October 24, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Community Colleges have been a gateway to a better life for millions of Californians. The demand for community colleges continues to grow and we need to ensure that our colleges remain affordable and have the resources they need to serve that growing population. Proposition 92 on the February 5 ballot would do just that by providing adequate, stable funding and limiting fees.

For those who question whether California can afford the cost of Proposition 92, perhaps the better question is can we afford not to invest in our greatest asset, our people. According to a 2005 UC Berkeley study, for every dollar spent on community colleges, California taxpayers realize an additional $3. The biggest mistake we can make during the current fiscal crisis is to neglect our human capital for the future.

At Santa Monica College, we’re proud to have transferred tens of thousands of students to four-year universities and provided crucial training to workers in a wide range of professions, including nursing, computer technology, new media, and early childhood education. These highly trained workers are needed more than ever.

For many Californians, community college is the only opportunity they have to get a college education. By passing Proposition 92, we can ensure that everyone has a chance to go to college and we invest in a stronger California for all of us.

Yours,

Rob Rader

Chair, Santa Monica College Board of Trustees

* * * *

All across the state, people are rightfully upset about the proposed budget cuts to education. However, in addition to budget cuts – another cost is eating into our school’s budgets – not one we hear about often: the cost of litigation.

California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) recently reported that three of California’s largest school districts – Los Angeles, San Diego, and Elk Grove Unified – spent a combined $32.8 million on outside counsel, verdicts, and settlements in just one fiscal year.

Imagine what is being spent statewide!

A large portion of this money is going to attorneys – representing both the districts and those who are suing them. Surely we can all agree that this money would be better off going to support students in classrooms, not lawyers in courtrooms.

Sincerely,

Robert Donin, Board Member

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

* * * *

The decision by the Landmark Commission, not to designate the downtown ficus trees with landmark status, was a disappointment, but hardly a surprise. Some of the commission members were sympathetic, but not enough to go out on a limb and stand in the way of “urban renewal.”

Rather than taking a strong stand in support of saving these trees, the commission members, except for one dissenting member, voted to allow these beautiful trees to be uprooted and either mulched, or moved and face a very uncertain future. These are not young saplings that are easy to transplant.

As I said to our City Manager when I ran into him at Vons market, it is rather ironic that Santa Monica’s man in charge of protecting our trees argued forcibly in favor of having them removed, and replaced by trees that offer far less foliage.

When I stood up to speak to the commission, the hostility of city staff was palpable. I could almost feel the daggers from their eyes when I told the commission they had the opportunity, the duty, and the honor, to save these trees from certain death. The alternative was to share the responsibility for this arborcide, and be reminded of their complicity every time they visit the Promenade.

A large number of the Treesavers are residents of this city and will be voting in the next election. I personally promise that this will be a major campaign issue. I would like to see a slate of women run for office together against all the incumbents up for re-election. All but one of the current council members have made it clear that they care less for the wishes of the residents, than the moneyed interests that determine policy in Santa Monica, and who also just happen to endorse and contribute to their re-election campaigns.

“It is time for change” (as our presidential hopefuls are fond of repeating) but here in Santa Monica we can begin that change at home by removing these rubber stamp advocates for a city agenda that promotes growth, chain stores, and increased revenues, etc.. How hypocritical for a City Council (that supposedly promotes sustainability) to favor a sterile, and even more commercial cityscape, against the natural aesthetic and historical value of the beautiful tree canopy that enhances our downtown ambiance.

There has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding the ill-advised decision to remove, or destroy, our downtown ficus trees, and now this contretemps will most likely wind up in court. If that fails, it is time to take it to the streets!

Power to the People!

Jonathan Mann

Santa Monica

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