I wonder if SMMUSD Superintendent Diane Talarico will ever release the 25-page document Winston Braham, the district’s former CFO, provided the school board just prior to his resignation. My understanding is the document was mostly about Braham’s dissatisfaction with not getting promoted, and while he was at it he gave the general bureaucracy some heat. Probably well-deserved, but then what large government bureaucracy doesn’t deserve some criticism. I think the documents should all be released and let everything come to light. In the end, it will be seen as an employee-management dispute, probably with both having culpability. The district has been forthright in presenting accounting information which so far claims no malfeasance. The unfortunate part about all this is that Superintendent Talarico is causing a ruckus where none need exist. Should the gag order continue, it diminishes her standing and continues to attack the integrity of the District. Her credibility and management style is now at stake.
If I were a city councilmember, would I withhold funds from the district until the gag order is lifted? No, I would not; I would still fund the district. The city’s support of the school district cannot be in jeopardy whenever the district makes a mistake, because that will happen, and the city is not its “boss.” If money were prevented from going to the district, the people that would suffer are our students/kids. That is unacceptable. Put politics aside and make sure the schools get their support. The money the city gives the district is not the city’s money, but the people’s money, and they have clearly voted and voiced their opinion in favor of municipal support.
* * * *
People continue to ask me if Santa Monica is progressive. Are we still the People’s Republic of Santa Monica? You wouldn’t know it by the conduct of Mayor Richard Bloom in opposing legal marijuana farmacies and casting a deciding (no) abstention vote in support of Veterans for Peace when they sought the council’s cooperation. The voting records of Santa Monica residents appear clearly in favor of both, so it is puzzling why Bloom continues to go against public sentiment. Bloom claimed the war was not a local issue, despite one of the great protest locations of this war being engaged at the north end of the Santa Monica Pier every Sunday. Everyone knows many of our homeless population are veterans. What does he think is going to happen to the most unfortunate of the 25,000 (so far) injured Iraqi vets? Does he actually believe none of them will show up on our doorstep? Or has he forgotten about fallen SMPD officer Ricardo Crocker who died in the line of duty in Iraq. Santa Monica has other grieving family members of deceased and injured veterans. And let’s remember the cost of the war to every citizen of this country. Did I read $500 billion spent to date? Where is that money coming from? Does he think residents of Santa Monica are going to be exempt from the federal deficit? This is a very local story, and whether you want a surge or not, everyone wants to support veterans; yes, even those for peace.
In regards to still being the People’s Republic, the vote last week stalling and possibly permanently delaying studio-type housing on Olympic Boulevard in the Light Industrial District was decidedly control-oriented. The city set up rules, a developer abided by them, and then the council hiccupped and said fuggetaboutit. Now if that is not a control economy, I don’t know what is. But wait, there is more…
The city is attempting to limit people outside of Santa Monica from bringing their dogs to the new Airport Park, a location that is really designed to serve Mar Vista residents better than Santa Monica. What’s next? A sign up desk for who gets to run on the track? Will the city demand residency cards for use? How can the city snub its Mar Vista neighbors and only allow Santa Monica dogs (well, plus 15 permits for non-resident dogs) to use the new dog park? The City of Los Angeles welcomes Santa Monica residents to any and all of their parks. Imagine if Penmar said golf for only 10 Santa Monica residents a week?
* * * *
A major Democratic insider gave me a political prediction. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy will implode, as it will soon become obvious she lacks the charisma of her husband, the country will never get a chance to vote for a black candidate for president and, in the final analysis, Al Gore will get the Democratic nomination.
* * * *
We will never get rid of all the guns in the U.S. The Republicans even reversed the assault weapons ban two years ago. The ammo clips used at Virginia Tech were high-volume assault-type, which would normally have been banned. It amazed me to see Newt Gingrich blame liberalism for the shooting. The stock NRA-crowd answer was to have more guns; in fact everyone should carry one so in case there is a nut job in the crowd we can defend ourselves. As I type this I realize some people are going to say, “Yeah that’s right, if that professor had a gun the whole thing would have been avoided.” What would have avoided this all is banning guns; oh my god, I said it. Crimes of passion and accidental deaths would also have lower mortality rates. All countries of the world have their mentally unstable and wackadoos, but only in the U.S., with its lax gun control laws, do mass killings happen regularly because the means to carry them out are so readily available.
One statistic really stands out for me. Since 1968, there have been over ONE MILLION handgun deaths in this country. More Americans have died from these guns in the U.S. than have been killed in all our wars combined. We will have as many gun deaths in Los Angeles County this year as we will lose soldiers in Iraq. The slaughter in this country continues, and all of us are at risk. Buy the guns, disarm this country. Yeah right – good luck.