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Letters to the Editor:

Regarding: City Council Report: City Rejects FAA Runway Safety Plan by Terence Lyons [March 27-April 2, 2008]

I would like to clear up one confusing aspect of an otherwise very good report by Terence Lyons on the SM City Council’s passage of the ordinance banning the larger and faster type C and D aircraft from using Santa Monica Airport (SMO). The east end of the runway abuts the West Los Angeles neighborhood, north of the Mar Vista community boundary. To those West Los Angeles residents who look out their windows and see the runway continuation pointing in their direction, and who endure the brunt of aircraft landings from the east as well as most of the air pollution blowing in their direction, it would be more accurate and appreciated to make that differentiation clear in future reports about SMO, and I suspect there will be quite a few in the months to come.

Martin Rubin

Director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Santa Monica

* * * *

Mastermind of the special education “secret deals,” Tim Walker – one local leader calls him “our own Dick Cheney” -– stands to have his contract renewed for a remarkable four years during closed session at the next Board of Education meeting, Thursday, April 3 at district headquarters.

But try to find the item on the agenda! So much for the Brown Act requirement that the agenda tell the public what’s going on. There’s NO WAY to find anything close to describing Walker’s contract renewal, just an item saying the board will be handling some personnel matters.

Walker’s original job description called for him to implement the Special Education Strategic Plan. But we got gagged contracts in place of education plans for disabled kids. Then came the clever power play in which Walker -– even though he has no general education experience – grabbed the position of Deputy Superintendent after John Deasy skipped town.

Also on Thursday’s agenda is the public presentation of the independent audit of special education, which, among other things, examined Walker’s secret deals. Yet the Board agenda calls for Walker’s contract to be renewed BEFORE the results of the audit are presented. If a member of the public wanted to object to Walker’s contract renewal on the basis of the special education auditor’s report, it would be too late.

More secrecy. More disregard of the public’s right to know and to be heard. Unfortunately, the Board is consistent.

Walker continues to harass parents by requiring them to sign gagged settlement agreements (in spite of the moratorium called for by the City Council) and by sending his entire special education staff to monitor all meetings of the Special Education District Advisory Committee.

Perpetuating a climate of secrecy that rewards Walker’s strong-arm tactics, the Board of Education once again opens itself to ridicule and scorn. Once again they thumb their nose at parents and the community by scheduling Walker’s contract renewal without providing for a full public review and discussion of Walker’s role in the special education debacle.

Never mind that Walker’s biggest cheerleader, Board Member Kathy Wisnicki, may be leaving soon, if she is elected to the Malibu City Council. The Board must postpone its evaluation of Walker until the public has a chance to express its view on whether this is the type of person and management style we want leading our school district.

Frank Patterson

Santa Monica

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