North of Montana residents and others had an opportunity to discuss community budget priorities for fiscal year 2007-2008 with Assistant City Manager Gordon Anderson at Roosevelt Elementary School.
Education once again took center stage, as it had at the Pico community meeting, as the top priority stressed by the residents. Resident Debbie Mulvany asked that the City continue, or even increase, its annual $6.1 million contribution to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District since education “touches everything else that happens in the City.”
School Board President Kathy Wisnicki called for the City to “continue its partnerships with both the School District and Santa Monica College.”
Opposition to the City’s decision to fluoridate the City’s water supply also came up more than once. A local businessman stated he was very “concerned about the toxicity of fluoride.” Recent studies have shown fluoride is “toxic for infants under 12 months” and the City could be opening itself up for significant liability by moving forward with its fluoridation plans.
Other residents were concerned about the City’s need for more open space. Shari Davis asked that the old Fisher Lumber site located at 14th Street and Colorado Avenue, purchased by the City a couple of years ago, “Become part of Memorial Park.”
DeWhite Flowers called attention “to the need for more additional open space in the Wilshire/Montana area.”
Residents also touched on other issues. Activist Jerry Rubin mentioned the decision made by the City Council not to include a community room in the Civic Center Parking Structure should be reconsidered because it would be useful to the community. He also stressed that the City should try to maintain its AAA bond rating.
Frieda Dubin noted that the number of cell phone towers in the City is increasing, but the City has no way of “monitoring the cell towers or where they are being placed.”
Ralph Mechur requested the City “begin to have a discussion about the future of Santa Monica Airport.” Its current operating agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to expire in 2015.
This meeting was one of five similar meetings being held throughout the City in mid-December. The input received, along with the input from the City’s boards and commissions, will become part of the Council budget discussion on January 9. The Council will then give budget direction to staff on January 23. In May, the Council will hold a series of budget workshops, and a public hearing will be held on the proposed budget, including its adoption on June 19.
An open forum on the budget will be held at the Main Library on January 6. Those who are unable to attend the meetings or the forum can give input by e-mailing email@example.com.