I am amazed by the lack of foresight shown by the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board. My children graduated from Santa Monica High School years ago. However, just from reading newspaper stories about recent events at Samohi, I knew there would be a huge crowd of students and parents at last Thursday night’s meeting. Anyone remotely following the issues could have figured it out.
How difficult would it have been to have seats set up in the City Hall lobby, as the City Council often does? Or to make sure ahead of time that the TV monitors were functioning? The school board president is responsible for the meeting. Shouldn’t she have prepared for the crowd?
I guess School Board President Julia Brownley is too busy running for State Assembly to attend to business here at home. If she can’t even fulfill her present responsibilities, how can she serve us well in a higher office?
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First Kill the Trees
In the next few weeks the City of Santa Monica is going to forcibly remove dozens of its oldest residents. I’m talking about our towering, urban forest of eucalyptus trees. The city plans to cut down 77 of them. None are dead or even dying. No hearings were held to get residents’ opinions. There isn’t time, I was told by a city official. You see, the trees could attack at any moment.
The city is concerned that a branch might fall from one of them and kill somebody.
But how often do trees kill people? It turns out one’s chances of being killed by a falling tree or branch are so remote that the National Safety Council, which monitors such things, doesn’t even track it. The closest thing they do track is one’s chance of dying from “being struck by, or striking, an object.” That’s ANY object. And the chance of that, in any year, is 1 in 313,918.
Let’s pretend that of all the objects that strike and kill people, 10 percent of them are tree limbs. That seems ridiculously high, but we’ll give the benefit of the doubt to those who think plants are a menace. Even then, that would put your chance of death by tree in the 1 in 3,139,000 category.
By way of comparison, your chance of committing suicide is only 1 in 9,300. That means you’re 350 times more likely to kill yourself than have a tree do it for you.
You’re also over seven times more likely to die by “falling from a bed, chair or furniture” (1 in 423,000), six times more likely to be done in by “slipping, tripping or stumbling” (1 in 487,000), and over four times more likely to be killed by a dog (1 in 700,000).
Don’t tell the City or they might take away your legs, furniture and dogs.
At a City presentation, (purely informational, not to solicit resident input) I asked how likely it was that one of these doomed giants would drop a major branch. No one knew. It could happen tomorrow, it could never happen. By way of comparison, that’s roughly the same probability that out of frustration in talking to city officials I’ll set my hair on fire and run down the 405.
At this same session, I asked a city representative why residents couldn’t weigh in on this important decision by having the matter heard by City Council. I was told there wasn’t time for resident input because this was a public safety issue. Really?? These trees have been here for decades, but suddenly there’s no time to talk about their destruction? One of them dropped a branch on a car, injuring the occupants, I was told. That’s tragic, but one branch hitting one car, out of the millions, even tens of millions of car trips taken through Santa Monica in the last decade, only makes the point that the city is overreacting to an almost non-existent threat.
Perhaps the problem isn’t trees, it’s people. People who have no problem making decisions without the input of those of us who live here. People who’d rather kill something than live with even infinitesimal risk.
Sharks, if you’re reading this, run.
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At first glance I thought Dave Quick’s article about Barry Bonds had to be a parody, but apparently Mr. Quick is serious. Mr. Quick actually believes its cynicism to question Bonds’ achievements.
Let’s not forget that Bonds vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs, then flip-flopped and changed his story while under oath. Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he unknowingly used undetectable steroids known as “the cream” and “the clear,” which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season.
That’s sort of like Bill Clinton not inhaling, or admitting he did, but unknowingly.
It’s no secret that Bonds was referred (by boyhood friend-trainer Greg Anderson) to Victor Conte, a self-taught scientist who boasted he could propel top-level athletes to peak performance through an unconventional mix of blood analysis and nutritional supplements.
In 1996, Conte began working with linebacker Bill Romanowski, through whom Conte generated business with more pro football players. Romanowski also steered athletes from other sports to Conte, including Remi Korchemny, a Russian-born sprint coach who has coached three Olympic medalists.
Here’s a shocker, linebacker Bill Romanowski tested positive for illegal use of a performance-enhancing drug known as THG.
And yet, Quick says, “Endless rumor and innuendo argue that steroids boosted Bonds’ performance, which he denies” What exactly does Quick expect, for Bonds to admit that performance-enhancing steroids actually DID enhance his performance? Quick sounds more like a PR spokesman for Bonds’ legal team than a legitimate journalist.
Mr. Bonds use of performance enhancement steroids and his amazing performance on the field are hardly cynicism, wide-eyed conjecture, or comparable to moon-landing conspiracy theories.
Even Buzz Aldren can figure that out.
Or John McCain (R-Ariz.) who plans to introduce legislation that mandates drug testing standards on professional sports if baseball players and owners don’t adopt a stringent crackdown on steroids on their own.
Babe Ruth never used those drugs, if anything he might have been drunk, which would have lowered his performance.
It’s sad to think that a drug-free Hank Aaron may soon be eclipsed by Bonds.
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It is not often that I have the opportunity to read about my birthplace. If Hibbing, Minnesota comes up, it is usually mentioned on the weather station as the coldest city in the U.S., or being slighted in the Bridges of Madison County, or slighted by Mr. Zimmerman.
While I was around two years of age when my family moved to California, I have very fond memories of returning during the summertime to this small little “village” of warm, friendly people. My siblings and I would spend hours and hours swimming and playing with cousins and their friends. Nothing I have eaten to date compares with the barbecued food we ate. Fireflies were a wonderful discovery. During short thunderstorms, we went to the basement where the older cousins told scary stories. I am frightened of thunder to this day.
