Welcomes Shriver’s efforts
To the editor:
I’m glad that Bobby Shriver is shaking up“City Staff” in his efforts to find dynamic solutionsto real problems.
I hadexperience with those bodiesin 2003-2004 when City Staff tried to shove a cleverly disguised anti-resident version of a so-called “noise ordinance” down the city’s throat. Some may remember that, despite the Council’s direction to Staff to craft an ordinance to help aggrieved residents,Staff’sinitial proposal contained significant unsolicitedconcessions toconstruction interests and would have actually worsened noise standards throughout the city.
It was only through excruciating attentionby dozens of private citizens who donated their time to scrutinizing City Staff’s multiple redrafts and lobbying the Planning Commission andthe City Council that these erstwhile bureaucratic servants finally developed an ordinance that, if enforced, would actuallyimprove things for residents. (How’s the enforcement going, guys?) It seemedclear to me during that process that “Staff” viewsitself ascreators of policy with full power and authority tonullify the will of the democratically elected City Council by simply dragging their feet with respect to policies they disagree with. It would often take direct contact by a Council member to goose some of these public-paid worker bees to actually answer a phone call or a simple e-mail. Some members of City Staff seemed to view both the City Council and the public as unfortunate inconveniences that distracted them from their mission. Exactly what that mission was, well, one can only speculate. I hope Shriver keeps applying the pressure until City Staff comes to realize who they work for – the public!
Dan Stuart, Former Santa Monica Resident
Questions For Deasy
According to the Planning for the 2005-06 Budget report adopted by the School Board on 2-3-05, the following entry was posted for June 2, 2005:
“Begin final study sessions and hearing on budget development/implementation to include public comments. Public Hearing.” Since this session has been rescheduled for June 16, I am requesting information on the format for the budget presentation:
1. The Preliminary budget presentations on May 19 and June 2 occurred very late in the evening or early morning and did not include any references to the restricted portion of the budget, any projections for beginning and ending balances (carry over) or reserves (unappropriated amount). Given the above, will these items be included in the budget documents presented for Board and public review on June 16 as they were on June 14 of last year for Board action using the J200 LA County format?
2. Given the importance of public perception and involvement in the process, will this item be given an 8:00 p.m. time-sensitive slot on the agenda for June 16?
3. When will the budget documents be available on-line or for pick-up and what will the format be for the Joint Session portion with the Financial Oversight Committee?
The preamble to the aforementioned Budget Planning Report stated:
“SMMUSD’s leadership is committed to a planning and implementation process that is careful, and one that is reflective of our charge to safeguard our District’s resources and assure public trust.” Now more than ever, the Principles of Clear Expectations and Accountable Talk should be applied to the 2005-06 budget discussions.
I look forward to your responses to my questions at your earliest convenience.
Jim Jaffe, Santa Monica
Did Bush commit Impeachable offenses?
To the editor:
A coalition of veterans’ groups, peace groups, and political activist groups announced a campaign today to urge that the U.S. Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.
John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush.
Bonifaz’s memo, made available today at www.AfterDowningStreet.org, begins: “The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.”
In February and March 2003, John Bonifaz served as lead counsel for a coalition of United States soldiers, parents of U.S. soldiers, and Members of Congress (led by Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Dennis Kucinich) in a federal lawsuit challenging President George W. Bush’s authority to wage war against Iraq absent a congressional declaration of war or equivalent action. Bonifaz is the author of Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush (NationBooks-NY, 2004, foreword by Rep. John Conyers, Jr.), which chronicles that case and its meaning for the United States Constitution.
The organizations forming the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition include: Global Exchange, Gold Star Families for Peace, Democrats.com, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, and Democracy Rising. These organizations, beginning today, will be urging their members to contact their Representatives to urge support of a Resolution of Inquiry.
For more information, see www.AfterDowningStreet.org, or contact: Democrats.com, President Bob Fertik, (718) 424-7772, and Washington Director David Swanson, (202) 329-7847.
Patricia Gracian, San Diego
If you can’t take the heat…
Hi City Hall,
Step aside if you have no balls. We need people to fight for us, not piss themselves when a big developer comes to the table. If Macerich’s “downsized” project is still not financially viable, tough shit, it’s not our problem.
Do what’s right and stop Macerich from ruining our city.
Dan Manross, Santa Monica
City should pay for its mistakes
To the editor:
I understand that the City Council is now being asked to raise utility fees.
Once again, we are going to have to pay more than any other local cities.
Another example is street parking meters. We have to pay 25 cents for 20 minutes (20 cents for 15 minutes anywhere near the ocean). Anywhere else in southern California is 20 cents for 30 minutes. In L.A. the city-maintained lots near businesses are free after 6 p.m., not so in Santa Monica.
I have noticed that the large blue recycling trash containers are mostly broken, with large holes in the sides. This is not caused by vandalism. All you have to do is watch the truck’s arms pick up the container; they break through the plastic. They are broken all over the city. Are we rate payers being asked to cover replacing these? It seems to me that the trash department should be able to order containers that their own trucks don’t destroy. It seems unfair to me to pass the purchase price of new containers onto the rate payers. We are simply paying our bills, assuming that the equipment purchased with our tax money will not be destroyed when used. Whatever purchasing department ordered the trash cans should be responsible to buy the new containers with their own personal money, not the rate payers. Why should we have our rates increased for their mistakes?
Peter Davison, Santa Monica