 2009 by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. All Rights Reserved

The Foundation, which was founded by the late Howard Jarvis, sponsored the infamous Prop 13, which many people believe created the financial chaos that has plagued  the state for a generation.

Shame On The Republicans

Last Thursday, during a debate on restricting public funding of  abortions in the District of Columbia, Congressman Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas Republican,
said, “If you think of it in human terms, there is a financial incentive that will be put in place, paid for by tax dollars, that will encourage women who are  single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion,

“If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in a similar circumstance.
If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?
“Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, if those circumstances were in place, is it possible that we would be denied his great mind? The opportunity to have tax-funded abortions, a financial incentive, is something that I think most of us want to oppose in America and it’s certainly deserves a clean up or down vote.”

Tiahrt is clearly short of much more than a vowel, and long on the  singularly grotesque racist notions  that seem to be the Republicans’ specialty these days.

In fact,  the last good idea the  Republicans had was President Dwight Eisenhower’s valedictory in which he warned against the perils of the rising military-industrial complex half-a-century ago.

Since then, the Republicans have brought us the bombing of Cambodia, Watergate, the neutron bomb, union busting, the first  commandment — greed is good,  funny money, the decline and fall of American manufacturing,

the Grenada war, Iran-Contra,  the Gulf war, the rise of the so-called Christian Right, the muddying of the separation of church and state, the rigging of the 2000 presidential election, the lies that preceded the  invasion of Iraq, the Iraq war, its casualties –American and Iraqi, its costs, the nearly total   destruction of New Orleans, the Afghanistan war, its costs – human and fiscal,  , illegal wire taps, Bill of Rights violations,
torture and war crimes, the largest deficit in history, the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression, high and more high crimes and misdemeanors than anyone knows. .

In 1904,  the great English writer, H.G. Wells, toured America and concluded that America’s principal  accomplishment was to make “feudalism efficient.”

Today, thanks to Tiahrt, his colleagues and their predecessors,
Feudalism still flourishes, but it’s no longer efficient, it’s  crude.

Text of Tiehrt’s remarks courtesy of  the Hufffington Post.