Most of the families who found themselves settled in this area came from Europe searching for a better life. My paternal family emigrated from Yugoslavia. My grandfather was promised citizenship in return for working in the mines. It was difficult and dangerous work. He was killed in a mining accident. Education was everything to these pioneers who made sure their children had a better life. Hard work was a given. I am proud these values were passed to me. Thank you for such a warm article.
Rita Perrella, M.D.
P.S. There are others of us around. Like the attorney who prosecuted Manson (Mr. Bugliosi).
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If I may be candid, you should know that I cannot support Barry Groveman going up to Sacramento as an Assemblymember and start handing out “restraining orders” as he has done here in Calabasas with me and others – this is not public service!
I was lucky, I just received a “threat of restraining order” on NON-city stationary. Other citizens in Calabasas were not only threatened, but actually received “restraining orders” from Barry Groveman in order to curtail their comments.
You see, under the mayoral tenure of Barry Groveman, a dysfunctional City Council has allowed, through their apathy and lack of initiative, the forced displacement of nearly 800 apartment tenants with $250-$300 rent increases for their continued tenancy. So much for the preservation of “affordable housing”!
Furthermore, a City of Calabasas Tenant Study, under Groveman mayoral tenure, dismissed these actions as “legal,” a Tenant Study produced with a request for my assistance, yet filled with omissions and errors, thereby absolving the City of Calabasas of nearly all apartment tenant issues.
Yet this same erroneous report for the City Council, under the mayoral tenure of Barry Groveman, gives no indication whatsoever as to what lies within the city’s jurisdiction with rent issues! Staff simply omitted what lies within the city jurisdiction in the event the city council would consider preserving “affordable apartment housing.”
The blatant fact is that I was threatened with a “restraining order” because of the aggressive, advocating nature I brought this and other related apartment tenant issues to the City’s attention. The Calabasas City Council, under the Mayoral tenure of Barry Groveman, directed the City Attorney to issue this threat of a restraining order on NON-CITY stationary, an embarrassing and humiliating memo containing at least two false allegations.
Calabasas city officials declined to get involved, telling me “the home owners here are only concerned about their property values; they don’t care about renters…you keeping pushing rent control [rent stabilization] and the home owners are going to wonder what these clowns [city council] are doing…” according to Calabasas City Manager Tony Coroalles in a meeting with me and the Community Development Director.
With my most gracious regards, I am
Anthony L. Pecoraro , Calabasas
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There are opinions, and there are informed opinions. As a family physician, I believe I have an informed opinion on the subject of second-hand smoke.
I applaud the Calabasas City Council’s ban on outdoor smoking in public areas – restaurants, coffee shops, parks. I see this as a bold move, and not unlike telling Americans they must wear seat belts, bicycle helmets and say no to drinking and driving.
Barry Groveman helped lead this charge, and for this action and his integrity to serve the public’s well being I support him for Assembly.
Be clear on this: second-hand smoke is a toxin; it is a poison that no one should be forced to endure, especially the young, elderly, pregnant and lactating women and members of the country’s growing population of asthmatics. Second-hand smoke is more than unpleasant, it is unhealthy.
Barry Groveman had to see the criticism that this ordinance might create, and yet he did the right thing. He took a step in the direction of protecting public health. And for this courageous action and effective leadership, I support Barry Groveman, former Mayor of Calabasas and environmental advocate and attorney, for Assembly in the 41st District.
Pamela Davis, M.D.
Director, Northridge Family Practice Program
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It is important to elect an Assemblymember for the 41st District who has proven abilities, energy, enterprising spirit, and experience in constituent services. Our fellow Calabasas Councilmember, Barry Groveman, works tirelessly to resolve problems and address the local issues critical to our quality of life such as education, traffic congestion relief, open space, and the environment.
We recommend Barry Groveman for the 41st Assembly District where he will put his energy, experience and determination to work for our regional communities.
Dennis Washburn, Mayor; James Bozajian, Mayor Pro Tem; Jonathan Wolfson, Councilmember; Mary Sue Maurer, Councilmember
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When it comes time to vote, we all have our key issues. Mine is education.
As the President of the Board of Education in the Las Virgenes Unified School District, I pay particularly close attention to education in all elections. And on June 6, I am voting for Barry Groveman for State Assembly.
I have had the privilege of working closely with Barry Groveman, the former Mayor in Calabasas, and I want to tell you what I know to be true of this leader:
Barry Groveman is a person of impeccable integrity. He is tireless, intelligent, and an excellent listener. Barry is skilled at building a consensus to realize productive solutions – Barry is without question one of the most productive and capable leaders with whom I have worked.
Barry Groveman is not posturing as an education expert, as he knows the experts are the people working with our children – the classroom teachers and school principals. Barry will ask our schools what they need and listen to the answers – and then get to work. Leaders in education are tired of the Legislature telling us what to do, and not asking us what we need to do the job.
Just like the assembly candidate from your local school board, I am dedicated to delivering excellent education to all students. The issues you face in the Santa Monica -Malibu Unified School District are not much different from those we face in neighboring Las Virgenes. And the leader we need to help us address these issues is Barry Groveman.
Take the word of a leader in public education. I am supporting Barry Groveman because I know this man can get things done.
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I am in my second term on the Board of Education in the neighboring Las Virgenes Unified School District, and in this capacity I have had opportunity to work with Assembly candidates Julia Brownley and Barry Groveman. And this June, I am voting for Barry Groveman.
With term limits in place, we need someone who can hit the ground running. Barry is the only candidate endorsed by federal, state and local leaders, and not because they think he will do a great job, but because they have seen him do a great job on environmental issues, in education, addressing traffic and public safety and health concerns.
I have worked with Barry on multi-layered, complex topics, and I personally vouch for his integrity, his character, his kindness and dedication.
I support Barry Groveman for Assembly.
Vice President, Board of Education
Las Virgenes Unified School District